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Old 07-28-2008, 08:38 AM   #1
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Default Mendenhall doesn't have clear-cut role

Mendenhall doesn't have clear-cut role
By Mike Prisuta
TRIBUNE-REVIEW
Monday, July 28, 2008

The pads will be popping today at St. Vincent College, an aspect of Steelers running back Rashard Mendenhall's NFL development that he will neither eagerly anticipate nor shy away from.
"I'm looking forward to it, up until getting hit," Mendenhall, the Steelers' first-round pick, said Sunday afternoon. "That's never fun."

For Mendenhall, 5-foot-10 and 225 pounds, one-on-one confrontations with defenders are a means to an end.

There are times when he will opt to run away from would-be tacklers or leave them grasping at air. But there also are times when wiggle and burst are of little value, when power, explosion and leverage must be applied to keep a play alive.

Mendenhall plans to employ a whatever-it-takes approach when the hitting commences during the first two practices of his first NFL training camp -- from 9 to 11 a.m. and 2:55 to 5 p.m.
"I wouldn't really consider myself strictly a power runner," Mendenhall said. "The way I run is all based on reaction. Whatever I feel like is right at the time, that's what I do.

"A lot of times, when you're in a box, the only way to get out is to go through somebody. If it's between you and somebody else, you don't want it to be you, so you explode into them. It's a lot of different things, but it's all reaction at the end of the day."

That style served Mendenhall well at Illinois, where he piled up a school-record 1,681 rushing yards in 2007.

The Steelers envision Mendenhall applying his style as a complement to running back Willie Parker initially, perhaps on kickoff returns and maybe in the same backfield as Parker on occasion.

Steelers coach Mike Tomlin says Mendenhall will be given all he can handle in his first camp.

Mendenhall's potential as a power back, given his track record with the Illini and the Steelers' apparent need for a banger to supplement Parker's breakaway ability, would seem to afford him with a natural starting point.

"Who knows, you might see Willie and Mendenhall lined up out there as a receiver," wide receiver Hines Ward said.

Neither Mendenhall nor the Steelers are interested in clear-cut definitions of his role as camp opens.

"Being picked high, you expect to contribute," Mendenhall said. "But that's what training camp is for, to get in here and start to learn my role and play into my role. As training camp goes on, I'll start to feel what that's going to be.

"I'm not exactly sure how many yards, but whatever my role is, I plan on having success."

http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pitt.../s_579744.html
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Old 07-28-2008, 08:42 AM   #2
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Default Re: Mendenhall doesn't have clear-cut role

Quote:
"I'm not exactly sure how many yards, but whatever my role is, I plan on having success."
I like this kid already.

I'm looking forward to watching him in TC and seeing him develop as the season progresses.
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Old 07-28-2008, 08:55 AM   #3
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Default Re: Mendenhall doesn't have clear-cut role

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Originally Posted by HometownGal View Post
I like this kid already.

I'm looking forward to watching him in TC and seeing him develop as the season progresses.
HTG.....are you actually going to camp?...and if so...could you please keep all of us displaced fans updated?.....please?
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Old 07-28-2008, 09:29 AM   #4
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Default Re: Mendenhall doesn't have clear-cut role

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HTG.....are you actually going to camp?...and if so...could you please keep all of us displaced fans updated?.....please?
I go to TC every season! XT and I are going, but not sure which day yet. I'll be sure to have a detailed report to post, along with some pics!
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Old 07-28-2008, 09:38 AM   #5
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Default Re: Mendenhall doesn't have clear-cut role

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I'll be sure to have a detailed report to post, along with some pics!
Speaking for those of us that are unable to make the trip... we'll look forward to your report and pictures!!! Thanks! GO STEELERS!!!
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Old 07-28-2008, 09:46 AM   #6
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Default Re: Mendenhall doesn't have clear-cut role

What backup running back does?
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