Steelers Training Camp Day 19: Wildcat scratched from playbook, Wallace strives for perfection
August 20, 1:21 AM ∑ Matt Pawlikowski - Pittsburgh Sports Examiner
LATROBE - Mother Nature let her presence be known during camp on Wednesday, as she opened up her floodgates during practice. Did it stop the Steelers?
Ah, no. Instead it provided a great time for some two minute drill action.
"We executed some two-minute football; it was a special situation today," Steeler coach Mike Tomlin said. "I saw some good things from both sides in regards to that."
WALLACE NO WILLIAM, BUT HE CAN CATCH
Rookie Mike Wallace continuesto impress and had yet another good day in camp, this time connecting with Ben Roethlisberger on a 70 yard touchdown.
"He reminds me of a young Nate Washington, coming in here raw like Nate did," quarterback Charlie Batch said. "Speed, Speed and more Speed. He's got it, now he just needs to work on route running and take a little bit from Hines Ward and Santonio. Once he gets it down, he's only going to get better."
Wallace averaged 20.1 yards per reception and scored a career-high seven touchdowns last year for Mississippi, but is still a work in progress as he is learning routes. Still, he is excited about what he has done thus far, and looking forward to doing more.
" I'm excited to go out and have another game like last week," Wallace said. " And I'm just looking forward to going out an making some more plays."
CHAMPS TOO MELLOW?
Speaking of camp, CBSSportsline's Mike Freeman has said the Steelers are too mellow in his recent camp report about the World Champs.
According to Freeman, the Steelers are running Camp Cupcake. No that's not a misprint, He called camp Tomlin Camp Cupcake. Here's some of what Freeman had to say.
The defending champions are running a laid-back camp, arguably the most relaxed in football, which is contrary to the tough-guy image of the hardened Steelers. Tomlin isn't running Camp Steel Town; he's running Camp Cupcake.
Sure the question of CTO, AKA coaches time off has come up, but Steeler quarterback Ben Roethlisberger perhaps answered it best. Maybe Freeman should have spoken with Big Ben and some of the other veteran players.
"He is taking care of the guys, knowing he has to help our legs and bodies and have us stay healthy," said Steeler quarterback Ben Roethlisberger. "I think the guys appreciate it. Itís good. A lot of guys now their back tightens up, legs get sore. Itís good to start resting up now for the start of the season."
Freeman also added this about the Steelers.
The only question is, how does a franchise that has everything, lost almost nothing since the Super Bowl and is clearly the team to beat stay hungry? The Steelers' biggest opponents aren't the Patriots or Baltimore Ravens. The team's biggest opponent is satisfaction.
Satisfaction is what kills Super Bowl champs, annihilates their hunger and eradicates the passion that enabled them to survive the championship gauntlet in the first place.
Maybe this is what Freeman thinks, but its not the thinking of the Steelers. They aren't satisfied with what happened last year, realize its not going to be a walk in the park to defend, but also went through this before and don't want to relive the mistakes from back then.
"Last time we won the Super Bowl, we were level-headed, so we thought," kicker Jeff Reed said. "So it's not going to get any easier for us. We know we have a target on our backs, it doesn't matter if we are Super Bowl champs or not, and now it is a big one. So we just have to go out there and prove ourselves worthy."
There is a lot that goes on walking up to the line of scrimmage in a matter of a few seconds. It's something that Justin Hartwig is no stranger to.
For the first couple weeks of camp though, Hartwig watched from the sidelines, as he nursed a toe injury. While the toe hasn't gotten better, it also won't get any worse, so he was given the green light on Sunday to hit the field again.
Hartwig is expected to see action against the Redskins, but the question remains will he be rusty?
"It wasn't a setback at all, I know the offense inside and out," Hartwig said. " I feel really good about my techniques, I'm in my eighth year in, the Super Bowl wasn't that long ago, and I feel I have had a lot of practice, so I know what I am doing. Its a matter of getting out there and just doing it."
STARTERS TO PLAY JUST A QUARTER AGAINST SKINS
When it comes to the Redskins game on Saturday, don't expect to see a lot of action from them. They are expected to see just a quarter's worth.
Also Stefan Logan will take the first kickoff back. Last weekend Mike Wallace got his chance, now it will be the former CFL standouts chance.
NO WILDCAT FOR STEELERS
So much for the Wildcat. Although the Steelers utilized it once last year during the Super Bowl with Willie Parker taking snaps, it has been deleted from the offensive package. So those who thought that Dennis Dixon was in Pittsburgh only to be utilized in the way that Antwaan Randel El was, can forget about.
FACES IN THE CROWD
The Steelers have drawn a number of celebrities and local icons to Training Camp this year. Louisville basketball coach John Calapari, West Virginia head coach Bill Stewart, singer John Legend, and actor Ving Rhames all have watched the Super Bowl Champs in action.
On Wednesday, you had the Stanley Cup winning coach Dan Blysma on the sidelines.
Darnell Stapelton again missed practice due to his knee. Frank Summers sat out practice on Wednesday with a groin injury while Nick Eason and Scott Paxton also missed action. Mewelde Moore, who is not expected to see action against the Redskins was back in pads on Wednesday.