This morning was Pitt's second (and final) scrimmage of training camp. Let's get right to the good stuff...
- Overall, the defense definitely got the better of the scrimmage, especially early. The first touchdown didn't come until early in the "second half," a short Isaac Bennett touchdown run up the middle. From that point, the offense was able to move the ball a little bit better. Desmond Brown got a short touchdown run, and Chris Wuestner and Josh Brinson caught touchdown passes (from Chad Voytik and Tino Sunseri, respectively). The defensive line still had their way with the offensive line today, getting a lot of pressure on Sunseri and, for the most part, completely shutting down the running game. Offensive line coach Jim Hueber preached a broader view, though.
"People forget now, two days ago we had nine long runs, three long passes in practice," Hueber said. "Sometimes it swings the other way and you’ve got to bounce back."
- I thought Sunseri actually had a pretty good day...when he was able to throw the ball. He was sacked several times and was the victim of a few drops by receivers. On the touchdown pass to Brinson, he dropped an absolutely perfect pass into Brinson's arms in the back right corner of the end zone for a 30-yard score. K'Waun Williams actually had pretty good coverage on the play, but Sunseri's pass was just right on the money. He only had one pass batted down at the line of scrimmage (by Bryan Murphy), something that was a big problem last week.
- It was not a very good day for the running backs. Ray Graham was out again due to injury, as was Rushel Shell. The load fell to mostly Bennett and Malcolm Crockett, with Brown and Corey Davis mixed in sparingly. Neither Bennett nor Crockett was able to break any big runs, and Crockett had two fumbles. As for Bennett, he seemed to do way too much dancing behind the line of scrimmage. He has had a very good camp, but today was not one of his better days.
- Shane Gordon returned after missing a week with an injury. The difference between him and whoever subs in to replace him (this week it was Joe Trebitz and Dan Mason) is really noticeable. He's super quick to the ball and has the ability to blow up plays in the backfield. Once Todd Thomas gets healthy (which, Paul Chryst admitted, could be a while) the linebacking corps is going to be pretty good.
"He’s a guy that was running with the ones as a starting linebacker and he’s in," Chryst said of Gordon. "He needs to work. Hopefully we can start getting guys back next week because the game’s not waiting for us. We’ve got to get ourselves ready and we need as many guys healthy as we can."
- Redshirt senior kicker Kevin Harper was 4 of 5 on field goal attempts. He made from 48, 30, 37 and 42. The one miss came from 40 yards.
"I think he needed to do that today," Chryst said. "He’d been inconsistent. I think he’s a guy that’s got talent, and we need everyone."
- Freshman Bam Bradley mixed in a little bit with the first-team linebackers today. Since Eric Williams went down with an injury, a lot of guys have gotten a chance to fill that spot, including Bradley, fellow freshman Deaysean Rippy and redshirt freshman Jason Frimpong.
"He’s giving himself a chance to get in and mix it up," Chryst said. "I think he’s a talented player and there’s just a lot of learning to do. When that’s the case, you play hesitant sometimes. I like the work he’s given us, and I think the young guys across the board, some are picking it up faster than others but there’s some young guys getting a lot of reps."
- Chryst was, understandably, upset about nine pre-snap penalties the offense took this morning. Freshman tight end J.P. Holtz also had a running into the kicker penalty on a punt.
"Nine penalties pre-snap," Chryst said. "You’re not even giving yourself a chance to win on that play, and you know what that does to situations."
- Andrew Taglianetti had another nice practice. He shaved his beard into what he calls a "camp stache," a glorious bit of upper-lip facial hair. Since then, he has had four interceptions. Depending on how the rest of camp goes, the stache may stick around for the regular season.
"At this point, I think I can say he’s what you want [from] a fifth-year senior, locked in to have his best year," Chryst said. "I think your seniors have to play their best football."
- I wrote in today's P-G about the receivers who are getting playing time with Mike Shanahan and Devin Street out with injury.
That's all for now. Pitt practices tomorrow, but it's closed to the media, so no blog post tomorrow. I'll be back Monday when they get back to two-a-days. Have a good weekend, and let's hope the Pirates can pull something out in St. Louis.