This is going to be a long 1st of two articles so pour yourself a drink and get comfortable… I know its morning so make it a Bloody Mary, Screwdriver or Baileys in your coffee… Yinz guys are drunks anyway so just embrace that and enjoy.
I drove up to the Southside complex today, leaving at 5:00 am and getting there at 9:30 so I had 45 minutes to kill before the practice started at 10:15. With that I had a chance to sit around, drink coffee and watch the players and coaches get out of their cars and walk into the sports complex. I tried to guess who was who but no one was wearing their jerseys… lack of pride in the program I think!
The local media outlets were well represented with Peak from rivals, Flinn from 24/7, Werner from the P-G and Jerry DiPaola from the Trib along with Pat Bostick of CBS – The Fan radio and Borghetti and Ted Feely from the SID department. That made for some really interesting conversations regarding the staff and players that I’ll paraphrase later on in the article. Interestingly enough though there weren’t many of the player’s family members at this practice, just a handful and a big difference from other practices.
I got into a nice conversation with Inoke Breckterfield while walking over to the practice fields, mostly about Hawai’i and the HS football there. I mentioned to him my wife grew up on the Big Island and that I lived in Kailua and watched the Kailua HS team play every chance I could. That is where Taleni hails from and when I asked how Jeremiah Taleni and the DL were doing he cracked a big smile and said “Doing well”. I know Taleni’s a favorite of mine because of the Island connection and he rotated in for a good amount of reps but I think we’ll see him contribute a lot in 2015 and beyond rather than this season.
New additions to the sports admin staff is “The Drone & Drone Wrangler”. PITT has a small concrete circle near the clubhouse that is kitted out as the Drone Pad. They use the drone to film overhead shots of the formations and the mini-scrimmages. At one point I saw two young guys looking all around the sky saying “Where the hell is it?” The drone also comes in handy for missile strikes on the players dogging it out there.