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Talkin' Bout Practice - August 20

Written by Sam Werner on .

We're running out of practices left in training camp, with just two open sessions left before Pitt gets into game week mode in preparation for Florida State. That being said, here's a quick rundown of what we saw today.

- Quarterback Tom Savage took very limited reps in today's practice. In fact, over the last few days we've been seeing less and less of Savage in live action drills. Pitt coach Paul Chryst said after today's practice that he's just trying to be smart with Savage's workload as the season approaches.
"Our job is to make sure everyone's prepared and ready to go for the season," Chryst said. "That starts with our first game, and part of our preparation is getting enough reps and work, and part of it's making sure physically that they're feeling the best they can."

- One of the most interesting developments of the last few days has been the progression of former Clairton defensive backs Titus Howard and Terrish Webb up the depth chart. Today, Howard spent a good number of snaps with the first team in place of senior K'Waun Williams. Williams was getting some rest time, and his usual replacement Trenton Coles has been banged up the last few days. Howard looked solid in his coverage, even making a nice interception coming up to pick off Chad Voytik on an attempted sideline throw to Dontez Ford.
Webb spent most of the practice at safety on the second team, but also had a pick of his own later on.
Now, I think it's still a big question whether or not these two will play this year. Secondary is one area where Pitt has numbers, so there's certainly no need to burn their redshirts just because the Panthers have to. That said, they certainly have a better shot at seeing the field than I would have said they did two weeks ago. It'll be interesting to see where they fit into the mix once everyone is healthy.

- Still no Isaac Bennett for Pitt today. He was once again held out with a brace on his right knee, and freshman James Conner took the first teams reps. Speaking after practice, Conner sure didn't lack for confidence.
"I plan on being the first running back out there [against Florida State]," he said.
Now, he added that that was just his mentality, and not necessarily based on anything the coaches have told him about the severity of Bennett's injury. Still, the longer Bennett stays out, the more questionable his status for the opener becomes. It'll be very telling once they start preparing for the Seminoles next week if he's practicing or not.

- Speaking of running backs, redshirt sophomore Malcolm Crockett returned to practice today after getting dinged up yesterday. He took mostly second-team reps.

- Redshirt freshman Gabe Roberts was back with the first team at center today after ceding the job to redshirt sophomore Artie Rowell for the last few sessions. Roberts did have some issues with a couple of snaps (something that has plagued him for a while), but it looks like this position battle is going to go right down to the wire. At this point I could see either one of them starting against Florida State.

- A few people have asked about him, so here's a Todd Thomas update: Thomas has been practicing in 11-on-11 drills with the second team at the Will linebacker position. He seems to have worked back in seamlessly and definitely appears to have a much better attitude about his position on the team than he did the first day of training camp.

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