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Pitt Sights and Sounds: Last Days of Camp Winding Down on the South Side



PITTSBURGH — Pitt hit the field at the UPMC Rooney Sports Complex with Kedon Slovis officially serving as the starting quarterback, and at least to head coach Pat Narduzzi, it didn’t feel any different.

What did feel different, however, was the subtle shift in energy that accompanies a game week. With seven days until Pitt opens the season against West Virginia in the revival of the Backyard Brawl, John Denver’s Country Roads echoed across the Monongahela as the team warmed up.

The long, long offseason — and 25 days of training camp down on the South Side — is coming to an end, and Pitt football is right around the corner.

Thursday’s practice, the final practice of the summer, was the precursor for Friday’s scrimmage walkthrough, but it’s a scrimmage that will feature very, very little contact and serve more as the official kickoff of game week against WVU. An assortment of players are already serving as the scout team for WVU anyway.

It’s almost time for Pitt football to resume at Acrisure Stadium.

Thursday’s practice was a lighter affair, but that doesn’t mean there wasn’t work being put in. There’s still a quarterback competition too — it’s just not for the starting spot.

Kedon Slovis and Nick Patti form one of the best one-two quarterback duos in the country, with Slovis firmly entrenched as the guy at Pitt, but that No. 3 isn’t where Narduzzi would like it to be. Dartmouth transfer Derek Kyler and Nate Yarnell are competing for the opportunity.

If the No. 3 quarterback is Pitt’s most pressing offensive need, that’s a good problem to have. There’s still competition along the offensive line, the right side of the line in specific, but it’s probably the deepest unit on the team. The wide receiving trio of Konata Mumpfield, Jared Wayne and Bub Means is locked in, and Kyi Wright and Karter Johnson are filling in behind Gavin Bartholomew.

The offensive depth across every position, including five running backs with plans for touches this season, is astounding.

The defensive line, both inside and outside, provides the offensive a challenge for the deepest unit on the roster. Even with highly recruited underclassmen waiting for a chance to even crack the rotation.

The growth of Bangally Kamara over the spring, earning the Ed Conway Award as Pitt’s most improved player in the spring, has continued throughout the summer, and he’s cemented himself as Pitt’s Star linebacker. With SirVocea Dennis in the middle, and Notre Dame transfer Shayne Simon in the field position, it’s an athletic, versatile unit. And Solomon DeShields, Tylar Wiltz and Brandon George will play a lot this season.

The spot opposite Marquis Williams in the secondary, with A.J. Woods likely to step into Damarri Mathis’s vacated shoes, has Woods, M.J. Devonshire and Rashad Battle all looking to continue to take heavy snaps.

The placekicking competition between Sam Scarton and Ben Sauls will also be decided before kickoff next Thursday, with Narduzzi saying the spot was up for grabs earlier this week.

Sandy Schall, Coldwell Banker
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