PITTSBURGH — The pads popped on the South Side Tuesday morning as the offense and defense met in live drills.
There’s no filming and no discussion of formations, but we are certainly able to talk about what we saw. And I saw — and I’m sure you will hear all about this — Bub Means pull in perhaps the best catch I’ve seen from him in a Pitt uniform.
It was excellent coverage from M.J. Devonshire, who received an earful from Means afterward, for good measure, but Means played around Devonshire to go up and haul in the ball from Jurkovec. Tiquan Underwood certainly liked it.
There were just six live reps, two first team on first team, two second team on second and two third team on third team, but the first offense came off the field very pleased with itself. Rodney Hammond Jr. ran well on his lone rep, ripping up the middle of the defense for a chunk play.
Is the offense finally operating as it’s supposed to under Frank Cignetti Jr.? It’s possible. We’ll know more after this weekend’s scrimmage.
Half of the reps were fades down the sideline, and after there were no flags thrown on any of the reps, one player said, “ACC ref, you’ll get a call three out of four times…”
I continued to watch the wide receivers Tuesday, and I remain impressed with Konata Mumpfield and the freshmen. The majority of the drills Tuesday were against air, but Mumpfield continues to just haul footballs in with effortless ease. If Jurkovec can get him the ball, he’s due for a big season. If Mumpfield and Means are good, Pitt’s offense is due for a big season.
“Take a picture of him,” Means called out as he walked by the media with Mumpfield, “he’s gonna be the best player on the team this year.”
“Nah,” Mumpfield said. “it’s gonna be that mf-er right there.”
I continue to be impressed by Lamar Seymore. He made a very nice snag in the back of the end zone during a drill, flashing his hands out at the last second as he leaped through the air. Graceful. It drew some hollering, for sure. There’s a very good thing here with the freshmen wideouts, as is mentioned every day now.
I’m seeing Ryan Baer repping with 1s, too. And speaking of big humans, Elliot Donald — who is listed at 6-foot-3, 280 pounds — is a big dude now. He sometimes gets lost in the depth of the defensive line room, but he should get more of an opportunity this season to work his way into the rotation. It was nice seeing him and Isaiah Neal in the front of the line in defensive line drills.
Narduzzi mentioned both Jordan Bass and Rasheem Biles as linebackers who are slowly integrating into the system, with both making plays over the last week, and I’m excited to follow their progress this summer.
There were a couple of special guests in town Tuesday, too, in the form of former Ohio State head coach Jim Tressel and former Michigan State head coach Mark Dantonio. Narduzzi, of course, has ties to both dating back to his rise through the coaching ranks.