Dupree: 'It's part of the process'


Steelers' rookies went on a tour of Saint Vincent College last week to prepare them for what to expect when training camp rolls around on July 25, the date they are scheduled to report.

But a walk through the quiet campus, with the fields empty and no footballs in sight, can't come close to preparing them for what to expect in another month.

It will be the first time in their NFL career that they put on the pads, when 'football in shorts' is behind them and the real game gets underway.

"I am excited," said rookie linebacker Anthony Chickillo. "I just want to focus on learning, and take advantage of this time to learn the playbook before camp. I need to keep learning the playbook and the terminology of the defense. That is what I am focusing on now. You train and work on power, speed and strength. You have to train really hard during that month."

The rookies have been leaning heavily on the veterans for advice and tips on what to expect for training camp, and it's helping them as they head into some down time before they report.

"You have to ask the older guys how it's going to be and listen," said linebacker Bud Dupree. "I am getting my body prepared and making sure I follow in their footsteps. I just have to get in the best shape I have ever been in my life and know the plays inside and out and I think I will be good.

"It's part of the process and you have to make sure you get it done."

All good decisions on the part of Chickillo and Dupree, decisions that mimic the advice dished out by veteran linebacker Arthur Moats.

"They are used to working out super hard during the offseason and getting in condition. As long as they stay on track, they will be fine come training camp," said Moats. "From a mental standpoint I try and tell a lot of the younger guys any mistakes you make during OTAs make sure you write them down so that way when it's the middle of July you are able to review those things so you don't make the same mistakes when we get to training camp. When we get to training camp we don't have time for that, we are trying to win championships."

Tight ends coach James Daniel has encouraged the team's young tight ends, including fifth-round pick Jesse James, to learn from veterans like Heath Miller who have been doing it for a long time.

"My suggestion to all of them was watch a couple of guys who have been great pros," said Daniel. "I told them watch the pros, develop the same type of work habits and be the same type of players as the guys we've got here. They have enough talent to show us what they've got once we get to Latrobe.

"Jesse has good knowledge of the game. He picks the game up pretty well. I have seen some things. He has enough athletic ability to be able to do things. It's all waiting until we get to training camp because that is when we actually start playing football."

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