Depth Chart |
Head coach Dave Wannstedt is a pro coach who realizes when a
talent level isn't quite where it's supposed to be. He knows his
team has to be faster on defense, stronger against the run, more
efficient in the passing game, and far more effective running the
ball. In other words, the Panthers have to become the Steelers.
While winning a world championship isn't likely to happen any time
soon, being more of a player in the Big East race would do for now.
While all the attention will be paid to Louisville and West Virginia
and their national title hopes, the road to the Big East
championship and the BCS will literally go through Heinz Field.
Head coach: Dave Wannstedt
2nd year: 5-6
Off. 20, Def. 23, ST 3
Lettermen Lost: 23
Best Pitt Players
1. LB H.B. Blades, Sr.
2. CB Darrelle Revis, Jr.
3. QB Tyler Palko, Sr.
4. LB Clint Session, Sr.
5. P Adam Graessle, Sr.
6. FS Mike Phillips, Jr.
7. RB LaRod Stephens, Soph.
8. WR Derek Kinder, Jr.
9. OG John Simonitis, Sr.
10. FB Conredge Collins, Soph.
at South Florida
2005 Record: 5-6
2005 predicted wins
L 16-10 OT
at Nebraska L 7-6
at West Virginia L 45-13
Pitt might not be as talented as the Mountaineers or Cardinals,
but it has some great pieces in place to work around and should be
better overall by the end of the season. That means the timing is
perfect; the final two games are at home against ... take a guess.
a step back to last year. What went wrong in the 5-6 campaign? Getting
blasted by Notre Dame, Louisville and West Virginia didn't turn out to
be anything to be ashamed of. There was the nationally televised
embarrassment against Ohio losing to an awful Bobcat team 16-10 in
overtime because QB Tyler Palko's favorite receiver turned out to be
Ohio CB Dion Byrum. A little better execution on special teams would've
meant a win at Nebraska. In other words, Pitt was two plays away from
being 7-4 with Wannstedt's first season being seen as a success.
The concern, of course, is how the Panthers lost to Rutgers and got
pummeled 87-33 by West Virginia and Louisville. Pitt has to be better
against the league's top teams considering it was the Big East champion
in 2004, and it has to put a stop to the annual dog game, like the one
to Ohio last season, that brings the season to a screeching halt.
Palko, LB H.B. Blades, CB Darrelle Revis and P Adam Graessle are among
the best players in the conference at their respective positions. Young
talent has to emerge at defensive tackle, wide receiver and running
back, but the positive is the athleticism; it's better than what was
there before. Now if Wannstedt could just find a way to successfully
recruit Troy Polamalu, Joey Porter, Ben Roethlisberger ...
Schedule: It all leads up to November 16th and the Backyard Brawl
against West Virginia followed up by a home date against Louisville a
week later. The road games aren't all that bad with only two of the five
games against 2005 bowl teams (UCF and South Florida). Virginia,
Michigan State, Toledo, and Rutgers all have to come to Pitt. In other
words, the schedule works out as well as could possibly be expected.
Offensive Player: Senior QB Tyler Palko. He has everything you'd
want in a quarterback except the ability to let a bad play go and not
press when things get rough. He has the arm, the experience and talent.
Now he has to become the type of player who can put a team on his
shoulders and carry it to big things. He did it in 2004 and could be in
for the same type of season if all the other parts come together.
Defensive Player: Senior LB H.B. Blades. One of the nation's best
all-around linebackers will try to become the first Pitt player to earn
three first-team All-Big East honors. He's big, quick, and is always
around the ball with 286 career tackles and 18.5 tackles for loss. He
moved from the outside to the middle last season and showed he could
also be strong in pass coverage.
to a successful season: Junior CB Kennard Cox, sophomore CB
Chandler and senior CB Reggie Carter. Junior corner Darrelle Revis is
one of the nation's most talented all-around defenders. Teams know this
and aren't going to throw at him. That means Pitt needs someone else to
quickly step up in place of all-star Bernard "Josh" Lay on the other
side if the pass defense is going to come close to finishing second in
the nation like it did last season.
will be a success if ...
Pitt wins the Big East title. Crank the expectations up a
notch. The team should be an experienced, hardened squad by
mid-November. It's not often you get ten games to prepare for your two
biggest home games.
November 16th vs. West Virginia. The Mountaineers have won three of
the last four in the series and might be in the mix for the national
title when it makes the trip to Pittsburgh. The Panthers' game against
Louisville the following week won't mean much if they can't win the
Punt return average: Opponents 17.1 yards per return -
Pitt 11.3 yards per return
- Penalties: Opponents 89 for 771 yards - Pitt 69 for 593 yards
- Fumbles: Pitt 26 (lost 15) - Opponents 12 (lost 6)
Last Time Pittsburgh…
…played in a bowl game…2004 (Fiesta Bowl v. Utah)
…missed a bowl game…2005
…pitched a shutout…2005 (UConn)
…was shutout…1996 (Miami)
…scored 50 points…1999 (Temple)
…won a conference title…2004 (share, Big East)
…had a 3,000-yard passer…2004 (Tyler Palko)
…had a 1,000-yard rusher…2000 (Kevan Barlow)
…had a 1,000-yard receiver…2004 (Greg Lee)
…had a first-round draft choice…2004 (WR Larry Fitzgerald)