Well, ladies and gentlemen, Pitt’s first spring practice is in the books. The Panthers practiced for three hours and 20 minutes indoors, without pads, this afternoon. Here are some notes from Paul Chryst’s press briefing this morning as well as the practice itself...
- Chryst said he does not have a timetable for naming a starting quarterback. His answer was “Labor Day.” Tom Savage got most of the early first-team reps in practice today, with Chad Voytik mixing in more with the first team at the end. I don’t expect Chryst to make a decision on this any time soon, but I still think Savage has the inside track (here's a link to the story I wrote for today's paper). He showed his strong arm on a couple of throws today, and the height difference between him and Voytik is striking. Obviously a long way to go here, so let’s not overreact too much one way or another.
- Here are guys who are OUT indefinitely for spring practice: DB Brendon Felder (right foot), LB Shane Gordon (neck), DB Jason Hendricks (right toe), WR Brandon Ifill (left knee).
The following players will miss or be limited the first week: QB Trey Anderson (sick), QB Tra’Von Chapman (groin), DL Devin Cook (right foot), LS Pat Quirin (sick)
DB Jahmahl Pardner and OL John Guy will also both be limited for the time being as they recover from injuries last season.
- Chryst said linebackers Nicholas Grigsby and Dan Mason would be out indefinitely to take care of some off-the-field issues. Grigsby’s must have been something simple because he joined the Panthers about halfway through today’s practice. He didn’t take part in any of the team activities, but did go through position drills.
- As far as position changes, Eric Williams moving from linebacker to safety is the most significant, since he played in every game for the Panthers last year (and was one of the only linebackers to do so). Jason Hendricks is out indefinitely this spring with a foot injury, so Williams will get a chance to establish himself in the defensive backfield. He’s listed at 6-3, 215 pounds, which would seem to be good size for a safety, and looked pretty fluid at the position in the first day, though without pads it can be hard to tell.
- Here’s how the first-team offensive line looked today: Adam Bisnowaty (LT), Cory King (LG), Gabe Roberts (C), Matt Rotheram (RG), TJ Clemmings (RT). Juantez Hollins, off of his suspension, also got work with the first team at right tackle. I’ll have more on the offensive line later this week. They may not have a ton of depth or experience, but they have some flexibility and potential with a lot of guys.
-With Cook out, David Durham, a transfer from Ohio State, worked with the first team at defensive end. Aaron Donald, Tyrone Ezell and Bryan Murphy rounded out the unit.
As far as linebackers, the first team was Todd Thomas (Will), Mike Caprara (Mike) and Anthony Gonzalez (Sam). Eric Williams and Ray Vinopal were with the first unit at safety, and Lafayette Pitts and K’Waun Williams at corner.
- Ejuan Price, who sat out last year, worked in with the second team at linebacker, and lined up in a couple of different spots. It’ll be interesting to see how he fits into the mix when everyone’s healthy, but this is his chance to stake a claim. As for the redshirt freshman, Deaysean Rippy looks like he’s the backup to Gonzalez at the Sam spot right now.
-The staff made the team run sprints for almost 30 minutes at the end of practice today, making them go again each time someone false started. At one point, Devin Street gathered the team together to implore some discipline to finish the drill.
That’s all for now. Pitt will return to the practice field Thursday. Tomorrow is the Panthers’ pro day, and I’ll be over there to try and glean some relevant info from the guys participating. I’ll be doing spring chats at some point over the next few weeks, but the exact dates are TBD. Until then, you can follow me on Twitter @SWernerPG and I’ll try to answer as many questions there as I can.