Ray Graham participated in contact drills at Day 2 of fall camp. (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)
Cardiac Hill was at camp today and the big news out of Pitt camp on Tuesday was Ray Graham and his progress. No, he isn't completely back and he still has a long way to go before he's ready to be the player we all want him to be. But he saw a lot more time with the first team offense when they ran 7-on-7 and 11-on-11 team drills. He had a couple nice moves and several good catches out of the backfield. He also shed the green no contact jersey as well, which has to be an encouraging sign for Pitt fans. Coach Chryst thinks that Ray is gaining confidence.
"I think that's what it is. It's gaining confidence in what you can do and knowing what you can do so if he can just keep moving forward, it will be good."
Sticking with the theme of the offense, Tino, as expected, received most of the first team reps in drills. He had some decent throws, but did throw three picks when the offense and defense matched up. Two of them weren't his fault - the defender just made a good move and was able to come away with the interception. It's only Day 2, but it's something to keep an eye on going forward.
The backup QB debate continued to play out in practice, where Trey Anderson and Chad Voytik worked with the 2nd and 3rd team offense, although Anderson definitely got the majority of the 2nd team snaps. Out of the four QBs (Tom Savage included), I have to say that I liked Savage the best. Which is a shame because he can't play this season due to transfer rules. Savage is by far the tallest of the QBs and he has a nice throwing motion. Out of the three eligible QBs, I would say Trey had the best day. He connected on several of his passes and I've become really impressed with his passing arm.
The team in general suffered a couple mental errors during drills. Defenders were not adjusting appropriately when the the QB signaled a motion, guys were not lined up appropriately. Coach Chryst believes the players need to get mentally stronger and learn from their mistakes.
"You got to be tougher. You've got to be mentally tougher than that and we've got to grow out of that."
But that is what fall camp is for.
"The great thing about camp is you get to focus on football the whole time and along with that you gotta stress them and force them to grow. You gotta make them work and that's what I think makes them grow. That's what camp is. We have to learn from the teaching points."
A couple other points:
-Rushel Shell is good. Really good. This was my first time seeing him live and he can be a great back for Pitt. Right now, he's a little lower on the depth chart as Isaac Bennett and Ray saw a lot of first team carries, but Shell has the skills.
-Todd Thomas has progressed in his rehab as well after playing a lot of last season with an ACL injury. He saw more playing time today as well.
-The offensive line had a decent showing at practice today. On occasion, the defense was able to break through and "sack" the QB, but the line held up nicely. The first team line will likely consist of the following 5 players from left to right: Cory King, Chris Jacobson, Ryan Turnley, Ryan Schlieper, Matt Rotheram. These are the guys that have the most experience going into 2012 and barring some injury or suspension will likely be the starters come September 1st
-The secondary continues to be a position of strength. Andrew Taglianetti is pleased with the depth.
"The thing about this team is that we have four really good safeties, 4 kids who can play. We're splitting reps each days with the ones and the twos so I think the coaches will start to determine who'll play after the scrimmages."
Tags ended with this:
"The competition breeds success. Whatever two safeties are out there will be the two best safeties"
The depth is great and it can only help Pitt over the course of the season. Unlike some other position battles, this will be one worth watching with the depth that Pitt has moving forward.
That's all for today from Day 2 of Pitt fall camp. Keep coming back to Cardiac Hill for more live coverage from fall camp.