View Full Version : OTA VIII Update

05-28-2009, 04:22 PM
Maybe the running game will be special again this year?


3:15 p.m.: Mike Tomlin has to be pleased with not only a great and full week of work, but with the attitude of his veteran team as May draws to a close. Coming off the Super Bowl, there are few distractions -- real distractions, not media-driven distractions -- and quarterback Ben Roethlisberger has been at every practice. Even the injured players -- Hines Ward, Ryan Clark and Dan Sepulveda -- have shown up regularly. There's no sign of a hangover, or malaise, possibly because there are so many veterans in salary drive mode. But more likely is that this is a group of smart and ambitious people. The only players missing (working out elsewhere) are Troy Polamalu and Santonio Holmes, and both of them play positions where depth must be developed.

* The running backs look great. Rashard Mendenhall has all the makings of a bell cow and Willie Parker is up for the challenge. Competition is already driving these two players. Parker is in great shape and is working hard on his receiving. Mewelde Moore is a solid No. 3 and Frank Summers got a chance today to show off why he's nicknamed "Tank." The big guy was rumbling through the touch-football field and looks like he can develop into a force some day. He has good hands, too; caught a high swing pass, turned it upfield to the sound of Tomlin roaring. Afterward he took some advice from the coach in the middle of the field, something about looking to run people over more. Even FB Ryan Powdrell, the former USC fullback who lost his college season to a knee injury and spent 2007 on IR with Green Bay, showed some explosiveness today. Good, solid group with the potential for greatness.

* Max Starks missed the workout and Trai Essex moved over to left tackle. That moved Kraig Urbik up to second-team guard, but please don't ask this amateur to gauge his progress. I'll just say that he seems strong enough and quick enough.

* I watched Limas Sweed take a slant all the way up the middle -- without a defense -- and shuddered at the big, fast man's potential. Then I saw him drop a short pass over the middle with Anthony Madison trying to cover. One scout likened his inconsistency to a young Plaxico Burress, and of course is hopeful, even optimistic, of a similar developmental curve.

* Shaun McDonald had a good day. Mike Martz really liked this guy in the slot, and drafted him and then brought him to Detroit. The departure of Martz from Detroit is what McDonald blames for his poor 2008. I'll give him Catch of the Day today for the way he "ziggied" up the field after a few short catches.

* Speaking of Ziggy, everyone likes him. The big man can move. I'll have a little story on him coming up in a few days. The big man was running from sideline to sideline today and had Tomlin pretty excited.

* Tomlin really makes you feel like you're here for a reason. Bill Cowher used to leave much of these workouts to his coordinators. May have been good for the coordinators, but the practices didn't have the same urgency.

* I know. May 28.

* Backup ILB Donovan Woods turned his ankle and left the field.

* Rookie WR Mike Wallace again had the Indoor Arena in a state of eruption, but Ike Taylor recovered to break up the slightly underthrown bomb from Charlie Batch. Tomlin threw a phantom flag on the play

05-29-2009, 09:40 AM
Good article on Frank Summers. Sort of ties into the RB comments above. Former hockey player...who knew? Now you know where he got those thighs. Wonder if he is a Penguins fan yet. The guy sounds like a bargain basement "Baby Bettis." More importnatly it sounds like he has his head on right.

Snapshot: Frank Summers

Posted May 29, 2009

He grew up on the tough and unforgiving streets of Oakland, Calif., he goes by the nickname ‘Tank’ and became sort of a cult hero for a YouTube clip showcasing him knocking the bejesus out of an unsuspecting kick returner during his formidable days at Skyline High School.

If there was one sport that Frank Summers was born to play it was definitely ice hockey.
Or was it golf? Swimming. No, tennis.

The 5-foot-10, 242-pound bowling ball of a running back and the Steelers' fifth round pick in April’s draft wasn’t your prototypical youth growing up in the inner city.

Despite being surrounded by some, as he called, ‘rough friends’, Summers never really got into trouble growing up.

“I had friends fall by the wayside growing up,” Summers said. “It just made me appreciative of everything I have right now and the opportunity I have. It taught me a lot. It made me mentally and physically tough.”

Summers never went down that other path probably because his family kept him busy almost 24/7.

“I always had the thought in mind of being a successful man whether it was a firefighter or anything else like that,” Summers said. “I always wanted to be a successful man. My family was very strong behind me. I always told people that it is pretty hard to fall back when you have a brick wall against your back.”

One way Summers stayed on the straight and narrow was sports.

“I pretty much played every sport growing up,” Summers said.

Every sport except football that is.

“I was talking to Coach (Mike) Tomlin the other night and told him the reason I started playing football was because I didn’t have any football trophies,” Summers said. “I played ice hockey, I played basketball, I played tennis, swimming, golf. I played every and any sport possible except football. Football was my last sport and it was the sport I feel in love with.”

Quickly Summers realized that football was also his best sport. He became very passionate about the game and it became evident during his high school days that what he enjoyed most was hitting people.

Not long after that, Summers’ brother came across a clip of Frank on YouTube running over a would-be tackler followed by a clip of him kicking off (yes, kicking off) then racing down and de-cleating the returner near the sideline.

“My brother actually told me that somebody put it up,” Summers said. “A lot of people in the public back in Vegas and back home have already seen it so that’s cool.”

Tomlin came across that clip during his evaluation of Summers a few months back.

“I did, but that did not weigh in his evaluation for us,” Tomlin said. “That was in high school – I did some things in high school.”

Summers selection gives the Steelers an option to play fullback and running back while having the ability to catch the ball out of the backfield and be a lead blocker or carry it himself around the goalline.

“He has the ability to play both running back and fullback,” running back coach Kirby Wilson said. “That was the unique thing about him that we liked. He has halfback qualities but fullback size. There was some uniqueness there that made him an obvious draw for us.”

The Steelers plan to use Summers at both fullback and running back mostly because of his 4.55 40 time that was better than a number of running backs who got invited to February’s NFL Combine one of which wasn’t Summers.

“An attractive feature for us was a big running back like him who is also a functional special team’s player,” Tomlin said. “This guy was a productive special team’s player. He covers kicks – he covered punts – he was an up-back if you will in the kickoff return game. You know we’re looking for guys that are capable a lot of things.”

Summers spent two season playing junior college football, then transferred to UNLV and became the only player in Rebels’ history to have led his team in both rushing (six) and receiving (four) touchdowns in the same season. He caught 36 passes in two years and six touchdowns in 24 collegiate games.

“Since I was younger my uncles always played catch with me and taught me how to catch and see the other running backs around the country and see what gave them the edge was to be able to receive the ball,” Summers said. “I consider myself a complete back and one of those things that you need to do to be a complete back is to receive the ball.”

He could also be used in goalline situations – a aspect the Steelers struggled at mightily last year. Summers scored 14 rushing touchdown in two years at UNLV

“I love touchdowns,” Summers said. “That is my favorite part of the game and that is one of the reasons why I wanted to be a running back/fullback otherwise I probably would’ve been a linebacker. I am very passionate about the game.”

05-29-2009, 09:47 AM
The Tank could re-create the classic "Bo Knows" commercial. :mrgreen:

stlrz d
05-29-2009, 10:57 AM
The Tank could re-create the classic "Bo Knows" commercial. :mrgreen:

Can't believe I didn't make this connection until just now.



How long until there's a revival of this product with him as the endorser?


I don't think he'll look as appealing in a leotard though. :lol: