Willie Colon: 'Going Inside Is My Whole Game'
Willie Colon: 'Going Inside Is My Whole Game'
by Neal Coolong on Jul 27, 2012
To put it mildly, it's a big year for Steelers LG Willie Colon.
He's missed almost all of the last two seasons in Pittsburgh due to injuries, and now, after seven seasons in Pittsburgh, he moves from tackle to guard.
The change seems to excite Colon, who gave an interview with Trib Live Radio's Ken Laird Thursday.
Among the highlights, Colon equated his new position on the interior of the offensive line to him being able to "bounce around the line like a hunter."
A great metaphor for a pulling guard, who often will get out of his stance heading in one direction at full speed, not being exactly sure of the spot of his target.
Colon has the mentality of a road-grater, but his athletic ability and quick feet served him well as a tackle in previous years. The departure of Chris Kemoeatu, who had replaced former Steelers LG Alan Faneca - one of the best linemen in franchise history - left the spot open, and Colon is eager.
As he told Laird, "We run 36-Power a lot. Whatever my job is, I don't look forward to any single play. If 36-Power is the call, I'm just going hit whatever is looking the opposite of me."
Steelers notebook: Offensive line looks same for now
Published: Thursday, July 26, 2012
ē The Steelers held their first practice Thursday, and the much-anticipated grouping of the first-team offensive line didnít change from the last time the team was on the field in June for minicamp. Trai Essex was with the first team at left tackle and Ramon Foster at right guard with Maurkice Pouncey, Willie Colon and Marcus Gilbert filling in around them. Rookies David DeCastro and Mike Adams took snaps with the second team. ďItís mine to lose,Ē said Foster, who is battling DeCastro for the first-team right guard spot.
ó Mark Kaboly
And that would be correct... And he will in fact, "lose it"
Originally Posted by hawaiiansteel
A chat with Steelers LG Willie Colon
published by Ken Laird on Thu, 07/26/2012
An achilles injury erased his entire 2010 season. A torn tricep muscle in Week 1 of 2011 made for another season-ending injury. In 2012, 7th year man Willie Colon is back (and healthy) with a new job description: Left Guard.
A 4th-Round draft pick out of Hofstra in 2006, Colon lags only the Pittsburgh Steelers quarterbacks, as well as fellow linemen Max Starks and Trai Essex for offensive seniority.
On Thursday, after the team's first training camp practice, I had a chance to catch up with Colon for a little Q & A:
Does it feel like your 7th training camp?
ďI feel all a bit of seven [training camps]. Iím blessed, man, with all Iíve been through to still be here. I never take it for granted. Mike Tomlin, my coach, believed in me. To be here and have a chance to compete and be on a championship caliber team, canít beat it. Iíve got a lot of anger built up [laughs]. No, Iím excited. The potential is there. Weíre working hard. Weíve just got to make sure it happens.Ē
Are you and Trai Essex the old-guy leaders of the O-Line now?
ďMe and Trai were walking the halls when we reported, and we saw so many young guys , I was like ĎGeez.í I never thought weíd be at this position where we were considered the old goats of the team. Itís weird, but itís a blessing man. I appreciate it to be here, to be in Latrobe, PA and still competing, rockiní and rolliní and laughin,í still getting bed checks at 29-years old. Itís pretty funny.Ē
Are you in the prime of your career at age 29?
ďI would say, yeah, without a doubt. I feel like Iíve got great years ahead of me, Iíve got a lot of payback, Iím checking my lists. Iíve got a big checklist this year. Iím definitely going huntiní this year.Ē
Have you embraced being a left guard, running that signature Steelers pulling-guard run?
ďWe run 36-Power a lot. Whatever my job is, I donít look forward to any single play. If 36-Power is the call, Iím just going hit whatever is looking the opposite of me. Going inside is my whole game. I can just kind of bounce around and be the hunter. I like it so far.Ē
Do you know your new position enough to be able to help the new left tackles?
ďI think a little bit, weíre kind of helping each other. But at the same time, I know how to prepare as a professional. I know what it takes to be ready on gameday, and whoever is next to me I know theyíll be ready, too.Ē
How much technique work do you have to do at camp?
ďItís all technique, you canít be an offensive lineman without good mechanics and technique. Thatís our whole day, thatís the only thing we do out here is work on technique. Other guys get to run around and look pretty. Weíre back in the corner, working on footsteps and hitting pads. Thatís our job, man, I wouldnít want it any other way. You learn to love it at a very young age. And if you donít love it, you wonít make it.Ē
How was your summer?
ďI had a great time, I was able to travel a little bit, I went to a couple weddings, I went to Ramon Fosterís wedding, tore it up for him. Had a good time. Trained really hard, two-a-days, running, lifting. A lot of young guys came out and worked out with me, so it was a good offseason.Ē
All these team weddings with Foster, Woodley, Roethlisberger, are you next?
ďThey can bite [the bullet] all they want, Iím not jumping on that train. I havenít found her yet [laughs]. If I find it, then Iíll tell you. Right now, Iím living the good life. All-American best friend right now.Ē
I think Colon is going to have an excellent year at LG. Just stay healthy....
At last, Steelers place Colon on guard duty
August 3, 2012
By Ed Bouchette / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
Reality finally caught up with long-running speculation when, after six years playing offensive tackle amid opinions he'd make the perfect offensive guard, Willie Colon finds himself at left guard in training camp.
And he's happy about it, which might surprise those who saw him bristle at the mere mention in previous years that he would make a better guard than tackle. Ben Roethlisberger and former coordinator Bruce Arians even resorted to joking about it.
They would torture Colon, telling him "You're going to play guard; you're going to play guard."
"He never wanted to do it," Roethlisberger said.
The Steelers did not move him until this spring simply because they had more guards than tackles. They needed him at right tackle, where, at 6 feet 3, he was undersized but more than held his own in three seasons as a starter before injuries wiped out all but one game of the past two seasons.
But, as new coordinator Todd Haley noted the other day, Colon was born to play guard and, feeling they have enough tackles with the addition of second-round pick Mike Adams and the success of Marcus Gilbert last year, the coaching staff switched him. They did so long before they took the field in the spring, giving Colon enough time to make the transition.
The early returns from training camp show the move to be a good one.
"Moving Willie to guard, I think, is great because he's just a mauler in there, he's so physical," Roethlisberger said. "You put him in a phone booth, and he's just and animal."
His performance at left guard through the first week of practices has been nothing short of sensational and he got off with a bang. In the first practice in pads Saturday, he flattened linebacker Lawrence Timmons, a block that prompted a brief scuffle on the ground.
"Oh my God. He's a dog, man," center Maurkice Pouncey said. "He's a big dude in there, man -- a monster in there, actually."
The Steelers list him at 315. Colon says he weighs 345, same as last season only leaner this year after working out twice daily in the offseason for the first time.
"I was never really against the change," Colon protested during a lunch break at training camp. "I just wanted to have a fair shot to really work at it and really make it mine. I've been in this business long enough to see guys play tackle forever and the second week of camp, 'We want you to be a guard.'
"It's a hard transition, you have to be able to really have the time to get it, get it in your head and own it. They respected that request of mine, and I'm just taking it slowly."
Others see a rather fast transition, like Larry Foote, who has had to try to fend of Colon's blocks at inside linebacker.
"I'm getting acquainted with him early in camp at guard," Foote said. "We've been having a couple of run-ins. He looks good at it. Real strong. Ask guys abut him, and the first thing they'll say is once he gets his hands on you, he's going to get you. That's what you need at guard."
Count 6-8 Max Starks among those who thought Colon would be a good fit at guard as soon as he saw him.
"When he came in as a rookie. I thought he would be an exceptional guard when he got the opportunity, and now, six years later, he's getting the opportunity; he looks really good, really strong," Starks said.
So what makes Colon a better fit at guard than tackle?
"He has one of those bodies," Starks said. "He's a big, strong solid dude, very powerful, very explosive. That's all the things you want in an exceptional guard."
"He's strong, got really good, strong hands," said Foote. "He's a good athlete, that's why he played tackle for so many years, but his body structure fits the mold of a guard."
Instead of blocking sleeker, often quicker pass-rushing ends and outside linebackers, Colon will go against bigger tackles and try at times to get to the next line to block inside linebackers.
"It will be interesting to see him in the middle, banging it out with [Baltimore's Haloti] Ngata and those types of guys," Foote said.
Roethlisberger believes he knows the result.
"I told him this before and I hope it comes true, I think he can be a Pro Bowl guard. I really do. He has all the potential to do it."
just looking at him, one can easily tell he has the body of a guard rather then an OT
Boy the way these guys are talking himup, it makes him seem like Bruce Matthews or something. We've seen Colon play; he's solid, but nothing much more. If he can stay healthy, he'll be an upgrade. But I don't expect him to just start mashing people, because he's moving three feet to the left.
After years of witnessing Chris Kemoeatu's 4 bumbling errors for every 1 dominating play at LG, all Colon has to be is reasonably competent in order to appear to be a world-beater by comparison.
Hall of Famer
Colon's primary problem (aside from injuries) was getting beat by speed rushers on the outside. That issue also caused him to hold and get too many false start penalties. Now that he's inside, that problem should no longer really be a concern. If he's able to better use his strengths, and his biggest weakness has been effectively mitigated, then I would expect a significant upgrade at the guard spot and an all-around better performance from Colon.
If he can stay healthy.
What's up with us listing multiple players 30-45 lbs lighter than their actual weight? Same thing is going on with McClendon.