Tuesday Notebook: Price Likes New Position

Ejuan Price talks about taking on defensive end responsibilities, while Bam Bradley and Jaymar Parrish are making a case to see the field this year.

Late last week, we saw Bam Bradley getting some more work at outside linebacker. With the final week of camp underway, Bradley continues to get the work, and is pushing for a job at outside linebacker.

Pitt head coach Paul Chryst says he's closing in on naming a set of starting linebackers. Shane Gordon and Anthony Gonzalez appear to have two spots locked up.

"I think we are (getting closer)," Chryst said. "We're working those guys in the right spots and now we just have to see the consistency of their work. That picture is starting to clear up a little bit."

Bradley was a safety in high school, where he made 60 tackles and five interceptions as a senior at Trotwood-Madison. Though he prefers safety, he says there's things about linebacker he feels comfortable with, or can relate.

"When I played some strong safety, you would come down in the box and play some flat coverages, so that kind of translated over and made it easier," Bradley said. "On some plays as a linebacker you get to run an alley like a safety does so that has kind of translated over."

Ejuan Price has taken an interesting road to his new position. After playing in all 13 games as a true freshman, with five starts at outside linebacker, Price was forced to miss the 2012 season due to a pectoral injury.

Since then, a new coaching staff has come in with a new scheme. Price was an outside linebacker in a 3-4 scheme. He's been moved to defensive end in a 4-3 scheme. Although it means lining up in a down position, Price likes the transition.

"The coaches have different roles for me, they have a package where they have me stand up and rush, but at the end of the day, pressure is pressure, whether you put your hand on the ground or you are standing up, it is basically the same technique," Price said. "I like playing defensive end better. There is less coverage, so I can just go after the quarterback."

Price could push David Durham or Bryan Murphy for a starting spot at defensive end, or he could be used in the different packages. At the very least, he's won a spot in the rotation.

If Price were to start, that would technically give Pitt a total of nine returning starters on defense.

It's almost a foregone conclusion that we'll see freshmen running backs James Conner and Rachid Ibrahim in some capacity at running back.

The fullback position is often hidden. The Panthers have a returning starter in Mark Giubilato. They're also building some depth with the addition of Jaymar Parrish in the 2013 class.

Parrish is finding himself with additional reps as camp has rolled on. It's very possible the freshman from Gateway will find himself on the field when the team opens against Florida State in two weeks.

Giubilato and Parrish fall under the category of H-back type players, and have similar roles to the tight ends, from a blocking perspective. With these two, combined with Manasseh Garner, J.P. Holtz and Scott Orndoff--all expected to be in the mix at tight end--this is a unique position where Pitt has both depth and flexibility.

"Mostly fullback things, it looks like they have me running outside and stuff but it's mostly just formations," Parrish said of his role. "The coaches try to keep it simple for us, not dumb it down, but they keep it in a context where we can understand the plays and get the feel of everything."

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