Pitt is at Big East Media Day today up in Rhode Island for the last time ever (feel free to cheer loudly). Last night was Lobsterfest 2012, where yet again Providence ran out of lobsters. But today is the day where we get answers from Paul Chryst and the Panther players about how the off-season has been progressing and what we should be expecting from this year's Pitt football team. Real football content will soon be here!
As we prepare for football season to officially begin, there are a couple of questions I'd like answered tomorrow from Paul Chryst.
1) Ray Graham's status: The biggest question heading into the 2012 season is the health and rehabilitation progress of Ray Graham's knee. As far as we know, Graham will be ready to go in time for the season opener against Youngstown State. But there hasn't been any report recently about Graham's status. While it's usually good to assume that no news is good news, the health of this knee will have a large impact on the success of Pitt's seasons.
2) Running back committee: Sticking with the running back theme, this will be another area that will define Pitt's season. How will Chryst make use of the three talented running backs that he has at his disposal? How is he going to divide the number of carries each back gets? This might not be a question that can be answered immediately, but Chryst no doubt has some idea of the abilities of each back.
3) Defensive turnover: The defense is not only losing a bunch of starters, but returning to the old system they had under Dave Wannstedt two seasons ago. While the system is similar and the majority of the players are no doubt used to said system, it still is an adjustment that the players will have to make after spending a year practicing under a different alignment. It certainly doesn't help that, as I said above, Pitt is losing a bunch of starters, especially in the front seven, where the majority of the change in the defense is occurring. I want to know how the defense has been progressing and where Chryst believes the defense will be come September 1st.
4) QB progress: Tino will no doubt improve in 2012. He has to. Paul Chryst will be able to improve Tino's skill set as a QB and that hopefully will translate into wins this season. But how much improvement should we expect from Tino? Chryst has spent only one spring camp with Tino, one camp for Tino to really practice the playbook, so there's not much for Chryst to go off of. But he has had success in the past with Russell Wilson at Wisconsin, so no doubt some Pitt fans will expect something similar out of Tino (they shouldn't, but they will).
And what about the backup position? That will be a position of importance heading into the 2012 season. No QB has really separated themselves from the other. Tino should not be at the point in his career where he will have to be replaced, barring injury of course. But Chryst will have to make a decision in the next few weeks. Will it be Chad Voytik, the player many Pitt fans want to be the starter? How about Mark Myers or Trey Anderson, who battled throughout spring for the backup spot?
Hopefully, we will gain some insight into how Pitt will do this season beginning tomorrow with Big East Media Day.