Random observations from Pitt’s Friday afternoon practice by John Grupp, who made his debut appearance at training camp (I’ll add some notes from coach Dave Wannstedt and my own observations later):
• Quarterback Bill Stull had an up-and-down practice, with a nice touchdown pass to Jonathan Baldwin coupled with some off-target throws and an ugly interception.
On a fourth-and-4 during the two-minute drill, Stull scrambled and found Baldwin for a 34-yard touchdown pass. Baldwin out-leapt safety Elijah Fields during the broken play.
On the downside for Stull, he missed some open receivers and had one particularly wayward pass intercepted by senior safety Irvan Brown.
• Strong-side linebacker Greg Williams had one of the best hits of the day, mauling freshman tailback Dion Lewis on an inside handoff. On another big hit, Fields – perhaps inspired that Andrew Taglianetti was starting ahead of him at safety for the second day in a row – picked up tailback Shariff Harris after a short run and slammed him to the ground.
• Aundre Wright made a nice, leaping one-handed catch along the sideline during toe-tap drills. The next pass bounced off his hands.
• Middle linebacker Steve Dell smeared freshman tailback Ray Graham during 11-on-11 drills. A couple of plays later, Graham was trapped in the backfield by defensive tackle Tyrone Ezell, but escaped with a nifty move.
• Highlights from the rush/dummy drills included sophomore Justin Hargrove, who switched from end to tackle the past few days, beat redshirt freshman right guard Ryan Turnley with a powerful left hand swipe. Senior left guard Joe Thomas showed excellent form against sophomore defensive tackle Chas Alecxih.
• Pat Bostick floated a long touchdown pass to freshman running back Jason Douglas out of backfield, as sophomore linebacker Tristan Roberts got both beat deep and earned an earful from defensive coordinator Phil Bennett for not putting up his arms to defend the throw.
• Fields and weak-side linebacker Max Gruder showed good awareness to stuff an end-around by Cedric McGee.
• Redshirt freshman quarterback Tino Sunseri lofted a perfect pass to a wide-open Oderick Turner, who had beaten senior Jovani Chappel for a 50-yard touchdown.
• With his grandfather watching practice, tight end Nate Byham didn’t catch a lot of passes during the three-hour workout, but he absolutely decimated redshirt freshman safety Marco Pecora with a downfield block during a quick screen that opened a running lane for Harris.