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fordfixer
08-25-2010, 01:14 AM
Hills taking a step forward

By Teresa Varley – Steelers.com
http://www.steelers.com/news/article-1/ ... c4d42853fb (http://www.steelers.com/news/article-1/Hills-taking-a-step-forward/66dfbe13-ab0e-4f4f-86ea-04c4d42853fb)

For two seasons tackle Tony Hills has roamed the sidelines for the Steelers, but he hasn’t got much further than that.

As a rookie, the fourth-round draft pick from Texas was inactive for all 16 games and the post-season.

His second year he didn’t see much action either, playing in only one game on special teams at Baltimore, and dressing for two others but not playing.

“It was hard. It was really hard,” said Hills. “You want to go out there and really help. I have never been one to complain. I have always worked hard. I have been waiting in the wings for my chance to go out and perform and be ready when they call.”

That lack of playing time weighed heavily on him. But he wasn’t about to let it stop him. He knew the only way to get out on the field was to keep pushing himself, even if he wasn’t reaping the benefits.

“Any time you are not playing you start to question yourself a little bit,” said Hills. “The thing I had to remember is everybody has to wait their turn to get on the field. Once I grasped that concept, I was able to just work on me, fine tune my technique, get stronger in the weight room, get better on film work and breaking down individuals and defenses so when I do get my opportunity I have done it before and I can go out there with all of the confidence in the world and they can trust me.”

The 2010 season could be a make or break year for Hills. He has to step it up and show why he is worthy of a spot on the 53-man roster. And it appears that is exactly what he is doing during the preseason, turning in strong performances against the Lions and Giants.

“His confidence has skyrocketed,” said guard Trai Essex. “The biggest thing with him is his consistency. He has been a lot more consistent this camp. He has improved tremendously at this point in his career than any other point I saw him. He kept plugging away and I think now people are finally starting to see what he is capable of. I am looking for big things from him.”

That change in confidence and better play arrived about the same time new offensive line Coach Sean Kugler arrived. The mental aspects of the game that he was struggling with early on started to click. His confidence started to rise. The pieces of the puzzle began to fit.

“I think the difference between the last two years and now is it’s all starting to come together mentally,” said Hills. “Technique-wise it’s still a work in progress, always is, you are always reaching for the ceiling. Mentally I have an understanding on what it is we are trying to do in the offense and as an offensive line. That is a credit to the hard work I put in but also Coach Kugler and all of the guys. All those guys talking to me, giving me insight and perspective on technique and what we are getting done

“The last couple of years I was trying to figure it out on my own. I wasn’t reaching out as much as I should have. This year with Coach Kugs, he is an approachable person. Any time I have questions he would sit me down and explain it in a way I understood. Everybody learns different. He understands that. He sat down and told me what I need to do. He gives us strategies to break down defenses. It helps me in a lot of ways.”

Kugler also told him something that he needed to hear right off the bat. He told him there is no depth chart right now, that everyone is going to get a chance.

“That motivated me even more,” said Hills. “Coming into your third year you have to improve by leaps and bounds. They want to see what you are capable of. I have had two years to sit and watch and see how the game is played. I have made no excuses. I just want to continue to get better and go out and show what I can do. That started before OTAs. If I want to be the premiere left tackle they drafted me to be, I have to work and work hard.”

calmkiller
08-25-2010, 08:13 AM
Really shows you how little the previous coach did. I am looking at porn Tony, come back later.

Oviedo
08-25-2010, 08:31 AM
People develop at different rates and fit some schemes beter than others. Hills seems to be getting it under Kugler. This is why I would not get rid of Urbik. I think he could thrive under Kugler's tutoring.

papillon
08-25-2010, 08:38 AM
Someone has mentioned this in other threads, but it bears comment again, Kugler may be the most important off season acquisition the Steelers made.

Both, Urbik and Hills appear to be gaining confidence under Kugler and will both probably make the 53 man roster. These players were left for dead prior to Kugler coming on board.

Pappy

Oviedo
08-25-2010, 08:43 AM
Someone has mentioned this in other threads, but it bears comment again, Kugler may be the most important off season acquisition the Steelers made.

Both, Urbik and Hills appear to be gaining confidence under Kugler and will both probably make the 53 man roster. These players were left for dead prior to Kugler coming on board.

Pappy

That "someone" would be me. I've been saying it for months now. Too many expect kids to come out of college and play. You have to develop them and Larry Z IMO couldn't.

OL has been an area where we have not had a "teacher coach" for a very long time and it is the area where we need one probably the most. Example of an exceptional "teacher coach" is John Mitchell on the DL. He doesn't just get talent he develops it.

Shawn
08-25-2010, 07:47 PM
I also expect big things from Hills.

hawaiiansteel
08-25-2010, 07:53 PM
I also expect big things from Hills.



I don't know that I expect "big things" from Hills. I'm actually very pleasantly surprised that he's showing some potential, let's see if he even dresses on game days.

Shawn
08-25-2010, 07:59 PM
I also expect big things from Hills.



I don't know that I expect "big things" from Hills. I'm actually very pleasantly surprised that he's showing some potential, let's see if he even dresses on game days.

Like I have said in other threads I like the guy. He was a talent in college, and he is a talent now.

SteelHoss
08-25-2010, 08:52 PM
I'm not sure where Larry Z came from or who recommended him. I suspect is was BA. Maybe that was an unfair comment. If you ever saw LZ's resume you would be very puzzled why he was ever hired. The guy just never fit! :loser Of course that is MO.

phillyesq
08-25-2010, 10:18 PM
I'm not sure where Larry Z came from or who recommended him. I suspect is was BA. Maybe that was an unfair comment. If you ever saw LZ's resume you would be very puzzled why he was ever hired. The guy just never fit! :loser Of course that is MO.

From what I recall, none of the assistant coaches that came in with Tomlin had great qualifications. And that isn't to knock Tomlin - it didn't seem like there were a ton of quality candidates to choose from. Larry Z was a prime example; Ligashesky was another.

Shawn
08-26-2010, 12:05 AM
I'm not sure where Larry Z came from or who recommended him. I suspect is was BA. Maybe that was an unfair comment. If you ever saw LZ's resume you would be very puzzled why he was ever hired. The guy just never fit! :loser Of course that is MO.

From what I recall, none of the assistant coaches that came in with Tomlin had great qualifications. And that isn't to knock Tomlin - it didn't seem like there were a ton of quality candidates to choose from. Larry Z was a prime example; Ligashesky was another.

$$$ he had very little to choose from when selecting staff.

Discipline of Steel
08-26-2010, 12:16 AM
Someone has mentioned this in other threads, but it bears comment again, Kugler may be the most important off season acquisition the Steelers made.

Both, Urbik and Hills appear to be gaining confidence under Kugler and will both probably make the 53 man roster. These players were left for dead prior to Kugler coming on board.

Pappy

I think they were more 'left for dead' by posters here than by the Steeler brass.

papillon
08-26-2010, 12:21 AM
Someone has mentioned this in other threads, but it bears comment again, Kugler may be the most important off season acquisition the Steelers made.

Both, Urbik and Hills appear to be gaining confidence under Kugler and will both probably make the 53 man roster. These players were left for dead prior to Kugler coming on board.

Pappy

I think they were more 'left for dead' by posters here than by the Steeler brass.

You're probably correct, but either way I'm glad to see that both are making great strides this pre-season so far.

Pappy

Discipline of Steel
08-26-2010, 12:39 AM
Someone has mentioned this in other threads, but it bears comment again, Kugler may be the most important off season acquisition the Steelers made.

Both, Urbik and Hills appear to be gaining confidence under Kugler and will both probably make the 53 man roster. These players were left for dead prior to Kugler coming on board.

Pappy

I think they were more 'left for dead' by posters here than by the Steeler brass.

You're probably correct, but either way I'm glad to see that both are making great strides this pre-season so far.

Pappy

Given the state of our OL, we really need them too.

BURGH86STEEL
08-26-2010, 05:50 AM
Someone has mentioned this in other threads, but it bears comment again, Kugler may be the most important off season acquisition the Steelers made.

Both, Urbik and Hills appear to be gaining confidence under Kugler and will both probably make the 53 man roster. These players were left for dead prior to Kugler coming on board.

Pappy

I think they were more 'left for dead' by posters here than by the Steeler brass.

This seems more correct then anything else.

Blaming Coach Z or giving to much credit to coach K seems unreasonable. We can easily state that Colon, Starks, and Kemo improved under Coach Z. Could be that everything is finally starting to click for Hills. Would not be the first time it took time for a player to develop in to a quality player. Not sure I am ready to anoint Hills anything at this point. Not sure how much time he's played against 1st unit players.

The biggest issue with coach Z might had been the lack of improvement in short yardage. Might had been a lack of consistency from the Oline. It is really difficult to diagnose at this point. The overall play along the Oline appears to be less then stellar in the pre season. Only time will tell if Coach K can make the unit better. It helps that Pouncey may be ready to start at center this season.

Lebsteel
08-26-2010, 11:15 AM
Bouchette seems to think that Urbik is definitely going to be cut. I sure hope not. Since he is only in his 2nd year and really showing vast improvement this year, I think it would be a huge mistake to let him go. I'd like to see us keep Starks, Kemo, Pouncey, Essex, Adams, Hills, Foster, Urbik and Legs. The backups would be Foster at G/T, Urbik and Legs at G/C and Hills and Essex at T.

steelblood
08-26-2010, 11:20 AM
Bouchette seems to think that Urbik is definitely going to be cut. I sure hope not. Since he is only in his 2nd year and really showing vast improvement this year, I think it would be a huge mistake to let him go. I'd like to see us keep Starks, Kemo, Pouncey, Essex, Adams, Hills, Foster, Urbik and Legs. The backups would be Foster at G/T, Urbik and Legs at G/C and Hills and Essex at T.


If we keep 10, I'd like to see them keep Urbik and Legursky. Urbik has great size and good potential. Legursky looks great in combo blocks and moves very well. He does whiff more than I'd like, but he intrigues me and could be serviceable if Pouncey goes down.

RuthlessBurgher
08-26-2010, 06:20 PM
It would be interesting to see if keeping Legursky could possibly make Summers expendable. Summers hasn't shown much as a fullback. They could use the 3rd TE (either McHugh or Johnson) as a blocking fullback between the 20's. They could use Legursky as a blocking fullback in a goalline package and potentially other short yardage situations. And they could also use Redman as a pony fullback along with Mendenhall where he is a threat to run out of the the fullback slot (like we used to do with Merril Hoge as a fullback; also, Franco Harris was actually designated as a fullback with Bleier as the halfback back in the day when they each ran for over 1000 yards in the same season)...I was surprised to see them do that in the last preseason game, but it seemed to be somewhat effective. Perhaps this is what Arians meant when he said that he would never have a fullback. He'd have tight ends or guards or halfbacks playing fullback as situations dictate. Personally, I preferred having a Kreider or a Lester...but I think we can all agree that Summers is no Kreider or Lester.

hawaiiansteel
08-26-2010, 06:32 PM
Bouchette seems to think that Urbik is definitely going to be cut. I sure hope not. Since he is only in his 2nd year and really showing vast improvement this year, I think it would be a huge mistake to let him go. I'd like to see us keep Starks, Kemo, Pouncey, Essex, Adams, Hills, Foster, Urbik and Legs. The backups would be Foster at G/T, Urbik and Legs at G/C and Hills and Essex at T.



Urbik had by far his best game ever as a professional against the Giants this past weekend. He needs another statement game against the Broncos on Sunday...