October 3, 2006

Pitt notes: Pinkston adjusts to offense

Jason Pinkston came to Pitt this year as one of Dave Wannstedt's top defensive line recruits. As training camp progressed, freshman John Malecki separated himself as the Panthers' premier freshman defensive linemen, but Pinkston was never far behind and looked to earn some playing time this season.

But then sophomore tackle John Bachman went down with a season-ending leg injury and Pinkston, who played on both sides of the ball in high school, found himself wearing the white jersey of offense rather than the blue uniform he had worn previously. With Bachman out, the Panthers' already short list of backup tackles shrunk even further, and Pinkston went right to work at learning the position. This past Saturday, in the midst of Pitt's 45-3 blowout win over Toledo, the freshman from Baldwin got his first shot on the field.

"He played 25 or 30 plays and he did okay," Wannstedt said Monday. "He's still a work in progress."

"I was nervous," Pinkston said on Tuesday. "It was my first game and I got a pancake on the first play, but it was just a lot faster than high school."

At Baldwin, Pinkston played right tackle his junior year and right guard his senior year. At Pitt, he's been working behind Mike McGlynn at right tackle, a position that takes on added significance considering the fact that Tyler Palko is left-handed, giving the right tackle the responsibility of protecting the quarterback's right side.

"That just means that I can't mess up," Pinkston said. "So I'm just trying to get better at it and do it as best as I can. It's going to take some time, but I'm getting there."

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