PITTSBURGH (93-7 The FAN) –
Eighteen days of Fall Camp is over as Pitt football ended with a Thursday afternoon practice on the South Side.
“Pretty good camp, I like the way the guys worked,” said head coach Paul Chryst. “We still have to be a group that continues to improve all season. I like where we’re at right now, relatively healthy.”
Chryst named sophomore Chad Voytik the starting quarterback as the Tennessee native said, “We’ve grown a whole lot, even more so off the field. All the activities we’ve done, and the locker room talk. It feels like a team and we’re all supportive of each other.”
Panthers still have more freshmen and sophomores on the roster than junior and seniors, but Chryst sees improvement from his first camp three years ago.
“I like the way this group has progressed,” he said. “Some of the older guys have the advantage of understanding of the system. Still, a number of young guys for those who have come to practice know, it’s hasn’t always been clean.”
“I feel we all ended this thing really strongly and we’re all in a good place right now and excited,” Voytik said.
It’s now game week for the first time starting quarterback.
”We have to switch over; we’re out of camp mode now,” he said. “It’s time to prepare for the season. We’re starting to put in scout team. Everything we do now on is towards Delaware.”
Panthers return all but 6 yards of their rushing offense from 2013 and added freshmen tailbacks Chris James and Qadree Ollison.
“Its hard to get 5 ready, but I feel good,” Chryst said. “It was good getting Isaac (Bennett) back going (after a shoulder injury). I like the way James Conner has worked. Rachid Ibrahim has truly made improvement from the Spring to Fall camp. And the two young guys have done a good job.”
Chryst said you truly prepare three for gameday, so some decisions are coming.
“When you can run the ball, everything gets better,” Voytik said. “All your play actions get better and I’m excited to see the linebackers suck up when I give it to James (Conner) a few times.”
Offensive Line Improvement
Panthers have been remarkably consistent with their offensive line and will start the same five as they had projected this spring. Left to right — Adam Bisnowaty (Fox Chapel), Dorian Johnson (Belle Vernon), Artie Rowell, Matt Rotheram, TJ Clemmings.
So is this line better?
“We’ll see,” said Chryst. “I feel like we’re getting better, but we haven’t done anything yet. That’s the fun part about the games and the season. I like the way they’re worked. I see we’ve had some guys rise up and we have some depth there and that’s a good feeling. Seven to 8 guys who’ve done a nice job and it makes you feel like you’re working towards the right thing.”
Voytik confidently stated, “We have some smart guys on that line. I feel protected.”
Wisconsin transfer Reggie Mitchell, from Shady Side Academy, was named a starting cornerback along with Woodland Hills’ grad Lafayette Pitts. Mitchell had to redshirt last year and has three years of eligibility remaining. Defensive captain Ray Vinopal is a starter at safety along with Clairton’s Terrish Webb.
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