Wednesday Afternoon Delight

While freshman quarterback Pat Bostick's father spoke with several media outlets and said that his son likely would return to Pitt's football camp within a week or possibly as early as this weekend, Panthers coach Dave Wannstedt had not spoken to the player or any family members.

Pitt football--Wednesday Afternoon Delight "I did not talk to Pat, but we've had conversations with his high school coach, and he met with Pat this morning,'' University of Pittsburgh coach Dave Wannstedt said.

"We're just taking it one day at a time. ... The most important thing for us right now is to get Pat settled back in and comfortable. If and when he shows up we'll cross that bridge and go from there.''

With junior Bill Stull getting the majority of the repetitions in the morning practice and redshirt freshman Kevan Smith handling nearly all of them during the afternoon, the Pitt passing game has struggled to get the ball downfield. Both were intercepted by the Panthers opportunistic defense a couple times each on Wednesday.

"That's not an easy throw to make,'' Wannstedt said. "But I have to give some credit to our defense, especially the line. Those guys are in better shape than they've been. We're able, right now, to take a look at 6-8 guys who are going to be major contributors for us. More will be determined when we put the pads on (Thursday).''

While junior LaRod Stephens-Howling and sophomore Kevin Collier have shared the snaps at tailback in the morning session and had minor success, the afternoon practices the past two days have been showcases for freshman tailbacks LeSean McCoy and Shariff Harris. Both have looked sharp in their collegiate debuts, displaying strong cutting ability without changing speeds, but tremendous acceleration when they needed to do so.

"I think we would all agree that (McCoy) has talent,'' Wannstedt said. "We know that, but what's been most encouraging is the ... determining factors in how much he can help us are how quickly he picks up what we're doing, and that's been good, but we'll see what happens when we start getting hit.

"But I've been very pleased with his mental approach. He's not making mistakes. He's taken the majority of the reps. He's working in the afternoon practice. The next step for him is when we put shoulder pads on. Then, it'll be when we all come together Saturday and really crank it up. We'll be able to make some final evaluations as to where he's at and how much he'll help us.

"Shariff Harris was a late arrival because of summer school, but he's got talent,'' Wannstedt added. "I'm really pleased with this whole freshman class. ... That whole linebacker crew, the defensive line and the skill positions. ... Three years ago at our passing camp, Aundre Wright showed some things, and he showed again that he can do good things with the ball in his hands.''

Wright had two nice catches on plays run to both sidelines, but he also took the ball on a couple reverses and was able to turn it up-field. It'll be interesting to see how much he'll contribute in the return game when the split squads merge Saturday.

Redshirt sophomore John Pelusi and senior Darrell Strong switched places, as Pelusi moved to the morning session with sophomore starting tight end Nate Byham and Strong took over in the afternoon. Pelusi and Strong displayed solid pass-catching and blocking skills, but they trail Byham in both areas.

Pitt's young defensive linemen have been promising with sophomore Tommy Duhart working in the morning session, and holding his own, while Myles Caragein, Jabaal Sheard, Justin Hargrove and Tony Tucker had strong showings in the afternoon. Cornerback Buddy Jackson also showed some skills in the afternoon practice, strutting his stuff for his father, who has been in town from the beginning.

Freshman running back Greg Williams is rehabbing a previous injury to his leg, but his been participating in most drills other than team stuff.

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