One thing is sure about the Bucs and their debut episode on HBO’s prime time show “Hard Knocks”...Everybody now knows who Riley Bullough is!

The rookie free agent linebacker out of Michigan State just about stole the show from the veterans in the first of 5 episodes of “Hard Knocks: Training Camp with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.”  Riley was called out in a team meeting, by Head Coach Dirk Koetter.. but in an entirely great way.  Koetter said the 23-year-old linebacker had excellent leadership skills and was very talkative on the practice field, things you just don’t hear from a head coach this early in training camp.

HBO isolated him during practice and showed him making plays on the veterans.  Bullough is running third string at middle linebacker, but now everyone wants to see how he progresses in the games, beginning Friday at Cincinnati.

The Bucs’ first episode of “Hard Knocks” proved the production skills of the HBO team.  Videography, editing, use of music.. technically, it was a gem and no wonder why, the Hard Knocks team has won 15 Sports Emmy Awards. 


A few more takeaways from the first episode:

- Jameis Winston is showing us where the men would pee, outside of his boyhood home in Alabama...also comparing himself to Crocodile Hunter, after his discovery of a roach outside the house.  Plus, the closing segment of Jameis waking up in the team hotel at 5 am, and beginning his weight room work, all alone, before 6 am...the starkness of it, well done.

- I liked seeing the “Daddy” side of Gerald McCoy.. giving two of his kids a bath, and playing with his son while the little one tried to punch big Daddy.. the boy engulfed by Daddy’s huge hands, spoke volumes about Fatherhood.

- It was also rare to see, during practice, coaches scolding players and pointing out mistakes. Not just rookies like Jeremy McNichols, but also Jameis Winston.

Maybe the hype got to me, but I was expecting more.. a couple of “Oh Wow” moments, which didn’t show up.  But it was still an excellent show, very well-produced… And we still have four more episodes to watch.  Keep it up, HBO.

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