Nose For The Goal

After several days where freshman tailback Ray Graham stole the offensive show for the Pitt football team, classmate Dion Lewis proved why he secured the No. 1 spot in the backfield practically from the minute he joined the team.

In an 11-on-11 drill, freshman Dion Lewis -- who enrolled at Pittsburgh in January and took part in spring drills -- ran off tackle during a blitz drill from the 11 and went the distance. Lewis made one move at the line and then out-ran the rest of the defense without being touched.

Redshirt sophomore fullback Henry Hynoski had a beautiful kick-out block on strong-side linebacker Greg Williams, while left offensive tackle Jason Pinkston and tight end Mike Cruz sealed off any pursuit. Lewis did the rest with one shake to bake the defense for the 89-yard score.

"Great job, line,'' Pitt offensive line coach Tony Wise shouted. "Great job, Hyno. Way to go, guys.''

Lewis also made a one-handed catch on a somewhat wide toss from redshirt freshman Tino Sunseri later in the drill for a first down. He also hammered it in from the 2 on the first play during the goal-line drill that ended the Tuesday afternoon practice.

Quarterback Bill Stull was sacked on the second play, so the Panthers went to a power set for the next play with a fullback and extra tight ends, but no wideouts. Lewis got the ball and ran left. He appeared to get stopped, but surged forward on a second effort.

The whistle wasn't blown, and the ball came loose. Redshirt junior defensive end Nate Nix, playing with the first team with Jabaal Sheard (knee) and Greg Romeus (excused) out, was in on the play and recovered the fumble. Adam Gunn might have forced the fumble, but there were a lot of bodies in the area.

The second units came on the field for their goal-line shots with Sunseri in at quarterback and Ray Graham at tailback. Graham got the toss on first down and appeared to be on his way across the line when redshirt freshman Jarred Holley knifed through from the secondary and cut him down.

On second down, Sunseri was pressured and had to throw it away. Actually, it could have been ruled a sack, but that's irrelevant at this point. Graham decided a dive over the pile would get it done on third down, but it was more of a lean than a leap. And with freshman middle linebacker Dan Mason filling the hole, Graham's effort wasn't nearly enough.

On fourth down, the Panthers tried to hammer it in with Graham slamming into the line. He got close, but Mason on the bottom and freshman Tyrone Ezell in the middle of the line were more than enough to keep him out. Frosh Bernardo Nunez also was in on the play for the defensive line.

Pitt was supposed to scrimmage one final time Wednesday afternoon, but Coach Dave Wannstedt altered that plan and instead will hold a regular practice sessions with several live periods as opposed to a full-blown scrimmage from 3-5 p.m. There also will be a morning practice from 8-10.

These sessions basically end training camp with FanFest Thursday and a night session Friday, which begins the Panthers' game-week preparation for the Youngstown State matchup Sept. 5 at 1 p.m. at Heinz Field.

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