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  College Player Notes by School: Pittsburgh  
Previous 25 Pittsburgh Notes Next 25 Pittsburgh Notes

10/03/15 - (RB) - Qadree Ollison, rFr, 6-1, 230
Pittsburgh redshirt freshman running back Qadree Ollison rushed for 122 yards and a touchdown in a 17-13 victory over Virginia Tech at Lane Stadium in Blacksburg, Va., in an Atlantic Coast Conference game on Saturday. The Panthers (3-1, 1-0) won for the sixth time in seven meetings with the Hokies, but this was their first victory on Tech's home field since 2002. Ollison ran for gains of 43 and 25 yards on the first two plays of the second half. He crossed the goal line on the second carry to put Pitt ahead 17-7 with 14:15 remaining in the third quarter. The Panthers defense held the Hokies (2-3, 0-1) to 100 total yards. Pitt sacked Tech quarterback Brenden Motley seven times and recorded three interceptions. The Hokies managed two second-half field goals by Joey Slye, one from 43 yards with 6:03 remaining in the third quarter and the other from 48 yards early in the fourth quarter. Pitt scored 10 straight points to start the game. - The Sports Xchange


09/24/15 - (QB) - Nate Peterman, rJr, 6-2, 225
Pitt coach Pat Narduzzi is sticking with Nate Peterman at quarterback. Narduzzi said Wednesday that Peterman will make a second straight start next week when the Panthers (2-1) travel to Virginia Tech. Peterman, a graduate transfer from Tennessee, completed 20 of 29 passes for 209 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions last Saturday in a 27-24 loss to Iowa. Narduzzi said Peterman played a "very, very solid game" against the Hawkeyes. Peterman led Pitt on a 75-yard scoring drive to tie the game with 52 seconds remaining before the Hawkeyes pulled it out on a last-second kick. Chad Voytik, whose 15-start streak ended against the Hawkeyes, will remain the backup. Voytik completed 1 of 2 passes in a brief appearance last Saturday. - AP Sports


09/21/15 - (WR) - *Tyler Boyd, Jr, 6-1, 197
SEPT 21 ACC RECEIVER OF THE WEEK: Tyler Boyd, Pitt, Jr., WR, 6-2, 200, Clairton, Pa.,...Boyd had 10 receptions for 131 yards, including the game-tying touchdown catch with 52 seconds left in the Panthers’ 27-24 road loss at Iowa. Boyd had three catches for 32 yards on the game-tying drive, including one that converted a fourth down. With his second consecutive game with 10 or more catches, Boyd moved into second all-time at Pitt with 184 career receptions and is only 18 shy of the record held by Devin Street (202 receptions from 2010-13). Boyd, who posted the 12th 100-yard receiving game of his 28-game collegiate career, is the nation’s active career leader in receptions per game (6.57), and ranks third in receiving yards per game (95.0) and all-purpose yards per game (140.89). He is the ACC leader in each of those categories. - ACC Football


09/14/15 - (DT) - Tyrique Jarrett, Jr, 6-2, 335
SEPT 14 ACC CO-DEFENSIVE LINEMAN OF THE WEEK: Tyrique Jarrett, Pitt, Jr., DT, 6-3, 335, Pittsburgh, Pa.,...Jarrett spearheaded a Pitt defensive effort that limited Akron to just 110 total yards in Saturday’s 24-7 win. The Panthers’ junior had three tackles for losses (eight yards) among his five total stops. When he was not making tackles, Jarrett was a disruptive force by plugging up running lanes. He played a major role in the Zips netting just 47 rush yards on 24 carries (just less than 2.0 yards per carry.). - ACC Football


09/13/15 - (QB) - Nate Peterman, rJr, 6-2, 225
PITTSBURGH (2-0, 0-0)...Game: Pittsburgh 24, Akron 7. The Panthers turned to freshman RB Qadree Ollison for 81 yards on the ground and a touchdown in the road victory. Wet conditions might have limited the offenses, but at least the Panthers were strong on defense. Takeaway: The Panthers might feel they're already ahead of schedule after avenging a 2014 loss by defeating Akron. But they'll need more development from key players as they move on after the stunning news after the opener that standout RB James Conner is out for the season. QB Nate Peterman, a redshirt junior, threw for his first touchdown pass in the game against Akron.

With that, it's clear how many unproven players the Panthers will be counting on in the coming weeks. Peterman is a transfer from Tennessee, so he has worked his way into the quarterback mix alongside incumbent QB Chad Voytik. This could be a bit of a risky maneuver by first-year coach Pat Narduzzi, who is pointing toward a two-quarterback system for the time being. The offense will need to be more productive. Without Conner, there might be new avenues explored because the Panthers have been underwhelming despite picking up a pair of victories. Next: at Iowa, Sept. 19. - The Sports Xchange

09/13/15 - (WR) - *Tyler Boyd, Jr, 6-1, 197
FIVE BIGGEST TAKEAWAYS FROM WEEK 2 IN THE ACC: 4. Pittsburgh could struggle on offense without the expected lineup, particularly with the loss of RB James Conner for the rest of the season. - The Sports Xchange


09/13/15 - (QB) - Nate Peterman, rJr, 6-2, 225
Nate Peterman passed for a career-high 148 yards and threw his first college touchdown Saturday as Pittsburgh pulled away for a 24-7 victory over the Zips. Mid-American Conference member Akron stunned the Panthers 21-10 last Sept. 27 at Heinz Field, but could not repeat the feat at home. "Last year, it was the upset, so this year we had to get them back," Pitt defensive end Rori Blair said. "That's all we talked about - we want to eat, we want to beat them - because we were so hungry. Now that we got Akron back, we want to eat all the way to the ACC championship." Tennessee transfer Peterman completed 12 of 17 attempts for 148 yards, including an 18-yard score to J.P. Holtz, after relieving starter Chad Voytik in the second quarter.

Voytik went 6 of 8 for 32 yards, but Panthers coach Pat Narduzzi said he will continue to use a two-quarterback rotation next week at Iowa. "I think we've got two really good quarterbacks, so why wouldn't use both of them to help us," Narduzzi said. "Last week (in a 45-37 win over Youngstown State), we went with Chad More. Today, we just felt like Nathan was a little hotter." Redshirt freshman Qadree Ollison rushed for 81 yards and a touchdown as Pitt (2-0) outplayed the Zips (0-2) at waterlogged InfoCision Stadium. A soaking rain began two hours before kickoff and continued the entire game. - AP Sports

09/09/15 - (OLB) - Nicholas Grigsby, rSr, 6-0, 220
SEPT 8 ACC LINEBACKER OF THE WEEK: Nicholas Grigsby, Pitt, OLB, Sr.-r, 6-1, 220, Trotwood, Ohio,...Grigsby delivered a a high-impact day in the Panthers’ 45-37 win over Youngstown State, compiling 10 tackles, two quarterback sacks and three total tackles for loss – all career highs. He also broke up a pass and registered one quarterback hurry. Grigsby’s TFLs resulted in 19 total lost yards. - ACC Football


09/09/15 - (CB) - Avonte Maddox, So, 5-09, 170
SEPT 8 ACC SPECIALIST OF THE WEEK: Avonte Maddox, Pitt, So., DB, 5-9, 170, Detroit, Mich.,...Maddox made the most crucial special teams play of the game in helping Pitt turn back persistent Youngstown State. Following a YSU touchdown interception return that pulled the Penguins to within 17-13 with 48 seconds to go until halftime, Maddox took the ensuing kickoff 89 yards for a touchdown to put the Panthers back up by double digits. It marked Pitt’s first kickoff return for a touchdown in four years. Maddox, who battled leg cramps during the game, averaged 46.7 yards on three kick returns (140 yards). - ACC Football


09/09/15 - (RB) - Qadree Ollison, rFr, 6-1, 230
SEPT 8 ACC ROOKIE OF THE WEEK: Qadree Ollison, Pitt, r-Fr., RB, 6-2, 230, Niagara Falls, N.Y.,...Ollison ripped off 207 yards and a touchdown on just 16 carries – all in the second half – after entering Saturday’s 45-37 win over Youngstown State following injuries to James Conner and Chris James. Ollison set a Pitt record for rushing yards by a freshman in a season opener (the prior mark was held by Dion Lewis, who had 129 against Youngstown State in 2009). Ollison’s first career carry was a 46-yard sprint and his third carry was a 71-yard touchdown. He later added a 52-yard run and finished the game averaging 12.9 yards per carry. - ACC Football


09/09/15 - (RB) - James Conner, Jr, 6-2, 240
Pitt RB James Conner's NFL projection on hold after tearing MCL...The 2014 ACC Player of the Year, Pittsburgh junior running back James Conner suffered a torn MCL on Saturday in the Panthers season opening win over Youngstown State. The injury requires surgery and he is expected to miss the remainder of the 2015 season. Conner is currently ranked as the No. 5 draft-eligible running back prospect by NFLDraftScout.com and a projected top-100 draft pick. But the knee injury puts his draft status on hold. “I greatly appreciate everyone's support and well wishes,” Conner said in a statement released by the school. “This is a temporary setback and I'm going to work even harder to bounce back. Even though I won't be able to play this season, I'm going to be right beside my teammates and help them every way I can to have a great season.”

At 6-2 and 240 pounds, Conner is more of a throwback-style runner, using his brute power and toughness to run over defenders and break tackles. He does have deceiving athleticism to occasionally win the edge and make defenders miss in space, although he is a player who will do most of his damage as an inside runner. He has only nine catches in his career, but was expected to be used more as a receiver this season. Conner, who finished the 2014 season with a school-record 1,765 rushing yards and 26 touchdowns, has already touched the ball 461 times in his career and after another physical season in 2015, many expected him to jump to the NFL while there is still tread on his tires. But the knee injury puts his NFL future in limbo as he'll need to decide whether to return to Pitt in 2016 or make the jump to the next level despite missing the season with an injury. - Dane Brugler, NFLDraftScout.com

09/09/15 - (RB) - James Conner, Jr, 6-2, 240
The play looked innocent on tape. James Conner took the handoff from Chad Voytik, ran to his right and lunged for a 9-yard gain and a Pittsburgh first down. Moments later, the reigning ACC Player of the Year limped toward the sideline favoring his right knee. A day later, what appeared to be a minor tweak turned into something far more serious. The junior will miss the rest of the season after tearing the MCL in the knee, a shocking blow for a program in search of good mojo under first-year coach Pat Narduzzi and a player with designs on heading to the NFL next spring. Conner will undergo surgery sometime this week after tests on Sunday revealed the extent of the damage.

"They say if you can find a path with no obstacles it probably doesn't lead anywhere," Conner posted on Instagram on Monday. "I came too far and beat adversity before in life and I'm ready to do it again." Narduzzi initially held Conner out of the remainder of Pitt's 45-37 victory over Youngstown State as a precaution, saying Conner could have gone back in if the Panthers were facing an ACC opponent. Conner briefly wrapped his knee in ice after getting hurt, but ditched it after halftime while serving as a de facto cheerleader and mentor while redshirt freshman Qadree Ollison ran for 207 yards and a score as Pitt hung on in Narduzzi's head coaching debut. - AP Sports

09/09/15 - (RB) - James Conner, Jr, 6-2, 240
Pittsburgh running back Qadree Ollison insists he has no problem sitting third on the depth chart behind James Conner. Conner, after all, is a star and the reigning ACC Player of the Year. Ollison is a redshirt freshman simply trying to find his way. That way led to the school record book on Saturday and almost certainly a higher spot in the pecking order. With Conner limited with a minor right knee injury and wide receiver Tyler Boyd serving a one-game suspension, Ollison ran for 207 yards and a score as the Panthers and first-year coach Pat Narduzzi narrowly avoided a second-half meltdown in a 45-37 victory over Youngstown State.

"Coach Narduzzi is always preaching next man up and we always preach that in the running back room," Ollison said. "We're all about equal to each other. We believe anybody can go in there and get the job done if James goes down." Conner scored on runs of 13 and 4 yards in the first quarter before tweaking his right knee. Narduzzi held the junior out as a precaution, relying instead on the 6-foot-2, 230-pound Ollison, whose rushing total was the highest ever by a Panther in his debut. Pitt needed just about every one of those yards to avoid being upset by the Penguins for the second time in four years. Youngstown State stunned Pitt in the 2012 opener to spoil Paul Chryst's first game in charge with the Panthers. - AP Sports

08/31/15 - (RB) - James Conner, Jr, 6-2, 240
The quote is saved on James Conner's phone, a permanent reminder of the stakes. He sees it whenever he logs in, meaning the running back's eyes glaze over it dozens of times a day. Its presence is comforting in a way, a mental security blanket just in case the Pittsburgh star begins to get ahead of himself. It reads "Don't give up what you want most for what you want now." It replaced Ray Lewis as his screensaver a while ago, when the big kid with the ever-churning legs figured out his destiny lay in trying to run opponents over, not run them down. The NFL became a real, living, breathing thing to Conner in 2014 when he mashed his way to 1,765 yards rushing, 26 total touchdowns and the ACC Player of the Year award. He had always been good. Growing up in Erie, Pa. with four older brothers, Conner always believed he was tough. He had to be if he wanted to become something more than the family mascot. What took time for him to believe is that he could be special.

At some point last fall, maybe it was when he treated three Duke players with the same lack of respect a 3-year-old shows for his toys while throwing them aside for his third and final score in an overtime loss on Nov. 1, the switch flipped. He was no longer a prodigy but a full-blown player. "I looked around and I'm putting up numbers with other great backs," Conner said. "It sort of became like, 'Now you need to handle yourself more professionally, take things more seriously and you've got a real opportunity.'" Hence the daily reminder just a swipe of his finger away. "A lot of people do things for the moment instead of thinking long term," Conner said. "I've been trying to find that balance." - AP Sports

08/11/15 - (WR) - *Tyler Boyd, Jr, 6-1, 197
Pittsburgh wide receiver Tyler Boyd says a DUI that's costing him an appearance in the season opener was a "real dumb mistake." The two-time 1,000-yard receiver with potential of being picked in the top 10 in the NFL draft says Monday as training camp opened that he doesn't want to find himself in the same situation again. "We're always going to make mistakes," Boyd said. "One thing I strive for and the people around me always keep in my head, you never make the same mistake twice." Boyd is serving a 12 month probation. He was charged with DUI on June 16. Boyd is the first receiver in ACC history to post 1,000-yard receiving seasons as a freshman and sophomore. He was named to the All-ACC preseason first team last month.

Defensive lineman Rori Blair will also miss the Sept. 5 opener against Youngstown State after being charged with DUI and driving at unsafe speeds. He led the Panthers with 5 1/2 sacks last season. Authorities say he was driving 117 mph late at night in March. Head coach Pat Narduzzi did not announce the suspensions until last week, but made clear the team knew about the discipline earlier in the summer. Narduzzi said his philosophy in these circumstances is to immediately discipline players but keep the focus on the games. "You only get 12 opportunities and every one is precious," Narduzzi said. "To miss a game, that's all we need to talk about. We're on to the season." - AP Sports

08/06/15 - (WR) - *Tyler Boyd, Jr, 6-1, 197
Pittsburgh coach Pat Narduzzi has announced wide receiver Tyler Boyd and defensive end Rori Blair are suspended for the Sept. 5 opener against Youngstown State. Boyd, a 1,000-yard receiver in each of his first two seasons at Pitt, was charged with DUI in June. The All-Atlantic Coast Conference first-team selection was pulled over in June south of Pittsburgh. Boyd told police he had two shots of alcohol. Blair, who led the Panthers with 5.5 sacks in 2014, was charged with driving under the influence of a drug after he was clocked at 117 mph in March. Narduzzi said the players will be subject to additional internal discipline. The first-year coach said the situations are "very disappointing" and that both players expressed remorse. - AP Sports


07/30/15 - (WR) - *Tyler Boyd, Jr, 6-1, 197
Pitt WR Boyd sentenced to probation in DUI case...Pittsburgh star wide receiver Tyler Boyd was sentenced to 12 months of probation on Friday as punishment for driving under the influence. Boyd also had his driver's license revoked for 90 days, and Allegheny County Common Pleas Judge Robert Gallo ordered the 20-year-old to complete a safe-driving program. Boyd was pulled over June 12 in a Pittsburgh suburb and told police he had two shots of alcohol. He was arrested after taking a Breathalyzer test and later released into the custody of a family member. In addition to the DUI charge, Boyd was accused of underage drinking, careless driving and driving on the wrong side of the road. New Pitt coach Pat Narduzzi had suspended Boyd from team activities for a month, and the receiver rejoined the Panthers last week. Boyd was a first-team All-ACC pick as a sophomore last season after catching 78 passes for 1,261 yards and eight touchdowns. Boyd, considered a possible first-round NFL draft pick in 2016, has 163 receptions for 2,435 yards and 15 scores in two years at Pitt. - The Sports Xchange


07/30/15 - (WR) - *Tyler Boyd, Jr, 6-1, 197
Pittsburgh wide receiver Tyler Boyd entered a first-time offenders program Friday following his arrest for driving under the influence last month. Allegheny County Common Pleas judge Robert Gallo also ordered Boyd's driver's license suspended for 90 days and required Boyd to complete a safe driving program. Boyd can ask Gallo to expunge the DUI charge against him if Boyd successfully completes the programs and pays court costs. Boyd, an All-ACC first-team selection in 2014, was pulled over in the early hours of June 12 in Jefferson Hills, about 30 minutes south of Pittsburgh. Boyd told police he had two shots of alcohol. Pitt coach Pat Narduzzi suspended Boyd from team activities for a month. Boyd, who is from Clairton, rejoined the Panthers last week. - AP Sports


07/20/15 - (WR) - *Tyler Boyd, Jr, 6-1, 197
Pittsburgh star wide receiver Tyler Boyd has waived his right to a preliminary hearing on drunken driving charges and several related citations and hopes to enter a probation program for first-time offenders, his defense attorney said Wednesday. If Boyd is accepted into and eventually completes the probation program, which doesn't require a guilty plea, he can then ask the court to expunge the record of his June 12 arrest in Jefferson Hills, defense attorney Daniel Konieczka told The Associated Press. Police in the suburb just south of Pittsburgh stopped Boyd about 2:30 a.m. after he allegedly tried to pass another car in an intersection, which is illegal in Pennsylvania.

Because Boyd is 20 and not yet old enough to drink legally in Pennsylvania, he can be charged with drunken driving even if he had less than the .08 percent blood-alcohol limit that's considered legally drunk for drivers 21 and older. Boyd told police he had "two shots" during the evening and took breath and blood tests before he was released to a family member that night, police said. Court records show he has also been cited for purchasing alcohol as a minor; operating a vehicle with alcohol in his system while a minor; careless driving; failing to use a turn signal; and approaching an intersection improperly. - AP Sports

06/13/15 - (WR) - *Tyler Boyd, Jr, 6-1, 197
Pitt WR Boyd arrested for DUI...Pittsburgh receiver Tyler Boyd, considered a possible first-round NFL draft pick in 2016, was arrested for driving under the influence Friday morning in Jefferson Hills, Pa. Boyd, 20, told police he had two shots after watching the NBA Finals, according to KDKA-TV. He was arrested after taking a Breathalyzer test and later released into the custody of a family member, KDKA reported. Pitt coach Pat Narduzzi released a statement Saturday, saying: "Tyler's situation is both serious and disappointing. We have high expectations for the young men in our program, on and off the field. Tyler understands that and knows he must be responsible for his actions. Certainly, he will be held accountable to our internal standards of discipline and behavior." Boyd, who will be a junior next season, caught 78 passes for 1,261 yards and eight touchdowns last season and has 163 receptions for 2,435 yards and 15 scores in two years at Pitt. - The Sports Xchange


05/04/15 - (OT) - T.J. Clemmings, rSr, 6-5, 309
A closer look at the Vikings' 10 picks: Round 4/110 - T.J. Clemmings, OT, 6-5, 309, Pittsburgh...This could be the best value pick on the board for Clemmings. He was rated much higher by many scouts and draft experts, but concerns about a stress fracture in his foot caused him to drop. He projects as a backup right tackle with the potential to be the swing tackle. - The Sports Xchange


05/04/15 - (OT) - T.J. Clemmings, rSr, 6-5, 309
The Vikings also went out on a limb to pick up offensive line help. NFLDraftScout.com projected first-rounder T.J. Clemmings grew to near prototypical offensive tackle size at 6-5, 309 pounds. But he almost didn't grow up to be a football player at all. In fact, he didn't play football until his junior year in high school. "I didn't play because my mom didn't understand the sport," said Clemmings, the Vikings' fourth-round pick from Pittsburgh. "She saw it to be extremely - not extremely - dangerous. That's how she felt and she never really wanted me to play." After all, he was one heck of a basketball player and could have played basketball in college. "I was still playing basketball and having fun with basketball," he said. "She changed her mind my junior year when I asked. My dad said, 'Hey, let him play,' and they allowed me to."

Clemmings could end up being the best value pick on the Vikings' board this year. Several scouts and NFL draft experts had him rated much higher, but he tumbled to the fourth round because of concerns about a foot stress fracture. "There was a concern with my foot," he said. "But I have no concerns with my so-called injury." Clemmings projects as a backup right tackle who could become a swing tackle and possibly become the heir apparent to right tackle Phil Loadholt. - The Sports Xchange

04/22/15 - (WR) - *Tyler Boyd, Jr, 6-1, 197
Pittsburgh's first-year head coach Pat Narduzzi stressed knowledge as a key tenet to the success of the football program he looks to build. The Panthers concluded their spring practice period with the team's Blue-Gold spring game on Saturday. As the new coaching staff installed its systems on offense, defense and special teams, the players began gaining the knowledge Narduzzi hopes allows them to play well in the fall. After 15 practices, the players also know a little bit more about their new coach. "I think we all know his expectations now and the energy he expects and that he's not kidding when he says he wants to win a championship," quarterback Chad Voytik said. "A lot of guys may say that as a energizer. He means it. He wants to win a championship and he thinks that we can."

The Panthers have some way to go before they can realize their head coach's lofty expectations. "I hope they learned that I'm with them," Narduzzi said. "It's not the players against coaches. We're not just going to sit out on the field and watch them run. We want to run with them." Voytik, wide receiver Tyler Boyd and defending ACC Player of the Year James Conner led the Blue team to a 17-10 victory. Voytik completed 11 of 24 passes for 177 yards and a touchdown. Boyd caught six passes for 112 yards and had the game's longest play with a 46-yard catch. Boyd enters his junior season as arguably the ACC's top receiver and describes his new coach as honest after the last month's work. "He's a pretty straight, up-front guy," Boyd said. "He will never mislead you. ... He's going to tell you what he wants out of a player and he's going to let you know what he wants as a coach." - AP Sports

04/22/15 - (QB) - Chad Voytik, rJr, 6-1, 215
Chad Voytik is prepping for his second season as the starting quarterback at Pittsburgh, but in so many ways it seems like his first. The impending junior knows what to expect once the competition begins on September 5 against Youngstown State, but it is the preparation under the offensive staff that joined new head coach Pat Narduzzi where Voytik needs to find his way. "It kind of feels the same with the new offense," Voytik said. "I am kind of back to square one. I kind of felt like a freshman. As far as my knowledge of the defense and overall IQ, it has helped me a lot this spring. I know why we are running a certain concept if we see a certain coverage and I can attack that."

Another concept that is new to Voytik: entering Saturday's Blue-Gold game as the entrenched starter. New coach Pat Narduzzi brought back the traditional spring wrap up - with a twist - after former coach Paul Chryst opted for a series of scrimmages last year. Narduzzi brought in former Pitt stars Larry Fitzgerald and Aaron Donald to serve as honorary coaches for the game, with teams selected during a live player draft. Voytik will be surrounded by familiar faces in the huddle, with junior wide receiver Tyler Boyd and running back James Conner joining him on Fitzgerald's team. "It is going to be nice to be out there and get a crowd out there and have Fitzgerald and Donald come out," Voytik said. "That will be cool. It puts guys in a game situation. We have had all spring to evaluate our play. This is kind of the grand evaluation. You see what you have learned and how you can execute it." - AP Sports

04/22/15 - (RB) - James Conner, Jr, 6-2, 240
Pitt junior running back James Conner is a workhorse. In his sophomore year, he reset the record books with 26 rushing touchdowns and his 1,765 yards rushing were the fourth-highest total in school history. Yet for all of Conner's heavy workload - he averaged nearly 23 carries a game - there was something missing. The reigning ACC Offensive Player of the Year had only five catches for 70 receiving yards. It's a stat both Conner and first-year offensive coordinator Jim Chaney would like to improve in 2015. "It was obvious when I came out of the game what was going to happen," Conner said. "I will still get my fair share of carries. I need to just try to expand my game."

Conner said he didn't have extensive knowledge of the passing offense a year ago. Conner figured his main job was to ground and pound his way through any defense that was thrown at him. He is working to fix that during spring drills. "I had a little trouble learning the playbook," Conner said. "My role was to be successful running the ball. It is exciting. I haven't had a receiving touchdown since I have been here, so hopefully I will get one this year." Conner's optimism is resonating throughout spring drills for the Panthers, who have one more week left before the Blue-Gold scrimmage next Saturday.

As a defensive coach throughout his career, Pitt coach Pat Narduzzi knows the importance of keeping the defenders off balance. Conner had no problem running the ball, but adding the passing dimension will make it that more difficult to game plan around him. "It isn't a matter of getting him more involved in the passing game, it is a matter of just keeping him on the field because he is so good at whatever he wants to be," Narduzzi said. "That is the point. To me, if I am a defensive guy, and he is only on the field to run, that is a tip for the defense. If people see him line up in passing plays, it will throw them off." - AP Sports

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