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hawaiiansteel
06-13-2012, 06:19 PM
Promising RB Baron Batch looking to bounce back

UPDATED JUN 13, 2012

PITTSBURGH (AP)
Baron Batch was having one of those camps. The kind where unheralded rookies turn skepticism into belief.

In the span of 10 days last summer, the former Texas Tech running back evolved from little-known seventh-round pick into ''that guy.''

Then again, take on arguably the baddest guy in football - and hold your own - as Batch did during one memorable collision with linebacker James Harrison early in training camp and perceptions are bound to change.

One bad step silenced the buzz. Batch knew something was wrong the second his left knee buckled while making a cut during practice. The MRI revealed a torn ACL, ending his rookie season before it even began.

Leaning back at his locker following practice this week, the 24-year-old ran his fingers over the two-inch scar on his knee then glanced down at the even longer one on his surgically repaired ankle and just kind of smiled when asked if he ever considered doing something else with his life.

''I love to be able to overcome things,'' Batch said. ''The ankle when I was in college. The knee. It's cool to be able to get through stuff like that and just keep going.''

Even if he's not certain about the destination. Batch is part of a crowded running back picture that includes injured starter Rashard Mendenhall, Isaac Redman and fifth-round draft pick Chris Rainey, who in some ways is a slightly smaller, slightly faster version of Batch.

He tries not to think about the numbers game and how the next four months will play out. At the moment, he's simply thankful for the opportunity to play again.

''Obviously the guys we have on the roster are the guys we have on the roster,'' he said. ''I feel like I've just got to go in and earn a spot and prove my worth.''

Batch was well on his way at the time of his injury. He wasted little time turning heads, going helmet-to-helmet with Harrison during a ''back on backers'' pass protection drill. The goal is for the running back to keep a blitzing linebacker from reaching the quarterback. The 5-foot-10, 210-pound Batch did more than that, lowering his head and smashing into the perennial All-Pro. The sound reverberated across the practice field. Even better, Harrison didn't get to the quarterback.

The play earned an excited whoop from coach Mike Tomlin, though Batch afterward dismissed it as just one play.

Maybe, but it's the kind of play that can fuel a comeback.

Following a sometimes grueling rehab, Batch is hoping to pick up where he left off last summer. He took another step in the process this week when running backs coach Kirby Wilson let Batch practice without the blue jersey he wore during organized training activities, the one that says basically ''keep off.''

''It's been a process,'' Batch said. ''It still is a process. I've had my ups and downs but it's nice to be back on the field.''

And in a way, Batch returns with an even better opportunity to make the team. Former offensive coordinator Bruce Arians is gone, replaced by former Kansas City Chiefs coach Todd Haley, who is a bit more user-friendly with his running backs in the passing game.

The Chiefs had a running back finish with at least 40 receptions in each of Haley's two-plus seasons at the helm. At Arizona - where he served as offensive coordinator in 2007-08 - the Cardinals had at least one running back top 30 receptions each season.

A positive development for Batch, who caught 143 passes in the Red Raiders' trigger-happy offense.

''I'm the type of player I think if you ask me to do anything, I can do it regardless of whether it's catching a pass, picking up a blitz or running the ball outside or between the tackles,'' he said. ''At Texas Tech, I caught a lot of balls and that's definitely something I'm comfortable doing.''

http://network.yardbarker.com/nfl/article_external/promising_rb_baron_batch_looking_to_bounce_back/11003915

phillyesq
06-13-2012, 07:01 PM
It's impossible not to like his attitude and root for this kid.

Va Steelr
06-13-2012, 07:29 PM
:Clap:Clap:Clap

Sugar
06-13-2012, 09:50 PM
I just started following him on Twitter. Good guy!

hawaiiansteel
06-16-2012, 02:02 PM
Batch's recovery remains on track

June 16, 2012
By Ray Fittipaldo / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Steelers running back Baron Batch writes and paints in his spare time. His hours in front of the keyboard and easel are a refuge from the consuming world of a being pro athlete.

Batch's latest painting is of a solitary, shadowy figure standing amidst a heavy rainstorm. The piece, finished last week, is about Batch's struggle to regain top form after a major knee injury ended his rookie season in August.

"Even though it's raining, it doesn't mean you have to stay in the house," said Batch, whose art work and popular blog can be found at baronbatch.com. "When I was thinking about it, I was thinking about going through these OTAs and this whole process. It's like I have to be out there whether the knee is hurting or not. It's saying, 'It will be all right.' My painting and my writing are mini-therapy for me."

In his blog, Batch wrote a long entry about his first day back on the field after getting cleared by team doctors. He wrote openly about the frustrations and fears in coming back after he tore the ACL in his left knee.

It's a weird feeling to all of a sudden just be told that you're ok to go compete with some of the best athletes in the world, and especially unsettling when you have been out of action for 9 months. But just like with other things in my life this was no different. Sometimes you just have to dive in.

Dive in with both feet, aware of the dagger like rocks that may or may not rest at the bottom of the lake, aware that you might not succeed and failure is a real possibility.

I wish I could tell you that I took my own advice on this.

Batch said feeding his creative side helps him deal with the pressures of being a pro athlete.

"That's always been something that's helped me," Batch said. "Football is an awesome game, but, at times, it can get frustrating. If you make it everything, it will really mess with you. To get away from it for a little bit and do something else and be able to come back and regroup each day is important for me. That's something I've always done."

On the field, Steelers coaches are counting on Batch to return to the form he showed in college at Texas Tech. The Steelers chose him with their seventh-round selection in the 2011 draft after he compiled 3,612 yards from scrimmage (2,501 rushing and 1,111 receiving) in the Red Raiders' spread offense.

The Steelers need an all-purpose back after they decided not to re-sign veteran Mewelde Moore, who filled that role the past four seasons.

"I've always said this: I'm a football player first before a running back," Batch said. "If I have to play special teams, I'll do that. I think that's something I can really contribute to with my skill set. With the offense, it will be whatever they feel comfortable letting me do and whatever I earn. Whatever happens, I'll be confident with what I'm doing."

Batch has come a long way since that OTA in May. He gradually has become more comfortable planting on his surgically repaired knee. There are still bad days, but he is confident that he will be strong enough mentally and physically to perform well at training camp and earn the coaches' trust.

"I have my days when I have frustrating times," he said. "I don't expect that to go away immediately. I couldn't do anything for six or seven months on my knee. I can't expect it to come back in a month. These OTAs and minicamps are crucial as far as getting confidence back in my knee.

"The most frustrating thing is, knowing you can do something and your body not doing it. That was a process I had to work through. I'm still working through it. I'm feeling a little better each week. I'm night and day from when we started three or four weeks ago. I think I'll be rolling well going into camp."

Batch has experience coming back after major injuries. He missed his freshman season at Texas Tech because of a fractured ankle, but came back to have three fine seasons. Now he hopes to do the same thing with the Steelers. Last year, Batch was a camp darling, showing off his quickness and running ability in Latrobe before the Aug. 10 knee injury. He'll have to do it again to earn a job on the 53-man roster this summer.

"It's crazy," he said. "It seemed like a long year. But I've been through other injuries before. A year goes by pretty quick. Training camp is creeping up. It's about that time. It just seems like yesterday when I was leaving Texas to come up here for the first time. I'm excited to get out there again and have an opportunity."

See more of Baron Batch's work on his blog baronbatch.com

http://www.post-gazette.com/stories/...40599/?print=1 (http://www.post-gazette.com/stories/sports/steelers/batchs-recovery-remains-on-track-640599/?print=1)

DukieBoy
06-16-2012, 02:12 PM
If he stays healthy, he will make a big contribution this year.

Oviedo
06-16-2012, 02:15 PM
I really want this kid to make it big here but the drafting of Rainey really makes the numbers work against him. I'd rather see him make it than Clay or even Dwyer who had all the opportunity in the world already to do something.

Slapstick
06-16-2012, 02:18 PM
Rainey and Batch are two completely different backs...

Jamall Charles and Dexter McCluster are much closer body types than Batch and Rainey, but Haley found a way to use both...

DukieBoy
06-16-2012, 02:21 PM
What Baron showed in camp last year (and in college), pre-injury, was potential in every aspect of a RB's game ... running, pass receiving, and pass protection, and a strong competitive spirit. I don't think we see all four of those aspects in some of our other RB's, particularly pass protection and receiving. He's big and stong enough to run inside, and has enough speed to go outside.

RuthlessBurgher
06-16-2012, 03:36 PM
Rainey and Batch are two completely different backs...

Jamall Charles and Dexter McCluster are much closer body types than Batch and Rainey, but Haley found a way to use both...

Baron Batch (5'10" 210 lbs) should be a Mewelde Moore (5'11" 209 lbs) type. Chris Rainey (5'8" 180 lbs) should be a Stefan Logan (5'6" 180 lbs) type...if only Arians were creative enough to have used Logan on offense). That 30 pound difference between Batch/Moore and Rainey/Logan is pretty significant.

Sugar
06-16-2012, 07:31 PM
What Baron showed in camp last year (and in college), pre-injury, was potential in every aspect of a RB's game ... running, pass receiving, and pass protection, and a strong competitive spirit. I don't think we see all four of those aspects in some of our other RB's, particularly pass protection and receiving. He's big and stong enough to run inside, and has enough speed to go outside.

The fact that this guy was able to stonewall Deebo as a rook shows something. Yeah, it was just practice. But many of these guys are good to tote the rock but lack in the protection end of things. It's great if he's a weapon that can be depended on to protect as well. It probably helps that he won't have to go up against any better pass rushers in game than what he sees across from him in practice.

flippy
06-16-2012, 08:33 PM
Batch's latest painting is of a solitary, shadowy figure standing amidst a heavy rainstorm

Wonder if he painted that before or after the Steelers drafted Rainey?

hawaiiansteel
06-29-2012, 08:41 PM
Pittsburgh Steelers Training Camp Competition: RB Baron Batch vs. RB Chris Rainey


by Neal Coolong on Jun 28, 2012


Admittedly, the running backs are in for a "one vs. all" battle, and breaking them out individually is a bit convenient. But given the similar skill sets of both RB Baron Batch and RB Chris Rainey, it's hard not to compare the two.


That's a good thing for each of them.


With starter Isaac Redman clearly established as the starter while RB Rashard Mendenhall rehabs a torn ACL suffered in January, the depth of the Steelers' backfield will be challenged. Neither Batch nor Rainey can boast the same all-around skill set as Mendenhall, but they have excellent speed, good hands and both have as good a chance as any to make this roster.


Rainey could have an advantage going into camp due to his kick return ability - something he did at a high level while at the University of Florida. What the 2012 5th round pick lacks in size he makes up with his speed, but more specifically, he's a decisive player - his cut-backs on kick-offs show purpose and a willingness to take a hit if it means a chance to get outside and get fast.


Batch, a training camp phenom a year ago before an ACL tear of his own derailed the season, has drawn praise already from offensive coordinator Todd Haley. Batch may be behind Rainey in terms of speed, but he's a little bit bigger and has already shown Steelers coach Mike Tomlin he's a willing football player.


Considering Haley had a running back catch at least 40 passes in each of the two and a half seasons in Kansas City, where he was the head coach, it stands to reason having more than one back who can leverage speed with hands to become a multi-purpose weapon.


It's fully possible both of these players make the team in 2012, but if it came down to the two of them, the question would be answered based on what Rainey shows in the return game.


http://www.behindthesteelcurtain.com/2012/6/28/3122885/pittsburgh-steelers-training-camp-competition-baron-batch-chris-rainey-todd-haley

RuthlessBurgher
06-30-2012, 11:17 AM
Batch may be behind Rainey in terms of speed, but he's a little bit bigger and has already shown Steelers coach Mike Tomlin he's a willing football player.

I wouldn't say that Batch is "a little bit bigger" than Rainey. He's 30 POUNDS bigger, with completely different body types. One is meant to be a responsible 3rd down back (needs to be able to protect his QB via blocking, run draw plays, catch screen passes, and run hard to get to the sticks), while the other is more of a scatback/slot receiver/special teams maven (think Eric Metcalf 2.0).

A difference of 30 lbs. gets you from Danny Hrapmann to Ike Taylor to Rashard Mendenhall to Heath Miller to Brett Keisel to Willie Colon to Alameda Ta'Amu. A difference of 30 lbs. would also get me in shape again, but that's beside the point. ;)

Slapstick
06-30-2012, 11:45 AM
I wouldn't say that Batch is "a little bit bigger" than Rainey. He's 30 POUNDS bigger, with completely different body types. One is meant to be a responsible 3rd down back (needs to be able to protect his QB via blocking, run draw plays, catch screen passes, and run hard to get to the sticks), while the other is more of a scatback/slot receiver/special teams maven (think Eric Metcalf 2.0).

A difference of 30 lbs. gets you from Danny Hrapmann to Ike Taylor to Rashard Mendenhall to Heath Miller to Brett Keisel to Willie Colon to Alameda Ta'Amu. A difference of 30 lbs. would also get me in shape again, but that's beside the point. ;)


In KC, Haley worked with an offense where Dexter McCluster and Jamaal Charles could co-exist...if Batch and Rainey are two of the best players, the Steelers will find a way to utilize both players...

There is a roster spot for both...last year the Steelers carried 6 WRs, 4 RBs and 3 TEs...

We'll just have to see how it shakes out...

RuthlessBurgher
06-30-2012, 02:22 PM
In KC, Haley worked with an offense where Dexter McCluster and Jamaal Charles could co-exist...if Batch and Rainey are two of the best players, the Steelers will find a way to utilize both players...

There is a roster spot for both...last year the Steelers carried 6 WRs, 4 RBs and 3 TEs...

We'll just have to see how it shakes out...

I hope they are able to keep Batch and Rainey, because each guy provide a different useful skill set for us and both show promise. I would hate to see us lose one of those guys for a run-of-the-mill schlub type such as Dwyer or Clay. I thought Dwyer was more than that once upon a time, but I've soured on him. Perhaps he'll prove me wrong in Latrobe and display his full promise, because I think he could be an asset if properly motivated (but in the end, I'd rather have a guy who is self-motivated and doesn't need others to push him in order to perform).

NorthCoast
07-01-2012, 10:29 AM
I hope they are able to keep Batch and Rainey, because each guy provide a different useful skill set for us and both show promise. I would hate to see us lose one of those guys for a run-of-the-mill schlub type such as Dwyer or Clay. I thought Dwyer was more than that once upon a time, but I've soured on him. Perhaps he'll prove me wrong in Latrobe and display his full promise, because I think he could be an asset if properly motivated (but in the end, I'd rather have a guy who is self-motivated and doesn't need others to push him in order to perform).

I think 'heart' is often overlooked in today's NFL. We like to talk about numbers because numbers give us comfort in 'measurables'. I want a guy with a passion for the game, wants to play and contribute any way he can. I don't want a Kordell Stewart, who somehow could not see that he could have made his mark as an all-world WR rather than a forgettable NFL QB.

Oviedo
07-01-2012, 10:34 AM
I hope they are able to keep Batch and Rainey, because each guy provide a different useful skill set for us and both show promise. I would hate to see us lose one of those guys for a run-of-the-mill schlub type such as Dwyer or Clay. I thought Dwyer was more than that once upon a time, but I've soured on him. Perhaps he'll prove me wrong in Latrobe and display his full promise, because I think he could be an asset if properly motivated (but in the end, I'd rather have a guy who is self-motivated and doesn't need others to push him in order to perform).

I also really hope that they find a way to keep both Batch and Rainey. IMO Clay and Dwyer are interchangable. Get rid of one of them. Unlike you, I am still hopeful that the light will go on for Dwyer. This is his make or break year. We will still have a numbers issue though when Mendy comes back at mid-season.

hawaiiansteel
07-29-2012, 11:21 PM
No hesitation from Batch

Posted by Teresa Varley on July 29, 2012

Running back Baron Batch has waited almost a year to get back to hitting in pads, and after doing it for two days he impressively is right back in the swing of things.

“It felt good,” said Batch. “It felt good to get back out there and start hitting again with the pads on. It’s been roughly a year since I have been in the pads and I have been anxious to get out there and it felt good.”

Batch suffered a season-ending knee injury in training camp last year, bringing his rookie year to a quick halt. When he took the field for the first time on Saturday he said there were some thoughts about contact in the back of his mind, but after the backs-on-backer drill that quickly went away.

“That is probably one of the most physical drills we do in camp,” said Batch. “Being able to do that helps with confidence, getting hit with what I went through.”

Coach Mike Tomlin was pleased with what he saw out of Batch on the first day of hitting.

“I like the fact that there was no hesitation in his play,” said Tomlin. “For a guy that’s coming off a knee injury, I thought he moved with authority and trusted his knee, not only in competition periods but in individual work. You get an opportunity to see those things when they’re working with Coach (Kirby) Wilson as running backs. He’s a sharp young guy and he’s coming back nicely.”

So far Batch has been trying to go through practice without wearing a protective brace or sleeve on his knee.

“One of my goals for coming back off this was to be able to go through OTAs and minicamp and be able to come back out here and not have to wear a brace,” said Batch. “I’ve met those goals and it feels good, and I won’t have to wear a brace.”

http://blog.steelers.com/

hawaiiansteel
08-04-2012, 07:55 PM
Steelers notebook: Baron Batch showing off physicality

By Mark Kaboly
Published: Friday, August 3, 2012

http://triblive.com/csp/mediapool/sites/dt.common.streams.StreamServer.cls?STREAMOID=q_q4Q Eo1_0xuBejGlG2BDM$daE2N3K4ZzOUsqbU5sYvm8qWWVizcTIg CaXZlVEe8WCsjLu883Ygn4B49Lvm9bPe2QeMKQdVeZmXF$9l$4 uCZ8QDXhaHEp3rvzXRJFdy0KqPHLoMevcTLo3h8xh70Y6N_U_C ryOsw6FTOdKL_jpQ-&CONTENTTYPE=image/jpeg

• At 5-foot-10, 210 pounds, Baron Batch isn’t the biggest running back on the Steelers’ roster. But the second-year player out of Texas Tech stood tall during the backs-on-backers drill Friday night. Batch won or was even all six times he ran the drill and was physical every time. Batch beat Mortty Ivy, Ryan Baker and smacked the helmet off Adrian Robinson. Also looking good on offense were David Johnson and Jonathan Dwyer.

Lawrence Timmons and Chris Carter stood out for the defense.

http://triblive.com/sports/steelers/2332421-85/steelers-batch-offseason-victorian-drill-practice-rookie-roster-agent-amu

flippy
08-04-2012, 08:53 PM
I wouldn't say that Batch is "a little bit bigger" than Rainey. He's 30 POUNDS bigger, with completely different body types. One is meant to be a responsible 3rd down back (needs to be able to protect his QB via blocking, run draw plays, catch screen passes, and run hard to get to the sticks), while the other is more of a scatback/slot receiver/special teams maven (think Eric Metcalf 2.0).

A difference of 30 lbs. gets you from Danny Hrapmann to Ike Taylor to Rashard Mendenhall to Heath Miller to Brett Keisel to Willie Colon to Alameda Ta'Amu. A difference of 30 lbs. would also get me in shape again, but that's beside the point. ;)

Just to make it clear how different the 2 are.

BB is roughly the size of Curtis Martin. He's not only built to be a 3rd round back. He's built big enough to carry the load as an every down back. He's not small by any means. Short, yes, but he's a decent sized RB.

CR is roughly the size of Wes Welker. He's built to be a returner, scat back, slot WR. And he's got unique change of direction I don't think I've ever seen in a college kid. His brother was an incredible athlete. CR is an athletic freak.

I can see situations where you can have both of these guys on the football field at the same time and they'll be a headache for defenses to deal with. Just think about your 5 skill players being Wallace, Brown, Sanders, Rainey, and Batch. I'm not sure you can defend all 5 of those guys.

Chucktownsteeler
08-04-2012, 09:04 PM
Just to make it clear how different the 2 are.

BB is roughly the size of Curtis Martin. He's not only built to be a 3rd round back. He's built big enough to carry the load as an every down back. He's not small by any means. Short, yes, but he's a decent sized RB.

CR is roughly the size of Wes Welker. He's built to be a returner, scat back, slot WR. And he's got unique change of direction I don't think I've ever seen in a college kid. His brother was an incredible athlete. CR is an athletic freak.

I can see situations where you can have both of these guys on the football field at the same time and they'll be a headache for defenses to deal with. Just think about your 5 skill players being Wallace, Brown, Sanders, Rainey, and Batch. I'm not sure you can defend all 5 of those guys.

I agree with this and glad someone posted it. Rainey goes about 178 lbs. and Batch about 215 lbs. They are two different animals entirely. I don't see Rainey as a RB to be honest with you. More of a punt returner/ kick-off specialist and a hybrid/ slashy type player out of the backfield.

C-town