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last day of training camp 2009

as i wrote the other day, i just barely snuck in a trip to latrobe this year to join steeler nation in the pilgrimage to training camp. thursday was the last day of training camp for the team, and just as my wife and i pulled into the campus at saint vincent, it started to storm and rain heavily, so i was pretty much figuring i wouldn't get to see them practice this year, but then the skies cleared just in time, and the sun came out for a perfect afternoon (if by perfect i mean about as humid as standing in a large vat of campbell's chunky soup). because of the wet field, all the units practiced on the turf field, so i got to stand right up against the fence and watch practice about 25 feet from the field.

as they stretched at the beginning of practice, all the players started clapping and chanting, "hoke, hoke, hoke, hoke..." while backup nose tackle chris hoke did some kind of russian dance which he ended with an amazing jump which you can see below. the second one is a cropped closer look.

watching practice was an absolute blast for me. i loved watching coach tomlin walk around and watch the different parts of practice, chiming in here and there. he seemed to be comfortable and the whole camp had a very comfortable easy flow to it. the steelers know what they are doing.this is coach lebeau...i also enjoyed getting my first look at some of the rookies, including ziggy hood, who was an imposing physical specimen. i was excited about this #1 pick before, but i am even more so now.
still, there is no specimen quite like james harrison. his body is freakishly scary. i remember when i used to be amazed by joey porter, but harrison is so much scarier. his waist is a tiny middle supporting a redwood trunk of an upper body. he is enormous. and he practiced hard. he just doesn't quit, it seems, even on a brutally hot humid day on the last day of practice. gotta love the steeler way.
i also enjoyed watching some of the running backs, including willie parker (below), mendenhall, mewelde moore (who actually practiced),
and the undrafted rookie isaac redman, who i am undeniably excited about. i really have been excited about this kid, and seeing him practice just solidified it for me. he looks strong and quick. he looks determined. i know some are saying that there's no way he and frank the tank both make the team, but i don't know how they don't keep this guy on the roster.
it was great watching ben practice, too, who was throwing some really nice tight bullets to the wide recievers...
until deebo pushed max starks into the backfield and he tramped on ben's leg, resulting in this scene...
which means we'll see alot more of these two guys in the game tonight.

well, there you go. i hope you like the pics i took. i actually took a bunch more, and if you'd like to take a look, you can click here. have a great weekend, and GO STEELERS!


cathyq said…
great pictures greg. I'm glad you enjoyed the camp. what did you think about the game against wash. last night? 4th string quarterback?
Crafty P said…
awesome pictures, greg! I knew the rain would clear (I wasn't praying about humidity though)!

sending your post along to my steeler family!
Erin said…
cool stuff! it has never occurred to me to go down and see them practice, but after seeing your pics, i may try to go down next year...
Brooke J said…
Great pictures! My cousin Crafty sent the link onto me. I'm so jealous you were able to go. I'd love to see training camp! Go Steelers!
NJ Grandma said…
I am guessing football season is around the corner :) Enjoy! ~Gail~

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