Q&A: Troy Polamalu

PITTSBURGH -- Some players show up for spring ball out of shape, but some have to watch that they don't go too far the other way. He would be Steelers Pro Bowl strong safety Troy Polamalu. After Tuesday's practice, Polamalu told us why it's important to pace yourself, and more:


We talked before about your manic conditioning before you showed up this spring. How's that going?
I think I actually was overdoing it a little bit. I was really excited for this year to come up, maybe a little too excited and I started training a little too hard too early. You know, once you get in great shape it's hard to really maintain it. What you want to do is build up slowly until the season comes and you're at your peak, really, before the first game of the season. That's when you want to be at your peak. The full season will slowly wear you down. That's just the evolution of the season. I was getting in a little too good of shape.

Can that ever be a bad thing?
It is in football because you can't maintain it that long. Your body will break down a lot sooner.

What were you doing?
Just working out, doing a lot of running, working out really hard, a little too hard.

Have you noticed a down side out here? Or is it just the building-the-peak thing?
The building-the-peak thing. I was running as good as I was going into camp last year and that kind of worries me. I'd better taper off a little bit.

How are you going to adjust on the fly?
Well right now we're kind of relaxing our bodies a little bit. We have to go back after coaching sessions and hit it really hard.

Why are you so excited this year?
I just really think that team-wise we have all the chemistry needed to be a championship team. The only thing we don't have is the experience of playing in those big games like New England or Philadelphia has. To end the season that we had last year was a big disappointment and I think that's the part of the building process.

In the big loss last year, there were some deep passes New England beat you guys on. Was inexperience part of that? If so, did you learn from it?
Yeah definitely. That was a huge game. And I don't think that as a team, we weren't all on the same level as we were throughout the whole year. I don't think that we played good team ball. Our team defense, team offense were not pulling together with special teams.

Did you figure out the problem?
I know personally I made a lot of selfish mistakes. Other than that, I haven't really had a chance to look at the game. But I know, from what I'd done personally, I could've done a lot to change the outcome of the game.

Last summer you studied some of the better safeties, and you said you were going to continue that. Did you?
Yes, I did. I watched every single play in the whole season of all the other big-time safeties in the NFL. I made a highlight tape of them; made a low-light tape of them. It's really nice.

All of the sudden the secondary has been revamped. Are you one of the veteran play-callers back there?
Oh, no. Chris (Hope) is pretty much the play-caller. He makes all the calls and we just kind of react off him.

What do you think of all the young talent around you?
It's exciting. Very exciting. We need to continue to have more experience off the field and on the field together and get to know each other's personalities. It's going to be a big edge.

It seems to be a good group.
Yeah, we're a very close unit right now.

So you guys get along well?
Yeah, definitely. We have a great time together.

Besides working out, are there any football plans after these spring practices are over?
Not really. Once I go to California and train it's strictly that, you know, pulling 10-hour days and just really focusing and shutting everything out.

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