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Talkin' Bout Practice: Aug. 13

Written by Sam Werner on .

Much less happened in the media viewing window at Pitt's practice today, but here are a few quick notes, with some video...

- Once again, Tyrique Jarrett and KK Mosley-Smith were the first team defensive tackles, with Darryl Render on the second team. Now, Render is still coming back from an illness earlier this week, so he could just be limited, but it's still interesting to see the two big guys lined up next to each other. If you watched the video from defensive coordinator Josh Conklin yesterday, he said that's a formation Pitt could use regularly this season, not just in run-stopping situations.

- Walk-on transfer wide receiver Manny Stocker (a former N.C. State quarterback, by way of Tennessee-Martin, and older brother of freshman safety Jay Stocker) had his arm in a sling today due to a shoulder injury. He's a nice pick-up, especially as a walk-on, and it's unclear how long he'll be sidelined.

- Receivers Chris Wuestner and Rafael Araujo-Lopes worked off to the side with hamstring injuries. Doesn't seem too serious, though.

- Pitt worked on field goal drills for a big part of today's viewing window, and piped in crowd noise to do so. Chris Blewitt was generally pretty spot on (I'll admit I was on the other side of the field so I couldn't keep exact track today), but Pitt had some problems with its snaps. Some of long-snapped David Murphy's snaps were high, some were on the ground. Blewitt did a pretty good job of overcoming it, but it's something to keep an eye on.

- And finally, here are some practice videos. One general note is that all of these are defensive units, and pretty much all of them have something to do with forcing turnovers. That seems to be a big emphasis for this staff after being an issue for Pitt last season.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Vacation post - 08-13-15

Written by Seth Rorabaugh on .

-Happy 65th birthday to former Penguins forward Steve Cardwell. A fifth-round pick in 1970, Cardwell spent parts of three seasons with the Penguins. As a rookie in 1970-71, Cardwell saw action in five games and recorded on assist. He saw action in 28 games during 1971-72 and scored 15 points. In 20 games in 1971-72, Cardwell recorded four points. Following that season, he joined the Minnesota Fighting Saints of the WHA as a free agent. In 53 games with the Penguins, he recorded 20 points.

-Obligatory Video of the Day: A commercial for the Penguins' ill-fated Penvision pay-per-view package:

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VIDEO: Josh Conklin, Matt Galambos, Jordan Whitehead

Written by Sam Werner on .

Defensive coordinator Josh Conklin:

Linebacker Matt Galambos:

Safety Jordan Whitehead:

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Talkin' Bout Practice: Aug. 12

Written by Sam Werner on .

Pitt put on some pads for the first time this training camp today — granted, it was only shoulder shells — and the media got its first look at some 11-on-11 drills early on in practice. Here are some notes, plus a couple of videos from the session...

- The first team looked pretty much as you would expect. Chad Voytik at quarterback, James Conner at running back and Tyler Boyd and Dontez Ford at receiver. The offensive line, as it's been all camp was (left to right) Bisnowaty-Johnson-Rowell-Officer-Bookser.
On defense, Ejuan Price and Shakir Soto were the first-team DEs, with Rori Blair being held out from this team session. The DTs with the first team were Tyrique Jarrett and KK Mosley-Smith, as Darryl Render was a bit limited as he battles back from an illness (he was with the second team).
Having Jarrett and Mosley-Smith both running with the ones is interesting because it at least shows that the two big men (combined weight 620 pounds) can play next to each other.
First team linebacker was what you would expect with Bam Bradley, Matt Galambos and Nicholas Grigsby. Reggie Mitchell and Jevonte Pitts were the two safeties, with Pitts still apparently holding a slight edge over Pat Amara, who is back in practice. Avonte Maddox and Lafayette Pitts were the two corners.

- Tennessee transfer Nate Peterman appears to already be the second-team quarterback, and he was out with that unit today. Chris James was at running back, and Zach Challingsworth and Elijah Zeise were the two receivers with the second team. One of the big questions Pitt is facing this season is who can step up at receiver beyond Boyd and Ford (especially in the opener), and it looks like Challingsworth and Zeise might be the next two up.
The second offensive line unit remained the same as it has been, Reese-Guy-Roberts-Herndon-O'Neill.
On defense, Render and Michigan State transfer Mark Scarpinato held down the middle of the defensive line, with Zach Poker and converted linebacker James Folston at defensive end. The linebackers were Mike Caprara, Quintin Wirginis and Jameel Poteat. It looked like Dennis Briggs and Ryan Lewis at corner, with Amara and Terrish Webb holding down the two safety spots.

- After the second teamers, we got a look at the freshmen/young guys group. That had Ben DiNucci and Adam Bertke each getting snaps at quarterback, with an offensive line of Baker-Grimm-Galiyas-Paulina-Pilato. Darrin Hall was at running back, with Gentry Ivery and Tre Tipton at WR.
The defensive tackles were Justin Moody and Connor Dintino, with Shane Roy and Hez Trahan at end. Reggie Green and Allen Edwards also got a snap or two and DE.
Wirginis stayed at MLB, but guys like Saleem Brightwell, Anthony McKee and Jamal Davis rotated through at the outside spots. In the secondary, Malik Henderson worked at CB with Dane Jackson, and Jordan Whitehead and Jay Stocker played safety.

- Overall, the staff is still probably a few days away from making any major decisions on the depth chart. The players only got in pads today, so it'll take a few practices and film sessions before we see any real movement. The same goes for freshmen cracking the two-deep. Obviously, Whitehead is a guy who will almost certainly play this year, but Pitt will probably need contributions from another freshmen or two this season, and we'll have to wait and see who those guys are.

- We also got a look at the kicking game today. Chris Blewitt was good from 22, 26 (on the right hash, the same one he missed against Duke last year), 31 and 36. He appeared to be wide right from 40 (although it was tough to tell) and had his 44-yard attempt blocked by Bradley.

- Finally, here are some videos for your Wednesday afternoon...

Here's Pitt going through some tackling drills with its special teams guys:

 

 

 Here the defensive backs work on getting off their blocks:

 

 And, finally, here's an interesting little goal-line look from the first-team offense:

 

 

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Vacation post - 08-12-15

Written by Seth Rorabaugh on .

-Happy 29th birthday to former Penguins forward Rob Klinkhammer (right). Acquired along with a draft pick in a trade this past December which sent Philip Samuelsson to the Coyotes, Klinkhammer's time with the Penguins amounted to 10 games and three points this past season. Less than a month after joining the Penguins, Klinkhammer and a draft pick were traded to the Oilers in exchange for forward David Perron. He is currently a member of the Oilers.

-Happy 27th birthday to former Penguins forward Mark Arcobello. Claimed off waivers from the Predators this past January, Arcobello's time with the Penguins amounted to 10 games and two assists. Approximately a month after joining the Penguins, he was claimed off waivers by the Coyotes. He is currently a member of the Maple Leafs.

-Happy 62nd birthday to former Penguins defenseman Greg Fox. Acquired midway through the 1983-84 season in a deal which sent Randy Boyd to the Blackhawks, Fox spent parts of two seasons in Pittsburgh. He finished 1983-84 by appearing in 49 games and scoring seven points for the Penguins. The 1984-85 campaign saw him play in 26 games and score seven points. He retired following the season. In 75 games with the Penguins, he scored 14 points.

(Photo: Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

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