Though the hiring of new Pittsburgh Steelers’ defensive coordinator Teryl Austin was an internal promotion to replace the retiring Keith Butler, some significant changes have emerged from the change, according to defensive captain and star player Cameron Heyward, at least early on in OTAs.
Appearing on the Mina Kimes Show Tuesday morning, Heyward revealed some of the changes the Steelers’ defense has seen with Austin in charge, after seven season with Butler at the proverbial helm of the Steelers’ defense.
While the overall scheme isn’t changing as the Steelers are still an attacking 3-4 defense under Austin, the attention to details under Austin has become a major focal point, according to Heyward.
“Just being at the facility now, I’m just starting to realize there’s a different level of detail,” Heyward said to Kimes, according to audio from the podcast. “Not to say Buts [Keith Butler] wasn’t very detailed, but, I think Teryl [Austin] brings a level of detail from the back end and transfers it up front. And so we are all just learning on the fly, and are excited to see what comes about for that.
“It’s not like it’s his first time being a defensive coordinator,” Heyward added. “So I think we’re all excited to see where he takes us.”
Throughout his coaching career dating back to his time with Wake Forest in the early 1990s, Austin has always had a hand in coaching defensive backs, so it shouldn’t come as much of a surprise that he’s building the communication and attention to details from the back to the front of the defense in Pittsburgh.
That may be a bit of a change compared to how it was done under Butler, but it will certainly help with some of the communication issues the Steelers have seemingly had throughout the last half decade on the defensive side of the football. How Austin’s shift in philosophy, in terms of communication and attention to detail, will pay off the field remains to be seen.
Players are excited to undergo some changes on the defensive side of the football though, that much is clear, especially after a tough season in 2021 due to injuries and underperformances.