ESPN.com recently asked all of the head football coaches from the Power 5 conferences to describe their team. In one word.
Paul Chryst's word for the Panthers? Young.
It's hard to argue with that and if I were given the same task, I might say the exact same thing. Lost in all of the excitement about the season can be the fact that this is still a very young team.
The star of the team, wide receiver Tyler Boyd, is a true sophomore. Starting quarterback Chad Voytik isn't only inexperienced, but only a redshirt sophomore. Starting running back and potential star James Conner? He's a true sophomore, too. Also in the backfield expected to play are underclassmen Chris James, Rachid Ibrahim, and maybe Qadree Ollison.
Two of Pitt's five starting offensive linemen, Dorian Johnson and Adam Bisnowaty are sophomores, and two others that could be among the first off the bench in Jaryd Jones-Smith and Alex Bookser (if he's not redshirted), are freshmen.
That's just on offense.
In the secondary, Pitt not only has two new starters, but both guys, Terrish Webb and Reggie Mitchell, are sophomores. In addition, several of the guys backing the starters up in the secondary such as Avonte Maddox and Ryan Lewis, are underclassmen - in Maddox' case, he's a true freshman.
There's significant experience at linebacker with seniors Todd Thomas and Anthony Gonzalez, but they'll be flanking sophomores at middle linebacker in Matt Galambos and presumed backup Mike Caprara. And defensive line is another position where some young players will start or get a lot of time with players like underclassmen Shakir Soto and Tyrique Jarrett.
There's even inexperience on special teams with true sophomore Chris Blewitt kicker and freshman punter Ryan Winslow.
Add it all up and youth sounds like the best word to use.
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