Pitt was back at it today for the second (and, thankfully, final) helmets-only practice of 2014 training camp. For all parties involved, it's probably a good thing that they'll get to at least put shoulder pads on tomorrow and that will lead to a bit more insight as to what we can expect at various positions in the 2014 season. In case you missed it, here's a link to my story from today's PG on Paul Chryst viewing Monday's practice as a good starting point for the 2014 season. That said, here are just a few quick notes from today's practice...
- Freshman Adonis Jennings missed a good chunk of today's practice with what Chryst described as a "lower-body" injury. It didn't sound too serious, more precautionary than anything else. Chryst did note that Tyler Boyd took a special interest in making sure Jennings was at least going through all the mental reps he could while he was sitting out of physically practicing.
"[Boyd] was just making sure [Jennings] was locked in, making sure Adonis was helping himself," Chryst said. "No one got pushed faster than Tyler last year, so he's not real sympathetic to anybody. He's making sure [Jennings] is staying on track. Adonis wanted it, so that's fun."
- Pitt had a good contingent of 2015 verbal commitments on hand Tuesday, with Tony Pilato, Alex Paulina, Kevin Givens, Nick Bowers, Tre Tipton and Dane Jackson all stopping by to watch practice. They were joined by Central Catholic safety John Petrishen, who is uncommitted, but has an offer from Pitt.
- One of the best competitions to watch this training camp will be between Terrish Webb and Reggie Mitchell for the starting safety spot opposite Ray Vinopal. Mitchell got the first-team snaps today, but Webb had them on Monday. Realistically, both guys will probably see the field a ton because whoever "loses" the position battle will likely be the Panthers' nickelback. Pitt will see a ton of spread offenses in the ACC this year, meaning the nickel package will get a lot of work.
"Terrish is really, really bright, not that Reggie isn't, Reggie is too," defensive coordinator Matt House said. "Terrish loves to compete, Reggie loves to compete. Reggie's got great quickness. It's a good battle going on back there. That's one thing I do feel: Those three guys, Reggie, Terrish and Ray (Vinopal), they're sponges. They are fun to coach because you go in the meeting room and they've got questions and they're wanting to be coached."
- The routine for James Conner working at defensive end seems to be that he goes there for the first few individual sessions at the beginning of practice, then shifts to join the running backs for the remainder. We'll see if that changes once they get in pads, but today he spent the first part of practice going through pass-rushing technique with defensive ends coach John Palermo.
- Senior running back Isaac Bennett was once again "limited" today, and that designation will likely take on some actual meaning starting tomorrow. Running backs coach John Settle said that once the team gets into shoulder pads tomorrow, Bennett will likely only take part in some individual and skeleton drills. The overall plan is to slowly work him back into full contact as he recovers from offseason shoulder surgery.
- Linebacker Mike Caprara had a pick-six in 7-on-7 drills today. Matt Galambos also made a nice play in coverage at one point, but dropped what should probably have been an easy interception.
- Boyd and Kevin Weatherspoon took turns returning punts today. I think both those guys will be back at various points this season, but how they're used could be interesting. Boyd is obviously the bigger home run threat, but you also don't want to run the risk of your best player suffering serious injury on a punt return. The most likely scenario may be Boyd taking punts in return situations, while Weatherspoon is back there in fair catch situations.
That's all for today, we'll likely have a longer rundown tomorrow when the team actually has pads on and is playing something closer to real football.