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Old 08-29-2009, 01:36 AM   #1
mesaSteeler
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Default Tiny Logan big hit as returnman

Tiny Logan big hit as returnman
Speedy WR Stefon Logan makes big strides, could fill huge holes as Steelers punt and kickoff returner
http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/09241...d=steelers.xml
Saturday, August 29, 2009
By Gerry Dulac, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
Keith Srakocic/Associated Press
Stefan Logan, right, stretches for a pass at training camp.

When he was the quarterback at the University of South Dakota, Wesley Beschorner used to find ways to get the ball in the hands of Stefan Logan, usually handing it to the diminutive running back, sometimes throwing it to him in an attempt to get him into open space. More times than not, Logan knew what to do once he got the ball. And, more times than not, his teammates, who called him "Joystick," marveled at his unique abilities.

"I was fortunate enough to play with him for four years and watched what he could do," said Beschorner, who, at age 26, is now the school's offensive coordinator. "He was very special. Wherever he is, he was going to be the best player on the team."

Didn't matter if it was Miami, Fla., where he played only one season at Jackson High School before spending the next five years bagging groceries and helping his dad, Michael, a mortician, prepare corpses at the University of Miami medical school.

Or Vermillion, S.D., where he became the school's all-time leader in rushing and all-purpose yards after being recruited from a highlight tape he and his father put together.

Or in Vancouver, British Columbia, where he became a one-year phenom in the Canadian Football League before the Steelers, desperately seeking a return specialist, came calling.

"He was kind of like an icon in this area," said South Dakota coach Ed Meierkort. "His personality was very similar to his play-making -- always smiling, outward, didn't hold anything back from you. He was very popular on this campus and in this region."

"He's the fastest kid I've seen in my 10 years at this level," said Joe Beschorner, Wally's brother, who was the running backs coach at South Dakota when Logan was there (He is now the offensive coordinator at Simpson College in Indianola, Iowa). "You don't see many of his kind at that level."

Still, when it came time to be drafted by the National Football League, Logan had three strikes -- three big strikes -- against him. He didn't have the height (5 feet 6). He didn't have the weight (180 pounds). And he didn't have the level of competition because, at the time, South Dakota was an NCAA Division II school (the Coyotes since have moved to Division I).

It didn't matter that Logan rushed for 5,958 yards or amassed 7,859 all-purpose yards in four seasons at South Dakota, both school records. He never got more than a cursory glance from the NFL nor did he get a contract from the New York Giants after he was injured in minicamp. He also spent several weeks on the Miami Dolphins' practice squad in 2007.

"I love when these scouts came through and stereotyped him as too small," Meierkort said. "If you don't come from the highest level of competition, then you got to make that height or weight. He didn't have the height, weight or level. They would rather take a backup running back at Michigan."

So, Logan went to the CFL, played with the British Columbia Lions, and, suddenly, rediscovered his game, rediscovered his confidence. After just one season of dazzling the CFL with legs that churn and fire like engine pistons, Logan finds himself just one more impressive kick or punt return from perhaps making a 53-man NFL roster, this time with the Steelers.

The credit for finding Logan and signing him to a two-year contract in February goes to Steelers scout Phil Kreidler,
who is responsible for scouring the CFL for talent. The Steelers had such a desire to find a kick and/or punt returner who could instill some measurable amount of fear in the opponent that, even after signing Logan, they drafted Ole Miss receiver Mike Wallace on the third round and Central Florida cornerback Joe Burnett on the fifth round -- a pair of productive returners in college.

But it could be Logan, the smallest player on the team, who stands above the rest. After compiling 207 return yards in the preseason loss to the Washington Redskins last week, including 159 yards on four kick returns, he will get another chance to convince the coaches he belongs when the Steelers play the Buffalo Bills tonight at Heinz Field.

Coach Mike Tomlin said Wallace will return kickoffs in the first half -- "Hopefully, it won't be many, if you know what I mean," Tomlin said -- and Mewelde Moore will return punts. After that, Tomlin said he expects to use Logan in both roles.

"I think that Stefan has gotten our attention," Tomlin said. "He deserves an opportunity to be seen again."

Keeping Logan strictly as a return specialist would be nothing new for Tomlin. In his first season as coach, Tomlin signed return specialist Allen Rossum the week prior to the season opener and used him solely in that role during the 2007 season. By position, Rossum was a cornerback, but he no more lined at that spot in games than Casey Hampton played safety.

Logan was a running back in the CFL who gained 889 yards on just 122 carries last season with the Lions, an average of 7.2 yards per carry. He also caught 52 passes for 477 yards, prompting his coach, Wally Buono, to call him the CFL's "most exciting player."

But, with the Steelers, he is being used as a wide receiver, a player who will line up in the slot in multi-receiver formations. If he makes the 53-man roster, it is possible the Steelers might keep only four other receivers -- Hines Ward, Santonio Holmes, Limas Sweed and Wallace.

"I'm just trying to make this squad," Logan said. "I can go back to the CFL [if I don't], but I'm not even looking in that direction. I'm just trying to make this 53, make this squad."

He is gaining believers all the time.

A couple weeks ago, Logan unwittingly found himself in a footrace with running back Willie Parker during one of the sprint drills at training camp. Parker said he beat Logan to the finish line, but acknowledged the 28-year-old rookie was closing fast.

"If we would have raced 5 more yards he would have won," Parker said. "He was blowing past me anyway. That's when I realized how fast he was. I didn't think he was that fast, but he's really fast."

Parker said Logan "looks like he's moving faster than what he really is" because his short legs are churning faster, trying to compensate for not being a long strider. But the training-camp race convinced him Logan is moving fast.

"I got short, choppy steps," Logan said. "I don't have a stride when I'm running. That's something I never had. I tried to do it when I ran track, but it didn't work out."

This opportunity might.

Gerry Dulac can be reached at gdulac@post-gazette.com.
First published on August 29, 2009 at 12:00 am

Read more: http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/09241...#ixzz0PXFyIVNB
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Old 08-29-2009, 02:05 AM   #2
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Default Re: Tiny Logan big hit as returnman

This kid is just exciting.

Be great to see him also be our fifth receiver, and take a couple about 90 yards.
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Old 08-29-2009, 02:12 AM   #3
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Default Re: Tiny Logan big hit as returnman

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This kid is just exciting.

Be great to see him also be our fifth receiver, and take a couple about 90 yards.
I'd settle for a decent return man.
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Old 08-29-2009, 02:14 AM   #4
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Default Re: Tiny Logan big hit as returnman

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I'd settle for a decent return man.
didn't we have that last year with dookie/russel?
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Old 08-29-2009, 02:47 AM   #5
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Default Re: Tiny Logan big hit as returnman

i don't really understand the reasoning behind having memo returning. didn't he have enough chances last year to show something ? isn't that why they brought in 3 return guys, because of lack of a good returner ?
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Old 08-29-2009, 03:12 AM   #6
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Default Re: Tiny Logan big hit as returnman

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i don't really understand the reasoning behind having memo returning. didn't he have enough chances last year to show something ? isn't that why they brought in 3 return guys, because of lack of a good returner ?
That's a good question. I thought MeMo didn't return last year because we had so many injuries at running back, and he was basically our number 1 back.

Then again, if that was the reason, why bring in 3 different people to try for the job?
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Old 08-29-2009, 03:30 AM   #7
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Default Re: Tiny Logan big hit as returnman

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That's a good question. I thought MeMo didn't return last year because we had so many injuries at running back, and he was basically our number 1 back.

Then again, if that was the reason, why bring in 3 different people to try for the job?
he returned 10 kicks for an18.5 avg .....and 6 punts for a 3.5 avg ....

http://www.nfl.com/players/meweldemo...s?id=MOO557284
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Old 08-29-2009, 04:23 AM   #8
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Default Re: Tiny Logan big hit as returnman

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he returned 10 kicks for an18.5 avg .....and 6 punts for a 3.5 avg ....

http://www.nfl.com/players/meweldemo...s?id=MOO557284
Ahhhhh....

I wonder if UFN factored in that information
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Old 08-29-2009, 06:45 AM   #9
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Default Re: Tiny Logan big hit as returnman

Nice read. I hope that Logan can make the team. I really Miss the return game. I know we won the super bowl last year but just imagine what we could have done if we would have had better field position. We probably could have won a couple more games. The Giants game is one that comes to mind.
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Old 08-29-2009, 09:21 AM   #10
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Default Re: Tiny Logan big hit as returnman

If Logan makes the team and by chance gets hurt, i would say moore is a good backup. i dont recall many dropped balls. he has great hands for a RB.. 18 average yards is better than giving the ball away. plus moore came with tomlin, he likes him.

Wallace would be a great addition, but he is a rookie and still has a lot to prove. but has good hands. he took some shots already and seems to hang on well.

We have seen Burnett play the part..
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