Practice No. 4 is in the books here at an unseasonably cool July day at St. Vincent College.
Here are some quick thoughts about what I saw/have been seeing.
* Daniel McCullers is a monster of a man, and he showed that he can play some football as well. McCullers was active all day on Wednesday whether it was pushing Cody Wallace into the backfield during linemen pass blocking drills or swallowing Dri Archer during the 11-on-11 live tackling period. Now, McCullers looks like he needs to get a little more sense of urgency with his play, but that will come. He is a quiet kid who is just trying to fit in during the early days of camp.
* Speaking of McCullers, William Gay gave TribLive Radio’s Ken Laird the soundbite of the year. “We call him ‘Big Dan’. He reminds me of the movie ‘The Longest Yard’, the big dude that was in there and he started crying and then destroyed everybody,” Gay told Laird. “Me and Troy were just talking, every time we’re going to just walk up and give him a hug. Nice guy. Won’t say too much to you. I told him, ‘Once you get six years in, people are going to be scared to talk to you.’ You’re going to say ‘Get out my face’. I told him, ‘You’re bigger than everybody. Just move people.’”
* Here is a quick list of people who you don’t know (maybe don’t want to know) but are flashing at times. S Jordan Dangerfield: He’s getting some respect with his hits, that’s for sure. CB Antwon Blake: He’s fast … very fast. DE Ethan Hemer: You just keep seeing No. 79 make a play. Oh yeah, it’s flashbacks to Aaron Smith. He looks like him, doesn’t play like him yet. RB Jordan Hall: He took a lick a time or two, but kept on trucking on Wednesday. He’s a tough kid. TE Eric Waters: We knew he could catch from the OTAs, but he can block as well. He is a legitimate player to unseat David Paulson and Michael Palmer.
* There was a sloppy portion of practice on Wednesday when Ben Roethlisberger was forced to huddle again then returned to the line just to have a bad exchange with the center that was recovered by Chris Carter. Landry Jones came in with the second team just to immediately trip over Paulson, who was crossing behind the line of scrimmage at the snap.
* I am seeing a lot more emphasis put on defenders trying to strip the ball. Now, this goes both ways. The offense has to be aware of ball security at all times.
* Matt Spaeth can sure block.
* No fights in four practices. There were two or three in the OTAs alone.
* The crowds here at St. Vincent have been quite large the past two practices. I guess 8-8 is good enough.
* Let’s hope that no Steelers offensive linemen get hurt, because through four practices, it’s obvious that there’s not much to speak of behind the top five or six. There’s some potential there, but nothing ready to jump in and play.
* Mike Adams, who I think has a chance to win the right tackle spot from Marcus Gilbert, got absolutely run over for the second consecutive practice. On Monday it was Shamarko Thomas. Wednesday it was McCullers. I know Adams said he slipped with the Thomas one. McCullers? Well, he is 350 pounds.