The atmosphere was electric at St. Vincent College on Friday night as around 18,000 people packed the campus to watch the Steelers first evening practice of training camp.
Fans were treated to a variety of activities throughout the day as a part of the Latrobe Steelers Fan Fest, and the Gatorade Junior Training Camp brought young fans in to learn the basics of the game.
But what everyone was waiting for was the practice portion, and the team didn’t disappoint.
As players and coaches took the field they signed autographs for fans that lined the field, including Coach Mike Tomlin who jumped into the bleachers to sign.
When the horn sounded, though, it was all business.
“We had good, spirited work by our guys again today,” said Tomlin. “A few bumps and bruises along the way. Some guys weren’t able to finish in some form or fashion, but nothing of any significance. They need to take care of their bodies. The only way they are going to get better and we will get better collectively, is if they do everything in their power to stay on the field. We are going to encourage them to do that. We are also going to assist them in that, give them the proper time to do so and obviously provide the types of services necessary for that to happen.
“I liked the energy and enthusiasm. We are continuing to grow and develop. We’ve got some things to work on in all three phases and we will hopefully continue to do that tomorrow.”
More from Tomlin post-practice:
On crowd reaction to rookie running back Le’Veon Bell:
“The crowd reacted to every ball we snapped today. He has some moments. He has some good moments as did some others. He is working hard and trying to do what we ask him to do, and that is a great place to begin for a young guy.”
On seeing a difference in Bell with the pads on:
“I can see that in everyone. I don’t pay too much attention to football in shorts. I have started looking hardcore since we put the pads on.”
On rookie guard
“It’s an ACL and MCL. He has got a long road ahead of him. First things first, we have to zero in on the surgery date and go from there. When we decide that we will let you guys know. But obviously, he is down and out.”
“Yes. We evaluated him and we felt like maybe it was worthy of a cleanup, and we did that. There were no surprises, very positive actually. We look forward to getting him back out here soon.”
On switching tackles
“Absolutely. We are looking for the very best combination of people, and that might even include within groups. Both guys are left tackle capable. Both guys were left tackles in college. We just want to provide an opportunity for those guys to show what they are capable of and find the very best combination. We will continue to do those things, not only with those guys but others.”
If they will remain where they were in practice:
“Read into it what you would read into it. If