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Pitt’s spring drills reach the halfway point, and Day 8 turns out OK


Pitt is a long way from where it needs to be, but the eighth practice of the spring Thursday brought the highest praise so far from coach Paul Chryst.
“It looks like it should look,” he said. “Guys are starting to put themselves in the moment a little bit.”
Chryst needs a bit of good news after a spotty spring in which he already has lost his temper and lost his marquee running back (at least for the moment). That comes after the graduation losses of 2012 playmakers Ray Graham, Mike Shanahan and Tino Sunseri and the team’s two best offensive linemen, Ryan Turnley and Chris Jacobson.
But Thursday the handoffs were crisper, backs Isaac Bennett and Malcolm Crockett hit the hole quicker and Eric Williams, who may be Pitt’s third-best safety, stretched his interception streak to three practices in a row. This time, he ripped a pass from second-team Big East wide receiver Devin Street while tip-toeing the sideline.
One other thing — Chad Voytik had his best day of the spring as he continues to battle fifth-year senior Tom Savage for the starting job at quarterback. Voytik ran the two-minute drill with efficiency at the end of practice.
“Guys understand what they are doing and where they are going,” Chryst said. “We had a chance to get better and I think we did a little bit.”
— Former Pitt players Kris Wilson and Lousaka Polite will serve as hosts April 12-13 for “Dessert Tasting For A Cause,” a benefit event to support their foundations.
The weekend kicks off at 8:30 p.m. April 12 at the Smart House on Mt. Washington, following the Pitt spring game at Bethel Park High School.
A VIP reception will be held from 5 to 7 p.m. April 13 at Larrimor’s, Downtown, with the main event 7:30 to 10:30 p.m. at the Clemente Museum, Lawrenceville.
The Kris Wilson Foundation and The Polite Way Foundation serve youth in Western Pennsylvania and nationwide, helping to boost their motivation to learn and reinforce literacy.
Among the bakeries and restaurants providing desserts are Gullifty’s, Dream Cream Ice Cream, The DoubleTree Hotel, Moio’s Italian Pastry Shop, Sweet Sophistication, Cake Eaters Sweet Shoppe and  Godiva Chocolatier.
To purchase tickets visit

– The game-day broadcasting crew of Bill Hillgrove, Pat Bostick and Gregg Giannotti will provide play-by-play, analysis and sideline reports of the spring game on ESPN3 and Comcast Channels 188 and 210.

– Chryst continued to build goodwill among area high school coaches when 30 of them brought a total of about 75 players to practice Thursday. Among them was Woodland Hills’ George Novak, who was quick to point out — with lots of justifiable pride in his voice — that five of his former players are on the Pitt roster (Lafayette and Jevonte Pitts, Mike Caprara, Ejuan Price and K.K. Mosley-Smith).



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