Share This Page

Pitt notebook: Freshmen figure to play integral role again

| Monday, Aug. 25, 2014, 7:57 p.m.

Pitt's repeated use of freshmen last season led to eight sophomores ascending to the top of the depth chart this year.

Perhaps the same will happen in 2015. Coach Paul Chryst said Monday he will have nine freshmen ready to play when the season opens Saturday.

Chryst said five freshmen will play against Delaware — cornerback Avonte Maddox, free safety Patrick Amara, outside linebacker Quintin Wirginis, defensive end Rori Blair and running back Chris James.

He also identified four others as players “we are going to make sure are ready, but a little bit of a wait-and-see.” They include running back Qadree Ollison, offensive tackle Alex Bookser, wide receiver Adonis Jennings and quarterback Chad Bertke.

Jennings' progress

Jennings was one of Pitt's most highly touted recruits, but he remains behind older backups Ronald Jones and Kevin Weatherspoon.

“I liked a lot of what he's done,” Chryst said. “But (it's) a matter of making sure he truly understands all that he has to do.”

James: Different style

James (5-foot-11, 210 pounds) may play ahead of Ollison (6-2, 215), but behind running backs James Conner and Isaac Bennett.

“Both he and Qadree came in with the the great intentions of diving in and learning it. Both have done that,” Chryst said. “Chris (5-foot-11, 210 pounds) gives us a little bit of a different style back, (compared to) Isaac and James.”

Voytik improving

Chryst said quarterback Chad Voytik has become more comfortable with his position since the start of camp.

“You are starting to see the timing between he (and the pass catchers),” Chryst said. “He has done a great job of being in the moments. Not that everything has gone perfect in camp, but he has learned from them and I'm excited to see him play.”

Chryst said he hopes to redshirt Bertke, whose entry into a game would be injury-related. He is third on the depth chart behind Voytik and junior Trey Anderson.

'Freeze linebacker'

Junior linebacker Nicholas 'Freeze' Grigsby has played so well in camp that Chryst named a position after him.

Grigsby, 6-1, 220, will be the ‘Freeze' linebacker, entering the game in passing situations and lining up in multiple areas of the defense.

“It's a unique skill set he has,” Chryst said. “He did really have a good camp. He's earned it.”

No TV

The game will not be televised in a traditional manner, but will be available on the computer on ESPN3.

Jerry DiPaola is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at jdipaola@tribweb.com or via Twitter @JDiPaola_Trib.

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.