Training camp rolls on and Pitt's starting offensive line for this seems to be set in stone at this point., , , , and .
While those guys appear to be the locks to start the season, coaches are working through the process of finding the backups. One of those guys could be true freshman Alex Bookser.
Bookser is one of Pitt's linemen for the future and was a huge get for the team's 2014 recruiting class. But can he earn playing time this year? Speaking at training camp on Monday, Paul Chryst seemed pretty undecided on things. "I’ve liked what he’s done. He’s getting some reps with the twos. He earned those. I think right now, we need to just lock in at camp and go see where it’s at. But right now, it’s too early for that discussion (playing him this season) because you have to still keep going. I’ve liked where camp is headed at this point."
My stance with Bookser is the same as it was with Dorian Johnson last year. If he is going to contribute significantly and get playing time, even if it's not as a starter, I'm fine with him playing. But what you never want to see happen is a guy playing only a few snaps and burning a full year of eligibility.
It's a tough situation, really. The benefits to playing Bookser and other freshmen right away shows the coaching staff's commitment to playing the best guys. And when it comes to recruiting, that's something kids want to see. Bookser playing immediately also means he'd be more prepared for next season when Pitt will lose two starters on the line in seniors T.J. Clemmings and Matt Rotheram.
The flipside is that using Bookser this year when he's not likely to be fully ready means that Pitt loses a year of him being a better player. Instead of him coming in next season with four full years left and a redshirt under his belt, he's already burned a season and could struggle as a freshman as Johnson did.
The call is Chryst's but it doesn't sound as if he's ready to make it just yet.
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