Minicamp a chance to focus on details

It was three days, five practices, and a wealth of information thrown their way just as an introduction.

For some, the first day was mind-boggling, their heads spinning going from the classroom to the field for the first time.

But as the weekend played out, things started to make sense, and it was simply football, something those taking part in the Steelers' rookie minicamp have played since they were kids.

"This is an instructional camp," said Coach Mike Tomlin. "Obviously, there are some things that we are evaluating, but primarily, it's just giving and receiving of information and working with the young people. We're just laying a foundation for their careers and our football here in 2013.

"We're excited about it, guys are working hard and it's been a productive weekend thus far."

Coaches had the chance to watch 41 players, mostly rookies but also a handful of first-year players, show what they can do from running pass routes to blocking techniques.

"More than anything, it's just familiarizing yourself with the young men, how they learn and how they move, areas in which they may be deficient and things of that nature," said Tomlin. "It's more of a get to know than anything else, as opposed to looking for anyone distinguishing themselves."

For rookie cornerback Terry Hawthorne from Illinois, it was the perfect opportunity to get instruction on areas of his game the coaches felt he needed to work on.

"They were correcting me on my technique," said Hawthorne. "I was coming out here trying to get my technique down right. As I got out here and my technique got better, it started to get more comfortable.

"They basically want me to stay low. They were saying I was peddling too high so they want me to stay low."

Hawthorne used the three day minicamp to work on it, and plans to continue to apply what he was taught until he returns for OTAs later this month.

"It gives me a great advantage, for them to correct it right now," said Hawthorne. "I can go back home and work on the same things they were teaching me out here."

Hawthorne said he isn't sure if it was his technique that kept him around until the fifth round or not, but is happy to have the opportunity he does and is going to make the most of it.

"I don't know why I slipped, but I thank the Steelers for giving me the opportunity to come here and correct things," said Hawthorne. "You want to go out there and show your talent to the best of your ability.

"I am going to do whatever I can."

Which basically was the mindset of every rookie during minicamp…doing whatever they could. From conditioning, to classroom work, to putting what they learned to work, it was all about making a good first impression.

"Physical conditioning precedes anything else," said Tomlin. "I think that's the first thing these guys need to know about professional football. They have no chance of being what they desire to be, unless they are in the best condition of their life. That's been a point of emphasis.

"Displaying learning, being able to take things they learn in the classroom and make it happen on the field is another element of professional ball that they better learn. There's some urgency involved in it and they need to do that quickly."

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