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August 21, 2006

Big East Notes: Pitt offense getting better

A quick look at the latest news out of the Big East from around the Rivals.com Network:

Big East Practice Reports
Cincinnati: The Bearcats have been one of the luckier teams this fall when it comes to injuries. Tomorrow's scrimmage should go a long way in determining who will be the starting quarterback. Neither sophomore Dustin Grutza nor senior Nick Davila has taken the lead in the competition. Grutza is the returner, but coaches said Davila is having a good camp.
Connecticut: Freshman quarterback Billy Cundiff officially took his name out of the UConn quarterback competition this week as he announced his transfer to Division II Ashland University. Sophomore offensive tackle Matt Wood also left the team this week to pursue medical school.
Louisville: Seniors Amobi Okoye and Will Gray have stepped up and become the vocal leaders of the defense in practice. Classes started at Louisville Monday, so the bulk of fall practice is behind the team now. Saturday the team had a morning workout in shorts and shoulder pads followed by the annual Cardinal Football Kickoff Luncheon at the Convention Center.
Pittsburgh: The offense looked better in Saturday's scrimmage, but still had issues. Saturday they gained 423 yards on 100 offensive plays compared to 247 yards on 60 plays during the first scrimmage. The problem in the team's second scrimmage was turning the ball over. Quarterbacks Tyler Palko and Bill Stull each threw an interception. Running back LaRod Stephens-Howling fumbled once and receiver Lowell Robinson fumbled twice.
Rutgers: Shawn Tucker is already penciled in as the go-to receiver at Rutgers. Behind him there are a number of players vying for the No. 2 spot. Speedy sophomore Tiquan Underwood appears to be the front-runner as of now. Willie Foster and Dennis Campbell are slotted in behind Tucker and Underwood. Both players possess tremendous speed, but have lacked the consistency to crack the starting lineup. This year's freshman class also provides the receiving corps with an excellent group of talent. Tim Brown, Shamar Graves and Kenny Britt have looked good in workouts.
South Florida: With the starting corner positions already solidified, the competition for the safety spots has really heated up this fall. Junior Danny Verpaele seems to have the edge at one safety spot. He missed all of last season as a medical redshirt, but coaches have said Verpaele knows the Bulls defense better than anyone. Still pushing Verpaele is senior Jeremy Burnett, a more physical but less brainy player. The other position is a battle between two sophomores - Louis Gachette and Carlton Williams.
Syracuse: Wednesday the team will hold its first practice or scrimmage of the fall that is open to the public. The newcomers have brought an increased energy to Orange practice. Freshman running back Delone Carter and JUCO transfer Taj Smith have both worked hard and have played well so far in camp.
West Virginia: Coach Rich Rodriguez has been pleased with sophomore Ryan Stancheck's move to left tackle. It looks like junior Pat Liebig will be the Mountaineers' starting nose guard this season.

(Compiled by Brandon Castel, Rivals.com)

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