Football season is a little over five months away. It may seem like a long way away, but it will be here before you know it. We're deep into the doldrums of the dead season. No football. No basketball. We all have to pretend like we follow the baseball team. Dark times indeed. To hold you all over and to get a little conversation going about the 2013 season, I present five reasons to get excited for the 2013 campaign. And as a Pitt fan, it is also my job to also bring you five reasons to be fearful of next season, because let's face it, the first five things will never pan out.
Five reasons to be excited:
- Year two under Paul Chryst: The anti-Graham, as I like to call him, will have another year to implement his system and mold his players. There has been roster cleansing this spring, and more may come, but Chryst is slowly getting "his" players. Another year should mean more progress.
- A new quarterback: My money is on Tom Savage, the well-traveled Senior. Chad Voytik may make a push in the fall or see early playing time if Savage underperforms. In either case, it will be nice to see a new face under center.
- The defense should be pretty good: The secondary, led by K'Waun Williams, Lafayette Pitts, and Jason Hendricks, should be physical and the strength of the defense. Aaron Donald and Ty Ezell will pack a punch in the middle of the line. The linebackers are always a question mark, but Todd Thomas is solid and Anthony Gonzalez has been getting some good reviews in spring for his athleticism.
- New blood: Pitt had a pretty decent recruiting class, all things considered. It will be interesting to see if redshirt Freshman Adam Bisnowaty sees playing time. The same can be said for true freshman Tyler Boyd and Dorian Johnson.
- ACC foes: The home schedule should excite the fan base. A few wins would help, too. Nothing would be better than on Labor Day when the Seminoles of Florida State come to Heinz Field.
And now, if you weren't a naturally pessimistic Pitt fan (hah!), here are some reasons for concern:
- A new quarterback: What's that you say? I just said that was a reason to be excited above, I know, but I guess things can always get worse. The fear of the unknown, etc. etc.
- Offensive line: Quick. Name Pitt's possible starting o-line for next year. You can't. Depth will also be an issue, meaning the aforementioned Johnson and Bisnowaty may be forced into action before they're ready.
- Running Back depth: I'm confident in Isaac Bennett and company, but I'm not confident in their ability to suddenly multiply. If one or two guys go down, this group will be even more thin than they are right now if that's even possible.
- Special Teams: Pitt needs more out of its kicking and return games, plain and simple. Kicking cost them at South Bend where they could have spared the nation a blowout in the BCS title game. Freshman Chris Blewitt is a headline writers dream and will compete for the starting PK job. I don't see how this can end bad...
- ACC foes: Again, another contradiction. The ACC schedule is both a blessing and a curse. A blessing for fans wanting to see quality opponents and surely for those selling tickets in the Athletic Department. It may be a curse for a team a year or two away from reaching its full potential. I have 2014 pegged as a year where Pitt can make some noise, but they may have to take their lumps in 2013.
So there you have it. Pitt is capable of having a solid introductory campaign in the ACC. They could also have a bumpy ride. As Pitt fans, we've learned to expect the worst and hope for the best.
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