Pitt Practice Report One

The Pitt football team's first spring practice was rather uneventful, but after all the injuries suffered last year -- beginning with promising defensive end Doug Fulmer at this time -- it was nice for the Panthers to get through it healthy.

Quarterbacks Bill Stull and Pat Bostick were the top two signal-callers during the initial workout Tuesday at the UPMC Sports Complex, but neither really aired it out during the 7-on-7 or team drills. As usual, Pittsburgh offensive coordinator Matt Cavanaugh utilized a controlled passing game that had 10-yard hookups with the wideouts or dump-offs to the backs and tight ends.

A positive note was that there were few misfires by the quarterbacks or drops by the receivers. Bostick probably had the long pass of the day, a 20-yard strike to Oderick Turner on an out pattern that probably traveled at least 30 yards. Turner made a nice move on cornerback Jovani Chappel, used his size to beat him to the sideline and finished it with a good catch.

Among the biggest cheers by the players, at least the offense led by boisterous tailback LeSean McCoy, came when new tight end Dorin Dickerson stiff-armed safety Austin Ransom while running out a catch in the flat. Ransom redeemed himself a little later with an interception off a tipped pass by quarterback Greg Cross that he returned for a touchdown.

Dickerson actually looked pretty good in his first day back on offense after spending all last year as an outside linebacker. He certainly has the physique and athleticism to be successful, and he'll be get a lot of reps with redshirt sophomore Tyler Tkach since they're the only tight ends on the field.

Tight ends Nate Byham (left knee) and John Pelusi (shoulder) are out this spring after offseason surgery. They are joined by defensive tackle Gus Mustakas (left knee), offensive tackle Chase Clowser (shoulder) and offensive guard C.J. Davis (left hamstring). Pitt coach Dave Wannstedt said that none of the problems should hamper the group in the summer or the fall.

Some players are on the active list, but limited due to surgery last season. That group includes offensive guard Chris Jacobson (knee), offensive tackle Jason Pinkston (shoulder) and wideout Derek Kinder (right knee). Also, defensive end Doug Fulmer (knee) and tailback Kevin Collier (hand) are 100 percent now, while offensive lineman John Brown (knee) has received a permanent medical redshirt and is helping out with the strength and conditioning coaches.

The wasn't altered due to the injuries and had Fulmer up front at left end with Mick Williams and Rashaad Duncan at the tackle spots and Greg Romeus at right end. Shane Murray and Adam Gunn were the starting outside linebackers, while All-America candidate Scott McKillop was the middle linebacker. Dom DeCicco and Eric Thatcher were the safeties, while Chappel was joined by second-year starter Aaron Berry at cornerback.

On offense, the offensive line has been an area of concern the past few years, and Pitt coach Dave Wannstedt believed it might be even more important than the development of the quarterbacks because at least the signal-callers are somewhat experienced. With injuries and three senior starters graduating, new line coach Tony Wise has a lot of work to do to get the group up to speed.

The first group Tuesday had Jordan Gibbs at left tackle next to Dominic Williams at left guard. John Bachman was the center. John Malecki was the right guard, and Joe Thomas was the right tackle. The second team consisted of Greg Gaskins at left tackle and John Fieger at left guard. Robb Houser was the center, while Alex Karabin was the right guard and Dan Matha was the right tackle. Gibbs, Gaskins, Fieger and Matha are redshirt freshmen.

Pitt's second practice is Thursday at 2:45 p.m.

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