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April 1, 2015
by Jerry DiPaola


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Mixing a bit of baseball with some interesting football news

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On a chilly, windy night at Cost Field on the upper level of Pitt’s campus, the Backyard Brawl returned — baseball-style.
West Virginia defeated Pitt, 4-1, stretching the Panthers’ losing streak to four. The big blow was a three-run home run in the fourth inning by West Virginia catcher Ray Guerrini, who also picked off a runner at third base to end a bases-loaded threat by Pitt.
Guerrini’s home run was a towering blast over the 16-foot fence in left field, 375 feet from home plate. Pitt pitcher Sam Mersing took a no-hitter into the fourth for the third time in his past four outings.
Pitt coach Joe Jordano, who has won 502 games in 17 seasons at Pitt, is hoping for better play from his 11-16 Panthers and warmer weather, too. Pitt plays 14 of its next 19 games at Cost.
West Virginia (16-10 and owner of a seven-game winning streak) will open its new ballpark (Monongalia County Ballpark) April 10 against Butler.
Considering the weather, though, we’re talking football. What else?
Pitt coach Pat Narduzzi revealed details of the Blue-Gold spring game, which will be played April 18 at Highmark Stadium.Narduzzi will put a different twist on the game, which will be real game (not a glorified practice as fans had come to expect over the years).
The big change is the naming of the honorary coaches — former Pitt All-Americans Larry Fitzgerald and Aaron Donald.
That will be a rush for the players and the fans, but Narduzzi will divide the squad into two teams, chosen in a draft format.
First, coaches will draft the seniors onto two teams. Then, the seniors will pick the remainder of the rosters.
Narduzzi will allow the media to watch the proceedings, and it could be very interesting.
Do you choose either of Pitt’s two stars — running back James Conner and wide receiver Tyler Boyd – with the first pick? Or, do you grab the veteran quarterback Chad Voytik?
Keep in mind that Pitt has only two inexperienced quarterbacks behind Voytik –redshirt freshman Adam Bertke and walkon Nate Bossory.
Plus, if you take Voytik with the first pick (the way I would go) than you are guaranteed either Conner or Boyd with your second selection.
I have to admit I defended former coach Paul Chryst’s decision to cancel the spring game last year. It had been played at high school stadiums in 2012 and 2013, and a nearly empty Heinz Field looked dark and grim during the 2011 game. It seemed like a waste of time.
But a bit of creative thinking by Pitt officials and Narduzzi moved the game to Highmark (wasn’t it an option last year, too?) and brought NFL stars Fitzgerald and Donald on board. Narduzzi’s intra-squad draft will stir further interest.
The entire day looks to be a good recruiting tool Pitt chose not to use last year.

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March 29, 2015
by Jerry DiPaola


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Position switch benefits Shady Side graduate Briggs

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Pitt coach Pat Narduzzi made the promise on the day three months ago when he first met with his players:
No matter how soiled a player’s resume had become under the previous staff, Narduzzi said he would wipe it clean.
“Some guys who maybe hadn’t played a lot of football in the past, we might get a lot of good football out of them,” Narduzzi said.
Such may be the case for Shady Side Academy graduate Dennis Briggs.
The new coaching staff has found a new home for Briggs, who was lost in a crowded depth chart at running back.
Briggs, a redshirt freshman, has moved to defensive back where he has caught Narduzzi’s eye as a nickel, flashing what the coach called “the wow factor.”
“We had our eyeballs on him all through the Fourth Quarter (winter) program,” he said. “What has been most impressive is his knowledge. He has picked it up, almost like a natural defensive back.”
What must be understood is that position switches and depth chart adjustments in the seventh of 15 spring drills are meaningful, but by no means permanent. Narduzzi said situations can change as quickly as he can turn on the video machine.
But there is no denying that Briggs played a key role Saturday when the defense won the scrimmage over the offense to earn the right to wear the coveted blue jerseys next week.
Briggs displayed solid work in the secondary and recorded a sack, one of five by the defense.
Linebackers coach Rob Harley, who added a new player to his group when senior Jameel Poteat also moved from running back, isn’t surprised to see Narduzzi creating competition at several defensive positions.
“It’s a different atmosphere when you have a defensive head coach,” Harley said. “He has created an atmosphere for pure competition. Some guys, it kind of stunned them a little bit early, and they are rising to the occasion.
“This is the Wild West. You go get what you want.”
Overall, Narduzzi was pleased with his defense in the scrimmage, the second of the spring.
“I thought the defense did a better job of stopping the run,” he said. “If you can stop the run on defense, you have a chance.”
In another interesting position switch, Woodland Hills graduate Mike Caprara moved from middle to weak-side (money) linebacker where he is running with the first team ahead of Bam Bradley.
Harley said Caprara will compete for playing time at both positions with Bradley and Matt Galambos.
Narduzzi’s staff isn’t the first to notice Caprara’s hustle and football intelligence. When former coach Paul Chryst was unhappy with linebacker Todd Thomas two years ago, he moved Caprara ahead of him on the first-team defense.
Thomas won back the job, but the lesson is a clear one for Pitt’s linebackers: Keep an eye out for Caprara. He probably is gaining on you.

Some quick scrimmage hits:Redshirt freshmen Adam Bertke and Qadree Ollison led their positions – quarterback and running back – during the scrimmage. … Bertke completed 15 of 29 passes for 218 yards, with one interception and three touchdowns, according to Pitt statistics. … Ollison ran 14 times for 97 yards. … No. 1 quarterback Chad Voytik was 12 of 26 for 164. … The offense had no rushing touchdowns. … Narduzzi said there will be another scrimmage Thursday, the last practice before the Easter break. … Practice went more than 30 minutes past the scheduled ending time. “We were having fun,” Narduzzi said, “and they didn’t have to go to class.”

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March 27, 2015
by Jerry DiPaola


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Pitt gets a QB commitment on the sixth day of spring drills

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The sixth practice of the spring Thursday was a landmark of sorts for the Pitt football team.
It was during the sixth practice of the spring in 2013 that running back Rushel Shell mumbled something about being “tired” and sat down on the trainer’s table, almost literally never to be heard from at Pitt again. The next thing anyone knew, Shell had decided to quit the team.
To his credit, Shell has resurrected his career at West Virginia, and he could be one of the Big 12’s top running backs this season.
Pitt has come a long way since then. James Conner now carries the mantel of Pitt feature back with pride and accountability, and is one of the team leaders.
Imagine that. Pitt was able to replace Shell, a highly prized recruit when he came out of high school, with the ACC Player of the Year. You just never know.

Also Thursday, Pitt received a commitment from junior quarterback Thomas MacVittie of Archbishop Moeller (Ohio) High School in Cincinnati. That makes three from the Class of 2016 for coach Pat Narduzzi.
In 2011, former Pitt coach Todd Graham didn’t get his first verbal until June — Sto-Rox cornerback Marzett Geter, who never enrolled at Pitt. Paul Chryst had one March verbal in his two exclusive recruiting classes — Seton-La Salle tight end Scott Orndoff in 2012.
It’s a long way to February, 2016, but Narduzzi is setting a nice pace.

— There was plenty of high school flavor on the sideline Thursday, especially with the presence of four-star cornerback Damar Hamlin of Central Catholic. Hamlin, who has been a regular at practice over the past two weeks, walked onto the field with two Pitt staffers and had a brief conversation with Narduzzi. At one point, Narduzzi put his arm around Hamlin before turning his attention back to his current players.
Some Pitt people are all but salivating at the possibility of pairing cornerbacks Jordan Whitehead and Hamlin in the same secondary, starting in 2016 or 2017. But there’s a long way to go in Hamlin’s recruitment, especially with Urban Meyer lurking.
One interesting note about Hamlin: He lives in McKees Rocks and grew up in the same neighborhood as Pitt wide receiver Dontez Ford.

— Among the visiting WPIAL coaches were Jim Render of Upper St. Clair, Rich Bowen of Hempfield and North Allegheny assistant Mike Buchert.

— Bowen was accompanied by his athletic director Greg Meisner, a former Pitt and NFL defensive lineman.
When I mentioned to Meisner that it would have been nice if Pitt had an indoor practice facility when he played in the late 1970s, Meisner said, “If we did, Jackie Sherrill would have never taken us inside.”
Former Pitt coach Walt Harris addressed the team before practice, expressing admiration for their 5:30 a.m. workout sessions this winter. Harris used to give his players a break in the winter — workouts didn’t start until 6 a.m.

— Former Pitt offensive line coach Tony Wise, who has attended several Pitt practices over the years, also was in attendance.

— Narduzzi said redshirt freshman tight end Brian O’Neill has a minor hand injury, but is expected to return to practice sometime this spring. “We’ll be smart with him. It’s not a time to get anybody hurt worse.”

— Junior free safety Reggie Mitchell said junior Jevonte Pitts, a little-used backup in his first three years at Pitt, is working with the first team at strong safety. “He is one of the hardest hitters on the defense,” Mitchell said.

— Pitt will scrimmage Saturday.

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March 25, 2015
by Jerry DiPaola


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NA’s Walker, several others stop by Pitt practice

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It was a bit strange to see offensive tackle Jaryd Jones-Smith walk up to North Allegheny coach Art Walker at Pitt spring practice Tuesday with an big, outstretched hand and a smile.
Walker was Jones-Smith’s coach in the 2013 Big 33 game, and their relationship remains strong two years later.
Jones-Smith is one of four Pitt starters who played in that game, including wide receiver Tyler Boyd, linebacker Matt Galambos and punter Ryan Winslow. Backup offensive lineman Aaron Reese and former Pitt cornerback Titus Howard also played in the game.
No James Conner, however. Somebody wasn’t paying attention to the havoc Conner was raising on both sides of the ball at Erie McDowell.
Former Pitt graduate assistant Hank Poteat, now at Kent State, also visited practice and was greeted warmly by several players.
Coach Pat Narduzzi’s sideline is filled with several prospects, parents and coaches at every practice. The guy knows a lot of people.

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March 21, 2015
by Jerry DiPaola


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From behind closed doors: Pitt’s first scrimmage of the spring

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Any day I can say hello to Woodland Hills coach George Novak is a good one, and that was one of the highlights (for me) from Pitt’s first scrimmage of the spring.
Media was escorted out of the indoor facility before the action got started, but not before Novak reminded me that five of his former players are lining up for Pitt:
Senior cornerback Lafayette Pitts, senior defensive end Ejuan Price, senior defensive tackle K.K. Mosley-Smith, junior linebacker Mike Caprara and junior safety Jevonte Pitts.
On the field, there seemed to be a lot of action (I was told). Here is what I found out through some diligent reporting that consisted mainly of sticking a tape recorder into a lot of faces:
— The offense won, 77-71, based on coach Pat Narduzzi’s scoring system. First-team offense vs. first-team defense. The deciding play was a pass from quarterback Chad Voytik to sophomore wide receiver Jester Weah.
— Voytik said he was pleased with the tempo and the overall results of the scrimmage.
“We scored, we moved the ball, got first downs. When we were in backed-up situations, we moved away from our own end zone,” he said.
Among other receivers making big catches (according to Voytik) were Dontez Ford (tiptoed the back of the end zone) and Chris Wuestner (a fade pass from Voytik).
Ford continued his hold on a starting job at wide receiver. “Ever since the Duke game (last year), he has progressed,” Voytik said.
— When Narduzzi was asked about the reigning ACC player of the year, he described a reverse. Running back James Conner does a lot of things, but he doesn’t run reverses.
It was actually a play run by Tyler Boyd. When Narduzzi realized his error, he said, “We have two ACC players of the year.”
Actually, both Boyd and Conner made big plays.
Of Boyd’s reverse, Narduzzi said: “I thought it was going to be a TFL. Three guys were there and he gained yards. Very good football player.”
Conner scored on a 65-yard run on the scrimmage’s first play.
“Blocked well, not defended very well,” Narduzzi said. “I blame that on us as coaches. Overcoached.”
Middle linebacker Matt Galambos agreed that it might be difficult to stop the conference’s best player, but he said, “That’s no excuse. After that, we sunk into it.”
— Galambos also explained that the overall concept of the defense is easier to comprehend this season.
“We are going to run what we run (no matter what the offense does),” he said. “We are going to be almost the same every time. This is us. This is our defense. You have to stop us. We are going to dictate the game. We will be comfortable with everything we see.”
— Galambos had vowed to stay off Twitter during Lent, but he lost willpower when the Philadelphia Eagles — his favorite team — traded former Pitt running back LeSean McCoy. He criticized the deal to his social media followers, but he has since come to peace with it, he said.
— Mosley-Smith, the last remaining Pitt player who was recruited by Dave Wannstedt, is starting to look back wistfully on his collegiate career.
“It’s been a long road (he was in the 2010 recruiting class), but a great one,” he said. “I enjoyed every bit of my time here. I wouldn’t change it. This is my home.”
— Pitt got its first 2016 recruit when cornerback Tony Butler of St. Edward (Ohio) told coaches he plans to enroll. Butler, 6-2, 195 and a 3-star (Rivals), could play on either side of the ball.

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March 19, 2015
by Jerry DiPaola


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Pitt starts slow on first day with pads, but ends with `emotion’

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Pitt put the pads on for the first time this spring, but the third of 15 scheduled practice sessions started slow.
“We didn’t come out with any emotion,” Pitt coach Pat Narduzzi said late Thursday afternoon. “We had to crank them up.
“The game of football is a game of emotion. You can’t come without that. We didn’t come out with any emotion, but we finished with a lot of it.”
Narduzzi and his coaching staff have generally been happy with the first days of spring practice.
“We have good kids. They don’t give us any lip.”
They are slowly getting to know the coaching staff, which is dramatically different in style and intensity from the past three years of Paul Chryst.
“I don’t know if they knew what to expect (from the new coaching staff),” Narduzzi said. “I think they are saying, `What’s next? Where are we getting hit from next?’ ”
Coaches might ratchet up the intensity Saturday morning when the team scrimmages for the first time.
Here a few highlights, gleaned from speaking to coaches and players after practice (most of which is closed to the media):
— Junior Dontez Ford, who has come to Pitt via Sto-Rox and Syracuse, has been the first to claim ownership of the key wide receiver position opposite Tyler Boyd.
“He is guy we are kind of counting on right now,” wide receivers coach Kevin Sherman said. “He is starting off pretty well right now.”
— Narduzzi made a point of telling reporters about a “great” catch Ford made when both the safety and cornerback converged on him.
“I thought it was going to be a pick,” Narduzzi said. “He went up over the top and took it away. Those two (Boyd and Ford) really stand out for me right now.”
Ford said safety Reggie Mitchell made a nice break on the ball. “I happened to snatch it right before he got to it,” Ford said.
— Narduzzi said Alex Officer has shown an aptitude for all three offensive line positions, but right now he is manning center – at least until Artie Rowell completes his recovery from a knee injury.
Adam Bisnowaty “always does a nice job,” the coach said. What he likes best about Bisnowaty is this: “He’s always asking questions.”
— Offensive line coach John Peterson, who likes right guard Alex Bookser’s toughness, said he has had some good conversations with former Pitt offensive coordinator Joe Rudolph, now at Wisconsin. Rudolph’s insight into the Pitt roster was helpful to Peterson. “Coach Rudolph is a good friend of mine,” he said.
— Linebacker coach Rob Harley has been impressed how all four middle linebackers – from returning starter Matt Galambos to Mike Caprara to Quintin Wirginis to James Folston – have been able to get the defense lined up properly. That’s one of the key roles for the Mike linebacker.
— No one has won a starting job yet, but linebackers Bam Bradley and Nicholas Grigsby are opening eyes on the outside. “Those two are going to be critical to what we are trying to do,” Harley said.

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March 18, 2015
by Jerry DiPaola


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A couple notes from Pitt’s spring drills

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After two practices of a scheduled 15-session spring, Pitt coach Pat Narduzzi has a lot of work to do and decisions to make. Some won’t be finalized until August, and maybe not even then.
But Dontez Ford and Zach Challingsworth are stepping up as the wide receivers lining up opposite Tyler Boyd with the first team. Don’t read too much into it, but it’s worth noting.
“Those are the two guys I have to rely on to free me up out of double coverage,” Boyd said.
At least in the spring.
On defense, coordinator Josh Conklin likes what he has seen from safety Reggie Mitchell and cornerbacks Avonte Maddox, Malik Henderson and Phillipie Motley.
Mitchell, a junior, can play both positions. Henderson is an early-enrollee freshman and Motley was redshirted last year during his freshman season.
Conklin said he was impressed with how three-year starting cornerback Lafayette Pitts, a senior, stayed after practice Tuesday to work with some wide receivers on his footwork at the line of scrimmage.
“Those are the things you want to see from that kid,” Conklin said. “He has a lot of experience. We are challenging him every day to come out and be consistent. The corners can’t hide. What we ask them to do, every rep they have to be on.”
What’s interesting to note is that Jordan Whitehead arrives from Central Valley this summer, and will add to the competition at cornerback. Maybe there actually will be some depth in the secondary.

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March 10, 2015
by Jerry DiPaola


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It’s spring (almost) and, of course, time for football

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Only slightly more than two months ago, Pitt was blowing a three-touchdown lead with four minutes left in the Armed Forces Bowl. It’s already time for the Panthers to start making amends.
Spring practice starts Sunday — NCAA Selection Sunday — and at Pitt there will be more interest in the oblong-shaped ball than the round one.
Sunday’s practice will be Pitt’s first of 15 sessions, culminating in the Blue-Gold game (we no longer can call it annual) at 1 p.m. April 18 at Highmark Stadium.
To get fans talking, AthlonSports.com has released its pre-spring ACC player rankings and, not surprisingly, 2014 ACC player of the year James Conner is at the top of the list, with Pitt wide receiver Tyler Boyd coming in fourth.
Here is the entire 15-player list:
1. Conner (conducted assault on Tony Dorsett’s school records)
2. Florida State safety Jalen Ramsey (he also can play corner)
3. Virginia Tech cornerback Kendall Fuller (ACC rookie of the year in 2013)
4. Boyd (Back-to-back 1,000-yard seasons)
5. Florida State running back Dalvin Cook (1,008 yards as a freshman)
6. Clemson quarterback Deshaun Watson (recovering from ACL surgery)
7. Georgia Tech quarterback Justin Thomas (I would have ranked him higher)
8. Virginia Tech defensive end Dadi Nicholas (the highest-ranking senior on the list).
9. North Carolina quarterback Marquise Williams (will skip spring with hip injury)
10. Miami quarterback Brad Kaaya (threw for 3,198 yards as a freshman)
11. Duke safety Jeremy Cash (big-time playmaker)
12. North Carolina State quarterback Jacoby Brissett (Only five INTs in 2014)
13. Virginia safety Quin Blanding (Five-star recruit who made good)
14. Virginia Tech defensive tackle Luther Maddy (Missed most of ’14 with knee injury)
15. Clemson cornerback Mackensie Alexander (Most freshman snaps in school history)
Others to watch: Georgia Tech defensive end KeShun Freeman, Florida State offensive tackle Rod Johnson, Clemson wide receivers Artavis Scott and Mike Williams, Wake Forest tight end Cam Serigne, Virginia Tech offensive lineman Wyatt Teller and Miami running back Joseph Yearby.

A few notes from Pitt’s spring prospectus, which was released Tuesday (without a depth chart, of course).
— The most impressive fact, to me, is this:
Rising senior tight end J.P. Holtz has played in every game in his first three seasons at Pitt. (He’s a senior, already?) As reliable as the sunrise, Holtz has 57 receptions for 581 yards and seven touchdowns in an offense that never went out of its way to highlight the tight ends.
Jaryd Jones-Smith, a left tackle last season, will get first crack at replacing T.J. Clemmings at right tackle. Adam Bisnowaty stays at left tackle.
— Mt. Lebanon’s Alex Bookser and Bethel Park’s Mike Grimm will tangle at right guard.
— Former linebacker Zach Poker will move to defensive end to try to alleviate a manpower shortage there. Don’t forget about defensive end Ejuan Price, who can be productive if he remains healthy.
— Outside linebackers will be labeled Star and Money under Narduzzi’s system, with Nicholas Grigsby at Star and Bam Bradley and redshirt freshman Jamal Davis at Money.

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March 8, 2015
by Jerry DiPaola


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Oldest living Pitt football letterman turns 101

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Bill Glassford no longer can say he is Pitt’s only 100-year-old football letterman. He turned 101 Sunday.
About 14 months ago, I heard about Glassford’s story from Pitt historian Alex Kramer when I ran into him at the Pittsburgh Athletic Association in Oakland.
Kramer, who was an administrative assistant to several Pitt coaches and saw his first game at Pitt Stadium in 1938, told me Glassford was preparing to turn 100. Kramer speaks to Glassford frequently, and he suggested I give him a call at his home in Scottsdale, Ariz.
That led to this story that appeared in the Trib on March 8, 2014, Glassford’s 100th birthday.
Turns out, Glassford played on the offensive and defensive lines for former Pitt coach Jock Sutherland from 1934-36, earning All-American honors his senior season and helping the Panthers compile a record of 23-3-2, including a 21-0 victory against Washington in the 1937 Rose Bowl. Three ratings services declared Pitt national champion in 1934 and ’36.
Later, Glassford was head coach at Nebraska from 1949-55.
Kramer said Glassford is recovering from a recent fall, but he is in relatively good health and still watches Pitt games whenever they are televised in Arizona.
My favorite Glassford story: He said he was twice offered the head coaching job at Pitt, but he turned down an opportunity he and his wife both wanted to accept. Seems he was under contract to Nebraska, and didn’t think it was right to break his contract.
Hmmm … a coach who honors his contract. He has to be at least 101-years-old.
Happy birthday, Mr. Glassford. It was a great honor to speak to such an honorable man.

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March 4, 2015
by Jerry DiPaola


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Vinopal opens eyes at Pitt’s first open Pro Day

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A couple of notes from Pitt’s Pro Day, the first in memory (maybe ever) to be open to the media.
— Chatted with coach Pat Narduzzi on the way across the parking lot after the weightroom session. He couldn’t believe this is the first year reporters and photographers were permitted to watch the drills. The new transparency was his idea, by the way.
I didn’t tell him about the years when we had to stand outside the indoor facility — in the cold — waiting to conduct interviews.
Narduzzi is finally catching his breath after more than two hectic months on the job. He won’t have much time to relax, however. Spring practice starts March 15.
Narduzzi, who seemed to know most of the 41 NFL scouts in attendance, was pleased to see many members of his team watching the proceedings and supporting the eight seniors working out for NFL scouts.
He said safety Ray Vinopal, who had a great day, originally planned to lift following the conditioning drills after most of the non-NFL spectators had gone home. But he changed his mind when he saw his teammates there to support him.
“He got the adrenaline going,” Narduzzi said, “said `I’m going to get this in right now,’ then popped out 26 reps (in the bench press). He looked great in all the drills out here as well.”
— Vinopal had long chat with San Diego Chargers scout James MacPherson, and Steelers secondary coach Carnell Lake offered a congratulatory handshake. Vinopal, who was clocked in the 40 in the low 4.5s on most NFL stopwatches, ran faster than most of the safeties at the scouting combine last month in Indianapolis.
He also looked to be in great shape after two months working out in Miami.
Slightly undersized at 5-10, Vinopal speaks and acts with plenty of confidence. Those characteristics will serve him well in the NFL, and I’m certain he’ll end up in some team’s camp — drafted or not.
“I am stronger than most safeties,” he said. “I can come down and fill a hole (in run defense).
“This year, I played more solid football. Anybody who digs in the film and knows football will see that. Missed assignments just weren’t happening this year like they were last year. I knew the game.”
— Also looking to be a bit bigger and stronger since the end of the season was quarterback Chad Voytik, who was watching the proceedings with former Pitt quarterback Trey Anderson. Voytik said he might have put on about 5 pounds since January.
Anderson, who is graduating this spring, said he is looking to transfer closer to his home in Pearland, Texas, for his final year of eligibility. He hasn’t picked a landing spot yet.
— Quick note about Anderson:
He came to Pitt in 2011 because he was a fit for former coach Todd Graham’s offense. After Graham left and Paul Chryst brought in a pro style offense, Anderson didn’t go running back to Texas, feeling sorry for himself. He stayed through the next three years even though he knew he had little chance to play. Good for him. There’s a kid with his priorities in order.
He became a key part of Pitt’s quarterback meetings, offering help to Chryst and Voytik while attempting only 20 passes in three seasons — without complaint. He will leave town with his degree and plenty of good memories.
His goal is to coach, and Chryst and Voytik have said many times that Anderson will make a good one.
— Good to see former Steelers director of football operations Tom Donahoe at Pro Day. He now scouts for the Philadelphia Eagles. One of the NFL’s good guys.
— Also in attendance was former Pitt All-American and current St.Louis Rams All-Pro defensive tackle Aaron Donald. He was offensive tackle T.J. Clemmings’ roommate at Pitt, and now the pair can become Pitt’s first back-to-back first-round draft choices since Darrelle Revis and Jeff Otah in 2007 and 2008.
— Clemmings did not run or lift after performing for scouts at the Combine last month. But he spent a lot of time working with Steelers offensive line coach Mike Munchak and seemed more relaxed than at any time during the season.
And why not? He is on the brink of landing a big contract.
He also credited Chryst for urging him to move to offense after three unproductive years at defensive end and former Pitt line coach Jim Hueber for pushing him to become one of the ACC’s best tackles last season.
“Nothing to stress about,” Clemmings said. “I’m happy to be here. I didn’t think I’d be here.”

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