Movie Day Relaxes Team

While Pitt football coach Dave Wannstedt watched video from previous practices, the Panthers spent Tuesday morning at an area theater viewing Rush Hour 3 starring Jackie Chan and Chris Tucker.

Pitt's players certainly weren't in a rush to return to training camp practices and meetings, and it showed with a lackluster workout Tuesday afternoon once again indoors at the UPMC Sports Complex.

"As I told the team, this probably was our first practice that we didn't come out and practice with the same intensity, execution and effort that we had previously during camp,'' Wannstedt said. "Today was the first day that we were a little bit off. Maybe it's partially my fault or all my fault.

"We went to a movie this afternoon and didn't have meetings, so I guess this is what you get when you go to a movie. But we've got to find a way to deal with that, because if a game starts that way then we've got to find a way to get the thing turned around and going the right way.''

Wannstedt then took an opportunity to single out Pittsburgh freshman wideout Maurice Williams from Erie, Pa. Williams made several big catches, including a long bomb from third-team freshman quarterback Pat Bostick down the sideline.

"We know what kind of athlete he is, but he made some plays today,'' Wannstedt said. "He made some real big plays.''

Bostick's only 11-on-11 reps were with the third team, behind junior starter Bill Stull and second-team redshirt freshman Kevan Smith. Neither was particularly sharp Tuesday, but Wannstedt believed the team would bounce back and eventually benefit from the morning off.

"I think they needed a break, but coming back and putting the full pads on ... once they got over there in those big chairs with the air contioninng and a big box of popcorn, the last thing on their mind was coming back over here in an hour and a half and banging heads,'' Wannstedt said.

"But all these situations, any bad practices or crises, if you don't have them you have to create them. So, it wasn't a crises, but you have to create a situation to kind of get their attention. And we'll bounce back tomorrow. But these kids have worked so hard, and everybody knows that.''

Pittsburgh has two practices Wednesday, primarily a special teams session in the morning, with the third intrasquad scrrimmage in the afternoon.

"I'm looking for improvement by some of the older players,'' Wannstedt said. "You're looking for them to get better. And from the younger players, now that they've been around here a couple weeks, to kind of make a move and get out there and make some plays. There's been some tentativeness, which is expected early, but it's time now for them to step up.

"We'll kind of set the two deep after tomorrow. But we've got a great freshman class, and a lot of these guys are lining up right now with the third and fourth team. ... I think we'll probably end up playing a half dozen freshmen. We'll be redshirting anywhere between 18 and 20.''

Wannstedt also cited the play of several walk-on players who have made a contribution thus far. The group included redshirt junior wideout Austin Ransom, redshirt junior offensive lineman Frank Kochin, redshirt sophomore linebacker Brian Kaiser and redshirt sophomore defensive back Mike Toerper.

Ransom and Toerper are on special teams coverage units. Kochin is on the field-goal team, while Walters and Kaiser have provided depth at their respective positions.

One final note: Wannstedt placed a classified ad for anyone with place-kicking abilties to help Pitt now that kickoffs are from the 30-yard line this year.

"Dave Brytus has really come on the last week with his punting, and Conor Lee has been good with his field goals,'' Wannstedt said. "But we're still searching for that guy that can kick it in the end zone.''

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