So It Begins (via Kyle Uhlig)
So it begins.
Pitt's training camp for 2013 is underway and there's already some interesting news.
You might remember last year that the good folks at Pitt saw fit to invite us to training camp and we were more than happy to show up. We covered almost every practice last fall, but alas, real life has hit. In between jobs, family, and good 'ol screwing around, we won't be there much this year. I wanted to try to hit the scrimmages on the weekends as I did last year, but even that might be out of the question.
What won't be affected, though, is still bringing you some form of a recap. Pitt sends us the notes/quotes after the sessions and in between the awesome coverage they have on their site and other stuff out there available, we'll have you covered.
Alright, so day one - what's up?
First off, a cool gesture by Pitt to name the practice fields after Beano Cook. Good stuff.
Next, as we mentioned last year, if you're not reading Sam Werner's recaps at the Post-Gazette, you're making a mistake. He's got some great tidbits on what happens in camp and while we've got analysis over here, he's a solid 'boots on the ground' type of guy. Make sure you read them.
Werner noted a few interesting things today. Two significant tl;dr notes include:
- Mike Caprara getting the start over Todd Thomas with the first team defense
- T.J. Clemmings still starting on the offensive line
As he notes, don't get worked up over Caprara starting for now. It's early and as Werner suggests, it's likely a case of trying to push Thomas. If he did indeed start over him, it would be a tremendous shock. Thomas played well last year and is expected to have a big season. To get beat out by a true freshman would be a bit of a shock. He's just too athletic and plays like the interception/touchdown return from last year are why he should (and likely will) start.
If you needed further proof that Caprara is far from a guarantee to start, there was this quote from Paul Chryst:
“I thought Mike did some good things in the spring, but he’s obviously got to get better. But I liked some of the things he did, and he’s in the discussion for the top six linebackers.”
In the discussion for the top six? If he does crack that group, my abacus tells me that puts him on either the first- or second-string. So yeah, Caprara has a chance to make the top six. My guess is that he checks in with the second group.
Anyway, the move clearly got Thomas' attention:
“I did (need motivation), a little bit, little extra,” Thomas said after practice. “I am going to keep working hard and see how it unfolds. ... That's how the cookie crumbles. I have to go out and earn a spot.”
Thomas said he used the demotion as motivation while knocking away three passes. He practiced with an attitude, getting physical in coverage with tight end J.P. Holtz and running back Rachid Ibrahim.
“The motivation worked, definitely,” Thomas said.
On the Clemmings front, I've long said that I expected him to slide behind a guy like Juantez Hollins, who was expected to start last year before he lost his job to the year-long suspension. Not that I think Hollins is so good he should be guaranteed a spot, but it looked like the job was his to lose last year.
Clemmings has got to be improving at an alarming rate. FWIW, he was named as the most improved offensive player this spring, but as I noted before, offensive line coach Jim Hueber seemed to think he was developing a bit slowly before that. It's early, but it's also looking more and more like Clemmings could have a chance to be the starter.
Quote-wise, there was the usual hodgepodge of standard-issue stuff. One minor thing that Chryst noted on the media sheet is that while everyone practiced, wide receiver Brandon Ifill may not be at 100%. Do with that what you will.
Back tomorrow with more.