Practice report, July 31

LATROBE – After the morning practice was moved indoors to St. Vincent College's gymnasium, the Steelers held their second outdoor practice Monday afternoon on the rain-soaked fields here. Defensive end Travis Kirshke (back) and fullback Dan Kreider (foot) were held out of the session.

Rodney Bailey moved up into Kirshke's spot opposite Shaun Nua on the second team defense and looked good.

During 9-on-7 inside running drills, Bailey shed a blocker, slid down the line and enveloped running back Cedric Humes as he hit the hole.

Later in one-on-one pass rushing drills, Bailey had his way with rookie offensive tackle Willie Colon, who lost some early battles to Bailey, Andre Frazier and Clark Haggans. Colon came back late to stone Bailey, Aaron Smith and Frazier toward the end of the drill. The kid seems to be a fast learner.

Nua also looked good at times and pulled off a nice inside spin move. But it was against Ulish Booker, so it's tough to say how effective it would have been against someone with talent.

Trai Essex is continuing to see time at guard as it looks as if they are preparing him to fill the spot of Barrett Brooks as the swing guy on game days. Brooks is a great guy, but his days here appear to be numbered.

Chris Kemoeatu has his work cut out for him if he hopes to push Kendall Simmons out of a starting job. Though Kemoeatu's punch is effective when he hits people with it, when he misses, he tends to get a little off balance.

Brett Keisel was the star of the one-on-one drills. He's a fluid pass rusher and really gets up the field quickly. How he handles playing the run every down remains to be seen, but his pass-rush ability is something the team doesn't have in any of its other linemen.

Over in the one-on-one passing drills, Nate Washington continued to shine, this time making a beautiful diving catch of a deep pass from Charlie Batch working against Ryan Clark.

In team drills, rookie corner Anthony Madison showed some flashes, batting down a couple of passes in coverage. Madison made a nice read on a quick out by Lee Mays to bat down a pass from Omar Jacobs. Later, he got a hand in front of Willie Reid to bat down a ball from Shayne Boyd.

Mike Logan had a nice diving interception of a tipped pass off the hands of Jerame Tuman, re-catching the ball as he rolled to the ground. Had the practice been held in Indianapolis, it may have been ruled incomplete upon review, but it was an interception in my book.

Tyrone Carter also had an interception in 11-on-11, picking off a scrambling Ben Roethlisberger, who overthrew Hines Ward badly.

Verron Haynes had the lone fumble in the session, getting stripped by Casey Hampton on a cutback. The ball came out high into the air into the waiting arms of Aaron Smith.

Santonio Holmes tweaked a hamstring, but it was nothing serious.

He, Reid and Cedric Wilson were fielding punts during special teams sessions. Kevin Spencer also wants Washington to work some at that spot as well.

Dale Lolley appears courtesy of the Observer-Reporter.

Steel City Insider Top Stories