Defense Dominates

Freshman quarterback Pat Bostick did indeed return in time to take the field in the afternoon with his teammates on the Pitt football team, but his presence didn't make a difference for the Panthers offense.

Bostick threw a few passes in the initial warmups in his No. 19 white jersey, helmet and shorts, but he wasn't wearing shoulder pads. And he didn't take part in the team portion during the first intrasquad scrimmage Tuesday afternoon for the University of Pittsburgh.

Led by redshirt junior middle linebacker Scott McKillop with seven tackles, including six solo, an interception and pass breakup, and redshirt sophomore defensive tackle Tommy Duhart with a blocked field goal and two sacks, Pitt's defense ruled the day.

"I thought that the effort was good today, but offensively we've got a ways to go,'' Wannstedt said. "I would expect that. I was disappointed in the first three series offensively. We really didn't get much going. On the other side, when you're scrimmaging against yourself, you're happy for the defense.

"I thought our defensive line, both groups, Malecki and Mick Williams running with the second group, made as many plays with that group as some of our front-line guys. So, overall, I thought our defense played well. But I was very disappointed in our special teams. It was ridiculous.

"Our punting game was not where it should be,'' Wannstedt added. "We missed an extra point and got a field goal blocked, and that's inexcusable. We've been working too hard on those things to let that happen. ... We need to play good special teams early in the year to win some games in that area.''

Pitt simulated crowd noise with several speakers along the fan sideline, but it was more like annoying white noise. Nonetheless, with junior quarterback Bill Stull at the helm, Pitt's offense went three-and-out on its first series. Scott McKillop picked off Stull on the second one. LaRod Stephens-Howling ran for a first down in the third series, but the defense already made its mark.

The first-team defense, with Chris McKillop and Greg Romeus out, had redshirt frosh Ty Tkach on one end with fifth-year senior Joe Clermond at the other. Clermond had a nice stop on Stephens-Howling behind. The starting tackles were juniors Rashaad Duncan and Gus Mustakas. The first-team linebackers and secondary were the same as usual.

Shane Murray and Adam Gunn flanked Scott McKillop. The safeties were Mike Phillips and Eric Thatcher. The corners were Aaron Berry and Kennard Cox.

"It's a good start for the defense,'' McKillop said. "We stopped the run, and that was a big point of emphasis this year. I think we can still play better, but we'll watch the tape and see what we can clean up. ... But I think we're going to surprise some people. They've been doubting us in the Big East.

"The guys up front, we have a good rotation, and they allowed me to have some nice reads and freed me up to make some plays. That helps us out a lot, because we're a young linebacking corps, so the D-line has done a good job of keeping the guys off us to give us a chance to make plays.''

On offense, Marcel Pestano and T.J. Porter were the starting wideouts. The O-line was the same as usual as well with Joe Thomas and C.J. Davis around center Chris Vangas. Jeff Otah and Jason Pinkston were the tackles. Conredge Collins was the fullback with Stephens-Howling at tailback.

Stull was 15-for-21 for 115 yards and no scores, while Kevan Smith was 12-for-16 for 138 with a 56-yard scoring toss to Pestano. He caught a crossing pass and turned the corner into the clear. No one could catch him after that.

"I don't think it was totally terrible, but we started very slow,'' Stull said. "We just needed a series to get going, but we did a good job bouncing back and overcoming the first couple series. And we put the ball in the end zone from the red zone, and we needed that.''

The second-team defense consisted of Ricky Gary and Lowell Robinson at the corners. Gary tied Scott McKillop with a team-high seven tackles, while Robinson had an interception. Dom DeCicco and Jovani were the safeties. John Malecki and Mick Williams were the tackles up front, while freshmen Jabaal Sheard and Tony Tucker were the ends. Duhart was the fifth tackle. Jemeel Brady and Dorin Dickerson flanked Dan Loheyde. Nate Nix was the fifth outside linebacker, replacing Brady.

Smith handled the second-team offense behind Alex Karabin at center, Chris Jacobson at guard with Dom Williams. John Bachman and Chase Clowser were the tackles. LeSean McCoy was the tailback behind Shane Brooks.

"Kevan has had good days, but today the pass rush on defense was better than our protection with the second line,'' Wannstedt said. "So, he didn't have much of a chance. Pat Bostick is back now. He got back in the afternoon. He was in meetings, and he was out here (watching the scrimmage).

"We'll just take it one day at a time with him, get him caught up and work him back into the mix. He's back tomorrow, and he'll be in meetings and he'll be out here practicing tomorrow afternoon. (But) we just need to take it one day at a time and see where he's at. If he has a good week, I'd expect him to scrimmage Saturday, and we'll see where he stacks up and where he's at.''

Notes: Pitt's only practice Wednesday is from 2:15 to 4:45 p.m. ... Oderick Turner led all receivers with six catches for 40 yards, but Pestano had five for 93 with the long TD. ... Punter Dave Brytus had a long kick of just 40 yards and 35.5-yard average. ... The running game totaled 86 yards. ... The defense recorded six sacks, forced two fumbles and had two picks.

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