PITTSBURGH — Pitt is returning quality depth and talent and almost every position after the Panthers’ 8-5 2019 season.
The one position where returning bodies might not lead to as much optimism is offensive line, where the Panthers will bring back four of five starters from a unit that struggled to get consistent push in the run game in 2019.
Left tackle Carter Warren, left guard Bryce Hargove, center Jimmy Morrissey and right guard Jake Kradel are all scheduled to return, along with Gabe Houy, who played in 12 games and made a handful of starts.
But Houy won’t practice this spring, head coach Pat Narduzzi revealed on Monday, and Morrissey hasn’t worked in the portion of practice available to the media in either of the first two sessions.
That’s left newly minted offensive lineman Grant Carrigan and Carson Van Lynn as the only other experienced Pitt lineman able to work into a rotation this spring and they’ve both taken reps at right tackle.
Kradel can play center and guard, and fellow redshirt sophomore Blake Zubovic could be in line for extended playing time at guard this spring with Morrissey out.
Pitt is putting an awfully lot of faith in graduate transfer tight end Lucas Krull. By Carrigan moving from tight end to tackle, Krull will be the only player with Division I experience at the position on the roster.
With so much riding on Krull becoming a big part of Pitt’s offense, they’ve been working with extra reps for the tight ends and quarterbacks early in practice this week.
After Pitt’s practice, some Steelers defensive players started to filter onto the field for some quickness work, including defensive linemen Cameron Heyward, Tyson Alualu, Daniel McCullers and Henry Mondeaux. A couple of Pitt players with NFL aspirations joined in, as Patrick Jones II and Jaylen Twyman joined in with the pros.