Transition to St. Vincent

Mike Prisuta watched every practice and has a treasure trove of notes as the Steelers finish minicamp 2012.

It ended with a throwing contest between Byron Leftwich and Troy Smith.

Leftwich launched one 71 yards. The best Smith could manage was 68.

And then they scattered.

"A good throw-off, a good challenge," Smith assessed. "I've been a fan of Byron Leftwich since I got a chance to play the sport. Just being a part of that with him means more than anything. Pretty cool."

So was the offseason stuff the Steelers wrapped up Thursday morning. For a change this time we had OTAs and a minicamp. And there was plenty to chew on throughout.

Among the highlights:

* Mike Tomlin on the transition to the Todd Haley offense: "We don't carry any luggage from years past, none of us, regardless of whether you're new here or not, new to a position or not.

"I expect the guys to learn and learn rather quickly. They're professionals. Football to a degree is somewhat universal. I expect us to be a good offense when it's time."

* Keenan Lewis on potentially replacing William Gay as a starting cornerback: "I think it's going to be a good season for me. Like Coach Tomlin says, it's time for me to explode. Let everything out, why hold back? Y'all are going to see what Steeler Nation has been waiting for, a lockdown, hopefully Pro Bowl cornerback helping lead our team to New Orleans with a victory."

* Leftwich on the transition to the Haley offense: "As a quarterback I don't care what type of offense it is, how we call it. Our job as quarterbacks is to get the ball to the open guy and I'm cool with that."

* Maurkice Pouncey on the transition to the Haley offense: "I like the new playbook. I like it a lot. Hopefully, everybody else does. It's exciting, man. It's really going to look a lot different this year, especially with the running game. We have a lot more running plays. We might run it a lot more in the red zone."

* Larry Foote on the defense minus James Farrior, Aaron Smith and Chris Hoke, among others: "Feels like the same thing as usual, same defense, same terminology. A lot different, though, a couple guys missing."

* Foote on replacing Farrior as the defensive signalcaller: "I always called the defense in little league, high school, college. I did it last year. I got the respect around here. I've been starting in this league a long time. I will earn their respect without a doubt, they'll listen."

* Haley on the transition to the Haley offense: "Football's football. We're going to play to our strengths and what we do well we're going to try to do even better and push the envelope that way and see how good we can be.

"Change is not always comfortable. Sometimes, when there are changes it has a way of keeping guys on their toes and keeping their focus and understanding what the goal is and that's to win Super Bowls, and win one this year."

* Brett Keisel on young players that have impressed him: "I like our young linebacker No. 51 (Sean Spence), he's moving around well. No. 46 (Adrian Robinson) is moving around pretty quick. And little 2-2 (Chris Rainey) is like lightning in a bottle, he's gonna be tough."

* Sean Kugler on the immediate futures of David DeCastro and Mike Adams: "They're going to get a lot of quality work with the 1s."

* Keisel on playing against Adams: "I beat him most of the time, but that's just me."

* Keisel on DeCastro and Adams: "When they drafted those two guys that was one of their things, they wanted them to come in and contribute right away. Throw 'em in the fire, see what they can do. So far I think they've liked what they've seen."

* Troy Smith on the transition from the Ravens to the Steelers: "It's been pretty cool. It's like night and day from what I've been used to. I'm not saying I was in a 100 percent military-type situation but it was serious every single day. I'm talking about from the time you come in the building until the time you leave.

"Here it's just a loose feel. They let you be a man. You have an incredible amount of guys who take their work serious and they work out extremely hard, do all the things extra. I can do nothing but keep learning from these guys."

* Ike Taylor on his chosen profession: "Football is a young man's sport."

* Taylor on if he still feels like a young man as a 10-year vet: "Yeah and I look like one, too. So I ain't trippin'. I look, feel and play like a young guy."

* Casey Hampton on when he'll be back: "I'm shooting for the beginning of the season. I'm never ready to play in July, anyway. I'm always ready to play in September."

* Hampton on how long he'll last: "If I ain't here I'm gonna be somewhere else. I'm not gonna retire. I want to play for a few more years. Hopefully it's here but with those young guys coming you never know. I still have a lot more football in me. We'll see what happens."

* Ben Roethlisberger on Max Starks being a potential emergency option at tackle: "I would think so. I think the question is is he healthy? And I think he is from what I've heard and from what I've seen from him. So I think he would be a guy that if we need to we could get him back."

* Roethlisberger on his initial trepidation about transitioning to the Haley offense: "I felt like I was hopefully going to be coming into the prime of my career, and then starting all over with an offense. But you know what? It just kinda put a little extra on me and the rest of the guys to learn the offense and learn something new and still just kinda run with it."

* Tomlin on DeCastro and Adams: "I'm comfortable with where they are. The big thing that I want to keep in mind and I want them to keep in mind is largely big picture. I wouldn't read into it, particularly football in shorts. That's down the line when you start reading into what groups they're taking snaps with and things of that nature. It's going to be more of a Latrobe type of thing."

* Keisel on the 2012 Steelers: "I'm a faith guy. I believe we're going to hoist that Lombardi in New Orleans."


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