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March 6, 2013


Filed under: Coaches,Football,Players — Reed @ 1:12 pm


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.

Two more intriguing changes are Eric Williams to Safety and Anthony Gonzalez to LB.  Williams served well as our Weakside LB last season but at 6’3” and 215 is more suited deeper in the defense.

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….

BTW, Mason lacerated his liver, not his kidney. I know, their all organ meat, what’s the big deal? Mainly because livers can BLEED, big time, so when you tear one up it can be a life threatening injury, and with kidneys there’s always the advantage of having a spare, when you frick one up.

Comment by Dr. Tom 03.06.13 @ 2:42 pm

That’s why you are a DR. and I’m not. Thanks…

Comment by Reed 03.06.13 @ 3:45 pm

Rackard was a walk-on? Is he on scholarship now?

Comment by wbb 03.06.13 @ 3:59 pm

Some of the above players listed are good examples of how bad these rating services are.
And how flawed the ‘star’ system is.

Lippert and Banks were considered Top players in the state of Pa. Banks has one assist on a tackle. Lippert has done a little more, but not much. Even this Giubilato kid was rated a Top 50 player in PA by Espn or somebody. Really !

Rackard seems a likely choice and I thought Yoklic the punter graduated. Also if Gordon and Mason are going to miss 80-90% of the season, one of them has to be released, imo. As they’re both injury prone.

Listened to the TRib’s Pitt radio show today, didn’t hear DePaulo mention Ejuan Price at all, is Price still around, poised to start or is he going to be a washout as well. If so I can drop the E from EMel. lol

Comment by EMel 03.06.13 @ 4:25 pm

When they’re listed as an “athlete” like Banks was, those guys have a high ‘washout’ rate.

On the order of a hope and a prayer.

Comment by EMel 03.06.13 @ 4:29 pm

Reed, Banks is not and never was on scholarship

Comment by srb 03.06.13 @ 4:51 pm

EMel, Ejuan Price will be a key for the LB corps this year as he comes back from an off season due to a medical redshirt. In his Freshman year 2011, he was very productive recording 17 tackles.

He will probably be a starter if he can remain healthy through fall camp. Definitely NOT a washout at this point in his career.

Comment by Dr. Tom 03.06.13 @ 4:51 pm

“Listened to the TRib’s Pitt radio show today, didn’t hear DePaulo mention Ejuan Price at all, is Price still around, poised to start or is he going to be a washout as well. If so I can drop the E from EMel. lol”

Mel, made me guffaw. Oy vey

Comment by steve1 03.06.13 @ 5:29 pm

srb – correct and thanks, Banks wouldn’t count against the 85 limit. Rackard earned a scholarship last season.

I believe Juan Price will be in the two-deep this season if not starting. From his bio on the 2011 season:

Played in all 13 games as a true frosh linebacker, starting five…had 27 tackles, 6.5 TFLs and four sacks…had a season-high six tackles (all solo) against USF…had five tackles at Rutgers…had two sacks at Iowa and one at both Louisville and West Virginia.

So Price was a contributor in a big way as a rsFR. Four sacks and 6.5 tackles for loss as a FR is something to hang a hat on. He’ll be a great addition to the defense this season.

Comment by Reed 03.06.13 @ 6:36 pm

just because DePaolo didn’t mention Price doesn’t mean he’s a washout. Right now, there are several players being mentioned, primarily those starters who are returning. Like Reed, I remember Price showing some talent as a true frosh.

Emel, you are deinitely the “what have you done for me lately” type.

Comment by wbb 03.06.13 @ 6:51 pm

How did I miss Dan Mason being suspended? What did he do?

Comment by Chuck Morris 03.06.13 @ 7:30 pm

I don’t know where this “suspended” idea came from. All Chryst said was he and Grigsby had “other things to take care of first” off the field.

Comment by Levance's Headband 03.06.13 @ 8:14 pm

Mason if released would be bad PR move

Comment by FRANKCAN 03.06.13 @ 8:52 pm

Mason up!

Comment by Dr. Tom 03.06.13 @ 9:17 pm

Isn’t there always the possibility that one or two recruits may not qualify academically and need to find a prep school somewhere? The coaching staff probably knows whose grades are on the bubble, so it maybe the case that they don’t need to push five guys out the door.

Comment by Jeff 03.06.13 @ 9:56 pm

I thought Pitt was thin at receiver? I’m figuring they have to keep Tinker…

Comment by Jackagain 03.06.13 @ 10:12 pm

These things have a way of working out after spring ball.
I don’t think you win a job in the spring, but you sure can lose one….why, because football in March doens’t count….football in August and September does.
but spring is a time when players see they new guys or motivated guys blow by them…some decide to give it up altogether or seek greener pastures.
I don’t have enough info to correctly guess who it will be, but the coaches and the injury bug do.

Comment by sfpitt 03.07.13 @ 8:58 am

I like this problem a lot better than the opposite one where the coaching staff is trying to find guys to fill up the available scholarships during the recruiting hunt.

What a fantastic concern to have, too many bodies. I have a question, can anybody answer it? Is it acceptable to eliminate a scholarship from a player and have him remain on the roster as kind of an involuntary “walk-on” for that season? I know it goes the other way with walk-ons earning one year scholarships, does that work in reverse too?

Comment by Dr. Tom 03.07.13 @ 9:19 am

Good point on the incoming class. You can bet at least one will not qualify.

Comment by notrocketscience 03.07.13 @ 9:36 am

Emel, you must have a short memory. Two years ago Ejuan Price was our best linebacker after Mason went down. He is fast and he hits hard. What is it about your injury prone comment that rubs me the wrong way? Oh yeah, it kind of comes with the territory. There’s a guy with long hair that plays for the Steelers that seems to be injury prone. I think he will be a first round hall of fame guy.

Comment by gc 03.07.13 @ 10:15 am

FYI, Ray Graham reportedly ran forties ranging between 4.58 and 4.62 at Pro Day.

These times were hand-timed as opposed to the NFL Combine where it’s a hand-timed start with an electronically-timed finish.

Bottom line… he’s a 4.65 guy who runs like a 4.4 guy when it comes to lateral moves.

Prediction… he’ll make a nice third-down back for the right club.

Comment by PittofDreams 03.07.13 @ 10:37 am

Graham is a fighter and a winner! He will get picked late in the draft or make a practice squad. He has a complete game for the NFL! Sure he is not so fast as a couple years ago because of the injury but he blocks well, catches the ball well so he will have a job in the NFL. What he could of been without that injury? He has made some of the best highlights in Pitt history! Remember that run against Notre Dame a couple of years ago at Heinz field. My son was born and we watched that game in the hospital, I almost dropped the little guy watching that run! Great memories! Good luck Ray!

Comment by Sweet Caroline 03.07.13 @ 11:14 am

Question for folks. I caught in this article in the Trib. guys talking about the great progress they made with Buddy Morris after the season in prep. for the draft….

Makes me wonder what are we to make of the current strength/conditioning program at Pitt? Were these guys that bad off before going to Morris because of Graham and changes?

Or do we have to be concerned that the Chryst regime does not have a top strength/conditioning program?

here we know of the reputation of Morris,… just makes you wonder.

May also show just how loyal this core group of seniors was to the DW regime (not a bad thing)

link to

Comment by Pittscript 03.07.13 @ 12:47 pm

Levance’s Headband – see this article…

link to

Grigsby’s was academic and whe was at the first practice but Mason was sat out.

Comment by Reed 03.07.13 @ 3:45 pm

Honest to God – I’m getting a bit tired of the Cult of Buddy.

Had he been such a great S&C coach we wouldn’t have been gassed at the end of the UCONN game when Edsell did his happy dance.

I’m way more concerned with the actual coaching staff who impact 95% of what happens on the field.

Comment by Reed 03.07.13 @ 3:48 pm

I’m with you, Reed. If Buddy Morris had been all that great, you’d have to think Wannstedt’s teams would have been a little more successful at overpowering defenses and running the ball down their throats. That really didn’t happen very often in practice. Wannstedt’s teams had most of their success running the ball with McCoy and Lewis/Graham making people miss.

Comment by Jeff 03.07.13 @ 7:34 pm

@Reed & Jeff
Too many quality players swear by Buddy ( and have donated to his gym) for me to conclude he is anything less than what they say he is. I’ve met Buddy but I’ve never trained under him, but I’d like to.
But Reed makes a good point and it can’t be overlooked. Were his work so good, why didn’t the results show across the entire team–heck, at least all 11 on the field?
Here is the answer: training is an individual effort. There isn’t an “I” in “team”, but there are 2 in “training”.
Buddy isn’t really a coach. Coaches motivate as well as teach. Buddy is a trainer. He takes someone who is self motivated and makes them his canvas. And his work speaks for itself.
But he doesn’t motivate or inspire the troops . 18-22 year old football players are still 18-22 year old young men and that means they are lazy. Buddy is not going to call you every day to get your ass out of bed @ 5 am to work out. I have friends who are close to ND; closer before Charlie. I asked what really happened back in the day with Faust.
The answer was that he wasn’t tough on the players…soft in fact. He was living his dream and worked like a mad man. He thought the players were too and would have the same work ethic as him because, after all, they were at ND! epicenter of all that is good in life and great in football!
So he didn’t try to motivate them to work on working out or any other aspect of sport or life that requires discipline.
And his players responded like most 18-22 year olds do (yes even then), they did the minimum! And they got pushed all over God’s creation (pun intended).
So did Pitt frankly. Scott Mikilop is a self motivated overachiever! He is also a huge Buddy supporter. He should be. Buddy IS the premier athletic trainer in football circles.
But he isn’t a coach.
18-22 year old football players need coaches like 18-22 year olds need professors.
Reed is right, we did get pushed around. That’s because Buddy does his best work in taking very good to elite and not the thankless task of teaching 18 year olds with tough love.
That’s how I see it at least.

Comment by SFPitt 03.08.13 @ 5:52 am

I don’t think Moriis or any other S&C coach can be responsible for anyone that he had such short access. You’re not going to greatly improve lifting reps within a couple of weeks … at least legally.

Comment by wbb 03.08.13 @ 7:46 am

Morris was a sprinter on the Pitt track team.

Don’t know, but maybe his biggest attraction to players is his insight to improving 40 times.

Comment by PittofDreams 03.08.13 @ 10:52 am


Need to pare down 5-spots by May? I always understood the NCAA deadline on total ship numbers at or under 85 was the start of the fall term–approximately Sept 1st, not the prior May.

Assuming I am correct, I believe guys who are not going to be on ship as of the FSU game on Labor Day weekend, will still have the summer on ship to complete any remaining academic requirements in order to graduate in August (if they haven’t done so by May).

That being said, we very well might know who the 5 that are going by the end of May. But, again, we might not as a walk-on currently on ship might not know he is not being renewed until things shake out this summer in camp as a result of a playing career ending injury or a late transfer out or similar.

So, I don’t think it is mandatory to have completed the culling by May.

Comment by pitt 1972 03.08.13 @ 1:28 pm

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