Though training camp won’t be held at St. Vincent College for the first time in over 50 years, Steelers’ Nation will still get a peak at summer football beginning August 17th.
According to the Steelers’ website, the team will broadcast “a portion of the Steelers daily camp session at Heinz Field.” Fans will be able to cast votes for which player the team will focus their cameras on each day (please vote for Danny Smith).
The 17th marks the first day of padded practices. Everything leading up to then will be strength and conditioning work and padless sessions, an on-ramp to get ready for the season after missing all of the spring.
Getting some glimpse into what happens at Heinz Field is better than nothing. But don’t get too excited for thinking you’ll see backs on backers drills or 11v11 scrimmages. While the team site doesn’t spell out what portion they’ll be showing, it’s overwhelmingly likely it will just be warmups and individual sessions that take place early in practice. In normal years at SVC, no cameras are allowed when the team even gets into 1v1 sessions, much less full team drills.
Other staples from past training camp will remain. There will be radio shows covering the day of practice along with Bob Pompeani hosting a camp wrap-up show each every Saturday night on KDKA.
Steelers.com also outlined the extra precautions the team is taking with camp at Heinz Field and how the equipment and training staff prepared for this upcoming month. It’s a great feature piece worth reading in its entirety but some of the highlights include a large, outdoor weight room area for the players. A space double the size than they had at Latrobe.
“The training and equipment staffs also have plenty of space, including a 64-foot trailer where players, coaches, and staff will be tested daily for COVID. The weight room will be an outdoor oasis in an area between the locker rooms and the dining area to allow for secure and healthier atmosphere. And every inch of space will be cleaned and sanitized to reduce risks for everyone.”
One looming concern is keeping Heinz Field’s grass in good condition. There is the benefit of not entertainment, no concerts or other live events during the summer, but the team admits it will be a challenge to keep the field in great shape. Unlike Latrobe, there’s only one field for the team to work on. At St. Vincent, they had three and a turf field for rainy weather.
Any kind of repeated drills in the same place every day over and over, we will have to do work there,” said sports turf operations manager Chris Ecton. “But if we can move them around, we hope to get through camp. The original grass is always better than what you replace it with.”