Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Big East 2010-Pittsburgh Panthers

2009 Record: 10-3 (5-2)
Head Coach: Dave Wannstedt (35-26, 6th season)
Offensive Coordinator: Frank Cignetti, Jr. (2nd Season)
Defensive Coordinator: Phil Bennett (3rd season)
2009 Bowl Game: Meineke Bowl, Defeated North Carolina 19-17

Offense: There are five key pieces to this unit. First is sophomore RB Dion Lewis, the projected Big East MVP and Heisman candidate. Lewis rushed for 1799 yards and 17 scores in 2009 as a true freshman. He will be depended on to carry an even bigger load this season because of the second key to the offense is finding a new QB. This appears to be a two way battle between Pat Bostic and Tino Sunseri. Sunseri seems to have the edge, but it seems as if Bostic has been at Pitt forever. The third piece, also a question mark, will be how well the Panthers replace their TE duo. Both TE's from a year ago got drafted into the NFL, so that kind of productivity and talent will leave a huge void in the passing and run blocking games. The 4th piece is how good WR Jonathon Baldwin will be with a new QB after the monster season that he put up in 2009? Baldwin piled up 1111 yards and 8 scores in 2009. The final piece is the puppet master, OC Frank Cignetti, and how well he can pull all of this together. He was a deciding factor with his hire a year ago in how good Pitt finally was on offense. LT Jason Pinkston is a pre-season All American.

Defense: DE Greg Romeus Led the Panthers in sacks in 2009, and is a pre-season All-American. Jabaal Sheard will anchor the opposite DE spot, giving Pitt a solid pair of bookends on the line. Both Myles Caragein and Chas Alecxih are new starters in the middle at DT, so teams will try and focus their running strengths against the middle of the line. Max Gruder led the team in tackles at LB last season, but he too is on the outside along with Greg Williams, and the MLB looks to be Dan Mason, another new starter as a sophomore. Both corners are new, but Dom DiCicco and Jared Holley, both safeties, tied for the team lead in picks last season. There are issues here, but also some very good players.

Special Teams: Dan Hutchins handles both kicking jobs, and is a master at neither, but is serviceable and accurate in a basic way. Nothing special.

2010 Schedule

Wins: 9/11 New Hampshire, 10/2 Florida International, 10/9 @ Notre Dame, 10/16 @ Syracuse, 10/23 Rutgers, 10/30 Louisville, 11/20 @ South Florida

Toss Up Games: 9/2 @ Utah, 9/23 Miami, 11/11 @ UConn

Losses: 11/26 West Virginia, 12/4 @ Cincinnati

There are several difficult games on this slate. Pitt could win 7 games, or they could win 9 or 10. The difficult September slate will tell the story and we'll know by October how good this team can be.

Outlook: Everyone is in love with Pitt this year because of how good certain pieces are. There are also some very questionable pieces here, and I don't love the Panthers as much as the media seems to. Sit and wait.

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