Spring game review and notes

As I watched the Blue/Gold game many of my prior suspicions were dreadfully precise. I had hoped for a few pleasant surprises, and there were a couple of those. The Blue Team defeated the Gold by a 13-7 margin.

J.B. Gibboney kicked two field Goals, one was a 29-yard chip shot and the second was good from 43 yards out. Joe DelSardo scored the first touchdown as he took a handoff on a reverse and scooted down the left sideline, and picked up a key block by Joe Stephens to get him in the end zone from 33 yards out. The final touchdown came on a beautiful snag of a Joe Flacco pass by Terrell Allen who tip toed around the pylon for six.

My player of the game was WR Joe DelSardo. He continuously beat tight coverage to make tough catches and scored on a 33 yard run, and to top it off he played like a demon on special teams downing a punt at the 4 yard line. The walk-on from Seton LaSalle may not be the fastest kid on the team, but he may play with the most heart.

Charles "The Jet" Sallet played DE, and although he is undersized his speed provided a number of mismatches. Sallett may not be able to be an every down DE, but he could wreak havoc coming off the edge in passing situations.

Joe Clermond and Clint Session both had tremendous hits in the game. Clermond absolutely destroyed Darren McCray. Not to be out down was Session as he lit up Ray Kirkley to draw some ooh's and ah's from the crowd. I gave the top shot of the game to safety Tyrone Gilliard who introduced himself to FB Kellen Campbell with a thunderous shot.

Session tipped several passes across the middle, one was picked off by Malcolm Postell. Session tipped an earlier pass that Postell dropped, if not for the drop Postell would have gone to the house. Clermond also came up with a pick of Joe Flacco. Overall I thought the linebacking corps was the best unit on the field from top to bottom.

Michael Hearn continued to play well as did most of the defensive line against a porous offensive line. The play of the offensive line made it very hard to evaluate anything. The QB's usually had to scramble and throw on the run. The RB's were being met in the backfield before they could get started. Was the defensive line that good, or was the play of the offensive line that suspect? I would say a little of both. In the fall when the starters are back and the youngsters have had the summer to work with coach Kent, then it will be time to assess their play.

The QB battle, I would not want to make that decision. Getsy is so smooth as a passer. Palko is so gritty and has so many intangibles. I don't foresee a decision being made until fall, after all the wounds have healed. This is just too close to call.

At RB I may take some heat for this but in my honest opinion, walk-on sophomore John Pettiford ran harder than anyone. Don't be surprised to see true freshmen Brandon Mason and Rashad Jennings press for time if they learn the offense quickly.

After watching the scrimmage last weekend, and now seeing the spring game, the OL depth is at a dangerously low level. The defense will be the strength of the 2004 Panthers. I think people will be very happy with the group of hungry freshmen who will suit up for Pittsburgh this fall. Several upper classmen may get surprised if they think Walt and his staff are going to hand out jobs based on seniority.

The Panthers have been ravaged by injury this spring as several starters sat the game out. On a positive note on the injury front sophomore LB Brian Bennett played after missing most of spring practice with a cyst on his spleen.

Several former Panthers were at Heinz to take in the game including Lousaka Polite, Shawntae Spencer, Rod Rutherford, Claude Harriott, and Penny Semaia.

A host of high school recruits took in the game, all of whom have been mentioned here at one time or another. Several members of this year's incoming class took in the game as well including: Brandon Mason, Rashad Jennings, Tyler Tipton, Chase Clowser, Andre Broussard, Corey Davis, Craig Bokor, Scott McKillop, and Adam Gunn.

Another former City League star and now West Virginia QB Rasheed Marshall was at the game drawing some menacing stares from fans. Toledo QB Bruce Gradowski, a graduate of Seton LaSalle High School, was also in attendance.

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