Ready to take it up a notch

Ryan Switzer's eyes opened wide as I asked him about 'Friday Night Lights,' one of the most anticipated practices of training camp for fans and players alike.

"I didn't know what Friday night lights meant," said Switzer. "I thought it was a practice here at Saint Vincent."

After giving him the details, he couldn't help but smile.

"Oh wow," said Switzer. "It sounds unique. It will be a first for me. A great experience. I haven't been on a school bus in a long time. That will be a unique experience.

"You made it sound pretty dope, so I am looking forward to it."

And he isn't the only one looking forward to it. Thousands of fans will descend on Latrobe Memorial Stadium tonight for 'Friday Night Lights,' a practice that is always filled with enthusiasm and energy as everyone wants to put on their best show when the lights come on.

"It really is fun," said Stephon Tuitt. "You get the chance to change the scenery, hit some guys, have some fun. It's like going back to your high school days, having fun. It's a different scene. A different area, the fans being a big part of it."

It will in fact be like high school days for the players. They will make the trek from Saint Vincent College to Latrobe Memorial Stadium on school buses, with their helmets and shoulder pads in tow.

When they get there, after greeting the fans by signing autographs, it will be time to put on a show.

"We did it in Indianapolis, but not as many people as here," said Donte Moncrief, who signed as a free agent this offseason. "It was pretty cool.

"It gives you the juice, gives you the energy going out there and having fun. It gives the fans a show. Gives them something to get ready for. That is what I have to do. I am a new guy here, so I have to keep playing and show them what I am going to bring to the team."

The entire day will be filled with fun activities for fans who are in for the weekend, but it is all about the practice for the players.

"It's a good time to get in front of all of the fans," said Roosevelt Nix. "It's a nice switch up from here. It's a good thing we do when we interact and get together. The fans they bring that energy every time."

Friday Night Lights Details: The day will kick off with Steelers Fest outside of Latrobe Memorial Stadium at 12 noon, featuring photo opportunities with the six Super Bowl trophies, games and more. Gates will open at 5 p.m. and practice begins at 7 p.m. Fans can purchase tickets for $5 at the Latrobe Memorial Stadium ticket office on August 2, or in advance by calling 724-539-4225 ext. 25205.

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