Ramon Foster interview: Steelers guard talks about zone running, goals for 2013 and Mike Golic, Jr.

Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sport

Steelers offensive lineman Ramon Foster talks with Behind The Steel Curtain on the team's running scheme and how things will turn around on the ground this year. He is a mentor to Mike Golic Jr. in Gillette Deodorant's "Built for Training" series appearing on NFL.com.

At 27 years of age, Steelers left guard Ramon Foster is both a young guy and an experienced NFL player.

He's kind of ancient for a Steelers offensive lineman.

As the eldest representative of an offensive line that, outside of himself, has seven combined seasons in the NFL, it seems fitting Foster would be chosen as Gillette Deodorant’s Built for Training web series, mentoring undrafted free agent Mike Golic Jr. in his quest to make the Steelers' roster.

Golic did not make the team, but the fact the regular roster consists of only veterans, and the practice squad took one tackle (Joe Long) and one interior lineman (Chris Hubbard), there wasn't a whole lot of room for Golic.

"There just weren't enough snaps in the game," Foster said of Golic's training camp. "He has a great football pedigree. I'm surprised he hasn't been signed somewhere else yet, but he will."

You can watch all six episodes of Gillette Deodorant's Built for Training series here.

Golic was the only undrafted player featured in the series that paired veterans with rookies. Perhaps that was due to the fact Foster himself went unselected in the 2009 NFL Draft.

He played tackle at the University of Tennessee, and signed with the Steelers as an interior lineman. Since 2009, Foster has played both guard positions and has taken reps at right tackle.

Before six-position Kelvin Beachum joined the Steelers in 2012, there was Foster. Perhaps he's no longer the young pup among the group up front, but he's seen plenty of action. In fact, so has the whole barely-old-enough-to-drink Steelers offensive line.

"People have gotten after us about not being very old, or even not that experienced, but that's not the case," Foster said. "All our guys have played games. We've got a group of smart and athletic linemen here."

Those are the main reasons behind the team's emphasis on an outside zone running concept this season, something Foster feels will be a reliable weapon for the team.

"Teams have been stacking the box because we run power and double so often," he said. "We can soften defenses up with this, with our running game, and leave it up to Ben (Roethlisberger) to complete some throws."

It's a simple concept, drawing defenses closer to the line, anticipating a run, only to catch defensive backs flat-footed in a passing situation. It's so simple, according to Foster, Roethlisberger points it out before every game.

"Ben says it all the time, 'this team will go as far as this offensive line goes. Whether that's protecting the quarterback or getting the running back to the hole, that's what we need to do."

By Foster's admittance, that didn't go so well last year.

"We weren't happy (with their performance)," he said. "We've got to improve. We have to." Foster was quick to decry complicated, statistical goals, save one.

"To not finish in the bottom 10," he said, his calm, southern drawl a bit more pointed than it was throughout the rest of the interview. "We want to be better than we were last year. We want to be successful.

"We need to establish the run. We have a new offensive line coach (Jack Bicknell Jr.), we drafted a running back (Le'Veon Bell) and we traded for a running back (Felix Jones). That shows our emphasis on the run."

The Steelers' 2013 offseason was highlighted by who the team drafted and who they let go in free agency. A quietly passed story by most in the media was who they retained. Foster signed a three-year extension to stay with the team, and even to him, it was at least a little about what the Steelers did not do that stood out.

"They could have kept (former Steelers LG) Willie (Colon), they could have drafted someone, but they didn't. I always wanted to stay here, and we got the right offer, so we did. I'm extremely excited about it."

Foster begins earning the game checks that come along with that new contract Sunday, as the Steelers take on the Tennessee Titans - his hometown team.

"If we can get the running game going, everything else will fall into place," he said. "

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