LATROBE, Pa. _ One of the constants at Saint Vincent College has been an emphasis on generating more turnovers.
It’s been working.
“It’s been going well for us,” nickel cornerback Mike Hilton assessed. “We’ve had a lot of opportunities and we’ve made those plays.
“That was something we were focused on in the offseason. It’s starting to show.”
It started to show the first day, when cornerback Brian Allen and cornerback Cam Sutton intercepted quarterback Josh Dobbs on consecutive snaps in “Seven Shots,” the Steelers’ practice-opening, short-yardage/two-point conversion drill.
Since then we’ve seen first-year linebacker Tegray Scales (a deflection off the hands of wide receiver Tevin Jones) and first-year defensive back Kameron Kelly, who has been filling in of late for Sean Davis, come up with catches and head the other way.
Cornerback Artie Burns and Sutton have followed suit, both on balls that were deflected by Hilton. Sutton did so again in 7-on-7 work.
This afternoon it was first-year safety Marcus Allen’s turn.
Allen stepped in front of a pass over the middle from quarterback Devlin Hodges.
Sutton did the same on an attempt from quarterback Ben Roethlisberger but dropped the ball.
Roethlisberger appeared to throw his first interception of Training Camp 2019 a few plays later, when a deep ball down the middle bounced off of either wide receiver Donte Moncrief or Burns or both and was eventually collected on the rebound by Kelly.
But Roethlisberger maintained after practice that the defense had jumped offside and the offense was in “free play” mode at the time.
So the interception succession has been a good news-good news proposition for the Steelers.
The defense, after amassing just eight interceptions a season ago, is getting its hands on the football and catching it more often than not.
And Roethlisberger remains unscathed.
Take a look at photos from the Pittsburgh Steelers 4th day of training camp
MEDICAL FILE: Moncrief suffered an apparent finger injury on the deep pass that was ultimately intercepted by Kelly and left the field to be evaluated but returned soon thereafter. Safety Sean Davis (finger) and wide receiver Johnny Holton (hamstring) were among those who didn’t practice. Outlide linebacker T.J. Watt (hamstring) remains on the Active PUP/List but did some light running on the field for the second consecutive day.
LINE CHANGES: Guard Ramon Foster was given a veteran’s day off. Matt Feiler, who had been handling right tackle with the first-team offensive line, slid over to Foster’s vacated left guard spot and Chukwuma Okorafor played right tackle. B.J. Finney replaced right guard David DeCastro for the final 11-on-11 period of the day.
LITTLE GUY OKLAHOMA: A day after the first installment of Backs-on-’Backers, the Steelers got physical by lining the wide receivers up against the defensive backs in a tight-area, 1-on-1 blocking drill. Wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster made the biggest splash when he drove third-round cornerback Justin Layne back at least 15 yards.
The fans on the hillside roared their approval.
EXTRA POINTS: The offense won “Seven Shots” by a 5-2 count. Moncrief caught a pair of conversion/scoring passes from Roethlisberger. Third-round wide receiver Diontae Johnson had his third in the last two days. Smith-Schuster did not catch one for the first time in four practices … Rookie Trevor Wood, who’s listed as a tight end/long snapper, had an attention-getting day. He caught a conversion/scoring pass from quarterback Mason Rudolph in “Seven Shots,” then ran over Marcus Allen in a non-tackling, 11-on-11 third down drill … Burns was given a heavy workload of snaps in Joe Haden’s right cornerback position for the second consecutive day … Inside linebacker Mark Barron drilled tight end Christian Scotland-Williamson and knocked him to the ground after a reception in a non-tackling, 11-on-11 drill.