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Practice report: Boykin makes his mark


LATROBE, Pa.  - Key takeaways from today's practice at Saint Vincent College:


SEVEN SHOTS:** The offense struck first, running its streak to nine consecutive conversions/touchdowns in the practice-opening, 2-yard, 11-on-11 drill over a three-day span, but the defense rallied and won the drill, 5-2 ... QB Landry Jones hit RB Le'Veon Bell in the end zone on the first snap and WR Antonio Brown in the end zone on the fourth snap. Jones missed on a subsequent shot for Bell ... DE Stephon Tuitt ran down Brown on a wide receiver sweep and knocked him out of bounds shy of the goal line ... CB William Gay came up with a big hit on QB/WR Devin Gardner to keep Gardner out of the end zone after a completion.

HAVING A BALL: CB Brandon Boykin came up with what might have been his first practice interception with the Steelers based on the way the interception was celebrated. Playing slot in a 7-on-7 drill, Boykin stepped in front of a receiver, secured the ball and then ran over to head coach Mike Tomlin and handed it to him. Tomlin responded by shaking Boykin's hand. Boykin also worked at RCB with the first-team defense in 11-on-11 drills.

DETAILS, DETAILS, DETAILS: The special teams worked on punt protection and how to align for an anticipated onside kick when the kicking team had six players on the left side of the kicker, when the kicking team had six players on the right side of the kicker and when the kicking team had five players on each side of the kicker.


THE BELL TOLLS:** With a game coming up on Sunday the Steelers opted not to play tackle football in "Team Run." That allowed Bell to get four carries in a drill he normally sits out. He was inadvertently knocked down once.

HOUSEKEEPING: QB Ben Roethlisberger, LB James Harrison and outside linebackers coach Joey Porter weren't on campus, having already departed for Canton, Ohio to help represent the Steelers at Jerome Bettis' induction into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Also not participating or working partially in practice due to either an injury or a coach's decision were WR Martavis Bryant, WR Markus Wheaton, S Robert Golden, S Mike Mitchell, S Shamarko Thomas, CB Cortez Allen, S Ross Ventrone, S Isaiah Lewis, DT Daniel McCullers, G Ramon Foster, TE Heath Miller and LB Vince Williams.

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