With training camp moving into Week 2 now, we're starting to get a better picture (although only slightly) of what the 2012 edition of the Pittsburgh Panthers may look like. Secondary looks to be stacked, as does running back and wide receiver. At some positions, notably quarterback and offensive line, depth is thin, but camp is where potential stars can emerge. Week 1 of practice in the Paul Chryst era is in the books. After the inaugural week, where is Pitt's value rising and falling? Find out after the jump.
As mentioned in the intro, the depth in Pitt's defensive backfield appears to be fantastic. A casual glance at the depth chart will show you that there are a lot of bodies there, but after just a week of practice, it's obvious that there's also a lot of talent there.
"We have four safeties who can play, we have four corners who can play right now," Taglianetti said. "I mean, the younger guys, a lot of them can play as well, but to have four game-ready guys at both positions is an asset. And there is a lot the coaches can do with it because he can put combinations of guys with speed, guys who can cover, guys who can make plays -- there is so much they can do.
That from Andrew Taglianetti, one of the four talented safeties who will be roaming Pitt's backfield, along with senior Jared Holley, junior Jason Hendricks, and sophomore Ray Vinopal. Holley has earned All-Big East honors the past two years, including first team last year; Hendricks started last season racking up 36 tackles before getting hurt against Utah; and Vinopal started six games as a true freshman for Michigan in 2010 before sitting out last year due to transfer rules. Good group there.
At corner, while experience may be lacking, talent and instinct make up for it. Junior K'Wuan Williams, redshirt freshman Lafayette Pitts, and sophomores Cullen Christian (another Michigan transfer) and Lloyd Carrington are the top four. As Zeise points out in the article, all have excellent coverage skills which will be important for the Panthers' defense this year. The talent and depth in the defensive backfield will help pump up Pitt's value in 2012.
Bear (downward trending): Offensive Line Depth
The offensive line wasn't the deepest unit to begin with. Then Juantez Hollins was suspended for the entire year. And this week, we learned that Tom Ricketts will miss the whole season due to surgery. Huh boy.
Ricketts sat out last year after transferring from Penn State and was viewed as a project by some, so really we have no idea what type of player we've lost. Still, yet another hit to the depth at an already weak position is discouraging. Chris Jacobson and Ryan Turnley are the only known commodities on the line at this point. Increasingly, it appears that highly-regarded freshman Adam Bisnowaty will see significant playing time, maybe even start. At this point, the Panthers have 12 available offensive linemen on the roster, most of whom are grossly unpolished. The concerns continue to loom on the line, and rightfully so.