Pitt Spring Football Notes

The Pitt football team has been working hard in the offseason to make sure there isn't a setback after consecutive nine-win regular seasons and last fall's 10-3 campaign capped by a victory in the Car Care Bowl.

Pittsburgh gets a chance to take another step toward its 2010 season when spring practice begins Thursday, March 18, at the UPMC Sports Complex practice facility. The Panthers will go through 15 practice sessions with the final one being the annual Blue-Gold Game Saturday, April 17 at Heinz Field.

While some players already have been groomed to replace the senior starters from last year's squad, attrition has made the depth chart even more competitive this spring.

The top battles should be at quarterback to replace two-year starter Bill Stull where redshirt junior Pat Bostick and redshirt sophomore Tino Sunseri are competing. Pitt coach Dave Wannstedt has said during offseason interviews that he expects a starter to be determined after spring drills.

Another offensive spot up where there's a wide-open field is center after two-year starter Robb Houser graduated. Fifth-year senior walk-on Alex Karabin, the backup the past two seasons, is the front-runner. Others in the mix are not certain, but redshirt junior Greg Gaskins could move from a backup tackle spot.

Pitt also lost its top two tight ends in Nate Byham and Dorin Dickerson, starting defensive tackles in Mick Williams and Gus Mustakas and starting cornerbacks in Aaron Berry and Jovani Chappel.

Along with the seniors in their final seasons of eligibility, kickoff specialist Lucas Briggs will not return for a fifth year, safety Elijah Fields was kicked off the team, running backs Shariff Harris and Kevin Collier transferred and so did offensive tackle Dan Matha. Wayne Jones and Jared Martin also did not return.

A few position switches already are known. Kolby Gray, recruited as a quarterback last year, redshirted as a freshman and will move to safety. Gray had shoulder surgery last fall, so he could be limited. Walk-on punter Pat Costello was such a hit on special teams coverage last fall that he also will be tried at safety, and Aundre Wright will move from wideout to cornerback.

Here is Pitt's 2010 Spring Roster. Some walk-ons, obviously, could be added as we go along this spring.

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