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Practice Report: Fourth-and-1

Posted Aug 7, 2016

RBs eventually crack the D in live goal line drill.

LATROBE, Pa. - A breakdown of Practice No. 9 at Saint Vincent College:

GOAL LINE: The first live goal line drill of 2016 brought to a close and highlighted a competitive afternoon that also included a short-yardage period (fourth-and-1).
How competitive was it?

On the third rep, LB Arthur Moats brought QB Landry Jones to the ground just after Jones had let go of a play-action pass.

And by the seventh rep, defensive coordinator Keith Butler had positioned himself on the goal line in response to the defense’s complaints that the offense was getting favorable calls.

The offense won the drill, 4-3, thanks to a TD run by RB Cameron Stingily that even Butler didn’t dispute.

RB Fitz Toussaint opened the drill by scoring on a sweep right.

RB Daryl Richardson was denied the goal line by NT Daniel McCullers and LB Anthony Chickillo.

TE Xavier Grimble couldn’t pull in a pass from Jones.

And Stingily was dropped for a loss by S Jordan Dangerfield, which gave the defense a 3-1 lead.

From there, Toussaint scored again and Richardson barely nudged the ball over despite taking a big hit from LB Jordan Zumwalt, which put Stingily in position to break the 3-3 tie in favor of the offense.

The offense ran with personnel groups that didn’t include wide receivers in its attempts to move the ball the required 1-and-a-half yards.

The defense initially went with linemen Cam Heyward, McCullers, Stephon Tuitt and Javon Hargrave, linebackers Ryan Shazier, L.J. Fort, Moats, Chickillo, Lawrence Timmons and Vince

Williams, and cornerback Ross Cockrell.

FOURTH-AND-1: Stingily got the ball in a 3-3 stalemate but was brought down short of the line to gail by CB Al-Hajj Shabazz.

The drill opened with Toussaint being dropped for a loss and with Richardson being denied by a thunderous hit from Timmons.

Toussaint (barely) converted, as did Stingily despite a hard hit from Shabazz (“That’s a bad spot,” inside linebackers coach Jerry Olsavsky complained).

RB Brandon Brown-Dukes had his helmet knocked off by LB Tyler Matakevich, with help from Chickillo, which set up the decisive seventh rep.

SEVEN SHOTS: This one was all offense, with the only stop occurring when RB Le’Veon Bell was tripped by S Shamarko Thomas, who broke hard on the play, and Jones’ pass fell incomplete.

Jones hit WR Antonio Brown on a beautiful fade to the back corner over Cockrell and got the ball to Brown again in the middle of the end zone after deciding against trying to find FB Roosevelt Nix in the flat.

Jones’ last rep was a roll right that connected with Bell, who managed to stay in bounds, make the catch and successfully navigate the pylon.  

QB Dustin Vaughan hit WR Sammie Coates and RB DeAngelo Williams for conversions and scrambled the last one in himself after initially holding the ball and finding nothing to his liking. The offense won the drill, 6-1.

MEDICAL FILE: “No real news from an injury standpoint,” head coach Mike Tomlin said. “Those that are experiencing some general maintenance are working their way back. Nothing new of any significance to speak of.” QB Ben Roethlisberger, WR Markus Wheaton, CB Artie Burns, LB Travis Feeney, LB Bud Dupree and OG Cole Manhart didn’t practice. Timmons and S Mike Mitchell were among the limited participants.

AUDIBLES: “A.B., you’re too valuable for special teams.” _ A fan in the stands to Brown when Brown joined a group of players waiting to catch punts.

“I need it all.” _ Brown to the fan in the stands.