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Bucs’ Gerald McCoy takes rookie end Noah Spence under his wing

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A young defensive lineman trying to learn about the speed of the NFL can use himself a pace horse.

Noah Spence, meet Gerald McCoy.

Spence, the Tampa Bay Bucs’ second-round draft pick, spent time practicing with McCoy during the off-season. With McCoy’s reputation for working hard, who else would you pick?

“I did it on my own.” Spence said Sunday. “I knew I wanted to get a lot of good work in and he said he was staying here and he’s been doing pretty good for himself, so I was like, ‘Why not?’

“I learned that I can keep up, I learned that I could work, and I’m going to learn a lot about pass rush and run-stopping, stuff like that.”

McCoy said he has been impressed watching Spence.

“Noah is a guy that I’ve been watching during OTAs and stuff,” McCoy said last week. “He gets after the pass rusher really well. He’s nonstop, next play takes a deep breath and gets back down and does the same thing again, and that’s something that we obviously needed. And I feel like we trust it pretty well and we’re adding him, Rob (Ayers) and getting Jacquies (Smith) back healthy and having George (Johnson) coming along and those guys. Noah he’s been really promising, at meetings and stuff he’s very interactive he’s asking questions and he knows what he’s doing, so that’s pretty cool.”

 Spence, who was kicked out of the Big 10 for drug use, says he plays with a chip on his shoulder.

“I mean, you’ve got to do it, you’ve got to have a reason to come out here and work. Mine is for God and then after that it’s all I’ve been through. Then, it’s just coming out here and working with other guys on the team. You’ve got to play with a chip or else you’ll be no good.”

Gary Shelton is one of the most recognized and honored sportswriters in the history of the state. He has won the APSE's national columnist of the year twice and finished in the top 10 eight times. He was named the Florida Sportswriter of the Year six times. Gary joined SaintPetersBlog in the spring, helping to bring a sports presence to the website. Over his time in sports writing, Gary has covered 29 Super Bowls, 10 Olympics, Final Fours, Masters, Wimbledons and college national championships. He was there when the Bucs won a Super Bowl, when the Lightning won a Stanley Cup and when the Rays went to a World Series. He has seen Florida, FSU and Miami all win national championships, and he covered Bear Bryant, Bobby Bowden and Don Shula along the way. He and his wife Janet have four children: Eric, Kevin, K.C. and Tori. To contact, visit

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