Pitt notebook: Wide receiver Street paves way as team leader
By Jerry DiPaola
Published: Tuesday, Aug. 6, 2013, 8:33 p.m.
Pitt senior Devin Street is the team's best wide receiver, but coach Paul Chryst expects more than big plays from him.
“Devin is one of those guys we need to play at a high level and lead at a high level,” Chryst said.
Street led Pitt in receptions last season (73), but Chryst said he hasn't reached his potential.
“He did a lot of really good things, but I'm excited because I still believe he can continue to get better.
“He realizes what he's got and the value of (wide receivers) coach (Bobby) Engram coaching him, day in and day out.”
Street is at the top of a young crop of wide receivers that includes freshmen Tyler Boyd, Zach Challingsworth, Reggie Green and Jester Weah and redshirt freshman Chris Wuestner.
Boyd had several opportunities to make plays on the first day of training camp Tuesday, including a one-handed grab that he cradled into his midsection after contorting his body toward the ball.
He cramped up near the end of practice but returned. He also said he was more sore than he experienced while playing at Clairton.
“It doesn't matter,” he said. “I just have to come prepared and work hard.”
Chryst was asked about freshman James Conner, who has an intriguing 6-foot-2, 230-pound frame for a running back.
“He's earned the right to be a running back on Day 2,” Chryst said.
Of the freshman class as a whole, he said, “They looked like new guys. There is a lot being thrown at them.”
Drills lasted nearly four hours, and several players settled in the cold tubs placed adjacent to the fields after practice.
Chryst did not apologize when a reporter complained of a sore back after standing for so long.
“I tried to go long enough where you'd just quit on us,” he said, laughing.
Everyone practiced, but wide receiver Brandon Ifill, who had knee surgery late last season, was limited.
Pitt added three WPIAL players to its 100-man roster as walk-ons. They are defensive end Jeremy Gonzales of North Allegheny and linebackers Nico Elms of Pine-Richland and Michael Dunn of Bishop Canevin. A total of 40 players played at a WPIAL or City League school.
The fields at the football facility on the South Side have been named after Beano Cook, the legendary former Pitt sports information director and ESPN college football analyst. Cook died last year at age 81.
Jerry DiPaola is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter @JDiPaola_Trib.
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