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Pitt at Oklahoma State: Breaking Down the Two Deep

Looking into Pitt’s depth chart for the Oklahoma State game.

Penn State v Pittsburgh Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images

Quarterback - 1. Nate Peterman 2. Manny Stocker

Nate Peterman, in true game manager fashion, managed Pitt to a win over Penn State last week. The senior play caller was not asked to do much in the win over the Nittany Lions, but he did throw for three touchdowns anyway. I would think Peterman will be asked to throw it a bit more as the season goes on, but there wasn’t a huge need for it on Saturday. If the team can score 42 points with the quarterback going for less than 100 yards passing, obviously the rushing game is working. Oklahoma State is going to put pressure on Pitt to “keep up” with them in the scoring department, it seems only natural Pitt will throw it more this week trying to play to the Big 12 style of game.

Running Back - 1. James Conner 2. Chawntez Moss OR Darrin Hall OR Qadree Ollison

For as average as James Conner was in week one against Villanova, he was sensational against Penn State on the national stage in week two. Conner rushed for 117 yards and a touchdown, and caught four passes for 29 yards and another score there. In a game hyped for it’s running back play, Conner came ready to play and was every bit as good as Saquon Barkley, if not better.

After Conner, we saw some good production from Darrin Hall and Qadree Ollison. Hall, in particular, had a very nice run in the third quarter that set up a Conner touchdown. Hall used a pretty nifty open field spin move that propelled a 20 yard run. Ollison contributed 36 yards himself. True freshman Chawtez Moss is continued to be listed in the depth chart, but only Conner, Ollison, and Hall have seen time. We’ll continue to monitor if Moss or junior Rachid Ibrahim get any touches, as both were expected to at least be in the conversation.

Wide Receiver - 1. Jester Weah Dontez Ford Quadree Henderson
2. Aaron Mathews or Zach Challingsworth Tre Tipton Rafael Araujo-Lopes

Pitt really took the air out of the ball last week against Penn State. Matt Canada used a heavy ground attack to rack up 42 points on the Nittany Lions. The game plan left the receivers mostly as decoys and blockers. Still, Quadree Henderson found a way to shine, and I think Pitt has found a guy they can rely upon in the passing game. Henderson caught a touchdown, and also made a big 24 yard reception along the sideline. He’s dynamic, and looks to be a budding star.

Dontez Ford was given a chance to carry the ball, and had a six yard run. He injured himself making a tackle after an interception went off his hands. Ford is still listed on the depth chart, so we’ll assume for now he is able to go.

Weah, Mathews, Challingsworth, and Aqaujo-Lopes all player in the game, but were obviously not factors in the passing game. I believe Pitt is capable of throwing the ball to a degree, at least more than last Saturday. So I do expect more downfield shots this weekend and beyond. Any of the guys named will get their chances, but I do expect Henderson to lead this team in receiving this season the way things are going.

Tight End - 1. Scott Orndoff 2. Jaymar Parrish

Scott Orndoff caught 4 passes for 15 yards and a touchdown last Saturday against Penn State. Orndoff now leads the team with 9 receptions on the year. He was used in motion and deception a lot last week, and even was the recipient of some of Matt Canada’s called shovel passes. Orndoff did come down with a big touchdown in the first half, the ninth touchdown of his career.

Pitt does not list a fullback on their depth chart, but quick shoutout to George Aston for last week. The sophomore fullback scored two touchdowns in the first half, and even had a nice 13 yard run down the sideline. He was obviously a big part of last week’s gameplan, we’ll see what Matt Canada has in store for him against Oklahoma State.

LT - 1. Adam Bisnowaty 2. Aaron Reese

LG - 1. Dorian Johnson 2. Carson Baker

C - 1. Alex Officer 2. Connor Dintino

RG - 1. Alex Bookser 2. John Guy

RT - 1. Brian O’Neill 2. Jaryd Jones-Smith

Pitt used their experienced offensive line to absolute bully a young Penn State defensive line. Pitt racked up 341 rushing yards, and just jammed it down Penn State’s throat throughout the game. Pitt really set the tone with a 99 yard drive on their first possession, only attempting one pass. They just went after Penn State from the start, and it worked. I think Bisnowaty and Johnson, Pitt’s best linemen, really shined. For all the concerns of last week, they were erased moments into Pitt’s first possession.

Defensive End - 1. Rori Blair Ejuan Price 2. Allen Edwards James Folston 3. Rashad Weaver

Dewayne Hendrix is now out for the year. He injured himself in the Villanova game, but was still listed in last week’s depth chart. He is now off the depth chart and Rori Blair is the new starters. Blair is no stranger to being the starter, as he has 13 career starts to his name. Blair had a sack last week late in the game against Penn State.

Ejuan Price played like an All ACC level performer last week on a national stage. Price had a sack against Penn State, and forced two fumbles from Penn State quarterback Trace McSorley. He was a difference maker last week, and is up 2.5 sacks on the young season.

James Folston was in the game a fair amount last week, and was the first end off the bench they turned to for help. True freshman Rashad Weaver debuts his name on the two-deep depth chart.

Nose Tackle - 1. Tyrique Jarrett 2. Shane Roy OR Mike Herndon

Tyrique Jarrett was able to play pretty much the whole game last week, and he was not a big factor in the stat sheet. I did feel Jarrett was disruptive mostly, and played a factor. He’s a big guy, and someone the offensive line has to account for all the time. Penn State had less than 100 yards net rushing on Saturday, and the big man was a big part of that.

Defensive Tackle - 1. Shakir Soto 2. Amir Watts OR Keyshon Camp

Shakir Soto recorded 4 tackles, 2 of which went for loss on Saturday against Penn State. Soto also registered his first sack of the season. He looks pretty good in his new position thus far, and could be able to give more production from the inside.

Money Linebacker - 1. Mike Caprara 2. Saleem Brightwell

If there is a big play, Mike Caprara seems to be around the action. He recovered two Penn State fumbles in big momentum swings that helped Pitt to victory. Caprara was good against the run it seemed, but got mismatched on some big passing plays. We sort of know by now what Caprara brings to the defense, and it’s some good and some bad.

Saleem Brightwell is now listed as the top backup for this position. He was a pretty well regarded recruit out of high school, and now the redshirt freshman appears to be in line for some playing time this season.

Mike Linebacker - 1. Matt Galambos 2. Quintin Wirginis

Matt Galambos had a relatively quiet game against Penn State with three tackles and one pass break up. He is sixth on the team in tackles through two games. Galambos was able to make some big plays last season, but we haven’t seen that yet through two games.

Quintin Wirginis had an absolute huge sack to assure holding Penn State to a field goal in the second half. It was a big play to not allow Penn State to tie to the game in that scenario, and Wirginis stepped up and made a play.

Star Linebacker 1. Oluwaseun Idowu 2. Bam Bradley

We found out the other day that Elijah Zeise is now out for the year. He started in week one against Villanova, but it now looks like a battle between Seun Idowu and senior Bam Bradley. Both players made some plays on Saturday against Penn State and should have a rotation going this week against Oklahoma State. Idowu had six tackles and forced one of Penn State’s five fumbles. Bradley registered four stops, including a big one on special teams.

Cornerback - 1. Avonte Maddox Ryan Lewis 2. Dane Jackson Phillipie Motley

Ryan Lewis now owns one of the most memorable interceptions in Pitt history after hauling in the game winning stop against Penn State. Lewis’ play throughout the game wasn’t great, nor was it bad. He had nine tackles, and actually leads the team in tackles through two games. Even on some of Penn State’s bigger receptions, Lewis seemed to be step for step there. Maddox was also fairly good in pass coverage for the most part. Penn State’s bigger plays came on mismatches and blown assignments with linebackers. They will be put to the test this week, however, as Oklahoma State operates a pass heavy offense.

Strong Safety - 1. Jordan Whitehead 2. Dennis Briggs

Jordan Whitehead had seven tackles, a fumble recovery, and a big run on offense. The super sophomore was as busy as anyone on the field on Saturday. As I mentioned about the corners, he will be put to the test against the pass heavy Cowboys.

Free Safety - 1. Terrish Webb 2. Reggie Mitchell

The senior duo of Webb and Mitchell combined for seven tackles against the Nittany Lions. I found their pass coverage to be a bit suspect. and that’s something that needs to get better from these guys.

K - Chris Blewitt P - Ryan Winslow LS - Pat Quirin

Chris Blewitt was 6-6 on extra point attempts, but missed his third field goal this season and is now 0-3. He needs to get it cleaned up as the schedule starts to get harder and conference season on the horizon. Ryan Winslow had an average day, and a poor punt allowed a big Penn State return that set up their first touchdown.

KR/PR - 1. Quadree Henderon 2. Avonte Maddox

I said last week that a big return from Henderson could be the difference, and his return was a huge play. The sophomore is among the national leaders in all purpose yardage. Some guys just have the knack to return kicks, and Henderson is one of them. He’s made a big return in four straight games dating back to last season.