Originally written on Pitt Blather  |  Last updated 3/26/13
I can’t say I’ve given it too much thought. Kind of wonder if that is what Coach Paul Chryst wanted when he set it up to be completely overlapping with the NCAA Tournament, and spreading it out over so many weeks. It’s been hard to glean much in the way of information. There’s the basic roughing of what the 2-deep looks like. At the same time, most of that seemed to be in place before spring practice even began. The O-line at least has more bodies. T.J. Clemmings seems to be making a very rapid transition to the O-line. He is even in line to be a starter at right tackle. That is either a great reflection on the effort he is putting into the move and the coaching he is receiving. Or it is a terrifying indictment of how thin the O-line remains in terms of talent. …Or yes, it could be both. But where’s the fun in that. Don’t we all prefer to either believe the sky is falling or that its rainbows and unicorns for all. One guy on the O-line that was expected to move into a starter role, Adam Bisnowaty, appears to be doing just that. “He doesn’t get flustered,” Hueber said. “We’ll see, but right now you have to think that he’s going to get out there and play football the way we expect him to.” Bisnowaty said sitting out a season and learning from graduated seniors Ryan Turnley and Chris Jacobson did him a lot of good. “I really enjoyed it,” he said. “I got stronger, gained weight. The redshirt year really helped me do that and focus on football and get my footwork down, so this year I can get some playing time.” He shared a room with Jacobson, who taught him how to transition from high school. “You’re the best when you’re in high school,” Bisnowaty said. “Now you get here and everyone is the best.” Bisnowaty isn’t responsible for recent failures at Pitt, but he said it’s about time that changed. “We have to start building this thing up to what we want and start winning,” he said. “We really don’t want any more 6-6 seasons.” It’s been surprisingly quiet on the whole QB front. Tom Savage appears to be the lean at starter — as most expected — but he hasn’t exactly put any huge distance between himself and Chad Voytik. Not totally surprising, and likely to remain unsettled even after spring practices end. At the same time, the lack of angst over the issue is mildly surprising. I guess, everyone is still basking in the knowledge of who won’t be the starter this year. Lots of questions about who will be the second (well, probably third after Tyler Boyd gets on campus in the summer) wide receiver after Devin Street. Doesn’t appear to be any clear separation. The good news is that there looks to be extra weapons at the hybrid TW/WR spot as Manasseh Garner is eligible after sitting last year. Garner, who had to sit out last season because of the transfer, can line up next to the tackle and block, but also can flex wide and create mismatches against defensive backs. “I think he’s a pretty good football player,” Pitt coach Paul Chryst said. “I think it’s our job to find a spot for him and then his job to be able to perform at that spot consistently, at a good level.” Finding Garner’s niche in the offense shouldn’t be a problem for a coaching staff already well-acquainted with his skills. Chryst served as the offensive coordinator during Garner’s two seasons at Wisconsin, and Pitt offensive coordinator Joe Rudolph was Garner’s position coach. “It’s a blessing,” Garner said of the familiarity. “The coaches know me; they know what I can bring to the table. At the same time, I’m still out here competing with everybody else. I feel like there’s no favoritism in terms of them giving me a spot.” Depending on how the O-line does, Savage or Voytik should have a couple very good safety valves to dump off passes when necessary to Garner and J.P. Holtz. One thing to watch after the spring practices — and the semester ends. Some more attrition. In Chryst’s first year there were some transfers slowly trickling out. But, it should not be a huge surprise to see a few more after the spring. As other players decide they won’t get the playing time, and the coaches push the players they don’t feel are going to put in the effort. “Every one of us is fortunate to be here,” Chryst told reporters after practice. “Fortunate to be part of this team, this program. Fortunate. And you better act like that.” The remarks were his most pointed since Chryst replaced former coach Todd Graham 15 months ago. He made it clear he will not tolerate the kind of performances that have led Pitt to consecutive 6-7 seasons, and Thursday’s effort caused his frustration level to rise in the fifth day of spring drills. “We were a consistently inconsistent team,” he said of the 2012 season. “And if you don’t come out every day with a purpose then you don’t get better. You either get better or you get worse, and everyone gets to choose. “I didn’t think we had great energy to start (practice) with, and we are going to play until we have some energy.” Asked if the players responded positively to his message, he said, “It took a long time.”
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