Pitt notebook: Bennett returns to limited action at practice

Jerry DiPaola
| Wednesday, Aug. 21, 2013, 6:45 p.m.

The penultimate day of training camp Wednesday featured a welcome sight for coach Paul Chryst: junior running back Isaac Bennett practicing without the full-length leg brace on his injured right knee.

Still, Bennett's work was limited.

Bennett, who had been out since Aug. 10, worked with the other running backs in the position drills, pass blocking and taking handoffs. He did not participate in the 11-on-11 sessions, instead getting ice bags taped to both knees and watching from behind the play.

“It was good to get Isaac back getting some work done,” Chryst said. “He's moving all right. Certainly, there is a lot he has to keep doing.”

Bennett had missed all but the first four days of camp.

• Tight end Scott Orndoff of Seton-La Salle is one of several freshmen who might help this season but also are building what they believe will be a solid program for the next three years. “Amongst ourselves, we talk about it,” Orndoff said. “Look at what we're doing now, (but) wait until three years from now. We're the authors. It's up to us.”

• Pitt also has several freshmen and redshirt freshmen — wide receiver Tyler Boyd, offensive tackle Adam Bisnowaty and kicker Chris Blewitt are among them — who likely will be starters from the outset of this season. “Guys came in with the attitude, ‘I belong here and I can play with you guys.' ” Orndoff said. “A lot of them are going to earn starting spots, and that's pretty exciting for our team.”

Larry Fitzgerald, who was second in the Heisman Trophy voting in 2002 and is a seven-time Pro Bowl wide receiver for the Arizona Cardinals, will have his No. 1 Pitt jersey retired at ceremonies during the opener Sept. 2 against Florida State. Chryst plans to use Fitzgerald's appearance as a history lesson for his team. “One of the fun things for us is we learn more about the great history (at Pitt),” he said. Fitzgerald will be the ninth player to have his jersey retired.

• Blewitt has a boot on his injured kicking foot, but Chryst is unconcerned. “He's going to be fine,” he said. Junior Drake Greer of Bishop Canevin and redshirt freshman Brad Lukasak are the backup kickers. Both came to Pitt as walk-ons.

• Pitt will practice Thursday morning before Chryst gives the players off days Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Classes resume Monday. After Thursday, the team will have practiced 16 of 17 days.

— Jerry DiPaola

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