Some spring practices thoughts to discuss while reports slowly trickle in…
Scholarships: We have to pare down the scholarship roster by five spots before May so who’s on the chopping block? Here are the redshirt seniors who are eligible for walking papers: Gordon, Lippert, King, Hollins, Rackard, Tinker, Barthelemy, Ezell, Schlieper, Banks, Yoklic, Des Brown, Hendricks, Savage, Street and Mason.
Right off the bat you look at who has contributed in the past but, more importantly, what they will contribute in the future. With that I’ll list Emanuel Rackard who is a LB, DL Jack Lippert who gave his all but is expendable, DB E.J. Banks transferred in two years ago but really hasn’t played much, LS Kevin Barthelemy is our long snapper but we have a walk-on long snapper on the roster also.
That is four right there and Dan Mason has been through severe injuries and trips to the doghouse with his second career suspension happening as we speak. Of course Mason has contributed early on and in the recent past before he lacerated his kidney, surprising me as I didn’t think he’d play well again after his initial knee injury. He’s a fan favorite for sure but one has to wonder if the staff doesn’t look at him and see an opening.
That’s speculative of course but those open scholarships have to come from somewhere. There most probably are a couple of transfers to happen after the spring practices every year. However, PITT doesn’t force players out until they have had their chance at a four year degree – even though scholarships are awarded on a yearly renewal basis.
Wannstedt was a good one for sitting kids down and explaining the facts of their PITT football lives to the marginal players. He got the players into a good spot to be if they wanted to continue playing college ball on a different level. You’ll remember that Mark Myers transferred right before training camp of last year. He actually waited a bit which was strange in my opinion.
Position Switches: I’m still scratching my head over the move of Dave Durham from FB, where he played while at Ohio State, to DE. We are desperately short of bodies at the DE position but I feel we need an upgrade at FB also.
Mark Giubilato is a gamer and as a converted QB filled the FB role adequately but we need someone who can blast open holes in the second level to spring Shell and whoever else is at RB for us. At 6’2” and 230 he’s a bit light at that position whereas Durham, at 6’1 and 245 is the ideal size at FB but light and short at DE.
Gonzales is doing the ‘Dorian Dickerson dance’ but in reverse. Where Dickerson was a RB and a LB before he ended up making his mark at TE Gonzalez has gone from QB to TE to DB to LB. He was 185 when he first came to PITT in 2010 and now has muscled up to 210 and he’ll put on more between now and September in light of this move.
Demetrious Davis has been moved from WR to RB, specifically to get an injection of home run speed into the offensive backfield. For all of you Wildcat Conspiracy Theorists here something to know about D. Davis – he was a pretty good QB in high school also.
rsFR Ryan Lewis who was recruited as a cornerback will be tried out at Safety also. You’ll remember that this is the kid whose father played in the NFL and who is from WA State.
Live From the Southside!: PITT is going to be broadcasting live reports from the Spring Practices with Pat Bostick and some other guy. They will be on PITT Live! and here’s the first report from yesterday.
More later as the practices unfold….