More link clearance time. This one on the football side of things.
More Zach Brown stuff. Nice thing for media on transfers. Everyone can talk right away about it. Coaches can talk freely.
“I’m excited about having him,” Pitt co-offensive coordinator Calvin Magee said. “I’m excited about the experience he is going to bring. He’s been in big games. He’s a big, punishing running back. Now, we have two veterans (backs) who have been in the game and understand what we want.”
Brown, who was twice voted his high school team’s most unselfish player, epitomizes what Pitt is seeking, Magee said.
“He brings a great work ethic and so much character. This is what we are preaching.”
Brown, who is from Florida, was down to Pitt or Wisconsin when he was in high school. Glad to see he gets a do-over, even if the coaches are different.
“It’s a great opportunity to play there and showcase my talents,” he said. “Plus it’s a great school academic-wise.” Brown has a degree in history.
Brown, who likely would have started the season no higher than third on Wisconsin’s depth chart, said the ability to play right away at Pitt appealed to him.
I’m sure the academics are a nice plus, but let’s be honest. It’s knowing he comes to Pitt and immediately has the #2 spot on the depth chart going into camp.
The story notes that Brandon Felder, the UNC transfer is still waiting to hear from teh NCAA about his hardship petition to be eligible this coming season.
Watchlists are starting. Ray Graham was named to the Maxwell for best college player. Brandon Lindsey was put on the Bednarik for best defensive player.
A silly list of the best duos on offense for each conference. Pitt is only mentioned at the Tackle position with Lucas Nix and Jordan Gibbs. I’m hopeful that we can revisit that list at the end of fall and point to the combo of Shanahan and Street at WR.
Summer jobs for Pitt players. Well, internships. Last week ESPN’s Big East writer profiled Andrew Taglianetti interning for the Penguins corporate sales division.
His dad, Peter, won Stanley Cups with the Penguins in 1991 and 1992. Andrew has always loved hockey and had a fondness for the Penguins. He worked in the locker room in high school. His twin brother, Jon, left the Pitt football team and now works as an equipment manager for the Penguins.
Andrew has gotten to know Penguins general manager Ray Shero, and reached out to see if there were any internships available. He was put in touch with someone else, sent in his resume, and got the job. He started May 15, and has juggled taking finance, economics and philosophy classes along with offseason conditioning work.
Max Gruder is interning at Human Engineering Research Laboratories in Shadyside, a Pitt facility designing equipment to help the disabled.
Gruder is part of a team developing low-cost therapeutic footwear for people in underprivileged countries suffering from diabetes and elephantiasis, which can lead to swelling and amputation of the feet, Pitt research has found. He said 500 million people worldwide are afflicted by the diseases.
The project is targeting Ghana where, Gruder said, people don’t have enough money to purchase proper shoes, making them vulnerable to disease transmission through openings in the skin on their feet.
“People are so poor they use any means possible to get a shoe,” he said. “Some people get two-liter Coke bottles, cut the bottom out and tape them to the bottom of their foot.”
Gruder’s team is developing the shoe and plans to market it in Ghana for less than $3.50. Gruder is working on a business plan to find affordable materials.
In between all that, they are taking classes. Learning a new defense, and taking part in conditioning drills. I spent my Pitt summers working a bit and being drunk. That may explain a lot.
Finally, since it is more than a couple weeks old, this piece on Graham and the offseason. The focus is on the kids dealing with the new workouts and conditioning expectations.
“It’s definitely been high energy,” defensive lineman Myles Caragein said. “That’s something they pounded into us in the spring. That’s kind of what we’re doing right now to make sure we’re ready for camp.”
Pitt players have been working out at the team’s South Side facility. While all college football players use the summer to get in better shape and prepare for the season, Pitt’s workouts under new strength coach Shawn Griswold have an added purpose. Graham has installed a high tempo offense and a defense capable of spreading the field, a drastic difference from Wannstedt’s pro-style schemes.
“I think the major improvement is just our conditioning level,” quarterback Tino Sunseri said. “When we first got out here in the spring, the first couple of periods we’d be running around and (we’d) get gassed. Now, the way we’ve been running so much with Coach Gris and the lifting we’ve been doing, you see guys out here and our legs are underneath us. We’re fresh.”
Pitt’s new look under Graham is part of a wider set of changes throughout the Big East. Cincinnatti is in Year 2 of moving on from Brian Kelly’s tenure, while Connecticut has a new coaching staff following the departure of Randy Edsall. Plus, just south of the border in Morgantown, W. Va., Pitt’s backyard rival is undergoing the tumultuous transition from Bill Stewart to Dana Holgorsen.
“It will be different, I think. It’s going to be challenging, even for us,” Graham said. “We’re coming in and learning new opponents as well. We have a new staff at UConn, a new offensive system at West Virginia. It’s going to be different and we’re looking forward to it.”
Safety Jarred Holley said that having a few new schemes, including some more uptempo offenses, means the defense has to make sure it’s on par with Pitt’s offensive conditioning.
“Just like our offense, everything is high octane and moving,” Holley said. “We have to be up on their level and at the same tempo. Overall, it’s a good thing for our team, especially in the fourth quarter. When we need to finish out games, we’ll be strong.”
33 days until Pitt’s camp opens.