Aug. 10, 2012
Pitt Training Camp — Day 5 Practice Notebook & Quote Sheet
Tighten those Chin Straps: The Pitt football team practiced this morning in full gear for the first time. The Panthers’ three-hour workout was held in the indoor facility due to the threat of inclement weather.
While a quick whistle was used for most of Friday’s practice, Pitt will go full-bore on Saturday with a scrimmage.
“We want to play some ball,” Coach Paul Chryst said. “Obviously with the way we’ve been dressed for practice, we’re now tackling. We’ve been doing a lot of tackling drills (and will) change the tackling (to full go on Saturday).
“We’ve got to get a lot of snaps, play a lot of football. I think the thing we’re looking for, the goal, is who can do something well and can they repeat it? Can they do it consistently? That would be the goal. The format, we’ll stretch, go through a little individual, and then we’ll play.”
Pitts Pushing for Time: Redshirt freshman Lafayette Pitts is making his case to earn the starting cornerback job opposite junior K’Waun Williams.
Pitts signed with the Panthers in 2011 following a decorated career at nearby Woodland Hills. He has impressed his coaches with both his play on the field and preparation off it.
“There’s a guy that works,” Paul Chryst said when asked about Pitts. “One thing we talk about a lot with our players is guys that are smart and tough and dependable will play. He works at the game, he studies the game and he’s smart and tough. Guys that enjoy the process, that makes for a dependable player.”
Although he has been running with the first unit most of this first week of camp, Pitts isn’t taking anything for granted.
“It’s been going pretty good I think,” Pitts said. “I got the opportunity to run with the ones but nothing is certain. I’ve still got a whole week of camp to go. Me and Cullen Christian are fighting for the one spot. Just because I’m running with the ones doesn’t mean I’m the starter. I’m going to keep pushing and working and see what happens.”
On the Mark: Paul Chryst’s pro-style offensive attack makes frequent use of the fullback. That was welcomed news to sophomore Mark Giubilato, who is working on an expanded role this year after being used only situationally last year.
Giubilato is still relatively new to the position. He began the 2011 season as a linebacker before moving to fullback.
“Last year I didn't really know what I was doing,” Giubilato said. “I feel this year I've gotten a lot better and have been focusing on and developing my skills, but I still have a long way to go. I like the fullback position and this offense is awesome for me. I can be involved in the whole game. Our whole position group is working hard.”
Giubilato’s progress is not going unnoticed by the coaching staff.
“He's doing a good job. He's coming along,” offensive coordinator Joe Rudolph said. “I like the way he works and he has the right attitude. I'm going to keep pushing him to get there.”
Drew and Dorin: Each positional group has been asked this camp to research past Pitt greats and then make a presentation to their teammates and coaches.
Sophomore Drew Carswell was assigned former Pitt All-American Dorin Dickerson. The assignment is appropriate. In contrast to the more traditional burly tight end prototype, Carswell and Dickerson are both sleek athletes who can create advantageous mismatches in the passing game.
Carswell displayed that today when he caught a 40-yard pass from Tino Sunseri during 11-on-11 work. Streaking down the left sideline, the Sto-Rox product caught the pass in stride and could've taken it the distance if not for a quick whistle.
Earlier in practice, Sunseri connected with Carswell on a 20-yard TD strike during red zone work.
Dickerson, who set a Pitt tight end record with 10 touchdown catches as a senior, is presently with the Buffalo Bills. “That’s my goal,” Carswell said. “To be that kind of playmaker for our team.”
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Next Up: Pitt will hold its sixth training camp practice, with an emphasis on scrimmage work, on Saturday at 9 a.m., at the UPMC Sports Performance Complex.
Pitt Training Camp Media Quote Sheet
On whether he is happy with the progress of senior quarterback Tino Sunseri:
“I like his approach right now. If you can keep learning and keep your approach and keep grinding out the process, he’s going to grow. And what a great thing that he’s capable of. If he does that, then we’ll use the word ‘happy.’ I’m happy to work with him, Brooks (Bollinger) is happy to work with him. But we’re not where we want to be. And he’s not, and he knows that.”
On importance of the fullback position:
“We’ll find out what kind of role that position will have. I think we’ve got guys capable of it, and how big a role anyone has on a team, specifically talking about that fullback position, depends on how well they do. I think we’ve got some guys who are smart tough and dependable.”
On Thursday’s great catch by Mike Shanahan that led to a hamstring injury:
“Unbelievable. I was fired up until I went over there and then saw that there was more to the story. He competed all the way through, it was pretty cool.”
Quoting offensive coordinator Joe Rudolph
On the first week of camp:
“We keep pushing them. You see some things being done well and you see some things being executed, but we still need to push them on the details. It's a constant grind, but we will keep teaching them.”
On which personnel will become part of the offense:
“There's great competition across the position groups. You have to see who your best people are and put the packages around them. We have to put our best people on the field and that creates competition among them. Freshmen have a lot of information to absorb and they're working hard.”
On Saturday's scrimmage:
“I want to see them compete and at the same time pay attention to detail. I want them to do what we asked them to do and execute the way we have taught them and use the techniques they're supposed to use. I want to see detail and execution.”
Quoting secondary coach Matt House
On the competition for starting spots in the secondary:
“They’re all competing right now. Lafayette (Pitts) right now is running with the ones. Cullen (Christian) is having a good camp right now and Lloyd (Carrington) is competing hard, too. I think they’re gradually getting better every day. Those young guys’ reps are important. The great thing with what Coach Chryst is doing right now, it really doesn’t matter if you’re a one or a two because they get equal amount of reps. There’s not a rep distribution between the ones and the twos so all three are getting a lot of reps and a lot of work.”
On junior cornerback K’Waun Williams so far in camp:
“You hate to build anybody up too much or knock them down too much, but the thing that’s great about K’Waun right now is he’s coming to practice every day to work and he knows he hasn’t arrived yet. I enjoy working with him. He’s a good kid and he likes to compete.”
Quoting senior quarterback Tino Sunseri
On gaining confidence as training camp progresses:
“The biggest thing whenever you start the season is you haven’t been doing anything football wise. You haven’t been dropping back, there hasn’t been a rush in front of you and obviously there hasn’t been guys guarding each other. In the summer all you’re doing really is trying to get rhythm on air. So the first couple of days (of training camp) you’re really just trying to get the feel of everything, understand route depths, understand kind of the timing wherever you think everyone will be once there are defenders in front of them. It’s a totally different game. So the first couple of days you could tell that we were feeling it out and then as we keep on talking and meeting, people are understanding where they’re expected to be on the field at what certain times. We’re starting to get our rhythm back there dropping back and balls are starting to be completed.”
On the experience of the offense:
“That is huge. I was even talking to someone last night and I said granted we didn’t want anyone to get injured on the offensive line last year, but with people leaving those young guys got a lot of experience, too. For those guys to really be able to step in and be able to contribute on the offensive line during games, they can take that experience and carry it over.
“In practice you can simulate all you want but as soon as you get into a game you’re the only guys out on the field. You’ve got to know the down, distance, time on the clock and understand when you need to take advantage of the opportunities. Those guys have been through that and we understand the opportunities that we need to take. I think that we’ve been doing that and trying to incorporate that into camp until it just becomes second nature.”
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