In his first interview since being hired by Mike Tomlin and the Pittsburgh Steelers, defensive assistant Teryl Austin says he’s thrilled to be back home and part of the defense.
Speaking with Steelers.com’s Missi Matthews, Austin gave his overall thoughts on the group he’s working with.
“I like them,” he said of the defense. “They’ve always had a great reputation for defense around here. It’s been forever. I think that’s Western PA. It’s always been blue collar, bring your lunch pail to work and let’s get after it. I think this defense is no different. You watch them, they’re big, they’re physical, they’re fast, they play with a great tempo, play with a little chip on their shoulder. That’s what I see on tape and that’s what I’m looking forward to joining.”
Austin was hired January 11th to function as an assistant to DBs coach Tom Bradley and on gamedays, assist in replays and challenges for Tomlin. Tomlin cited Austin’s preparation in his bid to become a head coach over the years that makes him a good fit for those type of judgment calls. One of his main functions will increase the turnover rate in the secondary. Pittsburgh picked off just eight passes last year, six of them by defensive backs, despite leading the league in sacks.
Of course, this is a homecoming of sorts for Austin, too. He was born in Western PA and played his college ball at Pitt. His first coaching job came at Penn State, serving as their grad assistant from 1991 to 1992. He thanked Bradley for opening that door to him.
“He helped me get into Penn State, he helped me get my first job, helped me get my foot in the door for coaching. So I owe him a lot.”
It’s that familiarity and long-time connections that we’ve seen in the team’s coaching hires. Bradley and Austin. New running backs coach Eddie Faulkner was recruited by Randy Fichtner roughly 30 years ago and spent time with the Steelers during spring practices over the years.