Pitt makes several position changes

March, 14, 2012
3/14/12
3:00
PM ET
Pitt has moved several players around with spring practice set to start Thursday. You can catch up with the spring prospectus the Panthers issued today.

Here are the most notable position changes:

Anthony Gonzalez. Played H-back last season, and is now being moved back to quarterback.

E.J. Banks. Played cornerback last season after transferring in from Notre Dame and is now at quarterback, a position he played at nearby Mountour High.

Brandon Ifill. Played safety last season and is now at receiver — the position he played at nearby Penn Hills High.

Aaron Donald. Donald played inside and outside last season but ended the year as the starting defensive end. He is expected to work inside at tackle in the 4-3 scheme now being used.

Jack Lippert. Moved from offensive line to defensive tackle.

LaQuentin Smith. Played linebacker last season but is at defensive end.

Devin Cook. Moving from linebacker to defensive line.

Jason Frimpong. Moving from defensive back to linebacker.

Adam Lazenga. Moving from linebacker to fullback.

Justin Virbitsky. Moving from tight end to offensive line.

Steve Williams. Moving from running back to defensive back.

Coach Paul Chryst held a pre-spring news conference Thursday afternoon and addressed some of the changes, saying several of the players had approached him about making the switches.

"My approach on that was I didn't know enough to say you should stay here because there's a great fit or you wouldn't be a fit somewhere else," Chryst said. "If a guy wants to be somewhere else, he's not going to do as well at that other spot. They've got to be all in. Some will prove they made the right move, there's others that will say OK I tried it. I think there will be some flux there."

Also of note from the spring prospectus, Dan Mason is listed in the competition for middle linebacker. Mason is ready to practice after sitting out all of last season recovering from a serious knee injury sustained against Miami in September 2010.

"I'm anxious to see how it goes," Chryst said. "I think he's anxious to see. That will be an ongoing story this spring, but I've got a lot of respect and appreciation from understanding his situation to how he's going through it. It's pretty neat and hopefully it ends up being a good thing for Dan, which would be good for us."

Several transfers are also eligible for this season: receiver Brendon Felder (North Carolina); offensive lineman Tom Ricketts (Penn State) safety Ray Vinopal (Michigan); and cornerback Cullen Christian (Michigan).

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