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Pitt Football Camp Notebook: 8/14



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UPDATE (2:53 PM) by Alan Saunders-

Alex Kessman strikes a kick during Pitt football practice. — ALAN SAUNDERS

Redshirt freshman kicker Alex Kessman was the hero of Pitt’s scrimmage on Saturday, making a 52-yard field goal to end the session. To amp up the intensity, Pitt head coach Pat Narduzzi had players surrounding Kessman, screaming and throwing things, in order to attempt to replicated the environment of a last-minute kick in a hostile setting.

“They lined up around him and they were throwing caps and stuff,” special teams coach Andre Powell said. “It didn’t faze him.”

Kessman drew mixed reviews for his performance in the spring, but has impressed thus far in camp, with Narduzzi saying his 52-yarder might have been good from 70. Kessman doesn’t think there’s an upper limit to what he’s willing to try, but said that figuring out his and Narduzzi’s comfort level at different distances has been an important part of this camp as Kessman replaces Chris Blewitt, who graduated after spending four years as a starter.

“It’s pretty comfortable for me,” Kessman said. “We kind of play with it, but it was a comfortable kick and I had confidence going into it that I would hit it.”

Here more from Kessman:

UPDATE (1:32 PM) by Alan Saunders-

Pitt has some true freshman runnings with the first and second team so far in camp, and we got to speak with a couple of them for the first time on Monday. Hear from freshman running back Todd Sibley and cornerback Damarri Mathis:

UPDATE (12:51 PM)-

UPDATE (12:00 PM) by Alan Saunders-

Pitt’s wide receivers spent the day on Monday working on some different drills. Check out Jester Weah and company high-pointing some balls in the air, while other receivers, including Aaron Mathews, focused on turning upfield and running through arm tackles. Sights and sounds from Monday practice:

UPDATE (11:20 AM) by Alan Saunders-

Aaron Mathews watches practice from the sideline. — ALAN SAUNDERS

Pitt had two newcomers at practice on Monday. Wide receiver Aaron Mathews taking the field for the first time this season by letting out a big whoop as he left the locker room. Mathews caught passes in drills, but was not a part of the first-team group that still includes Maurice Ffrench, Quadree Henderson and Jester Weah.

Walk-on track star Kollin Smith was also a participant at Pitt’s practice for the first time. Smith was assigned No. 22 and worked out with the defensive backs. He spent most of the day learning the drills and the way the team stretches, warms up and practices.

UPDATE (11:10 AM)-

UPDATE (9:09 AM)-

**Pittsburgh Sports Now has been told that Paris Ford will not practice with the Pitt football team this morning. Apparently, he hasn’t received academic clearance from the NCAA yet.

Sandy Schall, Coldwell Banker
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