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Sights & Sounds: Pitt Showcases the Deep Ball During Friday’s Practice



PITTSBURGH — The deep ball connection between Phil Jurkovec and Bub Means looks really good. A high, tight spiral and sure hands hauling in the ball in the corner of the end zone. That will be important this season.

We’ve heard all summer about how the deep ball has been unleashed upon the defense, and while the media has not had much of a chance to see the offense go against the defense in live, 11-on-11 action (aside from a Bub Means’ Moss-ing of M.J. Devonshire in live last week), it was nice to watch some fades Friday.

Means led the way, taking the first rep every time and making each over-the-shoulder snag look easy. It’s hard not to buy into the Means’ hype watching him move. He’s big, fast and strong. If he’s truly as comfortable in the offense as we’ve been told, the sky is the limit.

It’s Means and Mumpfield leading the way, but they’re not alone as the wide receiver development has rapidly accelerated this summer.

Kenny Johnson has become the breakout star of Pitt’s summer camp, and it’s not hard to see why. He’s a fluid athlete that tracks the ball well and can go up and get it — wherever it is. He hauled in a nicely thrown ball from Jurkovec in the back of the end zone today, getting two feet in bounds before crashing into the padded fence at the edge of the field.

Lamar Seymore has a knack for making those leaping catches, flashing his gloves up to haul in slightly off-base throws. I’ve been a fan of his since Day 1, and I wouldn’t count out a late push for playing time. Zion Fowler-El may be slightly further along, simply because his body control and ability to make contested catches are so advanced for a player his age.

Izzy Polk was Pitt’s top offensive early enrollee in the spring, but unfortunately, he’s been hampered by an injury this summer.

All in all, both Jurkovec and Christian Veilleux were slinging fades Friday, and there were a lot of good catches from Means, Reynolds, Johnson, Fowler-El and Seymore. Jake McConnachie, too. I wouldn’t count him out either.

And yes, it was just throwing against air Friday, but after hearing about how the deep ball has flashed all summer, it was nice to finally see it in action firsthand.

Saturday’s scrimmage will go a long way in establishing a pecking order for the wide receivers entering the season. Tuesday’s practice will be very interesting in that regard. But I think Pitt’s wide receiving corps isn’t going to be the question mark that many thought entering the offseason.

Sandy Schall, Coldwell Banker
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11 months ago

I really don’t see any weak spots on this year’s team. The WR’s are definitely going to surprise to the upside. Kenny Johnson’s reel looks like Tyler Boyd is back. Even the punting situation looks to be fixed. If the touted DB’s and Safety’s can shut-down the long ball throws, Pitt is going to win the vast majority of their games.

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