The second practice of this Saturday is in the books (at least for the media), but before I get to that, I’d like to follow up on Brock DiCicco’s decision to transfer from Pitt. Paul reported the story this afternoon and during this evening’s practice everyone’s favorite Senior Associate Athletic Director and media relations E.J. Borghetti extraordinaire (if you’re reading this, E.J., I mean that sincerely. Thank you for all of your help this week and making me feel comfortable in this new environment) handed out the Todd Graham’s official statement, which goes as follows:
“Brock informed us today of his intention to transfer to another school. We have enjoyed and appreciated the opportunity to get to know Brock the past eight months and wish him only the very best in his future endeavors.”
So there it is. Though it is a predictable kind of statement, judging by how Graham approached the subject this afternoon, it’s a safe bet that there’s a lot of sincerity to it.
On a quick side note, I’d like to brag that I typed that entire statement without looking at my keyboard or screen in one fell swoop with no errors. Not sure where that came from, but Mavis Beacon would be proud nonetheless.
It’s hard to tell how much losing DiCicco will affect the Panthers this year. With Graham’s philosophy being built around speed, it’s believable that he doesn’t utilize a tight end as much as a pro-style offense, and if that’s the reason for DiCicco’s departure, then you can’t really blame him. He only caught two passes last year, and though both were for touchdowns, if he feels like he deserves more action then maybe moving on isn’t a bad choice since, considering the targets Tino Sunseri will have this season, my money would have been on him not seeing much more attention.
The other side of all this is how DiCicco’s replacement and (at least based on team scrimmages) No. 1 tight end Hubie Graham (right) affects the Panthers. Graham transferred to Pitt from Illinois in 2010 and red shirted last season. At Illinois he saw lots of playing time, but just like DiCicco didn’t see much in the way of quarterback attention. In 20 games in Champagne he had four catches for 59 yards.
It seems to me that based solely on stats and body type, I think Graham is a slight upgrade for Pitt, but not by much. I only say this because he is an inch shorter and 10 pounds lighter, which may or may not help him out in an offense based more on speed than strength.
As a Pittsburgh native, though, it definitely hurts to see a hometown guy like DiCicco part ways with the program. It’s always nice to see guys playing and succeeding in front of their hometown.
Please don’t think I’m the know-all of this topic, though. I’ve only been on this beat for a few days at this point, so I would love to start a discussion about this topic. I’m only 22, after all. I’d love to hear from you so I can do my job better.
Moving on to this evening’s practice, we got our first taste of the punting game during the special teams, and I must say that Plum native Chris Yankoski (below) was pretty erratic. He had a few bombs, but also had a few short, end-over-end punts that didn’t go too far. He’s a veteran, though, so I’m sure he’ll get things straightened out.
Cameron Saddler was the first man receiving punts, but Ronald Jones and Darius Patton were also getting some reps in.
Just like in the morning, the media was only allowed to attend the first hour, so we only got four plays worth of team scrimmages to report. That doesn’t mean there was nothing significant, though. Both the first and second team offenses seem to be clicking, at least pre-snap. Following the first play, Sunseri had the ball snapped in 15, 13 and 13 seconds on their series, which also included a nice sideline connection to Devin Street.
The second team was also quick, which is a good sign that the younger receivers are comfortable with the offensive scheme. Their squad even got one play off in 12 seconds.
And that’s pretty much a wrap for the notable events of the practice itself. Although I could have reported more if we were allowed to stay longer, I’m a tiny bit happy we left. The mosquitoes were starting to feast on me.
Tomorrow the Panthers will scrimmage, but we weren’t invited to watch, so you’ll have to wait until Monday to hear about evaluations. Sorry folks, there’s only so much I can do. Paul will be back for Monday’s blog, but thanks for reading and commenting the past couple days. I really do appreciate the nice comments that people have left for me. Also I’m trying to gather Twitter followers, so if you’re interested in my tweets you can follow me @cmagovern.
I’ll be back for Wednesday’s practice, so until then have a great weekend and beginning of the week.