Way Too Early - 2014 Opponents - Pittsburgh | Syracusefan.com

Way Too Early - 2014 Opponents - Pittsburgh

Crusty

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While I wait for us to win the BB NC, to pass the time, I decided to take a look at our 2014 football opponents. Please add any corrections or comments you may have.

Way Too Early - 2014 Opponents - Duke
Way Too Early - 2014 Opponents - Boston College
Way Too Early - 2014 Opponents - Maryland

Pittsburgh 7-6 (3-5)
The Panthers had the strangest season of any team in the ACC. There was no pattern to their paly and certainly no consistency. Their seven wins were against four cupcakes (New Mexico, ODU, Bowling Green and UVA) as well as three good wins (Duke, ND and SU). Their 6 losses were versus VT, Navy, GT, Miami, FSU and NC. A lesson in how transitive properties do not apply to college football.

While Pitt has always been an underachiever based on their talent, last year was no exception but at least hey did not beat themselves – they had the second fewest penalties in ACC games and had a pretty even TO ratio.

Pittsburgh will have an easier schedule next year as they won’t play Florida State in crossover play and have an advantageous home schedule. They will be a young team and will need some time to develop. The earlier we play them the better.

Offense (Power I)
Pitt was not an offensive power last year averaging only 26.3 PPG (22.4 ACC). The Panthers were dead last in the ACC in rushing with only 72.9 per game in ACC play. They were much better in passing with 256 ypg in conference games. Pitt loses four starters including QB, 2 O Linemen and their leading WR.

They also led the league in sacks allowed, probably because no one was afraid of their running game and could blitz with confidence.

QB
Gritty Tom Savage graduated and will be replaced by Chad Voytik, who will be a RS Soph next year. Voytik played In four games in garbage time so we have no idea what he will be come next fall. He was, however, a highly recruited 4 star and Scout’s 12th ranked QB.

OLine
While three of the 5 core lineman return, they weren’t very good last year. Whether or not the experience will result in improvement remains to be seem. With a new QB¸ the O Line needs to get their act together or it could be a long season.

WR/TE
While Devon Street, the second leading pass receiver graduate, Pitt is in good shape with a good young WR. True freshman Tyler Boyd led the Panthers with 85 receptions for 1,174 yards – per game 90.3. Tyler is also a threat In KO and punt returns.

RB
Pitt has a potential 1,000 rusher in true freshman James Connor who rushed for 799 yards on 146 carries for an average 5.47 yards per carry.

Recruiting
As is the case in most years, Pitt has a good recruiting class again so far this year. Four 4-stars anchor the class, including 2 OL, a RB and a WR.

Defense (4-3)
Pitt’s passing and rushing defensive stats in conference play look almost identical to ours and both gave up 28 PPG in conference play. That is where the similarities end. Pitt is far less aggressive and blitzes far less than we do - they were last in the conference in sacks. They rely more on assignment football, a style that requires more experience. Five Panther defensive starters will not return including the best DE in college football, their nose tackle, half of the secondary and a linebacker. There were 4 true freshman and 2 RSF on the 2 deep last year and their development will be key to the Panther defense in 2014.

DLine

Defensive tackle Aaron Donald will be hard, if not impossible to replace. Donald was double teamed more often than anyone we saw last year. There will have to be some big adjustments in the Pitt plans.

LB
Five of the six two-deep linebackers will return. They will feel the absence of Donald when they have to fend off an extra lineman’s blocking.

Secondary
Pitt loses two of the starting four defensive backs, one CB and one safety. The returning players are young but talented and should be better next season. Pitt’s stats confirm that they will give up the short pass play but were stingy giving up 20+ pass plays (5th in ACC play). Fairly impressive for a young group.
 
Voytik won them that bowl game against Bowling Green, and looked very poised doing it. I think he'll be a good QB for them next season.
 
Voytik won them that bowl game against Bowling Green, and looked very poised doing it. I think he'll be a good QB for them next season.
Yes, very good point, thanks.
 

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