So yesterday, I mentioned Andrea Adelson's ESPN offensive projections for the Big East. In case you were wondering, her defensive projections for Pitt aren't any better.
Adelson doesn't rate the Panthers in her top five defenses for 2012.Before you start screaming about how ridiculous that is, keep in mind that Pitt only ranked fifth in the conference in scoring defense. But the flipside is that the Panthers not only had one of the best pass rushes in the Big East, but the nation as they ranked fifth in Division I in sacks.
The unit loses Brandon Lindsey, Chas Alecxih, and Max Gruder, but Aaron Donald, one of the nation's best defensive linemen last year, is back. Antwuan Reed and Buddy Jackson are moving on from the secondary, but Pitt has several new faces there to help fill the void including transfers Cullen Christian and Ray Vinopal. Then there are guys like Khaynin Mosley-Smith, Todd Thomas, and Ejuan Price, who are all a year older and could be impact players.
Oh yeah, and this guy, too.
Part of it is because we're familiar with our own guys, so it's easy to overestimate them. But Pitt generally has a good defense and getting away from the Todd Graham philosophy of focusing on the offense will help a bit. The talk in spring practices has been physical play. I'm not sure where this defensive unit will end up, but I'm pretty confident they'll be in the upper half of the Big East.