QB - 1. Chad Voytik 2. Trey Anderson
Pitt named Chad Voytik as the starter later in camp than expected, but I think we knew all along that it was his job since about the third quarter of the Little Caesars Bowl. This is a big game for Voytik and this Pitt offense, as the Blue Hens do not have the greatest defense in place. Any sort of struggles would be very alarming for the rest of the season.
TB - 1. James Conner 2. Isaac Bennett
In every game last year, it was Isaac Bennett named as the starter, and James Conner as his backup. Over the course of the season, it was evident Conner was the most talented back on the roster, and the numbers reflected that. Conner should see the bulk of the carries this season, but after that it can get interesting. Bennett is the top reserve right now, but he is hanging on to the job by a thread with Rachid Ibrahim, Chris James, and Qadree Ollison all pushing for carries. 5 backs seems like a lot, a redshirt and a position change could still be in the cards, and that is something to keep an eye on during this game.
H-Back - 1. Jaymar Parrish 2. Scott Orndoff
This is an interesting position in Pitt's offense. Both players are listed as "H-Backs" right now, but both players have entirely different roles. Jaymar Parrish will resemble a fullback most of the time, and Scott Orndoff's role actually will look a whole lot like a tight end. Orndoff can line up out wide or go in motion, so his role will be different than that of JP Holtz, he essentially is doing what Manasseh Garner did last year. Both players in this position will see the field quite a but, depending on the play call and formation.
WR - 1. Tyler Boyd, Manasseh Garner 2. Ronald Jones, Kevin Weatherpoon
Tyler Boyd is one of the best receivers in the country, and it seems some are wondering what he does without Devin Street opposite him, but we already know what he will do. Boyd played games as the primary receiver last year when Street was hurt, and caught a lot of passes, there should be little worry. Aside from that, Manasseh Garner is pretty good himself and will take some pressure away from Boyd. Ronald Jones and Kevin Weatherspoon are set as the top two off the bench right now, but they will need to perform very well to keep Adonis Jennings off the field for very long.
TE - 1. J.P. Holtz 2. Devon Edwards
JP Holtz has done everything asked of him in his first two years, and he is having a really nice career. I think Pitt should involve him in the offense more, but they do have a lot of weapons. I do expect with a QB like Voytik, that Holtz can come up big on some underneath routes. Devon Edwards may see some time in goal-line situations, but Orndoff would likely to take Holtz's spot if he were to go down with an injury.
LT - 1. Adam Bisnowaty 2. Jaryd Jones-Smith
LG - 1. Dorian Johnson 2. Carson Baker
C - 1. Artie Rowell 2. Alex Officer
RG - 1. Matt Rotheram 2. Gabe Roberts
RT - 1. TJ Clemmings 2. Alex Bookser
When I take a look at the first depth chart for the offensive line, the biggest thing sticking out is Alex Bookser is the only true freshman on offense that makes the depth chart. Bookser is a big time talent, and he is one freshman we weren't really sure he would play, but this should answer it. Pitt had some line shuffling late in camp with Jaryd Jones-Smith moving to first team left tackle, and Adam Bisnowaty taking Johnson' spot at left guard, but that was short lived. Still, that is a possibility and if Dorian Johnson struggles, it will be something to monitor.
DE - 1. Shakir Soto, David Durham. 2. Luke Maclean, Rori Blair.
Pitt welcomes back David Durham as a starter, but he had a so-so year last season. Shakir Soto saw plenty of game experience as a freshman in 2013, and has all the tools to be a big time end in the ACC. I really want to see Soto to have a big game, as this can be a big one for his confidence. Rori Blair is one of four true freshmen to be on the initial two deep depth chart. Blair has talent, but is playing out of a lack of depth.
DT - 1. Darryl Render 2. Justin Moody
"OK Darryl Render, try to fill the shoes of Aaron Donald." No, he is not being asked of that, but he is the guy manning his position. Render is a junior and has played a lot of snaps in his career. Like Donald, Render is a more athletic interior lineman than a space-eater, he should be quick enough to make some plays.
NT - 1. Khaynin Mosley-Smith 2. Tyrique Jarrett
Mosley-Smith is another guy that has played in a lot of games, but it has been a while. He was suspended for the 2013 season, but as a redshirt junior he should have the experience to make a positive impact this season. His production has always been lacking, so maybe a guy like Tyrique Jarrett can pass him up if he proves to be more effective.
Freeze - 1. Nicholas Grigsby
OK nobody really knows what this is, but nobody really knows what to do with Nicholas Grigsby, so it makes sense. Grigsby had a good bowl game, a strong Spring, and a good camp. He has value to play both end and outside linebacker, so a new spot was seemingly created to have him as a starter. Grigsby will be on the field quite a bit, let's just say that. I would imagine James Conner is the second "Freeze Linebacker" on the depth chart, although he is not listed.
Will LB - 1. Todd Thomas 2. Quintin Wirginis
Todd Thomas has been a big part of this program for a few years, so it comes as no surprise for him to be in his starter's role again. Thomas has a shot at making it in the NFL, it would be nice to see him start the year off with a big game. Quintin Wirginis had one of the best camps among all the true freshmen, and really proved himself to make the two-deep.
MLB - 1. Matt Galambos 2. Mike Caprara
Galambos had been the middle linebacker all camp long, and was not really threatened by Caprara. Both players are intelligent and insightful players, but Galambos is just bigger,stronger, and faster. Both guys will be on the field, but Galambos has a chance to upgrade the position. Pitt has missed a big-time middle linebacker for a few years, and they are really hoping Galambos can lock this position up for the next three years.
Sam LB - 1. Anthony Gonzalez 2. Bam Bradley
Gonzalez is back as a starter, and played well late in the year. Gonzalez is the new age Dorin Dickerson, as it took him a while to finally find a home. I think with another full year as a starter here, I think he will only get better. Bam Bradley is a good backup, and he will be on the field in a lot of passing downs.
CB - 1. Lafayette Pitts, Reggie Mitchell. 2. Avonte Maddox, Ryan Lewis.
Pitt needs Pitts to be a lockdown corner this season. He showed signs of it two years ago, and last year he regressed. I mentioned yesterday that he needs to be on high alert for Delaware's Michael Johnson. Reggie Mitchell has a lot to prove with his move from Safety, but he seems like a bright guy as he is being asked to be ready for multiple spots on the field. Avonte Maddox will play, we just aren't sure how much.
SS - 1. Terrish Webb 2. Jevonte Pitts
Terrish Webb has a lot of expectations, and Pitt is really ranking on him having a big year. Jevonte Pitts has been a seldom used guy, and if Webb were to go down, it may be Mitchell falling back to this spot and Maddox taking corner.
FS - 1. Ray Vinopal 2. Pat Amara
Ray Vinopal went from a goat of last year's team to one of it's biggest playmakers. Vinopal is a team leader, and will be one of the rocks of this defense. Amara is a passionate true freshman and he was a guy we all thought would make his presence felt at some point this season.
K - Chris Blewitt P - Ryan Winslow LS - David Murphy
Chris Blewitt had a good freshman season, and will be back to take on his duties again. Ryan Winslow was a recruited scholarship Punter, so he should bring some talent to the position.
PR 1. Tyler Boyd 2. Kevin Weatherspoon
My guess is that Tyler Boyd will be out there for returnable kicks, and Kevin Weatherspoon will be there to handle some of the fair-catch situations.
KR - 1. Tyler Boyd 2. Ronald Jones 3. Avonte Maddox
Again Boyd is the best one of the bunch, but he will not be out there every time. I think because of that, Paul Chryst listed 3 guys instead of just two. Jones and Maddox are very speedy guys capable of breaking one. I am a little surprised Lafayette Pitts is nowhere to be found.
- Know your Enemy: Delaware's Michael Johnson
- Pitt vs. Delaware: Q/A with TheFightinHens.com
- Chrystal Clear: Top Ten quotes from Paul Chryst press conference (Delaware)
- Pitt Football: Paul Chryst identifies freshmen that will play for the Panthers in 2014
- King of the Hill: ACC Power Rankings (Preseason)