Pitt Spring Practice-Thursday

Redshirt junior DT Chas Alecxih

The Pitt defense clearly wasn't thrilled that it surrendered five touchdown passes during the Panthers' most recent scrimmage and followed that with a lackluster effort during practice Tuesday afternoon.

The result was a dominant physical peformance by the Pittsburgh blue-shirts during spring practice Thursday afternoon at the UPMC Sports Complex where the defense had the upper hand throughout the initial 11-on-11 team portion

The defense had the upper hand during the initial 11-on-11 (team) portion of Thursday's practice and maintained that edge throughout.

"It was a tough one today,'' fifth-year senior wideout Greg Cross said. "It was real physical. We got them a couple times later on with some deep balls, but they really didn't give up too much all day.''

Quarterback Tino Sunseri connected with wideout Jon Baldwin during the 7-on-7 drills, but that's about it for the major production during that period. Neither Sunseri nor Pat Bostick had much time to set up, however, and the running game had little room to operate as well.

"We wanted to pick things up today, and I think we looked pretty good,'' defensive tackle Chas Alecxih said. "We'll back off a bit (Friday). No pads. But we'll bring the wood for the scrimmage Saturday, so they better be ready.''

Redshirt freshman middle linebacker Shane Gordon intercepted Bostick early in the 11-on-11 drills, and there were several sacks recorded where the entire O-line appeared to be a step slow. A lengthy series of up-downs for the offense followed that initial butt-kicking by the defense, but it helped focus the offense.

During the next period, Sunseri connected with Cam Saddler down the sideline where the wideout extended himself to pull in the 25-yard connection. He also hooked up with Baldwin on a 40-yarder where the wideout split safety Jarred Holley and cornerback Antwuan Reed for the catch.

Sunseri also found Lewis open down the left sideline for 20 yards beyond the linebackers, while Bostick hit Cross for a long pass down the same side of the field with Buddy Jackson in decent coverage.

The big hit of the day was a combination crackup. Fullback Henry Hynoski caught a dump-off in the flat and turned upfield just as outside linebacker Tristan Roberts was squaring up for an open shot. The resulting collision was seismic in proportion.

In the red zone, there were a couple touchdowns. Lewis ran for a score and set up another where Sunseri rolled right from inside the 5 and took it in near the pilon. Redshirt freshman tailback Jason Douglas was not as fortunate, as several pops into the line generated little to no yardage.

And after his final stop, the most-spirited practice in a week came to an end.

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