First Day of Camp Cowher

<b>LATROBE -</b> The Steelers held their first practice of the 2003 training camp here at St. Vincent College with a larger than normal crowd in attendance. <br><br> And the team gave that crowd plenty to cheer about as it turned in a pretty crisp performance.

The defensive backs had a strong practice during the drills portion working against the wide outs, with the exception of Hank Poteat, who was turned inside out by Hines Ward on a throw from Tommy Maddox and beaten badly for a touchdown.

Rookie free agent Nashville Dyer impressed and looked very good in coverage, while Deshea Townsend was in perfect position on a fly pattern against Lee Mays, only to have Mays make a nice leaping grab on top of him.

Dewayne Washington also had a very strong practice and showed he may be ready to shake off some of the problems that dogged him last season.

In the seven-on-seven drills, Brent Alexander picked off the first play from scrimmage on a Maddox pass that was intended for Ward and tipped by Washington.

Leonard Scott, who came off the Physically Unable to Perform list earlier in the day, again struggled a day after flopping in the run test. Scott dropped a couple of passes and also fumbled after another play. Kendrell Bell drew a big reaction for a hit he had on running back Jerome Bettis on the first running play of team drills. But Bettis spun off the hit and continued running.

Center Jimond Pugh and quarterback Tim Levcik drew the wrath of head coach Bill Cowher after fumbling a snap exchange.

While the rest of the team huddled, Pugh and Levcik were forced to practice the exchange a couple of more times before drills could continue.

"I just wanted to embarrass them a little bit," said Cowher. "That's been a problem in the past and we want to fix it."

The heat index at practice was 89 degrees.

Dale Lolley

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