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Pitt Football: Camp Observations 8/4

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A look at the opening day of Fall camp for the Pitt Panthers.

Sam Sharpe-USA TODAY Sports

Today marked the first day of Fall camp for the Pitt football team, and it was the unofficial start to the 2014 season. Here are some observations and tidbits from today's action that took place at the UPMC practice facility on the Southside.

-- Pitt enters camp with 106 players on the roster. 105 were present today, with one walk-on still yet to make it to Pittsburgh. 104 players were active today with Ejuan Price being the only injured player to date. Titus Howard remains a part of this team in practice, but cannot play in games during his year long suspension.

-- As it is for typical NCAA procedure, today was a practice conducted with just helmets, and no other equipment. Wednesday the players will work with shoulder pads, and Friday is the first day with full pads.

-- Scouts from the Chicago Bears and Kansas City Chiefs were on hand.

-- Pitt warms up with a loose environment with music playing and the players being vocal. Don't let that fool you, as the team gets to work pretty seriously once stretching is over.

-- Pitt spent a good deal on special teams. Obviously the lack of strong play here has cost this team in the past few years, and it definitely appears to be an added emphasis this season. Pitt has two scholarships invested with Kicker Chris Blewitt and Punter Ryan Winslow.

-- The coaches, including Paul Chryst, are very hands on and active in practive. The most vocal of coaches? That would be Jim Hueber, the offensive line coach. He is a good teacher, but can definitely be heard when he wants to be.

-- Speaking of the offensive line, they are massive. You really get to appreciate the size of these guys without pads on, and see how big they really are up close and personal.  A few stick out, and they are the freshman. True freshman Mike Grimm is gigantic, and looks the part of a big time offensive lineman. Jaryd Jones-Smith is a big redshirt freshman, and he moves very well for being listed at 6'7" 335. Alex Bookser is not a little guy either.

-- Pitt is big all over for the most part, and it is not just the upperclassmen, all of the freshmen were big, even the walk-ons are not small. Height, weight, and muscles - I mean the whole team certainly looks the part walking onto the field.

-- Chad Voytik received essentially all of the reps with the first unit, and while he has not been named the starter officially, he most certainly is the team's starting quarterback.

-- It is interesting to watch freshman quarterback, Adam Bertke, because he is completely different than Voytik, Anderson, and even walk-on Joey Repischak. Bertke is every part of 6'6" and definitely has a different game than the other three. He delivered the ball with accuracy and had impressive velocity on some throws.

-- Isaac Bennett seemed limited in what he could do with an injury, but Conner looked like a beast. He is still the same big back as he was last year, but with added speed and bigger muscles.

-- As far as all of the running backs, there was a definite distinction between the two sets on day one. Conner, Bennett, and Ibrahim all went with the first offensive line and Voytik. The three true freshmen, James, Ollison, and Briggs, went  with reps on the second team.

-- Not much to say about Tyler Boyd, he did everything smooth and effortlessly. When you watch him in drills, coaches would even say to the other guys "do it just like that"

-- Garner was the man opposite of Boyd most frequently, but in drills and later in the few 11 vs.11 drills other guys saw some looks like Ronald Jones, Kevin Weatherspoon, and Adonis Jennings.

-- The expected starting offensive line held true as it went Bisnowaty-Johnson-Rowell-Rotheram-Clemmings left to right.

-- The tight ends looked good. JP Holtz and Scott Orndoff know what their roles are, and both seem bigger and stronger this year. Jaymar Parrish opened a lot of packages as a starter, and he is technically an H-Back, and he played out wide, in the backfield, or in a traditional tight end spot. He is a versatile player in this offense.

-- The defensive ends are a diverse group, and coach John Palermo mentioned that in his interview. Shakir Soto is a big guy, but then you have smaller guys like David Durham and even Nicholas Grigsby getting reps in the same sense.  It is an interesting group to say the least.

-- I did not spend much time watching the linebackers, but everything seemed to play out as expected with Gonzalez and Thomas manning the outside, while Matt Galambos played the middle. Bam Bradley was out there, and what appeared to be him getting a look at middle linebacker.

-- The Safeties were Terrish Webb and Ray Vinopal. Reggie Mitchell also worked his way in with the first unit.

-- The corners by default were Lafayette Pitts and Trenton Coles.  Coles played with a lot of emotion and seemed to be vocal, but man is he skinny.

-- It looked like Ryan Lewis has shifted from Safety to corner for depth purposes.

-- A young corner started to make a name for himself already, and that is Avonte Maddox. In the most notable play of the scrimmage portion, Maddox jumped a pass for a pick six and had a lot of the players and coaches buzzing especially DB coach Troy Douglas.

That's all for day one, I'll be heading back to the UMPC complex tomorrow to deliver more news about Pitt Football training camp 2014.

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