I’m hesitant about this. Apparently the practice yesterday afternoon excited Kevin Gorman, the Trib’s beat writer.
The Panthers conducted perhaps their most entertaining and exciting offensive practice of training camp this afternoon.
Sorry I can’t tell you about it.
There are certain things we are privy to watching in practice but are not permitted to report, and offensive formations and gimmick plays are primary among them. So, I can’t share what I saw. Please forgive the tease.
What I can say is that Pitt has some playmakers and, when used in certain formations, its offense has the potential to be explosive. And we’re not just talking about receivers Jonathan Baldwin and Oderick Turner as deep threats or tailbacks Dion Lewis and Ray Graham and their make-you-miss moves in the open field.
The fun resulted in big plays that broke up the monotony of training camp, energized the team and proved contagious.
Sounds very exciting and promising, but this is training camp. Even within the gushing about the action there was a bit of caution.
If Pitt coach Dave Wannstedt allows offensive coordinator Frank Cignetti Jr. some creativity in his play-calling, especially when the Panthers face an opponent that is considerably slower, like Pitt’s 2005-06 teams.
That’s the “if.” Coach Wannstedt is not known for being particularly adventurous on offense, and has come off as deploring innovations on offense as gadgets and gimmick plays — the Wildcat formation comes to mind as does the oft-cited ignoring of Greg Cross last season.
It’s one thing to shake-up a training camp practice by running some of these plays and getting the players juiced. It’s something far different to pull the trigger on calling the play in a game. Especially a game that might be tight or against a non-patsy opponent.
I’m not trying to be so negative about some offensive creativity, but Coach Wannstedt is still the head guy, and as much as strong defense is his hallmark so too is a highly conservative offense. One of the defenses of former OC Matt Cavanaugh’s questionable play-calling was that it was the offense his head coach wanted.
We will find out a lot this year about that defense.