BehindTheSteelCurtain Talks With Steelers Rookie Bruce Davis

Thank goodness for the generous spirit of Steelers' 3rd round draft pick Bruce Davis, who agreed to answer a few short questions for us here at 'Curtain, because there's absolutely no news in Steelers country right now.

Davis, a stand-out pass-rushing DE/LB at UCLA, is in rigorous preparation for training camp later next month. I asked him a few questions about his strength and conditioning, the coaching staff, and his new teamates. I found his answer about Coach LeBeau particularly interesting, and a confirmation of sorts to just how influential LeBeau has been during his 5-decade tenure in the NFL. - Blitz-

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BTSC:  Allright, let's start with something easy. We've noticed that your weight is listed at a solid 250+ pounds, a substantial increase from what you checked in at during your playing days at UCLA. Are you satisfied with the results you've achieved, and do you feel your speed and deceptively fast first-step will at all be compromised by the extra weight?

Same sleek build + 20 pounds = scary

Davis: My speed and my first step have not been compromised with the extra 25 pounds that I have put on. It's the biggest I've ever been, but I have adjusted to the new weight very well.

BTSC: Can you share what it's been like being back around campus and your classmates and friends after being drafted into the world's premiere sports league? In addition to receiving a gazillion more Facebook friend requests, what else is different in the life of a 22 year old ready to embark on a NFL career?

Davis:  There are a lot of football fans at UCLA, so I've been getting a lot of congratulations, and meeting people that I've never met before.  Lately I've noticed that there are a lot of  Steelers fans in Los Angeles. I feel like now every time I go somewhere I see a Steelers sticker or license plate holder on the back of cars. I never realized how many fans we have. Every thing else is pretty much the same, except the day after the draft i had like 500 new Facebook friend requests, but I'm just grateful that there are so many people that follow me through my career.

 BTSC: We the fans heard that Coach Tomlin  was instrumental in the team's selection of you, even if there might have been a few players still available with better 'measurables' at their Pro-Days or at the Combine. Having watched you on many occasions when I lived on the West Coast, I know you play with a lot of confidence and energetic swagger, but assuming that's true, what does that mean to you that Tomlin saw something special in you. As a follow-up, anything you can share about how Coach Tomlin welcomes and interacts with rookies?

Davis: It means a lot to me that Coach Tomlin saw something special in me, but it also means that there are going to be high expectations for me, and with the history of Steelers linebackers I have a lot to live up to. But that is the kind of challenge that I feel will make me a better football player. I grew up watching guys like Kevin Greene, and James Farrior and I know what it means to be a part of this group. And man, Coach Tomlin has been great, hes straight forward and he has great energy. I'm very excited to be able to play for him. 

BTSC:  Apparently the veteran players on the defense absolutely love defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau. Have you had a chance to spend much time with LeBeau yet, and if so, is it obvious why he is so well-respected and loved by his players?

Davis: Coach LeBeau has been great, he really takes an interest in all of his players from top to bottom. I knew about coach before i was a part of the Steelers because my college coaches used some of his system at UCLA, and put me in position to make plays.  He is well respected on the team and through out the league, and we all know that he is an amazing defensive mind. His reputation as a player and a coach speak for itself.

BTSC: Any of the rookies or younger players that you've hit it off with yet? Any veterans that have been particularly cool and welcoming?

Davis:  All of the rookies have been great, theres a few that I even played against or knew from high school. But we all get along well and I think that we are a very talented group of rookies.

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Many, many thanks Bruce for taking the time! I personally have very high hopes for this young man. In addition to the physical tools and the football acumen, I'm excited to see what Davis brings to the table as a vocal leader in the future. Our defense has been missing a vocal presence on the field since Joey Porter left, and though we have plenty of high-character players on defense that lead by example, I think that Davis' confident swagger will be a welcome addition for years to come.

By the way, you can check out Davis' website here for news, as well as pictures and info about his career accolades in high school and at UCLA.

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