Steel Valley coach pleased with team's 'physicality'
TribLIVE Sports Videos
Most teams set up scrimmages a couple of years in advance, so it was fortuitous for Steel Valley to have had the opportunity to take the field against West Mifflin on Saturday.
Not only does West Mifflin play up a classification, but the Titans are a returning conference champion — the perfect team for the Century Conference playoff-hopeful Ironmen to use as a barometer for the second week of preseason drills.
“Obviously we're still in training camp and trying to get to the foundation of our team as far as identifying who our players are,” Steel Valley coach Rod Steele said. “West Mifflin is a good football team. It's always a good thing to come out after that first week of camp and go against a good football team, and I was pleased with the physicality of our team.”
Like every program at this time of the year, though, Steel Valley is reviewing tape and trying to work out some of the glitches from its first intersquad clash. No team is anywhere near perfect right now, so the Ironmen are just looking for improvement as they ready themselves for the coming week and their scrimmage with visiting Trinity on Friday night.
And don't expect the team to dip too deeply into the playbook this week. Not with the very real possibility that Keystone Oaks, its Week 1 opponent, will be scouting trends for the conference opener.
“We're very vanilla, but you have to be when you have a young group of guys out there for the very first time,” Steele said. “You have to be able to throw them into the fire and run the base stuff that we do. We've got to be able to do that before we start branching off into other places.”
Though Steel Valley has tried to keep to a milquetoast offensive scheme in the preseason, the team can't hide the fact it's hoping for breakout performances from running back D'Andre Pickens. Who is replacing 1,500-yard rusher Dontez Williams.
“He's only like 5-9 and like 170 pounds,” Steele said of Pickens, “but he has a cutback style like Williams and he's not afraid to put his head up in there. He made some terrific runs and cutback runs and made some things happen on his own. I was pleased with him on the first time out. He really took the bull by the horns and got after it.”
Patrick O'Malley is the returning quarterback. Big things are expected from junior lineman Corey Pinkerton, who was dominating at times up front against West Mifflin on both sides of the ball.
“He's a bad dude,” Steele said. “He's a 280-pounder that likes to hit people and (West Mifflin coach Ray) Braszo pointed him out and, when the opposing coach praises him, you know he's playing football.”
Still, there remains some work for Steel Valley despite cautious optimism after the first week. The Ironmen remain a relatively young team even though several players saw considerable playing time because of injuries last season.
“We just have to keep identifying the mistakes that we made and correct those,” Steele said. “We have to make sure that the linemen up front are understanding their blocks and their assignments. We're going to start with our run game and we have to work a little bit on our pass game…because our run game is going to open things up for our pass game.”
Keith Barnes is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org<mailto:email@example.com> or 412-664-9161 Ext. 1977.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- After standout junior season, Frazier’s Patterson looking for bigger, better things
- Bishop Canevin football looking to make push to the postseason
- Birdie says heat is on for another season of football picks
- Gorman: Time for new ‘House rules
- HSFB preview: New coaches set to lead teams to victory
- Some of the WPIAL’s top teams leaning toward two-back ground game
- Class AAAA breakdown: Wealth of talent places target on Central Catholic
- Franklin Regional hopes to be top contender in Class AAA
- Fast start key for Greensburg Salem
- New coach looks to maintain tradition at South Park
- Charleroi looking to turn the corner