Friday, August 19, 2011
Big East practice report
By Andrea Adelson
Taking a look at practice around the league.
Cincinnati: Three more freshmen had the stripes removed from their helmets -- Brandon Mitchell, Daniel Murray and Chris Moore. Running back Akise Teague (hamstring) remains out. The secondary, one of the biggest problem areas on the defense last season, remains a work in progress. "We have to continue to challenge them and we haven’t challenged them as much as we would like to," coach Butch Jones said. "So over the next couple of days, you will see us really challenge them on the perimeter. We will challenge them by blocking, deep balls, mental toughness and fighting through being tired." Cornerback Reuben Johnson has been moved to nickelback.
Connecticut: In addition to Jordan Todman, the Huskies must replace fullback Anthony Sherman. Mark Hinkley and Reuben Frank are trying to fill those shoes. They have different styles -- Frank is more of a prototypical back, while Hinkley is a converted linebacker who is more of a blocking back. Hinkley is currently No. 1 on the depth chart.
Louisville: Here is more on the quarterbacks on the roster from C.L. Brown of the Louisville Courier-Journal.
Pitt: Coach Todd Graham has made it a point throughout the camp to make sure his players understand they have to earn their spots. The offensive line remains a work in progress. So does the starting linebacker group. Meanwhile, Graham said he will make a decision about a backup quarterback after the scrimmage Saturday. There was a scary moment during practice when freshman receiver Darius Patton passed out. He was taken to the hospital and appears to be fine.
Rutgers: Coach Greg Schiano hopes a Saturday scrimmage will help re-energize his team and bring some answers at tailback and the defensive line. Running back Jawan Jamison, for one, understands the importance after missing a chunk of practice with a hamstring injury. He has looked good in his return.
Syracuse: Special teams is going to get a good look at the scrimmage Saturday, specifically at punter. Walk-on Shane Raupers and freshman Jonathan Fisher are competing for the job. They are trying to replace four-year starter Rob Long. ... Offensive line coach Greg Adkins needs gallbladder surgery.
USF: Receiver Evan Landi has gotten more work as a hybrid receiver and tight end, and could eventually just play tight end. Offensive coordinator Todd Fitch told The St. Petersburg Times: "He's 225 pounds right now, but he could be probably 245 in a year. Where his body's going, what makes him the best player possible, what fits our offense, we took a look at it. You get him matched up with those linebackers and he's what you call a mismatch."
West Virginia: Tyler Bitancurt has won the starting kicking job. "It was pretty clear-cut," coach Dana Holgorsen said. "He’s kicking the ball well. I told Corey [Smith] to quit acting like a kicker and to start focusing on being a punter. Hopefully that will help him. He hasn’t been punting poorly, but if he focuses on that, hopefully we’ll get a little better." Holgorsen has not settled on a kickoff specialist yet. On the injury front, Julian Miller (ankle) is still day-to-day, and receiver Brad Starks remains out.
The running back competition has been one of the biggest in fall camp, but the Charleston Gazette reports that Andrew Buie has now moved to the top of the depth chart, ahead of Dustin Garrison and Vernard Roberts.