Before we get to the practice report, a brief rundown of the latest on Rushel Shell. In a statement, earlier today, Pitt coach Paul Chryst confirmed that Shell had indeed made a final decision to transfer from Pitt. Shell was set to meet with coaches today to go over a list of possible transfer destinations, but from what I've heard it doesn't sound like Pitt will limit him much beyond blocking a move to another ACC school. That wouldn't matter anyways, as multiple sources have indicated that Shell will likely be looking out west to a Pac-12 school. We'll see over the next few days and weeks where he ends up.
Now, on to practice. Pitt is now a full two-thirds of the way through its 2013 spring practice season. The Panthers practiced inside in full pads for practice No. 10 today. Here's a recap of what went down...
- As would be expected, Isaac Bennett got all the first-team work today. Malcolm Crockett is still banged up, though Chryst said he was just "day to day." Demitrious Davis took some snaps early in practice, but sat out towards the end with an injury, leaving the remainder of the second-team snaps to walk-on Desmond Brown. Chryst sounded optimistic that Crockett would return, at least in some fashion, for Thursday's practice. Especially in the immediate wake of Shell's departure, I would think that Chryst would like Bennett and Crockett into a nice rhythm running the ball in practice before they break for summer.
- Tom Savage appeared to be having some accuracy issues again today, and threw a couple of interceptions to K'Waun Williams and Jevonte Pitts. He was only 5/18 in Friday's scrimmage, and appeared to have some trouble making reads, especially on safeties. He only completed 52.2 percent of his passes during his two seasons at Rutgers, so he's never been a high completion percentage guy. Savage still took all of the first-team reps, though, and still looks like the clear favorite to win the starting job.
"There's good and bad," Chryst said. "I think that's OK, right now. I love the approach that he has. He's still throwing to some different guys, getting a feel for that, and as they're learning, are they in the right spot? I thought there were a couple today, I thought he was exactly what you wanted — it didn't look good — but I thought, 'OK, he's starting to get it. He's making the right decision.' I think that's kind of the ebb and flow of spring ball."
- Savage practiced today with a camera mounted on top of his helmet. It was originally part of a future "Pitt LiveWire" video feature, but Chryst saw some value in perhaps taking a peek into what the quarterback's eyes were doing as he made his reads.
"What we're trying to do is just see if there's something you can do film-wise, trying to mimic where his eyes are going," Chryst said. "You never can, I don't think it gives you the peripheral, but we didn't know so we thought we'd give it a shot. If it's something that can help him, it didn't cost us anything to do.
- Chryst spoke after practice about the development of center Gabe Roberts. Roberts was originally recruited as a tackle, but moved inside to take over for Ryan Turnley this spring. Roberts has had some struggles, particularly with his shotgun snaps, but Chryst said he has liked the progression so far.
"I thought last week he made some progress," Chryst said. "He's getting tested by two pretty good guys when we do as much ones against ones. I thought he made some strides last week. And so I think there's a lot to that spot, and there's a lot to o-line play. The number of techniques in such a short space, if you're off by a little, it can be exposed in a lot. I think certainly we felt like he got better last week. We've got two weeks left and hopefully he continues to make those strides."
- Tra'von Chapman got a decent amount of work today, and looks like he's coming along nicely. A redshirt is still virtually certain for him this year, but nice to see nonetheless.