Aug. 5, P.M. practice report

We got a glimpse at why the Pittsburgh Steelers are so confident in the ability of Chris Kemoeatu to replace Alan Faneca at left guard Tuesday.

In the goal line drill, Kemoeatu paved the way for Willie Parker to get into the end zone, pulling from his left guard spot to open the hole as Parker snuck through to score.

That was the only attempt for Parker, who didn't get any chances in the drill when the team ran it Sunday.

Rookie Rashard Mendenhall got two opportunities after Parker and was stopped by linebacker LaMarr Woodley on his first attempt. Cornerback Ike Taylor had to leave with assistance after the play when his left knee was stepped on in the pile. He appears to be OK.

Mendenhall's second attempt was successful as he easily bowled into the end zone behind a pulling Kemoeatu and right guard Kendall Simmons.

Gary Russell got the next shot and was close to getting in behind a nice block by fullback Billy Latsko, but guard Trai Essex was penalized for a false start, negating the play.

Linebacker Andre Frazier then stopped Russell on his next attempt around right end, giving the defense a 3-2 lead.

Latsko and tight end Matt Spaeth both were in motion on the next attempt, but head coach Mike Tomlin apparently did not want to end on a penalty, so Justin Vincent was given a shot and was wrapped up quickly by defensive tackle Scott Paxson and rookie linebacker Mike Humpal, who returned to practice after missing the past few days with a hamstring injury.

Tomlin praised Kemoeatu after the session, saying that's why they were looking forward to getting him back into action. Kemoeatu missed the first week of practice with a triceps injury.

Tomlin also said Parker has a shot to win the short-yardage job - or at least figure into the equation - but that Mendenhall, who he said needed to run harder after Sunday's effort, looked better today.

Ben Roethlisberger was again limited today by his groin injury and likely won't play in the team's preseason opener against Philadelphia.

With Roethlisberger limited, the other quarterbacks threw the ball around a bit, tossing four interceptions - two each by Charlie Batch and Dennis Dixon. Anthony Madison, Bryant McFadden – who had a very good practice – Ike Taylor and Grant Mason had the picks.

Linebacker James Harrison, Simmons, tackle Marvel Smith, tight end Dezmond Sherrod and wide receiver Limas Sweed joined Humpal back on the field today.

Cornerbacks Deshea Townsend (groin) and William Gay (groin), safety Anthony Smith (groin), defensive end Brett Keisel (groin) and linebacker Anthony Trucks (back) missed practice. Defensive end Jordan Reffett has been excused from practice the past two days as his wife delivers the couple's second child.

Rookie offensive tackle Tony Hills got a good look at what the NFL was going to be like as he was matched up in individual pass rushing drills with Pro Bowl linebacker James Harrison.

It wasn't pretty.

Harrison went around Hills to the outside easily the first time, then smacked him to the ground with a hump move on the second. Hills did a better job the third time on a bull rush, but still gave plenty of ground. On their fourth rep, Harrison went under and around the corner.

Dale Lolley appears courtesy of the Observer-Reporter.


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