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Training Camp Diary: A Preview

I am an idiot.

I know this because that’s what my birth certificate says. I am 22 and that means I am an idiot. Realizing that probably makes me slightly less of one, but still, an idiot.

But I also know how lucky I am. I’m 22 and get to sit in front of Chuck Noll Field 18 times over the next month. Whatever happens, I can’t wait to share it with all of you.

When I was growing up, around nine or ten years old, I got a “diary” for Christmas. It had a zebra on its front cover. A well-intentioned gift, but yeah, not one I was ever going to use. Even if I wanted to, I had nothing to write about. They served stuffed crust pizza at lunch, best day ever was about the extent of my thought process.

Now that we have something to write about, I’ll treat this as my grown-up training camp diary. A preview of what’s to come.

THE GEAR

The McLumina: Look at her.

McLumina

The car that I and every grandparent across the USA owns. She isn’t the prettiest but she runs and that’s all that matters. It’s my baby, my first car, and no matter what, you always have to love your first one.

PaperMate Pens: Good notes start with a good pen. That is my way too cheesy saying. Seriously though, they’re pretty good. I promise I’m not being paid to endorse them.

Rite In The Rain Notebook and Paper: True story. More evidence of me being an idiot. It was starting to rain before practice one day last year. My *thinking* was to put my notebook on the bleachers, covered up by my backpack. It couldn’t get wet that way, I thought.

Then the bottom and sides got wet and it bled through the whole notebook. Idiot, I know.

So I’ve come prepared this year. For cheaper than you’d think, I got a small notepad of waterproof paper and pen. It’s like if a pair of Dockers took notes. Fingers crossed for good weather, because getting rained on is no fun no matter what, but I solved my stupidity.

Solar Powered Cordless Phone Charger: After having my phone for a year, my battery life has gone from three days to roughly 18 minutes. So this will be nice just in case. I’m that much of a nerd.

THE LOCATION

St. Vincent College: And I dare you to find a prettier place. You’re not. Takes my breath away every time I attend. And the touch of Arnold Palmer Regional Airport its next door neighbor. Just perfect.

SVC has a great staff of people. Friendly and definitely hard-working. It’s a lot of time in the sun and you have to hand it to their security staff.

THE PRACTICES

Eighteen of them from July 26th to August 21st. The plan is to be there for all eighteen. If you’ve never been or need a refresher, practices start at 2:55 except for the one at Latrobe High School, which takes place in the evening. Get there early if you want autographs. I believe they let you in at one or 1:30. There will be a line. Guaranteed.

If you’re going just to watch practice, you can obviously get there later. There’s always room but the stands get very crowded on the first few days and on the weekends so give yourself some time to arrive before practice kicks off. Or bring a folding chair and set up shop in the grass.

The first two days, Sunday and Monday, will be in shells. Full pads begin Wednesday. There will be days of full contact but it’s not every day, especially since there are three additional practices. Often times, it will be “thud” tackling only.

I know people will be very interested in knowing who is doing well during the first two practices but it is difficult to discern that with any sort of confidence. Justin Brown looked really good on the first day of practice last year. I’m really looking for who is playing where and in what order during those first two days. Perspective is key and that goes for the entire camp, really.

I will talk about who looked good or bad on a particular day but one practice either way isn’t going to make or break somebody. You’re looking for patterns and who performs well during games.

One things I’m going to be careful of this year is the “injury report.” Maybe my biggest regret is getting some information wrong last year. Saying players were out when they ended up practicing. Too many assumptions from me and I want to be extremely cautious. So just a heads up.

Make sure you stick with Steelers Depot throughout practice. I think Dave will have a running list of the most insightful tweets from myself and all the other reporters covering. That’s a great one-stop shop for you.

Feel free to come up and say hi before practice. I’m sure I’ll be easy to spot.

THE NOTES

You’ll get the same information as last year. Hopefully better and even more detailed. After, I’m going to include some other fun side series, sort of like last year. Maybe a McChicken update. Or a joke from my favorite comedian. Or some random musing from me. They’re not the focal part of the article by any means and will always come after the football content. So skip it, skim it, whatever you want.

What I definitely will be doing is answering at least one question per day from someone on Twitter. So send your questions in and I’ll answer one right away within the post. Of course, like last year, I’ll do my best to get to the rest in the comment section and on Twitter.

THE READERS

I’ll say it again at the end but without you all, none of this is possible. So thank you, thank you, thank you. For your readership, your donations, your kind words. I only hope we can live up to those expectations.

Here we go!

 

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