The Pittsburgh Steelers 2019 mandatory minicamp came to an end on Thursday and as usual, head coach Mike Tomlin delivered his annual message to new and younger players that they better make sure their in top physical shape when they report to Saint Vincent College in Latrobe six weeks from today for the start of training camp.
“I left them with the message that they need to show up ready,” Tomlin said after Thursday’s minicamp practice. “And we’ve outlined that more in detail about specifically what that means for each guy. But rest assured that conditioning and readiness has got to be the most significant element of their time here in the upcoming weeks.”
Tomlin has basically said that exact same thing to close out the team’s mandatory minicamps for as long as I can remember. He does a good job every year at reminding his young and new players that what they just experienced in shorts on the practice fields of the UPMC Rooney Sports Complex is nothing like what they will go through on the Saint Vincent College practice fields in Latrobe. Most seem to heed Tomlin’s advice on a yearly basis.
During the end of his Thursday press conference, Tomlin was asked what it is that he would like to see his players do between now and the start of training camp outside of focusing on overall conditioning. He was asked if “getting away” would be good for players?
“I’m just concerned about their level of readiness,” Tomlin said. “I’m not concerned about how they, you know, relax.”
Speaking of relaxing, Tomlin gave all indications on Thursday that the more experienced players on the roster essentially had the day off as he wanted to make sure to give the newer and younger players on the team most of the work to close out this year’s mandatory minicamp.
“You know, like we’ve done with all our OTA sessions, sets of three, we finished with a young guy emphasis today,” Tomlin said. “You know, we talked very openly at the beginning of this thing that we weren’t going to distribute reps evenly, we were going to distribute them appropriately. And we just felt like the young guys need additional reps to gain experience, to display know-how, to gain and display conditioning, all the things that are going to put them on even footing and allow all 90 men to compete in Latrobe. So, really that’s kind of been our focus. I like the way we finished with our work here today.”
As for Latrobe and the start of Steelers training camp six weeks from today, as usual, Tomlin indicated that if it were up to him, the team would report to Saint Vincent College tomorrow.
“We love Latrobe, man,” Tomlin said. “We love our relationship with Saint Vincent. It’s just a great atmosphere and great place for that part of the process and the fan support that we get up there day-to-day is second to none. So, we love our time up there for sure.”
Tomlin also knows that it will be at Latrobe where a good portion of his team will be really tested.
“When you’re in a training camp-like setting, and it’s highly competitive and physically and mentally challenging, that will be the first real adversity this team sees,” Tomlin said.