Pitt Camp After One Week

The Pitt football team has gone through one week in training camp, and several things have become evident: The Panthers defense will be better than it's been in years thanks to healthy veterans and an influx of talented youngsters. Also, offensive line and quarterback are still areas of concern.

The offensive line does not have any experience among its backups, but there is some talent there and depth is building there. But there still is uncertainty on the O-line until fifth-year senior Mike McGlynn gets healthy and the center position is solidified either by strong play or a change.

Derek Kinder will be missed, but maybe more off the field than on it. The media certainly will miss him, since he's a great guy and a solid interview, but the University of Pittsburgh will be fine at receiver. The most talented wideout is sophomore Tamarcus Porter. T.J. is fast, runs good routes and is a big play waiting to happen. And don't forget about the freshmen, Maurice Williams and Aundre Wright. They are as athletic as Porter, but not as experienced. They will make an impact at some point for sure.

Redshirt junior Marcel Pestano has had a good camp and should start alongside Porter, while redshirt sophomores Oderick Turner and Cedric McGee are solid backups. Also, the tight ends, sophomore Nate Byham and senior Darrell Strong, should make more plays as well.

The concern, of course, is with who will get the ball to them. The quarterback play has been extremely inconsistent so far, and the three preseason candidates aren't even all in the mix right now. Freshman Pat Bostick is the wild-card here, because it's unknown when he will be back and what impact he'll have. His presence is needed just for the competition at least and at most because maybe he can make a difference.

Freshman Shariff Harris is a wild-card in the running back mix with junior LaRod Stephens-Howling, frosh LeSean McCoy, sophomore Kevin Collier and junior Conredge Collins -- who should get some carries as well. Greg Williams, out with an ankle injury, has to get back on the field to get in the mix. My guess is that he won't be in the mix this year. A position switch is anybody's guess. But he has to get on the field for something to happen either way.

The defense should be good. Its first-teamers are solid, and some depth is building. The future looks bright as well with only a handful of guys leaving in the next couple years. The line, in particular, is solid now and for the future with a lot of young guys. The same with the linebackers, although only Adam Gunn has been consistent. Scott McKillop has been solid and Shane Murray has, too, but less consistent than Gunn. Dorin Dickerson is still learning, but working hard. The scrimmage Tuesday afternoon will be critical for guys like him to make some plays.

The secondary is good, I believe the best in a couple years overall and is getting deeper. The future is sophomore Jovani Chappel and freshman Dom DeCicco behind fifth-year senior Mike Phillips and redshirt junior Eric Thatcher, with Elijah Fields a wild-card. The cornerback spots are solid, too, as sophomore Aaron Berry is a budding superstar. The incoming talent there should provide for a bright future as well.

As the Panthers roll into their second training camp week, there are two keys. Depth and cohesion must be developed on the offensive line, and the quarterback situation must be settled soon. It might be difficult to do that, but reps have to be divided up to get the main guy ready, whomever that is.

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