PITTSBURGH (93-7 The FAN) — Pitt training camp is in full swing, but before camp even began Pitt players were hard at work trying to catch up to the speed coach Todd Graham wants.

On both sides of the ball, Graham preaches speed and his self-declared “high-octane” approach. Here’s a what a few players had to say about their offseason workouts and the team’s conditioning level as a whole.

Cam Saddler:

“The big thing I wanted to do is route run. Even though we condition, it’s still not the same as running a route and running back and running another route. So I got a lot of route running in this summer. (I) did a lot of ball drills, wanted to make sure my hands are on point so (there are) no dropped passes when they call my number. I’m ready to go.”

Tino Sunseri:

“It’s head and shoulders above last year just because of the offense that we’re (running). I can say that coach Griz and his strength staff did a great job of making sure that we understood what we had to do running-wise, but we also got the time to recover, too. That’s the big thing, that they didn’t run our legs out. They understand how to do it because they’ve been doing it for so long. I’m telling you, all the guys are here are in great shape.”

Max Gruder:

“That’s one of the biggest differences with this staff. Coach Griz has done a great job along with the other guys on the staff. One of the biggest emphasis was running. With this type of offense we’ve got to be in great shape and that’s what we’ve done. They’ve put us in great shape. Me, personally, and a lot of the other guys, we’ve seen our bodies transform. The before and after pictures of us that they have, some of us look completely different (now). We’ve seen a lot of great results so far this summer.”

Chas Alecxih:

“It was rough (the offseason conditioning). Coach Griz came up to me a little bit before camp and he was like, ‘You’re gonna run more than you ever have.’ I kind of gave it a chuckle and we was like, ‘I’m not kidding.’ And he wasn’t kidding — we did. I think we all feel very, very in shape.”

As for Graham, he says he’s happy with the speed his players are playing at right now. But there’s no question he’d still like it to be faster.

“I actually charted how many seconds it took us to snap each play,” he said. “For a couple series we have been around 15, 18 20, 13 15, 16, 15 and 22 seconds. We want to be snapping the ball every 15 seconds, so if you look at the 40-second clock we wanted the ball snapped at 25.

“You will also see that we huddle, we do motions and shifts and sometimes we deliberately slow down with certain procedures. I think our tempo is starting to get to where we don’t notice we’re going fast. We are fast right now, but we still need to be faster. I believe we have another mode that we can go into.

“A lot of our plays we should be snapping the ball at 30 seconds because of the type of play that it is. Tempo is one of the things along with penalties that I emphasize every day.”

Chris Gates | Area 4-1-Zoo Blog

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