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March 22, 2017

Digging in the Offense

Filed under: Football,Players,Practice — Chas @ 7:33 am

It’s Pro Day today in the Southside. The donuts are available.

Perfect time to start catching up on spring practices from the weekend and yesterday. Let’s look at a couple of the things regarding the O-line and running backs.

I have to admit. It still feels odd to be positive about the offensive line. It has been ingrained in me for the past 15 + years to worry about the holes. Changes. Depth. Yet, this is the second straight year where the O-line has me feeling good about things.

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March 17, 2017

Media availability was pretty decent after the first practice. Both coordinators were put out there, along with Quarterback Max Browne and Safety Jordan Whitehead. Quadree Henderson, the team’s offensive utility knife and Defensive Tackle Jeremiah Taleni got some media time.

Max Browne had some attention for wearing uniform number 4 — which probably speaks to a lack of topics as much as anything else. It’s always been the uniform number he wore. Nate Peterman also wore it, and I had no idea that was any sort of conflict or problem. Like plenty of QBs in college now, Brett Farve was the idol to many.

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March 16, 2017

Spring practices start today. 14 practices mostly closed off to the public and media, culminating in the Blue-Gold Scrimmage on Saturday, April 15. There’s no way it will be as perfect weather as last year, but at the moment I’ll settle for it being warmer then this week in the Cleveland area.

Yesterday was the pre-spring practices press conference. (Is that really what we’re calling it? Shut up.)

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August 26, 2016

Receivers Still Needed

Filed under: Football,Practice — Chas @ 6:03 am

Here’s a fun statistical anomaly:

We all knew that Tyler Boyd was the receiving corps last season. So, I guess it shouldn’t be a shock that he was over a quarter of Pitt’s yardage — with Qadree Ollison getting nearly the other quarter.

As deep as Pitt’s running back situation is. As much as we will all cheer every time James Conner touches the ball. Pitt will need to throw the ball.

The No. 1 receiver position is set in Dontez Ford. Who is not the biggest or fastest receiver, but is the most consistent, toughest and reliable receiver on the roster. The lost spiritual successor to Derek Kinder.*

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April 13, 2016

Spring Game A Few Days Away

Filed under: Fans,Football,Practice — Chas @ 7:41 am

Reed has killed it for football coverage this spring. Much, much appreciation.

I’ll be making my first Blue-Gold game in far too long. Going as a fan/parent (bringing the boy with me) for this one. Hopefully I’ll be able to convince the kid to let me stop by for at least one drink before all the other activities.

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August 11, 2015

The verbal yesterday was the good stuff. Camp itself had little of major news. And that’s a good thing. When practice is padless, big news is usually bad news. A suspension, a fight, an injury, an arrest.

The biggest stuff out of camp was an apology and confidence.

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August 19, 2014

Cleaning Up Some Football Debris

Filed under: Football,Practice — Chas @ 6:03 am

First off, I can’t thank Reed enough for the work he’s done in August. It’s been tremendous having him writing and making the trips for practices and scrimmage. Some fantastic stuff.

There’s not a lot I can add to that part. So I’m just going to clear some tabs, hit the links, and toss a few of my own thoughts in along the way.

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August 6, 2014

Eyes On the Defense to Start

Filed under: Football,Practice — Chas @ 8:46 am

Usually the first couple days of practice, most of the media attention is on the offense. There’s a logic to that. The practice is padless, so there isn’t any hitting or tackling. It’s a chance for skill players to really stand out. Add in when a new QB is taking the reins, the extra attention is there.

Not that the offense hasn’t gotten some notice. Freshman RB Chris James has looked good — and eager.

Yet, that hasn’t been the story in the first two days. It has been about the defense — specifically the secondary for the first two days. The lack of depth with the DBs. The new, energetic and talkative coach of the DBs also helps.

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August 5, 2014

Camp is Open! Camp is Open!

Filed under: Football,Practice — Chas @ 6:42 pm

[EDITOR NOTE: Crap. I thought I put this out before taking the kids to camp and going to work. Nope. Still sitting in draft mode. So, it’s late and dated by 12 hours but nothing else to do but push it out now.]

Padless. No contact. But still, camp is open and that means one step closer to actual Pitt football.

Let’s do this with a link run through and then note some actual things from camp.

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April 17, 2014

Another Spring Practice Ends

Filed under: Football,Practice — Chas @ 2:12 pm

It had to figure, right? Pitt decides not to do a spring game and the weather was absolutely perfect this past Saturday.

Well, from the talk and some reports the Field Pass event was a success. Pitt had more people than they expected sign up and attend the event. I think if they had announced the event at the same time they made the announcement not to have a spring game, the reaction might have been better. Including from me.

Seems, though, that Pitt is at the start of a trend. Or at the very least a debate on the merits of spring games. For programs that will pull in over 30,000 fans for a game, it’s a no-brainer. For other programs it becomes a trickier decision, much more about what the coach and the athletic department feel is needed.

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April 9, 2014

Link Dump, 4/09

Filed under: Football,Practice — Chas @ 7:41 am

No real theme to the stories. Basically some of the ones that have piled up in my browser tabs that need to go.

The pads came off for yesterday’s practice per NCAA spring practice rules. Given the number of players banged up or sitting out practices for injuries, that seemed like good timing. The good news is that Isaac Bennett is returned, but is going to be limited in practices. At this time of the year, it is hard to say what are real injuries that would keep a player out for games and what are little things that they are just being careful not to aggravate when the season is five months away.

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April 8, 2014

So Much For RB Depth

Filed under: Football,Injury,Practice — Chas @ 7:23 am

At least for the rest of spring practices.

It’s been quite a few months in the offline world. Not necessarily in a good way. That’s really all I want to say about the latest gap in posting.

When last I posted on football it was about the running back position. About how there was depth and lots of good feelings at the spot. Naturally that couldn’t last.

Pitt running backs James Conner and Isaac Bennett will miss the final five practices of the spring session because of injuries suffered Friday, the university announced via social media.

Conner, a rising sophomore, sprained his left knee, while Bennett, a senior, sprained his left shoulder, the team posted on Twitter.

The injuries are not expected to prevent them from being ready for offseason conditioning when it begins in May, the team said.

Bennett and Conner combined for 1,596 yards rushing and 15 touchdowns last season.

Conner left the indoor practice facility on a golf cart with his knee wrapped in ice. He had an MRI, which revealed no structural damage.

Not long after Conner was injured, Bennett injured his shoulder. He watched the remainder of practice with his arm in a sling.

Yes, it could have been worse. Both with sprains. Not tears or breaks or anything else.

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March 30, 2014

What The Offense Offers

Filed under: Football,Practice — Chas @ 12:52 pm

I guess the only question I have is, why did they decide to work on this now?

While quarterback Chad Voytik goes through his first spring as the presumed starter, sharing snaps equally with Trey Anderson, he is working on cleaning up mechanics in his throwing motion.

“My stride length is a little long,” he said.

He said Chryst noticed it, but Voytik said he has been aware of it since high school.

If Voytik’s accuracy suffers in practice while making the changes, he isn’t worried.

“There are a lot of days before the first game,” he said.

Chryst said perfecting the details can make a difference.

“You have to teach what to do,” he said. “But how-to is important. That’s where you gain an edge.”

And by now, I mean why didn’t they work on it any time in the previous two years? Yeah, it beats deciding to fix this sort of thing in the fall, but Voytik is a redshirt sophomore. There was no coaching change during that time to throw any work on it off.

You would think that the time to work on it would be earlier when there is a lot less pressure and plenty more time to get it straightened out. This isn’t exactly the giant hitch in the throwing motion Pat Bostick had, but it just seems odd that the coaches waited until now to have him work on it. I guess Chryst being a lot closer to what the QBs are doing this year must have decided it wasn’t something that should be left uncorrected any longer. Well, as long as it is all taken care of before the end of August.

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March 28, 2014

Eyes On the Defense

Filed under: Football,Practice — Chas @ 7:33 am

Offense is what everyone notices. It’s always the focus of stories. Especially in the spring practices where contact is more limited, so it is easier for the skill positions to stand out.

It doesn’t feel this way for this spring. Even with all eyes on Chad Voytik. Even with the annual angst concerning the O-line. No, the questions, concerns issues of depth all seem to be on the defense.

It’s replacing the irreplaceable Aaron Donald. It’s the half the DBs being new starters. It’s the questions at the defensive end spots. And without any obvious stud players coming in this fall, it is about seeing who is developing this spring.

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March 18, 2014

Spring Practice Always Seems Too Soon

Filed under: Football,Practice — Chas @ 7:36 am

I’m not saying Coach Paul Chryst does his level best to minimize any hype and attention to football in the spring, but cancelling the Blue-Gold Scrimmage and having the first practice on the same evening as Selection Sunday. Well, it’s hard not to make some inferences.

Between my absences and basketball season, football talk has gotten a short shrift from me. Not that there has been much beyond speculation for most of the last month. Still, there were some items.

Bryan Murphy and Mark Giubilato have left the team, though the two will remain at Pitt to finish their academics. Both will be seniors. Some attrition was expected simply because the scholarship numbers weren’t adding up correctly.

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