QB - 1. Nate Peterman OR Chad Voytik
I have been vocal about this position just like any other person who follows the Pitt football program. I tend to lean with Chad Voytik in the personnel debate, but personal feelings aside, I would rather Pitt pick one guy for the job. The saying goes, "if you have two quarterbacks, you have no quarterbacks" and I am a firm believer in that. Pitt's season could really be lost if they do not settle on something that should have been decided three weeks ago.
Nate Peterman got the longer look last week, and he played fine. The Tennessee transfer made some big throws, and led the offense on all of their scoring drives that resulted in touchdowns. He is the less mobile of the two, but has shown some signs of being a good passer. Chad Voytik got a quick hook, and it's clear a lot of his problems are mental mistakes right now. He is jumpy in the pocket, and is not going through progressions (at least from my uninformed opinion). Now heading into Iowa, it's clear Voytik has more experience and it will be a hostile environment. I'm starting to suspect they are leaning towards Peterman, but the whole situation is a bit of a mess.
RB - 1. Qadree Ollison 2. Chris James OR Darrin Hall
Qadree Ollison followed up his monster week one game with a solid 81 yard one-touchdown effort against Akron. He was mostly bottled up for any big runs, but chipped away against a surprisingly good Akron front seven. Ollison currently finds himself ranked seventh in the nation in rushing.
Darrin Hall got an extended look on Saturday and he responded with an impressive game for a true freshman. Hall did not do anything spectacular, but contributed 52 rushing yards and 25 receiving yards. He looks to be the best receiver of the group, and Pitt can definitely carve at a role for him doing that. Chris James was held out of the lineup, but should work his way into the game plan for this week. Between the three backs here, Pitt should be able to get steady production by committee in their attempt to replace James Conner.
FB - 1. George Aston 2. Anthony Rippole
George Aston recorded a big first down catch for seven yards against Akron. I would not expect him to see the ball frequently this season, but they at least know he can make a play when needed.
WR - 1. Tyler Boyd Dontez Ford 2. Elijah Zeise Tre Tipton 3. Jester Weah Zach Challingsworth 4. Quadree Henderson
As expected, Tyler Boyd came in and did Tyler Boyd things. The All-American posted 11 catches for 95 yards in his 2015 debut. Boyd is good enough to carry this inexperienced receiving unit by himself. Whether it is Voytik or Peterman throwing the ball, the junior wide-out will be making plays this season.
Zach Challingsworth was the only other wide receiver to make a catch against Akron, and it was the first one of his career. It is a shame the QB position is jumbled right now, because it is not doing the younger guys any favors developing a comfort level with a set starting quarterback. It is pretty much a guess each week what guys will get involved into the offense. Playing a good Iowa team on the road will likely require someone other than Boyd to step up, and it's hard to predict who it will be.
TE - 1. J.P. Holtz 2. Scott Orndoff 3. Jaymar Parrish
Pitt has two receiving touchdowns this season, and both have been caught by tight ends. It was JP Holtz coming up with a big touchdown reception against Akron just before halftime to give Pitt the lead. Both Holtz and Orndoff are sure-handed guys that are going to help this offense. I have long advocated for both of these players to get more looks, and hopefully that continues this season.
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. Mike Herndon
RT - 1. Brian O'Neill OR Alex Bookser 2. Carson Baker
Pitt's offensive line is clearly talented, but injuries and shuffling have been the story in the early going. Pitt's pass protection has been spotty, but they have been steady in allowing the running game to get going. It will be a loud and hostile environment on Saturday night, so having the same five together working as a unit will be key for success.
The right tackle position still is unsettled with O'Neill and Bookser getting OR between their names. Both players have done alright in spots, but look like freshmen in others. This may be a spot that is never 100% settled with both guys sure to play in every game.
DE - 1. Rori Blair Ejuan Price 2. Shakir Soto James Folston 3. Zach Poker Allen Edwards
Rori Blair had quite the season debut with two tackles for loss and 1.5 sacks against Akron. The sophomore defensive end is a very talented guy, and looks like he could be a star for this defense throughout the season. Pitt received a very limited pass rush in 2014, but it is off to a good start this season. Ejuan Price had a quiet night against Akron, but still gives the Panthers some speed coming off the edge.
Pitt is still looking for quality depth here, and they received limited production from the reserves last week. Shakir Soto is obviously a guy they would like to get going with his size and ability.
DT - 1. Darryl Render 2. Mark Scarpinato OR Khaynin Mosley-Smith
Darryl Render is the only one in this grouping that registered a tackle against Akron. Obviously Render is a big part of this team, and will be someone they hope starts to perform. He has been dealing with an injury and should be getting back into form this week.
Scarpinato and Mosley-Smith gives this position a ton of depth and skill. All three players will need to be ready for a big and physical Iowa offensive line.
NT - 1. Tyrique Jarrett 2. Jeremiah Taleni 3. Justin Moody
Tyrique Jarrett is putting together an impressive start to his season. The massive 6'3" 335 pound junior already has four tackles for loss on the season, with three coming last week. His performance against Akron earned him co-ACC Defensive Lineman of the Week honors. As a whole, the line is looking to be a strength after being a major hole last season.
Star Linebacker - 1. Nicholas Grigsby 2. Matt Steinbeck 3. Mike Caprara
Nicholas Grigsby followed up his week one standout performance with another solid game. The senior linebacker is looking like he is coming into his own after years of bouncing in and out of the lineup. Getting a pass rush on Iowa will be key, and Grigsby could have an impact there.
Mike Linebacker - 1. Matt Galambos 2. Quintin Wirginis
Matt Galambos played a little better this past week, but he continues to be someone to watch as the season progresses. There are questions about his athleticism and ability to make tackles from sideline to sideline. Iowa is an important game for him, because the Hawkeyes have balance on offense. He needs to make reads and identify plays early.
Money Linebacker - 1. Bam Bradley OR Mike Caprara 2. Jamal Davis II
Both players continue to share duties here this week for the third straight game. Bradley and Caprara have different styles, and I think Narduzzi and Conklin will play the hot hand depending on the opponent. I've said all along I think Bradley is the more explosive player.
CB - 1. Avonte Maddox Lafayette Pitts 2. Ryan Lewis Phillipie Motley OR Dennis Briggs
The Pitt defense held Akron to 63 passing yards on 7-22 attempts. It was a solid day for the defense as a whole, and the pass rush definitely played a role in the low passing output by Akron, but it was a nice day for the corners to shut down an opponent.
Avonte Maddox continues to impress. He recorded two tackles and defended two passes. He is only going to get better. Iowa's top receiver is Matt VandeBerg, who has 15 catches on the year, and he will prove to be a very tough matchup for the Panthers.
SS - 1. Jordan Whitehead OR Pat Amara Jr. 2. Jevonte Pitts
Jordan Whitehead is starting to show everyone why he was one of the top recruits in the country. After a few missed tackles, Whitehead locked down and came up with multiple big plays, including 1.5 tackles for loss from his safety position.
FS - 1. Terrish Webb 2. Reggie Mitchell
Terrish Webb had a nice game that included a forced fumble and three tackles. Reggie Mitchell's injury is still something to monitor. He is an important player to this defense and getting him back would only help, but for now Webb is holding his own.
K - Chris Blewitt P - Ryan Winslow LS - David Murphy/Pat Quirin
Chris Blewitt missed an easy chip shot, and is 2-4 on field goals for the season. It may be too early to start worrying, but you would hope Blewitt can get it together.
Ryan Winslow may come up big this week. The game against the Iowa could resemble a Big Ten slug fest at times with the Panthers current and former coach shaping this team with a Big Ten mindset. So with that said, field position could be very important with points at a premium.
KR - 1. Boyd Maddox Pitts 2. Ford PR - 1. Boyd 2. Maddox 3. Whitehead
Avonte Maddox is averaging 40 yards per touch on kickoff returns, of course that number is aided by his touchdown run against Youngstown State. We all know what Tyler Boyd can do with the ball in his hands. Pitt has some athletes, and a few guys that can break a big one.