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Notes from day one of spring practice

Written by Sam Werner on .

Here are a few quick notes from Pitt's first spring practice under new coach Pat Narduzzi, which took place Sunday evening at the team's indoor facility on the South Side. First off, here's Narduzzi's post-practice interview session:

- Here's a link to my story from today's Post-Gazette on this spring representing a fresh start for the Panthers under Narduzzi.

- There wasn't much to be gleaned from the practice itself. First of all, the team was only in shorts and helmets today, and won't go in full pads until Thursday. Second, the media access to spring practice is more limited than it was under the previous staff. Rather than being able to watch the whole thing, we were restricted to the first 30 minutes. It ended up being closer to 45 minutes, but still meant that we didn't get to see any 11-on-11 or offense vs. defense drills, which are, obviously, the most revealing parts of practice.

- That said, there were a couple of pieces to pick up. It looks like Alex Bookser is the leading candidate to start at right guard as of now (keeping in mind it's absurdly early to start really thinking about such things). Center Artie Rowell was limited as he recovers from ACL surgery, and when he wasn't out there, the starting offensive line was Adam Bisnowaty (LT), Dorian Johnson (LG), Alex Officer (C), Bookser (RG) and Jaryd Jones-Smith (RT).

- Along the defensive line, it looks like Ejuan Price and Rori Blair got the first cracks at defensive end, with K.K. Mosley-Smith and Darryl Render in the middle. Defensive end will be interesting to watch as spring progresses, because I expect it will be those two guys, plus sophomore Shakir Soto rotating through.

- Speaking of Price, we spoke to him after practice as he hopes to get back on the field this year after losing most of the last two seasons due to injury. He has flashed plenty of talent when he's on the field, but just hasn't been able to stay healthy. This is his last year of eligibility, so it's now or never for Price.
"I've definitely got some cobwebs on there, though," he said. "Once I get them kinks worked out, I feel like I'll be back to my regular self and be good."
Price said his weight got up to around 270 pounds during his time off, but he's now back down to 255 lbs. His normal playing weight in previous years was around 245 lbs, but he said he thought he could play at 250 this year, too.

- Narduzzi himself bounced around the practice a lot. He didn't spend too much time with any one position group and I often found myself asking "OK, where is he now?" and scanning the field before I found him. His description of time management during practice was "Just plug up holes, see if I can make myself useful."

- Offensive coordinator Jim Chaney said the biggest thing that stuck out to him on day one was the team's competitiveness: "They want to go out and be successful. You try and temper that by doing your installations. You're trying to teach them an offense and install plays. We're not necessarily trying to go defeat our defense right now on day one. That's what we've got to temper that with, with them just being focused on becoming better football players and learning our system."

- Chaney was also asked about how different his offensive system and philosophy would be from Chryst's, and the answer is, ideally, not too much. The plan will still be to get James Conner and Tyler Boyd the ball in their hands as much as possible.
"You've got a super talented tailback and a really good wideout, they're going to demand the ball 'x' amount of times," Chaney said. "I don't know that a hell of a lot of philosophical differences are going to take place. They might get it different ways than maybe Paul [Chryst] would've given it to them, but at the end of the day, those kids demand what they demand and they're good football players. You've got to give them the ball."

- Cornerback Lafayette Pitts spoke afterwards about the importance of cornerbacks in Narduzzi's system. The corners will play a lot of press coverage, which was something they did a lot in 2012 under former defensive coordinator Dave Huxtable, but less so over the last two years under Matt House (though Pitts said there were some games under House when they pressed a lot).
"The corners are the biggest position for him because we're out there on a island while you've got the other guys inside the box stopping the run," Pitts said. "If we can control what we're doing out there, it makes it easier for the guys on the inside. And if they do their job, it makes it easier for us to do our job on the receivers."

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Free lawn care seminar at Best Feeds Thursday 3/19

Written by Doug Oster on .

blog grass growingLearn the way to get a great lawn from Jonathan Green.

Best Feeds Garden Center on Babcock Blvd. will hold a free lawn care seminar with a representative of Jonathan Green Lawn Care Company, Thursday March 19th, 2015 at 7 p.m.

Jonathan Green offers many organic lawn care options. I use their Black Beauty and Shady Nooks grass seed in my yard and have also used Mag-I-Cal to correct the pH of my soil.

Nothing can outgrow grass when the fertility and pH are correct in the lawn. That's one of the topics the representative will be speaking about.

 

 

 

 

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Empty Netter Assists - Recapping Penguins-Red Wings - 03-16-15

Written by Seth Rorabaugh on .

Penguins

-The Post-Gazette's recap from yesterday's game. Patric Hornqvist left the game in the third period due to an undisclosed injury.

-The Detroit Free Press' recap. "Last time I played here, I didn't finish the game and that was my last game before I got sent down, so it's nice to bounce back." - Red Wings goaltender Petr Mrazek on rebounding after being pulled in his previous game at Consol Energy Center.

-The Detroit News' recap. "After the last game we had a players-only meeting and we just said enough is enough; we have to go out and play and enjoy playing. It seemed everyone was a little afraid out there and not embracing it. But today, we did a lot better." - Red Wings captain/forward Henrik Zetterberg on his team's rebound following a 7-2 loss to the Flyers Saturday.

-The Associated Press' recap. "We've just got to regroup here and understand basically our playoffs start right now. You have to enter playing the right way. You have to do things right and have that mentality for the rest of the year."

-Highlights (so to speak):

-Mike Lange's goal calls call.

-Hornqvist watched Mrazek make a save here:

-Kris Letang looked determined:

-Crosby surveyed the ice:

-Rare happy times for the Penguins:

-Red Wings defenseman Marek Zidlicky and Zetterberg had a moment:

-Mrazek got low in his stance:

-Mike Johnston speaks:

-Crosby speaks:

-Blake Comeau speaks:

-Rob Scuderi speaks:

-Steve Downie is taking too many penalties for Johnston's tastes.

-Jeff Zatkoff made 35 saves for the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins in a 5-2 loss to the Hartford Wolf Pack. The loss snapped a four-game winning streak.

-Highlights:

-“I don’t really know how to explain it. It’s unacceptable. It’s not what we’re built on. We’re a character team, a hard-working team. That’s what coach expects out of us and we expect out of ourselves. For whatever reason, tonight we didn’t have it.” - Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins forward Jayson Megna.

-Happy 64th birthday to former Penguins forward Brian McKenzie. A second round pick in 1971, McKenzie's entire NHL career amounted to six games with the 1971-72 Penguins in which he recorded two points. The following offseason, he was traded to the Atlanta Flames for cash.

-Happy 44th birthday to former Penguins forward Greg Johnson (right). Acquired midway through the 1996-97 season in a deal that sent Tomas Sandstrom to the Red Wings, Johnson spent parts of two seasons with the Penguins. He finished 1996-97 by playing in 32 games for the Penguins and scoring 16 points. During the 1997 postseason, he played five games and scored one goal. After five games and one goal in 1997-98, Johnson was traded to the Blackhawks in exchange for Tuomas Gronman. In 37 regular season games with the Penguins, he had 17 points.

-Happy 60th birthday to former Penguins goaltender Gord Laxton. The club's first round pick in 1975, Laxton spent parts of four seasons with the Penguins. As a rookie in 1975-76, Laxton appeared in eight games, went 3-4-0 with a 4.49 goals against average. In 1976-77, he played in six games and went 1-3-0 with a 6.17 goals against average. In 1977-78, he was limited to two games, a 0-1-0 record and 7.40 goals against average. Laxton's final NHL season was 1977-78. He played in one game, went 0-1-0 with a goals against average of 8.00. After spending the next five seasons in the IHL or AHL, Laxton was released in the 1983 offseason. In 17 games with the Penguins, Laxton was 4-9-0 with a 5.55 goals against average.

-After the Jump: The Hamburglar strikes again.

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12-Pack

Written by Rob Rogers on .

The Liquor Control Board has decided that it is OK for beer distributors to sell 12-packs of beer. I can hardly contain my excitement. 

031615 12 Pack

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Sites set for Tuesday's state semifinals

Written by Mike White on .

Five teams from the WPIAL and one from the City League will play Tuesday in the state semifinals of the basketball playoffs.

City League boys champion Allderdice will play Martin Luther King of the Philadelphia Public League at Chambersburg High School at 7 p.m.

In Class AA boys, Aliquippa meets West Middlesex at New Castle at 7 p.m.

In girls, Vincentian plays Blairsville in a Class A game at Plum at 6 p.m. It will be followed by Seton-LaSalle vs. Bishop Canevin at 7:30.

Blackhawk plays Berks Catholic at Bald Eagle High School at 6 p.m.

And Norwin plays Cumberland Valley at Altoona at 7 p.m.

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