After yesterday's action-packed training camp with news breaking out about Todd Thomas' return and the naming of Tom Savage as the starting quarterback, today was a little milder. But there were also a lot of significant happenings.
For starters, running back Isaac Bennett again missed practice. Bennett's been out for several days now and there has to be some concern at this point. The opener is still a few weeks away, but not only is Bennett's health in question, but the back is missing valuable playing time. As his first year as a starter, I'd like to see him get as many reps as humanly possible with his offensive line.
The Post-Gazette's Sam Werner notes in his training camp report that linebacker Bam Bradley got a lot of first-team reps. That's really encouraging as he and Deaysean Rippy who is moving on were highly-touted guys that had a legitimate chance of becoming stars.
When I went to the scrimmages last year at training camp, I noted three guys that stood out to me and Bradley was one of them - especially after he lit up Rushel Shell with a big hit. I figured he could become a star for Pitt but to be a starer in his redshirt freshman year would be a huge step. Defensive coordinator said after practice that other than Shane Gordon, the linebacker spots are all up in the air.
Lastly, the defensive line is still in flux as well. Aaron Donald and Tyrone Ezell are the guys in the middle but the defensive end jobs appear to be not so concrete. In fact, the play could very well come down to the scrimmages according to position coach John Palermo. Speaking about presumed starters David Durham and Bryan Murphy, Palermo indicated things were still up in the air a bit.
“I would tell you this right now, based on what they have done the last couple days, they are clearly the two starters with one exception. That exception is Ejuan [Price]. Ejuan could very well be a starter against Florida State if he scrimmages well. I’ll be honest with you. If any of them don’t scrimmage well, they will wake up the next day as part of the second team.”
Price was another guy expected to do big things when he came to Pitt two years ago. But thus far he's not fit in, so it's good to see him in the mix for a starting spot, too. Guys like Price and Bradley have legitimate talent and it's good to get them on the field. Pitt has had plenty of guys come in that were supposed to do big things only to see them leave or fizzle out.
And FWIW, Jerry DiPaola noted that Pitt coaches were more critical to the players than normal - so there's that.