PITTSBURGH — Pitt played its first two games without senior Saleem Brightwell at linebacker.
The absence went without explanation at the time, but head coach Pat Narduzzi revealed on Monday that Brightwell had been dealing with an injury.
“We’ve been missing him for a couple weeks with a nagging injury, and it was great to get him back,” Narduzzi said.
Brightwell returned to the field on Saturday at Penn State, and his return came just in time. Fellow middle linebacker Elias Reynolds left the game with an apparently serious injury. Brightwell filled in, and performed well, according to Narduzzi.
“Saleem did a nice job in there, like we thought he would,” Narduzzi said.
That’s a good thing for Pitt, because it looks like Brightwell is going to have to continue to man the ship in the middle of the Panthers’ defense. Reynolds did not participate in the portion of practice open to the media on Tuesday.
FOCUS ON FUNDAMENTALS
While Kenny Pickett had his best outing as a Panther on Saturday in Happy Valley, his wide receivers still had some key dropped passes. They ran a number of routes during practice Tuesday and are looking to sharpen up that aspect of their offense.
The safeties also had some issues tackling in the open field on Saturday. The group focused on their basic tackling techniques in our sights and sounds video below.
Redshirt Freshman Erick Hallett moved to free safety on the depth chart on Monday and was getting reps there during practice Tuesday.
Starting safety Damar Hamlin had an excused absence from practice on Tuesday leading up to UCF.
Redshirt Junior Therrran Coleman has moved back from slot corner to safety throughout his career. He was also taking reps at safety at practice on Tuesday.
ODDS AND ENDS
Davis Beville will once again be the scout team quarterback. Kyle Vreen wore the No. 9 of UCF speedster running back Adrian Killins. … NFL scouts from the Buffalo Bills, Oakland Raiders and Seattle Seahawks were at practice.