We are leaving soon to go to the home of "The Big Nip In The Green Pony Bottle". The traffic has not been as bad as previous years so I'm sure the little yellow bus from St. Vincent should have minimal problems manuvering to Latrobe.
Where do I start. There have been so many surprises and dissapointments this year. I cannot take notes, for obvious reasons, so I guess I'll just let things flow.
- This Camp appears to be not as organized as Camp Cowher. Coach Cowher was not a "Control Freak" but he was responsible for all Camp activities and the assistants were more involved with one on one player instructions than group organizations. Coach Tomlin is really a nice guy and straight forward. He talks freely when in the company of trusted people. I think his favorite Press Guy is Jim Wexall. Go figure.
- I mentioned last year and again this year my opinions of the Special Teams. The problems are not due to the guys catching the ball but from some marginal concepts involving hitting people on the run. Last year the front retreated on the receiving team way too much. The flyers and middle men on the opposition were given too much penetration. This seems to have changed this year. If they are serious about using McBean he could make a difference. No more muffed catches.
- I pray there is truth to the belief that a great QB or running back can make an offensive line look good. The technique, strength, flexibility and line calls are mediocre at best for our OL guys. If Willie Colon is our best RT then we are in very deep trouble. This guy gets beat on 11-11 and 7-7 scrimmages and on all one on one drills. Woodley makes him look very pedestrian and close to pathetic. The OL coach appears to have no personnel connection with any of the guys except for Rah! Rah! stuff. Zerlien stated that Colon is the starting RT. If that is true then I am missing something.
Our starting RG still cannot knock anyone down when pulling and at full speed.
Hartwig is far superior to Mahan both in blocking and strength. He is by far the best option we have at this very important position. He picks up blitzes better than Mahan and can stop any tackle we have dead in his tracks. He is a little behind on line calls but he should progress in this. Mahan seems to be too far over the ball before centering. He is off balance.
I don't think Stapelton is the answer either. He has gotten beat by mediocre rookies and Hoke owns him.
Marvel is great and the best OL we have. Extend him to three years right now.
We have one all around TE who can block and catch and run. I don't think I need to mention his name. Matt Spaeth is painfully slow out of his breaks but sems to be a little stronger this year and not over extending himself on blocks. He will make the team. The next best all around guy seems to be a rookie named Sherrod. He is not as big as the others but quicker and can block. He is lost on play calls and has to be directed by "The Best Athlete On This Team" on positioning.
- I knew we had someone special several years ago in Santonio Holmes. This guy is a very special athlete. He is very smooth in catching, running and blocking. He makes every thing look easy. He is fantastic shape also. I don't know of any CB who can cover him.
- Timmons, Woodley, and Harrison are unstoppable. I don't know if that is because of the poor play of the OL but Mendenhall seems to be the only guyin Camp who can block or at least get in the way of our LB's.
Woodley is the best guy in Camp so far. He is very strong this year, especially in his arms. He throws Colon around like a pillow. Timmons has spent considerable time training and studying assignments. In all scrimmages, he is right never out of position. He is hitting like a ton of bricks. Harrison is Harrison and makes out TE's look very inept, except for Heath Miller.
- Mendenhall is a real find. This guy is Pro Ready right now. He is so smooth running the ball and catching the ball. He also has the inate ability to find a hole. Most runners do not have this but he does. He may be number 1 by our first game. Willie is not as fast as last year. I don't think he is 100% yet. Meldwe is a lot smaller than I thought but is great at fielding punts but our best HB in screens. The defense just cannot find him.