Fifth-year senior Gus Mustakas showed no ill effects from his offseason micro-fracture knee surgery and started next to Mick Williams as the starting defensive tackles for Pittsburgh. Senior Joe Thomas opened ahead of redshirt sophomore Chris Jacobson at left offensive guard, but both got first-team reps.
While freshman Dion Lewis was the starter at tailback, redshirt frosh Chris Burns and redshirt sophomore Shariff Harris all got some time with the first team as well. And each had a share of some big runs by the offense.
Senior Dorin Dickerson was used a couple different ways, as a tight end and as a fullback or H-back guy, and he got passes thrown his way at every spot.
There were several offensive stars for the Panthers. Sophomore wideouts Aundre Wright and Jonathan Baldwin made some of the best catches. Wright tortured cornerback Ricky Gary a couple times, beating him with an inside move and hauling in touchdown pass from quarterback Pat Bostick.
Bostick actually had a pretty good morning session, connecting for a couple scores to Wright and showing good arm strength for square-outs and sideline patterns downfield. He had only a few incomplete passes.
Starting quarterback Bill Stull benefitted from having Baldwin as one wideout. The 6-foot-5, 225-pounder stopped and leaped high in the air to pull in one ball, and he held onto a pass across the middle despite some tight defense by the Pitt secondary. Baldwin almost made a spectacular one-handed grab down the right sideline, as he tipped a pass thrown behind him to the front and nearly pulled it in before Berry knocked it down.
Stull also had a problem with Pitt's defensive ends, but it's likely that most opposing quarterbacks will have the same issue. Greg Romeus, at 6-foot-6, 270 pounds, and Jabaal Sheard, at 6-4 and 260 pounds, are pass-rushing nightmares for a quarterback but can cause problems by just getting a little pressure and extending their arms.
Each had a couple knockdowns of passes in the 7-on-7 and 11-on-11 drills. That's not to say that Pitt's offensive tackles struggled. Jason Pinkston and Lucas Nix actually did all right, but when the ends force a quarterback to step up the Panthers have Mick Williams and Co. waiting for him in the middle. And Mustakas and Myles Caragein, the backup nose tackle, are just as powerful.
The first-team offense had Stull at quarterback, Henry Hynoski at fullback, Lewis at tailback, Nate Byham at tight end, Baldwin, Oderick Turner and Cedric McGee at wideout. The O-line from left to right featured Pinkston, Thomas, Robb Houser at center, John Malecki at right guard and Nix.
Defensively, the first team had Sheard, Mustakas, Mick Williams and Romeus up front. The linebacker corps had Max Gruder on the weak side, Adam Gunn in the middle and Greg Williams on the strong side. Aaron Berry and Jovani Chappel are the cornerbacks, while Dom DeCicco was the strong safety and Elijah Fields was the free safety.
Bostick quarterbacked the second team with Burns and Harris at running back and Kevin Collier at fullback. Wright, Mike Shanahan and freshman Devin Street were the wideouts. Street and Dion Lewis were the only true freshmen in the morning session. Dickerson was the tight end.
Street actually had a nice catch down the sideline, but while trying to get additional yardage had the ball stripped. That drew the ire of his teammates and coaches, and he had to do a drill afterward to teach holding on to the ball. It's a good bet he won't do it again.
The second-team O-line was comprised of Jordan Gibbs at left tackle, Jacobson, center Alex Karabin, redshirt freshman Ryan Turnley at right guard and Greg Gaskins at right tackle. The second-team D-line had Justin Hargove, Chas Alexcih, Caragein and Tony Tucker across the front.
The linebacking corps had Steve Dell in the middle, flanked by Shane Murray on the weak side with redshirt frosh Jon Taglianetti and Nate Nix on the strong side with Tristan Roberts.
Gary and Antwuan Reed were the cornerbacks, while Irvan Brown and Andrew Taglianetti were the safeties.
Pitt's second practice begins at 3 p.m., and the Panthers will have two more Wednesday before coming together as one team for the Thursday workout.
Pitt Tuesday Morning Practice
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