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Old 07-30-2007, 03:27 AM   #1
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Default Steelers Notebook: Monday, July 30, 2007

Steelers Notebook: Defense bests offense in 'fun' goal-line drill
Monday, July 30, 2007
By Gerry Dulac, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Coach Mike Tomlin decided to end his first week of training camp at Saint Vincent College in Latrobe with some excitement, conducting a full-scale best-of-seven goal-line drill that included chicanery, confusion and maybe even some collusion.

"We had a little fun out there," Tomlin said.

The defense won the drill, 4-2, but not before the offense tried to use some of the defensive players to score.

It worked when quarterback Charlie Batch threw a touchdown pass to defensive end Brett Keisel, who was lined up as a tight end for the offense.

When Keisel caught the ball, many of the defensive players mistakenly thought he was on their side and made an interception to end the drill.

But it didn't work on the next play when nose tackle Casey Hampton -- yes, Hampton -- lined up at fullback and was stopped short of the end zone on a big hit by inside linebacker Clint Kriewaldt, ending the drill.

"That's the last time I'm doing that," Hampton said.

The 330-pound Hampton seemed to ease into the line, prompting Tomlin to jokingly charge that "Hampton was on the take with that snap to the fullback."

Holmes returns

Wide receiver Santonio Holmes returned to full practice for the first time since training camp began and said he was more tired than he thought he would be.

Holmes, a No. 1 pick in 2006, had been kept out of practice after having a procedure for an undisclosed non-football-related problem.

"It was pretty tough finishing up practice," Holmes said. "I still got a lot of work to do."

Parker shines

Running back Willie Parker was the star of the one-on-one drill pitting blitzing secondary players against running backs, prompting Tomlin to hint that Parker might be used more in third-down situations.

Parker stood up charging safety Tyrone Carter with a big hit, exciting the crowd alongside the hillside. When Carter shoved Parker after the exchange, Parker angrily gave Carter a two-handed shove to the chest.

"I wasn't taking none of that," Parker said. "We're friends, but today we're enemies.

"That's how I get when I block now. I get a little jacked up. That's how it's going to be from now on, no matter who I go against."

"We got a group of tough backs," Tomlin said.

When asked if Parker has a chance to play on third down, Tomlin said, "Yes."

Quick hits

Outside linebacker James Harrison (ribs) sat out practice, but Tomlin said the injury is nothing significant and listed Harrison as day-to-day.

"It's more of a precaution," Tomlin said. "James always wants to play, but we got a long way to go."

With Harrison out, the Steelers looked at a lot of players on the right side, including left outside linebacker Clark Haggans and inside linebacker Rian Wallace.

Outside linebacker Lawrence Timmons (groin) and tight end Matt Spaeth (shoulder) -- two of their top three draft picks -- did not practice again.

After just one practice each of the past two days, the Steelers will resume two-a-day practices today. The afternoon session at 2:55 p.m. is open to the public.

Staying under control

Safety Anthony Smith has become something of a target on the field for his hard hits, especially on second-year wide receiver Willie Reid. But that is the way he plays and the reason the coaches like his ability to make big plays.

But, as the free safety, Smith has to be judicious because he is the last line of defense in the secondary, especially when strong safety Troy Polamalu often roams all over the field.

"The only problem with me and him being in there at the same time is we're both risk-takers," Smith said. "Troy can take a few more [risks]. I take my shots. I have to be smart about it, though."

Asked if it's hard for him to curtail his style, Smith said, "It's not tough at all. You just can't make a big play every time. I try to make as many as I can."
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Old 07-30-2007, 03:57 AM   #2
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Default Re: Steelers Notebook: Monday, July 30, 2007

I like what I am hearing from parker he is getting better all the time.Sounds like smith is stepping up his play to.
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Old 07-30-2007, 07:39 AM   #3
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Default Re: Steelers Notebook: Monday, July 30, 2007

It's been posted. Thread Closed.

All Steelers Notebooks created during training camp can be found in the training camp forum.


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