ShareThis Page

Pitt notebook: Bulked-up Coles making push in deep secondary

| Friday, Aug. 9, 2013, 6:12 p.m.

When Trenton Coles arrived at Pitt last summer, he weighed 158 pounds and his hamstring ached. A healthy hamstring, 17 more pounds, a newly acquired knowledge of the defense and a large dose of confidence have carried him toward a possibly impactful position in a strong Panthers secondary.

“I'm comfortable now, because I was thinking too much (in the spring),” Coles said. “Whenever you think too much, you can't play fast.”

Coles is competing against fellow redshirt freshman Jahmahl Pardner and junior Brendon Felder for one of the top reserve cornerback positions.

Coles is playing cornerback in the nickel and dime defenses and could become the top backup to starter Lafayette Pitts. Coles has outstanding speed — he was the WPIAL and PIAA Class AA 100- and 200-meter champion as a junior at Clairton in 2011 — but the extra weight will help Saturday when the team puts on full pads for the first time this summer.

“I get four meals a day here,” said Coles, who was noted for his physical play in high school. “That's a plus.”

Coles often lines up against former Clairton teammates Kevin Weatherspoon and Tyler Boyd, who are competing for playing time at receiver.

Asked who wins most of the time, Coles said, “I'm getting them right now.”

• Coach Paul Chryst had no comment after junior linebacker Todd Thomas missed his third consecutive day of practice. Thomas informed Chryst on Wednesday that he intended to quit the team, but Thomas' high school basketball coach, Doug Biega, said the former Beaver Falls star told him he wants to return.

• Former running backs coach Desmond Robinson was named player personnel director, with an emphasis on recruiting. Dann Kabala, who was player personnel director, will become recruiting coordinator. Offensive coordinator Joe Rudolph will coach running backs and turn over tight ends to second-year graduate assistant Mickey Turner, who played tight end at Wisconsin under Chryst and Rudolph.

• Ticket requests for the Florida State game Sept. 2 at Heinz Field will begin Saturday and can be made by phoning 1-800-643-7488. Ticket sales for other home games begin Sept. 3 at or by calling the ticket office.

• Chryst was named an honorary trustee on the board of directors of the St. Anthony School programs. St. Anthony is a school for students with intellectual disabilities/autism.

— Jerry DiPaola

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using 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.