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Pitt offensive line among most experienced in the nation

Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

It's easy for Pitt fans to see that the Panthers return a pretty experienced offensive line. But Phil Steele crunched some numbers recently and, the result? Pitt has the 12th most experienced line in terms of returning 'starts' in the country.

Pitt's returning lineman have a combined 99 starts among them and that's second-most in the ACC behind only North Carolina. Leading the way are tackle Adam Bisnowaty and guard Dorian Johnson, who have a combined 59 starts.

Truthfully, it can be argued that the Panthers bring back even more experience than that. In addition to all of those starts coming back, the team also returns redshirt junior Jaryd Jones-Smith. JJS was a potential starter last season before missing the year with an ACL injury. He's a guy that has only three starts under his belt, but is a big talented lineman that's entering his fourth year with the program. He may not have a ton of starts, but has a lot of experience from the games he played and the amount of time he's been in the program.

Another point that's been oft-discussed is that Paul Chryst deserves credit for building this unit and that deserves repeating. Chryst wasn't a master recruiter and his on-field success at Pitt was limited. But one thing he excelled at was stockpiling offensive linemen and really setting a strong foundation on that side of the ball. Running backs James Conner and Qadree Ollison have put together two pretty big seasons but those guys have had some good offensive lines in front of them.

Pitt has some question marks heading into this season but offensive line shouldn't be one of them if they can stay relatively healthy.

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