Pitt vs. UConn: Breaking Down the Two-Deep

After taking the week off, the Panthers are ready to get back to playing in a Wednesday night showdown against the team that cost them a chance at a BCS berth last season. Pitt's season hangs in the balance. If the Panthers want to make a bowl game, it has to start Wednesday with a win over Connecticut. If Pitt can't score more points than the offensively-challenged Huskies, the season is all but over.

With that being said, let's get to the depth chart.

QB: Tino Sunseri, Trey Anderson OR Mark Myers

Reaction: A slight change from last game due to Anderson's tendonitis in his throwing arm. The quarterbacks have taken a lot of heat in the past few games (and rightfully so). During the bye week, Todd Graham said that he was done using two QBs this season and will be sticking with Tino as the only QB (until he throws a bunch of overthrown passes and/or interceptions). The offense needs a jump start and while it will likely revolve around Ray Graham, Tino has to have at least an adequate day in the passing game to keep the defense from honing in on stopping the run.

RB: Ray Graham, Zach Brown, Corey Davis OR Malcolm Crockett

Reaction: No change from last game. It still is baffling that Graham only received 12 carries last game. Perhaps the hamstring injury he suffered against Rutgers was more serious than was being let on, but still. He's the nation's leading rusher. In an anemic offense like Pitt's has been this season, he is the star and has to at least be given more attempts to get something going on offense.

FB: Mark Giubilato, Khaynin Mosley-Smith

Reaction: No change from last game.

HB: Hubie Graham, Anthony Gonzalez, Drew Carswell

Reaction: No change from last game.

TE: Hubie Graham, Brendan Carozzoni

Reaction: No change from last game.

X-Recevier: Devin Street, Ed Tinker

Y-Receiver: Mike Shanahan, Salath Williams

Z-Receiver: Cam Saddler, Ronald Jones

Reaction: No change from last game. Obviously because of the play of the QB in the Utah game, the receivers' stats were not that great. Could this week be different? The Huskies are 99th in pass defense, a bit of a surprise considering they returned arguably the top secondary in the conference this season. Of course, I thought the Utah pass defense was their weak link and we all saw how well the passing game was against the Utes.

LT: Lucas Nix, Juantez Hollins

LG: Cory King OR Ryan Schlieper

C: Ryan Turnley, Greg Gaskins, Ryan Schlieper

RG: Matt Rotheram, Ryan Schlieper

RT: Jordan Gibbs, Matt Rotheram, Greg Gaskins

Reaction: Well, this is different. After a game in which the offensive line allowed six sacks for a second consecutive game, the coaches have switched things up. The bye week has hopefully allowed Nix to get healthy enough to play. Should he return, Nix returns to his old position of tackle, sending Hollins to the role of backup. The line is still a mess and at this point Pitt just has to hope that they can get enough protection to allow Tino to get a pass off. UConn is averaging around 2.5 sacks a game. I expect them to have at least four against this line.

DE: Brandon Lindsey OR Aaron Donald, Justin Hargrove

Reaction: A slight change as Donald is being listed as the co-starter. I still fully expect Lindsey to be on the field for the start, but Donald has been playing well and currently leads the team in sacks with 5.0.

DT: Chas Alecxih, Khaynin Mosley-Smith, Tyrone Ezell

Reaction: No change from last game. 

NT: Myles Caragein OR Aaron Donald, Khaynin Mosley-Smith

Reaction: Another slight change with Donald being listed as the co-starter, which is again due to his stellar play (and he's only a sophomore). I've said this before, but I've been a little unimpressed with Caragein's play so far. He has yet to record a sack or even a tackle for loss.

Panther Linebacker: Juan Price OR Greg Williams, Joe Trebitz

Reaction: More slight changes with Williams being listed as the co-starter. Price has been the bigger talent, but Williams has improved over the course of the season after early season struggles. I think Williams is not as good of a pass rusher as Price is, but he is better in coverage than Price is (that's not saying a whole lot though).

Spur Linebacker: Todd Thomas, Kevin Adams, Carl Fleming

Reaction: With the return of Thomas to the starting lineup, the defense gets that much better for those who remember his last performance against South Florida. Adams, a redshirt sophomore, makes his first appearance in the depth chart. Greg Williams, the former starter, has moved to the Panther position

SAM Linebacker: Tristan Roberts, Shane Gordon, Nicholas Grigsby

Reaction: No change from last game.

WILL Linebacker: Max Gruder, Tristan Roberts, LaQuentin Smith

Reaction: No change from last game. Gruder continues to lead the team in total tackles with 62.

CB: K'Waun Williams AND Antwuan Reed, Buddy Jackson, Saheed Imoru, Lloyd Carrington

Reaction: No change from last game. The secondary did a great job holding Utah under 130 yards of passing. Look for them to do the same thing this week against a suspect UConn passing game.

Bandit Safety: Jason Hendricks, Andrew Taglianetti, Brandon Ifill

Reaction: No change from last game, although Hendricks, last I checked, is out for the game due to a wrist injury.

Free Safety: Jarred Holley, Andrew Taglianetti, Brandon Ifill

Reaction: No change from last game.

Special Teams: Kevin Harper (K), Matt Yoklic (P and holder) OR Mark Myers (P), Kevin Barthelemy (LS), Buddy Jackson (KR), Ronald Jones (PR)

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