Pitt football coach Chryst shaking up his team's depth chart
Pitt coach Paul Chryst put his team on alert Thursday, indicating few jobs are safe with only one week left in training camp.
“I told the kids today, how many snaps you are going to get, what you are going to do in games is determined from here to the end of camp,” he said.
Chryst did not appear outwardly angry or frustrated. But he did complain about practice tempo.
“We got off to a slow start,” he said.
Plus, he has yet to officially name a starting quarterback — Chad Voytik and Trey Anderson struggled to find rhythm in stiff winds — and he said the starting five on the offensive line remain subject to change.
Chryst said movement of personnel on the line is more than just preventative in the event of injuries.
“That one's not done yet,” he said. “We want to find out who the five best are.”
“Everyone's competing. I think that's huge,” sophomore offensive tackle Adam Bisnowaty said. “People take a day off or close their eyes for a second, who knows what will happen?”
Bisnowaty, who said he has no lingering effects from the back injury that kept him out of spring drills, occasionally replaced Dorian Johnson at left guard the past two days while redshirt freshman Jaryd Jones-Smith was inserted at tackle.
The 6-foot-7, 335-pound Jones-Smith said he will be the first lineman off the bench. He admitted he must clean up his footwork and get stronger, but his knowledge is improving after he got all the reps in the spring.
Meanwhile, Chryst is not slow to praise younger players trying to put heat on the starters, including freshman middle linebacker Quinton Wirginis and versatile defensive back Reggie Mitchell, who has played safety, corner and nickel the past two weeks.
“I feel good about Reggie,” Chryst said. “He's a smart kid, he's dependable. The last two practices, he has come up with strips (forced fumbles), which we are trying to emphasize. I think he's a heckuva football player.”Mitchell, a Shady Side Academy graduate who transferred from Wisconsin, was teamed with freshman Avonte Maddox at first-team cornerback after starter Trenton Coles went down with an undisclosed injury.
The move had more to do with Chryst's quest to find depth at cornerback, where numbers are thin.
“Just getting a feel for what guys can handle,” he said. “What's too much and what fits their skill set.”
But it's clear Chryst wants to get to a point where he can comfortably go to his bench at all positions if starters are injured or revealed to be inadequate.
He admitted the team has more depth than in his first two seasons at Pitt, but numbers aren't enough.
“Now, it's how much real depth we have,” he said. “When we can really count on guys.”
Jerry DiPaola is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at email@example.com or via Twitter @JDiPaola_Trib.
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