A sun splashed Saint Vincent College was host to a perfect weekend for football practice. After a soggy Friday, the Pittsburgh Steelers had two hot days to prepare for the 2011 season.
Mike Tomlin, dressed in his traditional black long-sleeved shirt, pants and hat, had the team working hard over the first weekend of camp, including the first padded practice on Sunday.
Wearing helmets and shoulder pads only, the Steelers got in their first contact in a big way. Tomlin had one of his favorite drills, ‘Backs on ‘Backers, in which the running backs attempt to block rushing linebackers.
The drill provides good theater but also sets the tone of the physicality of what’s to come. It is also great theater for the fans.
The offensive and defensive line would later do a similar drill with much less fanfare.
When it comes to risers and fallers and how the roster is coming together, much is still unclear. Veterans such as Ike Taylor, Willie Colon, Jonathan Scott, William Gay, Mewelde Moore, Shaun Suisham and Daniel Sepulveda cannot practice until August 4, which has given young players plenty of reps in the first and second team units.
While the extra reps will help their development, it also hurts timing in the passing game and cohesion with the offensive line.
The inexperience has meant a lot of coaching from the veterans, highlighted by Heath Miller, Hines Ward, Mike Wallace and Ike Taylor spending significant time talking to or showing technique to younger players.
Maybe the best news of camp so far is that there are no significant worries as the team looks good. Pittsburgh is a veteran-laden group who can slowly bring along the younger players, who are at a disadvantage without offseason workouts.
Here is a look at what went down the first weekend of Camp Tomlin 2011.