Stull Still Might Play

Pitt football coach Dave Wannstedt addressed his quarterback situation immediately during Monday's press conference and noted that there's still a chance that Bill Stull could play against Notre Dame this week.

However, Wannstedt wouldn't rule out any other personnel changes after the loss to Rutgers.

"Billy was at practice (Sunday), observing, and we're just going to take it day-to-day,'' Wannstedt said. "Everything we have received from Billy, and everything we've received from the doctors has been nothing but positive. So, that's good news. It hasn't been determined whether he will play or how much or what his status is for this week. That will be made here at a later time.''

Wannstedt added that there definitely will be a different center when Pittsburgh (5-2) visits Notre Dame (5-2) Saturday at 2:30 p.m., because junior starter Robb Houser will have surgery Tuesday to repair his broken ankle. And at this point, senior left guard C.J. Davis is listed as the starting center on the depth chart. Fifth-year senior Dom Williams is in Davis' former spot.

"But we're (still) evaluating that position to make a determination what combination of players gives us the best chance to win this week,'' Wannstedt said. "(So), nothing has yet to be finalized. (And) in the event that it happens, it's too early to tell who else is moving where and what else will happen.''

Davis talked to Bill Stull and believed he already has shown improvement. However, whether it's Stull or backup Pat Bostick at quarterback against Notre Dame, Davis is up for the challenge of playing center.

"When you've played left guard for so long, that was the first time that I've every taken a snap at center for Pitt,'' Davis said. "The last time I played center was as a freshman in high school, so I wish I had a training camp at center under my belt. But things happen, and we have to keep going.

"I took some reps (at center) in the spring last year, but in pre-practice this year I've been taking some reps there, because Coach has told me that if anything happened (like an injury to Houser) then I'll be the guy that he wants to go in there and play center.''

Davis pointed out that Dom Williams knows Pitt's offense as well as anybody, since he's a veteran and was the starter at left guard before Davis took over during Wannstedt's first season.

"I believe that I know the offense in and out, and all the years I've been here I feel like they really wanted me to get (a shot at center), but it didn't happen,'' Davis said. "So, this is the perfect opportunity for me to get there.

"So, we'll see what happens. I had a good practice (Sunday), and I'll keep working at it the rest of the week in practice. I also have to get in the film room a little bit more, so I'll do that to get ready for Notre Dame.''

Redshirt sophomore Ricky Gary supplanted junior Jovani Chappel at cornerback opposite Aaron Berry in an attempt to shore up the pass defense, and redshirt sophomore safety Elijah Fields got some snaps as well. Wannstedt noted that against pass-happy Notre Dame, several different guys could see action in the secondary. There could be a change at punt-returner as well, since Berry put another on one on the ground that damaged Pitt's comeback against Rutgers.

"We're evaluating that too,'' Wannstedt said. "We're constantly trying to make the best decisions on who we want to handle the ball. Sometimes, you have a guy returning back there who we feel can catch it, but might not give you the best chance to get a good return. (But), yes, we've definitely put the ball on the ground a few times, and we need to fix that.''

Wannstedt added that among the full day's activities Sunday -- player meetings, watching tape from the RU game and evaluating it -- the coaches talked with the Panthers players to "realize that everything that we talked about being able to obtain this season is still out there for us to get. We just have to go out and make it happen.''

But that's not the focus this week, Wannstedt said. It's all about preparing for Notre Dame. Unless one counts re-evaluating the talent level at several positions through seven games.

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