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The Steelers 1978 Season Begins Here>>>


Woody Widenhofer media guide photo 1978“I like a couple of our defensive backs,” noted Woody Widenhofer (picture left) the Steelers defensive backs and linebacker coach, before adding, “Those kids from Notre Dame have shown me something too.”

The Steelers number one draft choice Ron Johnson was one player who had caught Woody’s eye along with two lesser-known prospects, Nate Terry and Larry Anderson. “All three of them are doing well, “revealed Widenhofer although he added nobody had done any hitting yet.

They all have the qualities all coaches desire in a defensive back, Widenhofer told the Pittsburgh Press, size, speed, quickness, balance, body control as well as intelligence and football sense. “We’ve only been working on two coverages so far,” said Widenhofer, “and they seem to have caught onto them pretty quick.”

Reviewing his linebackers, Widenhofer acknowledged, “So far, Doug Becker is doing better than the other linebackers. He’s not as tall as you like your linebackers to be, but he has a lot of other things that you like in a linebacker.

He’s got good straight-ahead speed and he’s strong. His size though might be a problem,” added Widenhofer. “We’re going to have a 15-minute scrimmage today and we’ll get a better idea of what these people can do.”
Becker’s former Notre Dame teammate Willie Fry has been impressive as anyone in camp. “I’m really pleased with Fry’s toughness,” said Widenhofer. “Willie’s a lot tougher than I thought he’d be. On top of that, he’s a very bright guy.


The defensive coach has focused on the new rule change that restricts the blocking of receivers to within five yards of the line of scrimmage. “We have to change everything we’ve been doing,” explained the coach. “We studied our game films during the off-season and most of our jamming was done beyond five yards downfield. We won’t be able to do that anymore.

It’s going to be a real problem for middle linebackers like ours who play three-and-a-half yards off the line of scrimmage. The middle backer is going to have his problems, particularly when the tight end releases inside and breaks downfield.

Last year, Jack Lambert could drop off and jam the receiver as he broke downfield. He could disorient him. No more.”

The answer? “A quicker jam,” noted the coach. “And make sure we come off him. Come off him and run with him. The linebacker’s going to have to run more than he ever did before.”
Widenhofer was enthusiastic about some of the things they were doing, admitting they were a lot better than the things they had done before. “As soon as these fellows learn to do the things we want them to do, we’ll be all right. I have no doubts about that.”




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This site last updated September 24th 2017.

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