Pitt finished out its training camp today – they are holding their freshmen talent show as we speak in the conference room at the South Side facilities– and it marked another physical effort.
The Panthers might hold the most demanding training camp in Division I football, as far as live hitting.
“I thought it was a very physical camp,” coach Dave Wannstedt said. “I just know the faster and the stronger you get, for some reason practices become more physical. I thought we banged it around pretty good.”
Sure, there are bumps and bruises, but Wannstedt won’t change a thing. He said the players covet the contact. It’s the only way to work on Pitt’s brand of football.
If the players were asked what play the coaches should call – on offense or defense — the consensus would be 16-Power, or All-America running back Dion Lewis up the gut behind 260-pound fullback Henry Hynoski.
“If you asked them, man for man, it would be 16-Power,” Wannstedt said. “That’s a way of life. The kids believe in it. There’s no easy finesse way to run 16-Power. That all adds up to having physical practices.”
= Defensive end Greg Romeus (back spasm) and running back Ray Graham (knee) didn’t take part in Sunday’s practice. Graham has been out eight days; Romeus missed his sixth consecutive day and his 15th practice in the past 16 days. Dave Wannstedt said Graham, injured in the Aug. 14 scrimmage, is improving.
“Ray is running straight ahead right now,” Wannstedt said. “(Monday) will be the first day he starts making cuts. We will see where he’s at there. He’s coming along. We just don’t want to do anything faster than what we need to.”
= Pitt will hold its annual FanFest from 6-8 p.m. today at Heinz Field. Players will be available for autographs. There will be live bands, games and concession stands. Admission is free. Parking costs $10 in Gold Lot 1 or 2.
= Practice was short today, with limited 11 on 11 drills. Here are a couple of the highlights.
= One interesting item is that freshman defensive end T.J. Clemmings saw significant playing time at defensive tackle, which I believe is a first for camp. I know that Wannstedt has compared the four-star stud to Leon Lett, a former Pro Bowl defensive tackle from Wanny’s days with the Cowboys. The 6-6, 280-pound Clemmings looked a little lost at times — and moved back to defensive end later in the practice — but he’s talented and smart enough to play anywhere on the defensive line and excel.
= Greg Gaskins is the starting right guard – Wannstedt says so –but Hopewell product Ryan Turnley keeps seeing a lot of action with the first-teamers. Turnley split first-team reps with Gaskins during some 9 on 9 drills and even took some first-team snaps at left guard when starter Chris Jacobson took a mid-practice breather.
= Tino Sunseri was up and down. He misfired on a couple 20-yard outs during 7 on 7 drills – Jon Baldwin also had two rare drops – but he also showed beautiful touch on a 20-yard crossing pass to Baldwin that missed middle linebacker Dan Mason’s outstretched fingers by inches. Later in practice, Jabaal Sheard knocked down a pass by Sunseri.