View Full Version : One on One with Troy

05-23-2007, 11:57 PM
Steelers' Polamalu safety embracing change :tt02::tt02::tt02::tt02:

By Mike Prisuta
Thursday, May 24, 2007

The Steelers wore yellow helmets for the opening of Organized Team Activities this week, yet another sign that change has been thrust upon an organization that, for 15 seasons, had become accustomed to doing things the Bill Cowher way.

The yellow helmets, along with throwback uniforms, will be worn just twice in 2007. The first instance will be the home opener Sept. 16 against Buffalo; the second is a Monday Night home game Nov. 5 against Baltimore in conjunction with the Steelers' celebration of their 75th anniversary season.

Mike Tomlin's presence as Cowher's successor and the change he has inspired is being perceived as much more permanent. Still, not everything has been altered on the South Side.

All-Pro safety Troy Polamalu is still the last player off the practice field, even when he's leaving the field following the first of the organized team activity sessions.

Polamalu did that again Tuesday, but in an interview with the Tribune-Review, he sounded like a player also embracing change.

Q: You had said during minicamp that the changes the Steelers are going through are worrisome, but also a good thing. Is change inevitable and is it inevitably a good thing?

A: I think change is inevitable. Regarding this case, I think it's a good thing for our team, bringing coach Tomlin in. What you're talking about is the direction our team is headed in, and I think we're really headed in a positive direction. I know we were a very good team before coach Tomlin came here, but I think we'll still be a very good team under his leadership. The direction that we're headed is a winning direction, there's no doubt about that.

Q: You experienced change and transition at USC, when Pete Carroll became the coach. How did that become such a positive situation so quickly?

A: When I got to USC, there were seniors there that had coach (John) Robinson, and then, three years of Paul Hackett, and then, coach Carroll. With coach Hackett there, change wasn't inevitably good because he didn't have too much success and he was only there for three years. And then, coach Carroll came in and there was a lot of that idea, 'Oh, man, here comes another new head coach.' Pittsburgh's not been in that situation (recently) because (the Steelers) have had such long-tenured head coaches (Cowher and Chuck Noll, who was hired in 1969). But I think we can anticipate that coach Tomlin will be here for a while, not only based on the Steelers' history, but I think he's a great coach, as well.

Q: Bill Cowher and the previous staff won a Super Bowl and consistently competed for championships. What was the relationship among the players like under Cowher?

A: We were a very close team. We're still a very close team. There have been a lot of changes, obviously, this season. We just have to continue to find our identity. Coach Cowher said every year you have to establish a new identity, this is no different. We have to continue to establish a new identity whether it's with coach Cowher or coach Tomlin. There are new players, new role players every year from one year to the next whether there's a new head coach or not.

Q: What defines a relationship between a coach and the players in the NFL?

A: We had a very strong emotional bond with coach Cowher, the team was very close with him, and I think it will take time to establish that naturally (with Tomlin). When you go through a lot of adversities with people, with your wife, your brother, your sister, that's why you're very close with them, that's why they're family to you. So, when we go through adversity (under Tomlin), which is inevitable in the NFL, it's obviously going to bring us closer together.

Q: So the relationship with your new coach will take care of itself eventually?

A: Well, sometimes it does. Sometimes, that's not the case. Sometimes, it just throws teams apart. I think we have good enough leadership here that it will bring us closer together.

Q: As players, you no longer have the comfort zone of knowing exactly what's expected of you and what you should be doing in a given situation. Is that unsettling or exciting? And are you eager to embrace more such change moving toward training camp?

A: I think it's very exciting. We're doing a lot more things that make us more flexible, give us different looks. I think it's a great impact that coach Tomlin has had on our defense. I also think that he's just letting us go out there and play. When you're a head coach, you're not really hands-on with the players like you had been in the past. Coach Tomlin, only a few years ago, was a position coach, so I think he definitely has that outlook from a player's point of view, a more recent outlook than coach Cowher had.

Q: Do the players talk about these changes and how to handle them, or is it left up to each individual to deal with the situation as best he can?

A: Of course, we talk about everything. It's a good thing. Obviously, it's going to take time for everything to really settle down. It's going to take a football season, a season-opening game and then who knows what's going to happen then?

Q: Is this still a team that's positioned to win a championship?

A: The more that I've been in the league -- I'm going into my fifth year -- the more I see that talent has a little to do with it, but not as much as people think. There are a lot of really talented teams out there that aren't really winning just because they don't have that cohesiveness. We've had good talent here, but we've had cohesiveness under strong leadership, as well.

Q: So you would anticipate making this transition as quickly as possible?

A: Teams have done it. The Saints did it last year coming from a losing program. We only went 8-8 last year but we're definitely not losers. We thought we were a very good team, we just had a bad season.

05-24-2007, 12:11 AM
the more and more i hear, read and watch this guy im amazed.....is there a classier guy in the league?

one thing does stick tho....tomlins first game is agaist the browns, thats not a game he can afford to lose