PITTSBURGH — Pitt comes into the year having to replace two, 1,000 yard rushers in Qadree Ollison and Darrin Hall, who are destined for the NFL.
Next in line for the Panthers, on the depth chart are A.J. Davis and Todd Sibley, who have big shoes to fill in the 2019 season. It was apparent through the 2018 season that AJ Davis seemed to be the one primed to take the reins this year as the lead running back.
During the 2018 season, Davis played in six games and recorded 134 rushing yards on 32 attempts. For Todd Sibley, he appeared in seven games only recording one rush for negative one yard. He primarily played on special teams throughout the 2018 season.
Davis started out in that role during the first week of spring practice, but it was Sibley in that role during practice No. 3 on Tuesday.
Sibley was seen taking the first-team reps in all running back drills and during the brief live session that was open to the media. Sibley and Davis seem to be splitting reps and it looks like this battle could continue throughout the rest of spring practice and the summer practice’s leading into the season.
Pitt has two more great running backs in Daniel Carter and Vincent Davis coming in this fall who are a part of the 2019 recruiting class. They will add depth to an already inexperienced running back room, joining V’Lique career, who moved from receiver and Mychale Salahuddin, who is still recovering from a late season injury.
11 ON 11
The media was treated to a rare live period on Tuesday, the first in full pads after the Panthers practiced in shorts during the first two sessions before spring break.
Pitt went No. 1s vs. No. 1s, with starting quarterback Kenny Pickett taking the ball himself for a big gain off left tackle on the first play. Later, Nick Patti found Shocky Jacques-Louis for a nice catch-and-run with the second units on the field.
Check it out:
BATTLE IN THE BACK, TOO
One of the other positions that Pitt needs to replace a starter is at boundary safety, where Dennis Briggs graduated and Phil Campbell was moved to linebacker.
On Tuesday, Damar Hamlin and Jazzee Stocker were the first-team safeties, with Therran Coleman and Paris Ford working with the second unit and Bricen Garner and redshirt freshman Erick Hallett worked with the third team.
Coleman and Ford both primarily played cornerback in the past, and one of the biggest differences between the positions is the communication responsibility of the safety, who has to make coverage calls for the whole defensive backfield.
That was something safeties coach Corey Sanders was harping on with inexperienced safeties taking the field together.
SIGHTS AND SOUNDS
Here’s the rest of the sights and sounds from Pitt’s first practice in pads of 2019: