The best news to come out of the final day of training camp on Saturday was the announcement that fifth-year senior center Alex Karabin — finally — has been awarded a scholarship.
The 6-foot-1, 290-pound Karabin, who won the starting job at center during spring drills and training camp, learned the good news following Saturday’s practice. Afterward, Pitt’s younger linemen carried the Greensburg Central Catholic product off the field, a tradition at Pitt on the last day of training camp. It was nice to see Karabin, a walk-on for four years, getting high-fives from his joyous teammates.
“I guess I was expecting it, but I’m still a little bit surprised,” Karabin said. “It’s nice to see it actually come through. It means a lot.”
Wonder if Richard and Anna Karabin, who have for their son’s way since he arrived at Pitt in 2006, are planning a cushy, well-deserved Caribbean cruise?
While the decision came one day after Pitt announced that freshman defensive tackle Khaynin Mosley-Smith was academically ineligible, freeing up a scholarship, it was only a matter of time before Karabin got the free ride.
After all, how many top-20 teams have a starting center who’s not on scholarship?
“Everybody loves Alex,” coach Dave Wannstedt said. “They like to see good things happen to good people. There was a lot of excitement.”
Wannstedt said he expects redshirt junior Andrew Janocko, a holder and fifth-string quarterback, to receive a scholarship for the second year in a row.
“We will know exactly where we stand (with scholarships) this week,” Wannstedt said. “I would expect Andrew would be renewed.”
= Pitt’s No. 15 ranking in the Associated Press top 25 is its second-highest preseason ranking in 26 years.
Pitt was No. 10 in 2003, its only higher preseason ranking since 1989. Pitt, the Big East favorite, ended last season in the same spot, ranked No. 15.
= Senior defensive end Greg Romeus (back spasms) missed his fifth consecutive practice Sunday, and his 12th in the past 14 days. Sophomore running back Ray Graham (knee) also sat out. Romeus has been lifting and conditioning. Wannstedt said he is not concerned with his reigning co-Big East Defensive Player of the Year.
“It’s just a matter of getting practice time and we’ll get that done,” Wannstedt said. “He’s in good spirits. We’ll be fine.”
= There was little 11-on-11 at Saturday’s practice, with the vast amount of work involving special teams. The notes are a little sparse, but here we go:
= Dan Hutchins and Kevin Harper were on target during field-goal drills early in the practice. The two combined to try a dozen of so field goal attempts from the 35-45-yard range and connected on all but one.
= Freshman quarterback Mark Myers took a number of reps with the second-team offense, apparently indicating he has moved ahead of Anthony Gonzalez, but Wannstedt said it’s too early to say.
= Dion Lewis showed he’s ready to go with a 45-yard touchdown run in which he was barely touched.
= The practice ended with a spirited goal-line drill. Lewis scored a touchdown on a strong run from the 2-yard line, but the defense rose up and stopped fullback Henry Hynoski inches short of the end zone on the next play.
= Redshirt freshman wide receiver Devin Street made a nifty catch in the right side of the end zone during 11 on 11 drills. He has firmly entrenched himself as the No. 4 receiver, and is pushing Cam Saddler for the No. 3 spot. After that, Greg Cross, Ed Tinker and Todd Thomas are a jumble.
“We’ve been very inconsistent,” Wannstedt said. “Other than those top four guys (Jon Baldwin, Mike Shanahan, Saddler and Street), I couldn’t tell you who was next in line. All of them had good days and all of them had days that weren’t good enough.”
= As if there was any doubt, freshman cornerback K’Waun Williams will make an impact this year.
“K’Waun Williams will play this year,” Wannstedt said. “He will not be redshirted.”