By Jim Thomas
ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH
Tuesday, Aug. 07 2007

During a typical training camp practice, offensive lineman Todd Steussie goes
through about 10 12-ounce bottles of Gatorade in 2˝ hours. Midway through
practice, the 310-pound blocker changes his socks, shoes, and gloves because
they get so wet from perspiration.

"If I'm not careful, I can lose 10 pounds, easy," Steussie said.

That's one example of how Rams players cope with the heat during a normal
training camp practice. But there's nothing normal about the weather this week
— not with high temperatures expected to be at or near 100.

"It's the hottest spot in the country right now — the Midwest and the St. Louis
area," coach Scott Linehan said. "One of the precautions you take with extreme
heat is to have an alternative plan."

For Linehan and the Rams, Plan B means heading indoors during the heat of the
day for practice.

The Rams didn't have that option in Macomb, Ill., where there was no indoor
practice facility — other than a gym at Western Illinois University.

But they have an 80-yard FieldTurf surface at their complex in Earth City. So
the team moved practice indoors Monday morning, and barring an unexpected
change in the weather, will do so today and Wednesday afternoon as well.

"When it's 100 degrees out, and you're pushing towards 105-110 in the heat
index, it's (something) to really pay attention to," Linehan said.

The move indoors has led to some adjustments, especially for fans of the team.
Outdoor practices that had been open to the public are no more — at least for
the near future. And this time, Linehan isn't inviting fans indoors to watch
the team work out.

The public was invited in Friday — the first time that has happened since the
franchise moved to St. Louis in 1995. But it was cramped. Fans were right on
the sidelines, leading to concerns over injuries to players and spectators
alike.

"There is really not the room in here to get all our work done with 86
players," Linehan explained.

Actually, that's the case to some degree even without spectators in the
building.