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Pitt Football Training Camp Notebook: Aug. 10 - The Pitt News

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Pitt Football Training Camp Notebook: Aug. 10

By Dan Sostek / Sports Editor

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With a new head coach in Pat Narduzzi, an exciting crop of recruits, an electrifying offense and a new catch phrase to boot, Pitt football players are feeling that the 2015 season might be “it” for Pitt.

After a long offseason, the Panthers opened up their first training camp of the season on Monday at the UPMC Sports Performance Complex in South Side. With day one of practice under wraps, the camp notebook highlights the biggest storylines surrounding the team.


BOYD, BLAIR APOLOGIZE

Following offseason DUI charges, junior wide receiver Tyler Boyd and sophomore defensive end Rori Blair bothspoke publicly about their offenses for the first time.

“A couple of months ago, I made a dumb mistake,” Boyd said, referencing his June 16 arrest in Jefferson Hills. “We’re all gonna make mistakes. But one thing I strive for, and people around me always keep in my head, is to never make the same mistake twice. We’re gonna live and learn from this.”

Blair, who was charged in July with driving under the influence down Parkway East in March,expressed his regrets regarding his arrest.

“I apologize for my mistake I made. It was really immature of me,” Blair said. “I just want to say sorry to the whole world, and sorry for letting the University of Pitt[sburgh] down. I just want to make it better.”

Narduzzi suspended both Blair and Boyd for Pitt’s season opener against Youngstown State on Sept. 5.


BULLISH ABOUT OFFENSE

Members of Pitt’s offense are confident in the unit’s potential this season and didn’t mince words when discussing future success.

“I feel like we’re gonna be the top offense in the ACC,” Boyd said. “There’s a lot of talk going around saying ‘Clemson this, Clemson that.’ They’re a high-powered offense. So are we.”

Boyd’s optimism springs from the fact that Pitt returns three dynamic junior playmakers: himself, running back James Conner and quarterback Chad Voytik.

Voytik wasn’t as decisive as the star wideout, but also expressed his excitement for the offense.

“I think we can be the best offense in the ACC,” Voytik said. “That’s our goal. We’re looking to win ACC championships. With that hopefully comes the best offense and the best defense.”


FIRST PRACTICE FOR FRESHMEN

While Pitt’s freshmen players weren’t available to speak to the media, their teammates and coaches liked what they saw in the newcomers’ first on-field action as Panthers.

“They looked good,” Conner said about the freshmen. “They had their own period today. Coach is going to give those guys a fair opportunity to play and show us what they’ve got.”

Narduzzi was pleased with their performances, but said he wants to see more.

“I saw some good things here,” Narduzzi said. “But I’m not going to mention anybody by name until we watch the tape though, because I’ll miss somebody.”

Narduzzi highlighted specific plays that impressed him, including a pick-six by linebacker Anthony McKee and an impressive fade by quarterback Ben DiNucci.

Senior cornerback Lafayette Pitts said he is excited for the addition of Pitt’s top recruit, defensive back Jordan Whitehead, to the secondary.

“He’s a great athlete. He’s willing to learn,” Pitts said. “He asks a lot of questions. He’s already physically gifted, but he comes in a humble guy, willing to learn. He’s going to be a great guy.”

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Pitt Football Training Camp Notebook: Aug. 10