Brian Batko's Pitt football chat: 8.1.17
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Brian Batko
10:30
Good morning, everyone. First practice of my first full season on the beat, so looking forward to it. Thanks to everyone who's followed along since I took over late last year. Let's get into it, man...
Dean
10:31
I have seen guys arrested for DUI/crashing into parked cars while drunk get only a one game suspension under Duzz.  What in the world could Whitehead have done if his suspension in 3 times that of someone actually arrested?  Any insight?  Is this an accumulation of little things or did he do something insane?
Brian Batko
10:34
I think what we have here is a pattern that any layman can see, really. Legal issues such as the DUIs picked up by Alex Bookser in spring, Boyd & Blair (heh) a couple years back, had a certain level of punishment. Vague violations of team policy seem to be something else entirely, which is what's going on with Jordan Whitehead and Quintin Wirginis. I don't think either of them did something "insane" given that there's no evidence of that in court records, so it's left up to speculation.
Ape
10:34
Is anyone injured and still out to start?
Brian Batko
10:35
Nothing today that looked too alarming, other than of course Tre Tipton, who's out for the season. Despite Pat Narduzzi's rousing endorsement of Damar Hamlin's health a few weeks ago, he still appeared at least somewhat limited. Brian O'Neill might be a bit limited from his spring game injury as well, but Dewayne Hendrix and Elijah Zeise looked spry and full-go.
SOMDPanther
10:35
How is HCPN balancing the reps between the suspended, projected starters and their short term replacements?
Brian Batko
10:36
The half hour media members were just treated to around 9:10 can't quite give us a full answer to that, my friend. But Jordan Whitehead wasn't seen at practice this morning, Wirginis and Bookser were. Wirginis was not working with the first team, but he also wasn't listed as a starter on the pre-camp depth chart; Saleem Brightwell is at MLB. Jazzee Stocker is the de-faco "starting" free safety for now with no Whitehead, and part of me selfishly hopes that remains so that I can keep typing Jazzee.
Guest
10:37
Any idea who was filling in the For Tipton on 3 Wr sets
Brian Batko
10:38
Too early to tell on that, dear Guest. There wasn't much in the way of "sets" available to see, and I'm not sure at which point there will be. Have to think Aaron Mathews and Maurice Ffrench, maybe Rafael Araujo-Lopes, are first in line. Let's try a Twitter thing ...
10:39
Hi, Bryan. I see you're out there in Twitter land, not sure if you're here for the chat, but I'll answer the second part of your question anyway. Jazzee Stocker, Dennis Briggs at safeties, Phillipie Motley and Avonte Maddox at corner, but I think Motley will have plenty of competition opposite Maddox.
JV
10:39
Obvious question what's going on with Paris Ford?
Brian Batko
10:41
As far as we know, he's still doing what he can to become an NCAA qualifier. With college football training camps opening around the country, it's that time of year when coaches start announcing that some recruits aren't going to make it. I frankly have no idea when Pat Narduzzi might make a call on Ford one way or the other, because it's not up to him, it's up to the NCAA Clearinghouse at this point.
Church
10:41
Did anyone physically standout just based on a quick glance? Newcomer or returning guy that has changed their body
Brian Batko
10:43
I already kinda knew this from what I saw watching Last Chance U, but Kam Carter is huge. Looked every bit as tall as his listed 6-4 and maybe a little more lean than he was last year at EMCC. Allen Edwards the DE is still a chiseled dude and Dewayne Hendrix obviously has always looked the part, while I'm keeping with the D-line.
Jim S
10:44
Who comes out on top in the RB competition? Do you see one of the freshmen (Sibley or Davis) getting into the mix this season?
Brian Batko
10:46
That's a position battle I'm really interested in, because it just seems like there's so many different ways it can go. Everyone *cliche alert* in that room came in with a fairly lofty reputation. I just have a hunch that it will be tough to keep Todd Sibley off the field, but they also have the luxury of not really needing either freshman if the older guys stay healthy.
Chris
10:47
Redshirt freshman who will make the biggest impact this year?
Brian Batko
10:48
I'll say Keyshon Camp, because I'll be pretty surprised if he doesn't start at defensive tackle. He was there today with Amir Watts next to him on the first-team D. Camp has garnered plenty of praise from Narduzzi whenever that position group comes up, and we all probably know he was a four-star prospect out of high school.
SOMDPanther
10:49
With no DeMatha Gentleman & Scholars on this year's squad, and plenty of trouble making WPIALers, give us a few players who will be easy to root for in 2017, please.
Brian Batko
10:50
I don't necessarily agree with the premise of your question, sir, but I'll humor you. Todd Sibley was really impressive in talking to him last week at the Mel Blount Youth Home. Not sure how you can't get behind a former walk-on turned productive starter in Seun Idowu (WPIAL guy).

Ironically enough, Jeremiah Taleni and Rori Blair had inspiring back stories and journeys to Pitt, and yet, there they go ...
H2P
10:51
Did any freshman really standout today?
Brian Batko
10:51
Not really, but some of them got yelled at by Narduzzi
Money
10:51
Is TE Clarke in drills?
Brian Batko
10:51
Yes, Chris Clark is around and looks healthy - but for him, it'll be about staying healthy
Bill
10:52
Any chance to split the PSU and OSU games, or does it look like 0-2 as Bob Pompeani suggested the other day?
Brian Batko
10:53
It's looking pretty grim now, Bill. No Jordan Whitehead in the secondary for either one, and to a lesser significance, no Quintin Wirginis either. Naturally, both of those teams were a tall task to begin with, and now Pitt will be short-handed. But hey, there's always a chance, right?
Jack R. Skellington
10:53
Any word on changes to gameday activities? Love to see Sweet Caroline go, and it'd be lovely to hear the band for once.
Brian Batko
10:54
The Tailgate Guys will be at your service (for a fee, as far as I know). I'm assuming Sweet Caroline isn't going anywhere; I've been inclined to believe it never would.
Cathedral Mouse
10:54
Is Hamlin practicing? if yes, how does he look? If no, why not?
Brian Batko
10:54
He's out there, which is more than he was in spring camp. But he was still working out on the sideline while teammates were going through more rigorous drills, so that's an indicator he's not 100 percent just yet. But seems like he's getting there.
Pope
10:55
what will it take for Pitt to get an campus stadium?  I just really believe Pitt needs this to compete with the top tier college programs for recruiting.
Brian Batko
10:55
Now we even have the Pope calling for an on-campus stadium. It's the first chat of the year!
Jim
10:56
When is the absolute latest the Ford can become eligible?
Brian Batko
10:58
I'm not entirely sure, given my lack of NCAA eligibility bylaw expertise, but I would think it can't be too much longer. I've seen guys get ruled eligible rather late in the game on the basketball side, but football seems dicier as you get into August.
MHM
10:58
It seemed to me Briggs was a liability last year.  Surprised no one seems to be able to pass him.  Guess with Whitehead out need his experience??
Brian Batko
11:00
Not only that, but he's also slotting into the strong safety spot Whitehead occupied last year. Narduzzi's all about stopping the run, and Briggs might be best-suited to help in that regard. Whitehead, once back, is more likely to take over the free safety spot and then ostensibly you'll have two run-stoppers as your last line of defense.

Jazzee
11:01
OK, with that, I'm gonna call it a chat. Pat Narduzzi has a number of things to address after practice, eh? That should be in about a half hour, give or take. Thanks to everyone who participated today, sorry if I couldn't get to your question, but great turnout for our first one. We'll do it again soon.
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