When the Pittsburgh Steelers take on the Green Bay Packers Sunday in Super Bowl XLV, they won’t have starting C Maurkice Pouncey because of a high ankle sprain.
Backup C/G Doug Legursky will make his fifth start of the season, but Sunday’s game will be the first at center for the third-year player. However, he was a four-year starter at center during his college days at Marshall University.
FOXSports.com caught up with his former offensive line coach with the Steelers, Larry Zierlein, to discuss Legursky’s career and another undrafted free agent’s career.
FS.com: Coach, as you know, Doug Legursky will be starting Sunday’s game against the Green Bay Packers. What can you tell us about him?
LZ: He’s a good football player. To give you an idea of how we got him, I pretty much had everyone evaluated for that (2008) draft. So I started to look at some of those all-star games or what some would call smaller all-star games. And he kind of stood out, so I went back and looked at some tape of him. After looking at some tape from him at Marshall, you could see the guy was a player. No doubt. So we brought him in right after the draft.
Some players, you can tell right off the bat, are natural football movement kind of guys. And he was one. He played with a great center of gravity, good base, good balance. He could move in a bent position, which helps with leverage and power. He was smart, but he didn’t quite look the part you might say. He was kind of a tough sell. In fact, we did cut him and put him on the practice squad later that season.
The guy kept hanging in there and he kept improving and got better and better.
FS.com: Legursky will likely draw NT B.J. Raji quite a bit in the game. How do you think he will hold up?
LZ: Well, I think that would be a tough matchup for Pouncey, Olin Kreutz or any center. But just because Doug is in there doesn’t mean Raji will run all over him. Pouncey is a great athlete, but he will get physically stronger.
Raji is a tough matchup for anyone, he’s very strong, no doubt, but Doug can handle himself quite well. I think a lot of people will be surprised with him.
FS.com: Another undrafted free agent will be starting on Pittsburgh’s offensive line. What can you tell us about (RG) Ramon Foster?
LZ: Well, he’s another guy we found as a free agent. When you’re looking at a guy later in the draft or as a free agent, the kid has to have at least one good quality. He’s naturally strong. And he was a tough kid and was a smart and a mentally tough kid. He had good self esteem and confidence. He never doubted himself. He wound up starting the final four games for us a rookie free agent.
He’s not the greatest athlete in the world, but he’s strong powerful kid. He’s strong at the point of attack and will get better and better.