Aug. 9, 2012
Pitt Training Camp — Day 4 Practice Notebook & Quote Sheet
Muggy Morning Workout: The Pitt football team practiced for nearly three hours this morning in steamy weather conditions. The Panthers worked out in helmets and shoulder pads for the second consecutive day. In addition to group drills, Coach Paul Chryst dedicated a number of periods to 11-on-11 work as well as special teams.
Today’s practice was a prelude to full-contact work on Friday, when the Panthers will don full gear for the first time.
“These first five days (of camp) they call them ‘acclimatization days’ for a reason,” Chryst said. “They’re getting used to it. We’re not going to plan a big speech, ‘Hey, we’ve got full pads on.’ I think you have to have the mentality every time you cross the line it’s full go. But I think it’s another step and that’s always good.”
One Team, One Goal: Senior safety Andrew Taglianetti was asked about his personal goals this season.
“A Big East championship before anything,” he said. “I want to have the best season I’ve had personally, but with that will come hopefully success for the team. I would never put myself in front of that goal. I think we have what it takes to do it and I think we have the coaching staff in place that can get it done. That’s the ultimate thing and hopefully we can win a Big East championship outright this year.”
Street Stepping Up: Junior Devin Street understands the lofty standards the wide receiver position has at the University of Pittsburgh. His new positional coach, Bobby Engram, is making each of his players study the history of receiver play at Pitt. Plus, every day Street has to walk past the Pitt trophy case that houses the two Biletnikoff Awards won by all-time Panther greats Larry Fitzgerald and Antonio Bryant.
Street is intent on adding to that rich legacy and has had an impression-making camp thus far.
“It's only the fourth day, so I'm just going hard every day,” Street said. “I'm a junior now and trying to be a leader. Coach Engram brings the best out in me every day.
“It's crunch time. Time to turn it up. Last year I finally felt comfortable at the end of the year and wanted to carry it over to this year. I'm a junior now and I've matured. I want to be one of the playmakers on this team. I want to be the go-to guy. I feel like I can be more of a leader now.”
Street said a reason for his elevated performance this camp has been the coaching he has been receiving from the new staff.
“These coaches know how to go about it the right way,” Street said. “They are teachers first and that's definitely what they're doing. Now I’m learning how important the minor details are. It makes a big difference.”
The Big Uglies: Jim Hueber knows what a championship offensive line looks like.
Before arriving at Pitt, Hueber helped tutor three Pro Bowl offensive linemen while with the Minnesota Vikings.
Before that, he helped build the Wisconsin Badgers’ nationally renowned offensive line tradition, working with such standouts as Aaron Gibson, Chris McIntosh and Joe Thomas. Each of the trio went on to be first-round NFL Draft selections.
Hueber met with the media on Thursday and was asked about Pitt’s offensive front.
“Time for them to step up, including the two freshman kids,” Hueber said. “Right now, I'm the most hated man on campus after four days. They are so sick of me. I'm on them from the time they step on the field until the time they step off.
“There is nobody around the country that does what the offensive linemen have to do. There is not a position that has to block sleds, block bodies and block shields every single day. Each lineman takes a hundred hits a day. It's about toughness in your body, but your mind has to get tough.
“Nobody is backing down. They are all working hard. We still have to push, that's our job. You can't teach toughness, it's inherent. You can teach technique but you've got to want it.”
Big League Scouts: The Panthers hosted NFL scouts from the New York Jets and Kansas City Chiefs at their practice facility today.
Season Tickets on Sale: Pitt football season-ticket packages are currently on sale for as low as $99 and can be purchased online (PittsburghPanthers.com), by phone (800/643-PITT) or in person at the Petersen Events Center ticket office. All Pitt and UPMC employees are eligible for a 20% discount. To watch Pitt’s season ticket commercial click on this link: My City, My Panthers.
Next Up: Pitt will hold its fifth training camp practice on Friday at 9:45 a.m., at the UPMC Sports Performance Complex.
Pitt Training Camp Media Quote Sheet
On players playing through injuries:
“There’s absolutely a fine line. You’ve got to understand the balance but you’ve got 29 practices before the first game. You’ve got to make sure you make the most of it. Absolutely it’s a juggling act.”
On players leaving practice with injuries:
“Nothing that’s serious that I know of right now. Hopefully that news stays the same.”
“We did a lot of just ones and twos and Chad (Voytik) got in on a couple there. But certainly both Tino and Trey need as many reps as they can get. Chad has done a great job of studying and learning and that’s not easy, no spring ball and no real reference, but I think he’s done a great job of knowing what to do and I think he goes out and works at it. So I’m pleased where he’s at.”
“Both are certainly competing and I think they’re invested, and that’s what you appreciate out of them. Both need to have a good camp for us to be good on defense. It’ll be interesting to watch them as they progress.”
“I think that’s one position (safety) that we have some legitimate chance for depth. That means you’ve got legitimate competition. Hopefully they all feed off of that and as a group are better.”
On injuries to the offensive line providing younger players with the chance to develop depth:
“It certainly gives them more reps and I think at this point reps are good. Hopefully we get them (injured players) back. But yeah, take advantage. When preparation meets opportunity see what happens. When you prepare, and you hope you’re prepared enough, and the opportunity comes, take advantage of it. And that will be the story through camp. It is most of the time.”
On defensive linemen getting practice repetitions at multiple positions up front:
“Trying to find a home for some of them. I think that’s our job as coaches — to find what’s in their wheelhouse. I think now is a good time; we’re learning and we’re going at a pretty good clip but we’re not so far into it that we have a lot of rewinding to do. I think it’s a good time to try to see if what you’re asking of them fits.”
On evaluating the depth at running back:
“It’s tricky because a big part of our job, and their job as players, is finding guys who can do some positive and then see if they can do it consistently. If you’re not getting a lot of reps, where’s the consistency factor? With Ray’s (Graham) situation there will be days where we’re holding him back so there will be opportunities (for other players). So they really have to take advantage. It’s different than our O-line where there’s two groups and you’re going to get a lot of reps. You’ve really got to be dialed in and take advantage of when you get those opportunities. There’s a lot of backs and they all flash some positives, but I think the key is doing it on a consistent basis.”
Quoting offensive line coach Jim Hueber
On Cory King moving from guard to tackle:
“We had an idea that something could happen with Cory (moving positions). We kept talking to him about it over the summer. We had a plan. We told him to keep thinking about the guy next to you. Keep thinking about that position and watch what he does. He did a nice job of doing that this summer and was ready to go.”
Quoting junior receiver Devin Street
On the new coaching staff:
“Football is back to being fun now. These guys make it fun but at the same time we know what the goal is and know what we have to do. We're all here because we love the game. They understand that and their job is to teach us and that's what they are doing.”
On Coach Paul Chryst:
“He's so personable. I can talk to him about anything. He has a great mind. He's a genius. He knows everything. I try to soak it all up. Whether it be on the football field or in life, he's full of wisdom. He talks about everything, about being responsible, about being a complete man and doing everything right.”
Quoting junior offensive guard Ryan Schlieper
On the first days of camp:
“We are in a transitional period. It's different than spring. We’ve got to go now and make things happen. We have to go at it full speed. We have to pick it up this year. This is the kind of offense that the offensive line likes.”
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