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It’s hot for everyone, but definitely for Bucs rookie DT Vita Vea

Florida Football Insiders

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Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

There is excitement about the reinforcements that have been added to the Bucs defensive line, and rightfully so. Having signed players like Vinny Curry, Beau Allen and Mitch Unrein during free agency in March, and traded for Jason Pierre Paul from the Giants, there is definitely veteran help on the way for the likes of Pro Bowler Gerald McCoy.

Then, there was the April drafting in round one of a guy that most are eager to see line up next to McCoy, University of Washington defensive tackle Vita Vea. As, the Pac 12 Defensive Player of the Year, Vea is an athletic mammoth defensive lineman, and there is a great potential for success in 2018.

However, there’s a significant variable with where Vea has been playing (the Pacific Northwest) and where he’s about to go through training camp, preseason and the first two months of his rookie year.

The heat and humidity in Tampa Bay.

You can talk all you want about preparing for it, hydrating for it and getting ready to sweat.

And, then, there’s actually dealing with it.

The Bucs held their latest OTA practice on Thursday, and coach Dirk Koetter summed up the almost 90 degree May 31st conditions:

“It was oppressive today. Really, add six or seven degrees, this is training camp today. I think the guys adjust pretty fast to that. In training camp, we practice in the morning, so today’s as tough as it gets. It was warm out there today.”

Koetter was then asked specifically about Vea and immediately, pointed out his size and strength in the OTA workouts:

“What we’ve seen is a guy that his weight definitely has not affected him. He’s got an excellent motor and he is a very strong human being. You can ask those guards that are playing against him… He’s got a ‘bin move,’ inside move, where I’ve seen him lift 300 lb. men off the ground with one arm. It’s impressive, his strength.”

Will all of that strength sustain through weeks and weeks of working in 100 degree+ heat index?

That’s where the Buccaneers strength and conditioning staff will also play a key role in helping Vea deal with those conditions. And as we alluded to above, they have veteran depth at defensive tackle to help, as well.

And the more fresh that Vea is as games this fall wear on, the more successful the Bucs defense will be.

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