Here are some notes from Pitt’s second morning practice, which once again featured the veterans. The afternoon practice will be for mainly freshmen.
*** One day after practicing with the younger players on Saturday afternoon, defensive end Shayne Hale was with the veterans on Sunday morning. The Gateway product took some snaps with the first team, while defensive end Brandon Lindsey and defensive tackle Tyrone Ezell also got some work with the first unit. That was all a result of Greg Romeus’ practice being cut short with a tweaked ankle. The injury is not serious.
I will have more definitive information on the reigning Big East co-Defensive Player of the Year when coach Dave Wannstedt talks following the afternoon practice.
*** Tino Sunseri had another good day, including hitting Mike Shanahan for a beautiful 20-yard touch pass along the sideline.
*** Redshirt freshman Devin Street is another big, gifted receiver and he needed all of his 6-foot-4 frame to pull in a high pass from Pat Bostick during 11 on 11 drills. But it wasn’t the best catch of the day. More on that later.
*** Jon Baldwin looks better than ever. The all-Big East receiver has caught everything thrown his way so far and it’s safe to say no cornerback in the nation can cover him in single duty. What’s more, Baldwin seems more focused and professional at camp so far. He’s also noticeably bigger in the upper body.
*** Redshirt sophomore tight end Mike Cruz had another outstanding practice. The first-year starter reached behind him to make a ridiculous one-handed catch on a crossing pattern, and snared another ball moments later to draw raves from his coaches. Cruz’s strong play is invaluable. After losing all-Big East tight ends Dorin Dickerson (49-529, 10 TDs) and Nate Byham, the Panthers have a lot of production to make up at the position. If Cruz, a 6-foot-5, 255-pounder, can be a viable option in the middle third of the field, it will greatly benefit Pitt’s deep threats and running game.
*** For the second day in a row, Tristan Roberts took all of the first-team snaps at weak-side linebacker. Wannstedt said after Saturday’s first practice that the job remains an open competition with returning starter Greg Williams, but it’s looking more and more like Roberts is the new starter.
*** Sunday morning’s practice was noticeably cleaner than the first practice on Saturday. There were much fewer pre-snap penalties on both sides of the ball. The false starts and off-sides that dotted the first practice were virtually non-existent on Sunday.
*** During 9 on 9 drills, center Alex Karabin made a nice block on middle linebacker Dan Mason to help spring Dion Lewis to the outside.