Paul Zeise of the PG talks about filling holes, including the one left by Adam Gunn:
A player who came into his own this spring is sophomore middle linebacker Dan Mason, who won the starting job early in drills and has not looked back.I'm really looking forward to see Mason in there full time. He showed some glimpses last year and I expect him to have a big year.
Mason, a Penn Hills graduate, played some last season but his inexperience was evident. He struggled making the right defensive calls and at times was out of position on the field.
But he said last season's game experience, combined with the fact that he took nearly every snap with the first-team defense this spring, he will be ready to play at a high level.
"I learned a lot this spring," Mason said. "I really learned the calls this spring and we will add some in the fall. But just learning all of the basic calls and getting a chance to play in a lot of situations is really something I needed to do.
"I got the opportunity to do a lot of different things and play a lot so I feel like when the season starts I'll be ready to go."
And speaking of Mason, it's a little hard to determine just what he meant by this quote:
“It was a good conclusion for the spring camp, as far as the defense was concerned,” Pitt sophomore middle linebacker Dan Mason said. “The scoreboard tells the truth on things like that, so I really don’t have to say anything.Meanwhile, the Trib provides another breakdown of the Blue-Gold game that I didn't mention yesterday.
What's that you say? More Blue-Gold breakdowns? Brian Bennett of ESPN.com has another one. Frankly, I'm a little surprised Brian took the bait on the whole Pitt offense struggling thing:
One thing about springs games is, you don't really want one side of the ball to dominate. Because then you worry more about the side that got pushed around than you praise the side that controlled the action.Brian acknowledges that Dion Lewis only had five carries, but then notes how badly the running game struggled. Well, Dion's the starter, and he looked fantastic. True, it would have been nice to see a little more from Ray Graham who figures to get some carries, but the bulk of the work will go to Lewis - and he looked very good. So, no, I'm not buying that the running game is taking a hit due to the offensive line just yet. If Dion had struggled, that would be one thing. And even then, it's still Spring and the offensive line is going to take some time to get going. I imagine they'll improve at least a little by the fall.
That was the case Saturday at Pitt, where the defense won 62-24 in a modified scoring system. The offense scored only one touchdown, a 9-yard run by quarterback Tino Sunseri. Dion Lewis had a 52-yard run, but he totaled just 74 yards on five carries. As a team, the Panthers managed just 119 yards on 38 carries.
Pitt's players said they kept things very basic because the game was broadcast on the NFL Network and they didn't want to give opponents a lot of scouting material. Still, the lack of a strong running game raises questions about the offensive line, which needs to find answers at center and right guard before the season begins.
Pitt attendance wasn't so hot, but all of the Big East teams struggled with that same issue this weekend. Bennett hit this one straight on. You can make an argument for the Big East if you talk about them having better teams than the ACC. But when you look at some of those attendances from schools such as NC State, North Carolina, Clemson, and Florida State, you see that most of the Big East really pales in comparison in terms of interest. Yes, the weather wasn't great. But I've been at Blue-Gold games in good weather and the attendance wasn't so hot then. Yes, Pittsburgh is a town with three pro sports teams. But none of them were playing at the time. Bottom line is that the reason the Big East gets little respect is because it has a long way to go to catch the other conferences in terms of fan bases and prestige.
The main page on Pitt's home page (off to the right) has some video highlights of the game and the recap page also includes some post-game interviews.
Also, Chas of Pitt Blather was on the sideline at the game and took some photos.
Finally, Greg Cross and Antwuan Reed received the Ed Conway Award, signifying the most improved player during the Spring.