Wednesday Morning Mania

The Pitt football team went through a light workout Wednesday morning, a tune-up for final intrasquad scrimmage that afternoon, and the Panthers quarterbacks were much sharper than the day before.

Junior Bill Stull and redshirt sophomore Kevan Smith took the majority of snaps with the first and second teams, respectively, and moved the ball around to several different receivers and backs to move the chains. The running game didn't get a lot of work, but junior LaRod Stephens-Howling continued to look sharp on sweeps and bursts up the middle.

"I'm having an all right camp,'' Stephens-Howling said. "We've worked very hard, and I think our running game is going to be a strong point on the team. We have a lot of good backs, and the O-line is coming together and playing pretty well. So, I expect us to have a big year.''

Stephens-Howling has maintained the No. 1 tailback role despite a strong challenge from frosh LeSean McCoy and sophomore Kevin Collier, who has kind of been the forgotten man in the backfield even though he's had a good camp. Neither of the backups have been used like Stephens-Howling, as he has taken tosses from deep in the backfield, caught some passes, taken direct snaps and split out wide. All this has opened up the offense.

This allowed the Panthers to open things up in the passing game, as Stull connected with redshirt sophomore wideout Oderick Turner for a big play down the left sideline that went for 25 yards. He also hit Cedric McGee for 40 down the right sideline, as sophomore cornerback Aaron Berry had excellent coverage. But both passes were perfectly thrown.

Smith found sophomore tight end Nate Byham down the middle on a post route that hit for 20 yards, and he nearly found Turner down the left side. But the pass was slightly overthrown, and Turner held up a bit as safety Eric Thatcher had an angle for a big hit. Smith put one on the money to freshman wideout Maurice Williams on a long ball down the right sideline, but senior cornerback Lowell Robinson knocked it away at the last second.

The defense had several other big plays, including an amazing sack by linebacker Dorin Dickerson, who blitzed from the right side and ripped between guard C.J. Davis and tackle Jeff Otah. However, the offense ruled the morning.

"We took it easy on them,'' junior tackle Gus Mustakas said. "We're saving it for the scrimmage this afternoon. Camp's winding down, and we can't wait for the season to begin.''

The Panthers have their third and final intrasquad scrimmage from 3:30 to 5:30 p.m. Wednesday. The annual FanFest is from 6:30 to 9 p.m. Thursday at Heinz Field, while the final camp practice is Friday night from 6:30 to 8:30 at the UPMC Sports Complex.

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