Pitt is holding its coaches clinic this weekend and on the eve of its second scrimmage, the Panthers conducted one of their most lively practices of spring drills on Friday.
Early on, Pitt ran red-zone drills with Bill Stull and Pat Bostick splitting first-team repetitions and Kevan Smith handling most of the second-team snaps.
Bostick had his moments, throwing one touchdown pass to Cedric McGee and another to Dorin Dickerson. Bostick also had a few mishaps, fumbling one snap (which was recovered by Rashaad Duncan) and throwing an interception (by Adam Gunn) on a pass to Dickerson.
Because the defensive line has been so dominant, especially edge rushers Greg Romeus, Doug Fulmer and Jabaal Sheard, the quarterbacks haven’t had much time to make their reads and find open receivers.
That changed when Pitt ran its two-minute offense. Actually, it was more like 1:30, starting from its own 45-yard line. Stull threw a 20-yard strike to Dickerson, spiked it to stop the clock and then threw a fade to Dickerson that was broken up by cornerback Aaron Berry. On third down, Stull threw another corner fade to Oderick Turner, who caught it over Berry, safety Eric Thatcher and outside linebacker Shane Murray and tried to touch his foot inbounds but was ultimately ruled out.
Smith was more efficient, completing passes of 11 yards to Aaron Smith, 5 yards to Kevin Collier and 7 to Aundre Wright before throwing a dart to a sliding Wright for a 25-yard gain to the 7. Collier scored on a 2-yard run.
Bostick struggled with the first team in a 45-second drill, connecting on a pair of short passes to T.J. Porter before Gunn picked one off. Bostick stayed on with the second team, however, and led a scoring drive highlighted by LaRod Stephens-Howling’s fantastic 29-yard catch and run, where he swerved through five defenders and into the end zone.
The Panthers then moved into short-yardage drills, where tailback Sharif Harris picked up a pair of first downs on third-and-1 situations. Greg Cross ran a few plays at quarterback, picking up a first down on a keeper before Craig Bokor’s blitz caused an interception by Ricky Gary.
On goal-line drills (from the 3), Harris continued to his show his physical running style. After being stuffed on his first carry, he followed right guard Joe Thomas into the end zone for a touchdown on his second.
Stull ran a nice play-action fake and lobbed a pass over Sheard to fullback Shane Brooks for a touchdown, but Brooks was stopped for no gain on his first carry. Bostick also threw a nice scoring pass to Dickerson. And Hynoski ended the drill by dragging two defenders into the end zone for a touchdown that had the offense celebrating.
“When we got down to short-yardage and goal-line, we kind of know what Shady (LeSean McCoy) and LaRod can do so we highlighted Sharif Harris and Henry Hynoski,” Pitt coach Dave Wannstedt said. “I thought both of them did a nice job.”
Wannstedt also is impressed by Dickerson’s play.
“The guy who made plays again today – I’ve got to give him credit; I’m excited – is Dorin Dickerson. He is catching the football. I’m very encouraged there.”
• Wannstedt is thrilled with the idea of the Blue-Gold Game being televised on the NFL Network next Saturday, and not just because he’ll be doing color commentary for Pitt’s annual spring scrimmage at Heinz Field.
“I think it’s just another example what Steve Pederson, as the athletic director, brings to the table. He can go out and make things happen,” Wannstedt said. “Steve put this whole deal together. He understands the importance of recruiting, the importance of exposure and everything that goes with it.
“I think it’s going to be great for our program, neat for our kids. It’s a national broadcast. Now you can call that recruit in Florida or New Jersey or somewhere that’s a distance and gets a chance to watch us. He gets to hear some expert commentary from the box, I mean exceptional expertise.”