Pitt Practice Report Seven

Pitt welcomed back two of their injured defensive linemen at today's practice. The Panthers tuned up without pads for one final time before having their first full-pad, full-contact scrimmage tomorrow afternoon.

But the contact couldn't wait. While doing full-team drills near the end of practice, second-string strong safety Sherod Murdock collided with receiver Mo Williams in the end zone to break up a Pat Bostick pass. Each player needed help off the field, but the status or severity of their injuries wasn't immediately known.

The rest of the Panthers will wear pads for the first time this spring, per NCAA regulations, and scrimmage for 80 to 90 plays tomorrow at 12:15 at the South Side facility. Coach Dave Wannstedt said everyone will try to get 25 to 30 reps, aside from players still recovering from offseason surgeries, like Jason Pinkston, Nate Byham, Derek Kinder, John Pelusi, Chris Jacobson and Gus Mustakas.

One player who will definitely get all of his reps, Wannstedt emphasized, is redshirt junior defensive end Doug Fulmer, who returned to practice today from an absence of nearly two years from two different injuries. Fulmer ran with the first team defensive line, and rotated reps on the left end with sophomore Jabaal Sheard.

"Boy was it good to see Doug Fulmer back," Wannstedt said. "It'll be good tomorrow to turn him loose, and we'll see what he can do. I think he's 100 percent health-wise, but he needs to get back into football shape. He'll get his 30 plays for sure."

Wannstedt also said the quarterbacks will play live, but on "his whistle." Bill Stull ran the first team throughout Friday's drills, completing passes to Oderick Turner, T.J. Porter and Cedric McGee, who's getting first-team reps with Kinder still out.

Stull also hit another target several times, newly turned tight end Dorin Dickerson, who snagged a couple of Stull's passes, one a 30-yard vertical streak between two defenders. Dickerson is playing with the first team while Byham and Pelusi are both out.

"He's an athlete, that's why he's able to play almost every position on the field," Stull said. "It started off in winter conditioning. He definitely wanted to start now and get all the basic stuff with formations and shifts. He came to me and asked me for help, and obviously I was more than happy to help him get to know what he's doing, and coaches see that he's not making any mental errors and that's half the battle."

While Stull ran the first team, Pat Bostick and Kevan Smith both took about equal reps with the second team, and each had their ups and downs. Smith threw an interception in full team drills to second-team outside linebacker Greg Williams, who made an athletic catch on a ball that second-team tight end Ty Tkach bobbled and lost.

Myles Caragein also made some nice plays with the second and third team defensive lines on his first day back since injuring his right foot. Caragein batted down one of Bostick's passes at the line of scrimmage in team drills, and beat second-team right tackle John Fieger around the right end on the ensuing play to sack Bostick.

"It was a productive day," Wannstedt said. "It gave us an opportunity to work on some individual stuff, some situations that we'll use live tomorrow. This will be the first time that [the players] are really looked at and graded to the point where we'll get a good look at the depth chart. I'm anxious to see what happens."

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