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Notes from Pitt’s Tuesday afternoon practice

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*** After 12 days of most positive practices, Pitt took a step back on Tuesday. Coach Dave Wannstedt was not pleased. He called it the least-inspiring workout since camp started Aug. 7.

“We weren’t as sharp as we have been,” he said. “We didn’t have as much energy as we have had. I thought today was just a very average practice. We got a lot of guys right now that are looking for a way to win a spot, whether it’s starting position or back-up or travel squad. It’s going to be important that we bounce back tomorrow and have a good one.”

 *** Defensive end Greg Romeus was limited in practice on Tuesday, one day after his first full work in more than a week. The All-America candidate took part in positional drills with the defensive linemen, but sat out all of the 7 on 7 and team drills.

“He had a really good practice last night,” Wannstedt said. “He came out today and was OK. We’re going to keep working him and let him make progress day-by-day. I’m not concerned about it yet.”

 *** Because Pitt kicks off the season on a Thursday night, the Panthers will hold their final training camp scrimmage Wednesday rather than Saturday. Pitt was originally slated to have scrimmages today and Saturday, but coach Dave Wannstedt said the Sept. 2 game at Utah prompted the change. Wednesday’s scrimmage will begin at 3:10 p.m. and last roughly 90 plays.

 

*** Pitt is expected to have everyone available for the scrimmage except for running back Ray Graham (knee), who has been out since Saturday.

 *** A Big East officiating crew today will speak with the coaches today at the South Side facility about points of emphasis in the rule book this year, and remind the players about any rule changes. The main rule change this year is the elimination of wedge blocking on kickoff returns.

 *** Jack Lippert took some snaps with the first-team unit at right guard on Tuesday, as first-stringer Greg Gaskins, second-stringer Ryan Turnley and Lippert continue to audition for the most wide-open starting spot on the team.

 *** Back-up tight end Andrew Devlin, a Mt. Lebanon product, sat out most of practice after experiencing discomfort in his recently-drained right knee.

 As coach Wannstedt alluded to, it was a fairly uneventful practice. Here are some highlights:

 *** The defense had at least three turnovers. Dom DeCicco, Kolby Gray and Dan Cafaro each had interceptions. Wannstedt said forcing turnovers is a priority for the defense, which has a daily quota of four turnovers or else they do extra pursuit drills the next day.  “There is more of an emphasis on turnovers and I think the players have responded,” Wannstedt said.

 *** Greg Williams was, as usual, up and down. He made a couple of terrific plays, highlighted by breaking up a pass to Henry Hynoski in the flat, but later in practice he blew an assignment and got a tongue-lashing from one of his coaches.

 *** Dom DeCicco had the hit of the day, ripping into 5-7, 170-pound Cam Saddler on a pass over the middle.

 *** The day ended with a hurry-up drill in which the offense had to move into field goal position from the opponents’ 45-yard line with 45 seconds to play and no timeouts. Tino Sunseri directed the offense to the 22 with completions to Jonathan Baldwin and Devin Street with about 10 seconds to play, but Kevin Harper missed his 37-yard field goal attempt wide right.

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