Sights and sounds: Intensity in the air as Pitt’s training camp moves indoors

PITTSBURGH – Pitt football is officially located on the South Side at the moment, with the team moving into a hotel near the UPMC Rooney Sports Complex, and as head coach Pat Narduzzi said, camp is in full swing.

Practice moved indoors Friday, following a day off Thursday, with some new banners adorning the inside of the indoor compound signifying Pitt’s 2021 ACC championship and the history of Pitt’s major trophy winners. If the intensity of Friday’s practice game available to the media is any indication, Pitt wants to add a few more banners.

Secondary coach Archie Collins executed his drills with an added level of shooting, and the defensive backs responded in kind. PJ O’Brien, after a good performance on Wednesday during exercises made available to the media, was particularly violent. The 6-foot, 185-pound sophomore may be Erick Hallett’s best on-court safety replacement so far this summer.

The linebackers’ battle to replace starters linebacker Money and Star has been Pitt’s biggest defensive storyline all offseason, and it’s only continued to take shape in camp. SirVocea Dennis is locked in to Mike, even though he can play all three places in the scheme.

Bangally Kamara at Money and Solomon DeShields at Star have emerged in spring training, and Aydin Henningham and Tylar Wiltz have both impressed so far this summer. Having options isn’t exactly the worst option to have, especially since Pitt’s linebacker depth was a concern just a few months ago.

It’s not the deepest unit in the team, but when Shayne Simon is traded and already looks like a veteran in the system, it’s clear that Pitt could be much worse.

Samuel Okunlola, Sean FitzSimmons — and high school Ryland Gandy — have impressed the coaching staff since enrolling in high school, but they’re all still very, very, very new to the system. The learning curve is steep, but with the vigilance of defensive line coach Charlie Partridge, it’s probably sooner rather than later.

Pitt’s defensive linemen are big. They’ve always been a stacked unit, but this unit looks notably bigger, stronger, and faster than it did a few months ago during Spring Sessions.

And for some offensive highlights, here are some of the wide receivers catching balls from Eli Kosanovich. I will be very interested to see how Che Nwabuko fits into the system, along with Addison Copeland, one of the first registrants.

Jared Wayne and Konata Mumpfield are legit, but I’m expecting a big season from Jaden Bradley. He worked with wide receiver coach Tiquan Underwood to channel his passion into on-field production, and he certainly looks like the role of a Power Five wide receiver at 6-foot-3, 195 pounds.

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