Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Bennett Sparkles in Chryst Plan Pitt Football Spring Game

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Bennett Sparkles in Chryst Plan Pitt Football Spring Game

Article excerpt

Pitt wrapped up spring practices with its annual Blue-Gold scrimmage Saturday, but afterward new head coach Paul Chryst called the spring practice session "just the start."

The Panthers scrimmaged for two hours in front of a crowd of 4,607 at North Hills High School's Martorelli Stadium in West View. It wasn't a traditional spring game with the team split into two sides. Players substituted in and out constantly, and no score was kept.

The spring game marked the culmination of Chryst's first 15 practices with the team, and allowed the players to show off the improvements they have made over the past month of practices.

"We've grown a lot," running back Isaac Bennett said. "Everybody, we've bought in."

Bennett put up the most impressive numbers, carrying the ball 23 times for 121 yards. On the third series of the game, he ripped off a 51-yard run down the left sideline.

"Isaac worked this spring," Chryst said. "He's young and I think he had the chance to learn a lot and to grow. Each scrimmage, at least the last three or four times we've gone pretty hard, he's done some things that have been good."

Bennett was in an interesting position this spring. He was the top running back on the roster with Ray Graham shelved due to injury, but likely will have to fight for playing time once fall camp begins. Graham will be back on the field to reclaim his spot as the No. 1 back, and the Panthers also will add Hopewell star Rushel Shell as a freshman. Ranked as one of the top running backs in the country by most recruiting services, Shell certainly will challenge for immediate playing time.

Bennett, though, said he wasn't concerned about his place on the depth chart, and Chryst certainly shouldn't have any problem finding carries for three running backs. As the offensive coordinator for Wisconsin in 2010, Chryst came 4 yards away from having three running backs rush for 1,000 yards. …

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