Pitt Passing Camp Update

The University of Pittsburgh is in the process of holding its Big Man Challenge and Team Passing Tournament. PantherDigest.com Senior writer Dale Grdnic provides fans an overview of the events and some of the stellar players involved in the festivities. Read on for details.

PITTSBURGH -- Coach Dave Wannstedt has tried to make the University of Pittsburgh a power offensive football team, and the Panthers have guided their recruiting efforts toward big offensive linemen to reach that goal.

However, Wannstedt realizes that a good offense is balanced with a solid passing game as well, so he closes out his summer football camps with a Big Man Challenge in conjunction with Team Passing Tournament.

There were 15 teams involved in the Big Man Challenge Friday, but just three were not affiliated with high schools that also were in the team event. The big men displayed their talents in weightlifting, blocking and tackling drills and something with large truck tires. The final event was a tug-of-war.

There were 39 high schools represented, with one large group split into two teams, in the two-day passing camp. Each school played four seven-on-seven games Friday. The teams were seeded Saturday for tournament play to determine an overall winner.

"We know it's not really football, since there's no equipment and no tackling, but it's still very competitive,'' Thomas Jefferson coach Bill Cherpak said. "You can get some guys out here to kick off the summer and get everybody thinking about football. It's not about winning and losing. "It's just about competing. And the guys really love it. We've been coming to this camp for maybe 10 years now. It's a good chance to measure yourself against other teams, some of them that we play during the season, so we can see where we're at as our camp approaches.''

Thomas Jefferson's first game was against Centreville High School in Clifton, Va. Crossland High in Temple Hills, Md. also was represented. There also were several high schools from Ohio, including Findlay, Kenton and Streetsboro. The remaining schools were from around Pennsylvania.

Along with Thomas Jefferson, from Jefferson Hills, that group included Pittsburgh schools Brashear, Fox Chapel, Keystone Oaks, Perry, Central Catholic, Seton-LaSalle, Shady Side Academy and Woodland Hills, Bishop McCort in Johnstown, Carlynton in Carnegie, Chartiers-Houston in Houston, Clairton, Franklin, Frazier in Perryopolis, Gateway in Monroeville, Greater Latrobe, Greensburg-Salem, Kiski in Vandergrift, Manheim Township in Lancaster, Montour in McKees Rocks, Mount Pleasant, North Star in Boswell, Penn Trafford in Harrison City, Peters Township in McMurray, Pine-Richland in Gibsonia, Portage, Richland in Johnstown, Seneca Valley in Harmony, Shenango in New Castle, Steel Valley in Munhall, Trinity in Washington, West Shamokin in Rural Valley and Yough in Herminie.

"There's a lot of good schools here,'' Cherpak said. "It should be a good, competitive camp. We brought 16 guys, the ones who have an opportunity to play and know what they're doing, because we haven't done anything for next season yet. So, this will get us going in the right direction.''

Among the many excellent athletes competing at the camp were quarterback Pat Bostick from Manheim, a jewel in the 2007 recruiting class, and recent verbal commitment Dom DeCicco from Thomas Jefferson.

Each 30-minute game included offensive series beginning on the 35-yard line for each possession with four downs to make a 15-yard first down on all passes. Each touchdown is worth six points. A one-point conversion pass is from the 3-yard line and two points from the 10.

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