Pitt FB training camp from Friday

The University of Pittsburgh held their fourth official practice on Friday. PantherDigest.com senior writer Dale Grdnic was in attendance. Dale has a number of news and notes concerning the Pitt football team. Read on for details.

Pitt FB training camp from Friday

PITTSBURGH -- The blue shirts ruled the morning football practice, as the University of Pittsburgh's defense dominated the offense in training camp workouts Friday at the UPMC Sports Complex, but the white went on the offensive in the afternoon and got a measure of revenge at the end.

Led by quarterback Bill Stull and primarily first- and second-year players, Pitt's offense engineered a touchdown drive in the two-minute drill that capped practice with Stull connecting with tight end Nate Byham on the final play for the score in the corner of the end zone.

"T.J. Porter and Nate Byham really showed up in the afternoon,'' Pitt coach Dave Wannstedt said. "In the morning, Marcel Pestano had a good practice, and Darrelle Revis had a good day, which was good to see.''

* The Panthers have worked the past four days with split squads. The veterans practiced in the morning, and the younger players were in the afternoon. The two will come together Saturday for the first time in full pads. And nobody appeared to be more excited than Wannstedt.

"It'll be pretty simple, really, because it's pretty difficult to work three groups,'' Wannstedt said. "So, pretty much, you're just working two groups. And then you can work in the thirds and fourths as much as you can. The big decisions will come in the next couple days, so it won't be (Friday) night.

"(Saturday) will be the first day that we really block and tackle, and just like there's guys that look great in shorts there's guys that look great in shoulder pads and shorts. And then, there's guys that show up when you really have to block and tackle someone for real.

"But that'll start (Saturday),'' Wannstedt added, "and we'll have some form of a limited scrimmage Sunday. After that, we'll start stacking a little bit of a depth chart.''

* Two areas where first- and second-year players will make the biggest contributions are the defensive line and at wide receiver. Four of the top defensive tackles are sophomores Corey Davis, Rashaad Duncan and Gus Mustakas and redshirt freshman Mick Williams. Fifth-year senior Vernon Botts is also in the mix.

* Two freshman who will contribute are local products John Malecki from Franklin Regional and Jason Pinkston from Baldwin.

"They both have a lot to learn, but they're both working extremely hard,'' Wannstedt said. "Everything is based off of production, in my mind. You don't get a sack from being close to the quarterback. You have to get him on the ground.''

* Other than returning starter Derek Kinder, a junior, and senior Joe DelSardo, there is little to no experience at wideout for the Panthers. Players like redshirt sophomore Marcel Pestano, redshirt freshmen Oderick Turner and Cedric McGee and freshmen T.J. Porter, Dorin Dickerson and Aaron Smith will need to contribute to give Pitt an effective passing game.

"We're going to need at least two of those guys to step up,'' Wannstedt said. "I mentioned Cedric McGee, he's the hardest working receiver that we have out here and one of the toughest guys, but he's not flashy. He's not a 4.4 guy or have fancy moves, but ... he did some good things.''

* The Panthers have been nursing some bumps and bruises, and two of those wideouts -- Dickerson (ankle) and Smith (shoulder) missed practice Friday and could be out Saturday as well. Although neither is serious.

* Myles Caragein from Keystone Oaks, who has verbally committed to Pitt for next year, watched practice Friday.

* In the morning, there were some good matchups on the line with DE Doug Fulmer going against TE Darrell Strong and holding his own. OT Jeff Otah buried DE Chris McKillop on one play, but McKillop came back to hang tough. Mustakas and OG Joe Thomas had a standoff, as did OG C.J. Davis and Mick Williams, and OT John Bachman and Fulmer.

* In the afternoon, Malecki and OG John Brown had a stalemate, as did DT Greg Romeus and Byam. But DT Jared Martin bull rushed center Scott Corson twice and won the battle. In a matchup of two behemoths, Pinkston (6-4, 280) and OT Chase Clowser (6-7, 330) were closely matched.

* There also were several one-on-one battles between receivers and defensive backs. This is where Pestano had a strong performance, as did Revis. Safeties Mike Phillips and Sam Bryant, however, struggled a bit. And Jovani Chappel showed a penchant for physical play.

* In the afternoon, DBs Ricky Gary and Aaron Berry went against WRs Auston Ranson and T.J. Porter for the best matchups. Gary and Porter, former Pahokee teammates, really can trash talk with each other.

* OLB Clint Session was a little more aggressive than necessary in the morning team drills and gave the business a little bit to TB LaRod Stephens-Howling when they were on a pile. OT Mike McGlynn took exception and tussled with Session, who was ejected from the field for that drill by Wannstedt.

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