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Pitt notebook: RB Graham getting up to speed

| Monday, Sept. 3, 2012, 7:06 p.m.
Pitt's Ryan Schlieper lead blocks for Ray Graham against Youngstown State at Heinz Field Sept. 1, 2012. Chaz Palla | Tribune Review

• Pitt coach Paul Chryst said running back Ray Graham crossed “a big hurdle,” with 14 carries for 71 yards against Youngstown State. “He trusted himself, and the best thing was his confidence grew in what he was doing.”

• Chryst shouldered part of the blame for Graham's fumble in the first quarter. “We didn't hit him a lot in camp,” Chryst said. “The first (series), he put the ball on the ground. You take some ownership for that.”

• He added there is no pre-set ratio of carries between Graham and backup Isaac Bennett, who had 10 for 42 yards. “Not too hung up on that,” he said.

• Asked about Graham's workload Thursday in Cincinnati, he said: “We'll just kind of see how this week goes. I wouldn't say much more than that, really, because I don't know.”

• Overall, Chryst said the team is approaching good health. One exception might be cornerback K'Waun Williams (shoulder), who played Saturday but didn't finish the game. “He would be the one we are kind of just curious to see how he comes back from it.”

• Chryst said some players don't like uniforms with no names, but he said it represents team unity. “It's one team. It's a clean slate,” he said. “I think it's kind of cool. I know the players, some of them, don't like it. That's all right. We didn't take the names off. We just didn't put them on.” Pitt has had names on the back of its uniforms since Paul Hackett was named coach in 1990.

• Chryst spent the weekend and Monday's practice working on details that went wrong. He said they include ball security, pad level, route depth, consistency in quarterback Tino Sunseri's drops, first steps by the linebackers and leverage by the defensive backs. “That's why you watch film and why you coach and why you drill,” he said.

— Jerry DiPaola

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