Notebook: Spring Practice #2

News and notes from Pitt's practice March 17 featuring head coach Pat Narduzzi's reflections on Sunday's practice, the team's search for leadership and a local recruit in attendance.

Pitt practiced for the second time this spring Tuesday and the Panthers were inside once again as the afternoon's temperatures dipped into the 30s. Head coach Pat Narduzzi was generally satisfied with the effort put forth.

"We made progress from practice one to practice two," Narduzzi said. "You’re looking for attitude and effort on the field."

He noted there was a little bit of a lack of focus Sunday in a style of practice the players weren't used to, and one thing stood out to him as he reviewed tape from Sunday's work.

"We’ve gotta have better motors all the time and our guys will figure that out," Narduzzi said. "It’s just habit. People are creatures of habit and what they’ve done before we’ve got to break and get them to do what we want them to do."

--One major topic after practice was the concept of leadership among the players, a pertinent issue considering the overall youth of the Panthers.

A primary narrative pushed from a year ago were the 81 underclassmen that made up 78.6 percent of Pitt's roster, the highest percentage of underclassmen on any FBS roster. This season, some of those underclassmen must step into leadership roles.

"We’re going to give our whole team an opportunity to be leaders," Narduzzi said. "I don’t care if it’s a freshman or a senior but certainly we’ve started with that senior class and a few leaders have already emerged."

Two of those leaders are already Tyler Boyd and James Conner due to their obvious talent and high profiles. The best part for Narduzzi is that he hasn't had to demand leadership from the two.

"He hasn’t brought us into his office and given us that specific talk but there’s a vibe," Conner said. "Tyler and I know that we’re leaders and that it’s our job."

--Defensive coordinator Josh Conklin's background comes from coaching defensive backs before he began earning positions as a coordinator at different stops. His early impressions of Pitt's secondary are favorable, despite the extreme youth at the position.

"I feel like we’ve got some tools," Conklin said. "I think the things we’re going to ask those guys to do, I feel like they’ve got the skill set to do it."

He added Reggie Mitchell "had a really good day" Tuesday and he thinks sophomore corner Avonte Maddox "has a chance to be really good."

As a result of the youth, Conklin looks to Lafayette Pitts to provide leadership for his position group. Pitts was nearly as vocal in drills as defensive backs coach Renaldo Hill Tuesday, and worked further after practice with receivers.

While Conklin was impressed with Pitts' effort during and after practice, he's looking for Pitts to further lead by example.

"The corners can’t hide," Conklin said. "What we ask them to do, every rep they’ve got to be on. The challenge right now is to get him consistent with every rep."

--While the Panthers bring back the ACC's top receiver in Boyd, he can't do everything alone on the outside. Boyd said Dontez Ford and South Fayette product Zach Challingsworth are currently getting reps with him at the top of the early depth chart.

"I feel like those are the two guys I’ve gotta rely on a lot to help me, to free me up out of double coverages," Boyd said.

--Rashad Wheeler, a 3-star defensive lineman from nearby Central Catholic, took in practice this afternoon. He has offers from Pitt, West Virginia and Maryland as well as interest from Michigan and Penn State. Wheeler said last month Pitt was the school that stuck out to him the most during his recruitment so far.

Quote of the day from Alex Bookser, on the offense's potential: "Potential? Best offense in the country. Why would I want to be a part of it otherwise?"

Pat Narduzzi Interview

Josh Conklin

James Conner

Tyler Boyd

Alex Bookser


Panther Digest Top Stories

Follow @PantherDigest\r\n\r\n

Pitt practiced for the second time this spring Tuesday and the Panthers were inside once again as the afternoon's temperatures dipped into the 30s. Head coach Pat Narduzzi was generally satisfied with the effort put forth.

\r\n

\"We made progress from practice one to practice two,\" Narduzzi said. \"You’re looking for attitude and effort on the field.\"

\r\n

He noted there was a little bit of a lack of focus Sunday in a style of practice the players weren't used to, and one thing stood out to him as he reviewed tape from Sunday's work.

\r\n

\"We’ve gotta have better motors all the time and our guys will figure that out,\" Narduzzi said. \"It’s just habit. People are creatures of habit and what they’ve done before we’ve got to break and get them to do what we want them to do.\"\r\n

--One major topic after practice was the concept of leadership among the players, a pertinent issue considering the overall youth of the Panthers. \r\n

A primary narrative pushed from a year ago were the 81 underclassmen that made up 78.6 percent of Pitt's roster, the highest percentage of underclassmen on any FBS roster. This season, some of those underclassmen must step into leadership roles.

\r\n

\"We’re going to give our whole team an opportunity to be leaders,\" Narduzzi said. \"I don’t care if it’s a freshman or a senior but certainly we’ve started with that senior class and a few leaders have already emerged.\"

\r\n

Two of those leaders are already Tyler Boyd and James Conner due to their obvious talent and high profiles. The best part for Narduzzi is that he hasn't had to demand leadership from the two.

\r\n

\"He hasn’t brought us into his office and given us that specific talk but there’s a vibe,\" Conner said. \"Tyler and I know that we’re leaders and that it’s our job.\"

\r\n

--Defensive coordinator Josh Conklin's background comes from coaching defensive backs before he began earning positions as a coordinator at different stops. His early impressions of Pitt's secondary are favorable, despite the extreme youth at the position.

\r\n

\"I feel like we’ve got some tools,\" Conklin said. \"I think the things we’re going to ask those guys to do, I feel like they’ve got the skill set to do it.\"

\r\n

He added Reggie Mitchell \"had a really good day\" Tuesday and he thinks sophomore corner Avonte Maddox \"has a chance to be really good.\"

\r\n

As a result of the youth, Conklin looks to Lafayette Pitts to provide leadership for his position group. Pitts was nearly as vocal in drills as defensive backs coach Renaldo Hill Tuesday, and worked further after practice with receivers.

\r\n

While Conklin was impressed with Pitts' effort during and after practice, he's looking for Pitts to further lead by example.

\r\n

\"The corners can’t hide,\" Conklin said. \"What we ask them to do, every rep they’ve got to be on. The challenge right now is to get him consistent with every rep.\"

\r\n

--While the Panthers bring back the ACC's top receiver in Boyd, he can't do everything alone on the outside. Boyd said Dontez Ford and South Fayette product Zach Challingsworth are currently getting reps with him at the top of the early depth chart.

\r\n

\"I feel like those are the two guys I’ve gotta rely on a lot to help me, to free me up out of double coverages,\" Boyd said.

\r\n

--Rashad Wheeler, a 3-star defensive lineman from nearby Central Catholic, took in practice this afternoon. He has offers from Pitt, West Virginia and Maryland as well as interest from Michigan and Penn State. Wheeler said last month Pitt was the school that stuck out to him the most during his recruitment so far.

\r\n

Quote of the day from Alex Bookser, on the offense's potential: \"Potential? Best offense in the country. Why would I want to be a part of it otherwise?\"

\r\n

Pat Narduzzi Interview

\r\n

Josh Conklin

\r\n

James Conner

\r\n

Tyler Boyd

\r\n

Alex Bookser

","mobileBody":"Follow @NateBarnes_ Follow @PantherDigest

Pitt practiced for the second time this spring Tuesday and the Panthers were inside once again as the afternoon's temperatures dipped into the 30s. Head coach Pat Narduzzi was generally satisfied with the effort put forth.

\"We made progress from practice one to practice two,\" Narduzzi said. \"You’re looking for attitude and effort on the field.\"

He noted there was a little bit of a lack of focus Sunday in a style of practice the players weren't used to, and one thing stood out to him as he reviewed tape from Sunday's work.

\"We’ve gotta have better motors all the time and our guys will figure that out,\" Narduzzi said. \"It’s just habit. People are creatures of habit and what they’ve done before we’ve got to break and get them to do what we want them to do.\"

--One major topic after practice was the concept of leadership among the players, a pertinent issue considering the overall youth of the Panthers.

A primary narrative pushed from a year ago were the 81 underclassmen that made up 78.6 percent of Pitt's roster, the highest percentage of underclassmen on any FBS roster. This season, some of those underclassmen must step into leadership roles.

\"We’re going to give our whole team an opportunity to be leaders,\" Narduzzi said. \"I don’t care if it’s a freshman or a senior but certainly we’ve started with that senior class and a few leaders have already emerged.\"

Two of those leaders are already Tyler Boyd and James Conner due to their obvious talent and high profiles. The best part for Narduzzi is that he hasn't had to demand leadership from the two.

\"He hasn’t brought us into his office and given us that specific talk but there’s a vibe,\" Conner said. \"Tyler and I know that we’re leaders and that it’s our job.\"

--Defensive coordinator Josh Conklin's background comes from coaching defensive backs before he began earning positions as a coordinator at different stops. His early impressions of Pitt's secondary are favorable, despite the extreme youth at the position.

\"I feel like we’ve got some tools,\" Conklin said. \"I think the things we’re going to ask those guys to do, I feel like they’ve got the skill set to do it.\"

He added Reggie Mitchell \"had a really good day\" Tuesday and he thinks sophomore corner Avonte Maddox \"has a chance to be really good.\"

As a result of the youth, Conklin looks to Lafayette Pitts to provide leadership for his position group. Pitts was nearly as vocal in drills as defensive backs coach Renaldo Hill Tuesday, and worked further after practice with receivers.

While Conklin was impressed with Pitts' effort during and after practice, he's looking for Pitts to further lead by example.

\"The corners can’t hide,\" Conklin said. \"What we ask them to do, every rep they’ve got to be on. The challenge right now is to get him consistent with every rep.\"

--While the Panthers bring back the ACC's top receiver in Boyd, he can't do everything alone on the outside. Boyd said Dontez Ford and South Fayette product Zach Challingsworth are currently getting reps with him at the top of the early depth chart.

\"I feel like those are the two guys I’ve gotta rely on a lot to help me, to free me up out of double coverages,\" Boyd said.

--Rashad Wheeler, a 3-star defensive lineman from nearby Central Catholic, took in practice this afternoon. He has offers from Pitt, West Virginia and Maryland as well as interest from Michigan and Penn State. Wheeler said last month Pitt was the school that stuck out to him the most during his recruitment so far.

Quote of the day from Alex Bookser, on the offense's potential: \"Potential? Best offense in the country. Why would I want to be a part of it otherwise?\"

Pat Narduzzi Interview

Josh Conklin

James Conner

Tyler Boyd

Alex Bookser

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