Pitt notebook: No surprises as Panthers settle on starting O-line
After some experimentation, Pitt has settled on its five starting offensive linemen, and there is no change from the group that started training camp with the first unit.
Left to right, Pitt will line up with tackle Adam Bisnowaty, guard Dorian Johnson, center Artie Rowell, guard Matt Rotheram and tackle T.J. Clemmings.
“I do think we are pretty much settled on where we're going to be,” line coach Jim Hueber said.
Redshirt freshman Jaryd Jones-Smith received plenty of reps at left tackle in the spring when Bisnowaty was recovering from a back injury. Plus, he was inserted there this summer when coaches worked Bisnowaty at guard.
But Hueber is adamant about wanting Bisnowaty, a Fox Chapel graduate, to keep the job at left tackle that he earned last season as a redshirt freshman.
“Whatever success we had last year, he was a big part of it,” Hueber said. “I thought we significantly fell off in toughness and attitude when he left us. We can make it work with Bis and Dorian in there.”
Bisnowaty missed five games last season due to his back, and Pitt lost three of them.
Jones-Smith continues to catch Hueber's eye.
“Jaryd has a little burr in his saddle,” Hueber said. “I think Jaryd is a kid who hasn't played, who wants to play. He has everything right now, except game experience.”
Hueber said the experimenting was done to prevent panic in the event of injuries.
“We have to be prepared for the eventuality, so it's not a foreign deal,” he said.
Coach Paul Chryst said backup linebacker Bam Bradley has played well this summer and will be a big part of the defense.
“We are going to need him to be good for this team to be good,” Chryst said.
Pitt gets running back
Pitt received its second verbal commitment in two years from a four-star running back when Darrin Hall of Austintown Fitch (Ohio) told coaches Tuesday he plans to enroll next year.
Hall is rated the seventh-best overall prospect in Ohio, the second running back, by Rivals.com. Nationally, he is ranked 168th overall.
If he signs in February, Hall will join four-star Chris James, who is competing for playing time this season as a freshman.
The 5-foot-11, 196-pound Hall chose Pitt over 15 other offers, including those from Arkansas, Michigan State, Nebraska, West Virginia and Wisconsin.
Pitt has commitments from 13 seniors, including three-star running backs Sekai Lindsay of Melbourne, Fla., and Quadree Henderson of Wilmington, Del.