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Pitt football notebook: Senior LB Mason sidelined for disciplinary issues

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Tuesday, March 5, 2013, 8:27 p.m.

Dan Mason's collegiate career took another unfortunate turn Tuesday.

The senior backup linebacker will sit out at least the first days of spring drills due to off-the-field issues, coach Paul Chryst said.

Chryst said there is no timetable for Mason's return. He also said redshirt sophomore linebacker Nicholas Grigsby had a similar problem and would not practice, but Grigsby apparently resolved his issues and participated when Pitt opened spring drills later in the afternoon.

Mason missed most of two seasons after tearing up his knee in 2010. Diligent in his rehab, he started two games at middle linebacker last year, but missed the final five after suffering an internal injury making a tackle against Temple.

Mason's suspension — along with a toe injury ­— come at an inopportune time after starting middle linebacker Shane Gordon was declared out indefinitely with a neck injury. Redshirt freshman linebacker Mike Caprara, 6-foot, 200 pounds, stepped into the breach.

• Chryst said redshirt junior Arthur Doakes, who was declared out of the BBVA Compass Bowl in January for violating team rules, will practice. “Right now, he is helping us get through practice,” Chryst said. After that? “Nothing final yet.”

• Chryst kept players about 35 minutes longer than the scheduled 2-hour, 45-minute practice, ending with an extended session of sprints. At one point during sprints, senior-to-be wide receiver Devin Street gathered the team around him for a quick pep talk.

• Redshirt junior Eric Williams is moving from outside linebacker to free safety, but Chryst said it has nothing to do with senior safety Jason Hendricks' right toe injury. “(Hendricks) is a guy we were hoping to have ready for spring, but that's taking a little bit longer,” Chryst said. Meanwhile, redshirt junior Anthony Gonzalez, who has played Wildcat quarterback, tight end and safety at Pitt, is now an outside linebacker, a position he manned in the bowl game, recording a sack.

• Chryst said there is no timetable for naming a starting quarterback. He did say, “Labor Day,” and he was probably only half-kidding. “You just want to see Tom (Savage) and Chad (Voytik) grow and be able to see them do stuff well and be able to do that consistently.” A lingering groin injury from high school will keep freshman Tra Chapman out of the first two days of spring drills.

• Other injuries: Out indefinitely are defensive back Brandon Felder (right foot) and wide receiver Brandon Ifill (left knee). Knee injuries suffered last season will limit the spring activities of defensive back Jahmahl Pardner and offensive lineman John Guy. Quarterback Trey Anderson and long snapper Pat Quirin, who are ill, and defensive end Devin Cook (right foot) will miss this week.

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