HEAD COACH MIKE TOMLINSunday, July 27
Coach Mike Tomlin: We start camp 2008 and it has been a good day thus far. All are present and accounted for. By and large I thought that conditioning was very positive. Some guys were in great shape and they exhibited that out there in the test; so we march on. I will take any questions.
What was the test?
It was eight 100-yard sprints then you jog 50 yards back and walk the remaining 50 yards with a continuous running clock. It is a great gage of conditioning but at the same time it keeps people safe from pulls and so forth by the way that the test is structured. It is a little different than if you had 40-yard dashes if you will. We talked about it, we bounced it around and what we want is to make sure that these guys are in great cardiovascular condition without exposing them to potential injuries because we came here to play football and I think that we did that today.
Was it the same last year where guys who showed up for a certain amount of OTAs didn't have to perform in the run test?
How many guys didn't have to run?
I don't have that number exactly. What he is referring to is if you participate in an acceptable number of offseason workouts then you are exempt from the conditioning test. It acts as a reward for guys showing up and participating in voluntary workouts, but also if guys are participating in workouts, then you know that they are in shape and ready to play football.
Did you do this test last year?
We did a different test but the process itself was the same.
Was it the exact same test?
No, it was similar but we didn't have the jog backs and the continuous running clock.
Casey (Hampton) couldn't finish. Does he get a waiver on that?
No, he will be placed on the Physically Unable to Perform list. He wasn't able to finish the test. He is not in well enough condition to participate at this point.
Did he come in overweight?
He came in overweight and he is not conditioned enough to participate at this point.
What will he have to do to get off that list?
I am sure that he won't wake up tomorrow and be ready to go. He has to go through a process and we have to take him through that process. We'll just live day-to-day with it until he is at an acceptable level of conditioning and weight.
Does anybody else need to go on PUP?
He is the only one at this point due to conditioning.
Casey wasn't at any of the last OTAs. Do you see any correlation there?
There were guys that weren't there who came in great condition. I don't think there's a correlation. It is about coming to camp to play football. Unfortunately, he is not at this point.
Is that common of a guy with his size or are you disappointed?
I am just disappointed anytime that we can't go ahead full steam with all of our people. It is something that we will deal with and something that he will have to deal with. Hopefully we will get it rectified in some sort of timely manner.
How did he take the news about being placed on PUP?
He is disappointed because he wasn't able to finish the test. When you are not up to snuff, disappointment comes with it.
How will he show you that he should be activated?
He has to exhibit that he is in good enough condition to participate. I will determine that.
He is not going to have to do the test again?
No, but he will be doing some things to get himself ready to go.
Will there be any other discipline?
None that I will disclose at this time.
If somebody else would have failed to finish the run test, would they have been placed on the PUP list?
Absolutely. It is part of registration like anything else when you talk about coming to camp. Guys have to come and report between one and four, they have to weigh-in, they have to take a physical, and they have to take the conditioning test. In order to participate tomorrow morning you have to get all of those things done. Unfortunately he didn't get one of those things done in a satisfactory manner.
This was the first time that the run test was closed off. Can you tell us what that was all about?
I apologize about the miscommunication in regards to that. I know that it is tough to come out here for the first day and then get the brakes put on you. It wasn't my intent. What I wanted was for the guys to focus on executing the conditioning test. I didn't view it as public consumption. I viewed it as part of the registration process. It is not a practice, so that is why I took the approach that I did in regards to that.
How did Troy (Polamalu) look?
I thought that he looked pretty good. Troy has a mild hamstring at this point. We will see where he is. We may hold him back initially some tomorrow. We will determine that in the morning. But he does have a mild hamstring. You saw that it didn't prevent him from participating in the run test because he didn't have to run at full speed in the run test. He is in great shape, but we might be a little hesitant about turning him loose at full speed in the morning.
Did anybody stand out in your mind with their conditioning?
I was just impressed with the overall conditioning of the group. I think that there are a lot of men who are in great shape, so many that I don't want to disrespect some by not mentioning others. I was impressed by the overall shape of the unit.
Is there anybody else who might be limited tomorrow?
Potentially Chris (Kemoeatu). He has a slight weakness in his triceps. We are going to get that thing looked at to see what it is. We will know more in the morning. In terms of people potentially not participating at this point, it will be just Chris, Troy and Casey.
How did Kemoeatu's triceps injury occur? Was it during lifting?
I guess that it came up here in the last few weeks of preparing to play football, getting ready for camp. We will take a look at it and see where he is.
Who would open up at left guard during the first practice if he can't go?
That is a good question; we will see. We will wait to see if he can't participate before we bounce that around.
What are your expectations for camp the next three weeks?
It is really quite simple. We have come here to become a unified, hardened group that is ready to face the battles that await us. A lot of small things need to get done along the way. We are looking for assignment perfection, we need to establish and understand roles and we need to take 80 and some how make it 53. There are a lot things that need to get done, but somehow we need to come out a unified, hardened group that is ready to compete.
Did you challenge the offensive line to come in at less weight?
I challenged all of the men to come in tip-top condition. We have some men who understand the gravity of what is in front of them. If their weight and their conditioning is a sign of whether they are ready to go, then I am pleased at this point.
Do you think that Casey does not understand something about the offseason and keeping in shape?
No, I don't think that it is a lack of understanding. I think that different people have different struggles. Conditioning and weight appear to be some of his. It is not anything new because it is something that he has battled and I am sure that he will continue to battle it. Today, he is just not up to snuff.
Is there a set time that he will be on the PUP list?
I will take a look at his level of conditioning and that will be the ultimate determining factor. Of course those things aren't done in a matter of days so we will take a look at it and see how it goes.
Max Starks looks real thin. How much did he drop?
I don't have the list of the official weights yet, but I know that he is in great condition. I know that he spends time out in Arizona and I know that he has done it the past couple of summers but he looks to be in great shape.
Will you do more this year with the offensive line in terms of changing around the combinations?
We are going to move guys around some, but probably not as much as we did initially last year. We are looking for position flexibility so that we can get the best five out there.
Willie Colon thought that last year there might have been some resistance to change on the offensive line. Would you agree with that assessment?
I don't know specifically about that issue but I know that from a human nature standpoint we are all resistant to change. That is part of the process that we went through last year as a football team. We don't take this process for granted because there is continuity this year. We have to be open to getting better and learning new things. Because there is familiarity we cannot take that for granted.