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Pitt football notebook: Position battles heat up during ‘dog days’ |

Pitt football notebook: Position battles heat up during ‘dog days’

Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review
Blue team defenders Cam Bright and Phillipie Motley hem in Gold team receiver Maurice Ffrench during Pitt’s spring game Saturday, April 14, 2018 at Heinz Field.

Pitt’s coaches like to say the team’s depth chart changes daily. Players improve or regress. Young players push older ones.

“The thing moves up and down here and there,” secondary coach Archie Collins said. “What they’re doing at practice right now is making it tough for a guy like myself.”

That makes the next seven days important for everyone.

“That’s when everything starts to heat up. The sun starts to heat up. It’s the dog days,” said senior Dennis Briggs, who is working with the first team at strong safety but is being pushed by Phil Campbell III. “Over a period of time, you find how guys handle (the test of time). Competition does get tighter.”

After Saturday’s scrimmage, coach Pat Narduzzi will be seeking to solidify his two-deep. After that, there will be only one more week of practice before the team settles into game week and the opener Sept. 1 against Albany.

Two Jersey boys

A couple of Jersey boys, junior wide receiver Maurice Ffrench and quarterback Kenny Pickett, share a special connection.

Ffrench is from New Brunswick, N.J., only 33 miles from Pickett’s hometown of Oakhurst.

“We go way back when I was a sophomore in high school,” Ffrench said. “We played on a seven-on-seven team, Air Sports.

“We spent hours running routes, trying to get on the same page.”

Ffrench could fill several roles this season, including special teams and running jet sweeps.

“I can do everything they ask me to do,” he said. “As a receiver, I feel l can really excel in the slot and give safeties trouble.

Jerry DiPaola is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Jerry at [email protected] or via Twitter @JDiPaola_Trib.

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