Dickerson Says LBs Are OK

After spending just a few minutes with University of Pittsburgh sophomore Dorin Dickerson, one gets the opinion that there shouldn't be much concern about the Panthers linebacking corps this fall.

Dorin Dickerson, who played sparingly as a wideout and running back as a freshman, moved to outside linebacker this past spring and made steady progress. However, he wants to take his game to another level this season and is working toward that due to an intensive summer program under the tutelage of Pitt strength and conditioning coach Buddy Morris.

"I feel real good, but we're all getting used to Buddy,'' Dickerson said. "That was a big adjustment, but I feel like everybody's doing real good. And I feel very healthy right now, in very good shape. I can feel it all coming together, running sprints, long distance running and lifting, it's been great.

"And we still have about two more months to go before training camp in August, so I think we're way ahead of schedule. We're going to be ready for anything this year. We've been running a lot, 325 yards, which are three 100s and a 25 in under a minute. Then, you get like a minute break.

"Buddy got that from a track guy, and it's helped our endurance,'' Dickerson added. "In the weight room, we'll hit like every aspect of every muscle in our body. So, that's been unbelievable. I'm leaner, and I think I'm faster, but I weigh about 223 pounds right now. So, I'm doing pretty well.''

Dickerson primarily is battling redshirt junior Adam Gunn for the Panthers' starting strong-side linebacker spot. The 6-foot-2 Dickerson is faster, more athletic and appears to be in fantastic shape, but Gunn worked mostly with the first team in the spring.

"I feel real positive right now about the progress that I made in the spring and where I'm at this summer,'' Dickerson said. "Whenever we do our 7-on-7s, not just me but all the linebackers, we're starting to play a lot faster. And that's important, because this can be a real fast game.

"Most of us are new to the position, though, so we're still learning. But we're picking up where we left off in the spring. And I think we developed quite a bit then, so I'm very happy where we're all at right now. We understand things a lot more in the meetings, and we play a lot faster on the field.''

Redshirt sophomore Shane Murray, competing with redshirt freshman Nate Nix for the other outside linebacker spot, agreed with Dickerson.

"Some people are worried about the outside linebackers because we're so young, and they think we're immature,'' Murray said. "But they forget that football just doesn't deal with specific positions. If you're a football player, you have to be able to transition, and we have guys who can do that.

"Our players push each other hard and learn what they need to do to play linebacker. So, don't worry about us. We're fast. We're strong, and we know how to tackle. And that's what it takes to be a linebacker at this level. So, I don't think there's any need to worry about the linebackers.''

With seniors H.B. Blades, Clint Session and Brian Bennett leaving the program and sophomore Tommy Campbell gone after a suspension, it's easy to see why some might be concerned about Pitt's depth at the position.

"We know that people expect a lot from the linebackers here at Pitt, and we have some big shoes to fill there,'' Dickerson said. "H.B., Clint, Brian Bennett, they're three guys who played a lot of football for us. And H.B. and Clint are in the NFL right now, so those are some hard shoes to fill.

"And anybody who followed them would have a tough assignment, but we're ready for it. We've made some progress since the season ended. We had a good spring and a good start to the summer, and the more we play together the better we'll be. So, this is just the beginning for this group.''

And it should put an end to any worries about Pitt's linebackers.

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