The Pittsburgh Steelers have a change of the guard, if you will, leading the defense this upcoming season. The Steelers promoted Teryl Austin to Defensive Coordinator back in February after former DC Keith Butler retired from the NFL. Austin had a chance to sit down with Steelers’ reporter Missi Matthews following the team’s Organized Team Activities (OTAs).
Matthews asked, “TA, just tell me what it means to get this job as defensive coordinator after you spent some time with the Steelers in a different position.”
“It means a lot. I know there’s a lot of responsibility attached to this job based on the traditional defense that’s been in this city for a long time, and so it’s really exciting, but there’s a lot of responsibility that goes with it.”
Matthews followed up asking about possible defensive changes:
“What is going to change? Not that we want you to give away secrets or anything, but in terms of maybe the mindset or what you’re going to be asking guys to do.”
“Well, really what we’re going to be doing is asking our guys to play to the standard that’s been set. We feel we left a lot out there last year and we know we have to improve and we will improve. And so I think that’s really what our mindset is. In terms of changes, there’s going to be maybe some little tweaks in terms of how we do practice, how we do some walkthroughs and some structural things. But I think overall, the bottom line with defense, you got to whoop a block, you got to get off, you got to make a tackle, you got to turn the ball over, and those are core principles of defense no matter where you go and we have to be better at that.”
Austin on improving communication during the early phases:
“Well, you do that every time you’re out on the field and you’re doing drills, you’re doing individual work, you’re doing things, you’re always communicating and you’re setting the bar, you’re setting yourself up for success. I told our guys as a matter of fact, I told our guys today you lose plays before they’re ever even snapped. If you’re not lined up right, if you’re not looking at the right things, if you’re not communicating. And communication is a two-way street, not only just making the communication, but acknowledging it and executing it, because we’ve had some issues where we’ve communicated and we still didn’t execute, and so we have to just continue to work at that and be better at that.”
Matthews asked: “Brian Flores was added to the defensive staff. What does he bring to you personally and also just to the defense as a whole?”
“I think obviously you have a very knowledgeable coach, a good coach, really good communicator, detailed. I think what he does is he brings a different point of view because of where he’s been and the things that he’s done. And I think that always as you try to mesh some of the really good things that they’ve done into the program to help us, so that’s where he’s really good, good sounding board just on certain types of structure, a lot of different ways that he brings a good thing to our program and it’s really good to have a really nice, as Mike [Tomlin] would call him, probably a high floor coach,” Austin laughed.
Check out the media session in its entirety here!