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Home sweet home

It doesn't count in the standings but it matters, particularly given the venue.

Heinz Field.

"There's a lot of excitement, anticipation, eagerness," offensive coordinator Randy Fichtner maintained regarding Saturday afternoon's preseason hosting of Tennessee. "I'd say the anticipation is great. We've had two preseason games on the road, always excited to be in our home stadium. You say it's not different, I know it's not necessarily mystical, but it is.

"It's a great place to play. It's a place that we get to celebrate our brand of football and our fans get to celebrate it. Obviously, the excitement would be to always want to perform very well at home for your home fans.

"Shoot, this is our home town. We want to be perfect, if you will, at home."

TURNING UP THE VOLUME: The Steelers practiced today with recorded crowd noise blasting from speakers during defensive periods.

"Our first time using the sound," this season, cornerback Joe Haden acknowledged.

Haden is a big believer in preparing to deal with such a potential distraction, even if the decibels aren't being generated by an actual crowd.

"You really get something out of it because while we're out there on defense we can't really hear each other trying to make the checks, trying to make the calls," Haden said. "We have to use a lot of hand signals, gotta get that communication right. I think it helps us out a whole lot because, honestly, you can't hear each other talking out there.

"Seriously, if you come out there on the field and just try to talk to me, me and you standing here, it's tough to hear."

The Steelers prepare for the Week 3 preseason matchup against the Tennessee Titans.

LIGHTS, CAMERA, ACTION: Haden has caught a couple episodes of his former team, the Cleveland Browns, on HBO's "Hard Knocks."

"There are some characters over there," he said. "It's a fun watch. You get to really see the inside of stuff, what the coaches are really saying. For me, you don't really know what the GM and coaches are really talking about when they're in their offices."

Haden would like to see the Steelers participate in "Hard Knocks" someday.

"I think it would be cool," he said. "It's a little different here. They're kinda blunt. You kinda know what's going on.

"'Coach T' (head coach Mike Tomlin) doesn't sugarcoat too much."

MOVIN' ON UP: The Steelers officially listed Jon Bostic as a starting inside linebacker along with Vince Williams for the first time on the depth chart that was released in advance of the Tennessee game.

Tyler Matakevich had been listed as the starter at the position next to Williams prior to the Steelers' preseason games on Aug. 9 at Philadelphia and on Aug. 16 at Green Bay.

"I don't really pay much attention to it," Bostic said. "At the end of the day my job is to go out and play football. Whatever 'Coach T' asks me to do, I'm going to do."

HAVING A BALL: Cornerback Artie Burns found a present in his locker this week _ a football decorated to commemorate Pitt's 24-14 upset of No. 2 Miami, Burns' alma mater, last Nov. 24 at Heinz Field.

"I got to the bottom of it," Burns said. "Pitt gave it to me. It was because of my suite box. They gave it to me out of love.

"The operations people, they give it to their suite owners for a season gift. They gave it to me, it so happens it was the Miami loss."

Burns' hope is that Miami can return the favor to Pitt via the gift of "a butt-whuppin' when it's time for it."

Pitt plays at Miami on Nov. 24 this season.

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