Pitt Spring Practice #2 is in the books and here are some links and quotes to get the fan blood running.
One common theme we are hearing from the players is that these practice sessions are more “energetic” than the ones under Paul Chryst… “As a whole, it’s extremely energetic. The way they approach practice, lifting, is different. Not to say that our last staff didn’t bring energy, this is just a whole different level”. I think that is great although I am a bit wary of too much ‘pumping up’ of players (or workers or students, etc…) in preparation for something because the more you try to infuse that higher level of energy and attention the more susceptible you are of seeming phony and losing your target’s trust.
Let’s hope that things go as planned and the team plays with some extra spring in their step. At points last year it looked as if they might have been going thru the motions as we were losing the game. A fresh start all around in the name of the game this year and with it comes new approaches.
After two practices of a scheduled 15-session spring, Pitt coach Pat Narduzzi has a lot of work to do and decisions to make. Some won’t be finalized until August, and maybe not even then.
But Dontez Ford and Zach Challingsworth are stepping up as the wide receivers lining up opposite Tyler Boyd with the first team. Don’t read too much into it, but it’s worth noting. “Those are the two guys I have to rely on to free me up out of double coverage,” Boyd said. At least in the spring.
On defense, coordinator Josh Conklin likes what he has seen from safety Reggie Mitchell and cornerbacks Avonte Maddox, Malik Henderson and Phillipie Motley.
Mitchell, a junior, can play both positions. Henderson is an early-enrollee freshman and Motley was redshirted last year during his freshman season.
Conklin said he was impressed with how three-year starting cornerback Lafayette Pitts, a senior, stayed after practice Tuesday to work with some wide receivers on his footwork at the line of scrimmage.
“Those are the things you want to see from that kid,” Conklin said. “He has a lot of experience. We are challenging him every day to come out and be consistent. The corners can’t hide. What we ask them to do, every rep they have to be on.”
What’s interesting to note is that Jordan Whitehead arrives from Central Valley this summer, and will add to the competition at cornerback. Maybe there actually will be some depth in the secondary.