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Aug. 13, 2012

Pitt Training Camp — Day 8 Practice Notebook & Quote Sheet

Double-Shift Monday: Coach Paul Chryst oversaw his first double-session practice day on Monday. The Panthers worked out for more than three hours in the morning, held meetings in the afternoon and then ended the day with an evening practice. Players were dressed in full gear for each workout.

Being Students of the Game: Pitt defensive coordinator Dave Huxtable takes an academic approach to coaching and teaching the game of football.

“(The players) have a fall camp playbook and they need to be in their playbook. That’s on them,” Huxtable said. “When they get into the meeting room it’s on us as coaches to be their teacher. It’s on them to be the students and learn it. Then take those things from their own time in their playbook and from the meeting room with us as coaches, and now it’s on them to take it to the grass.”

I Like Ike: With senior starter Ray Graham on the injury shelf during the spring, sophomore Isaac Bennett took the majority of first-team reps at tailback. That extra work appears to be paying dividends as Bennett is having a solid fall camp.

During scrimmage work this morning, he ripped off a long touchdown run covering more than 50 yards. Bennett had four such runs during spring drills. His continued practice production figures to result in a prominent backfield role this fall.

“Isaac got lots of reps in the spring, which helped him tremendously,” running backs coach Desmond Robinson said. “Ray (Graham) was the starter last year, so when he came back and got healthy we would put him back in that (first) spot, but I would tell you right now that Isaac is guaranteeing himself some playing time.”

Season Tickets on Sale: Pitt football season-ticket packages are currently on sale for as low as $99 and can be purchased online (, 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: The Panthers will have one practice on Tuesday at 2:15 p.m.

Pitt Training Camp Media Quote Sheet 

Quoting Head Coach Paul Chryst

On the running backs:

“I think from watching the film of the scrimmage that we have a long way to go. Ray’s (Graham) got to keep making progress and Isaac (Bennett) has to be more dependable in all of his assignments. I felt (Malcolm) Crockett ran hard, but we have a ways to go.”

On what stuck out about the play of the running backs:

“I thought they were stopping their feet in the hole and I didn’t think they showed great eye discipline. Pass protection, I thought they were waiting. A lot of those can be, I don’t want to say expected, but those aren’t surprising things off a first scrimmage, but nonetheless we have to get better.”

On what jumped out to him from watching film of Saturday’s scrimmage:

“There are a lot of things. We have guys doing it, but not on every play. We lack consistency. I thought there were a lot of guys who fought through some things and we want to see that we like football and that we’re going to play football. We saw enough guys enjoying it. Guys made plays and some plays were made because of a lack of execution on the other side of the ball. I thought there were some plays that were just good football plays being made. Good things to learn from, good things to teach and we can’t keep making the same mistakes. What we need to see is growth this week.”

On using a play clock today during practice:

“Just trying to send a message to them, to have some urgency and I was pushing it on them. Everyone has to take ownership of that and we have to make sure we’re aware of it, so it was a point of emphasis while trying to create some teaching moments.”

On helping Ray Graham get over the mental part of recovering from his knee injury:

“I think you have to acknowledge it and going through that with players. You then have to know your guy, but also allow him to work through that. Sometimes, you have to push him and kind of encourage it. No doubt that every guy coming back from an injury feels it.”

On receiver Devin Street sitting out the majority of the practice:

“Just wanted to kind of give him a combination. Give him a little bit of a blow today and I thought it would be a great opportunity to get the other guys some work. Looking at a group of guys like that, you just want to make sure they’re putting forth the effort and give them a shot.”

On the status of the receiving group:

“Whether it’s half the camp or what, you have to give guys the opportunity. With those opportunities they can either make a case for themselves either way, getting more reps or not getting it. I think it’s the right thing to do and it’s how guys respond to it. The good news is we’re getting a lot of reps and they’ve put it on film.”


Quoting defensive coordinator Dave Huxtable

On evaluating the defense:

“What encourages me is that we’re practicing harder. We’re giving good effort. What discourages me is we’re not practicing smarter with our assignments, starting with our alignments before the ball is snapped, and then after the ball is snapped being where we’re supposed to be. We’re too inconsistent with that right now. We need to be consistent with that on every play.”


Quoting defensive line coach Inoke Breckterfield:

On the play of Aaron Donald:

“He’s definitely a smart player, he’s a hard worker and he brings his lunch pail every day and that’s good to see. Is he as advertised? He’s a good player, but everyone has things to work on. He definitely has things to work on and we point that out on film. Right now, he’s trying to fine tune his game and I think his biggest thing for me, is to be a finisher. We’ve had multiple talks about him just finishing plays. He’s an example not just for the d-line, but for the young guys behind him, Darryl Render and Terrell Jackson, two young freshmen looking up at him and it’s his job to set the tone for all of the defensive front.”


Quoting senior running back Ray Graham:

On the status of his knee:

“Everything is getting better. As far as myself, the more I play, the more confidence I get.”

On how he feels cutting on the field:

“It felt good, you know just sometimes I think about it and it’s not scary, but just sometimes I make a certain move that if I was 100 percent, I would just make. I just think about it and I have to stop doing that. I think as time goes on I’ll just forget about it and play football.”


Quoting sophomore defensive lineman TJ Clemmings:

On how his career has gone so far at Pitt:

“I think everything worked out perfectly. I wasn’t ready to play freshman year, I wasn’t ready to play sophomore year and I learned a lot of things actually. Now I’m ready to go this year.”

On how he fits in the 4-3 defensive scheme:

“I think it’s a great defense. It’s just like it was freshman year, so I’m right back at home.”

On how the coaches want the defensive linemen playing this season:

“D-line is dropping a little bit more. It’s pretty much go get the quarterback or stop the run.”


Pitt Training Camp -- Day 8 Practice Notes & Quotes

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