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Wednesday, August 14, 2013
Steelers remain old school in training camp

By Jamison Hensley

LATROBE, Pa. -- Watching the Pittsburgh Steelers practice at St. Vincent College takes you back to the time when NFL teams held training camps at picturesque small colleges in the countryside. The Steelers, though, are going even more old school this year with how they're practicing.

During Pittsburgh's two-hour session Wednesday, I saw more hits than I witnessed in all of my previous visits in the division combined. And it's not simply putting a hit on a teammate. Three tacklers ganged up to bring running back Jonathan Dwyer to the ground. Cornerback Josh Victorian gave a shot to the head of rookie wide receiver Markus Wheaton. Cornerback Curtis Brown delivered a shot on running back LaRod Stephens-Howling so hard in the open field that it put him on his back.

Guy Whimper and LaMarr Woodley
The Steelers have been especially physical in camp this year. "What better way to evaluate them?" coach Mike Tomlin said.
The Steelers are taking this aggressive approach -- coach Mike Tomlin calls it "training camp mode" -- for a reason.

"We got a lot of young people, ones that we're trying to sort out and we're trying to get as many ways as we can to distinguish themselves," Tomlin said after the team's evening practice. "To be quite honest with you, when you introduce physicality to a practice session, it's an opportunity for people to distinguish themselves. We have a lot of young linebackers and safeties and it's the nature of those position. The abiltiy to get people on the ground is a big part of the evaluation process. So, we're practicing in that manner."

Tomlin added, "Obviously, we have some young running backs trying to distinguish themselves. What better way to evaluate them? It just made sense for us. There is some risk involved in it; such is life. We got some things that we have to find out in Latrobe and we have a short amount of time to do it."

Here are some quick notes from Wednesday: