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Pitt Football Spring Practices: Jordan Whitehead may be changing safety positions for 2017

Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

News came out after Tuesday's Pitt football practice that Jordan Whitehead may be changing positions. No, he isn't moving from safety to corner. Rather, Whitehead could move from the boundary safety spot to the field safety spot (which is how Pitt classifies their strong/free safety positions, respectively).

Head coach Pat Narduzzi discussed the potential move. "We are giving Jordan a little bit of reps to the field safety as well, trying to find out who our two best safeties are," said Narduzzi. "He's got a chance to play the field as well as the boundary now.

The reason for the possible move? Both players at that spot last year, Terrish Webb and Reggie Mitchell, are now gone. "That's our next step is getting him able to play both and he may be the guy at free safety with Reggie (Mitchell) gone and T-Webb [Terrish Webb] gone," added the head coach. "He might be the next guy out there. I see a lot of good things out of him."

Whitehead acknowledged that he was the only player on the team who knew that spot in Pitt's scheme and that he's been playing there since spring practices kicked off.

"As soon as spring started, I moved to the field," Whitehead acknowledged. "We lost Reggie Mitchell and Terrish Webb last year, so I was the only guy who knew that spot. I learned from them both, in case they need me wherever."

Where does he want to play? It sounds as if he enjoys playing the new field safety spot.

"They're very similar [positions], but with one there is a little more covering. I like it a lot."

As Narduzzi said, the free safety spot is a little more difficult. That's because you're out there and sort of reacting to the play as it develops. The benefit, however, is that playing field safety should present a few more chances for interceptions for him since he's back there with a little more freedom move around and being a little more of a factor in the passing game. The other side to that is that he may not be as much of a force in stopping the run as he has been.

Another thing is that Whitehead should even be a little 'safer' back there and less prone to injury since he'd be less involved in run coverage. He's an important part of the defense and while you can get hurt playing anywhere, seeing a little less contact isn't necessarily a bad thing when you're such a key player and with Pitt's lack of safety experience behind him.

Either way, though, even if Whitehead doesn't move (though, it sounds as if he will), Pitt still needs another safety to replace Webb and Mitchell. Two that Narduzzi cited during practices are Dennis Briggs and Phil Campbell. You can bet that the other safety spot opposite Whitehead will be something to watch this fall.

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