Q&A: Ziggy Hood

Mark Kaboly, a KDKA intern, and Jim Wexell took turns -- in that order -- asking Ziggy Hood about becoming a team leader and his growing reputation for weight room superiority.

Ziggy Hood, defensive end, Pittsburgh Steelers

Q: Who's stronger, you, Steve or –

ZH: Hey, I'm strong. I'm the strongest on the team. Hey, you know?

Q: I'm just saying—

ZH: Hey, he may look like Conan but, hey, I lift the weight. You know what I'm saying?

Q: On role this season:

ZH: Doing my job wherever the coaches allow me. If that's starting at defensive end, I'll do it. Playing a little nose, I'll do it.

Q: How beneficial was it to learn from veterans?

ZH: A lot: wearing the weight vest out here, eating right, picking up different habits, running to the ball like [Brett] Keisel. You pick up all the small things that make you a better player.

Q: How much energy on the field do you get from Dick LeBeau?

ZH: A lot because you know he expects the best out of you. He's not going to scream. He's not going to yell. You want to keep improving to bring him that championship.

Q: On not having Aaron Smith here anymore:

ZH: I feel like I'm ready. I feel like I took the right steps, learning a lot from him while he was still here. He's still going to be coming around, floating through the hallways, still dropping the knowledge to me. But now it's time for me to step up, do my job, and help this team get where it needs to be.

Q: Any changes in the defensive scheme?

ZH: I don't think it's going to change because it still works. We've got to adjust a couple of things and keep on moving.

Q: How much confidence do you guys have in Steve McLendon?

ZH: Man, I've got all the confidence in the world because I know he's going to do his job, fill that hole the same as if he was thinking about me. We're going to do our best to help this team win.

Q: How much does that vest weigh?

ZH: Six pounds.

Q: Why not go heavier?

ZH: No need because it would start hurting the knees and everything.

Q: Why do it?

ZH: Makes you better, makes you faster so come training camp you're a step further than a bunch of guys.

Q: Are you benching 500 yet?

ZH: Oh, no. I stopped that. It's all about speed and technique. No more heavy lifting.

Q: Steve was bragging the other day he's getting close to 500. Isn't he one of your guys in the weight room?

ZH: Hey, he can have it. I don't want to tear my pec like everybody else. I'll just do what I do and try to stay fast.

Q: Shouldn't you advise your young buddy of that?

ZH: Hey, he needs to be strong down there [nose tackle] because that's where it all happens. If he wants to keep doing that, as long as he stays healthy and safe I'm going to support him.

Q: What was it like for you playing ‘down there' last week?

ZH: It was different. New. But, you know, just like playing defensive end you have to learn it. The nose is similar to playing 5-technique, which I do. It's similar in some regards, but now you're reading the triangle at nose, not just two people.

Q: You can tell me if you hate it.

ZH: I wouldn't say I hate it. I'm just uncomfortable because I'm not the best at it. If you feel you're not the best, you're not going to be comfortable. I don't hate any position they put me in.

Q: If you don't care about bench numbers, how do you know you're the strongest player on the team?

ZH: When you can throw dudes around like toys, that's how you know you're strong. It don't matter what you're putting in the weight room as long as you can put it on the field.

Q: How did you come upon Outer Limits [tweet from June 4]?

ZH: Last year I was given a brochure about them. Back then I power-trained here and then went back to Atlanta to work with Chip Smith at Competitive Edge. I didn't have time for them this year. My second son was born and we couldn't move around like that. So when I came across the brochure again, I got in touch with Bill and Shannon and the first week they wore me out. I've liked it ever since.

Q: It's really up to the individual and not so much the trainer, right?

ZH: It doesn't matter who you go to. It's how much work you put in. You've also got to take into account what you're eating and how much sleep you get.

Q: Are you eating a lot of clean food?

ZH: That's what I'm doing. Me and my wife took the initiative to eat better so we could feel better, have more energy and really try to slim down a lot. We started that after our second son was born in February.

Q: What's your calorie intake?

ZH: I don't know how many calories, but I'm eating a lot of lettuce and a lot of fruit.

Q: Thanks, Ziggy.

ZH: You got it.

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