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Pitt Spring Football: Paul Chryst Takes Over, Ray Graham Plots Comeback

Seeing as their basketball fans don't have much to do this week (sorry), the Pittsburgh Panthers have gone ahead and opened up spring football on the same day as March Madness. That's one way to do it, and I'll never find fault with Paul Chryst's way of doing things. The former Wisconsin Badgers offensive coordinator takes over Pitt after Todd Graham's one-year vacation in the area.

Among the story lines to follow: could Dan Mason, who was carted off the field after a horrifying injury two years ago, return to play for the Panthers this year? There aren't any guarantees, but Chryst says it hasn't been ruled out.

Speaking of returns, Ray Graham, perhaps the Big East's most exciting player now that West Virginia has left the conference, is giving it everything he's got after seeing his 2011 season cut short. Chryst commented on Graham's status:

Everyone wants to learn and I noticed with Ray Graham a couple times that he was really trying to be involved with practice. That's what you want with everyone in and trying to do all that they can to get better. It was also good to see Jarred Holley moving around a little bit and Mike Shanahan jumping in to help. That says something, too. They know there are opportunities and they want to do what they can to help and get ahead.

Four passers, including the nimble Anthony Gonzalez and E.J. Banks, are competing with Tino Sunseri for the starting job as the team transitions from a quarterback-sacrificing spread set to head-down manball. Defensive end, offensive tackle, and linebacker are your other depth chart scrums to watch.

For more on Pittsburgh football, visit Pitt blog Cardiac Hill, plus SB Nation Pittsburgh.