Share This Page

Ball security plaguing Pitt offense in practice

The Pitt offense committed at least seven turnovers — four interceptions and three fumbles — during Thursday's practice. The miscues could have reached double figures, but three near-certain interceptions were dropped.

Coach Todd Graham, installing a new fast-paced offense, praised the defense for being opportunistic but said the Tino Sunseri-led offense needs better ball security.

"We turned the ball over way too much," Graham said.

Sunseri, Mark Myers (twice) and Trey Anderson were intercepted. Running backs Ray Graham, Malcolm Crockett and Desmond Brown lost fumbles in a shoulder-pads-and-shorts practice. There also were at least three bad shotgun snaps when the ball hit the ground.

"I feel really good about the defense," Todd Graham said, "but I don't feel good about putting the ball in jeopardy."

Sunseri was intercepted by safety Jason Hendricks. Graham said it was Sunseri's first interception in about 200 pass attempts through four days of practice.

» Sophomore Shane Gordon appears to have unseated fifth-year senior Tristan Roberts as the first-team Sam linebacker. Gordon, a 6-foot-1, 230-pounder from Fort Lauderdale, Fla., took every snap with the first unit Thursday; Roberts, who started eight games last year, worked solely with the second unit. Gordon had the biggest hit of the day when he broke into the backfield and smeared Ray Graham on a play-action pass.

"Shane has got tremendous ability, power and strength," Todd Graham said. "He is very much in the mix."

» Junior kicker Kevin Harper went 3 for 3 on field-goal attempts, including a 57-yarder and a 49-yarder. Harper, one of the top kickers in the nation coming out of Mentor (Ohio) High School, has attempted only one field goal at Pitt — a missed 51-yarder against Syracuse in 2009. Playing behind all-Big East performer Dan Hutchins, he was the team's kickoff specialist last season.

"Harper had an incredible day," Graham said. "He really believes he can be the best in the country."

» Todd Thomas, a redshirt freshman, continues to make plays at outside linebacker after switching from receiver. The 6-foot-2, 220-pound former Beaver Falls star forced and recovered a fumble with the second unit.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.