ShareThis Page
Home

Notebook: Wide receiver slot up for grabs

| Saturday, Aug. 10, 2002

J.D. Brookhart is looking for a few good men — two, to be exact.

The Pitt offensive coordinator/wide receivers coach lost his starting wideouts from last season — Antonio Bryant and R.J. English — to the NFL and is seeking capable replacements.

"Let's see what happens," said Brookhart, who begins his search today, the opening of training camp for the Panthers. "We have some talented guys. They just need to prove they can play when it counts."

Pitt coach Walt Harris singled out senior Lamar Slade, who has shown flashes of brilliance over a career that's seen him catch 45 passes for 434 yards with three touchdowns. Slade is the younger brother of NFL linebacker Chris Slade.

"He's gong to have a tremendous year for us," Harris said. "He's got excellent hands and is really a well-skilled athlete. He's not a burner, but I think he's starting to enjoy the high pass. He can really leap. Lamar's going to do a good job at one of our positions."

The player who could be lining up opposite Slade is freshman Larry Fitzgerald, a 6-foot-3, 213-pounder who brings an impressive resume. Fitzgerald, who attended Valley Forge Military Academy the past year-and-a-half to improve on his grades, was considered among the top wideouts in the nation two years ago, after catching a combined 127 passes for 2,600 yards with 29 touchdowns in his final two years at Academy of the Holy Angels High School in Minneapolis.

"I don't want to make any predictions, but I think I have a chance," Fitzgerald said.

Said Brookhart: "We've played freshman and first-year guys before. So, if the new guys are dong the job, they'll get a chance."

Others in the mix are Roosevelt Bynes, converted running back Marcus Furman, Billy Gaines and Yogi Roth.

MORE RECEIVERS

Junior college transfer Princell Brockenbrough is out indefinitely due to lingering affects from anterior cruciate ligament surgery. Brockenbrough played all of last season at City College of San Francisco with a torn ACL but still caught 35 passes for 534 yards with 11 touchdowns. He caught 65 passes for 1,055 yards with 20 touchdowns in two seasons, earning recognition as the top junior college wideout in the nation by JCFootball.com.

He had ACL surgery at the end of last season and has been going through rehabilitation. The timetable for his recovery is unknown, though Brookhart said it could be anywhere from three to 10 weeks.

INJURIES

Aside from Brockenbrough, Harris mentioned just three other players who are hampered by injuries. They are defensive lineman Darrell McMurray (back), free safety Gary Urschler (ACL) and free safety Corey Humphries (ACL).

Harris said McMurray's status is unknown, and he gave an update on Urschler and Humphries.

"Corey should be ready sometime early in the season," Harris said. "We're not sure about Gary. His surgery was more serious and his progress hasn't been as fast."

TAKING IT IN STRIDE

Freshman Tyler Palko, the ballyhooed quarterback from West Allegheny who is expected to vie for the starting quarterback job, is taking a wait-and-see approach heading into camp.

"I've never even taken a college snap, so how can I know what's going to happen?" Palko said. "I feel like I know the offense pretty well, but can I execute with all these great athletes coming at me• I don't know."

PITT BLITZ

Pitt adopted a new policy this year in which freshmen and first-year players are off limits to the media until they play in a game. Yesterday's media session marked the one and only time that freshmen and newcomers would be available to the media during camp. A big reason for that is Palko, who would have drawn constant requests throughout the upcoming weeks. Senior offensive guard Bryan Anderson made the "Watch List" for the Outland Trophy. The Panthers will hold two scrimmages (Aug. 17 and Aug. 21) and play one mock game (Aug. 24) during training camp. All are closed to the public.

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.

click me