2009 CFN Pitt Preview
2009 Pitt Offense
2009 Pitt Defense
2009 Pitt Depth
2008 Pitt Preview
2007 Pitt Preview
2006 Pitt Preview
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about Pitt football?
Head coach: Dave Wannstedt
5th year: 25-23
Off. 20, Def. 30, ST 1
Lettermen Lost: 20
Best Pitt Players
1. DE Greg Romeus,
2. CB Aaron Berry, Sr.
3. DT Mick Williams, Sr.
DE Jabaal Sheard, Jr.
5. WR Jon. Baldwin, Soph.
6. TE Nate
7. LB Greg Williams, Soph.
8. LT Jason
9. S Dom DeCicco, Jr.
10. CB Jovani Chappel,
CFN Prediction: 8-4
2009 Record: 0-0
9/5 Youngstown State
9/12 at Buffalo
9/26 at NC State
10/2 at Louisville
10/16 at Rutgers
10/31 OPEN DATE
11/14 Notre Dame
11/21 OPEN DATE
11/27 at West Virginia
CFN Prediction: 10-2
Bowling Green L 27-17
9/6 Buffalo W 27-16
9/13 OPEN DATE
9/20 Iowa W 21-20
9/27 at Syracuse W
10/2 at So Florida W 26-21
10/11 OPEN DATE
10/18 at Navy W 42-21
10/25 Rutgers L 54-34
11/1 at N. Dame W 36-33
11/8 Louisville W 41-7
11/15 OPEN DATE
11/22 at Cincinnati L 28-21
11/28 W. Virginia
12/6 at Connecticut
12/31 Oregon State L 3-0
After three seasons of mediocrity and
late-season collapses, Pittsburgh has finally captured some momentum,
courtesy of last year’s nine wins and much-needed bowl appearance. Sure,
the Panthers were feeble in a 3-0 Sun Bowl loss to Oregon State, but
just getting there was a start for this struggling program. The next
steps in the blueprint will be to stay above .500 and win a Big East
Pitt came close to a league title a year ago,
falling to eventual champ Cincinnati in a pivotal, late-November game.
Progress is being made in Western Pennsylvania. Fifth-year head coach
Dave Wannstedt has steadily improved the talent level through recruiting
and coaching up players, such as Greg Romeus and Scott McKillop, who
weren’t blue-chippers coming out of high school.
train on the tracks, however, requires an about-face from an offense
that’s been vilified since the current staff took the reigns. It’s
gotten slapped with labels, like vanilla and predictable, which new
coordinator Frank Cignetti will attempt to erase. He’ll have his plate
full, trying to correct problems in the passing attack, while
reenergizing a ground game that loses star RB LeSean McCoy. If he
succeeds, look out because the defense is among the Big East’s best.
Pittsburgh did well to handle pressure in 2008, going 9-4 with its
back firmly against the wall. The agenda for 2009? Handle expectations
because this school is likely to begin the season ranked or just on the
periphery of the Top 25.
What to watch for on offense: The replacements. Now that LeSean
McCoy has foregone his final two years of eligibility, Pittsburgh needs
to locate its next workhorse in an offense that leans pretty heavily on
the run. Although none are going to be McCoy right away, the Panthers
have recruited the position very well, providing hope for the future.
True freshman Dion Lewis took part in spring drills, wowing the staff
with his quickness and maturity. Sophomore Shariff Harris is a 215-pound
plower and the most experienced of the contenders. Redshirt freshman
Chris Burns is a blend of the other two competitors and a blue-chip
recruit from 2008. One of the three backs is going to get a chance to
carry the ball 20-25 times a game.
What to watch for on defense:
Constant pressure. At any level, if you can get a consistent push up
front, everything else has a way of falling into place. Pittsburgh will
have such a luxury this season, thanks to the presence of three All-Big
East-caliber players on the defensive line. Tackle Mick Williams and
ends Greg Romeus and Jabaal Sheard have all displayed a knack for
collapsing the pocket, meaning opponents can forget about throwing
multiple blockers at any one Panther. It’ll be tough for opposing
quarterbacks to complete passes when they spend so much time trying to
escape this rush.
will be far better if… the offense isn’t awful without RB LeSean
McCoy. If not for McCoy, where would the Panthers have been the last two
seasons? The passing attack was toothless, generating just 10 touchdowns
in 13 games, so someone will have to step up in place of the star
runner, particularly in the red zone. The onus falls on Dion Lewis,
Chris Burns, and Shariff Harris, underclassmen, who have a dozen career
carries between them.
It's not all that bad with the toughest road date in
non-conference play coming at NC State and with just three conference
road dates. While the late November trip to West Virginia for the
backyard brawl will be tough, the other two Big East road games at
Louisville and Rutgers are manageable considering Cincinnati and South
Florida come to Heinz Field. On the down side, the toughest stretch of
the year comes early on with three road games in four weeks closing out
with a short week to prepare for Rutgers. The positive of the early game
is the eight days off before the South Florida game. After going off to
play the Scarlet Knights, Pitt doesn't play another road game for six
Best offensive player:
Sophomore WR Jonathan Baldwin. You can read this selection two different
ways. The second-year Baldwin is either a bona fide prodigy or that the
Panthers are dangerously in proven talent. Actually, there’s a little
bit of truth to both. The sophomore is the real deal, provided he gets
support from the quarterback. Yeah, he only caught 18 passes as a
rookie, but he averaged more than 22 yards a reception and three of them
were for touchdowns. At 6-5 and 220 pounds, he has a great future and a
natural advantage every time he runs a route.
Best defensive player: Junior
DE Greg Romeus. From a raw, skinny athlete a few years ago, Romeus has
blossomed into a 6-5, 265-pound beast coming off the edge. Fast becoming
one of the nation’s premier pass rushers, he parlayed 15.5 tackles for
loss and 7.5 sacks into a spot on the All-Big East second team. With
continued improvement in his third year, he could have a hard time
turning down NFL overtures at the end of the season.
Key player to a
successful season: Senior QB Bill Stull. This is a return engagement
in this spot for Stull, who has to give defenses a reason to respect the
passing game. The defense is outstanding and the running game should
survive, even without star RB LeSean McCoy. However, if Stull treads
water for a second straight year and fails to get his talented receivers
involved in the offense, the Panthers have little chance of taking the
The season will be a success if
... Pittsburgh finishes the season in the Top 25. The Panthers are
likely to begin the season ranked, so anything less than that in
December will be viewed as a disappointment. After bowling a year ago,
Pitt has to make it back to the postseason, especially with a schedule
that opens with Youngstown State and Navy at home, and Buffalo on the
Nov. 27 at West Virginia. The day after Thanksgiving. The Backyard
Brawl. This is always one of the biggest games of the year for Pitt,
especially since both schools expect to be in the Big East title hunt.
The Panthers have won the last two in this intense rivalry, and
Mountaineer fans remember all too well what happened the last time they
met in Morgantown. Pitt pulled a stunning 13-9 upset, keeping West
Virginia out of the national title game and setting in motion Rich
Rodriguez’s departure to Michigan.
2008 Fun Stats:
- 4th Quarter Scoring:
Pitt 122 - Opponents 47
- Red Zone Scores: Pitt 41-of-45 (91%) -
Opponents 28-of-35 (80%)
- Penalties: Opponents 73 for 624 yards -
Pitt 57 for 440 yards