I missed Pitt’s first practice in full pads today to attend the pre-school graduation of my 5-year-old son, Kieran, so here are some training camp notes from John Grupp, the Trib’s Pitt men’s basketball writer:
· For the second day in a row, redshirt freshman Tino Sunseri took noticeably more reps than junior Pat Bostick with the second unit. Sunseri ended the red-zone drills with a pair of crisp touchdown passes. Bill Stull had another rough day, albeit in the face of Pitt’s harassing defensive line.
“Whoever is going with the first group, because of the pass rush, is going to look a little bit different than the second or third,” Pitt coach Dave Wannstedt said.
· One of the more impressive sights Saturday involved freshman wide receiver Devin Street during ball-catching drills. The Jugs gun “pitching machine” fired passes at receivers about 15 yards away. As the drill ended, Street held up his right hand and caught the ball on the fly.
No bobble. No problem. Very impressive.
· As expected, the first day of full pads featured some noteworthy hits. Freshman middle linebacker Dan Mason’s hit on tailback Jason Douglas, nearly decapitating the 5-foot-7 freshman, was the best of the day. Not far behind was defensive end Shayne Hale dropping tailback Shariff Harris with a thump in the backfield. Cornerback Antuwan Reed laid a clean lick on Cameron Saddler after the diminutive wide receiver caught a quick out.
· The Pitt first-team defensive line, notably tackle Mick Williams and end Jabaal Sheard, made matters miserable for the Panthers offensive line. Strong-side linebacker Greg Williams took advantage to have a nice practice. On one play, he broke through the line untouched to sack Stull. On another, he broke into the backfield to crush tailback Chris Burns.
· Dion Lewis and Ray Graham, among those dueling for the starting tailback job, each broke a pair of long runs, including touchdowns. Lewis, bottled up near the sideline, cut back to the left across the field and raced for a 45-yard touchdown run. Lewis also showed nice balance on a 40-yard run. Graham had the day’s most impressive run, showing great burst on a cutback 45-yard touchdown run. A couple of plays later, Graham again broke free for a long run.
· With Jonathan Baldwin sitting out the last part of practice – Wannstedt said he was slowed up a little bit – Mike Shanahan caught three touchdown passes during red-zone drills. The redshirt freshman from Norwin also drew contact on two other passes that defensive coordinator Phil Bennett called his defense for interference.
· Freshman tight end Brock DeCicco caught a pair of touchdown passes during the red-zone drills, both time standing all alone in the end zone on blatant defensive breakdowns.
· Nose tackle Myles Caragein missed his second consecutive practice with a twisted ankle.