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Pitt at Duke: Breaking Down the Two Deep

Looking at Pitt's depth chart for the Duke game this Saturday.

Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

QB - 1. Nate Peterman   2. Chad Voytik

Nate Peterman was not great last week. He battled and made some plays, but he wasn't sharp on his throws for the and made some bad decisions.  Peterman is a competitor and continues to show he is a capable runner in the open field. I just thought he was looking anxious in the pocket and made some really poor throws.  Going 3-18 in the first half  just isn't going to cut it against a good team like Notre Dame. In Pitt's six wins, Peterman has attempted 25 passes or less. In Pitt's three losses he attempts 29 or more passes.  I alluded to this line of thinking last week, Peterman is good at running the show and controlling the clock, but asking him to win the game with his arm hasn't been successful yet this season.  I know there were a ton of drops this week, and this isn't all on him. I get that, but he's a big part in this.

RB - 1. Qadree Ollison  OR  Chris James OR  Darrin Hall

Qadree Ollison was pretty well bottled up last week.  He only averaged 2.7 yards per carry on 12 touches, and didn't find much success last week.  He still leads the team in rushing with 748 rushing yards and 8 touchdowns, which are pretty good numbers for a freshman starter in the ACC.  Pitt will need to establish him big time this week, the Duke run defense is susceptible to big yardage allowed like James Conner did to them last season.

Chris James only touched the ball three times last week, but each time he was called, it went for five yards.  I think James needs to see the ball more than he is to this point. He is an explosive back and brings a different element than Ollison. Darrin Hall had two carries for four yards last week, and continues being listed as a "starter".

FB - 1. George Aston  2. Colton Lively  3. Anthony Rippole

George Aston had a chance at a touchdown this week, but the ball was overthrown out of his reach.

WR -  1. Tyler Boyd Dontez Ford 2. Zach Challingsworth Jester Weah  3. Tre Tipton Elijah Zeise 4. Quadree Henderson

Tyler Boyd had a rough game, but managed to become Pitt's all-time leader in receiving yardage on a big 51 yard touchdown in the fourth quarter.  Boyd broke a big run in the first half, and made a highlight reel catch in the third quarter.  It may have not been his best statistical game, he still put up big yardage numbers.  Dontez Ford had two catches for 58 yards, and had another apparent catch taken away on a review. He averages 21 yards per catch this season, and has been Pitt's best deep threat. Pitt will need both guys to come down with big plays this week.  Both meetings with Duke since Pitt joined the ACC have been high-scoring shootouts, and the possibility that happens again is real.

TE -  1. J.P. Holtz 2. Scott Orndoff   3. Jaymar Parrish

JP Holtz hauled in three passes for 58 yards last week.  He is now up to 19 receptions on the year.  Orndoff had a catch that went for six yards. Both guys will need to be ready to make plays this week, after some dropped passes this week.

LT - 1. Adam Bisnowaty 2. Aaron Reese

LG  - 1. Dorian Johnson 2. John Guy

C -  1. Artie Rowell 2. Gabe Roberts

RG -  1. Alex Officer 2. Alex Bookser 3. Mike Herndon

RT -  1. Brian O'Neill 2. Alex Bookser 3. Carson Baker

Pitt posted 398 yards of total offense while posting 18 first downs last week.  I did not think the line played exceptionally well as they were not able to establish a true running game. Boyd broke off a big run, Peterman had some scrambles, and Whitehead gave them a spark.  But Ollison or James were not given enough room to operate. Pitt's line play has been spotty this year, but they have showed signs throughout the season. They need to have a strong close to the season starting Saturday against Duke.

DE -  1. Ejuan Price Rori Blair  2. Shakir Soto James Folston 3. Allen Edwards

Ejuan Price had an outstanding game last week. He finished the day with eight tackles, two sacks, and a fumble recovery for a touchdown.  He really showed up on the big stage after a few weeks with some poor play from the defensive line. Blair played a solid game as well as he finished with five tackles (one for loss), and bounced back after some slow weeks.  They will have to deal with a physically imposing and tough-running Duke QB this week in Thomas Sirk.

DT - 1. Darryl Render 2. Mark Scarpinato 3. Jeremiah Taleni

Darryl Render had a quiet game against Notre Dame, while Mark Scarpinato was a late scratch with an injury. Ideally Scarpinato is ready to suit up this week and give Pitt more depth.

NT - 1. Tyrique Jarrett  2. Khaynin Mosley-Smith 3. Justin Moody

Neither player had a big day on the stat sheet against the Irish. Pitt will need them to take away running lanes from Thomas Sirk and Shaq Powell.

Star LB -  1. Nicholas Grigsby 2. Matt Steinbeck 3. Jameel Poteat

Nicholas Grigsby came down with 6 tackles last week with 1.5 going for a loss. Grigsby has had a solid senior season to this point, but that was one of his better showings on the stat sheet since early October. Pitt needs him to come down with more big plays.

Mike Linebacker - 1. Matt Galambos 2. Quintin Wirginis

Matt Galambos had seven tackles and one sack last week against Notre Dame.  It was Galambos' fifth sack of the season, and he is definitely having a very solid season overall. He will have to be ready to hit this week with the physical play from the Duke QB Sirk.

Money Linebacker - 1. Mike Caprara OR Bam Bradley 2. Jamal Davis II

A change here this week as this position goes back to a co-starter situation. Bam Bradley was held out of the stat sheet last week, and Caprara put up good numbers. This position has been changing between these two guys all year long, and like the running backs - the hot hand will play.

CB  - 1. Lafayette Pitts Avonte Maddox   2. Phillipie Motley Ryan Lewis Dennis Briggs

The Pitt secondary got roasted by a very good Notre Dame passing game last week. Will Fuller had 152 yards and three receiving touchdowns.  DeShone Kizer put up five passing touchdowns overall.  The past two weeks the long pass play has hurt this secondary.  I thought both players had good moments last week, Pitts looked good on the corner blitz and made a big play there.  Both Maddox and Pitts are physical and strong in run support, but the long passing plays are becoming an issue.

SS -  1. Jordan Whitehead  2. Jevonte Pitts

I know I may be biased, but I can't imagine there are too many true freshmen than Jordan Whitehead.  He is Pitt's leading tackler and got to show off his running skills last week with four carries for 27 yards and two touchdowns. He is incredible, and the next big thing here at Pitt.

FS -  1. Terrish Webb OR Pat Amara Jr.  2. Reggie Mitchell

This group should see a boost this week with the return of Reggie Mitchell.

K - Chris Blewitt P - Ryan Winslow   LS - Pat Quirin/David Murphy

Blewitt made his only field goal attempt on Saturday and is now 12-17 on the season.

KR - Boyd/Maddox/Pitts/Ford       PR - Maddox/Boyd/Whitehead

Maddox did most of the returning last week, and he wasn't able to break many big runs against the Irish.