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Bucs’ Vea getting taste of what being in the NFL is like in rookie camp

The rookie defensive tackle was pushed hard on his first day.

NCAA Football: Fiesta Bowl-Penn State vs Washington Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

When Buccaneers’ rookie defensive tackle Vita Vea was stepping out onto the practice fields Friday, he was already aware of the difference in coaching from college to the pros. But he’s getting a real taste of what it’s like to be coached by an NFL defensive line coach like Brentson Buckner.

On the first day of rookie minicamp, Buckner made his presence felt among the young players. Vea included.

“He’s a great guy. He’s definitely pushing us to our limits and that’s what you need at this level, someone to push you to get better and better every day,” Vea said.

“You always need someone like that to push you. You don’t want someone to be your friend out there on the field. You want someone to be there pushing you and [you want to be] tired and getting better every day.”

Tampa Bay’s first round selection had already met with Buckner previously so he got a glimpse of what he was about. But it was nothing like what he had experienced on the first day of rookie minicamp.

“He told us that we were going to go out there and go straight to work. So, we knew what we were getting into today and he just told us to get up early tomorrow for practice.”

Vea has a lot to learn. The 23-year-old mastered the defensive scheme along with his assignments while at Washington. However, he acknowledges that what he has to take in now is not what he was used to in college.

“It’s definitely a lot different,” said Vea. “[Coach Buckner’s] improving our game, making us get better with that and he’s showing us the actual technique that should be used in the NFL, what we have to do to be the best.”

Fortunately, Vea is staying focused and determined to perfect his craft at the pro level. He is not thinking about doing anything else — like exploring Tampa Bay — until he feels comfortable with the Bucs playbook.

“I have a lot to learn and am doing a lot of studying. Once I get that down, I may go out and check out Tampa.”