For the workday:
You can listen to this while you read the rest of this article. Here is the latest Chris Peak podcast on the Trib site and he starts off with an interesting point:
I laugh at least once or twice any time I listen to him … “…then we had to watch Pitt give up 6,000 passing yards to friggin’ Mike Teel!” Great stuff!
Earlier I said it looked like rsSR LB Bam Bradly was on the outside looking in when it came to being a starter this season. Jerry DiPaola picks that thought up with an article in the Trib this morning:
The latter is what continues to happen to senior Bam Bradley, who was a backup to Caprara last year at money outside linebacker, a position where players have more responsibility in heavy traffic. At the outset of training camp last week, coaches moved Bradley to the other side of the field — to the star position where defenders work most often in open space.
This week, it’s back to money for Bradley as coach Pat Narduzzi and his staff are intrigued by the youth and athleticism of star linebackers Seun Idowu and Elijah Zeise, both sophomores from North Allegheny.
“We have to find a couple guys who can play multiple positions,” defensive coordinator Josh Conklin said, adding Bradley remains in competition with Idowu and Zeise.
And later in that piece he writes this scary bit:
The depth at linebacker seems secure for the moment, but Conklin wants to see more of it at defensive tackle after losing junior Justin Moody to a cervical spine condition. Starters Tyrique Jarrett, currently dealing with a minor injury, and Shakir Soto could be backed up by freshmen Keyshon Camp, Amir Watts and Rashad Wheeler of Central Catholic.
Folks, if we are going to hope for some breakout seasons from true freshmen let’s look past Moss and the FR receivers and target that DL interior. Those names above do not strike fear in any opposing OC’s heart.
While we are throwing DiPaola around here is another depressing bit. While the eternal optimists of the Pitt fan faithful will look real hard and click their heels three times when reviewing those two TE’s we had commit yesterday Jerry D. tells it like it is:
Both players are welcome additions to Pitt’s class for two simple reasons:
— They are the only tight ends in the class.
— Pitt’s current roster includes two senior tight ends, Scott Orndoff and Jaymar Parrish. A third, Chris Clark, will be coming off knee surgery next year.
Notice he didn’t say “they are highly rated or highly sought after or look to be great additions…” He said basically we have crap for the future and need any bodies we can get at that position.
Barnes shared ticket figures in a media briefing at the team’s South Side facility Thursday afternoon, citing anticipation for Year 2 with coach Pat Narduzzi at the helm, and the team’s Sept. 10 meeting with Penn State, which is already is a sellout.
“It will be an incredible home game atmosphere,” said Barnes. “The majority will be Pitt [fans.]”
Barnes was adamant he had no concern that Penn State fans gobbled up season-ticket packages just to gain access to one game. He said the school’s data suggests it will be a pro-Pitt audience because of the way Pitt staggered sales and provided existing season ticket-holders with the opportunity to renew and purchase extra single-game tickets.
Here is the latest post-practice press release from the Media Dept:
Head Coach Pat Narduzzi
“Good afternoon instead of good morning. It’s good to see you this time of day. It’s a really sudden change. I wanted to see how you guys [the media] would react–just like our kids–to a little schedule change. We decided to go a little later today. We have gone with two doubles this week. They got off the field at like nine o’clock last night under the lights here. The trains were humming by. There’s a lot heavier traffic with trains at night–I don’t know if you guys know that–than there is during the day.
We got two great practices in. I wanted to get them a little fresher today and give them a little bit more rest. We actually slept in an hour longer today. They were excited about that. We gave them a little bit of a later start. We had some good meetings in preparation for Saturday’s scrimmage. I think that’s huge. It’ll be a get-after-it practice today after two yesterday, and then we’ll lighten up a little bit tomorrow. We’re going to crank it up on Saturday, so that’s kind of the method there.”
On if Linebacker Bam Bradley has been taking reps at multiple positions:
“Bam [Bradley] will work both sides, and based on personnel, we feel good with what he can do out there on the field. It was good to see him be able to go out there and execute. We’ve gotten him so familiar with it now.
A year ago he couldn’t do that, so his knowledge is better. Seun [Oluwaseun Idowu] is doing a great job. Elijah [Zeise] is doing a good job out there at that Star position as well. We’ll have more guys in space as opposed to a team that’s going to come out in 22 personnel and try to run it down your throat.”
On if having versatile, faster linebackers helps:
“It does, but depending on who you play, people will be able to personnel you a little bit knowing that. Then all of the sudden they’ll line up with two tight-ends, and then all of the sudden spread one of them out and put that guy in space. But the good thing is that Bam [Bradley] has done that against three or four wide-outs already. He’s done it against good wide-outs, so we’re not afraid to do it because he’s gotten those reps through camp.”
On how senior Linebackers Mike Caprara and Matt Galambos have improved since last year:
“They were already pretty good. It’s like Coach [Dave] Andrews always says in the weight room, `the freshman are going to make major gains in the weight room, as opposed to a senior who has been through four years of the strength program.’ It’s just hard. [Usain] Bolt isn’t going to set a world record every time he runs the 100 meters. It’s the same thing with those guys.
They know what they’re doing on defense. Sometimes you even see a drop-off because they feel like, `Hey, I know what I’m doing. I don’t have to do that as perfect, Coach. You know I can do that.’ No, I’d like to see you continue to do it the right way. You just don’t see those major improvements out of guys that are vets.”
On if he has seen anything that stands out to him on special teams:
“Not really. We work a lot of the fundamentals during the day on these hot two-a-days. We’re running our guys around working on fundamentals, getting off blocks, protecting, punting and covering. Then last night was more of a laid back, `Hey, what happens if we’re kicking off after a penalty?’ All of those situational-type things that you don’t really spend a lot of time on because they might not happen all next year, but just in case they do, we’re prepared for everything.”
On how helpful coming here in the spring has been for Running Back Chawntez Moss:
“I’m not a big proponent of mid-year transfers, but the two guys that we had come in at mid-year–Chawntez [Moss] and Patrick Jones [II]–both of them have made major improvements from what they did in the spring. You can’t see what the other freshmen [have done] because you don’t know where they were, but you see major improvements out of both of those individuals.
Chawntez was definitely helped by coming here and being in the strength program for not only the spring, but the entire summer. A lot of the freshmen didn’t get here until later on. Both of those guys have taken full advantage of it. They have not only changed their bodies, but it’s given them a chance mentally to help themselves get on the field.”
On if there is a reason that he is not a big fan of the mid-year transfer:
“After watching those two progress, I’d be a fool not to like that. I think it’s in our best interest, but I don’t think it’s always in the kids’ best interest to pull them out of high school. They don’t finish with their [friends]. I don’t think I’d want my own kids to leave school early. I’d like them to go to prom. I’d like them to be able to enjoy it. Let me just tell you–football is 12 months a year.
It’s not like it used to be when I was in school. We used to go home during the summers and see mom and dad and see your brothers and sisters. It’s 12 months a year. They’re here all the time. I tell recruits’ parents, `it’s a 12-month commitment.’ It’s like going to the army for four or five years. It’s not like it used to be 10 or 20 years ago. So to rush that is different.
For the kids’ sake, I always give them the pluses [of transferring in mid-year]. Academically, you’re getting your degree faster. You’re going to have at least six [credits] in the summer plus 12 [credits in the spring]. You’re going to be 18 to 24 credits ahead of schedule academically. You’re going to be smarter and you’re going to be in better shape, but then there’s the other stuff.”
On where he stands on the ACC going to nine conference games:
“I really don’t have a preference. We’re going to look at who’s out there to schedule. If they put them on our schedule, we’re going to play them. We want great football teams to come into Heinz Field. We want to go on the road and play in great atmospheres as well.
Like I said, I’d much rather play a good opponent than one that we’re supposed to beat. There’s a lot less pressure, in my opinion, when that happens. The higher-ups are going to make those decisions. Like I said last week, even if we had an opinion, they don’t listen to us. They do what they want to do.”
Offensive Coordinator Matt Canada
On how many reps the quarterbacks will get in Saturday’s scrimmage:
“Obviously Nathan [Peterman] will get the most and then the two guys behind him, but it also depends on how they play in the scrimmage. Last week we went after it a little bit, but we’ve had 13 opportunities, so Saturday is going to be a great chance to see how they can play when the lights are on. The three guys battling for No. 2 are all working at it, they all have good days and they all have bad days.
They have days when the look like they’re going to be in the Hall of Fame, and then they have days when they don’t look like they’re going to be in the right Hall of Fame so it just depends on how they play. We are all working very hard and we’ll see how it goes. They’ll all get reps on Saturday.”
On choosing five offensive linemen to be starters:
“You know what, I’m not really concerned. I think having the ability to have some flexibility is really good. If you look, the [New England] Patriots have done a great job in the past couple years moving guys around. If we have five guys that are significantly better than everybody else then they’ll play the whole time; but if we can keep guys fresh and they’re equals then they deserve to play.
Right now it’s getting close, we can smell it, but it’s still 16 days away so we have a lot of time to find it. I’m really pleased with the way those guys are working. We’ll move them around and try to find the best combination then if something happens what’s the best combination after that. We’re getting guys reps, so I’m not concerned about getting it to five too soon.”
On amount of depth on the Pitt offensive line:
“It is unbelievably magnificent to have this many quality linemen. It’s really special for us. We have quality depth. Injuries have forced some guys to play sooner, but once a guy gets hurt, somebody else has to play more, so we’re in a great situation and we’re very excited just to watch it and be part of it. ”
On Wide Receiver Jester Weah:
“Jester is unbelievably talented. He’s very fast and makes plays. I thought he had a tremendous spring and for a wide out there’s a lot of running in camp, so there are days he has made plays and he’s working on his football. I’m really pleased with where he is and how he’s producing. I think he’ll have a very good fall for us.”
On which wide receivers will play:
“There are probably five, with [Dontez] Ford as the leader. I think they’re doing a great job. Quadree [Henderson] and [Jester] Weah are doing a great job. Rafael [Araujo-Lopes] is playing very well and Tre Tipton has really done a good job. Those five guys have separated themselves. It’s hard to do these things.
Not that anybody else isn’t doing well and getting better, but those five guys right now are getting the majority of the reps. We’re going to start creating a lot of packages that we can use based on anywhere we want. I say it all the time, you have to play five and everybody else is a wildcard. Now we start deciding how those things work, the percentages, and going into a game which guys should play. It’s also predicated on what the defense it going to give us. Certain games it will be this; certain games it will be that. But those five guys are playing well.”
Defensive Coordinator Josh Conklin
On how Linebacker Bam Bradley has looked since he’s been changing positions:
“He’s been doing well. We started him out at the Star linebacker position, and then we felt like maybe he’d fit a little bit more at the Money. The bottom line is that we’ve got to find a couple guys that can play multiple positions, so I feel comfortable that he would know what to do if he got out there, but we wanted to make sure that we moved him around. We got a chance to get some other guys going.”
On if he feels comfortable on his depth at the Star linebacker position:
“Bam played Money last year, so I think he’s got a really good feel, as far as what’s going on there. We wanted to make sure that he got a look at Star. I think between Elijah [Zeise] and also Seun [Oluwaseun Idowu], we have a chance to get a good group there.”
On if he feels like he has a clear-cut starter at the Star position:
“No, not at all. This scrimmage coming up will be really important. We’re always working to see who’s going to be the next guy.”
On if he feels that in some situations that he’ll be able to go to a non-starter consistently:
“On third down we feel like we can do that. What we try to do on third down is get our best 11 guys on the field. We want to get a little more speed out there, but you want to get your best pass rushers out on the field, which is really important. You want to get guys that have a knack for making big plays. We’re always moving that around right now too–that depth chart. I feel like by the end of this Saturday and into the middle of next week that we’ll have a pretty good feel for those guys moving forward into game week.”
On what improvements he has seen from Linebackers Oluwaseun Idowu and Elijah Zeise:
“It’s just a matter of getting to know the package. Elijah [Zeise] doesn’t have as many snaps under his belt as Seun [Oluwaseun Idowu] does, but I’ve felt like they’re both picking it up. We feel like Elijah gives you a little bit of a different dynamic as far as an athlete out there, which is good to see. Seun had a great summer. He got bigger, stronger and faster.
He’s had a good camp so far at Base, and then we’ve moved him in and tried to get him some reps at Delta, our third-down package. It probably slowed him down a little bit just because that’s a lot. It’s always working those different dynamics and working those different spots to see where a guy fits, but we feel decent at Star right now, we really do. We just feel like we’ve got to continue to develop those guys.”
On if any of the freshman defensive tackles look like they might be able to get some playing time:
“Yeah, I think they may. It’s just going to kind of depend on moving forward into this week and how they continue to pick it up. We’ve really changed them. Kind of like we challenged [Jordan] Whitehead last year, we’ve challenged those guys to step up and learn the package.
They’ve been coming for early walk throughs with Coach [Tom] Sims. They’ve been staying later. I’ve been working with them a little bit more on the field just doing some mental stuff more than physical, but I feel like those guys might have the potential to help us as the season goes on especially.”
On if any of those freshman defensive tackles have stood out in particular:
“All three of them really. We’ve been repping Rashad Wheeler. We’ve been repping Amir Watts, and obviously Keyshon Camp too. All three of those guys. Some days one guy has a great day, and the next day he has a poor day. That’s just part of being of being a freshman. We’ll keep working them.”