I had a chance to visit Tuesday's afternoon workout at Pitt's UPMC Sports Performance Complex. Thanks to the monsoon-like rain, the three hour practice was held in the indoor facility (thank goodness for that). It was great to have the opportunity to get down there and witness a practice in real, unedited time.
Each group was broken off with its position coach for a good majority of the time, so it was challenging to follow everything happening at once. It was cool, though, to see how each coach interacted with his players differently. One who really stood out to me was linebackers coach Chris Haering who was booming and hard-nosed, yet technical and respectful in his advice. Just from watching him, it's no wonder he was an All-American. Another who stood out was defensive line coach Inoke Breckterfield. He's fiery, intense, and looks like a ball of pent-up rage. I liked it.
More observations from Tuesday including offensive line analysis, Kevin Harper looking good, and, of course, Tino Sunseri, after the jump.
- Practice started with field goal drills and Kevin Harper looked good, going 7 for 7, including a 51-yarder. Later in the day, punter Matt Yoklic also looked impressive, getting off several booming punts, one of which hit into the ceiling.
- I paid close attention to the offensive line. Cory King, Chris Jacobson, Ryan Turnley, Ryan Schlieper, and Matt Rotheram seem to be pretty firmly entrenched as the starting five at this point. Behind them, Adam Bisnowaty, Gabe Roberts, Artie Rowell, Shane Johnson, and Zenel Demhasaj were running with the second-team offense. During live plays from scrimmage, the pocket seemed to collapse fairly quickly with both groups in there, but I'm not too panicked since this is only practice and guys aren't playing at full speed.
- I took the time to watch individual offensive line drills, and no surprise, veterans Chris Jacobson and Ryan Turnley were by and far the best of the group. Both looked powerful and strong. Redshirt sophomore Shane Johnson also stood out to me during drills (he's massive), but was then beat a few times during live play.
- Throughout practice, I thought Tino Sunseri looked average - about as I expected. He made some bad long throws that were completely off mark, but also connected with Ronald Jones and Drew Carswell on two nicely-thrown deep balls which caused the team to erupt into cheers. Otherwise, it was mostly the status quo, in my opinion - lots of conservative 10- to 15-yard passes along the sidelines. After practice, head coach Paul Chryst said Tino needs to continue to work on his consistency. Freshman Chad Voytik looked like he's still learning the offense, but had a sharp pass to Kevin Weatherspoon over the middle and showed some mobility in the pocket.
- On the defensive side of the ball, the secondary continued to shine. Redshirt senior Andrew Taglianetti and freshman Jamahl Pardner both had standout days on Tuesday. Tags had a pick and swatted down two passes, while Pardner batted down two passes from Tino. The coverage looked tight too.
Be sure to continue checking back as Cardiac Hill will continue to attend camp throughout August.