DeCastro, Adams ready for minicamp

The last few weeks while their fellow rookies were taking part in OTAs the Steelers top two draft picks, guard David DeCastro and tackle Mike Adams, were back at school finishing up classes. They wanted to be participating in OTAs, but a league rule prohibited that because their school year hadn't ended.

But the two are tafking part in the Steelers three-day minicamp that begins on Tuesday, and they can't wait to hit the field.

"I am very excited just to get out there and work with the guys," said Adams. "I haven't gotten to work with any of the older guys yet. To get out there and work with the guys, I can't even tell you."

Both players will have a lot of time to make up on the field having missed all of the OTA sessions, but when it comes to classroom work they have been keeping on top of things thanks to offensive line coach Sean Kugler.

He sent the two rookies cutups, went through the installs with them, and communicated continuously, including a nightly test to see how they were progressing.

"It helped a ton," said DeCastro. "Any time I had questions about the install I would give him a call and ask him about what was going on. He sent me everything. I had three playbooks so I had more than enough information. It was really helpful.

"The tests were great. It was more practice, more getting used to the calls, information. But it's no substitute for the on-field stuff. I will have to catch up that way."

Adams admits he was concerned if the remote coaching would work or not, but now that minicamp is here he feels comfortable with the playbook.

"It's definitely been something that has been a great advantage for us with the situation we were in with finishing school," said Adams. "It was something that kept us caught up so when we got here for this camp we wouldn't be behind or anything.

"He kept us as prepared as we could be being so far away. It's definitely something I wasn't sure how it would work out, but I am definitely glad that it did and glad we could take the initiative to keep caught up. At this point I feel very comfortable. With the rookie minicamp and what I learned there and my phone calls with Coach Kugler I feel like I am up to speed. Anything I have questions about he is here to answer them for me."

The first real test of how it worked out will occur when they take part in practice on Tuesday morning.

"It's one thing to know the information, but it's different to see things," said DeCastro. "There are so many things a defense can throw at you in so many different scenarios. It's also just being with the guys, understanding the calls, tendencies and the intricacies of the offense is different than just memorizing a playbook. There is a lot more that goes into it."

They will be thrown right into the fire as Kugler said last week he plans on having them out on the field with the first team, as well as time with the second team.

"Those guys have a lot of catch-up work to do, so I'm going to give those guys a lot of work," said Kugler. "Nobody just comes in and is handed a job. That is not going to be the case. They have to earn jobs. They are going to get reps with the ones so they can catch up. It will give us a chance to look at them thoroughly.

"If they're the best guys, they're going to play. I don't have a fear of starting rookies if they're ready. If they're ready, they'll play. If they're not ready, they won't."

For now, though, they are just happy to be with their teammates and practicing.

"It was very tough," said Adams of missing OTAs. "You see the team getting after it on TV, everybody working together and you can't be there. This is where you want to be. Just to be here now is great to be back with the team."

The Steelers will have five practices over the next three days, before they finish until training camp in late July.

"This is what you want," said DeCastro. "That is why you play the game, the relationships, enjoying it and being able to play football at the end of the day."

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