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Steelers notebook: Baron Batch showing off physicality

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The Steelers' Terrence Frederick breaks up a pass intended for Jimmy Young during practice at Latrobe Memorial Stadium Aug. 3, 2012. Chaz Palla | Tribune Review
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The Steelers' Myron Rolle breaks up a pass intended for Toney Clemons during practice at Latrobe Memorial Stadium Aug. 3, 2012. Chaz Palla | Tribune Review
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Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger signs autographs before practice at Latrobe Memorial Stadium Aug. 3, 2012. Chaz Pall | Tribune Review
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Steelers reciever Antonio Brown signs a fans throw back Jersey before practice at Latrobe Memorial Stadium Aug. 3, 2012. Chaz Pall | Tribune Review
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Steelers running back Baron Batch during OTAs in May 2012 on the South Side. (Chaz Palla | Tribune Review)

• At 5-foot-10, 210 pounds, Baron Batch isn’t the biggest running back on the Steelers’ roster. But the second-year player out of Texas Tech stood tall during the backs-on-backers drill Friday night. Batch won or was even all six times he ran the drill and was physical every time. Batch beat Mortty Ivy, Ryan Baker and smacked the helmet off Adrian Robinson. Also looking good on offense were David Johnson and Jonathan Dwyer.Lawrence Timmons and Chris Carter stood out for the defense.

• Last year’s first-round pick Cam Heyward didn’t have the luxury of going through any offseason programs as a rookie last year because of the lockout. A full offseason worth of OTAs has really benefited the defensive end this year. “It was tough because you really don’t have the time to practice and get to know what’s going on. You get thrown into the fire, but those are the cards you are dealt.” Heyward is rotating between left and right defensive end and will be the main backup to at both positions behind Brett Keisel and Ziggy Hood.

• At times, rookie nose tackle Alameda Ta’amu‘s aggressiveness has been questioned. That was evident during a recent practice when a teammate yelled at him after getting stonewalled during a drill by a much smaller lineman. Veteran Casey Hampton said Ta’amu’s aggressiveness will come. “You’re a dog, but you bite as a pup. He has to be consistent,” Hampton said. “There is more than getting in shape. It is something that you have to get accustomed of doing and play hard all the time.” Ta’amu is behind Steve McLendon and Kade Weston on the depth chart.

• With the fifth wide receiver spot wide open, Valley graduate Toney Clemons knows he’s going to have to show better hands if he wants to earn a roster spot. Clemons has had his share of drops through the first week of training camp. “As a player, you get annoyed with it,” he said. “It is always focusing — getting lazy with you eyes and not looking the ball in the whole way. You can never take any one for granted.”

• The Steelers signed free-agent cornerback Josh Victorian to a one-year deal and released injured cornerbackTerry Carter (hamstring). Victorian (5-10, 190) spent time on the Saints’ offseason roster this year and on the Patriots’ practice squad last year. Victorian originally signed with the Ravens as an undrafted rookie free agent from Louisiana Tech in 2011.

• Not practicing for the Steelers on Friday were Emmanuel Sanders, John Clayand Brett Keisel. LaMarr Woodley returned but didn’t participate in any drills.

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