Pitt Football: Defense rules day; offense progresses
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Round one went to the defense.
And that had Pitt defensive coordinator Keith Patterson in an extremely good mood Saturday after the Panthers' first spring scrimmage.
But what has him feeling even better about the defense is that it has not scratched the surface of how good it can be.
"I felt really good about it, we were very good about getting tackles for loss, we had nine of them [the first team]," Patterson said. "We were disruptive up front, but we knew that would be our strength [and] that allows our linebackers and secondary to run around and make plays. Overall, the execution was pretty good for a first scrimmage.
"We're having the opportunity to be able to create turnovers as it is an aggressive attacking [defense. The mistakes that we made] -- the good thing and encouraging thing about that is all of it is correctable."
Patterson said Pitt's defense will have three goals every game: Nine tackles for losses (which it accomplished Saturday), seven three-and-outs (they had four) and three turnovers (they had one).
The goal is simple: If Pitt forces seven three-and-outs and gets three turnovers, that will be 10 possessions where the defense will have completely shut down the opposing offense.
"That's how we measure success on defense," Patterson said. "We talked to the kids about the fact that we did a lot of good things, but we left the game in jeopardy because we forced only one turnover and we had only four three-and-outs.""
The offense did do some good things with nine plays of 25 yards or more, and offensive coordinator Calvin Magee said he was pleased with his unit's progress.
"The goal today was not to plan, it was to run the base offense," Magee said, "and we will grade really hard on the execution part of it. I want to see how we execute the offense [on film], not necessarily scheme, but the base stuff. And it picked up at the end.
"We've got to get a little faster, they understand it, but they have to give us the pace that we want."
Pitt was without 13 players, some of whom have been out all spring. Others, such as receiver Cam Saddler, who have minor injuries, were held out for precautionary reasons. ... Offensive lineman Brandon Sacco was excused to attend a wedding. ... At one point in the scrimmage, the Panthers were getting snaps off in about 15 seconds (from whistle to snap), but, as the day wore on, they slowed down. None of it was fast enough to please coach Todd Graham. "It went like I thought it would, I think we made a lot of progress," Graham said. "We were at a turtle's pace right now, I know you don't think it is, but it is, we're slow right now.". ... Ray Graham and the running backs had an excellent day, according to Magee and Todd Graham. "The one thing we did really well was run the inside zone," Graham said. ... Todd Graham also said the three guys on offense who have impressed him the most with their consistency were linemen Chris Jacobson, Lucas Nix and Jordan Gibbs.
First Published March 27, 2011 12:00 am