At the onset of Pitt's training camp, I rounded up a list of five questions. I've done that in the past, but figured it'd be nice to actually follow up on them for once now that we have some answers with camp over.
Below were my initial five questions with some thoughts following them.
5. How will the players respond to Pat Narduzzi?
There continues to be a lot of enthusiasm around the players for this season and by most accounts, the players performed fairly well in their first camp under Narduzzi. There was lots of praise given out by the head coach and the position coaches. There were a lot of comments in the vein of 'we're still working on things', but overall, in reading the reports you got a decent sense that the staff feels like they have something to work with.
There was also the bonding that Narduzzi did by bunking with the players in Oakland and staying on campus. You've got to think that he earned some respect for doing that and also had some valuable time to discuss football with players well after practice.
And, hey, when you avoid the panic of a star player leaving camp, things couldn't have gone too bad. The Panthers did lose backup defensive end Hez Trahan from the program, but didn't have any big time departures.
4. How much competition does Chad Voytik see?
Voytik leaves camp firmly entrenched as the starter, so in terms of true competition, I don't think he had much. But the good thing to hear was that backup Nathan Peterman performed well and it sounds as if the staff is pretty comfortable if they need to go to him in an emergency situation. Peterman didn't have much of a shot of coming out of camp as the starter, but it's good to hear that he should provide the safety net that the team needed after the departure of Trey Anderson.
3. Which wide receivers step up?
Dontez Ford still sounds like the No. 2 guy opposite Tyler Boyd, but we also heard quite a bit about true freshmen Quadree Henderson and, to a lesser degree, Tre Tipton. But overall, we really didn't hear about any type of real separation from anyone outside of Boyd and Ford. Even the receivers themselves seem a little unsure of what to expect. Following practice this week, both Zach Challingsworth and Elijah Zeise seemed to indicate that it was pretty much a toss up between a bunch of the guys for playing time.
The starters appear set but beyond that, playing time sounds up for grabs. One thing of note here is that with the Boyd suspension for the opener, a lot of guys should have a chance to make some impressions.
2. How does the team sort out its offensive line?
The starters appear set here with tackles Adam Bisnowaty and Alex Bookser, guards Dorian Johnson and Alex Officer, and center Artie Rowell. The line has suffered some injuries and this is dependent on those five being ready to go. If Rowell is out, Pitt seems poised to slide Officer to center, Bookser to guard, and insert converted tight end Brian O'Neill (who has impressed quite a big) in to tackle.
1. What impact does Jordan Whitehead make as a true freshman?
Speaking of impressing, Whitehead has done his fair share of that. Not enough that he is named as the starter at boundary safety, but he is in contention for the job and, if nothing else, should play quite a bit. Fans should get an early look at him as well since it's already been said that he could play significantly in the team's opener against Youngstown State. We also saw him emerge as a candidate to return kicks, so that will provide an opportunity for him to get onto the field as well.
Still, how much he's able to do isn't fully known. The Panthers have a variety of qualified kick/punt returners already and he is competing for time with both Pat Amara and Jevonte Pitts at safety.