Notebook: Taylor, Colclough confident

Notebook items from the Pittsburgh Steelers' long first day of minicamp work under first-year coach Mike Tomlin.

PITTSBURGH – The question prompted a smile from Ike Taylor. The smile said more than the answer.

Do you -- Taylor was asked -- blame last year on your performance or that you slipped into somebody's doghouse?

That's when Taylor smiled.

"Last year was last year," he said. "This is 2007. The season's approaching. I'm glad to be back."

He's back with a new coach and a new secondary coach. Does he view it as a breath of fresh air? A new start?

"I'm just glad to be back playing football," he said.

His young partner in the secondary, another player coming off his worst pro season, elaborated.

"Yeah, it's a fresh start," said Ricardo Colclough. "Coming off of last year, a lot of people had their doubts about me, but now we have pretty much a new coaching staff and it's a fresh start for me. It'll probably be in my favor a little bit."

That's what Taylor's smile said, but he's in his fifth year and knows it's better to keep quiet. Colclough is entering his fourth year. He's already the quiet guy, the forgotten guy, and he knows he's at rock bottom and can only go up.

"I'm still here and even though you knock me down I'm going to get back up and keep fighting," Colclough said. "It'll be a shock to everybody for me to just go out and show up. I feel it. I feel a great year coming."

That's what new Coach Mike Tomlin, a former defensive backs coach with Tampa Bay, wants to hear.

"He's a guy that's on the come. He has to be," Tomlin said of Colclough. "To be quite honest, he's a guy that's kind of in a contract year. It's time for him to define what kind of career he's going to have. He's aware of that. We've had that conversation and he's intending on doing the same thing."

And Tomlin's evaluation of Taylor? Can he still be a good cornerback?

"Absolutely. Absolutely," Tomlin said. "He has great physical talent. He has the desire to be great. Based on my experience with him thus far, his actions match his words in terms of being what he wants to be. All he's got to do is cross the threshold of that door on a daily basis with that attitude and he's got a shot."

It sounds as if Tomlin intends to give his highly drafted young cornerbacks a full opportunity to show their wares. Along with Deshea Townsend and Bryant McFadden, the Pittsburgh Steelers may have enough talent and potential and won't draft a cornerback next weekend. Is that good news for Taylor?

He smiled again.

"I've just got to play ball," he said. "I'm not upstairs. I'm not here to see who we draft. I'm just here to play football."

MISSING IN ACTION

Aside from Alan Faneca, strong safety Troy Polamalu and outside linebacker Clark Haggans also missed the first day of voluntary minicamp.

"Our thoughts are with Clark," Tomlin said of Haggans and his premature baby. "Troy has had a trip that he's planned for well over a year, something that's very important to him from a faith standpoint. We're supportive of that."

Outside linebacker Arnold Harrison, recovering from a torn ACL last season, practiced on a limited basis. Tomlin said he'll be ready for training camp, at the latest.

"He's got a ways to go," Tomlin said. "He's been aggressive in his rehab. He's got a great attitude in that regard. I consider him ahead of schedule. He's doing probably more than we anticipated him doing, but he's hungry. He's got a desire to be great and get back out there."

Reserve inside linebacker Rian Wallace filled in at left outside linebacker opposite James Harrison.

TOMLIN THE TIGER

Of the first day of work, Tomlin was enthusiastic.

"It was GREAT," he said. "We're all football enthusiasts so it was good to get out on the grass. We had some great Pittsburgh weather today and it was a good day."

Tomlin hand-picked this weekend to look over the veterans because next weekend he can draft reinforcements.

"It's just good to get a general reference of the guys that you have first hand, outside of watching them on tape," Tomlin said. "There's a different feel that you get from a coaching standpoint when you watch guys work first-hand. You see them communicate; you see what happens between snaps; you see how they emotionally respond to successes and failures. It just gives you better insight in terms of the men you work with, and I think that's important if you're talking about evaluating the team and moving forward and adding to your team."

BEN SEES A BOND

Ben Roethlisberger looked sharp the first day of practice. He's obviously grown with his young receivers – Santonio Holmes, Nate Washington and Heath Miller – and he hopes that's what happens with his young coach.

Roethlisberger was asked to compare what he expects of his relationship with Tomlin to what it was with Bill Cowher.

"It will definitely be different because Coach Cowher was here before I got here," Roethlisberger said. "Our relationship wasn't great because he was here before I got here and I was just a young kid. Coach Tomlin and I are rookies together in a sense so I think we will have a better relationship."

"If it's anything like a football season, there'll be high points and low points," said Tomlin. "But the communication has been clear. I think that's all you need and you understand there's going to be ups and downs along the way. I've been clear in terms of what I expect from him. He's communicated clearly to me in terms of things that are important to him from a quarterback standpoint. As long as we continue to be upfront and honest with each other, we'll be able to meet the challenges that await us."

SETTING THE TONE

James Harrison replaced Joey Porter at right outside linebacker and didn't waste any time showing Brandon Torrey he's to be respected. Harrison got into the face of the massive young tackle after Torrey held him on a pass rush. Harrison later said that it was the tug after the hold that angered him, and that he wasn't trying to establish a tone.

"No, fighting don't set a tone," Harrison said. "I was angry at the time and it's an emotional game. That wouldn't set a tone for anything. I mean, we're not going to play against each other, so me fighting him or hurting him or him hurting me, that's not going to accomplish anything."


Steel City Insider Top Stories

\r\n\r\n\r\nPITTSBURGH – The question prompted a smile from Ike Taylor. The smile said more than the answer.\r\n

Do you -- Taylor was asked -- blame last year on your performance or that you slipped into somebody's doghouse?\r\n

That's when Taylor smiled.\r\n

\"Last year was last year,\" he said. \"This is 2007. The season's approaching. I'm glad to be back.\"\r\n

He's back with a new coach and a new secondary coach. Does he view it as a breath of fresh air? A new start?\r\n

\"I'm just glad to be back playing football,\" he said.\r\n

His young partner in the secondary, another player coming off his worst pro season, elaborated.\r\n

\"Yeah, it's a fresh start,\" said Ricardo Colclough. \"Coming off of last year, a lot of people had their doubts about me, but now we have pretty much a new coaching staff and it's a fresh start for me. It'll probably be in my favor a little bit.\"\r\n

That's what Taylor's smile said, but he's in his fifth year and knows it's better to keep quiet. Colclough is entering his fourth year. He's already the quiet guy, the forgotten guy, and he knows he's at rock bottom and can only go up.\r\n

\"I'm still here and even though you knock me down I'm going to get back up and keep fighting,\" Colclough said. \"It'll be a shock to everybody for me to just go out and show up. I feel it. I feel a great year coming.\"\r\n

That's what new Coach Mike Tomlin, a former defensive backs coach with Tampa Bay, wants to hear.\r\n

\"He's a guy that's on the come. He has to be,\" Tomlin said of Colclough. \"To be quite honest, he's a guy that's kind of in a contract year. It's time for him to define what kind of career he's going to have. He's aware of that. We've had that conversation and he's intending on doing the same thing.\"\r\n

And Tomlin's evaluation of Taylor? Can he still be a good cornerback?\r\n

\"Absolutely. Absolutely,\" Tomlin said. \"He has great physical talent. He has the desire to be great. Based on my experience with him thus far, his actions match his words in terms of being what he wants to be. All he's got to do is cross the threshold of that door on a daily basis with that attitude and he's got a shot.\"\r\n

It sounds as if Tomlin intends to give his highly drafted young cornerbacks a full opportunity to show their wares. Along with Deshea Townsend and Bryant McFadden, the Pittsburgh Steelers may have enough talent and potential and won't draft a cornerback next weekend. Is that good news for Taylor?\r\n

He smiled again.\r\n

\"I've just got to play ball,\" he said. \"I'm not upstairs. I'm not here to see who we draft. I'm just here to play football.\"\r\n

MISSING IN ACTION\r\n

Aside from Alan Faneca, strong safety Troy Polamalu and outside linebacker Clark Haggans also missed the first day of voluntary minicamp.\r\n

\"Our thoughts are with Clark,\" Tomlin said of Haggans and his premature baby. \"Troy has had a trip that he's planned for well over a year, something that's very important to him from a faith standpoint. We're supportive of that.\" \r\n

Outside linebacker Arnold Harrison, recovering from a torn ACL last season, practiced on a limited basis. Tomlin said he'll be ready for training camp, at the latest.\r\n

\"He's got a ways to go,\" Tomlin said. \"He's been aggressive in his rehab. He's got a great attitude in that regard. I consider him ahead of schedule. He's doing probably more than we anticipated him doing, but he's hungry. He's got a desire to be great and get back out there.\"\r\n

Reserve inside linebacker Rian Wallace filled in at left outside linebacker opposite James Harrison.\r\n

TOMLIN THE TIGER\r\n

Of the first day of work, Tomlin was enthusiastic.\r\n

\"It was GREAT,\" he said. \"We're all football enthusiasts so it was good to get out on the grass. We had some great Pittsburgh weather today and it was a good day.\"\r\n

Tomlin hand-picked this weekend to look over the veterans because next weekend he can draft reinforcements.\r\n

\"It's just good to get a general reference of the guys that you have first hand, outside of watching them on tape,\" Tomlin said. \"There's a different feel that you get from a coaching standpoint when you watch guys work first-hand. You see them communicate; you see what happens between snaps; you see how they emotionally respond to successes and failures. It just gives you better insight in terms of the men you work with, and I think that's important if you're talking about evaluating the team and moving forward and adding to your team.\"\r\n

BEN SEES A BOND\r\n

Ben Roethlisberger looked sharp the first day of practice. He's obviously grown with his young receivers – Santonio Holmes, Nate Washington and Heath Miller – and he hopes that's what happens with his young coach. \r\n

Roethlisberger was asked to compare what he expects of his relationship with Tomlin to what it was with Bill Cowher.\r\n

\"It will definitely be different because Coach Cowher was here before I got here,\" Roethlisberger said. \"Our relationship wasn't great because he was here before I got here and I was just a young kid. Coach Tomlin and I are rookies together in a sense so I think we will have a better relationship.\"\r\n

\"If it's anything like a football season, there'll be high points and low points,\" said Tomlin. \"But the communication has been clear. I think that's all you need and you understand there's going to be ups and downs along the way. I've been clear in terms of what I expect from him. He's communicated clearly to me in terms of things that are important to him from a quarterback standpoint. As long as we continue to be upfront and honest with each other, we'll be able to meet the challenges that await us.\"\r\n

SETTING THE TONE\r\n

James Harrison replaced Joey Porter at right outside linebacker and didn't waste any time showing Brandon Torrey he's to be respected. Harrison got into the face of the massive young tackle after Torrey held him on a pass rush. Harrison later said that it was the tug after the hold that angered him, and that he wasn't trying to establish a tone.\r\n

\"No, fighting don't set a tone,\" Harrison said. \"I was angry at the time and it's an emotional game. That wouldn't set a tone for anything. I mean, we're not going to play against each other, so me fighting him or hurting him or him hurting me, that's not going to accomplish anything.\"\r\n\r\n\r\n","mobileBody":" ","skipOnMobile":true,"media":[],"dateOverride":"2007-04-20T17:18:00","authorOverride":"Jim Wexell","role":"SteelCityInsider.com","isPremium":true,"isHotNews":false,"isRumor":false,"syndicationFlag":true,"isClassified":true,"hotNamesLinked":true,"storyImage":"[MEDIA:375169]","mainImage":{},"thumbnailImage":"[THUMBNAIL:375169]","heroImage":{},"authorImage":"","tags":[{"id":"182","name":"Pittsburgh Steelers"}],"nodes":["2981373","99","1597","285275"],"isActive":true,"inActiveAndMemberHasPublishRights":false,"createdOn":"2007-04-20T17:23:50.04","createdById":"182028","modifiedOn":"2014-07-06T00:15:28.23","modifiedBy":"51458","imgs":[],"viewStats":[],"hasVideo":false,"brandUnsafe":false,"breakingNews":false},"editorsChoice":{"siteUrls":["http://www.scout.com/nfl/steelers/story/1704973-energy-bringers-badasses","http://www.scout.com/nfl/steelers/story/1722620-sci-teams-sports-illustrated","http://www.scout.com/nfl/steelers/story/1644408-long-may-heath-run","http://www.scout.com/nfl/steelers/story/1626251-ups-and-downs-shazier-playcaller","http://www.scout.com/nfl/steelers/story/1614465-qa-peezy-deebo"],"networkUrls":["http://www.scout.com/college/oregon/story/1766370-oregon-women-stopped-by-powerful-uconn"],"topRibbonWidgets":[],"carouselStoryUrls":["http://www.scout.com/nfl/steelers/story/1766415-steelers-bringing-draft-focus","http://www.scout.com/nfl/steelers/story/1764984-steelers-interested-massive-te","http://www.scout.com/nfl/steelers/story/1764673-steelers-sign-ironman-alualu","http://www.scout.com/nfl/steelers/story/1764590-could-a-safety-lb-hybrid-replace-timmons","http://www.scout.com/nfl/steelers/story/1764421-steelers-sign-knile-davis"],"storyStreamUrls":[],"storyStreamBlacklistUrls":[],"videoStories":[{"type":"StorySummary","containerType":"StorySummary","id":"1762221","siteId":"68","isPublicSite":true,"subdomain":"pit","siteFolder":"/nfl/steelers","canonicalUrl":"http://www.scout.com/nfl/steelers/story/1762221-film-sets-budda-baker-free","shortUrl":"http://pit.scout.com/story/1762221-film-sets-budda-baker-free","siteName":"Steel City Insider","forumName":"","friendlySubdomain":"Pittsburgh","title":"Film Sets Budda Baker Free","subtitle":"","seotitle":"Safety Fits Steelers' Nickel","caption":"","deck":"Budda Bakaer drew raves after his performance Saturday at Washington's pro day. 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