Pitt Prospects Camp Day I

Stifling heat in the indoor practice facility and heavy showers after action shifted outside didn't appear to dampen the spirits of about 200 players during Day I at the Pitt Prospects Camp Thursday at the UPMC Sports Complex.

Pittsburgh assistant athletic director for football operations Chris LaSala provided a brief overview about the camp schedule, and then Panthers head coach Dave Wannstedt addressed the players.

"You were all given an opportunity to come here by your parents, grandparents, coaches or maybe you did it on your own, but it's a good opportunity for you,'' Wannstedt said. "And I want you guys to be selfish about it, but in a good way. And there are two points that I want to make about that. I want you to take advantage of this opportunity as much as possible today.

"I want you to leave here with a better understanding of what it takes to make you a better football player. So, learn something today that will make you better. And the second thing is that we have a lot of quality coaches here to help you. The Pitt football staff is here, and we have other coaches from around the area as well. So, listen to what they have to say.

"We know that you have some ability, but we want to find out what kind of person you are and if you are the type of person and player that we would want in our program,'' Wannstedt added. "We're going to look at your attitude and see if you hustle in everything we tell you to do and give a maximum effort. When a coach talks to you, do you look him the eyes and listen? And are you able to follow instruction? We'll find out all those things today.''

Wannstedt then introduced his coaching staff, as well as the various other coaches -- including former Pitt and Steelers linebacker Jerry Olsavsky and former Pitt offensive coordinator J.D. Brookhart -- who there to observe and help out with the players. Olsavsky has been an assistant at Youngstown State the past six seasons, and Brookhart has been the head coach at Akron since he left Pitt five years ago.

Pitt strength and conditioning coach Buddy Morris also addressed the players. Morris talked about the value of strength and speed training to become a better football player.

"If you want to get faster, the best way to do that is to get stronger,'' Morris said. He noted that getting a good start and the first 5-6 strides are the most important parts of running a 40-yard dash.

Morris then led the group through various exercises and stretches to get the players ready for the day's activities.

The two-day camp, which concludes Saturday, is an excellent opportunity for the Pitt coaching staff to get an up-close-and-personal look at some offensive and defensive linemen. Adam Gress from West Mifflin, Pa. High School; Adam Citko from Penn Wood HS in Lansdowne, Pa.; John Wetzel from Brashear HS in Pittsburgh's City League and Matt Couch from East Pennsboro, Pa. HS were among the most impressive offensive linemen. On the defensive side, end Will Clarke from Allderdice HS in Pittsburgh's City League stood out due to his speed and athleticism.

The entire group is hopeful that a strong performance in this camp will lead to a scholarship offer from Pitt, as well as other Division I schools.

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