Pitt notebook: Render proving to be Donald-esque on defense
For anyone who misses the big plays Aaron Donald brought to the Pitt defense last season, junior defensive tackle Darryl Render stepped up Saturday and all but shouted, “Don't forget about me.”
Pitt practiced for nearly 2 1⁄2 hours, with most of the time spent in a tackle-to-the-ground scrimmage that included officials blowing whistles and throwing flags.
The run defense dominated the Pitt ground game, and Render was in the middle of much of the action.
He batted down a pass and later intercepted a shovel flip that thanks to Donald-like quickness off the snap and the proper read of the play.
“I was where I was supposed to be,” Render said, “and it popped right there, and I said, ‘There it is.' ”
Although it was only a scrimmage against a Pitt offense that has yet to find its legs, Render liked the results.
“We played good run defense,” he said. “That's what we take pride in because, I guess, people are really sleeping on us because Aaron Donald is (gone).”
Coach Paul Chryst noticed, but he also didn't like some of what he saw of the offense, including snap-count problems and procedure penalties.
“You see some of the details offensively why we are struggling,” he said. “You have to clean that up, but the bottom line was I thought the defense did a nice job, especially early in the scrimmage versus the run.”
Asked about quarterback Chad Voytik, Chryst said, “I thought he did some things that were all right, and he had a couple he'd want back.”
Time off for Boyd
Receiver Tyler Boyd did not work in the 11-on-11 tackling portion of the day, the second time this camp Chryst gave him at least part of the day off. The idea is to keep Pitt's top offensive weapon fresh for a long season.
Boyd made an outstanding catch between cornerback Ryan Lewis and safety Jevonte Pitts in drills before the scrimmage. Freshman receiver Adonis Jennings (groin) was limited.
Conner keeps busy
Running back James Conner worked on both sides of the football, even changing into the white defensive jersey for the first time when he lined up at defensive end.
The shuffle in the defensive backfield continued, with former Shady Side Academy quarterback Reggie Mitchell sharing a cornerback spot on the first team with freshman Avonte Maddox.
Mitchell is playing safety, cornerback and nickel — and doing it well — and Maddox is showing coaches he is more than just a young player with speed.
Meanwhile, Trenton Coles, who is dealing with an ankle injury, played on the second team.
Secondary coach Troy Douglas said Mitchell has been impressive and has proven to be a quick learner.
“He's a smart kid,” Douglas said. “He is probably the best in and out of breaks of any of the defensive backs we have.”
Maddox, despite being 5-foot-9, 165 pounds, showed a willingness to get physical, twice bringing down the 250-pound Conner in the open field.
“That's what you want to see,” Douglas said.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com 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.
- Ex-Baldwin, Pitt star Pinkston not giving up on NFL dream
- McConnell-Serio optimistic about Pitt women’s basketball future
- Pitt athletic director Barnes fully supportive of Power 5 autonomy
- Modic’s grand slam, pitching of Harris lift Pitt softball into regional final
- Pitt softball falls to Michigan in NCAA regional final