The Pitt football team finished up their next to last practice for Saturday’s Blue-Gold Spring Game at Heinz Field.
The players will conduct their 2nd annual “Blue-Gold Players Draft” tomorrow morning and then practice for the final time Thursday morning.
Here are some comments from head coach Pat Narduzzi following today’s workout.
“We went out in shorts today. We practiced really well in shorts last Thursday. We’ll find out what we’re going to do this Thursday. We’re still a little banged up. It was a long spring. There were a lot of ours and a lot of hitting. It was another good day, but we’ll watch the tape. It was really clean but I’m not sure our guys practiced as physical as we need to. As I told them afterwards, it’s not ‘tag.’ When you come out in shorts, you still need to be physical. We’ll see the tape. Maybe it was better than I think”, said Narduzzi.
On offensive lineman Alex Bookser and potential position battle at center:
“I see a position battle (everywhere on the offensive line) period. I think the offensive line as a whole has been pretty sold, although I would have liked to have rushed the ball for more yards in the scrimmage Saturday. I think we’re doing a good job of protecting the quarterback at times. So I think they understand the protection and all of that. I think if you look at John Guy and Alex Bookser, two guys who really weren’t out there a lot last year, stepping in, and when Alex Officer and Jaryd Jones-Smith come back, Jaryd Jones-Smith has done a lot of one-on-one pass rush, but we’re being smart. I know there’s going to be a battle somewhere. I can’t tell you where it’s going to be yet. But we’re going to get our best five out there, and we have our best seven or eight. Connor Dintino is doing a great job as well. I’ve got to mention him….I think it’s probably one of our deeper positions where we’ve got some guys who can play for us.”
On Shakir Soto moving to first team defensive tackle:
“Shakir has been doing a great job. He’s had a great, great spring. I’m happy with his development, happy with his attitude. When some guys move inside they think they’ve been thrown to the wolves, but he’s done a great job. He’s got a great attitude. He’s a super, super kid and I’m happy where he is. He’s been fun to coach. But I was watching Justin Moody today and Moody had a great day, too.”
On quarterback Manny Stocker:
“Manny can throw the ball pretty well. You’ll see that Saturday. It’ll be interesting. We don’t need to name a backup quarterback right now. We’re nowhere near being able to do that yet. We’ll find out on that position. Right now, I’d say he’s the guy right now, but we’ve still got a lot of football to play. We still have all summer for those guys to go out and throw together. There’s still some competition at that spot.”
On Stocker’s strengths:
“He runs well and I think he throws well. He still manages the offense and it’s kind of new for him. He was out of being a quarterback for a year. And then it’s a new system, so all the terminology is new. So everybody picks it up differently, but I think he gets better everyday he walks out of here, but so does Ben DiNucci and so does Adam Bertke as well.”
On defensive end Dewayne Hendrix and the pass rush:
“Our d-lineman better be able to play the run and the pass. If you can just pass rush you won’t play for us. Dewayne is a good run stopper, as well as Ejuan Price. So I think those guys have done a pretty good job at that and they’ll continue to get better.”
On banged-up guys playing Saturday:
“There are going to be a lot of guys out there Saturday. I don’t know who but we’ll find out. The main thing is safety. We don’t have to beat anybody Saturday. The injured guys are in two kinds of yellow. There are the guys in really dark yellow and then the light yellow guys are out there just to make sure, like we talked about earlier.”