Pitt vs. Notre Dame: Breaking Down the Two Deep

Kevin C. Cox

A look at Pitt's depth chart as they try to take down Notre Dame

QB - Tom Savage Chad Voytik

Tom Savage had an OK game against Georgia Tech. He has limited his interceptions over the past few weeks, and he was able to make some big throws to keep Pitt in the game against the Yellow Jackets. Notre Dame has one of the top defensive lines in the country, so Savage will have his work cut for him on Saturday.

RB - Isaac Bennett James Conner

Neither back was able to do much of anything against Georgia Tech. Bennett has been the better of two to date, but had trouble finding room on Saturday. After coming onto the scene strong, James Conner has really quieted down. It is hard to say if it is a line issue or he is running into a wall as a true freshman. After becoming a nice little piece to the offense, Rachid Ibrahim did not play against Georgia Tech.

WR - Devin Street* Tyler Boyd* Ed Tinker Kevin Weatherspoon

Tyler Boyd had a big game after some quiet games in recent weeks. The true freshman scored Pitt's only touchdown and came down with a total of 11 receptions. Devin Street made a few big catches as well. Both players are truly having very good seasons. Weatherspoon came down with a big 17-yard catch against Georgia Tech, his ninth of the season.

TE - JP Holtz* Manasseh Garner* Scott Orndoff Jaymar Parrish

Holtz and Garner each came down with three receptions against the Yellow Jackets. Orndoff also recorded a catch. If you recall, Holtz had a big game against the Irish last season and could be a hidden weapon this year.

LT - Adam Bisnowaty Juantez Hollins

LG - Cory King Ryan Schlieper

C - Artie Rowell Shane Johnson

RG - Matt Rotheram Shane Johnson

RT - TJ Clemmings Dorian Johnson

You could tell Pitt was in trouble right off the bat when Savage was sacked on his first pass attempt of the game. Pitt did not protect the quarterback and they did not establish the run. Simply put, this unit has been a disappointment with their progression. They are still having the same problems, and with a powerful Notre Dame defensive line coming to town, these guys need to get it together rather quickly.

DE - David Durham* Bryan Murphy* Shakir Soto Jack Lippert

The defensive ends certainly miss the play of Ejuan Price. Still, this unit has surprised me this season. Bryan Murphy has played well for the most part, despite a quiet game against Georgia Tech.

DT - Aaron Donald Darryl Render

Aaron Donald is an absolute monster of a football player. He is truly having the best season for a Pitt defensive player in recent memory, and will be up some hardware at season's end. His game against Georgia Tech was incredible with 6 tackles for loss and two forced fumbles. Pitt will need him to make some big plays against Notre Dame, even with the presumable double and triple teams coming his way.

NT - Tyrone Ezell LaQuentin Smith

Ezell was quiet on Saturday, but as you heard, his teammate was not. Ezell has played well this season, and he may be open to make some plays with the attention Donald will receive on Saturday.

WILL LB - Todd Thomas Nicholas Grigsby

Thomas was an active guy in each of the past two weeks, and he certainly has made some plays. Thomas is usually reliable against the run. He played well against Notre Dame last year, and he will need a repeat performance. Grigsby saw action in different spots, and made some big plays.

MLB - Shane Gordon Matt Galambos

Gordon did not play against Georgia Tech, and they missed him. Gordon did not play against Notre Dame last season, as Pitt started Joe Trebitz. The Panthers definitely need him on Saturday.


SAM LB
- Anthony Gonzalez Bam Bradley

Gonzalez has played better of late, but his knock is still pass coverage. Like everybody else, Pitt needs contributions and solid play from Gonzalez.

CB - K'waun Williams* Lafayette Pitts* Trenton Coles Titus Howard

After two weeks of playing against a triple option, the Panther corner backs will have to get used to seeing conventional offensive sets again. Pitt only saw 10 pass attempts on Saturday, but expect Brian Kelly's team to sling it around a little more than that.

FS - Ray Vinopal Ryan Lewis

Like the corners, it will be back to conventional offense to defend. Vinopal has had such an up and down season so far, Pitt could really use one of his "up" games.

SS - Jason Hendricks Terrish Webb

After a big year with six interceptions in 2012, Hendricks only has one so far. It is not that he isn't playing well, but as a unit overall, Pitt has lacked takeaways.

Special Teams: K - Chris Blewitt. P - Matt Yoklic. LS - David Murphy

Blewitt made a 44 yard field goal on Saturday, and has made his past four field goal attempts overall. Matt Yoklic is 31st in the country in punting with a 43.2 average.

Returns: PR - Kevin Weatherspoon KR - Tyler Boyd/Lafayette Pitts

No changes in the return department.

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