At 5-foot-10 and 175 pounds, Jarred Holley has decent size and speed. But that doesn't tell everything about him. What makes Holley so valuable to the Panthers is that he's coachable, and he has tremendous field sense. He always knows where he's at on the field, and the staff doesn't have to explain things more than once to him.
Holley was recruited to be a cornerback, but he's also working at safety.
"Jarred Holley is a guy who, wherever he's at on the field, he gives you confidence,'' Pittsburgh coach Dave Wannstedt said. "He's going to be a heckuva player for us. Now whether it's at corner or safety, I don't know.
"He's in the first dime package, and he's alternating in with the second group some at corner and some at safety. And he's on all the special teams. So, he's going to be everything that we thought he was when we recruited him.''
All Holley is trying to do right now is soak up as much as he can for the season.
"I don't worry about whether it's at corner or safety, I just want to get on the field,'' Holley said. "I'm trying to learn both positions, and it can be tough. But I think I'm doing all right. It's all about gaining the trust of the coaches and my teammates, and hopefully I'm accomplishing that.''
Some believed that Holley would get some playing time last year as a freshman, but he redshirted while classmate Antwuan Reed got the nod.
"I've really enjoyed the last year here, and I've learned a lot more since I got here,'' Holley said. "I think you can learn a lot in a year, and the coaches have really helped me out a lot. The other players, the veterans in the secondary, have helped me out, too. They've really been tremendous.
"Everything has been positive since I've been here. Sure, I redshirted last year, while Antwuan got to play, but I worked hard on the scout team and spent a lot of time watching film. When you're not getting reps, like I wasn't last year, you need to learn from watching the other players. You also have to listen to your coaches and watch a lot of film. It's the only way to learn.''
So, that's what Holley did. He watched tape after tape of Pitt's defensive backs, and he also watched some on opposing team's wideouts. And he learned how to break it down with secondary coach Jeff Hafley.
"He worked very hard in the classroom and on the field, covering our receivers for the scout team last year,'' Hafley said. "He's made himself very valuable to this secondary as a backup for a couple positions, so he has a chance to get on the field a lot this season.''
Holley's not making any predictions.
"It's real exciting, and there's been a lot of competition this summer,'' Holley said. "So, I'm looking forward to the season, and I'm sure the other guys are, too. I guess I was going to redshirt last year from the beginning, but I have faith that everything I did last year is going to pay off this year and in my career.
"You know, you have to learn the system before you can just go out there and do your job, and the coach has to be able to trust you. So, I worked hard last year to make that happen. So, my first year was a learning experience, and we have great coaches -- Coach Hafley and Coach Bennett -- to learn from. But now I'm ready to get on the field and contribute even more.''
And as long as he keeps soaking up that information, that should happen for Holley.
Holley Backup At Two Positions
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