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Pitt football loses Bryan Murphy and Mark Giubilato

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Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sport

A few days late on this, but as Pitt is holding their spring football practices, they're doing it without two key players from last year. Starters, Bryan Murphy and Mark Giubilato have both left the football program and won't be playing for the team anymore - apparently to focus on academics.

Both are significant losses since they both started at defensive end and fullback, respectively, but the Murphy departure is really a big one. Pitt's defensive line was already going to be without Aaron Donald and Ty Ezell to graduation, and with Murphy gone, the Panthers will now be replacing three of four starters in that unit.

James Conner moving from running back to defensive end was already a question before. I don't know that this makes it a done deal, but if there were ever a reason for it to happen, this might be it.

The question marks about the defense just continue to grow and Pitt better hope that the more inexperienced guys like Ejuan Price and Shakir Soto adjust quickly. The good news, little as it is, is that there is some experience with the returning Khaynin Mosley-Smith and Darryl Render, who played a decent amount as a backup last year. Still, not having Murphy makes this a thinner unit and someone else will have to step up.

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