QB Voytik takes advantage of extra work

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Those expecting to see a quarterback duel between Tom Savage and Chad Voytik in Pitt's Blue-Gold scrimmage Friday night didn't necessarily get their wish, but Voytik did his best to tighten any offseason quarterback competition.

Savage, who has been practicing with the first team all spring, played three series and sat out the entire second half.

Voytik, meanwhile, got eight series, including several with the first team, and looked like a quarterback intent on competing for the starting job.

In front of 3,642 fans at Bethel Park High School, Voytik finished 27 of 33 for 358 yards and three touchdowns. In limited action, Savage connected on 6 of 11 for 80 yards.

Chryst said the plan going in was to limit Savage to three or four series, since the fifth-year senior had received the bulk of the first-team work in Pitt's spring practices to this point.

"[Our goal was to] just give [Chad] snaps," Chryst said. "I didn't care if it was [with the] ones or twos, just give Chad a lot of work.

"Tommy's done a lot of good things this spring. We like where he's at and just thought it'd be good for Chad to get some good work tonight."

Voytik didn't let the opportunity go to waste.

His biggest throw came early in the second half of the scrimmage, when he hoisted a 65-yard pass to wide receiver Kevin Weatherspoon, who led all receivers with 11 catches for 175 yards.

"I remember I saw him and I was thinking there had to be a safety back there somewhere, but didn't see him," Voytik said.

"I just threw [to] him late, but it worked out."

Savage, who hasn't taken a competitive snap since 2010, said being pulled early did not bother him.

"Obviously, you want to go out there and play, but I think we got enough in the scrimmages and in the spring," he said. "Whatever Coach says goes, realistically, so I just follow whatever he says."

Pitt's first-team defense was playing with a slight disadvantage because four starters were missing.

Safety Jason Hendricks, linebacker Shane Gordon and safety Ray Vinopal were out with injury, and Aaron Donald missed the game to tend to a family matter.

With those players out and other regular starters resting after limited action, the offense took advantage.

Isaac Bennett led all rushers with 114 yards on 20 carries, including a 48-yard touchdown burst through the middle.

Malcolm Crockett gained 45 yards and a touchdown on 11 carries, and Desmond Brown rushed for 90 yards and one touchdown on 18 carries.

"I think everybody's like, 'Oh Rushel Shell left' and everything, but we've got Isaac Bennett and I feel real confident, real happy with him being back there," defensive lineman Tyrone Ezell said.

"We've got Desmond Brown and we've got Malcolm Crockett back there.

"So, I feel good with the running game."

After the first few series, the focus of the scrimmage was to rest the veteran players and let the younger players show what they can do in front of a crowd.

Tight end Scott Orndoff, an early enrollee who would be a senior at Seton-LaSalle this year, caught two touchdown passes from Voytik.

"I'm not going to lie, the touchdowns, they felt pretty nice," Orndoff said. "But I've got a lot of work to do this summer, got about 16 weeks until camp starts so I'm taking every minute of it."

NOTES -- Earlier in the day, the Panthers named offensive tackle T.J. Clemmings and defensive lineman Tyrone Ezell as the winners of the Ed Conway Award. The award is presented annually to one offensive player and one defensive player who are deemed to be the most improved through spring practices. Ezell is a two-time winner, having also won it in 2011.

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Sam Werner: swerner@post-gazette.com and Twitter @SWernerPG. First Published April 13, 2013 4:00 AM


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