View Full Version : Parker tries to make himself at home

12-14-2006, 10:42 AM

Thursday, December 14, 2006

By Ed Bouchette, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Willie Parker looks forward to playing on the road Sunday, even though it practically has swallowed him and the Steelers' running game this year.

It has been more brick wall than yellow brick road for the Steelers and their ground game this season.

Parker has averaged just 45.8 yards on the road this season compared to 132 at home, and while Charlotte's Bank of America Stadium is not Heinz Field, Parker could consider it home.

A native of Clinton, N.C., Parker played at the University of North Carolina, although it's well documented that his coaches there never awarded him the starting job at halfback. He will make his first pro regular-season start in his home state Sunday.

"It's going to be great," Parker said yesterday. "North Carolina is where a lot of my family and old teammates like Julius Peppers are. It's coming home for me. I had to get a lot of tickets. All my family is going to be around. It's one of those games that you love to play."

One thing Parker and guard Alan Faneca agreed on is the need for another halfback to complement him next season, preferably a bulldozer who can ram into a pile and move it. He would not have to weigh as much as Jerome Bettis, but must have that kind of running style.

It has been a topic of discussion for much of the season as Parker carried 72.7 percent of the time with 264 runs.

"I think that would be great, another back, a 1-2 punch," Parker said. "I think that would be great. And the way we run the ball, and the way we want to run the ball, I think that would be a great decision ...

"Me and Jerome, we did a phenomenal job last year, and I thought that's how we were going to be this year, but we didn't go that way."

Willie needs to show up big for us on the road to take the crowd out of it and control that clock. The panthers are in a desperate situation right now so we need to get up on them and not look back. If we can get up on them by the 2nd half, 4th quarter especially, we can take this game because they are terrible in the 2nd half.

12-14-2006, 10:59 AM
Hopefully since they are heading down to his roots he will come up big time and raise that average on the road... I wouldn't mind seeing another 200 yard game :dunno: