2017 Pitt Football Camp, Day 3 Recap
The Panthers Wore Shells for Thursday Morning’s Workout
PITTSBURGH—The Pitt football team put on shoulder pads for the first time of training camp during the Panthers’ third practice of August on Thursday morning at the UPMC Sports Performance Complex on the South Side of Pittsburgh.
Head coach Pat Narduzzi held his daily morning media session before practice, and special teams coordinator/running backs coach Andre Powell and linebackers coach/recruiting coordinator Rob Harley answered questions after the workout.
Pitt men’s basketball head coach Kevin Stallings also stopped by for a visit during practice.
Below are transcripts of all three media sessions.
Head Coach Pat Narduzzi
“The first thing we do is compete against ourselves. We’ve had two great practices, obviously in shorts. Today is the first day in pads, which I always think is a big day. And our kids have done a great job of practicing. I think sometimes you overlook how important that is, staying healthy and keeping your guys on the field. The last two days, just staying up off the ground is important.
Today is just shells, so they have everything on except their pants [pads]. When you look at it overall, the guys have stayed up, and we expect them to stay up today. There should not be a lot of guys on the ground. We’ve done a great job talking about “thud.”
Today is a “thud” day; it’s not a live day. Just because we are in pads doesn’t mean we’re going out there and going crazy. Our guys have to practice smart today, and that is what we are expecting of them. This is real football, and we’ll see guys coming to the top today—young guys, old guys. I’m excited to see what we have.”
On if it makes more sense to skip shell days and go straight into full pads:
“With the acclimation period, we have two days in shorts. Our guys have been acclimated all summer. They’ve been here all summer. I think the NCAA will eventually get rid of it because we really don’t need it. We’ll try to take the heat off it early. Early on, we will just give them two plays. So the ones will get two plays, the twos will get two plays and the freshmen will get two plays.
Then we just break back into individual so they get it out of their system early. If we have 20 plays, it could end up in a scrimmage situation. It turns into, ‘I hit you low, and then you hit me low.’ All of a sudden it turns into a lot of competition.”
On which players can provide depth on the offensive line:
“It’s so early. They are out there blocking in shorts, but Bryce Hargrove, [Jerry] Drake Jr., [Connor] Dintino. Jimmy Morrissey has done a great job through spring and all the way up into this fall so far. And that’s just to name a couple, so I feel bad throwing names out there. That will be easy to settle, and we hope to have an addition here soon.”
On how Bricen Garner and Jazzee Stocker are performing at safety:
“They have done a nice job, but it’s covering guys in shorts. Those guys have done a great job competing. They all have to step up really at every position, and especially back there. Jordan [Whitehead] will compete when he gets back. I’m sure he will be hungry, too. There’s always competition at every position. There’s nothing given to anybody. You have to earn it. Earn that Pitt jersey and play the day.”
On whether Mike Herndon will be playing on offense or defense:
“Mike is going to do a little bit of both. We’ll start him off on offense because he started out on defense in the spring. Mike selflessly said, ‘Coach, I’ll do whatever you need.’ I think he’ll be a great addition. He was originally there and we moved him over. I really think he can do both, and impact both sides. He’s got defense down. I think defense is easier to play at that position. As we move forward offensively, I think he will be great.”
On Aaron Mathews’ practice status:
“I expect Aaron. He’s a guy who has some personal obligations to take care of right now, like some other guys I mentioned earlier. He has some things going on that he needs to take care of. We expect to have him back here in the next week.”