Pitt Wednesday Morning Practice

There were two changes to Pitt's depth chart during the Wednesday morning practice, as Tino Sunseri switched sessions with Pat Bostick at quarterback, while Chris Jacobson started at left offensive guard for Joe Thomas.

Fifth-year senior Bill Stull remained the starting quarterback for Pittsburgh, but junior Pat Bostick moved to the afternoon session. And redshirt freshman Tino Sunseri worked out in the morning with mostly second-team reps, but he had some with the first group as well.

Chris Jacobson, a redshirt sophomore, basically switched spots with senior Joe Thomas at left offensive guard. Thomas was the first-team guard the first day, but Jacobson took that spot Wednesday morning.

"We just flip-flopped them,'' Pitt offensive line coach Tony Wise said. "Those two are pretty close, and we wanted to get them both a good look with the ones (first team). And both guys did a good job with that.''

Sunseri had a much better performance with the first- and second-team Panthers and actually developed a good rapport with redshirt freshman Mike Shanahan. Jonathan Baldwin has received as much attention as any Pitt player in the offseason, but Shanahan is another second-year wideout with tremendous size at 6-foot-5, 220 pounds.

The two combined on a crossing pattern where weak-side linebacker Shane Murray and safety Irvan Brown closed strong, but were a little late. Shanahan isn't the fastest Pitt player, but he runs precise patters and used his size to shield the ball from defenders.

Shanahan wasn't as fortunate on a fly pattern where he got behind the secondary, but couldn't catch up with the play. It appeared that he needed higher gear and just couldn't get up to speed in time. Later in practice, he ran a nice hook into the seam, around the linebackers and in front of the defense. He was a solid passing play against good pressure from the front seven.

During the first 11-on-11 (Team) period, the defense must have been fired up, because it broke loose and pressured Stull before the play was whistle blew. Fifth-year senior Mick Williams' athleticism caused fits for senior right guard John Malecki, and it didn't hurt that redshirt junior defensive end Greg Romeus penetrated from the other side.

The pressure was so serious during one series that Sunseri was able to step up and run. He was praised for making a good decision on that play by Panthers coach Dave Wannstedt.

Sunseri's decision-making aside, not that it wasn't important, but he just threw the ball a lot better in the morning Wednesday than he did Tuesday afternoon. He moved the ball around, dumping it off when needed and showing good arm strength when the long ball was called as well.

Redshirt freshman Chris Burns, who basically was the third-team tailback behind frosh Dion Lewis and redshirt sophomore Shariff Harris, had a good morning workout. While he ran the ball hard, especially during Wannstedt's famous inside running drills, Burns was a huge threat catching the ball.

Burns took one swing pass from Sunseri and burst down the sideline for an apparent touchdown. As comments were made about the success of that play against the second-team defense, the first-unit players expressed their displeasure from the sideline.

"You know nobody's wearing pads,'' safety Elijah Fields said. "He wouldn't be able to do that if we were hitting.''

A few plays later, against Fields and that same first group, Burns made an even more spectacular catch and run. He actually appeared to be a lot faster than he was as a freshman and tore away from the pursuit after a catch in the flat.

Safety Irvan Brown nearly made the pick of the day, as he made the defensive stop, knocked away the ball and nearly pulled it in on the deflection. But he couldn't hold on.

Baldwin is known for his big plays in the passing game, but the Panthers tried to utilize his speed by getting him the ball on a reverse. Unfortunately for the offense, Romeus read the play perfectly. Redshirt sophomore linebacker Greg Williams also came up strong to hold Baldwin to a yard at most.

Williams displayed his incredible athleticism on the next play as well. He reads a screen play, had a burst of speed and nearly picked off the pass. If he doesn't make a lot of plays this year, it'll be because opponents run away from him.

Panther Digest Top Stories