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March 24, 2016

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Coach Pat Narduzzi Quote Sheet

Opening statement:

"We had a great practice today. It started off slow. I had to get them cranked up a little bit and get the motor going. But we finished strong. We're really happy with the progress we got after day five. We're a third of the way through spring ball, and we'll keep rolling. We had a little bit of an injury the other day. Jaymar Parrish ended up getting hurt. He's probably out for the spring, just to give you a heads up there. He's a great player, he's really having a great spring. He's going to be fine, but probably shelved for the spring, which gives other guys opportunities where it's a different personnel grouping, not using two tight end sets."

On if the injury could impact Jaymar Parrish's status for fall camp:

"Not at all."                                             

On Parrish's role in 2016:

"About the same [as least year]. There's a little bit of some new things. As a matter of fact, he actually took a handoff, if you could imagine that, and he really looked good. He had a nice cut, and then jogged back. It [the injury] was weird."

On defensive end Allen Edwards:

"I think he probably could have gone today. But we're just being smart."

"I think he's closer. I think we probably could have thrown him out there today, but we're going to give him off Friday, Saturday and Sunday to enjoy Easter weekend. So, hopefully Tuesday we're ready to roll."

On transfer tight end Chris Clark:

"I think all freshmen get frustrated. But I think he's picking up pretty good. One thing you know about Chris is he's got power, really good speed and he's got really good hands. You can see why he was the top tight end in the country, but sometimes when you're the top tight end in the country, you think you're up here, and you're not the top tight end in the country anymore. Rivals and Scout, all that stuff, it doesn't matter anymore. It's Pitt now, so he's got expectations up here and he needs to pull them down a little bit. But he's doing really well for an incoming freshman. He's just like a midyear guy in my opinion. He really hasn't been at camp much at all, and I'm talking about at UCLA and here. But he's adjusting well academically and doing the things he needs to."

On extra days off given the weekend holiday:

"We did a little more things live today. We didn't have a Saturday scrimmage, which we would have, had it not been a three-day weekend. I wanted to make sure the guys got off. We didn't really get to celebrate Thanksgiving, and we didn't really get to spend Christmas with our families, so I really wanted to make sure, with the national holiday this week, that the kids got some time off. But we went a little bit more live today."

On players or positional groups emerging thus far:

"Nothing that I didn't see or didn't expect or didn't see last year, but I thought Elijah [Zeise] had a couple nice plays. He had a TFL. He's got great instincts. After two days of defense, I said to him, `Do you know base defense, do you know what to do?' And he said, `Come on, Coach, I know what I'm doing.' But he looks like it. He's not like that first-day linebacker. He's got some instincts. I think he looks pretty good. That's a guy who's new, who's fresh. The other guy offensively is Chawntez Moss. Chawntez is having a good spring. Five days in, he's very mature, and he's doing the little things well. I wouldn't say I'm surprised because we expected him to be a good player, but I think he's a good player for us."

On Elijah Zeise potentially moving back to receiver in fall:

"Who knows? I never rule anything out. There's always a chance, but I think, based off two days right now, our offense would be fighting to get him back. We might have to have a fist fight up in the conference room to see who gets him. We might have to have our linebackers coach against [wide receiver] Coach [Kevin] Sherman. It might be a battle."

"I want him to end up where he's going to play. I want our best eleven on the field and I want to get our best twenty-two in mind, and I think he can get there."

On what team statistical categories he wants to improve upon this year:

"The stats I want to see is more than eight wins and win those close games and win the inches when we need to, but I'm not really worried about stats."

"We don't look at any stats. We look at the plays, the defense, the third down and five, the third and longs, the third and shorts. We're looking at what we did. It's not about if you won it or lost it, it's about what you did to win it or lose it. And that's what we've got to fix. It's not about, `Hey, we were 50 percent on third down and short. We need to be 65 percent.' Sure, you want to be there to see improvement, but, after year one, you just want to improve what you're doing defensively. It comes down to both players and coaches. It's not a one-way deal there. It's also getting our kids in position to make plays and, structurally, put them in a sound defense on a particular down and distance."

On Shakir Soto's move from defensive end to tackle:

"Shakir has done a nice job. He's really blended in. He's one of our fastest big tackles. He's not as fast as our big boy [Tyrique Jarrett], but Shakir has done a nice job. He's a physical kid. He's a run-stopping defensive end is what he was. By moving him inside, we put him in a natural position. He might weigh 275 pounds right now. He plays some pretty good technique. He's probably going to put his pads down a little bit. But I'm happy where he is. He's going to help us."

On Soto's ability to play every down:

"There's no doubt about it, he could, especially with all the spread we've seen. If we're going up against a heavy personnel grouping--is there any in the ACC where you're seeing a lot of double teams? I don't know. But he's an athlete, which is what we like to see inside."

On the progress at wide receiver:

"They are progressing. We'll look at the tape. We'll look at the tape today, but I know Quadree [Henderson] had a drop today. I think some others had some nice plays. Jester Weah had another nice day today. He started off strong. He had a nice catch, a long run afterwards. So he's playing with a lot more confidence."

 

Tight Ends Coach Tim Salem Quote Sheet

On Scott Orndoff becoming a leader:

"I challenge Scott [Orndoff] every day, just like Jaymar Parrish. You're a senior and this is your team. This is your senior year and if you can't walk over every day with great enthusiasm, energy and excitement then shame on you. Because it's your senior year, which you need to make it the most important. They're doing that."

"I think he has done a nice job. I go back to both Scott and Jaymar Parrish, the other senior [tight end] on the team. It's their senior season. Every day you come over here, it your senior year. The enthusiasm, the energy and the attitude better be at the utmost because it is your year. It's the year you will never forget so treat it as such, and I think they have done so."

On Orndoff's skill set:

"He's a tight end--a big, tall, rangy guy who can get down the field and can catch. Tight ends are still extensions of the offensive line, they're tackles as far as I'm concerned. Blocking is important and that's what I want to see--guys that stick their face in there and move some people on the end of the line of scrimmage."

 

Wide Receivers Coach Kevin Sherman Quote Sheet

On Elijah Zeise moving to linebacker:

"I thought I saw him make some plays today so I'm yelling at our guys, `Why is Elijah Zeise making tackles?' That's who he is: he is a football player and a fast adjuster. I think he will go on to help this football team somehow."

On the development of Jester Weah:

"I think he understands how big this spring is and how important next fall is. He's made great strides from the fall to the spring through winter conditioning and up until now, through five practices. I'm very pleased with him. The only things we need to clean up are some routes and techniques. Was it clean today? No, but I think I saw enough good things to build on and now we just have to do it on a consistent basis."

"I think he has a great future. He's untapped and I think there is something there. He's going to be as good as he wants to be. That's my job: to press his buttons and to get the best out of him each day."

On Quadree Henderson's role in the offense:

"I think everybody's playbook is expanding because we're in a new system. I think he's in a different spot, he's playing on the outside a bit more but he's still playing on the inside some. He has a lot of new things to learn as well, but I think he's comfortable with that. I think having him play in those game situations last fall has helped him this spring. He's playing faster and he feels comfortable. He just has to do it on a consistent basis. That's the key word around the room right now, consistency."

 

Tight End Scott Orndoff Quote Sheet

On growing into a leadership role:

"I've never been a real vocal guy but I try to just lead by example. I won't yell and scream much but I just try to do my thing and do it well, and hopefully other people see that and carry off of it.

"I feel like I just came in here as an early graduate, it seems like just yesterday. I just try to do what I do and stay positive throughout."

On how he has been picking up Matt Canada's offense:

"Learning it is a little different. Learning a new offense is never going to be easy, and it's a little different. There's a lot more going on, different formation names and a lot more terminology, I'd say. The concepts stay similar but the terminology doesn't. We were going over meetings today and pass protection plays and there were already twenty of them. It's a lot more to learn, but once you get comfortable with it, it slows down and gets a lot easier."

"There should be a lot more opportunities to get the ball in our hands. We got catches last year but now it seems we don't pass protect as much. A lot more times we are split out, and have routes in the middle of the field. I think this offense is more `tight end friendly' for sure. His tight end last year at N.C. State lead the team in catches, yards and touchdowns. If we prove to him we can be the same kind of player I think we will see a lot of action this year."

On transfer tight end Chris Clark:

"I think Chris is going to be a good player. Right now his head is just kind of spinning, learning a new offense again."

"You can tell he's got really good feet, runs his routes well, and catches the ball. Once he gets comfortable here and learns the offense, I think he's going to be a really good player for us."

If he was told he would be relied on more with Tyler Boyd gone:

"They haven't said it but I don't think anybody needs to hear that. We know Tyler is a great player, he's going to get drafted in the early rounds. We relied on him a lot the last few years, but now that he's gone, there's no go-to guy. We need to step up and do our job better, and expect the ball on every play because defenses can't go to the line and say the ball is probably going to this guy. You need to expect the ball at all times in order to get the job done in the passing game."

If he expects his numbers to climb this season:

"Yeah, I think so. Playing the `Y' and getting more reps, and just getting Coach Canada's confidence in me to make plays. When the ball comes to me I need to catch it. If I can keep building that confidence I expect my catches and yards to go up this year."

On Coach Canada challenging the offense:

"He's always on us. Even if you do something well, he'll tell you how you did a good job, but you need to do this better. That's what you expect from all the coaches: we know we're going to get yelled at because you can always get better. You can't get comfortable. Coach always says it: it's either accepted or it's coached. You want to be coached."

 

Wide Receiver Jester Weah Quote Sheet

On his goals for the spring:

"To learn the new offense and earn a starting spot. The spot is out there, I just need to put the work in more."

On what he has been working on to build off of his speed:

"To get better as an overall football player. Work on my route running, catching the ball and blocking, too."

On the message he receives from the coaching staff:

"Get better each and every day. Come to practice with a good attitude and in doing so help other players get better, too."

On replacing Tyler Boyd:

"Everybody just thinks that one guy is going to replace him but we just want to be a good group. We want to be one of the best receiving corps not only in the ACC but in the country. We all push each other each and every day."

On his comfort with the coaches and new playbook:

"I feel very comfortable this year. I get the offense...I've just been reading the playbook every day. I wouldn't say learning the new offense is tough, but I've been working hard to do it."

--PITT--

Spring Practice No. 5: News, Notes and Quotes

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