ASK THE STEELERS – TONY HILLS – PART 2
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 Tom Grant in Chicago, Illinois: You protected Vince Young and college and Ben Roethlisberger is your quarterback. Both of them like to scramble and use their legs. What kind of adjustments do you have to make on the fly when your quarterback starts to improvise?
Tony Hills: It's one of those things that you just have to find out how to read him. You see what the situation is, if they are blitzing off the edge does he like to duck under or try to outrun it. It just depends on who you are blocking. If he is a ducker you want to take the closest person to him. If he tries to scramble outside you might want to take the widest person. I have played with a lot of scrambling quarterbacks and it is something I am used to.
From Thomas Kross in Culpeper, Virginia: How quickly do you think you can adjust to the nuisances of the NFL - pass protection schemes, etc.?
Tony Hills: I am going to try to get adjusted as quick as possible. It's a lot different from college. You get to spend all of your waking hours studying football. I am hoping by studying and working with the coaches and veteran players I can get it down fast.
From John Baloga in Dupont, Pennsylvania: It was documented that you had some lower leg circulatory problems that had been corrected by surgery. Are there any lingering effects of that injury that may limit your mobility? Tony Hills: Not at all. I have been saying it for four years but the best way to show that I am fine is to go out and prove it.
From Chuck Dettling in Atmore, Alabama: How important is it to have your Texas teammate Limas Sweed, and Casey Hampton, also from your alma mater, on the team?Tony Hills: It will definitely help a lot because you go in knowing some people. That helps with the comfort factor. Casey has been there, has been successful and knows the organization in and out. He can give me pointers on what I need to do to be success at this level. Then you have the comfort level of having your college teammate who you played with for four years and I lived with in the summer. We worked out together all of the time. It gives you that extra push and when times get hard you can lean on each other.
From Paul Lytle in Greensburg, Pennsylvania: What would you say is your strength, run blocking or pass protection?
Tony Hills: I am trying to make both of them my strengths right now. I try to be as balanced as I can because they are both important.
From Andrew Williams in Sarasota, Florida: Which side do you prefer to play on, the right on the left?
Tony Hills: Definitely the left because it is what I played the last four years. That is the quarterbacks blind side so it's a lot of responsibility to make sure you protect him. I am always up to challenges.
From Ben Jewel in Louisville, Kentucky: Is it strange coming in as a rookie and basically starting over again like when you were a freshman?
Tony Hills: Definitely. I have never been in this situation before. I was never in Pittsburgh before mini-camp. You see how things are run for the couple of days that we are there. Everything was at a fast past. You get what you can on the fly and do the best you can. It will be a lot different in training camp when they have more time to spend with us.