Pitt O-line Making Strides

There's a line of thinking in sports that to become the best, one must play against the best.

If that's the case, the Pittsburgh offensive line eventually should be tops in the Big East soon after battling the Panthers defensive line in practice every day.

As training camp practices begin the final week with two workouts on Monday and Wednesday, including the third and final intrasquad scrimmage Wednesday from 3-5 p.m., Pitt's offensive line clearly has made some strides, according to offensive line coach Tony Wise, but still has room to improve if a one-on-one drill against the defensive line is an indication.

"It's slow, but sure,'' Wise said. "When you combine the young guys, and ... there's been a lot of individual movement, so it's been a slow process. But we're coming along. This is just a normal thing when you go through practice.

"We're going to develop as the year goes on, but a lot will be expected from us. So, we're going to have to fight and scratch and it might be ugly, but we're going to get better. We just have to win. It's not a beauty contest what we do.''

Here are the matchups from Monday morning's line drills where the offense and defense are in one-on-one pairings with a tackling dummy as the quarterback.

Defensive tackle Gus Mustakas had a good battle with left guard C.J. Davis and eventually pushed him back for late pressure.

Defensive tackle Craig Bokor made a quick inside move against center Robb Houser, but Houser was strong enough to push him to the side to avoid a sack.

Defensive tackle Myles Caragein and guard John Malecki provided one of the better battles of strength and quickness. Caragein has had a solid camp, but it's tough for him to break into the tackle rotation.

End Jabaal Sheard went right around offensive tackle Joe Thomas and destroyed smacked down the quarterback.

Defensive end Chas Alecxih made a quick inside move to beat tackle Greg Gaskins and sack the quarterback.

Caragein lined up outside and was too quick and strong for tackle Jordan Gibbs.

Center Jared Martin did a decent job against tackle Tommie Duhart, but he still pressured the quarterback.

Houser and Bokor had a standoff that drew raves from both lines.

End Tony Tucker used his quickness to beat offensive tackle Chase Clowser.

Gibbs got hit by defensive end Justin Hargrove, knocked down and then shoved into the quarterback.

Offensive guard John Fieger did a decent job against walk-on Keith Coleman.

Mammoth defensive tackle Darrell Jones used his size and strength to push Martin back into the quarterback.

Tackle Rashaad Duncan beat guard John Bachman off the snap to get a sack.

Clowser held his own against defensive tackle Scott Corson.

Sheard was just tenacious against offensive tackle Jason Pinkston, who pushed him to the ground. However, Sheard got back up and still provided pressure.

Tackle Mick Williams was too strong for guard C.J. Davis on a bull rush.

Houser did a good job against Caragein despite many spin and power moves.

Malecki used his hands well to ride Bokor out of the play.

Thomas did a decent job against Tucker, but his quickness helped him apply some pressure to the quarterback at the end.

Duncan was held out by Lucas Nix, who showed strength and quickness.

Gaskins did the same thing with Duhart to keep him to the outside.

Offensive guard Dom Williams had a tough time with Caragein right off the bat.

Duncan shoved center Alex Karabin back into the quarterback.

Mick Williams pushed center Wayne Jones back.

Nix and defensive end Tyler Tkach had a good battle that ended in a stand-off.

Gibbs did a good job against Hargrove, while Coleman beat Gaskins for a sack.

In the 11-on-11 (team) portion, there were several interesting moves by the offense to open things up. Primarily it involved two tight ends with John Pelusi as an H-back. Nate Byham and Dorin Dickerson in a double-tight, but one went in motion. Another time, Dickerson split out a bit.

When the offense was its most successful, both Pinkston and Davis were pulling out and blocking downfield, as tailback LaRod Stephens-Howling had a big gain.

Pelusi (shoulder), cornerback Buddy Jackson (groin, hamstring) and wideout Cedric McGee (ankle) returned to practice. However, wideout T.J. Porter and defensive end Greg Romeus did not participate in the morning session.

Note: Austin Ransom has moved back to defense as a safety.

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