Unfortunately, I've been tied up with basketball (which ends today) but I've been to both football practices to start the spring and so here are some of my initial thoughts....
1.) The pace of practice is slower and more controlled than it was last spring for obvious reasons. Last spring it was all about trying to teach things at a fast pace so the team can play at a fast pace for the high octane nonsense. So there were a lot of coaches running around the field screaming and guys trying to figure out where to be and it was very helter skelter. This spring it is far more about teaching and instruction and trying to get fundamentals and basics in place. That doesn't mean that it isn't intense, cause it is, but the coaches are stopping things and working through them with guys. And the practice is very similar to the Dave Wannstedt era in that you can tell, once they put the pads on there will be plenty of hitting and plenty of emphasis on being physical. This is a pro-style team again and it is easy to tell that there will be a different mentality all together.
2.) The quarterback competition all of Pitt fans want could actually materialize this spring because it seems as if Mark Myers is ready to take this Division I player thing seriously and if that really happens, he will become a real factor. It is interesting when the light goes on in a guys head like that because that's when you see a guy go to an entirely new level and have his breakout season. I'm not saying that is definitely the case with Myers, but he was actually talking about watching film, maturing, understanding what it takes and being re-energized with the new coaching staff. Again, if he does indeed get it there will be a quarterback competition because from what we've seen these past two days this job has to be wide open as none of them has been impressive, or even good for that matter. I think Myers may be the best suited for this pro-style offense but we will see if he is indeed ready to compete.
3.) It is hard to gauge just how physical this team is going to be because they haven't put on the pads yet. The first two days have been in the spider pads and shorts but Sunday morning they will be able to start hitting and that is when we will really get a first glimpse of the team.
4.) It appears as if Matt Rotheram and Juantez Hollins will get the first look at tackle but again, that's just going by what we have seen and there is a long, long way to go. I will say the offensive line in general is probably the biggest area of concern with this team and mostly because there isn't a lot of experience and there really aren't many tackles to be found anywhere.
5.) I like the athleticism of this team, particularly the defensive backs and linebackers, but that doesn't mean these guys can play. K'Wuan Williams obviously can play and so can a few of the other guys, like Andrew Taglianetti, can play but there are a lot of new faces out there and there should be plenty of competition for starting jobs. I know it is a cliche when coaches talk about all jobs are open, but this spring and fall should have some movement on the depth chart as guys are fighting for jobs.
Obviously I will have much more coming now that I can turn my attention back from the roundball - which, the Gonzaga-Ohio State game at Consol was played at a very high level and is an example of why the NCAA Tournament is my favorite event to cover - to the football.
Sam Werner is in for me tomorrow at practice so he will put some of his thoughts on the blog and we will be up and rolling with four practices next week. I'll also be hosting on 93.7 The Fan from 10-2 Sunday Night and we will talk some Pitt football if you are in the area and want to tune int.