Saturday practice report

LATROBE -- A huge crowd came out to St. Vincent College for the only Saturday practice of training camp and they were treated to a physical, spirited display that began with the tight ends and outside linebackers reprising their new drill and ended with Keydrick Vincent lifting Dante Brown off the ground in delirium.<br><br> Yes, the second-team offense scored again in the second of three scheduled goal-line drills

On the sidelines with minor injuries Saturday were, in addition to Jerame Tuman (elbow) and Kendrick Clancy (calf), Ricardo Colclough (hip), Eric Taylor (hamstring) Chris Hope (shoulder) and Jay Riemersma (groin). Dedrick Roper hyperextended his knee during practice.

TEs on Backers: Matt Kranchick put up a better showing than in his first attempt at this drill, but it will obviously be awhile before he can block at the pro level. He showed some strength against Alonzo Jackson, and Bobby Blizzard showed even more against Roper. Blizzard was then buried by Jackson and beaten by Roper as the latest hope as blocking tight end was deflated a bit, although Coach Bill Cowher praised his efforts afterwards.

Team scrimmage I: Troy Polamalu tomahawked the hands of Hines Ward to knock away Tommy Maddox's first pass of the session. His partner in the deep secondary was Mike Logan, who returned from injury. The offensive highlight of the session came from Ward, who went up for a ball with Deshea Townsend and fell to the ground. Townsend knocked the ball up and Ward, lying on his back, managed to reel it in. The best hit came from Larry Foote, who decked Blizzard on a reception and then decked him again, knocking him into several players standing along the sideline. Terry Fair intercepted Brian St. Pierre. Willie Parker showed his quicknees by zipping around left end for a long gain. Ben Roethlisberger showed off his ability to throw on the run once again by bootlegging right and zipping a pass downfield to Zamir Cobb. Also, Nick McNeil beat Bo Lacy to sack Charlie Batch.

Line drills: Tommy Maddox's father decided to watch the line drills instead of his son's 7-on-7 passing drills, so I did too. Here's my list of notes, but remember the defense has the edge in these one-on-ones. 1. Casey Hampton killed Jeff Hartings; 2. Brett Keisel beat Oliver Ross; 3. Joey Porter killed Barrett Brooks; 4. Travis Kirschke pushed Keydrick Vincent all the way back to the QB, and he did so rather quickly; 5. Chris Hoke killed Chukky Okobi; 6. Bo Lacy held his own against Porter and got a pat on the top of the head from the defensive captain; 7. Nate Adibi ran right past Max Starks. The coaches did something new. They used all four linemen against the five offensive linemen with stunts. It was loosely organized with the lowlight being Jackson's cheap shot sucker punch in the face of Morgan Pears well after the play. The two then grabbed each other's facemasks as volunteer assistant Kevin Greene exhorted them on. Cowher seemed satisfied there was a fight after practice. The fight, though, was dumb. The exhorting assistant coach was dumb. The head coach was particularly dumb for not condemning such nonsense.

Team scrimmage II: Brown made a beautiful cutback run against the first-team defense for a big gain; Duce Staley reeled in and executed a screen pass for a big gain; Ward ran a reverse after Jackson blew containment and Ward laughed all the way down the field; Roethlisberger completed another deep pass to Antwaan Randle El in between several zoning defenders; Roethlisberger dropped a shotgun snap, picked it up and completed a short pass.

Red zone: What a pitiful display by the offense. Maddox was very erratic today. Roethlisberger eventually threw a pass to Chris Doering that was called a touchdown by a bumbling officiating crew that appeared to be in midseason form. Greene ran up and cursed in the side judge's face.

Goal line: The offense is well behind the defense these days, but refuses to pass in this drill. Jerome Bettis ran for a yard, then Maddox and Hartings fumbled a snap for a loss of three. "Better go four wides," shouted Deshea Townsend. No wides and Verron Haynes runs six yards over the left side to the one, but he was stopped in a gang tackle for no gain on fourth down. Brown ran twice to score for the second team. He followed a pulling Vincent into the end zone for the score and Vincent lifted him high in the air in celebration.

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