Here are some notes from Pitt football following Thursday afternoon’s press briefings with coach Dave Wannstedt, offensive coordinator Frank Cignetti and defensive coordinator Phil Bennett.
= The starting job at weak-side linebacker, which appeared to be Tristan Roberts’, is now officially up for grabs. Bennett said after Thursday’s practice that Greg Williams, the two-year starter who lost his job during spring drills, is back in the thick of things. Bennett said it is quite possible that Williams, not Roberts, is the starting SAM linebacker at Utah in the opener on Sept. 2. “(Williams) has made a push,” Bennett said. “He’s got the experience right now. We are alternating them and we’ll just have to see where it goes. We have five more practices to see where it’s at.”
= It appears true freshman K’Waun Williams has locked up the job as No. 4 cornerback, beating out junior college transfer Saheed Imoru. As for the other freshmen with a chance at playing time — the subject of Tuesday’s story in the Trib — defensive tackle Aaron Donald looks less and less likely to redshirt.
“He’s going to play,” Bennett said. “I think (defensive ends coach Greg Gattuso) will tell you he’s in the mix.”
= Senior defensive end Greg Romeus took part in practice on Thursday, his third day in a row on the field. He also showed he’s got the right mentality when he sparred with the scout team quarterback during practice. Afterward, Romeus walked off the field with a nasty glower on his face. Indeed, Pitt’s All-America defensive end isn’t messing around anymore.
“He must be back; he’s fighting our scout team quarterback,” Bennett said. “He’s mad, so, hell, I’m glad. It’s good to see him back.”
= Pitt will be using loudspeakers to simulate the crowd noise at Utah. The team also is working on hand signals and silent counts for the crowd, which is expected to be standing-room-only.
“This is going to be a great test for us right off the bat,” coach Dave Wannstedt said.
= Right guard Greg Gaskins, one of three new starters on the offensive line, said he isn’t concerned about chemistry with fellow newcomers Alex Karabin at center and Chris Jacobson at left guard.
“It’s not like we’ve never played with them before,” Gaskins said. “We already had chemistry. We have a feel for each other. The cohesiveness and the chemistry are there, just because we are new, I don’t think there’s going to be any fall off from last year.”