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Aug. 16, 2016

2016 Pitt Football Training Camp, Day Nine Coverage

Videos: Retro Uniforms Unveil | Player Reaction to Retro Jerseys

Photos: New Pitt Retro Uniforms | Practice No. 10

Head Coach Pat Narduzzi

Opening statement:

"We got a double in yesterday. They were off the field at like nine o'clock last night. We woke our guys up early this morning. We had two really good practices yesterday. They came out and got after it pretty good, and I'm looking forward to seeing what we've got today."

On if he'll be taking it easy on the players today after working them hard yesterday:

"It's camp. There are no easy days. We will have a lot of focus. We won't do anything live today even though we're in full pads, but it will be heavy, heavy thud."

On whether or not one of the practices yesterday was lighter than the other:

"In the evening. I guess you can ask the kids if it was light or not, but we went indoors. I think it was like 150 degrees in there last night, but we got good work done. We didn't go live, but we got a lot of work done. We had some good thud period and some good focus periods."

On offensive lineman John Guy competing for a starting spot:

"John [Guy] is just a steady, steady-Eddie, guy. He's tough, he's physical, and he just goes about his business in a professional way. That's what you really like about John. He doesn't say boo out there, he just gets the job done. He's doing a god job of competing for that right guard position."

On if John Guy is leading the competition at right guard:

"I don't know if he is leading at this point. We're still kind of juggling them around in there. There's a lot of competition going on the offensive line. The great thing is that, I think on game-day you're going to see that we can play up to eight guys, which will be good. You're keeping a guy fresh, and then in the fourth quarter, maybe you don't have an exhausted guy. Maybe we can make a big play, or pop a big run because there's a fresher guy in there. It's good that we can play more guys at that position."

On if offensive lineman Alex Officer is John Guy's main competition:

"There is all kinds of competition. I think it depends on how you throw them out there. There are only five starting positions, and I think we've got eight guys. There's a lot of guys fighting to be a starter out there."

On if offensive lineman Alex Bookser has been taking reps at both center and guard:

"[Alex] Bookser is taking some snaps at guard. [Alex] Officer is taking guard and center. Jaryd [Jones-Smith] is taking reps at both tackles. We will continue to work those guys around. The more positions they know, the more valuable they become."

On how Alex Bookser has matured in the past year:

"He's really matured a lot. As coaches, you see daily stuff. For example, even in the spring game, he misses a block and Rachid [Ibrahim] gets hit in the backfield three yards deep and he was--I don't want to say this laughing--in the huddle like, `Sorry, that was my bad.' I haven't seen any of that this year. He's been more serious. I think he understands how important it is. Even just from the spring game, I've already noticed that he's matured a lot."

On if Alex Bookser is more natural at center or guard:

"It's hard to say. I think he does a good job at both."

On if Alex Bookser's snaps from center are improved:

"I think they are. There are ups and downs. Some are up; some are down. Overall I think they've improved. They haven't floated back there like they did a little bit in the spring. He'll continue to get better."

On what the cornerback position looks like opposite Avonte Maddox:

"Opposite of Avonte [Maddox], it's Ryan Lewis right now. He had nice day again yesterday. He's made some strides. You start to look at him and say, `Hey, we can rely on him.' Phillipie Motley and Dane Jackson are in a heat right now, and I'm not sure that Dane Jackson isn't ahead of him. Dane Jackson has really come on strong the last four or five days. Phillipie [Motley] is still there. Malik Henderson had maybe an average day yesterday, so he's battling. They're all battling out there."

On if any of the freshman are battling for that second cornerback spot:

"A little bit. Damar [Hamlin] and Henry Miller are still going strong. Therran [Coleman] mentally is probably a little step behind them, but they're all going to be great players."

On how the players responded to the new throwback uniforms behind released:

"They exploded a little bit. They were fired up. I showed them a little video--maybe the same thing that you guys have seen. We'll let you know later today. We'll let you see it."

On if the new throwback uniforms are a one-time thing:

"I think it's going to be something that our seniors, our eagles, will kind of decide, `Hey, what do we want to do?' If they like the look, I'm open to anything. I just want to coach football."

On how things are progressing now that we are in the second week of camp:

"I feel good with where we are. We are going into [practice] No. 10 today. I think we've had a good camp so far. We've got to continue to stay healthy and take care of our bodies. Right now I think we're ahead of where we were a year ago."

On if there are any major injuries right now:

"No major injuries, no. We're good."

Offensive Lineman John Guy

On his thought on campus so far:

"It's going well so far. We're getting better each day. I'm watching film, learning a lot from it. So I think it's going really well."

On working with the first team as right guard:

"I feel like [right tackle] Brian O'Neill and I are doing really well in there. We're communicating and talking every play so that we don't make a mistake. The coaches have entrusted in me and given me the opportunity to go out there and believe that I can play with the No. 1s, so I appreciate that."

On what Coach John Peterson has said to him about the competition at right guard:

"He said that there is a competition at every position and that nothing is locked down. Everyone is going to get their fair chance to play. We're going to plug each guy in and see how they respond."

On being a player the coaches can count on every day:

"Coach [Matt] Canada told me I do a really good job learning from the film. I'll make a mistake in practice but when I watch the film I won't make the same mistake twice, so that's what he has told me, which I really appreciate."

Offensive Lineman Alex Bookser

On playing some center in camp thus far:

"I'm getting there. Obviously there is an added part where you have to snap the ball. But it's definitely more natural than it was in the spring."

On Coach Narduzzi saying he's matured since the spring:

"Personally, I think I have a grasp on the playbook better. I'm a year older; I've grown up. Last year at times I didn't take things as seriously as I probably should have. I think I've turned a new leaf on that. It's just been the process of growing up. I realized that I'm not here forever. If I want to play here, I'm going to have to take things seriously and do everything the right way."

On taking on some leadership qualities:

"I have to come out and identify the front. I have to make calls and tell people where to go. I wouldn't call myself the leader because we have so many veterans on the line. I'm just doing my best to try to make sure that the guys we have on the line know where they are going."

On following in the footsteps of former Pitt center Artie Rowell:

"Artie was starting here for so long. He's one of the hardest working guys in the building. I can just hope to try and duplicate his work ethic and how much he cared about this team."

Quarterback Manny Stocker

On the battle for the backup quarterback spot:

"It's a grind every day. I try to do my best and work on what I can control. I just try and be the best player I can be to help this team."

On Coach Canada and how he has changed from his time at NC State:

"He hasn't changed a bit. He's still that fiery coach that's going to be on you and do everything he can to make you a better player. He's going to do everything he can for this team, and I'm just happy to have a chance to work with him again."

On when he moved to quarterback:

"It was this January. I played receiver last year and then the coaches moved me to quarterback to give it a shot there."

On the transition from wide receiver to quarterback:

"I played quarterback my whole life. Receiver was actually more difficult to learn--coming out of breaks, cutting and things like that. Making the switch to quarterback was a fun move for me. I know how to control the game from that position."

On his familiarity with Coach Canada's system:

"Coach Canada has a good system. We've been working at it every day. It has progressed a lot since last year, so we're learning new plays. But it's an adjustment for everyone."

On being a mobile quarterback and the challenges to stand out in practice:

"As of right now I'm just going through my reads, and doing everything I can to make the right decision and throw the ball on time. It's kind of hard to stand out, but I don't necessarily think it takes back from my abilities and what I can do. I have the red jersey on right now, so I can't really run around much. If I can operate in the system with a red jersey on just like any other quarterback, it makes me suitable for that position."

Wide Receiver Quadree Henderson:

On the competition level between the wide receivers:

 "The competition is always there. We are all competing for a spot as a starting receiver. The competition in the wide receiver room is always a good thing. We're competing, but at the same time we are trying to help each other."

On being a sophomore:

"Being that I sat out a little bit of last year, I watched Tyler Boyd and learned from the little things he did and the small mistakes he made and the little things he corrected himself on. I watched from the sidelines and watched a lot of things I can do to better myself for the 2016 season."

On his chemistry with quarterback Nathan Peterman:

"Nate and I are like brothers. In the summer we would come out to the fields every day after workouts to make sure our timing was down perfectly. The chemistry with Nate is top notch."

On Tuesday's Pitt alternate jerseys reveal:

"I love the new uniforms. Coach Narduzzi had two of our teammates come into a meeting late. He made it feel like since we had two-a-days yesterday that some people were slacking off, and then the players came into the room in the new uniforms and my eyes lit up."

Offensive Lineman Dorian Johnson

On the movement within the offensive line:

"They are trying to get different guys at different positions. We want to see who we have."

On Alex Boosker playing different positions:

 "He's doing well. He's putting in extra work after practice. I think he's transitioning well."

On starting his freshman year up to his senior year:

"I was just talking to my mom about that a couple days ago. The time here has flown by. I've gained a lot of confidence. I look back at this experience and I'm definitely happy I started my freshman year."

On the throwback Pitt script uniform:

"The new uniforms are crazy. They feel great. I like the colors. You look back at all of the national championship teams and they wore those colors. That gives us something to look forward to. We are a new team, and we can't look back at the past, but it's definitely something we keep in our minds."

Defensive Back Ryan Lewis:

On the defensive back unit chemistry:

"We have a great group of corners. A lot of our guys have high energy. They want to get better and are willing to learn. They'll do whatever it takes to get on the field. We are a strong group together."

On the new script uniforms:

"I was hyped up. Coach Narduzzi had us thinking that a couple of the guys were late. He did a really good job acting. When I saw those uniforms I was speechless. I didn't think we had any other uniforms and when those came out I got a whole bunch of energy and my eyes lit up. I'm excited to wear them."

On learning from Lafayette Pitts last year and competing for a starting job now:

"I definitely learned patience. Last year I was behind Lafayette Pitts, who is a great cornerback. I was waiting for my chance. Now that I've been given the opportunity, I want to seize the opportunity. I want to do whatever to get on the field. It's great being able to work with the No. 1s and I'm taking it day by day."

Defensive Back Dane Jackson:

On having leadership from Avonte Maddox and Ryan Lewis:

"It's very big. They are both veterans. It's good learning from them."

On being in a competitive group:

"It's just about staying focused. I focus on myself and strive to get better. I want to get better in the film room and on the field."

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Pitt Football Camp: Day Nine, Photos & Quotes

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