The offensive line could have its hands full this season (Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)
I took a look at the offensive line last week as part of the 'Pitt's Perceived Weaknesses' series, but with ESPN bringing it up as well, it's worth another look.
Andrea Adelson says that's the area for Pitt that needs to step it up the most. Tino Sunseri, of course, would have been the popular pick, but she (as most of us are) is probably sick of beating that topic like a drum.
Gone are Lucas Nix (now in the NFL), Greg Gaskins, and Aaron Gibbs, but head coach Paul Chryst says the unit has made strides since he's been here. Not only that, actually, but they're the most improved unit as well:
"If you said one group that improved the most, it would have been them this spring," coach Paul Chryst said.
That's welcome news, of course.As I wrote last week, Pitt will have some new starters this season, but the new projected starters, Matt Rotheram, Juantez Hollins, and Cory King, all got some experience playing last year.
The other thing to like are the other two starters. Chris Jacobson and Ryan Turnley both started last season and will anchor the line. Jacobson will almost certainly start despite not being given his starting job back right away and is an NFL prospect. Turnley, a bit of an unknown entering last season, played really well. He looked good this spring, too, winning the Ed Conway Award on offense as the offensive player who showed the most improvement. Turnley's also gotten some recognition nationally, as he was recently named to the Rimington Award watch list. The award is given to college football's best center.
The biggest issue to me is depth. There are very few other options available on the line an if someone goes down with an injury or is incapable of playing up to par, the unit could be in real trouble. The two deep rotation that Scout put together shows a lot of players with no or little experience.
One option that could be a bit intriguing is transfer Tom Ricketts, who I'll have more on later.
There are bound to be times when we're left scratching our heads at the play of the offensive line this season - it's pretty much unavoidable. But if the unit stays healthy, they should be okay.