Batch ready for anything

LATROBE – Two months ago, Charlie Batch had one of the best jobs in football – that of being the backup quarterback for the defending champions. But after Ben Roethlisberger's motorcycle accident in June ...

... Batch was thrust into a starting role for the Pittsburgh Steelers – if even for just a few weeks until Roethlisberger is ready to resume playing quarterback once again.

We caught up with Charlie Batch Friday as the Steelers opened training camp here at St. Vincent College to see how he's dealing with being thrust into the spotlight.

Have you gotten your arm all loosened up? I would assume you'll get a lot of reps.

CB: I'm excited. People ask me where I'm at. I don't know. I would anticipate on Sunday me getting a lot of reps, but that's because I'm the backup, nothing more. I can't play it any more than that. I'm excited and ready to go.

You showed some things here last year that you hadn't gotten much of a chance to do before and earned that No. 2 spot instead of being given it. Is it better that way. You had been No. 3, but you got a chance to win some games and really contribute to that stretch run.

CB: Yeah. It was one of those deals where when you get an opportunity, you've got to take advantage of it. It took a while for me to get that opportunity, but I was excited to be out there and contribute to the season we had. You can prepare for it and your teammates think they know what you can do. But until you go out and do it prove it under fire, they really don't know it for sure.

Was it a difficult pill for you to swallow in free agency to accept a backup role? Did you think about trying to find a starting role or at least a chance to compete for one?

CB: That's always a possibility, but the thing about it, you look at it realistically and see what's out there. Then I looked here and the situation that I have. The team wanted me here. There was a comfort level. That's part of it. I wanted to be here and they knew that. It was a matter of what the role was if I accepted coming back here. And that was part of it as well, I like it here because they let you know where you stand. There were no hidden agendas. So it was at that point that I had to decide whether I was comfortable with that and I was.

How scary was it for when you first heard about the Ben (Roethlibserger) situation?

CB: I was probably one of the only people around here. The first thing I thought of was if he was even going to be alive. I got the first phone call and they asked me if I had heard about it. I was like, "Something happened to him?" Then, I got the next one and I knew something bad had happened because they were two different people who didn't know each other. At that point, I turned on the breaking news. And after a while, I just got tired of it and I had to go to the hospital myself and find out. At that point, I realized he was OK. Football was really secondary. It didn't come into play. I told him I wanted to make sure he was OK and we'd worry about everything else when he was.

If it takes a little longer than expected and he misses some games, I guess it was helpful for you that you actually got to play some meaningful games last season.

CB: I think it was because I hadn't played in so long. It was different because then I could see what I had been working for. And I hadn't really seen many snaps in training camp even for the past couple of years except for the season when Tommy was the starter and I was the backup. Now, I had the opportunity to go out and work with those guys. I was just out there taking mental reps before. But it's a lot easier when you're on the field.

I guess in a way it will help Omar (Jacobs) as well.

CB: That's kind of the tradeoff. When you're No. 3 or 4, you don't get as many reps. And it makes a big difference running a play as opposed to stepping into a game and you've never done it before because you didn't get many reps in practice. Don't nobody care if you've never done it in practice before. They call it, you'd better know it. That's how it works. I've seen it in my nine years. Whatever opportunity you have, you'd better make the most of it.

You've known Ben now for a couple of years. How tough will it be for him sitting and watching? Do you think he'll start lobbying to play right away?

CB: It's tough watching no matter what your injury is, that's the competitor in you. But he's the only one who can truly answer that question because he's going to have to be the one who will have to go and politic with the coaches and trainers that he's OK. They're the ones who will ultimately make the decision. There won't be any players in there making that decision. It will be the training staff and coach.

Dale Lolley appears courtesy of the Observer-Reporter

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