Video courtesy of Pitt Athletics
Pitt coach Pat Narduzzi wrapped up his press conference, which you can see above, previewing Youngstown State earlier today. You can see video from cornerback Lafayette Pitts and tight end J.P. Holtz below, and here are a few quick hits from Narduzzi...
- Narduzzi said Pitt has awarded scholarships to fullback George Aston and defensive lineman Mark Scarpinato. That puts the Panthers at 83 scholarships, assuming all former walk-ons have theirs renewed (which isn't clear at this point). They have two more to give, and Narduzzi said they're still open to handing those out over the next week or so.
He said Aston is a "tough" player, who's "going to play a lot of football for us this year."
For Scarpinato, Narduzzi said he wanted to make sure he earned it after coming back from a year away from football, and he's done just that.
"He looks like he's never been away from the game," Narduzzi said. "He came into camp in shape and he's just gone like that the entire time. We're going to get some great football out of Mark, and we're happy he's on this football team. He will definitely contribute."
- Narduzzi was highly complimentary of Brian O'Neill, who is listed as the starter at right tackle.
"He's going to be a tremendous tackle in the ACC conference and, in my opinion, if he keeps going like he is, at the next level," Narduzzi said. "I really believe that."
He didn't tip his hand, though, as to how the offensive line rotation will change if center Artie Rowell is able to play. As I mentioned earlier, there's a good chance that, if Rowell plays, Alex Officer could shift to right guard, moving Alex Bookser to right tackle and O'Neill off the field.
"You're going to see a little bit of everything," Narduzzi said. "We're going to rotate guys in and try and get some different looks."
- In terms of injuries, Narduzzi didn't reveal a whole lot. He said he "feels like" Rowell will be good to go, but didn't elaborate beyond that. For defensive tackle Darryl Render (who wasn't listed on the official two-deep), he said he got a full lift in yesterday. Narduzzi guaranteed that Render will dress and said there's a "good chance" he plays.
- Narduzzi said the four freshmen listed on the depth chart (Darrin Hall, Quadree Henderson, Tre Tipton and Jordan Whitehead) are the only ones that will see the field for sure this year, but added there are a couple of others who still have a chance. Dane Jackson is one, and JUCO transfer Allen Edwards is another.
"Would we like to hold him? Maybe," Narduzzi said of Edwards. "But I'd like to see what he has on game day. He might just turn it loose and be like the Hulk, but you never know. If I don't give him a shot, you don't know."
- The "Money" linebacker spot is still up in the air, and Narduzzi said it's possible that Bam Bradley and Mike Caprara will rotate on the first few drives against Youngstown State.
- Same thing at strong safety, where Pat Amara and Whitehead are listed as co-starters, but apparently Jevonte Pitts is still in the mix, as well.
"It's a three-way battle right now and Whitehead's really thrown a wrench in it and made it a battle," Narduzzi said. "They all do something a little bit different. They all bring something different to the table, so we're going to wait and find out."