Coach Pat ShurmurWhat do you expect to see from the Steelers offensively with Charlie Batch at quarterback?I think regardless of who you play at quarterback, we all know that the Steelers like to run the football, which obviously makes play action believable and allows them to get big plays. They've got guys at all positions that could be outstanding starters for anybody in the league. And I know this, when you put in a veteran quarterback for short amount of time, for a game or a month, they tend to play extremely well. We anticipate seeing the same Pittsburgh Steelers offense and we anticipate that Batch is going to execute well, and we know the guys around him will play hard. Re: The Steelers signing WR Plaxico Burress:I know him pretty well from the Michigan State days, and when I was in Philadelphia he did a lot of damage to us when he was with the Giants. I'm sure he kept himself in great shape and he's got a lot of smart coaches there. I'm sure they'll find a way to use him Sunday. With the Steelers also signing QB Brian Hoyer, will you have to go out and sign Blake Ezor or somebody like that?[Laughs] Yeah, all those Michigan State guys. Maybe it was a two-for-one with Michigan State guys.
Re: The play of your defensive line and being able to pressure the quarterback:I think we found a way last week to get pressure on Tony [Romo]. We felt like if we had any chance to beat them we had to do that, and I think our guys did a nice job there. I think when you add [Ahtyba] Rubin and [Phil] Taylor back to the mix, ideally, most guys that play a four-man front would like to get an eight-man rotation. And to reinsert two guys that were starters for us last year, that obviously gives us a boost. This game used to be a huge rivalry. Is it still that way for you guys?It's absolutely a huge game for us. From a coaching standpoint, it's because it's our next game and also because it's a division game, and not to mention the fact that it's the Cleveland Browns and the Pittsburgh Steelers, and what the rivalry means. We've got to find a way to do a better job of winning more of these games.How is DE Jabaal Sheard doing?He is doing fine. He's battling through, just like all our guys. I think the numbers aren't quite where they were a year ago but he's playing very productive football.
Running Back Trent Richardson
Re: Coming from a program that hardly ever lost to an NFL team that has struggled:It's way different. Sometimes it is frustrating and you get upset. But you have to learn in this division and this league that you can't win every game. You can try to do everything you can but at the same time you have to make sure you give them your all. As long as you gave your all, people know that you did your job. And if you felt you did all you could, then you did a pretty good day of work.
Re: Involvement in the passing game:I'm not only just the check-down option, some plays they have designed for me. Some are just check downs. When I do get the ball, I am going to try to do whatever it takes to get to where the receivers are. Whatever we don't get I try to make up for it. Whatever they need me to do, whether it's blocking, running or catching, I am trying to make up for Brandon Weeden so he isn't put in a tough position, as far as being a quarterback.
What do you know about the rivalry between the Steelers and Browns?I know that this town hates the Steelers. For me, as I see it, it's going to be just like the Alabama-Auburn rivalry. From what I hear, if you beat the Steelers, everything just sticks out about it. The whole season is forgotten. You could be a championship team if you beat the Steelers, from what I hear. For me, it's not a regular game. It's one of those games that you have to show up on every down and you have to play every down as if it's your last. You've got to be prepared for everything.
What kind of progress have you seen from Weeden during the season?He's more outspoken. He's one of those guys when he first got here he was just trying to get the feel of guys. He's gotten more in tune with the players, he's speaking more in the huddle, he's speaking more to the team and he's doing a lot of stuff like watching more film and he's staying on top of everything. He's hitting his check downs more, he's trusting arm, he is throwing down the field a lot and making more wise decisions down the field. With the play call, if Brandon doesn't get it in, he just makes up something in his head. He gets the ball out. That's something that a quarterback needs. Will he be one of the greatest? I think he will. He's still learning. That's one thing about Brandon, he's always learning. There are a lot of opportunities from that aspect. From what I've seen from him, he's doing a tremendous job this year.
Is Pittsburgh-Cleveland bigger than Auburn-Alabama?No. Not even close. Alabama-Auburn, you've seen that "30 for 30" and that's not even half of how big it is. It's huge. Alabama-Auburn is too big. I really can't explain it to you unless you go down to an Auburn-Alabama game and just see how the fans react to each other and see how big the rivalry is and see what we do to each other's mascot. You heard about the tree and the reason for the tree. From what I heard, they put a Cam Newton jersey on Coach Bear Bryant's statue. It's stuff like that that makes it big.
Re: Steve Spurrier's comments that Alabama could have beat an NFL team:The way Coach [Nick] Saban prepares, I think it would be a good matchup. An NFL team is an NFL team. You've got great players everywhere. That's a conversation I would never even like to get into because there's a lot of stuff you just put on the players and the players are doing good, and when the team is doing good, you don't need their heads to get any bigger than what the people are already hyping them up to be. That's one of the reasons why people get off track. I know this because when you hear stuff from a legendary coach himself – Steve Spurrier is obviously a legendary coach. And he's been a coach that always had a big say-so in college football and you have respect for him. When you hear that from him, people know the history of Spurrier with Florida when he won a championship, they know how much that means. For me, if I was in school and he would have said that, it would've meant a lot to me. Kids at that age, they can't take it as "we're just a great team and no college teams can beat us." You've got to realize that every team is going to play you like a national championship team.
Who is going to win the national championship this year?That's a no-brainer. You know I "Roll Tide" every day, all day. I will be in Miami at the game.
Who will Alabama play in the championship game?That's tough. I like [Notre Dame LB] Manti Te'o. I actually played in an All-American game with him. I'm rooting for Notre Dame, but if they end up losing, I think Florida will slip into it. I think Florida is at three or four? Florida is at four and Georgia is at three. I think Notre Dame is at one and Alabama is at two. I want to see Oregon and Alabama play because a lot of people on my team have played at Oregon and there's a lot of Pac-12 over here in Cleveland. They talk a lot of mess all the time and I just tell them "You just watch the game." We'll never know until the game is played. But I would love to see Alabama and Notre Dame because of the tradition for both teams. I would love to see that.
So Alabama has no chance at losing to Georgia or Auburn?Alabama and Georgia is going to be a real good, intense game. I don't think Georgia is going to have enough offense to put Alabama in a spot where they can't stop them. I think it's going to be a good game. Whatever team comes out of there, the SEC is taking it again this year, whoever goes.