Centers Of Attention

Pitt's backup center carousel has turned again, as Alex Karabin moved into the rotation, and redshirt sophomore John Bachman switched to right tackle.

A 6-foot-1, 290-pound redshirt freshman from Greensburg, Pa. Central Catholic High School, Alex Karabin is the next player to get a shot behind fifth-year senior starter Chris Vangas. Bachman played tackle before moving to center this past spring.

University of Pittsburgh coach Dave Wannstedt has been highly displeased with the quarterback-center exchanges during training camp this past week, as there have been at least two mishandled snaps each practice.

"When the meetings were over (Saturday) night, we had quarterbacks and linemen in there working on that,'' Wannstedt said. "They were the first guys on the field at 7:30 (a.m.), so we're trying to get those little things cleaned up. ... We're not experimenting. We're trying to get guys who can help.

"Bachman (will) compete with Jason Pinkston, although John can play guard, and he can play center. But Alex Karabin (is) in there with the second group because we're more confident with him than anybody about getting the snap. But no decisions will be made until after the scrimmages.''

Greg Gaskins, a 6-4, 280-pound freshman, has also gotten some work at center. However, some believe that fifth-year senior Mike McGlynn, who has been rehabbing his left shoulder since surgery during the spring, will get a shot to win the job when he returns to full-time duty.

"He's getting stronger,'' Wannstedt said. "Every day he's doing a little more drill work. He was out there today snapping for field goals, so we're making progress with him. We're just trying to stay the course.''

While Wannstedt lauded the play from his defensive tackles, from the top unit through several backups, he noted that the end spots are not settled.

"We have to find a fourth defensive end,'' Wannstedt said. "Right now, we've got (Greg) Romeus, Joe Clermond and Chris McKillop. The fourth spot, there's good, healthy competition there, but we've got to get that figured out.''

When a college football program is at a high level, it usually can rely on 4-5 freshman contributing in season, while the remainder of the class is redshirted. But that's not the case just yet at Pitt.

"We have (Chris) Jacobson, (Jordan) Gibbs, (John) Fieger, they're working with the second team (on the offensive line). Jabaal Sheard and Tony Tucker are at that (fourth) defensive end. At receiver, I talked about playing (Maurice Williams) and Aundre (Wright). And there are others.

"So, we'll redshirt as many as we can, but ... we probably need two more recruiting classes. We've had two full classes since I've been here, and we probably need two more to really have the depth to start being a little bit choosier with who we play and who we redshirt.''

One of those impact freshman, Wright, caught a slant from his wideout spot and zipped through the secondary. He outran safety Elijah Fields, but he didn't have enough of an angle to cut him off. Wright also blasted outside linebacker Shane Murray to spring sophomore tailback Kevin Collier for his longest run during the first week in training camp.

A negative aspect of Wright's run was his dive into the end zone after the touchdown. He was quickly chided by receivers coach Aubrey Hill. Wannstedt was reminded of former Pitt wideout Terrell Allen, who scored on a kickoff return at Louisville two years ago, was penalized and eventually shown the door after the season.

As Pitt's training camp begins its second week, there is just one afternoon practice Monday and two on Tuesday, with the first being a walkthrough to prepare for the first scrimmage in the afternoon.

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