PITTSBURGH — Pitt went live in practice for the first time in 2020, donning the pads for a full-speed workout at UPMC Rooney Sports Complex on the South Side on Friday in the Panthers’ third practice of the spring session.
In 11-on-11 drills, the offense impressed, with Davis Beville connecting with Shocky Jacques-Louis on a deep ball and freshman running back Israel Abanikanda breaking off a long run, making two men miss in the hole and out-running cornerback A.J. Woods to paydirt.
Abanikanda’s home-run speed was the big draw he brought as a prospect, and him displaying it so early in his Pitt career has to be taken as a positive. Woods was one of the fastest players on Pitt’s team last year and was unable to close the gap on “Izzy.”
Several of Pitt’s veteran players were held out of the full-team drills during the portion of practice open to the media, but notably, Chase Pine worked with the first team at middle linebacker and Carson Van Lynn was the first-team right tackle.
Freshman wide receiver Jordan Addison is a player that many expect to be able to make an immediate impact at Pitt. While much of that hope has surrounded his ability to be a potential replacement for Maurice Ffrench in the offense, Addison also has the ability to be a Ffrench replacement on special teams.
He’s been working with the punt returners every day through three spring practices, alongside running back Vincent Davis, cornerbacks Jason Pinnock and Woods and wide receiver John Vardzel.
Davis and Pinnock seem to be in line for starting roles, so Addison could step into a special teams roles from Day 1 if he’s able to hold off the speed Woods for the job.
SIGHTS AND SOUNDS