TAMPA (FOX 13) - Speed is the most notable difference between college football and the NFL. The players are not only bigger, but they are faster. And they must absorb information faster as well.
The rookie draft picks and free agents assembled at this weekend's Bucs rookie camp are rapidly learning just how rapid the learning takes place at the next level.
"When these guys come to camp, they are wide-eyed," said Bucs head coach Dirk Koetter. " They are definitely ready to learn. Some of these guys, their jobs depend on it. So they are definitely ready to learn and listen."
Ryan Smith was taken by the Bucs in the fourth round of last week's draft. The cornerback out of North Carolina Central is learning a new system, and trying to make sure nothing gets past him: information or speedy receivers.
"Going from the classroom and executing on the field is really the hardest part right now," admitted Smith. "It's a lot. You really have to pay attention and be attuned. You can't miss a thing (or) you are really going to be lost out there."
So it's not just how fast a player can move, it's also how fast that player can learn. And three short days will be all many of these camp invitees will have to prove that aptitude to Coach Koetter.
"Unfortunately, we only have 90 spots," Koetter added. "We're going to let some good football players go that we would love to keep around here."
The next round of learning for the young Bucs comes May 24 during team-organized activities at One Buc Place in Tampa.