Monday Practice Report

<p>LATROBE -- Maybe it was the approaching thunderstorm and the subsequent change of practice itinerary that had Pittsburgh Steelers Coach Bill Cowher on edge. Or maybe it was the continuing heat wave. Or maybe, since he's been so gregarious throughout camp, it was simply time for Mt. Cowher to erupt.</p>

Yes, that had to be it.

"No," said Cowher as he walked back to his dorm room. "They just... "

" ...gave me enough ammo."

Yes, it was a sloppy practice on a wet field after a day off that had Cowher steaming throughout the rearranged practice that got rolling with the team passing period. The play became so sloppy at one point that Cowher had both units switch sides of the field, or "riverside" as he likes to say, to start the period over. Cowher then erupted at an unidentified player for missing a call and then blistered the defensive line for jumping offsides.

One of the interesting plays of the period was a bubble screen pass to Antwaan Randle El, who was tackled and banged his head on Aaron Smith's knee. Randle El bounced up asking Smith if he was all right. The session ended with Randle El making a diving catch.

The two kickers -- Todd Peterson and Joe O'Donnell -- went through a brief session with Peterson appearing to make all four of his attempts from 20, 28, 35 and 43 yards. O'Donnell banged his first two attempts through the uprights, showing a much stronger leg, but the horn sounded, ending his day before he could attempt the longer kicks. I'm afraid that's how it's going to end here for this young kicker. It won't matter what he does, Cowher will simply blow the horn on him.

With an electrical storm moving closer, the Steelers moved into their team scrimmage period, and of course Cowher erupted at the offensive line for moving on a pass to Randle El.

One of the top defensive plays was turned in by backup free safety Erik Totten, who popped Troy Edwards as the ball arrived and fell incomplete. Totten just might make this team.

Zereoue continued his sluggish work. After rookie cornerback LaVar Glover tagged him behind the line of scrimmage, Bobby Jones pushed Zereoue in the back, knocking him down. The frustrated Zereoue threw the ball at Jones, who did not respond.

Rookie free agent receiver DJ Flick made a couple of nice plays, and the session finished with Cowher hollering at Kimo von Oelhoffen for grabbing rookie running back Antwon McCray by the mask.

During the 7-on- 7 passing drill, Kordell Stewart was intercepted on back-to-back plays by James Farrior and Joey Porter. The catch of the day belonged to Lee Mays, who leaped high to pull in a Tee Martin pass over the tight coverage of Glover.

Missing practice were Dallas Davis and Mike Logan again, while Hines Ward (hamstring) and Jerame Tuman (abdomen) rested minor ailments. Plaxico Burress aggravated his groin injury early in practice.

Cowher was just aggravated.

--Jim Wexell


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