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    Default Hills on guard for Steelers

    Hills on guard for Steelers
    By Teresa Varley - Steelers.com
    Posted Aug 21, 2011

    Steelers players were off this past Friday, a chance to rest up after playing the Philadelphia Eagles the night before. Only a handful of them stopped by the team’s practice facility to get a quick workout in, before heading out.

    But late in the afternoon Tony Hills wandered in, met briefly with offensive line coach Sean Kugler and then settled in to the team meeting room to watch game film. He didn’t have to be there, but he knew it couldn’t do anything but help him.

    “You want to see the things you do well and the things you didn’t do well and correct them when you get on the field,” said Hills. “You don’t build a house without a plan. I am trying to be the best I can be at guard, but I have to start laying the foundation, not just physically but mentally. Me being a visual learner I get to see what I mess up so I can fix it and the things I do right I store them in the bank and go out and try to repeat them.”

    The coaching staff was heading in to a meeting when Hills arrived, so he was on his own to watch film. Well, almost. His wife Brittany was with him, so instead of her just hanging out and waiting for him, she sat right beside him and as Hills watched and took notes, she offered input as well.


    “She’s told me when I get tired I need to stay lower and stop playing so high,” said Hills. “I took that into consideration. Everybody is coaching me at this point. At home we watch film a lot. She says the same thing. When I come out here and get tired I hear her voice in my head so I try to work on that as well.”

    Hills has a lot he is working on these days as the tackle switched positions late in training camp and is in a battle for the starting right guard job, along with Ramon Foster and Doug Legursky.

    He started at guard against the Eagles, but it wasn’t for long, and not because of the way he was playing. Hills moved back to his natural tackle position because of injuries in the game to Jonathan Scott and Marcus Gilbert.

    “You never know with football. There are always injuries so you never know where you might play,” said Hills. “The prime example was the Philadelphia game. I practiced at right guard the entire week and didn’t take any tackle snaps and then I had to go play tackle. They are not going to say he didn’t take any tackle snaps, what are we going to do. They are going to expect you to go out there and do your job and I expect the same out of myself.

    “I started out as a tackle here so footwork and hand placement change, but it’s still football. I went out there and battled and battled hard. I still have some technique things that need to be fixed. That comes over time with more reps, with playing. As far as effort, energy and physical are things I can control and I feel good about those.”

    Hills was back to work at guard in practice over the weekend, having some moments where he wasn’t happy with himself, but knowing that it’s all part of the competition and the learning process.

    “I am like a sponge right now,” said Hills. “I watch everybody. I watch the young guys, the older guys. I try to pick up on little things. I just want to be the best and to do that you have to come out on the field and put it to work.

    “I am a competitor and I am going to go out there and compete each week. Right now I have an opportunity to start and I want to take it and run with it. I want to be the best. I want to keep working.”

    While the desire to win that starting job is the prime motivator for Hills, who has seen action in only four games over his first three seasons, there is something else that is pushing him and giving him that sense of urgency. The Hills are expecting their first child, and he knows it’s not just his teammates who will soon depend on him, but also a new baby.

    “First it was just me and my wife and she was my responsibility,” said Hills. “When you know you are brining a child into this world there is more is on your shoulders. It’s my job to provide. This opportunity God has given me to play football, and right now at the guard position, I have to take advantage of it. I refuse to let anything stop me, whether it is fatigue, the learning curve or anything else. I am going to go in swinging, fighting, head first because that is the only way I know how to go.

    “I want to let the Steelers know they drafted me here for a reason, to go out there and compete and be a great player here in the organization. It’s a tradition here, especially on the offensive line. I want to keep it up and have the guys be proud of me and they have another guy in the trenches willing to go to battle with them every week.”

    http://www.steelers.com/news/article...c-4cb84da21c61
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    Default Re: Hills on guard for Steelers

    8/23/2011
    Steelers' Hills on guard, shakes label of draft bust

    The Steelers released a new depth chart Monday and it listed Tony Hills as their starting right guard.

    That might not be earthshaking news, but for Hills, it represents a major step in his professional career.

    In his first three seasons, Hills, a fourth-round draft pick in 2008, was considered a bust, a label that's thrown around all too often by Steelers fans.

    The Steelers have a deep and talented team, one that has gone to the Super Bowl three times since 2005. Realistically, there's no way any player drafted after the second round by a team as talented as the Steelers should be considered a bust just because he doesn't get much playing time in his first two seasons.

    There aren't a lot of opportunities for young players to break into the Steelers' starting lineup. Not being able to start doesn't make the player a bust.

    Players such as Ryan McBean, Anthony Smith, Kendrick Clancy, Hank Poteat and Ricardo Colclough were considered busts in Pittsburgh but have gone elsewhere and earned roster spots. Each was considered a bust by Steelers fans because they didn't become a star with Pittsburgh.

    Sometimes, things just don't work out for a player in a certain situation. If they go somewhere else and stick in the league, then they're not a bust.

    That doesn't mean the Steelers don't swing and miss in the draft on occasion. Alonzo Jackson was one such miss. It's possible that Limas Sweed is another, though we should wait and see if he finds a spot with another team before that pronouncement is made.

    Fans seem to focus on those misses, forgetting about the Steelers finding long-term starters such as Brett Keisel and Chris Kemoeatu in the late rounds of the draft.

    Director of football operations Kevin Colbert and his scouting staff have done an outstanding job of hitting on their picks in the first round of the draft, selecting not only starters but stars. That's why they should be given a pass for an occasional miss.

    The Steelers are neither as bad as they looked in their 16-7 loss to Washington in the preseason opener, nor as good as they looked in a 24-14 win last week over Philadelphia.

    But their talent level is a lot closer to the team that whipped the Eagles than the the one that played the Redskins.

    Coach Mike Tomlin is going to have a devil of a time cutting his roster at defensive back, where the Steelers have a bunch of young players who haven't seen a lot of action in training camp and in the preseason because of minor injuries.

    Outside of cornerback Ike Taylor and strong safety Troy Polamalu, there aren't many veterans in the secondary who are considered irreplaceable.

    But with the lockout and spate of injuries, Tomlin and his coaching staff haven't seen as much of the younger defensive backs as they wanted.

    It is no surprise that the Oakland Raiders used a pick in Monday's supplemental draft to select Terrelle Pryor, taking the former Ohio State quarterback in the third round.

    Some, however, were surprised the Steelers showed an interest.

    The interest, however, was just the team doing its homework on a player who was in their backyard.

    Colbert is nothing if not thorough. It would have been foolish to totally ignore Pryor's workouts Saturday at Hempfield High School.

    Because Pryor was an underclassman and not eligible for the regular draft, the Steelers otherwise wouldn't have had an opportunity to meet with him.

    http://www.observer-reporter.com/or/...teelers-column
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    Default Re: Hills on guard for Steelers

    I have nothing against Hills whatsoever, but if you ask me, Legursky has earned the chance to start based on his performance last year. It appears that he is a victim of his own versatility though. Hopefully Hills can get the job done, but I don't see how Legursky can be denied any longer.
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    Default Re: Hills on guard for Steelers

    Quote Originally Posted by Steelreign View Post
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    I have nothing against Hills whatsoever, but if you ask me, Legursky has earned the chance to start based on his performance last year. It appears that he is a victim of his own versatility though. Hopefully Hills can get the job done, but I don't see how Legursky can be denied any longer.
    I agree that Legursky deserves a shot. I really like him. If he were to win the starting RG gig, the Steelers would need a back-up center.
    I'm curious to see what Hills can do. He has been around for what?....3-4 years? It seems like he's been here forever though.

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    Default Re: Hills on guard for Steelers

    Quote Originally Posted by ShayP View Post
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    I agree that Legursky deserves a shot. I really like him. If he were to win the starting RG gig, the Steelers would need a back-up center.I'm curious to see what Hills can do. He has been around for what?....3-4 years? It seems like he's been here forever though.
    This is his 4th year I believe and I really hope he is ready to step up because that would be a big help to the lines effectiveness. How good could they be if they actually played together for a full season with Kugler working with them. He did a great job with the piece milling the line combos last year due to injuries.
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    Default Re: Hills on guard for Steelers

    I sort of put Legursky in that same mold as Hoke. Whenever he does come in he plays well and the Steelers don't seem to miss a beat. Hoke most likely starts on most teams, but plays a significant role here. Same with Legursky. It's both a good thing and a bad thing that he is so versatile, but it's likely that also is what keeps him from starting at one position. Yea, it's not really fair, but such is life.

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