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Competition, Super Bowl aspirations and a rainout

LATROBE, Pa. _ A look back at what resonated from Week Two before looking ahead to Week Three at Saint Vincent College …

WHAT ABOUT BOB?: For the second week in a row Robert Spillane continued getting first-team reps along with Myles Jack and Devin Bush in what has become a three-man rotation at the two inside linebacker spots.

"Robert's put himself in the conversation," defensive coordinator Teryl Austin confirmed. "As we walk into it we're thinking Jack and Spillane, but like anything, man, your performance will dictate whether you start or not."

Jack and Spillane?

Did he mean Jack and Bush?

The depth chart the Steelers released last week listed Spillane and Bush as co/starters next to Jack.

That first depth chart of camp is annually regarded as much more of a necessity than it is an official declaration.

Still, you have to start somewhere.

And there's no question Spillane has started to make waves.

"I expect it to be a heck of a competition and we'll see how it unfolds," Austin continued. "If you were trotting them out today I would say it would probably be Spillane and, I'm sorry, Jack and Bush, and Spillane in there as a close third."

Sounds like a very close third.

Senior defensive assistant Brian Flores has also appreciated what Spillane has been bringing on a daily basis on and off the field.

"He's smart, he's tough and he works his butt off," Flores assessed. "This is a guy who goes above and beyond to make sure he's prepared and ready to go, and it shows on the field.

"Rob's been fun to coach. He challenges his teammates and also me in meetings. He wants to know what we're doing on everything, that's a good thing."

Bush has also made a positive impression on Flores.

"Devin's doing a lot of good things," Flores said. "He's in good condition. I think he's running well. His preparation in meetings has been very good.

"We're still in the early stages of training camp and it's a process. I try not to put too much into one day. I just try to string good days together, that's me personally, and I try to impart that on our team, as well, on the guys I'm around, the linebackers and really anyone on defense that I have conversations with.

"Devin is doing a lot of good things. Today's the most important day, and that's kinda what I try to tell these guys on a daily basis."

LOST IN THE FLOOD: The summer storm that forced the cancelation of "Friday Night Lights" at Latrobe's Memorial Stadium dumped so much water on the practice fields at Saint Vincent the team had to retreat to the UPMC Rooney Sports Complex to get some work in on Saturday.

"Friday Night Lights" is always a much-anticipated event because of the nostalgia associated with riding a yellow school bus from campus, and because of the close proximity to what traditionally has been an overflow crowd in a stadium with the lights on.

"If you're a lover of football you love 'Friday Night Lights,'" head coach Mike Tomlin had declared in advance.

But Tomlin had also emphasized prior to the rainout the value of "Friday Night Lights" beyond a chance to continue connecting with Steeler Nation and a break in the camp routine for the players.

"I'm looking for them to turn up the volume," Tomlin emphasized. "I'm looking for them to get caught up in the emotions of the atmosphere and, hopefully, it brings the best out of them."

Opportunity lost.

WATT'S ON THE AGENDA: Outside linebacker T.J. Watt made his intentions known regarding what he plans to do for an encore after tying the NFL single-season sacks record and being named NFL Defensive Player of the Year.

"We gotta win the Super Bowl," Watt said, "simple as that."

SHORT-TERM MISERY: There's more to the somebody-wins-somebody-loses aspect of training camp than merely the offense or the defense prevailing in a particular drill or on a given rep.

Defensive tackle Cam Heyward sees value in being on the wrong end of that equation, especially now that the Steelers have begun practicing in pads.

"This allows guys to grow," Heyward maintained. "You gotta have those hard times, those hiccup moments, where someone is getting the best of you or you're getting the best of somebody.

"We're getting back to our competitive periods now and that allows us to really challenge each other."

KNOWLEDGE IS GOOD: Defensive back Cam Sutton considers communication a critical element of defense in general and secondary play in particular.

And Sutton is always willing to share information.

"You gotta give that back out to receive," he maintained. "The football gods will reward people who put their all into the game. That's part of the game, helping people around you. It's not an individual game.

"I never hide information from anybody. We gotta work together and communicate together. That's what's gonna bring us together."

WHAT IT'S ALL ABOUT: Flores broke into the NFL in 2004 with the Patriots and came to the Steelers from the Dolphins.

But he's sequestered in a training camp for the first time this summer.

"This is my first time going away as a team," he said. "It's always been at the facility or the stadium. I think there's a lot to it.

"There's a lot of camaraderie built when you're sitting in a setting like this. At night guys are spending a lot of time together, whether they're playing cards, playing Uno or playing Connect Four, there's a lot of team building and bonding that goes on. I'm not saying that doesn't happen (in a non-camp environment), but there's more opportunities for those relationships to build in a setting like this."