Pitt Training Camp

Pitt Football Training Camp: Panthers Prepare For Final Big East Season

Pitt's football training camp is underway.

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Ray Graham Injury: Pitt RB Was 'Scheduled To Get 25 Carries' In Youngstown State Loss

Ray Graham didn't get as much playing time as debut head coach Paul Chryst had hoped in the team's disappointing season-opening loss to Youngstown State, the coach admitted in the Big East coaches' teleconference Monday morning.

Graham, who tore his ACL last season against UConn, was considered a game-time decision Saturday, but ended up carrying the ball 14 times for 71 yards. His early red zone fumble was costly, killing promising Pitt drive, but overall, Chryst was pleased with what he saw out of the senior starter. From Smith's Twitter:

I thought he did some good things. I think he trusted himself. The best thing was that his confidence grew. I thought overall it was good to get him going. I still think he can make a lot more strides. We are over a big hump, a big hurdle.

Graham will presumably start again next week against a more traditionally tough opponent in Cincinnati.

For more on Pitt football, head over to Cardiac Hill and continue to check out SB Nation Pittsburgh for updates.


Pitt Football: Ray Graham Will Be Game-Time Decision

University of Pittsburgh running back Ray Graham will be a game-time decision for the Panthers' season-opener against Youngstown State on Sept. 1, according to head coach Paul Chryst.

Graham is still recovering from a torn ACL suffered last fall in his right knee and has been limited in fall drills.

According to initial reports, Graham was unlikely to play in the opener and potentially could miss the team's second game against Cincinnati, which comes five days later on Sept. 6.

If Graham is unable to play, sophmore Isaac Bennett is expected to start with freshman Rushel Shell acting as back-up.

For more on Pitt football's training camp, stay tuned to this StoryStream and visit SB Nation's Pitt blog, Cardiac Hill.


Pitt Football Training Camp: Ray Graham Expected To Play In Opener Against Youngstown State?

Pitt star running back Ray Graham was recently expected to sit out the team's opener against Youngstown State next weekend according to ESPN's Brett McMurphy. However, Graham himself has a thing or two to say about that:

"It's looking good; it's looking good," Graham said when asked about the outlook for an appearance on Sept. 1. "We have a week and some change before the game, and it's feeling good. I'm taking it one day at a time, and as the days go on, I'm feeling that much better and confident. So when September hits, we're going to take it and see from there."

Graham's status is still very much up in the air and just because he says it's looking good doesn't mean he'll play as he probably won't have the final say. That will belong to head coach Paul Chryst, who has a tough decision to make. He can either play Graham in the opener and get him some reps before Pitt's Big East game against Cincinnati the following week, or he can sit him and rely on backups Isaac Bennett and Rushel Shell.

Whatever he decides to do, we might not find out until just before game time.

For more on Pitt football, check out SB Nation Pitt blog, Cardiac Hill.


Manasseh Garner Transferring To Pitt

Former Wisconsin wide receiver Manasseh Garner has transferred to Pittsburgh. He will be reunited with former Badgers offensive coordinator Paul Chryst, who is the Panthers head coach.

Garner grew up in Pittsburgh and will be returning home. While he has played in 10 games each of the last two seasons, his impact has been minimal. Garner has just two catches and 45 receiving yards in his career. He has also played defense at Wisconsin, notching 10 tackles as a freshman.

He will need to sit out for a season before playing for Chryst and Pittsburgh.

Check back with this Storystream for an update later in the day and also head over to SB Nation blog, Cardiac Hill for more on Pitt football.


Senior Bowl Watch List Includes Three Pitt Panthers

The Pitt Panthers had three players named to the 2013 Senior Bowl Watch List on Thursday. Ray Graham, Jared Holley and Chris Jacobson were the three Panthers that made the list, with each displaying pro potential according to the organizers. Graham was the second-leading rusher in the nation last year before tearing his ACL against UConn in late October. Reports have already surfaced that Graham is unlikely to play in the Panthers' season opener against Youngstown State, but the injury history was not really a concern when it came to creating the watch list.

This is the first time the Senior Bowl has released a watch list under new Executive Director Phil Savage, a former pro personnel exec and GM in the NFL. Savage talked about the decision to release a watch list before the start of the season:

"The Senior Bowl is very pleased to announce our first-ever ‘official' Watch List," Senior Bowl Executive Director Phil Savage said. "We want both college and pro football fans to enjoy tracking the players on our list as they begin their journey towards the Senior Bowl and the 2013 NFL Draft. We have included prospects from almost every level of the college game and look forward to monitoring their progress throughout the upcoming season."

Holley was also named to the Jim Thorpe Award preseason watch list, and all three Panthers certainly have a shot to make the final roster.

For more on Pitt football, stay tuned to this StoryStream and visit SB Nation's Pitt blog, Cardiac Hill.


Pitt RB Ray Graham 'Unlikely To Play' Against Youngstown State, According To Report

Still recovering from a torn ACL suffered last Fall, Pitt running back Ray Graham is "unlikely to play" in the Panthers' season opener next week against Youngstown State. ESPN's Brett McMurphy reported the news that Graham will be held out of the opener, which is set for Saturday, September 1.

Graham was averaging an impressive 134.1 yards per game last season before he tore his right ACL in the Panthers October 26 game against UConn. He spent all offseason and Summer rehabbing and recovering, but Pitt coach Paul Chryst is exercising caution for the opener against nearby YSU.

Sophomore Isaac Bennett is likely to get the start at running back if Graham is on the sidelines. Bennett carried the ball 58 times for 237 yards last season. He'll be backed up by true freshman Rushel Shell.

For more on Pitt football's training camp, stay tuned to this StoryStream and visit SB Nation's Pitt blog, Cardiac Hill.


Bowl Projections 2012: Pitt Projected To Face Kansas State In Pinstripe Bowl

The Pitt Panthers have yet to play their first meaningful game of the 2012 college football season, but CBS Sports has begun the process of putting out bowl predictions and the site has slated the Panthers to participate in the New Era Pinstripe Bowl which is played at Yankee Stadium:

Pittsburgh (No. 56 overall): Pinstripe Bowl vs. Kansas State, Dec. 29

With a new coaching staff and questions on the defensive line, the Panthers ranking at No. 56 overall is reasonable. Pitt is ranked ahead of Cincinnati (No. 58) and above SEC newcomers Missouri (No. 63) and Texas A&M (No. 64). If the Panthers face the Wildcats in the Bronx, the defensive line could be in for a test. Kansas State is led by a quarterback in Collin Klein, who accounted for 40 touchdowns in 2011. Klein is arguably one of the most underrated players in FBS.

Of course this is purely speculative as games still have to be played. The Pinstripe Bowl is one of the lesser postseason bowl games but it is in New York City which would make it much easier for Panthers football fans who've had to travel to Birmingham, Ala. the last two years for the BBVA Compass Bowl.

For more on Pitt football, stay tuned to this Storystream and visit Cardiac Hill.


Pitt's Senior Wideouts Look To Make Final Mark

The Pittsburgh Panthers have four experienced seniors at the wide receiver spot: Mike Shanahan, Devin Street, Cameron Saddler and Joshua Brinson. With Shanahan and Street's starting spots secure, this will be Saddler and Brinson's last shot at leaving their imprint on the program, according to a Cardiac Hill's training camp report:

Even though Pitt returns its top two receivers, the third receiver spot is wide open. That position very might well end up being filled by sophomore Ronald Jones, who is producing at camp after producing on the field as a freshman. But for Pitt's two other senior wide receivers -- Cameron Saddler and Joshua Brinson -- it's their last chance to make an impact on the field.

Last October, Saddler suffered a fractured sternum against UConn and was forced to miss the remainder of the season. He finished with 19 catches for 207 yards and a touchdown.

Brinson had a more pedestrian campaign in 2011 as he appeared in eight games and had just one reception for three yards. However, the versatile senior is expected to have a much larger role on the field for the Panthers in 2012.

For more on Pitt football's training camp, stay tuned to this StoryStream and visit SB Nation's Pitt blog, Cardiac Hill.


Pitt Football Training Camp: Chad Voytik Performs Well As Backup

Pitt held their second closed scrimmage of training camp on Saturday and while several players sat out, a few emerged on offense. One was quarterback Chad Voytik.

Voytik, playing for Trey Anderson who sat out, backed up Tino Sunseri and a had a good showing. He completed a good number of passes and found at least six different receivers. But Voytik also showed off a lot of mobility, scrambling on a few occasions and hitting receivers on the run. There were a significant amount of offensive line breakdowns, but Voytik managed to make something out of nothing more often than not.

Tino Sunseri looked a bit less impressive in my mind, but after a slow start, rallied to play better in the second half. After a brief 'halftime' break, Sunseri came in with a touchdown drive. He also later hit wide receiver Josh Brinson on a pass that was approximately 30 yards for another score.

None of this is to suggest that Sunseri is in jeopardy of losing his job. But it will be interesting to see if Voytik can surpass Trey Anderson as the backup.

Last weekend, the big breakout guy was cornerback Lafayette PItts. This week it may have been Ronald Jones. Jones caught somewhere in the neighborhood of 6-8 balls and had a long kickoff return. His speed allowed him to run for significant yards after several catches and he could be a playmaker in the offense. Fans may like to criticize former head coach Todd Graham (and rightfully so, by the way), his pickup of Jones, not a highly regarded recruit, was a spectacular move.

The play of the defensive line was also worth noting. Both the first and second squads broke through and put good pressure on the quarterbacks. There's been lots of talk about the unit being full of inexperienced players, but I have little doubt they'll be effective. In addition to getting to the quarterbacks on passing plays, they also made several good defensive stands against the running backs, who were largely held in check.

Pitt will wrap up training camp this week and prepare for their season opener against Youngstown State in a few weeks.

For on Pitt football the scrimmage, check out SB Nation Pitt blog, Cardiac Hill.


Pittsburgh Panthers Training Camp 2012: Team To Scrimmage On Saturday

On Saturday, Pitt will hold their second football scrimmage of training camp under new head coach Paul Chryst. It is closed to the public.

Several players stood out in the the team's first scrimmage last weekend including defensive back Lafayette Pitts and running back Isaac Bennett. There are many questions that still need to be answered and Saturday's action might produce some answers.

It's still unknown how much freshman running back star Rushel Shell will play in 2012. It's virtually impossible that a redshirt will be in order, but with Ray Graham, Isaac Bennett, Malcolm Crockett, and Corey Davis all in the mix for carries, it's not a given that the five-star recruit will have a big role.

There's also the question about Pitt's quarterbacks situation. Backup Trey Anderson has sat out much of the action this week in camp with an apparent injury and true freshman Chad Voytik has taken many of the reps with the second team offense. Saturday will be a good chance to find out how much he has progressed thus far.

Check back with this Storystream for an update later in the day and also head over to SB Nation blog, Cardiac Hill for more on Pitt football.


Pitt Football Spring Practice: Difficult To Evaluate Tino Sunseri's Progress With Injuries

SB Nation's Pitt blog Cardiac Hill has been at the Pittsburgh Panthers' training camp since it opened last week and many are unimpressed with the performance of quarterback Tino Sunseri in camp thus far. I attended the scrimmage last Saturday and mentioned that Sunseri essentially had a solid, but unspectacular day.

But the Trib's Jerry DiPaola has a good point when it comes to deciding how far Sunseri has come:

Evaluating Sunseri has been somewhat difficult for coaches because of the absence of veteran receivers Mike Shanahan (hamstring) and Devin Street (knee). They are part of a long list of injured players that Chryst said remain day to day. "I wish it was day to day as in tomorrow, and they are all (ready to practice)," he said. "I don’t anticipate that (Wednesday)." He said Street could miss "a couple days." Shanahan "did some things and is making progress," the coach said.

Sunseri is virtually working with Cam Saddler as his top target. Saddler can be a decent receiver this season, but Sunseri probably would be a bit more impressive if he had all of his weapons.

For more on training camp and Pitt football, check out Cardiac Hill.


2012 Pitt Football Training Camp: Panthers Hold First Scrimmage Of Season

Pitt held their first scrimmage of the season today and there was lots going on. The practice was closed to the public, but I was able to get in for a look through SB Nation's Pitt site, Cardiac Hill.

It's clear that Tino Sunseri is still Pitt's best option at quarterback. He looks more comfortable out there in the new offense and while he's not a star, he is capable of having a decent year. Trey Anderson took the majority of the snaps as the backup and true freshman Chad Voytik only got in briefly.

On the ground, starter Ray Graham played a bit early, but sat most of the day out. Isaac Bennett took the bulk of the first-team carries and continued his strong work in the offseason, breaking a couple of long runs of 30+ yards. True freshman Rushel Shell had a fairly quiet day. He saw a good deal of work, but was held mostly in check and suffered a few carries for negative yards. He found the end zone once on a short TD run, but also fumbled during the day. Shell will be just fine for Pitt and is likely a future star, but he might not make the impact many are expecting right away.

The defensive line didn't have a field day with their counterparts, but it's clear the offensive line is still a work in progress. Several times, the quarterbacks had little time to make any throws. Aaron Donald was all over the backfield and the unit also played extremely well in goal-line drills.

Lafayette Pitts was perhaps the biggest surprise. He played very well on the first team defense at corner, breaking up several passes. He also had a huge hit on receiver Ronald Jones, recorded an interception, and had a long kickoff return. It was only one scrimmage, so it's difficult to heap too much praise on him. But if Pitts continues to play as well as he did today, he could be an anchor in the Panthers' secondary for years to come.

For more on Pitt football and the scrimmage, check out, Cardiac Hill.


Pitt Football Training Camp 2012: Panthers' Offensive Line Takes Another Hit With Tom Ricketts Injury

Pitt's offensive line took another hit with news that offensive lineman Tom Ricketts will be out for the season with a shoulder injury. For the Panthers and head coach Paul Chryst, it's another tough situation for an already thin unit.

Ricketts, a transfer from Penn State, wasn't expected to start at the beginning of the season. But after sitting out last year due to the transfer, he was being counted on to provide some key depth and his loss definitely hurts the team. In addition to the season-long suspension of projected starter Juantez Hollins, Chryst continues to scramble to fill holes on the line.

One beneficiary of the losses on the line is true freshman Adam Bisnowaty, who has appeared to crack the team's two-deep rotation. It's looking more and more like he will see time rather than get a redshirt this year.

For more on training camp and Pitt football, check out Cardiac Hill.


2012 Pitt Football Training Camp: Cory King Starts At Left Tackle On Day No. 1

On the first day of training camp, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette writer Paul Zeise tweeted that Cory King was looking like Pitt's starting left tackle - at least to start the season.

King will make the move from guard to left tackle due to Juantez Hollins' season-long suspension. Pitt had few options there, and King will apparently get first crack at the job.

Things aren't entirely fixed, though, as King was expected to be a starter at guard. That means there's still a spot on the line that needs to be secured. The other spot could conceivably go to guard Ryan Schlieper, who saw some time on the offensive line last season. But it's still early and head coach Paul Chryst could have other plans up his sleeve.

Either way, though, the line is going to be a unit heavily watched during camp.

For more on Pitt football, stay tuned to this Storystream and visit Cardiac Hill.


2012 Pitt Football Season Preview

Pitt football camp gets underway Monday. Here is a look at the upcoming season.


Pitt Football Training Camp: Wide Receiver Chris Davis Suspended

The big news out just before Pitt's training camp next week was that Mark Myers was transferring out of the program and that offensive lineman Juantez Hollins was suspended for the season. But there was another minor issue of note.

Freshman wide receiver, Chris Davis, also earned a suspension. His, though, was of the one-game variety, so it won't impact his season all that much.

With veteran wide receivers Devin Street, Mike Shanahan, Cam Saddler, and Ronald Jones around, Davis would have probably had a bit of trouble breaking through the depth chart, anyway. But now with the brief suspension he was given, he might be even a bit more behind.

We aren't sure of the reasons both he and Hollins were suspended, but head coach Paul Chryst appears to be setting a bit of a tone early on.

For more on Pitt football's training camp, stay tuned to this Storystream and visit SB Nation's Pitt blog, Cardiac Hill.


Pitt Football Training Camp: Mark Myers To Transfer; Juantez Hollins Suspended

Pitt's football training camp gets underway in August.

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