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Old 07-19-2007, 08:06 PM   #1
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Default Camp Tomlin........year #1

This camp to be ?thoughtfully non-rhythmic?
Thursday, July 19, 2007
By BOB LABRIOLA

Steelers.com



An NFL team's training camp is nothing like the real world. The complete focus of every day is on just one thing ? football ? and every act and bodily function is done with that in mind. There can be developments in world affairs, politics, pop culture, even other training camps, but to the players and coaches living together in Rooney Hall so much of it is happening off the radar.



Coach Mike Tomlin's first training camp opens on Monday, July 23, and it will pluck the Steelers from real life for 26 days, but he's structuring it so the time there will give the team a glimpse of what real life in the NFL is about. He calls it "thoughtfully non-rhythmic."



It will start with a conditioning test on the day the players are due to report that he hopes "will be something of a surprise," but he's also realistic enough to understand the resourcefulness of the modern athlete. "That kind of information has a way of leaking out," said Tomlin.



Along the way will be more two-a-day sessions than the players had come to expect during the latter stages of Bill Cowher's tenure, but that also won't necessarily be what it appears either. Within the practice schedule are some morning sessions that will last just one hour, and Tomlin said those will have a specific purpose.



"They're shortened practices, special teams emphasis," said Tomlin, "but at the same time you have to go through the mental process of getting yourself up and ready to take the field twice a day even if it's not two full practices."



There will be hitting, and some of it live, which means tackling, something Cowher allowed only twice, maybe three times a summer. "Yes. It's training camp, but we're going to be smart about that," said Tomlin. "You have to put them in situations where they get a chance to turn the volume up a little bit. We're going to do that."



But when pressed about things of the depth chart nature ? who is ahead of whom for various potion battles or roles within the offensive and defensive schemes ? Tomlin has no answers, on purpose.



"We have to exercise a little patience and let that situation play itself out, but it will," said Tomlin. "I'm truly one who believes it will become obvious. Sometimes if you're patient and you don't rush to judge, decisions become obvious."



And that very uncertainty is one of the things Tomlin and his staff will be trying to create, because it's a rare NFL game that unfolds completely according to plan, and winning on a consistent basis is about the ability to adapt and then overcome whatever adverse situations might be presented.



"We're going to be thoughtfully non-rhythmic, like we have been during the offseason," said Tomlin. "We're going to look at guys in different spots. We're going to look at different combinations of guys. I think you have to be willing to do that if you mean what you say in that you're going to leave no stone unturned."



Tomlin has plans to introduce some adverse situations and see who responds, and how they do it.



"It is going to be trying at times," said Tomlin. "There's going to be some adversity. That's what training camp is about. It's part of team building. It's supposed to represent what lies ahead, and no doubt there will be some challenges when we play football this fall.



"There are always going to be bumps in the road, and part of us determining what we're capable of being is dealing with that. We do feel good about where we are as we move forward, and we'll deal with issues as they arise as I'm sure they will."



Tomlin doesn't subscribe to the labels typically assigned to men in his profession, be it "players' coach," or "disciplinarian." There are times when he might fall into one of those categories or the other, but he doesn't sound like a coach who believes in making rules just because he can.



"Sometimes it's needed for sanity's sake, where you have to get in your car and ride off and have a meal off the facility," said Tomlin. "We're going to have a curfew and things of that nature like you should because it's business, but there's nothing wrong with a guy going to get a burger if he wants to get a burger and get away every now and then. There will be moments for that."



And so it's set to begin on Monday, this training camp where so much has been planned but where the most valuable evaluations will come from how people react and adjust to that which is unplanned.



STEELERS NOTES: Lawrence Timmons, who missed most of the offseason program with a groin injury, is healthy and will be able to participate in all activities once he signs a contract ? Tomlin also said that Willie Reid, who missed nine games with a foot injury last season and the last several OTAs to make sure that foot was 100 percent, also is ready for camp ? Captains for the 2007 season will be selected by Tomlin, but only "after the process of team-building, and they'll reveal themselves." ? The first practice that's open to the public will be at 2:55 p.m. on Tuesday July 24.
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Old 07-19-2007, 11:39 PM   #2
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Default Re: Camp Tomlin........year #1

Can't wait for camp. Hope everything goes well for Tomlin and the team. Willie Reid this is your chance, stay healthy and impress.
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Old 07-20-2007, 12:36 PM   #3
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Default Re: Camp Tomlin........year #1

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Can't wait for camp.
Me neither - it isn't often that I look forward to a Monday, but I'm certainly looking forward to this Monday!
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Old 07-20-2007, 01:06 PM   #4
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Default Re: Camp Tomlin........year #1

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Me neither - it isn't often that I look forward to a Monday, but I'm certainly looking forward to this Monday!
I always look forward to monday...

It is usually my only day off!!
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Old 07-20-2007, 01:12 PM   #5
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Default Re: Camp Tomlin........year #1

If you're not in the burg - where can someone catch video coverage?
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Old 07-23-2007, 12:38 AM   #6
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Default Re: Camp Tomlin........year #1

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If you're not in the burg - where can someone catch video coverage?
Great question.... I would imagine the local TV coverage web pages...
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