--The spring was not only a learning time for the players this year, but also the coaches, as former Wisconsin assistant Paul Chryst took over as head coach and brought in a whole new staff with him.
That meant they had to get on the same page before they tried to move the players into the systems they wanted to play, which are different from both what last year's coach Todd Graham and his predecessor, Dave Wannstedt, were using.
Here is Chryst's new staff: Joe Rudolph, offensive coordinator and coach tight ends; Dave Hustable, defensive coordinator; Brooks Bollinger, quarterbacks; Inoke Breckterfield, defensive line; Bobby Engram, wide receivers; Chris Haering, linebackers; Matt House, secondary; Joe Hueber, offensive line; Desmond Robinson, running backs.
--Senior C Ryan Turnley and senior DE Shayne Hale were named the winners of the Ed Conway Award presented to the most improved players during spring drills on offense and defense.
--LB Dan Mason, who sat out last year recovering from a serious knee injury, had a big camp and seems to have made a full recovery. With the linebacking group lacking depth, his return at his best is important.
--Junior WR Devin Street put a strong finish on his camp and is eager to move forward of leading the team with 53 receptions for 754 yards last year.
"My goal for this spring was to finish strong, come out here each day and give it all I've got," Street said. "I think I still have a lot of work to do, but I think I made the right strides. Now it's just maintaining it, staying consistent and holding it in the offseason and summer."
--Entering spring it looked as though RB Isaac Bennett was just holding a spot until RB Ray Graham healed from knee surgery, but he had such an outstanding spring that he pushed himself into position for playing time. He had 121 yards in the spring game.
--WR Brandon Ifill played enough as a defensive back last year to letter but he wasn't satisfied and asked the coaches if they would try him at wide receiver. After proving he could handle the job and showing improvement as the spring went on, Ifill has put himself in place to play a good deal at the new position.
--WR Cameron Saddler had a productive spring and appears to have solidified himself among the top 3 receivers. Saddler played only eight games last year with 19 catches.
QUOTE TO NOTE
"We're not where we want to be by any means, but I think it was a productive spring. It's a good start, but it's just a start." -- New Pittsburgh coach Paul Chryst on his first spring at the school.
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