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Old 12-12-2006, 03:48 AM   #1
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Default Steelers Notebook: Spawning head coaches not new thing for Cowher

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

By Ed Bouchette, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Bill Cowher could see another one of his assistants become a head football coach soon.

Quarterbacks coach Mark Whipple, interviewed by Boston College officials Sunday in Pittsburgh for its opening, would become the fifth assistant to go directly from his staff to a head-coaching job if he lands it.

"He met with them yesterday and he thought it went well," Cowher said yesterday. "He's excited about the opportunity. I think he's a great candidate for that school."

Others on Cowher's staffs through the years who left for head-coaching jobs were Dom Capers to the Carolina Panthers, Chan Gailey to the Dallas Cowboys, Jim Haslett to the New Orleans Saints and Mike Mularkey to the Buffalo Bills. None are currently in those jobs. Gailey is head coach at Georgia Tech.

Three others on Cowher's staff also became head coaches, although not directly -- Dick LeBeau and Marvin Lewis with the Cincinnati Bengals, and Ron Zook at the University of Florida.

Two current assistants, Russ Grimm and Ken Whisenhunt, have interviewed for NFL head-coaching jobs.

Cowher said if Whipple gets the job at Boston College, he would finish the season with the Steelers.

"I know that's something that's going to take some time," Cowher said, although there are reports Boston College would like to name its coach this week.

"I think what Mark has done has been well-documented. He's a quality person, a good football coach and would be a great asset to any school."

Whipple left as head coach at the University of Massachusetts to coach the quarterbacks with the Steelers in 2004, the same year they drafted Ben Roethlisberger. Cowher said Whipple has helped the young quarterback most with "his demeanor."

Injury updates

Cowher listed strong safety Troy Polamalu as doubtful and wide receiver Hines Ward as questionable on his injury report.

Both players missed the past two games with knee injuries -- Polamalu had a second-degree MCL sprain and Ward arthroscopic surgery.

Two other players are doubtful -- safety Mike Logan (hamstring) and wide receiver Cedrick Wilson (high ankle sprain). Free safety Ryan Clark (groin) is questionable and center Jeff Hartings (knee) is probable.

"Obviously, we'll see how much they practice before we make any decisions [on] how much or if they will play," Cowher said. "There's a lot left to be decided upon as the week unfolds."

About those roles ...

Santonio Holmes and not Nate Washington would start at wide receiver Sunday if Wilson cannot play.

"If Hines is able to come back, then Nate would go back into his role as the third receiver," Cowher said.

The reason for that is Wilson is the split end, and Holmes is his backup. Ward plays flanker, and Washington is his backup in addition to his role as No. 3 receiver.

Forget the first meeting

Sunday will be the second meeting between Carolina and the Steelers this year. They first played in an exhibition game at Heinz Field, Aug. 31, a game the Panthers won, 15-13, long after the starters were removed either in the first quarter or early in the second quarter by both teams. It was the teams' fourth exhibition game. That's why Cowher said little could be gained from that game for the one they will play Sunday in Charlotte, N.C.

"If it's the third [exhibition] game maybe there's some significance to go back and refer to physical matchups," Cowher said, third preseason games traditionally being ones in which teams keep their starters playing the longest. "I can tell you that fourth one, there was not a whole lot you're going to take out of it."

?Jarrad Page, we?re not at UCLA anymore. You need to wrap.? ?an ESPN commentator, on the Chiefs rookie?s weak attempt at tackling the Steelers? Nate Washington in a 45-7 loss.
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