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Old 07-31-2009, 03:54 AM   #1
Galax Steeler
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Default Camp fires that'll burn in Latrobe

Steelers Nation can’t wait for Saturday morning when the horn blows and the Super Bowl champions work out for the first time in Latrobe.

It’s only practice, but for the first time since February, they’ll put the pads on and begin a grueling three-week stay at St. Vincent College.

It will also be our first chance to see the rookies in full gear.

This is no longer “football in shorts” as coach Mike Tomlin calls off-season workouts. These are the dog days of summer when it doesn’t take much to separate the men from the boys.

It’s also a time when a few veterans will be pushed.

So without further adieu, here’s five guys we should be anxious to see at training camp.

http://www.timesonline.com/articles/...0394561474.txt
A.Q. SHIPLEY

CENTER

As a product of Moon Area High School and a former Penn State All-American, plenty of fans will be pulling for Shipley to make the team.

A seventh-round draft pick faces long odds but Shipley has always prided himself as being a smart, tough, physical guy who always overachieves.

And in the first few days of camp, Shipley may get more chances to display his talents than most late-round picks. Incumbent center Justin Hartwig recently broke a toe, and although the injury isn’t serious, he may be pampered a bit in practice. So Shipley should get plenty of extra reps.

MIKE WALLACE

RECEIVER/KICK RETURNER

Even though cornerback Ike Taylor reportedly ran the 40-yard dash in 4.26 seconds at a Florida speed camp, Wallace claims to be the fastest guy on the roster. At the NFL Combine in February, he ran a legitimate 4.33.

He can fly but can he handle the physical toll of the NFL? Even he’s not sure.

After an off-season workout in June, Wallace was asked if he had what it takes to make the tough catch over the middle.

To his credit, he admitted that he wasn’t sure because he was “never asked to do that in college.”

At Ole Miss, he was a home run threat; His forte was just streaking down the field as fast as he could in hopes of catching a bomb.

A third-round draft pick, Wallace will also get a chance to return kickoffs.

BRETT KEISEL

DEFENSIVE END

This is a big year for Keisel. He not only turns 31 on Sept. 19, he is in the final year of his contract. Though he’s been a very solid starter the last three years, one gets the feeling that the coaching staff is a little disappointed that he hasn’t been more dominating.

Keisel has yet to be offered a contract extension and probably won’t get one before the season starts. Also, right behind him on the depth chart is Ziggy Hood, the first-round pick in this year’s draft.

If Keisel doesn’t elevate his game, he may find Hood cutting into his playing time.

FRANK SUMMERS

HALFBACK/FULLBACK

Everyone in the organization is anxious to see what Summers can do when the hitting begins. He’s a 5-foot-9, 240-pound bruiser who could land a roster spot as a fifth-round pick out of UNLV.

One of the raps against Summers before the draft was that he doesn’t have a fondness for blocking. Frankly, he has no chance with the Steelers if he can’t block.

The Steelers are also looking for a tough, short-yardage back with Gary Russell no longer around. Summers could be that guy.

If “Tank” is as tough as his nickname suggests, Carey Davis’ roster spot could be in jeopardy.

WILLIE GAY

CORNERBACK

After a 13-9 win in Baltimore in late December, a delirious Tomlin was chanting “Big Play Willie Gay!” as he walked off the field at M&T Bank Stadium and for good reason.

With 17 seconds left to play in that thriller, Gay intercepted the first pass of his two-year NFL career.

Last year, Gay started four games in mid-season after Bryant McFadden broke his arm. When McFadden returned, Gay still played a lot.

But now that McFadden has left via free agency for the Arizona Cardinals, Gay will now be an every-down player, provided, of course, he can handle the job.

If Gay struggles, wily veteran Deshea Townsend may get back the starting job that he lost last year to McFadden.

http://www.timesonline.com/articles/...0394561474.txt
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