QB - 1. Chad Voytik 2. Trey Anderson
Chad Voytik started off slow against Virginia, but finished strong in the second half. He made an absolutely awful throw on the pick six just before the half, but he made some big plays down the stretch. It has been the same thing all year and that is being inconsistent. Voytik looks good on some plays, but looks lost on others. Pitt needs Voytik to limit the interceptions Thursday, and play a smart football game. Virginia Tech always has a good defense, and they will be throwing all kinds of blitzes at the young QB all night long. Voytik has actually shown he is better on the run than in the pocket, and maybe that could help Pitt.
RB - 1. James Conner 2. Isaac Bennett
I talked earlier in the week that Pitt should explore different ways of using their running backs, and maybe splitting the carries. There is talk of James Conner playing some defensive end this week, so he likely won't have more than 18-20 carries unless he is on a roll. Look for Isaac Bennett, Chris James, and Rachid Ibrahim all to get some touches this week. Chris James could possibly even get an extended look this week.
HB - 1. Jaymar Parrish 2. Scott Orndoff
Scott Orndoff actually hauled in his second pass of the season against Virginia. I still believe he is being severely underused. Hopefully Pitt throws in some more play calls to the tight ends this week.
WR - 1. Tyler Boyd Manasseh Garner 2. Kevin Weatherspoon Ronald Jones
Tyler Boyd had a season low (career low?) three receptions last week. He also touched the ball twice on runs, but it is clear they need to get him the ball more than that. Manasseh Garner and Kevin Weatherpoon had a pair of catches each, and Garner came up with a big touchdown reception. Pitt even got Adonis Jennings into the mix with a catch, and maybe that is something they can work into the play calling this week.
TE - 1. J.P. Holtz 2. Devon Edwards
J.P. Holtz made an acrobatic touchdown catch in the back of the end zone to bring the Panthers within a score. He actually led the Panthers against Virginia with four catches. Holtz is now up to nine catches on the year, but still could be used more. It was a good sign that he was worked into the offense more last week, and perhaps that will be a new trend.
LT - 1. Adam Bisnowaty 2. Jaryd Jones-Smith
LG - 1. Dorian Johnson 2. Carson Baker
C - 1. Alex Officer 2. Gabe Roberts
RG - 1. Matt Rotheram 2. Alex Officer
RT - 1. TJ Clemmings 2. Alex Bookser
Pitt welcomes back Adam Bisnowaty to the lineup after a one game suspension, and hopefully he can sure up a unit that was visibly shaken last week. Actually, Bisnowaty's replacement Jones-Smith did not play all that bad. It was TJ Clemmings that hurt them with many false starts, and Pitt cannot afford to give away penalty yards like they did last week.
DE - 1. Shakir Soto David Durham 2. Rori Blair Devin Cook OR Luke Maclean
Pitt has not received a ton of production from their defensive ends, but the one bright spot has been Rori Blair. The true freshman from Upper St. Clair has been a nice surprise this season, and is showing signs of being a future star. I believe he will keep getting looks each week, and suddenly he looks like Pitt's most promising end after Shakir Soto's season has been very mediocre to date.
DT - 1. Darryl Render 2. Justin Moody
Darryl Render recorded a big sack against the Cavs, and it was his second of the year. Render has handled starting duties fairly well this year. Pitt allowed a 100 yard rusher for the first time in a few years, so hopefully the interior of the line comes to play for four quarters this week.
NT - 1. Khaynin Mosley-Smith 2. Tyrique Jarrett
Khaynin Mosley-Smith played an excellent second half against Virginia, and by my estimations, it was his best half of football in his Pitt career. He came up with a mammoth stop on a third down and got the ball carrier behind the line. In fact, Mosley-Smith pulled in two tackles for loss, his first two of the year.
FREEZE - 1. Nicholas Grigsby
Although you won't see him on the depth chart for defense, expect a James Conner sighting in this "freeze" role as a pass rusher on third downs. Grigsby has been playing well, and will be on the field his normal allotment, but Conner may technically play this position and not actually defensive end.
SAM OLB - 1. Anthony Gonzalez 2. Bam Bradley
Anthony Gonzalez turned in another solid performance this week, and he continues to lead Pitt in tackles. Bam Bradley made a standout play on a kickoff and drilled the return man for Virginia. Bradley is a talented guy, and he continues to play well when he is called in on defense and special teams.
MLB - 1. Matt Galambos 2. Mike Caprara
Pitt needs a big game from Galambos this week. Pitt allowed some big holes against the run and gave Virginia some big running plays. Pitt cannot afford to be weak against the run and the pass. Hopefully they can lock down the running game this week a little better than last week.
WILL OLB - 1. Todd Thomas 2. Quintin Wirginis
Todd Thomas had an outstanding game against Virginia with 12 total tackles. He was flying to the ball all game long, and made some great plays. He put his athleticism on full, and Pitt will need more of the same this week.
CB - 1. Lafayette Pitts Reggie Mitchell 2. Avonte Maddox Ryan Lewis
As the narrative has been all year, shaky corner play continues to haunt this team. Pitt allowed a freshman QB to make easy work of them in the first half before tightening things up in the second half. I'll give Pitts credit because he was called for a questionable pass interference in the first half. He needed to turn around sooner, but he was step for step and ordinarily that isn't called a penalty.
FS - 1. Ray Vinopal 2. Pat Amara
Ray Vinopal continued his steady play with a few tackles and knocked away a pass in coverage. Pat Amara came in and made his first career interception.
SS - 1. Terrish Webb 2. Jevonte Pitts
The lasting impact from Webbs' game was a 15 yard unnecessary roughness penalty for tackling a guy late out of bounds. It is hard to get on him too much since he has been solid this year, but he needs to avoid those kind of penalties in the future.
K - Chris Blewitt P - Ryan Winslow LS - David Murphy
Chris Blewitt was two for two on Saturday, and is a perfect 9-9 on the year. Ryan Winslow has not been kicking well lately, and for a team struggling on offense, he needs to help them out a little more.
KR - Boyd Jones Maddox PR - Boyd Weatherspoon
We got to see Boyd make another special return last week and he nearly took it to the house. He's special with the ball in his hands, and keeping him at the punt returner spot has been a good move.