Lindsey basks in nationwide acclaim
In the spirit of Pitt coach Todd Graham's desire to do everything in a hurry, the first day of practice Monday was the right time to ramp up expectations for senior outside linebacker Brandon Lindsey.
First, there is Lindsey's list of 15 preseason honors, including best player in the Big East, according to the Sporting News.
Then, Pitt defensive coordinator Keith Patterson compared Lindsey to Steelers all-time sack leader Jason Gildon.
The use of that name was not a random choice by Patterson, who was one of Gildon's coaches at Altus (Okla.) High School.
"They have the same ability to slip blocks," Patterson said. Then, he added: "(Gildon) was virtually unblockable in high school."
All of these accolades and comparisons have been flying at Lindsey for months, even though he hasn't played even a practice snap for this Pitt coaching staff. He had offseason surgery on his left shoulder and missed the entire spring sessions.
"We watched him on film (from previous seasons)," Patterson said. "And when we saw him we knew he would be our Panther backer."
The Panther is a hybrid linebacker/defensive end in Patterson's 3-4 scheme that will allow Lindsey, who led Aliquippa in sacks for three seasons, to take his hand off the ground and rush the passer from a standup position -- much like James Harrison and LaMarr Woodley do for the Steelers.
"It's basically the same scheme the Steelers run," said Lindsey, who was named second-team All-Big East last season while rushing with his hand on the ground.
At this point, Lindsey has much to prove to his coaches and is merely one of several names on watch lists for the Bednarik, Nagurski and Lombardi awards.
After all, he hasn't even tested his surgically repaired shoulder in live drills. Plus, he would have faced competition for playing time from sophomore Bryan Murphy, who was praised repeatedly during spring drills before he was declared academically ineligible Monday.
Lindsey hurt his shoulder last year in warmups before the Notre Dame game when a teammate bumped it, popping the joint out of place.
He didn't miss a game, and he practiced every day -- except one -- through the end of the season.
Doctors reconstructed the shoulder, inserting a pin for stabilization. He gained unwanted weight while he waited for the shoulder to heal, but when he finally entered strength coach Shawn Griswold's summer program he shed pounds and gained speed, he said.
"I got stronger, bigger and faster, and I am definitely in better condition," Lindsey said.
Patterson said he hopes to maximize Lindsey's athleticism by moving him around the defense and isolating him against the offense's weakest blocker.
"They won't be able to pinpoint where I'm coming from," he said.
Patterson said he sees the best pass rushers having great vision, like a back running to daylight. And Lindsey and Greg Williams, Pitt's other outside linebacker, were top high school backs.
"Sometimes, they see transparently through the blocker to the quarterback," Patterson said. "It's not something you teach; either you have it or you don't."Additional Information:
Position: Outside linebacker
Height, weight: 6-2, 245
Did you know? In addition to recording 10 sacks, Lindsey led the Big East in average tackles for a loss per game (1.38) last season.