Pitt football coach Chryst: Let's get physical
After five days of spring drills, Pitt coach Paul Chryst hopes players start to get more comfortable and, in turn, more physical.
"A lot of being physical is knowing what you're doing, then doing it with the proper technique and the willingness," he said. "It's not that they're not willing to be physical, but when you play with high pad level, it's hard to be physical. When you have bad footwork, it's hard to be physical. It goes hand-in-hand.
"We have a long ways to go. I think guys are trying, though."
At the beginning of the spring, Chryst said he planned to divide the 15 practices into blocks of three — installation, seeking to identify players' strengths and weaknesses and coaches' discretion.
The second block begins Saturday when practice will be moved to Heinz Field and Chryst has scheduled scrimmaging.
He said Thursday's session had "some up-and-down moments."
"It looked sluggish at times, but there was some good energy," he said. "We have to keep grinding away. You see guys making some progress and that's key."
Among those in attendance Thursday was former Penn State defensive coordinator Tom Bradley.
Also watching the proceedings were high school coaches Dave Havern of Shady Side Academy, Bill Daniels of Our Lady of Sacred Heart and Jeff Metheny of Bethel Park.
Metheny got a chance to catch up with a former rival, Pitt linebackers coach Chris Haering, the former coach at Mt. Lebanon. Jim Render of Upper St. Clair watched practice Tuesday.
Pitt announced that the annual spring game will be played April 14 at North Hills High School's Martorelli Stadium. Gates open at 11 a.m., followed by a youth clinic at 11:30 and the Blue-Gold scrimmage at 1 p.m. It will mark the first time since 2005 — when the game was played at Antimarino Stadium at Gateway High School — that it will be at a stadium other than Heinz Field. Pitt also held its spring game at North Hills in 2003.
"We thought it was important to get out in the community," Chryst said.