By Teresa Varley
Latrobe, Pa - Linebacker LaMarr Woodley came into training camp last year as a rookie learning a new position and an entire new defense.
This year it's a totally different story as he comes in as the heir apparent to Clark Haggans at outside linebacker.
"This year I know what to expect going to training camp," said Woodley. "The first year you come in kind of lost. This year I am prepared. I have a year under my belt and more knowledge of the game."
Woodley played defensive end at Michigan but the Steelers moved him to outside linebacker after he was drafted. There was plenty to learn and it wouldn't come overnight.
"All of the language was different and I wasn't rushing every play," said Woodley. "I had to learn all of the different pass drops and covering receivers, tight ends and running backs. Playing defensive end I didn't have to do all of that. Now I am more comfortable with that."
And with that comfort come high expectations from the coaches and those he is putting on himself.
"Clark was a good player, but I am a good player as well," said Woodley. "I have to go in there and play the best that I know I can play. I can't be anybody else but me.
"I set high expectations for myself all of the time. Having others have them for me isn't a bad thing."
Woodley, who would like to improve in coverage, knows that will come with experience on the field, something he is looking forward to getting
"Since the end of the season I have been studying the playbook to make sure I come in here and cut back on some of the mistakes," said Woodley. "You always make mistakes, but I want to cut back.
"I know more of the playbook now. I got the chance to learn about the guys on the team. Everything just went up to another level."