Pitt had hoped to utilize Damar Hamlin quite a bit last season in his first year at Pitt. But Hamlin struggled to stay healthy and didn't make much of an impact.
This year, though, Hamlin is healthy and feeling good about his role on the team.
"I feel like I'm getting better each week at practice," Hamlin said. Every day I just feel like I'm improving."
The adjustment, of course, hasn't been just about getting healthy. Hamlin was switched from cornerback to safety and has had to learn a new position. Hamlin has successfully made the move and is competing with Bricen Garner for the safety spot opposite Jordan Whitehead.
He has been fitting in and making some plays. Last week against Georgia Tech, he had seven tackles and has 14 on the season. On Saturday against Rice, he recorded his first interception as Rice chucked a ball down the field before halftime.
Hamlin is still learning on the job, though, and gave up a big pass play on Saturday. Getting out of position allowed Rice to complete a long touchdown pass for their only score of the day.
"My leverage was bad," he explained briefly in talking about the play.
He still has work to do, obviously, but I'm sure fans are feeling a lot better now that he's been able to at least find his way onto the field. The more he's out there the more he'll improve and if Pitt loses Whitehead to an early departure for the NFL Draft after this season, he'll be needed even more.