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fordfixer
08-02-2010, 01:47 AM
On the Steelers: Pouncey's future is at center, but is it now or later?
Monday, August 02, 2010
By Ed Bouchette Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/10214/1077049-66.stm

The Steelers selected Maurkice Pouncey in the first round of the draft earlier this year and took little time to announce him as their center of the future. The question after two days of training camp has become, is the future now?

While Pouncey has the coaching staff's official stamp as competitor to start at right guard, it became quickly evident that he was the most talented center in camp after his first two practices Saturday, which went well.

But he must overcome a hamstring injury that occurred in a most unusual way Sunday morning. Pouncey arrived Friday night on a flight from Florida, leaving after his agent came to terms on a five-year contract with the Steelers earlier that day. He reported about 45 minutes after midnight and missed the run conditioning test and his first meetings because of it.

So, coach Mike Tomlin had him go through the run tests Saturday morning and he reportedly passed. But for some reason, he had to endure more conditioning tests Sunday morning and that's when he injured his hamstring.

He's only supposed to miss a few days, but it's an injury that probably did not need to happen. Before it did, people in the organization were talking about how they had not seen this kind of play by a center against nose tackles since Dermontti Dawson retired a decade ago. Pouncey, who lined up at center and right guard in the two Saturday practices at Saint Vincent College in Latrobe, moves nose tackles back. He gets low, gets leverage and away they go as if on roller skates. His feet move like no center since Dawson.

Of course, it's early and he has not had a chance to go against perhaps the premier nose tackle in the league yet because Casey Hampton spent his second consecutive day of camp tending to his own hamstring injury. But when they both heal, that day will come.

"We'll see; he's a real good player, real big," said Pouncey, who is listed at 6 feet 4, 304 pounds.

The goal against Hampton, who is conservatively listed at 325, is the same as the others for Pouncey, to move him out.

"I hope so, that's the plan. We're definitely going to go at it, heck yeah, and my plan is not go get pushed back."

The Steelers could also find themselves ripping up their own plan for Pouncey, or at least adjusting it. He has not played guard since his freshman season at Florida and is more suited to center. At guard, he has to reach to get to the defensive tackles. At center, he usually has a man right over him -- especially in the 3-4 defenses -- and that is where he excels.

Justin Hartwig has been the team's starting center the past two seasons and gave them a lift in their Super Bowl run after Sean Mahan failed miserably in 2007. The Steelers even signed him to a new contract last summer that runs through 2012. Hartwig was limited in the preseason after having shoulder surgery and he has to prove he can again be effective.

So while the clear opening remains at right guard, there have been internal discussions on the Steelers already about whether to just move Pouncey to center now rather than wait a year to get him started. To be sure, Dawson played his rookie season at right guard before embarking on a Hall of Fame-like career for the Steelers in his second season. But the center in Dawson's rookie season was a guy named Mike Webster.

The Steelers staff has an open mind on putting Pouncey at center and letting someone else play right guard, which is why he lined up Saturday at both positions.

"Whatever they want me to play I'm ready for," Pouncey said.

One reason Tomlin cited for starting Pouncey at guard was he did not want to overwhelm him because of all the calls the center must make.

"As a young guy coming in, it's probably easier mentally to play guard because it's more receiving information as opposed to giving it," Tomlin said after they drafted him.

Since that day, they have found that Pouncey picked up things quickly and they now believe he can handle those calls.

"I mean, at center, I have to know everything that's going on," Pouncey said. "Every call, I can't mess up then. There's a lot you have to learn, you have to call out the mike [middle linebacker] every play even though they're not going to him. There's just things you have to learn, all the calls and everything to help the other guys out."

His coaches believe he can do it. Now it's just a matter of whether they let him do it now or wait until next season.

Players, coaches happy to see five-time Pro Bowler Flozell Adams on the team, see Steelers notebook, Page D-2.

For more on the Steelers, read the blog, Ed Bouchette On the Steelers at http://www.post-gazette.com/plus. Ed Bouchette can be reached at ebouchette@post-gazette.com.

Read more: http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/10214/10 ... z0vQPh4Sjj (http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/10214/1077049-66.stm#ixzz0vQPh4Sjj)

Oviedo
08-02-2010, 08:08 AM
IMO if he can handle the calls they need to start him at Center from Day 1. The last thing I want is a mid-season switch and lose the continuity along the OL.

I'd love Satrks-Kemo-Pouncey-Urbik-Adams with Essex being the game day swing guy at OT and G. Gets Pouncey and Urbik growing together

Eddie Spaghetti
08-02-2010, 08:24 AM
Urbik is currently running on the 3rd team.

he better do some "growing" really fast.

papillon
08-02-2010, 08:57 AM
I've been an advocate of moving him to his natural position immediately from the beginning. If his physical skills as a center are better than Hartwig's then he should be learning the calls on the job and Hartwig should be the insurance policy.

I would prefer Foster or Essex at guard at this point; it appears that Urbik isn't much more than a backup, unless, of course he moves up the depth chart during camp.

Starks-Kemo-Pouncey-Foster/Essex-Adams

Pappy

Discipline of Steel
08-02-2010, 06:20 PM
IMO if he can handle the calls they need to start him at Center from Day 1. The last thing I want is a mid-season switch and lose the continuity along the OL.

I'd love Satrks-Kemo-Pouncey-Urbik-Adams with Essex being the game day swing guy at OT and G. Gets Pouncey and Urbik growing together
Call it wishful thinking, but this is my prediction for starting OL game 1. It could be a punishing line.

focosteeler
08-02-2010, 07:03 PM
IMO if he can handle the calls they need to start him at Center from Day 1. The last thing I want is a mid-season switch and lose the continuity along the OL.

I'd love Satrks-Kemo-Pouncey-Urbik-Adams with Essex being the game day swing guy at OT and G. Gets Pouncey and Urbik growing together

this would make me happy. after ziggy and keenan, urbik has been one of the guys i hope makes huge steps forward this offseason so he can contribute. ill start praying now

RuthlessBurgher
08-04-2010, 11:33 PM
Pouncey's future is at center, but is it now or later?

http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3275/2623272958_233b666a20_m.jpg

JUST-PLAIN-NASTY
08-05-2010, 08:31 AM
Don't know how to take the lack of news on Urbik. You are hearing praises for Pouncey which is expected being a 1st. Nothing bad or good on Urbik. Just where he is working and on what teams. Better than hearing what we are hearing on Hills, Scott, and Hartwig. Hills blocks like a turnstyle, Scott is being abused by rookies & vets, and Hartwig is an old woman. Maybe no news is good news.

papillon
08-05-2010, 08:37 AM
Don't know how to take the lack of news on Urbik. You are hearing praises for Pouncey which is expected being a 1st. Nothing bad or good on Urbik. Just where he is working and on what teams. Better than hearing what we are hearing on Hills, Scott, and Hartwig. Hills blocks like a turnstyle, Scott is being abused by rookies & vets, and Hartwig is an old woman. Maybe no news is good news.

Doesn't this lead to the conclusion that Pouncey's time is at center now?

Pappy

Oviedo
08-05-2010, 09:57 AM
Don't know how to take the lack of news on Urbik. You are hearing praises for Pouncey which is expected being a 1st. Nothing bad or good on Urbik. Just where he is working and on what teams. Better than hearing what we are hearing on Hills, Scott, and Hartwig. Hills blocks like a turnstyle, Scott is being abused by rookies & vets, and Hartwig is an old woman. Maybe no news is good news.

Doesn't this lead to the conclusion that Pouncey's time is at center now?

Pappy


I think given that we are 6 days into camp and Pouncey is still playing 2nd Team Guard indicates the plan is not to start him at Center. I would think that if there was any intent to play him this season at Center he would be there now and learning.

ikestops85
08-05-2010, 01:05 PM
I recall reading that Tomlin was giving Hills some love the other day. That was the first time I had heard his name mentioned in ... well, in forever. Maybe our future line is

Starks
Kemo
Pouncey
Urbik
Hills

It would be nice if we could keep a line together for a number of years in a row so they develop that consistency like the KC lines earlier this decade.

RuthlessBurgher
08-05-2010, 01:51 PM
I doubt Hills even makes the team this year. I think Hills, Jon Scott, and Adrian Jones are fighting for one roster spot...and that guy is likely to be inactive on most game days anyway.

As for the future of our offensive line, the Achilles injury to Colon may actually help us to be able to re-sign him (since other teams aren't going to throw huge free agent dollars on a guy coming off such a major injury). If Pouncey works out well at RG this year, they will move him over to center next year, and if he is available where we select, we could opt to go with his brother Mike in the next draft (instant chemistry...and chemistry is huge for an o-line).

M. Starks - C. Kemoeatu - Ma. Pouncey - Mi. Pouncey - W. Colon

That seems like a solid foundation for the future to me.

Shoe
08-05-2010, 02:53 PM
I doubt Hills even makes the team this year. I think Hills, Jon Scott, and Adrian Jones are fighting for one roster spot...and that guy is likely to be inactive on most game days anyway.

From any accounts i've gotten (from UT guys I know), Hills is a perennial "All-Airport team" member (i.e. looks good getting off the plane only). They need to jettison this guy.

Urbik is much more disappointing, because besides anything else, I thought this sloppy body was picked (I like sloppy bodies) was because of his on-field playing ability (I like guys who produce rather than guys who pass tests). It doesn't sound good in his cas.e

As for Pouncey, glad to hear he seems ad advertised. I think working with Hampton, he'll learn a lot about "old man strength" and it'll make him that much more ready.

ikestops85
08-05-2010, 04:16 PM
I doubt Hills even makes the team this year. I think Hills, Jon Scott, and Adrian Jones are fighting for one roster spot...and that guy is likely to be inactive on most game days anyway.

As for the future of our offensive line, the Achilles injury to Colon may actually help us to be able to re-sign him (since other teams aren't going to throw huge free agent dollars on a guy coming off such a major injury). If Pouncey works out well at RG this year, they will move him over to center next year, and if he is available where we select, we could opt to go with his brother Mike in the next draft (instant chemistry...and chemistry is huge for an o-line).

M. Starks - C. Kemoeatu - Ma. Pouncey - Mi. Pouncey - W. Colon

That seems like a solid foundation for the future to me.

I think you are right about Hills but I can still hope he was a good choice. I think Colon will not play another down as a steeler. I didn't realize it but I read somewhere that about 50% don't recover from the achilles injury in good enough shape to play again. Between the injury and his agents inflated value for Willie he will be gone. Ben will just have to find another partner to tag team with. :Cheers

eniparadoxgma
08-05-2010, 05:08 PM
(I like sloppy bodies)

Huh huh. Huh huh.

http://img294.imageshack.us/img294/7333/bandb1w.jpg (http://img294.imageshack.us/i/bandb1w.jpg/)