From the start of camp, the prevailing thought has been that defensive tackle and the secondary are Pitt’s two strongest and deepest positions and nothing has happened on the field that has changed that opinion.
When looking at the safety position, Damar Hamlin and Paris Ford entered camp as the two starters at safety and that’s the way things will play out for the opener against Virginia. Behind them are Therran Coleman, Jazzee Stocker, Bricen Garner.
Following practice on Tuesday, Pitt safeties coach Cory Sanders spoke to the media and gave an up on what he’s seen from his players and what we can expect this upcoming season.
IMPRESSIONS ON HIS GROUP OF SAFETIES
“I think we’re making strides each and every single day. I think there’s good competition there and guys pushing each other. There’s still a lot of small attention to detail stuff we need to do and continue to get better with our eyes, continue to be disciplined with our alignments, strong with our communication. So, we’re just trying to put our head down and get better each and every day.”
“He’s making progress. When you look at it, he transitioned to safety during the spring and got 15 practices there. So he was really engulfed in the scheme. At corner, he was taking the checks from the safeties and now he’s making the checks. So now, he’s been able to get back to the scheme, be confident in that and now he’s able to clean up his technique and the small things. Before, I don’t know if he was able to get all the technique down because he was trying to get the scheme down and getting everything right and communicating to the guys.”
PARIS STILL MAKING PLAYS OUT THERE?
“Yeah, he’s still making plays. But more than just making plays, making sure we’re doing the small things right, being the cut back player not always just trying to find the ball but making sure we do our pieces to the puzzle correctly too. You’re seeing a lot of growth in him with him doing a lot of those small things right as well.”
COMMUNICATION GOOD BETWEEN SAFETIES AND LINEBACKERS?
“I hope good (laughing), they haven’t complained too much. I think they’ve been communicating well. Like I said, we can always get better, can always be louder and have a good strong voice back there especially when things change. I think we’ve been solid so far but still have to have improvement.”
HAVING VIRIGINIA AS AN OPENING GAME:
“I’d say, I’ve approached it the same this year as I approached last year. My approach hasn’t been anything different. Obviously you’re getting into ACC play right away but we’re preaching the same exact thing stuff today as we did in practice #15 last year and making sure we just take care of ourselves. If it’s Virginia or Albany at the end of the day we have to make sure we’re doing the proper things stuff within ourselves and within our scheme.”
IMPACT PARIS FORD CAN HAVE ON DEFENSE?
“Paris brings great energy out there. He’s a fun kid to be around and he absolutely loves the game of football which I know all these kids do but you can feel it with him. I’m excited to sit back and watch him play and get out there and execute what we do.”
BIGGEST AREA OF GROWTH IN PARIS FROM LAST YEAR?
“I’d say he’s more comfortable. You see a guy that’s more comfortable and not just trying to get lined up, he’s processing things quicker. He’s able to be more focused on himself because he’s more confident in what we do so he an properly execute it.”
CAN JAZZEE STOCKER PLAY BOTH SAFETY SPOTS?
“Yeah, if you looked at games last year, Stock bounced between field and boundary so I feel very confident with him from that standpoint and he’s been doing that throughout camp. We started early on focusing on him with boundary just to get him a more comfort level because he did a lot of field last year but as we get to team sessions, I’m bouncing him around at both spots and he feels comfortable. He’s been doing well and playing good.”