By Teresa Varley
Super Bowl XLIII Full Coverage Some normalcy returned for the Steelers on Wednesday when they headed off to the University of South Florida for their first practice of the week.
"It felt nice this morning to get into meetings and start preparing for a game again," said defensive tackle Chris Hoke. "We started with the things we built last week. It's nice to get back on the field because it feels like we have been off the field for a long time. We haven't been on the field since Friday, so it's nice to get on the field, run around and get loose."
Wide receiver Hines Ward was the only player who did not practice, but he hasn't practiced on Wednesday during the entire season so there is no reason to change things now. Ward walked through some plays and spent the majority of the practice working out on his own.
"It was a good start to our week,'' head coach Mike Tomlin said after practice. "We practiced fast, and I thought we practiced aggressively. But it's like I say to the team after every Wednesday practice: It's a good start, but we've got to be better tomorrow.''
While this is Arizona's first trip to the Super Bowl, it's a repeat performance for many Steelers players who were a part of Super Bowl XL.
And for most of them, the second time is even better.
"I think it's better this time around," said defensive end Brett Keisel. "We have quite a few guys who played in Super Bowl XL, and we know what to expect as far as requirements throughout the week."
With so much attention on both teams, having so many veterans with experience of what to expect is big.
"We've been through it once before," said tight end Heath Miller. "You know the circus to expect for the next couple of days. At the same time you realize that you have to put the work in during the week. You can't allow yourself to be distracted. You have to focus on the main goal and the reason that we're here."
"You definitely enjoy the experience. It's the Super Bowl. You never know when you'll be back so you definitely enjoy the whole atmosphere. At the same time when it's time to work, you have to work. You have to make sure that you get your work in during the week and you get your preparation so you're ready to play Sunday."
Linebacker James Harrison knows the defense is going to have their hands full facing veteran quarterback Kurt Warner on Sunday.
"I think he is one of the best at reading a defense and what they are trying to do," said Harrison. "We are going to have to do a good job of disguising what we are trying to do."
Warner isn't the only one they are going to have to focus on. The Cardinals have a strong running game and some talented receivers, including a player many Steelers are familiar with in wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald.
"I hope we can stop him," said Harrison. "We are sure going to try. He has every weapon at his disposal. He has speed. He has great hands and he can jump out of the gym. We just going to hope we can contain him."