Dickerson Shines In Practice

For those waiting for outside linebacker Dorin Dickerson take his game to the next level for the Pitt football team, that finally occurred at Monday afternoon's training camp practice.

University of Pittsburgh sophomore Dorin Dickerson was all over the field to make tackles, and he also picked off two passes during the nearly three-hour workout. The first came on a nice read, as he stepped in front of tight end Darrell Strong, and the other was off a deflection. Both were terrific plays.

"Dorin and Nate Nix are both making a little move,'' Pitt coach Dave Wannstedt said. "But Dorin's one of those guys, he missed half of last spring, and he's playing a position that he's never played before.

"He'll go the wrong way one play, but then he had two interceptions today that probably not many guys on this team could make them because they were totally athletic plays. So, you're always looking to weigh some inexperience with great athleticism, and that's what we're looking at there.''

Junior quarterback Bill Stull appeared to be more comfortable in the offense and guided the Panthers to consecutive touchdowns in team drills. He fired a pass to Nate Byham that the sophomore tight end pulled in despite solid double-team pass defense from Kennard Cox and Mike Phillips. Stull also hit LaRod Stephens-Howling with a screen, and the junior tailback turned on the jets to blow through the defense for the score.

Stull had a slightly different look on the offensive line, as redshirt junior Dom Williams ran with the first team instead of Joe Thomas at a guard spot.

Defensively, freshman JaBaal Sheard made two plays that stuck out. He stayed home at his end spot to thwart a sweep attempt and then read a screen pass flawlessly to break it up. Both earned kudos from Wannstedt.

"Jabaal Sheard did some nice things, Wannstedt said. "Between him, Tony Tucker and Ty Tkach, we have some guys to pick from for that fourth defensive end position.''

Sheard and Tkach were the second-team defensive ends Monday, as redshirt freshman Greg Romeus took over a starting spot for fifth-year senior Chris McKillop. He is still sitting out team drills with a strained hamstring.

"The other guy, who we haven't said his name much, as far as being in the mix with the defensive line is Mick Williams,'' Wannstedt said. "He's probably practiced as well as anybody the past two days.

"So, Mick is back, and he's explosive and fast. He's not very tall, but he can run. And he has had a very good last couple days on the defensive line. ... So, he'll definitely be in the mix for us at D-tackle.''

Another offensive star was sophomore Kevin Collier, who played primarily as the No. 1 tailback. Clearly, the Pitt coaches are looking at all three of their top backs, Stephens-Howling, LeSean McCoy and now Collier.

On defense, frosh safety Dom DeCicco, senior cornerback Lowell Robinson and sophomore cornerback Aaron Berry each had a couple nice breakups. Redshirt junior middle linebacker Scott McKillop made a nice read on a sweep to McCoy and cut him down as he waited for right tackle Jason Pinkston to make a kick-out block.

Pitt will have two practices Tuesday, but just a shoulder pads and shorts workout in the morning. In the afternoon, the Panthers will take part in a 75-play intrasquad scrimmage, the first during training camp.

"We'll have officials here,'' Wannstedt said. "The coaches will be off the field. Bill Stull will start out, and then Kevan Smith (at quarterback).

"Everybody will get a little opportunity, but we'll make a few decisions, too. No one's going to win a job or lose a job off this first scrimmage, but it sure as heck will give guys opportunities to get our attention.''

That can be in a good way or bad way as well.

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