PITTSBURGH STEELERS 2009 FIFTH-ROUND DRAFT PICK FRANK SUMMERS FULLBACK 169th Overall Running Backs Coach Kirby Wilson
RE: Frank Summers
RB, University of Nevada, Las Vegas
5th Round – 169th Overall
Is he strictly a running back?
He has the capability to do both. That's the unique thing about him that we liked. He has halfback qualities, but he has fullback size. There was some uniqueness there that was on obvious draw to us.
Can he block?
Yes. We saw him playing the fullback position in the Texas vs. America all-star game. That was another thing that kind of sealed the deal for us. In our minds this was a young man that could do multiple things.
RE: Sounds like your typical short yardage back.
We think that he is. He exhibited those things throughout his college carrier, the ability to move the piles. One of the other things that we liked about him, is that when he was in the goal line areas he was a guy that could carry the ball when they knew he was going to get it and score touchdowns. He is also a very capable wide receiver coming out of the backfield and detached running routes. I think people will be surprised when they see him.
He was UNLV's leading receiver?
I'm not sure of that fact, but it wouldn't surprise me because he does have outstanding receiving skills.
With Rashard (Mendenhall) back what is your situation at running back right now?
We are going to carry eight throughout the spring and throughout training camp. There will be six halfbacks and two fullbacks that are listed as fullbacks, but as we said earlier Frank has the capability to do both things.
Does that count Sean McHugh?
No, he is not included in that. Right now he is listed under the tight ends.
Can Frank move as a third tight end?
No. He's strictly going to be a halfback/fullback combination.
Is that the Carey Davis role?
The way we see it Carey is a fullback only, but an emergency halfback. Frank is going to be a halfback that can play fullback for us.
*Who is the other fullback you are counting?
*Does this enhance the value of the fullback position? It seems for the past several years, it has been downplayed a little bit, even in the Steelers offense.
I think you'd have to look at that way – that it does enhances it – because this is a guy who has unique abilities that way that he can do both. This is a guy, when he's on the field, what package are you going to put out there, defensively? Are you going to count him as a fullback? Are we in two-back? Or are you going to count him as just a halfback – do we have two halfbacks in the ball game? It kind of depends on what defense and how they are going to prepare for us, but, to answer that question, yes, I think it does enhance it.
*You seemed to lean more on McHugh over the second half of the season as your lead blocker. Is he still considered a tight end? Is he an H-back? What is he?
If you look at Bruce Arians' past, he was brought up in the Indianapolis Colts system, and they believed in two and three tight ends. And so I think in his mindset – in his theory – that's kind of what he leans heavily upon is that feeling and that comfort zone. So, yes, he does line up some as a fullback in our backfield. He's on wing sets. He's as a true tight end. So he's got some multiple skills that he also brings to the table. But right now, he's listed as the tight end and Carey's still listed as our starting fullback.
*What do you want out of Rashard [Mendenahall] this year?
Well, I would like to see him stay healthy the whole year. That's for sure. We were talking the other day [and] the hit that he got hurt on was not a big-time collision. Because we all saw the Philadelphia hit, which was much more violent, and you would think that if he's going to be hurt, that would have been one of the plays. But, we'd like to see him stay healthy and develop his style of running and develop his identity of who he is as a runner. Right now, he hasn't had that luxury. This year is critical. We want to see him stay on the field. We want to see him develop his own style, his own identity. And we'll find out what we've got because we think we have something special there.
Do you almost look at this as a second rookie year for him?
Absolutely. We all are in agreement with that. We win a Super Bowl and we get to add a first-round talent at halfback. So that's a plus for us.
Have you talked to Willie [Parker]? Is he coming in this week?
Yes. I talked to him a couple of times last week. He's excited. He's getting back in. He's just wrapping up some things back home. He'll be here and doing the same things he's always done – sneaking into the building, working out after hours. You know how that guy is.
What happened with Gary Russell? Was it a salary cap issue? Did he do something wrong?
Not to my knowledge. We were talking one day, and Coach Tomlin told me this is the situation and we're going to do this because of that. And we'll move on and get better. And that's what we've done.