Goal line drill always a practice highlight

Coach Mike Tomlin continues to be pleased with the work the team is putting in at training camp and on Saturday stated that it was "Not good work today, great work," as the team had another physical practice.

"We did a little situational football and are continuing to grow in that area," said Tomlin. "Red zone was an emphasis today, particularly some pod-type work with guys working collectively against each other in groups of three or two."

Practice ended with what is always a camp highlight, the goal line drill. The defense started off strong, stopping running back Baron Batch up the middle, and they never gave up their strong hold.

Quarterback Bruce Gradkowski ran the drill and was unable to connect with tight end Peter Tuitupou on the next play. A fired up defense continued to roll when rookie linebacker Vince Williams led the charge to stop Jonathan Dwyer, putting the defense up 3-0.

The offense avoided a shutout when Dwyer came back strong, getting into the end zone on a nice second effort to make it 3-1.

Gradkowski kept the offense alive on a play-action pass to David Paulson, to close the gap to 3-2. But the defense secured the win when LaRod Stephens-Howling was stopped.

"We did short yardage and goal line, a nice ebb and flow," said Tomlin. "Offense won the short yardage and the defense came back and won the goal line. Such is life this time of year if you're growing, and growing in the right ways. We'll continue to create an environment that is competitive."

The drills were a continuation of a week that was filled with live contact, making it one of the more physical Steelers camps. Tomlin likes the way the players have responded so far, and hopes to see more of it.

"Thus far, but it is a work in progress," said Tomlin. "I'm less concerned about what we have done and more concerned about what lies ahead. So, we will see how tomorrow looks."

Tomlin said having a young team, particularly on the offensive and defensive lines where youth is abundant, is a reason for a growing emphasis on the live drills.

"The only way to improve is to play football," said Tomlin. "I have stated that many times. It is something that I believe in and I'm going to give them an opportunity to do that and show what they are capable of."

The Steelers will finish the week with an open practice on Sunday at 2:55 p.m. at St. Vincent College. Parking lots and the UPMC Steelers Experience open at 12 noon.

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