Steelers News

Isaiahh Loudermilk: Karl Dunbar Has Had ‘Incredible Impact On Me’ And ‘Transformed My Game’

The Pittsburgh Steelers should have no difficulty filling out a depth chart along the defensive line this season, and that’s whether Stephon Tuitt is present or not. Whether they actually play great this season or they struggle (against the run), at the very least, the team has a host of NFL talent on the roster now.

The latest addition is third-round pick DeMarvin Leal, who joins 2021 in-season additions Montravius Adams, now a sixth-year veteran, and Khalil Davis, as the newest members of the unit. Then there’s Isaiahh Loudermilk, who was their fifth-round draft pick a year ago.

Growing up in smalltown Kansas, Loudermilk didn’t even play full-squad football until he got to the University of Wisconsin, where he had to earn his role over time, only really playing on a more significant basis in his final two seasons. But he’s gotten valuable instruction since arriving in Pittsburgh crafting his game under defensive line coach Karl Dunbar.

He’s made an incredible impact on me,” Loudermilk recently told Sam Dehring for WDJT Milwaukee recently. “Just the things he’s taught me have really transformed my game. I definitely feel like the amount that I’ve learned with him has been incredible”.

Dunbar has been the Steelers’ defensive line coach since 2018, but has an extensive resume going back to the 1990s. He was head coach Mike Tomlin’s defensive line coach when he served as defensive coordinator for the Minnesota Vikings in 2006, the year before he got the job in Pittsburgh.

One change on the coaching staff this year was the promotion of Teryl Austin from senior defensive assistant to defensive coordinator, in the wake of Keith Butler’s retirement. While Austin’s focus was on the secondary, he tipped his toes in every room, and as a former defensive coordinator prior to this, was not unfamiliar with the territory.

“He really takes a deep dive into the defense and how things work”, Loudermilk said of the Steelers’ new defensive coordinator—though, as we already know, Tomlin plays a very large role in setting up the defense, and wields primary in-game play-calling responsibilities.

Loudermilk played in 15 games as a rookie, a healthy scratch for the season opener but dressing for every other game for which he was healthy. He played nearly 300 defensive snaps during the regular season, recording 23 tackles with one sack and three batted passes. He also had three tackles across 21 snaps in the Steelers’ postseason appearance.

While he showed growth and promise as his rookie season developed, though, he’ll be in a roster battle this offseason as he likely tries to convince the team to carry seven defensive linemen. The most likely group figures to consist of Cameron Heyward, Stephon Tuitt, Tyson Alualu, Chris Wormley, Montravius Adams, and DeMarvin Leal, with Loudermilk and the Davis brothers, as well as Henry Mondeaux, fighting for whatever, if anything, might be left over.

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