Following the Pittsburgh Steelers’ Friday night lights practice at Latrobe High School, head coach Mike Tomlin briefly took questions from the media. Although the emphasis was on the atmosphere of the night, Coach Tomlin was asked questions about specific players. This list isn’t to suggest these players were the only ones who stood out, but more so about how Tomlin answered the questions.
Vince Williams & Roosevelt Nix
Sometimes veteran players are held out of parts, or even all of practices in order to allow other players to get an extended look. Ben Roethlisberger was held out of practice Friday Night for the second time within the week. When it comes to the “backs on backers” sessions, Vince Williams has been observing more often than he has participated. Considered to be the most experienced player involved in the drill which already gives the defense the advantage, Williams went up against the most experienced running back on the Steelers roster: Roosevelt Nix.
Coach Tomlin was asked about holding Williams out of the first session of “backs on backers” and then matching him up against Nix.
“Because there’s no question Vince understands that drill. The tempo of that drill. His techniques are seasoned and so forth. I thought I’d get some young people to get that drill under them before I infused him into it. I limit the snaps of veteran players all the time. Not only in an effort to protect them, but to provide other opportunities to other people. So removing Vince isn’t necessarily about Vince. In that first set, it was about getting more additional reps for you guys like 55 (Devin Bush). And so the second time though we infused him back in to get the necessary work he needs as well.”
Tomlin was then asked a follow up question about the heavyweight match up between Williams and Nix.
“If you stay out here long enough, you’re going to see everybody verses everybody. So I wouldn’t read too much into the match ups.”
Benny Snell Jr & Devin Bush
“There you go Benny Snell,” Mike Toon says after the rookie RB wins a backs vs. ‘backers rep against Devin Bush. Bush mostly for the better of him in a skewed drill, but he and Snell kept getting paired together. No accidents there.— Jacob Klinger (@Jacob_Klinger_) August 3, 2019
For the second day in a row, Mike Tomlin addressed his rookie linebacker and running back. Since Benny Snell, Jr and Devin Bush keep facing off against each other repeatedly during camp, it’s only natural for the competition to draw the attention of those in attendance.
Coach Tomlin was asked about specifically matching up Bush and Snell seven times in drills.
“They’re young guys in the same state of their careers. You know, they’re tremendously competitive. We expect those guys to be contributors. They lack in experience. So it’s a fair match up.”
He’s a long shot to make the roster, but QB Devlin Hodges has really shown out in the opportunities he’s getting.— Chase Williams WPXI (@chasepwilliams) August 3, 2019
There aren’t many opportunities for the fourth-string quarterback to get a lot reps in training camp. Even when Ben Roethlisberger is not participating in practice, Devlin Hodges still has yet to get a crack at “seven shots.” But with only three quarterbacks in pads Friday night, Hodges was given possibly his most snaps in the full team session to date.
Coach Tomlin was asked about his evaluation of Hodges after he received some additional work.
“I like some of the things I’ve seen from him. He’ll continue to get more opportunities. Obviously the in stadium play at that position is significant.”
Mike Tomlin’s full media session can be seen here: