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Aug. 16, 2012

Pitt Training Camp — Day 11 Practice Notebook & Quote Sheet

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Afternoon Practice: Coach Paul Chryst ran the Panthers through one practice this afternoon on the sun-splashed outdoor fields at the UPMC Sports Performance Complex. The team dressed in full gear for the workout, which lasted just under three hours.

“It was fun,” Chryst said in his media session. “Training camp practice, there’s some good stuff and some bad. We have to try to get better on the stuff that needs to improve.”

Herbie on Chryst: ESPN’s Kirk Herbstreit spoke to Andrew Stockey of Pittsburgh’s WTAE-TV this week about the upcoming college football season. Herbstreit was very complimentary of Paul Chryst, calling him “one of the premier play-callers and offensive minds in the game of college football.”

“He has a way of getting everyone on the same page,” Herbstreit continued. “He has a plan that demands physicality. It will push the offensive linemen to be more physical than they ever knew they could be, the running backs to run tougher, the quarterbacks to make good decisions.

“They will recruit well, and he will bring in a system that Pitt fans will be very proud of.”

Sizing up the QBs: Brooks Bollinger knows something about high-level quarterback play. As a four-year starter at Wisconsin, he boasted a 30-12 record, including a 3-0 mark in bowl games. Following his collegiate career, Bollinger played eight years professionally, owning stints with the New York Jets, Dallas Cowboys and Minnesota Vikings.

Following Thursday’s practice, Bollinger was asked to discuss Pitt’s progress at the quarterback position.

“They’ve done a good job,” he said. “Again, it’s another step in the process. The starting point was spring ball, for me anyway. Obviously, they were working long before that, but in this new system that was kind of the base level starting point.

“Now is the next step in this process of getting them where they need to be. It’s camp, and it’s never good enough. If you had a good day, it could have been better.”

Bollinger also discussed the development of senior Tino Sunseri during camp.

“He’s doing a nice job, and I think if you went back and watched the tape from the spring, the positive thing is that you’re not seeing the same mistakes that were made in the spring,” Bollinger said. “He’s learning from them and continuing to get better.

“Continue to get the details right and do the small things right. That’s what we continue to work on and right now we’ve got a lot of stuff in. We’re putting a lot on him and we expect him to grind through and detail each one of those things.”

Big Man in the Middle: Paul Chryst was asked about the luxury of having junior defensive tackle Aaron Donald back to clog up the middle this season.

“It’s the best,” Chryst said. “The guy’s a warrior. I love watching his approach and everything he does.”

The soft-spoken Donald has to be pressed to talk about his own game. Asked about his mentality on the defensive line, he replied: “It’s just motivation and the hunger to get that quarterback. Whatever they give me, that’s what I’m going to take.”

An All-Big East performer last year after compiling 16 TFLs and 11 sacks, the Penn Hills product is a legitimate All-America and national awards candidate in 2012.

Competitive Corners: One of the most hotly contested position battles of camp is at the cornerback spot opposite returning starter K’Waun Williams. Redshirt freshman Lafayette Pitts and sophomore Cullen Christian are vying for the assignment.  According to Christian, the competition stops once they leave the field. In fact, they are not only good friends but also roommates. 

“We go through the playbook and stuff together,” said Christian, who is in his first active season at Pitt following a 2011 transfer from Michigan. “There’s no beef or anything between us, we’re just competing. We just want to go out here and compete. Whoever is the best man may win.”


Pitt Training Camp Media Quote Sheet 

Quoting Head Coach Paul Chryst

On how freshman quarterback Chad Voytik is learning through increased repetitions this week:

“Yeah, on a couple runs he actually went the wrong way. We got him in with the ones during the inside run period.

“But he really has done some good things. And you can tell when he can tell you what it is, but when he knows the play I think he does some pretty good things. I think where he’s at as a freshman is pretty good.

“I think every guy learns best by doing. He’s a conscientious kid so he’s going to make the most of it. He’s into the practice; he doesn’t just go through the motions so we appreciate that.”

On junior defensive tackle Jack Lippert:

“He’s good and puts forth. He came to camp in great shape with a little bit of an edge, in a good way, and I think he’s into it. We appreciate that, and we tell him. He’s been fighting a lot.”


Quoting sophomore wide receiver Ronald Jones

On stepping up his game while fellow wide receivers are out with injuries:

“I feel like it’s my job to keep their presence alive by just making plays like they make plays.”

On the challenges in learning a new offensive system:

“It’s a little bit of a challenge, switching from spread to pro-style. You have to run perfect routes and everything to get open. I’m just working hard on my routes, getting better at them every day.”


Quoting junior defensive lineman Aaron Donald

On his opinion of the offensive line’s progression during camp:

“It’s impressive. They’re getting better each day. (Chris Jacobson) is back strong, and (Ryan) Turnley is out there leading them. They’re looking real strong.”

On sophomore defensive tackle “He’s looking fast. He’s moving fast, moving quick. He’s looking good.”

On the impact that defensive line coach Inoke Breckterfield has had on them:

“Coach (Breckterfield) has been teaching us a lot about explosiveness, coming out of your hips to stop the run better. It’s helped us a whole lot because we’ve been able to stop the run better. Just improving.”

On his responsibilities as one of the older players on the defensive line:

“Just trying to have them watch what I do on the field. They feed off me, and I feed off them. I feel like if they see me slacking, they’re going to slack. Every time I go out there I know that I have to go 100 miles per hour.”


Quoting sophomore cornerback Cullen Christian:

On how he felt practice went today:

“Practice went pretty good, could have been a lot better. We’re just all out here competing, and you have your ups and downs, but today seemed like it went ‘up’ a little more than yesterday. It felt pretty good.”

On getting more playing time with the first team during camp:

“You know how it goes with the ones and twos. We’re obviously out here competing and trying to better each other. When you get the ball thrown your way, you just have to try and make a play on it. That’s the only way that you’re going to prove yourself.”


Pitt Training Camp -- Day 11 Practice Notebook & Quote Sheet