Monday, March 7, 2011

Pittsburgh Panthers 2010 Review

2010 Record: 8-5 (5-2), Tied 1st Big East
2010 Bowl Game: BBVA Compass Bowl, Defeated Kentucky 27-10
2010 Schedule/Results
@ Utah, L 27-24
New Hampshire, W 38-16
Miami, L 31-3
FIU, W 44-17
@ Notre Dame, L 23-17
@ Syracuse, W 45-14
Rutgers, W 41-21
Louisville, W 20-3
@ UConn, L 30-28
@ South Florida, W 17-10
West Virginia, L 35-10
@ Cincinnati, W 28-10
Kentucky, W 27-10


     Things just did not pan out for Pitt like folks thought they would. News flash people...your expectations of the Pitt 2010 football team were a joke to begin with. HOw did anyone expect this team to win with a QB with no experience, while piling all of the hopes on a RB that had the world out to crush him, and a star receiver with nobody to get the ball to him? And this was the team that you though should have dominated the Big East and nation? Delusional is the word that best describes what people expected Pitt to be, but I Was not one of them, and pretty much everything that I predicted would happen did happen.
     First off, Pitt was not very good, even though they won 8 games. Teams stacked the line to beat up on Dion Lewis, who was way under expectations with 1063 yards and 13 TDs. Let's be real, as those 1063 yards came the hard way, and Lewis got beat to hell. He was nowhere near as explosive as his phenom freshman season indicated he could be. Ray Graham was actually the better back, even though he only ended up with 922 yards and 8 scores.
     The passing game took quite some time to get on track with youngster Tino Sunseri pulling the trigger. Sunseri wound up averaging 196.7 yards per game, but he only tossed 16 TDs on the season against 9 picks. Not bad for a kid who had no experience, but not enough to keep defenses honest and keep 8 or 9 men out of the box to stop the run.
     Jon Baldwin, who will be leaving early with Lewis, did all he could do in 2010. He led the team with 53 receptions for 822 yards and 5 scores, but never stacked up as one of the best receivers in the country, as people felt that he could dominate no matter who the QB was. Considering who the QB was, I'd say he did alright. Nobody else on the team had more than 2 TD receptions on the year.
     Pitt held up defensively, despite the offense having some early struggles. The Panthers held 8 teams to 21 points or less on the season, but the offense was held to 20 or under 5 times.
     DB Dom DiCicco led the team in tackles with 94 on the year, 67 of which were solo jobs. He flew around the field like an extra LB at times, and he will be missed as he moves on. Max Gruder had 84 tackles as a LB, but his numbers between solo and assists were almost even.
     Brandon Lindsey was a beast up front, as he piled up 18.5 TFLs on the season, making life miserable for opposing backfields. Jabaal Sheard was a frequent visitor behind enemy lines as well, as he collected 14.5 TFLs. The two linemen also combined for 19 sacks on the season.
     With DiCicco making tackles all over the field, he was not available to be making plays on the ball. It was Antwaun Reed who led the team in defended passes with only 6 on the year. DiCicco still managed to tie for the team lead in INTs with Jared Holley with 5 picks on the season, making DiCicco arguably the MVP of the defense.
     Dan Hutchins was ok, but not great at PK in 2010, having managed to hit 18 of 25 FGs, barely a 72% success rate. The Panthers will have to find someone else to improve those numbers in 2011, as he moves on to graduation. Hutchins will be very much missed in the punting game, where he had a cannon leg, averaging 44.76 yards per punt in 2010.


The crazed expectations forced Dave Wannstadt to resign under pressure before the bowl game was played.Wannstadt, while being a Pitt alum and a decent kind of guy, never really matched expectations with the Panthers during his tenure, so his departure was not really a shock, but the expectations never should have been what they were in 2010 to begin with, and the trip to play Utah was a brutal way to start out. The Panthers flailed away when they hired Miami (Ohio) HC Mike Haywood to replace Wannstadt, only to have to fire hime days later after a domestic violence arrest in Indiana went volcanic in the media. Background checks, anyone??? Enter Todd Graham, a hothead of a different nature who breathes fire on the sidelines and coaches a high velocity spread offense that may cause some people in Pittsburgh to have minor strokes while trying to comprehend it. The scoreboard has likely never been worked as hard as it will tend to be at Hines Field under Graham, and lightbulbs may burn out frequently. Get ready Pitt. You have no idea of what's coming your way.

No comments:

Post a Comment