Are you an old school football fan?
Do you like smash mouth football?
How often do you find yourself longing for three yards and a cloud of dust?
Well, if I just described you in the previous statements, you should absolutely love the Pittsburgh Steelers new offensive line coach, Adrian Klemm.
Klemm, a former player in the NFL, prides himself in physicality and aggressiveness. If you think a lineman for Klemm is going to be playing patty cake with the defender opposite him, you might want to think again.
During the Steelers’ three day mandatory minicamp, media were able to speak with Klemm and ask him a variety of questions about the upcoming season. Klemm didn’t hold back, or disappoint.
“You can’t stray away from it,” Klemm said referring to the physicality required in 2021 along the line. “You set the tone for what it’s going to be and you create an environment in a room, carry that out to the field. You’re demanding of it every, single day.
“It’s not that we’re trying to find ourselves; this is who we’re gonna be. If you’re gonna live in this world that’s how we’re gonna live. If you can’t do it, you’ll be at home or you’ll be on the sideline with a hat on. It’s not a democracy in our room; this is what it is.”
Well, then. Not much wiggle room when it comes to interpretation from the new line coach. But don’t think Klemm is one of those “all talk” type of coaches. He realizes the road the Steelers’ offensive line still has to travel, and it won’t be easy.
“It’s not about talking about it every day,” Klemm said. “It’s about (new offensive coordinator) Matt (Canada) designing plays that put us in situations that we can be physical. It’s about making it so there’s not that need for a ton of communication and plays where guys have to do a lot of reading and thinking. It’s running and taking advantage of their natural athleticism and allowing them to be physical. Not overcomplicating things, simplifying things where we can so they can be as physical as possible.
“The majority of our guys already have it in them. Once you create that culture, you just feed off of it and you grow. We’re nowhere near where we need to be but there’s been some gains made in that direction and it’s encouraging and I’m excited about it.”
Steelers fans don’t need to be reminded about the dismal running attack in Pittsburgh last season. Finishing dead last in yards per carry, and yards per game. This is something which didn’t just get Mike Tomlin’s attention. No, it went all the way to the top, to Art Rooney II.
“But I think up front, the mindset of what we are trying to do, again the charge from Mr. Rooney to be more physical, to run the football as an offensive lineman, you are going to like that.” Offensive coordinator Matt Canada said. “We are going to come off the ball and we are going to do that.
“That doesn’t mean we are going to run the ball a million times or anything like that. But giving them an opportunity to be more aggressive.”
Organized Team Activities (OTAs) and minicamp certainly isn’t enough to give fans a warm, fuzzy feeling about the team’s running game in 2021; however, the Steelers seem dedicated to changing the offensive philosophy under Canada and Klemm and a revamped offensive line.
The results for their work won’t be known immediately, but it will become evident starting in training camp at the end of July. So be sure to stay tuned to BTSC for the latest news and notes surrounding the black and gold as they prepare for the 2021 regular season.