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Old 06-03-2007, 10:24 AM   #1
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Thumbs up Steelers putting in the time on special teams

It seems Ben's not the only one that's pleased with the radical coaching style changes. I loved Bill Cowher and I loved his passion and fire. But I said from the get go with the Tomlin hire that change an be a good thing...........Steelers Revenge Tour '07
http://steelers.scout.com/2/648501.html

Steelers putting in the time on special teams
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Jim Wexell
SteelCityInsider.com Jun 2, 2007

Bill Cowher apparently was all talk about special teams. That’s what the players are saying after getting a taste of what Mike Tomlin means when he says special teams are a third of the game.

PITTSBURGH -- Ryan Clark has a warning for fans traveling to St. Vincent College to watch practice this summer.
“It’s terrible as a spectator to watch the Pittsburgh Steelers practice in 2007,” Clark said. “I can’t imagine the fans are going to be happy.”

Why?

“There are a million more special teams,” he said as the Steelers’ special-teams-driven Organized Team Activities reached the halfway point of the spring schedule.

“We actually didn’t even have special teams at OTAs last year – at all,” Clark said. “We did a little bit at walk-through. But it makes practices a lot longer and a lot harder.”

And a lot more boring to watch. The Steelers warm up, they stretch, and then they scrimmage for a bit. They’ll break for at least 20 minutes of special-teams work, scrimmage some more, then break for more special-teams work.

As much as the Steelers talked up the importance of special teams under Bill Cowher, they never backed it up with this kind of action on the practice field.

“Oh, for this time of year it’s definitely a lot more,” said special-teams co-captain Clint Kriewaldt. “From what I remember I don’t think we even did any at this time. Maybe in OTAs we’d do a punt or something like that, but in minicamps we never had any time for special-teams stuff. It’s different now. We have 20-minute meetings and then at least 20 minutes on the field. We get it before and during. It’s definitely a lot more than what we’re used to.”

The Steelers have two special-teams coaches this year: Bob Ligashesky and assistant Amos Jones. Ligashesky will work, for instance, two segments of a 20-minute period with the interior of the punt protection, while Jones works with the gunners and the holdup men. They coach how to, for example, take on the first line of blockers and then they coach how to take the next step and then the next step. After the slightest of details are covered, the coaches bring the players together to run the entire play a couple of times.

Kriewaldt was asked if all of the nuance work is helpful or perhaps overkill.

“I plead the fifth on that one,” he said.

So, it’s overkill?

“We’re doing a lot of, like you said, very detailed stuff, and in my mind special teams isn’t about that,” Kriewaldt said. “It’s about having guys who want to run down there and make plays.”

Ligashesky, the 44-year-old Pittsburgh native with 22 years of coaching experience, had a logical response.

“If you can execute and ‘Go kill,’ it will make you that much more effective,” he said. “Why can’t we do both of those at the highest level? That’s the whole theory about ‘Go kill.’ You can execute with that mentality without having to think about it – unconscious confidence, if you will.”

Ligashesky (lig-a-SHES-kee) was an assistant special-teams coach in Jacksonville in 2004 before becoming the special-teams coach in St. Louis. After the 2005 season, he was one of only three assistants retained by new Coach Scott Linehan, but Ligashesky’s contract wasn’t renewed following the 2006 season, when the Rams finished 25th in punt return, 26th in kickoff return and 28th in kickoff coverage. Those statistics are about the norm for a Rams team that’s on its fifth special teams coach since the 2000 season.

The Dallas Morning News, using 22 categories in the kicking game, ranked the Rams’ special teams 25th in the league last year. The Steelers, under Bill Cowher and special-teams coach Kevin Spencer, ranked 30th.

“I love Coach Spencer,” said Kriewaldt. “A lot of people don’t realize he didn’t have any time in minicamps. He wasn’t allowed. He would’ve loved to have as much time as we have now. I think we only had 10 or 15 minutes during practice even during the season and he tried to cram everything in there. He had a limited amount of time, and a lot of people don’t know that Coach Cowher overruled a lot of stuff. He was basically the special-teams coach, too. Everything had to go through him.”

Because of Tomlin’s “vision,” as Ligashesky put it, the Steelers now have two coaches to discuss and map out special-teams plans only. The result is a long and boring practice that has the players wondering aloud about the payoff. But those players are buying into Ligashesky’s methods.

“Losing to Atlanta, losing to Cincinnati here, those games came down to one or two plays,” said Clark. “If you’d have focused on fundamentals and technique, you might make those plays, and those plays can make a difference in the game. I think it’s going to really help.”

“Their communication in the meetings and on the field has been really good,” said Ligashesky. “Again, the standard that they’ve developed here is outstanding, the way that they make the other guys say, ‘Hey, you need to make sure you know what you’re doing when we’re on the field or in the meetings.’ You can see where that’s one of the strengths of why this team has been so successful.”
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"We're not going to turn our backs on him," Ward said. "We're going to treat him like our brother. We're going to accept him back and be very supportive of him and help him get through this. In this locker room, he's still our quarterback."
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Old 06-03-2007, 11:08 AM   #2
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Default Re: Steelers putting in the time on special teams

Special teams are looking great, offense seems back to shape, defense seems better than before, coaches seem to have the fire to win, yes, this sounds like a great year for the black and gold. that atlanta game was indeed painful, shows how important are our special teams. Kriewaldt and Iwuoma will do a good job this year hopefully, I just would like to know who will do the kick returns, hopefully Willie Reid is on punt returns right
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Old 06-03-2007, 11:08 AM   #3
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Default Re: Steelers putting in the time on special teams

Horrendous Special Teams play and turnovers just killed the '06 Steelers.

It's nice to hear Tomlin talk about the "third game."
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Old 06-03-2007, 11:32 AM   #4
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Default Re: Steelers putting in the time on special teams

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“We’re doing a lot of, like you said, very detailed stuff, and in my mind special teams isn’t about that,” Kriewaldt said. “It’s about having guys who want to run down there and make plays.”
thats a pretty piss poor attitude. i cant really fault him though if hes just not used to the work. im pretty sure if devin hester were on the steelers last year he wouldnt have made the pro bowl. watching the bears special teams unit as a whole, you can tell they actually practice rather than let 11 guys "run down there and make plays".

im pretty suprised cowher would handle special teams like this after allowing the patriots (who were inferior on offense and defense) steal a sb trip on special teams alone.
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Old 06-03-2007, 11:45 AM   #5
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Default Re: Steelers putting in the time on special teams

i believe tomlin is all about basic, and that is good. if you focus on the basics, with the talent we've got, next thing you know we'll be talking about playoffs. it was sad to see cowher's last year marred by so many screw-ups of basic plays by special teams
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Old 06-03-2007, 11:58 AM   #6
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Default Re: Steelers putting in the time on special teams

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Originally Posted by tony hipchest View Post
thats a pretty piss poor attitude. i cant really fault him though if hes just not used to the work. im pretty sure if devin hester were on the steelers last year he wouldnt have made the pro bowl. watching the bears special teams unit as a whole, you can tell they actually practice rather than let 11 guys "run down there and make plays".

im pretty suprised cowher would handle special teams like this after allowing the patriots (who were inferior on offense and defense) steal a sb trip on special teams alone.
I agree on both counts there Tony....This article prove that Cowher was all talk about how he felt about special teams.....To basically ignore that part of the game during OTA's and mini camps is just crazy....Especially since we lost an AFC title game like you said due to giving up two special teams TDs....I'm so glad Bill Cowher is gone...He was a very good coach but to stubborn in alot of his ways....I think Mike Tomlin's attention to detail is going to be huge for this team....
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Old 06-03-2007, 12:47 PM   #7
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Default Re: Steelers putting in the time on special teams

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?We?re doing a lot of, like you said, very detailed stuff, and in my mind special teams isn?t about that,? Kriewaldt said. ?It?s about having guys who want to run down there and make plays.?
And that, ladies and gentlemen, is how you wind up ranked 30th in the league on STs.
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Old 06-03-2007, 02:51 PM   #8
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Default Re: Steelers putting in the time on special teams

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And that, ladies and gentlemen, is how you wind up ranked 30th in the league on STs.
No kidding Kriewaldt makes it sound like this new attention to detail on special teams is like splitting the atom....lol I have a feeling Kriewaldt might be gone....He really is just a special teams player...Yes he can backup at ILB but he really he isn't much of an ILB.....So if this new approach to special teams is "overkill" then it might be good bye Clint...lol

Never understood why the Steelers kept three special teams aces like Cowher did with Chidi,Morey and Kriewaldt the last few years...
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Old 06-03-2007, 03:40 PM   #9
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Default Re: Steelers putting in the time on special teams

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Originally Posted by Black and Gold Forever 32 View Post
No kidding Kriewaldt makes it sound like this new attention to detail on special teams is like splitting the atom....lol I have a feeling Kriewaldt might be gone....He really is just a special teams player...Yes he can backup at ILB but he really he isn't much of an ILB.....So if this new approach to special teams is "overkill" then it might be good bye Clint...lol

Never understood why the Steelers kept three special teams aces like Cowher did with Chidi,Morey and Kriewaldt the last few years...
my 1st thought upon reading that is he may be writing his ticket out of town. but he has been a steeler (and a contributor on the forgotten special teams) long enough, that perhaps he may just be getting used to actually having to practice.

now ive never been to a training camp, but looking at ryan clarks words i get the impression that camp was alot of "dog and pony show" with flash and pizazz for the fans.

i could be wrong but those who have gone can maybe chime in.

im a little dissapointed to think cowher wouldnt even give the special teams coach the time, or even the leash to coach his unit. but then i was disappointed they didnt even bother having a qb coach until 2001 (i wonder how kordell woulda actually turned out if he were properly coached all all those years he went w/o one.

and jeff reed sounding giddy because the new regime provided him with a practice tool that cowher never found necessary is a bit disappointing too.

i mean was it cowher just making all these strange decisions or were the rooneys putting the pressure on him to limit spending? i do know with the money saved by going with tomlin, instead of cowher, theres plenty of money left over to buy kicker's practice uprights, 2 special teams coaches, better food in the cafeteria, and all that other stuff we may not know about.
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Old 06-03-2007, 04:16 PM   #10
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Default Re: Steelers putting in the time on special teams

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Originally Posted by tony hipchest View Post
my 1st thought upon reading that is he may be writing his ticket out of town. but he has been a steeler (and a contributor on the forgotten special teams) long enough, that perhaps he may just be getting used to actually having to practice.

now ive never been to a training camp, but looking at ryan clarks words i get the impression that camp was alot of "dog and pony show" with flash and pizazz for the fans.

i could be wrong but those who have gone can maybe chime in.

im a little dissapointed to think cowher wouldnt even give the special teams coach the time, or even the leash to coach his unit. but then i was disappointed they didnt even bother having a qb coach until 2001 (i wonder how kordell woulda actually turned out if he were properly coached all all those years he went w/o one.

and jeff reed sounding giddy because the new regime provided him with a practice tool that cowher never found necessary is a bit disappointing too.

i mean was it cowher just making all these strange decisions or were the rooneys putting the pressure on him to limit spending? i do know with the money saved by going with tomlin, instead of cowher, theres plenty of money left over to buy kicker's practice uprights, 2 special teams coaches, better food in the cafeteria, and all that other stuff we may not know about.
I was at Steelers training camp back in 2001 (only time I have made for training camp)....So I'm no expert on how Steelers training camp was run under Bill Cowher.....But it seems you're right in your point that Cowher had the Steelers practice to put on a show for the fans in attendance. Which is good in all for the fans that attend...But I rather have a HC have practices in place that might be boring for the fans but will make the overall team better....I just think Mike Tomlin's attention to detail and fundamentals is going to do the Steelers wonders.....

As for the money aspect...I have no idea of the Rooney's were limiting Cowher's spending...But after reading that article it could be that Bill Cowher just felt that his kickers didn't need practice uprights...lol Which to me doeesn't make sense....

Last edited by Black@Gold Forever32; 06-03-2007 at 05:39 PM.
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