Steelers NT Hebron Fangupo Still Trying To Break Bad Habits In OTA Sessions

Pittsburgh Steelers nose tackle Hebron Fangupo arrived in town late in the 2012 season via waivers from the Seattle Seahawks and ever since his arrival, we haven\’t heard much from him. David Todd of ESPN 970 Radio, however, managed to catch up with the BYU product last week during the first OTA session of 2013 season to see how he is adapting to the nose tackle position in the Steelers 3-4 defense after playing defensive tackle in the Seahawks 4-3 front.

“The defense here is different from what I\’m used to,” said Hebron, who says that he currently tips the scales at 325 pounds. “What I\’m used to is shedding blocks and getting off blocks and making plays. Now they ask us to sacrifice ourselves. So far, I know what I\’m doing, but I\’m going to have these reactions I do that gets me in trouble. I just got to work on getting rid of those bad habits – what I\’m used to – and lock into the game that we have over here.”

Fangupo, who says that he stayed in Pittsburgh during the off-season to get ready for the 2013 season, was asked to explain his role as a nose tackle in the Steelers 3-4 front.

“On the gap you got to be able to hold the point,” said Fangupo. “You got to keep the linemen off your linebackers so you give them the chance to make the play. The d-line here are very selfless people, so that\’s how they expect us to play – selfless – where we take up everybody, and the linebackers make all the plays.”

Despite veteran Casey Hampton not being re-signed so far this off-season, the Steelers still have several young nose tackles on the roster that are all battling for a spot behind starter Steve McLendon and Fangupo was asked to talk about that group.

“They\’re great people,” said Fangupo. “We have a lot of nose tackles right now – just a battle. They\’re coaching me up and they\’re teaching me what to do, but at the same time, I got to fight to feed my family, and they got to fight to feed their family. So it\’s a battle out here. It\’s a bunch of lions out here going at it.”

The group of young players whom Fangupo references includes the Steelers fourth-round draft pick from last year, Alameda Ta\’amu, in addition to undrafted free agent Omar Hunter out of Florida. As if that weren\’t enough competition for Fangupo to face, it was also reported last week that defensive end Al Woods received reps at the nose tackle position as well.

A few weeks ago, I posted about the Steelers depth issues at the nose tackle position and how I am concerned about it. While it might seem like an easy position to learn and execute, it really isn\’t, and I think the comments made above by Fangupo attest to that. Should the Steelers ultimately decide not to bring Hampton back by the time training camp rolls around, we can only hope that either Fangupo or Ta\’amu make tremendous strides between now and the start of the season.

As far Fangupo and him adapting to his new surroundings goes, he told Todd that he loves the city of Pittsburgh, but that the cold takes some getting used to.

“Might as well get used to it,” said Fangupo. “I hope I stay here.”

  • emac2

    I thought the good news from the interview was that he was cut by a team that was looking for him to do something very different than what the Steelers want. It’s not like he failed the Hawks but might still be good enough here.

  • steeltown

    Ta’amu and Fang are both strong, powerful guys if either of them can grasp the system then I think we’re fine at NT.. Ta’amu in his now 2nd (steelers) training camp should make strides this offseason.. I think I’ll reserve judgment till after a few preseason games

    Bryan do we know who was playing NT with the 2nd Team on the first OTA session? I know Woods name has been said, but don’t know that for sure… right?

  • Ahmad

    He sounds like he can be a good backup at NT if we need him. He really has the right attitude.

  • 2443scott

    cold gets getting use to ….well welcome to the real nfl we dont do inside like some teams who rather play baby football afraid of the elements some these teams play where its warm all the time so why do they need to play inside ….so whats so hard about takeing up space so the lbers can do there job …plug the hole and push it at the qb thats all you got to do steelers are not asking you to run side ways with the line your a nose tackle so push line to qb ..sure sounds like another guy whos been standing on sidelines collecting a pay check while he should be watching film and leaning on casey for help since he got to steelers …money money money is all you hear from these players now a days no one wants to work for it ..i rather give his pay to casey even tho he is slower and older at least he wanted to play .i dont know where he i got to try hes there to do it

  • Mike.H

    so the Steeler’s philosophy on DL’s the reason behind Zig Hood and Cam’s low production value Stats on paper…? tied up blockers and let the LB’S make the plays? What about on pass rushes?

  • Isaac Reveles

    you have no idea what youre talking about do you?

  • steeltown

    Actually there’s a lot more to it then that…

    One aspect you’re forgetting is holding your gap, in relation to the running game to ensure that the RB has to cut back and run a certain way, hopefully right into your LB’s, that’s just one assignment…. It’s not all just push the pile, otherwise Teams would just put 375lb guys out there with very little athletic ability

  • steeltown

    The primary job of 3-4 DL is to eat up blockers on passing plays, freeing up the OLB’s to pass rush

  • Exactly, and the fact Cam is a back up behind Kiesel so he sees only limited snaps.

  • steeltown

    Yea, I really don’t get all the bad mouthing that Cam Heyward receives, he’s not even a starter yet for crying out loud! How can we truly gauge how good this guy is or can be (its the Worilds effect)

  • David Edward

    I always think of the job of 34DL as “block the blockers”.Ziggy struggles with that sometimes when his technique breaks down and he tries to use too much upper body.

  • SJ Bobkins

    Amen another guy who tells you how to build a watch when all he really knows is the time. The guy played in Provo, UT as in ski resorts five miles from campus. I’m sure the comment was misunderstood as Provo isn’t known as Tahiti of the Rockies. Coming from BYU you know he has a good head on his shoulders and he has a good work ethic. I wouldn’t trash him just yet

  • Isaac Reveles

    i like what ive seen from Cam so far. he is a Steeler DE he isnt going to get 5 + sacs a year, people who dont get that by now dont understand steeler football

  • Steve

    Scott,,, you have NEVER been in BIG “D” when it is 110 and about 130-140 on the playing field at Cryboys stadium (The old one). Even in the shade it would cool off to a crisp 120. I have lived in the Big D area for 30 years. You can always put a layer on but only go down to the skives. I don’t care for Jerry Bonehead Jones and his Boys, it’s my Steelers that are my passion.
    We played a 3-4 D and the Middle Guard, as we called it, watch the QB’s feet and the ball, which is right in front of you. If the QB moves left, you go left. If the QB moves right, you go right. If QB legs revers pivot, so do you. If the QB drops back, go after him and sack his butt. Better yet drive the center into the QB for a Pancake. If you ever are getting blown out, Fall Down and make a pile.

  • Steve

    Do yins know anything? The End’s read is to watch the back to your nearest inside. If he goes right, you go right, if he goes left you go left. If he comes through the line, tackle his butt, just tell the ref you thought he had the ball.

  • Steve

    Use the hands to grip the blocker. If he gets into your body, your done. Once the play develops, shed the blocker for a tackle or sack.

  • Robert Alaniz

    You aren’t listening to him. He played in a 4-3 where he attacked and now its about filling gaps and protecting the LB’s from having the O lineman getting their hands on them. Its about breaking his natural instincts he has now as a nose tackle.

    If you were a boxer and fought right handed all your life and the next day you were switched to south paw, how do you think that would initially work out for you?