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Sights & Sounds: A Lively Practice 3 on the South Side

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Pitt summer camp.

PITTSBURGH — I’m used to hearing Pat Narduzzi bark at his players during drills, but when Frank Cignetti Jr. is screaming his head off, you know what kind of day it is.

It was just the third practice of the summer, and the first padded practice at that, but the intensity level was cranked way, way up with just over a month until the season kicks off against Wofford on Sept. 2. It was certainly a lively one Friday.

The media was afforded seven sessions Friday, including a rare live session that was not allowed to be recorded, and it’s clear there’s an emphasis for Pitt to hit the ground running this season. There wasn’t a coach who wasn’t heavily involved with his position group.

I watched a lot of offensive drills Friday, a lot of the wide receivers specifically. “We have to make f****** contested catches,” Tiquan Underwood preached to his unit, running through drills that emphasized leaping up and ripping down balls over defenders — other wide receivers in this case.

Konata Mumpfield and Bub Means were both strong. I know they’re the No. 1 and 2 options this season, and it’s cliche to praise them as the best, but it’s true. Mumpfield is so smooth.

Means made it a point to coach up Addison Copeland III after a rep, too, pulling him aside and running him back through his route and positioning on the prior rep. We’ve heard all about how Means has grown into a vocal leader during the offseason, but it was on full display Friday. Pitt needs him to be a guiding voice.

I was particularly impressed with Lamar Seymore Friday, watching the smoothness of his breaks and the way he boxed out “defenders” when making contested catches during drills. And I wasn’t alone.

Pat Narduzzi mentioned Zion Fowler-El as someone who has impressed during the early days of summer, and at first, I didn’t realize it was him wearing the No. 23. He was steady. I thought Copeland and Che Nwabuko, who have been a bit lost in the freshman craze, were solid, too. But both still need to add that needed level of consistency to their games.

David Lynch and Jake Frantl worked with the wide receivers during a majority of their drills, so we didn’t get to see a whole bunch from Phil Jurkovec, Christian Veilleux and Nate Yarnell. Lots of handoffs and quick hitters. We’ll see more there as time goes on.

The offensive line is also going to be one to watch going forward. I think we can comfortably pencil Jake Kradel, Blake Zubovic and Matt Goncalves in. I saw a lot of Branson Taylor and Ryan Baer playing side by side on the left side Friday. That bears (baers…?) watching. Ryan Jacoby is also still firmly in the mix.

And Jake Renda has seemingly cemented himself as the No. 4 tight end behind Gavin Bartholomew, Karter Johnson and Malcolm Epps. It’s a distant 4, but he doesn’t look out of place.

Sandy Schall, Coldwell Banker
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Giovanni
Giovanni
11 months ago

Nice overview. Post practice analysis articles are extra interesting to read.

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