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Next Man Up in Pittsburgh: Alex Highsmith

The Steelers received some bad news today after Bud Dupree had an MRI confirming he has a torn ACL. Yes, the Steelers may be 11-0, but it feels like some of the wind has come out of their sail after losing both Bud Dupree and Devin Bush. Two key playmakers on the Steelers defense who will be missed, but Tomlin feels as confident as he was with Spillane in regards to Alex Highsmith taking on Bud Dupree's role on the defense. Highsmith came from a small school called the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. He was dominant when playing there. He had 21 sacks and 47 tackles during his time at Charlotte. So far he has played 128 snaps on special teams with the Steelers this season and has been getting reps as an OLB at times when Dupree or Watt needs a breather. So far he has 14 solo tackles, 1 sack, and 1 interception with the Steelers.

Mike Tomlin said the Steelers are ringing Alex Highsmith's bell after telling the media Bud Dupree will miss the remainder of the season with an ACL tear. Tomlin said "that's life in this business," regarding injuries in professional football, but he is confident moving forward with Alex Highsmith.

Coach Tomlin: "I'm just as comfortable and confident in Highsmith as I was in Robert Spillane when we called upon him, or in Kevin Dotson when we called upon him," said Tomlin. "That's life in this business, and so those guys work behind the scenes every day very diligently preparing themselves for these opportunities. Not only in terms of knowing what to do, but just preparing themselves in terms of conditioning for when we ring their bell, and we are ringing Alex Highsmith's bell now. So it'll be exciting watching him respond to it, but it'll also be exciting to watch his growth. Growth is associated with experience, and no doubt in the coming weeks he's going to be gaining a lot of that."

Coach Tomlin said he doesn't think TJ Watt will suffer after losing Bud Dupree and continued to say TJ Watt doesn't depend on anyone in this game of football. It is going to be interesting to see the rookie take on a bigger role in the defense, but we think TJ Watt can show him a thing or two and he will fit in just fine. Alex Highsmith is the next man up for the Pittsburgh Steelers.

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