Chryst happy with Pitt's progress in spring camp

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Pitt's 2013 spring season isn't officially over -- the Panthers still have a no-pads practice Thursday and the Blue-Gold scrimmage Friday -- but Tuesday marked the final true spring practice of coach Paul Chryst's second season.

Over the course of the spring, the coaching staff has some takeaways from the practice sessions.

"I think we know that a lot of kids like football," defensive coordinator Matt House said. "That was apparent, the feel for them. I really do think that's something that came out of spring. We do have a lot of guys that love to play, which is encouraging."

One of Chryst's goals heading into spring camp was developing depth at all positions, an area where he felt the Panthers made progress.

Still, the bulk of the progress will be made once school lets out and the players go through summer workouts without coaches present.

"We've got a long summer," Chryst said. "We've got to really make a lot of hay in the summertime. But before we get to that, we've got to finish this week out."

While the players might be excited to hear that there are no more full-pad, grinding workouts to endure before fall training camp starts in August, offensive coordinator Joe Rudolph said he could go for 15 more practices.

"I don't get a lot of supportive looks when I tell them I wish we could start at [day one] on Thursday, but I wish we could," Rudolph said.

Chryst even took it a step further.

"I think he's kind of optimistic," Chryst said. "I could go for 30 more. Guys are working and they're starting to get a feel for it. That's the tough thing about spring, right as you feel like they're just getting close, you've got to stop. But it's been good."

A QB's-eye view

Quarterback Tom Savage spent the past two practices with an awkward-looking appendage strapped to the top of his helmet.

He has been using a mini video camera to help assess his progressions and passing reads.

"It's pretty cool," Savage said. "You get to see where your eyes are. I think it's a good learning experience for us. You can't lie to the coach anymore about where your eyes were on the play."

Savage admitted the device isn't perfect, since quarterbacks often rely on their peripheral vision to find targets, but it gives him a better idea of where he's looking on plays.

Scrimmage time

Pitt's annual Blue-Gold spring scrimmage will be Friday night at Bethel Park High School.

The facility will open to the public at 5:30 p.m., and Pitt players will lead a free youth football clinic starting at 6 p.m.

The scrimmage will start at 7 p.m. Chryst said Tuesday it will be some form of offense versus defense but didn't provide a specific format. The game will be televised on Pitt Panthers Television (Comcast Channels 188/210) and

In conjunction with the spring game, the fifth annual Dessert Tasting For A Cause will be at 7:30 p.m. Saturday at the Clemente Museum. Proceeds will benefit the Kris Wilson Foundation and the Polite Way Foundation, two charities of former Pitt players Kris Wilson and Lousaka Polite. Tickets and more information are available at

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Sam Werner: and Twitter @SWernerPG.


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