Charles LeClaire-US PRESSWIRE - Presswire
Pitt heads to Syracuse on Friday, which means an updated depth chart.
Dear ESPN: You suck. On to the depth chart.
Tino hasn't had the greatest performances following a bye week in the past and the Cuse seem to play their best on a Friday night. But he has had two great performances the past two games and in his last trip to the Dome he threw for four TDs, including one on Pitt's first offensive play.
The running backs didn't have their best performance against Gardner-Webb, but I put more of that on the offensive line rather than the backs. Graham appears to be rounding into form, but we'll see on Friday how much more progress he has to make.
One of the possible reasons that the ground game struggled was the absence of Giubilato, who sat out last week. We'll see this week if his return helps the running game.
Shanahan continues to have an outstanding season, catching five passes for 144 yards and two TDs against Gardner-Webb. Shanahan, Street, and Saddler all caught five passes in the last game, but they'll face a tough test in the Orange who rank in the top 25 in pass defense. Of course, Stony Brook and Minnesota aren't exactly known for their air attack.
It remains to be seen if Graham will see the field on Friday after injuring his clavicle against Cincinnati, but even if he doesn't, Carswell and Holtz have done well in his absence.
The line didn't have their strongest performance against Gardner-Webb, but they did a good enough job that Tino was only sacked once. Syracuse is averaging just over two sacks a game, so this should be a tougher test for the Pitt line than the last game.
A slight change in the two deep as Hale replaces Jack Lippert behind Clemmings after Hale had a strong game against the Runnin' Bulldogs, recording a sack and three tackles. Cook has been playing extremely well and looks to continue to build on a strong redshirt freshman season.
After missing last week due to an injury, Donald is back in the starting lineup. Render did a serviceable job in his place, recording three tackles and made his presence felt in Gardner Webb's backfield.
NT: Tyrone Ezell, Khaynin Mosley-Smith
Ezell and Mosley-Smith both had quiet games against Gardner-Webb, but Ezell has looked impressive thus far. Ryan Nassib is one of the top QB's in the Big East, so the line will have to get to him early and often to get him out of rhythm.
The linebackers did a good job against an overmatched opponent, limiting Gardner-Webb to just 95 yards passing. Again, Syracuse has one of the better offenses Pitt will face this season, so they'll have to step their game up. Todd Thomas returned to practice a few weeks ago, so it's possible that he will see some playing time against the Orange.
It was great to see Dan Mason get onto the field late against Gardner-Webb. Could he see playing time against the Orange? Possible, but I wouldn't expect many snaps.
With the injury to Pardner, Christian is listed as the backup to both Pitts and Williams. After a lackluster showing in the first two games, the cornerbacks played up close on the line of scrimmage and look what happens. I'm pretty sure I wrote this last time, but only because I'm still amazed that it took until the 3rd week for the coaching staff to realize this.
Hendricks continues to haunt opposing QB's after grabbing his 3rd interception of the season and is well on his way to all-conference status. The defensive backs really did a good job shutting down Gardner-Webb's receivers, but will have a tougher assignment this week against Syracuse.
The one weakness in this Pitt football resurgence has been special teams. From the poor tackling on returns to missed field goals, this is the one aspect that hasn't seen improved play from the first two weeks to the second. One of these days, it's going to come back to bite Pitt.