ASK THE STEELERS – A.Q. SHIPLEY – PART 3
Steelers.com brings you the Ask the Steelers feature. Fans submitted the questions that were asked. Please understand that we receive an incredible number of questions for each player, with many of the questions being similar, and not all of the questions can be answered. We selected as many as possible, and took your questions to the current subject to get your answers.
From Bob Baylor in Rhode Island: Will it be tough to adjust to the length of the NFL season?
A.Q. Shipley: I'm sure it will. We have only 11 games in college. With the bye week it's 12 weeks. Then you play you bowl game and it's 12 games. Then it's the start of January and at that point the Steelers had over a month to still play. It's a big adjustment. Plus the length of the preseason it's 20 games. They are gearing us up ready to play.
From Bruce Cola in Delaware: How overwhelming is it to be handed the playbook and see how much you have to learn?
A.Q. Shipley: It's overwhelming at first, especially during mini-camp. You come in and have 30 minutes to learn most of the offense and go out and not screw it up. The more repetitions you get, the more meetings you have, the more I talk to the veterans, then you keep learning and going.
From James Franklin in Missouri: How different are the blocking schemes of the Steelers from Penn State?
A.Q. Shipley: It's different. We were all zone at Penn State and then basically you would go to a gap and block whatever comes to you. Here it is more man system, man scheme, where it is two on two, you and the left guard on a nose guard and someone else. It's a lot different from what I had at Penn State. I am adjusting to it well.
From Pete Topa in Pennsylvania: Do you feel that you can come into camp and compete for the starting job for center or do you feel you will just watch and learn?
A.Q. Shipley: It's tough as an offensive lineman coming in and learning. I have been a competitor my whole life and I am going to compete, work as hard as I can every day. I don't like to sit. I am going to compete for a starting job and whatever happens, happens. I am just going to keep working until I am a starter.
From Ted Olzack in Indiana: Do you think the reason you were not picked up earlier was because of your short arms?
A.Q. Shipley: From where I was picked standpoint, I think it had an impact. I think a lot of the GMs and coaches were scared off throughout the process because of the length of my arms. I think I never let it bother me in high school and college and I am not going to let it bother me now. I talked to a lot of former great players, I talked to Jeff Hartings at the rookie dinner and he said anyone who says your arms are too short doesn't know anything about football because it's a wrestling match inside and you are going to block. Coach (Mike) Tomlin said I am going to remind you every day how short your arms are because I don't care – if you can play, you can play.
From Dustin Watts in North Carolina: How helpful is it to go against Casey Hampton in practice? A.Q. Shipley: He is the best in the league. He is going to make me better. Seeing the way he plays, if you can do some things against him you can do things against anybody. It's the same with the rest of the defensive line. It will make us better every day.
* From Heather Mullen in Pennsylvania: Are you a sports fan and a fan of other Pittsburgh teams? A.Q. Shipley:* I am without a doubt. I grew up Pittsburgh through and through.