Quarterback - 1. Nate Peterman 2. Manny Stocker
Nate Peterman started out strong on Saturday against North Carolina. He was 13-14 and was managing the game very well. I’m not sure who to blame for his fourth quarter play. Is it him? Is Matt Canada playing it conservative with Peterman? Is Narduzzi making that call? It’s all too strange. Either way, Peterman was 1-4 in the fourth quarter, his only competition was on a screen to Conner.
Look, I’m not in the blame Nate Peterman game. He is what he is. All I know is, Pitt needs to convert third downs late in games. The offense is scoring points, but they need to carry extra weight since the defense is so bad. Another play or two by the offense doesn’t put the defense in that position.
Running Back - 1. James Conner 2. Chawntez Moss OR Darrin Hall OR Qadree Ollison
James Conner had another strong game last week, and is putting together a nice season. One noticeable addition to Conner’s game is catching the ball. He now leads Pitt in both rushing and receiving yards. His added versatility is a nice plus.
Chawntez Moss is starting to look like the second back on the team. He had seven carries for 47 yards against the Tar Heels. He came in for a series early in the third quarter and made some nice plays, including a 13 yard run in which he was carrying defenders. He looks very good for a true freshmen.
Darrin Hall was third among the running backs with six carries (19 yards) while last season’s ACC Rookie of the Year, Qadree Ollison, was limited to just two carries for five yards. Not sure if Moss will continue to take carries from these guys, but for now he seems to be in the coaching staff’s good graces.
Fullback - 1. George Aston 2. Jaymar Parrish
George Aston is slowing becoming a cult hero. He scored his third touchdown of the season against the Tar Heels. Aston runs surprising well for a former walk-on. He’s come up with some big plays, and is really a fan favorite already.
Wide Receiver - 1. Jester Weah Quadree Henderson 2. Aaron Mathews OR Zach Challingsworth Tre Tipton 3. Rafael Araujo-Lopes
Qaudree Henderson is first nationally in total all-purpose yards, and is third in yards per game average behind only Christian McCaffrey and San Diego State star, Donnel Pumphrey. Henderson hauled in only three catches against the Tar Heels, but posted 100 yards rushing for the first time in his career. The jet-sweep by Matt Canada has been a revelation of sorts, and has confused teams for three straight weeks, all the while making Quadree Henderson one of the best weapons in college
Jester Weah chipped in one catch for 14 yards. Tre Tipton came down with three receptions for 18 yards, and Araujo-Lopes had one catch for seven yards. It appears these are the three players alongside Henderson that will anchor the receivers. They need more from the passing game in general, and these guys need to get open to make some plays.
Tight End - 1. Scott Orndoff 2. Jaymar Parrish
Scott Orndoff had nine catches in the first two weeks, and just had one since. He recorded zero catches against North Carolina. Orndoff is a solid weapon, and one I think Pitt should utilize more. We’ll see if he can get into the mix against Marshall.
Surprisingly, Jaymar Parrish hauled in a 22 yard catch against North Carolina. You don’t normally think of Parrish being a downfield receiving threat, but he made a big play.
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
You can’t ask much more from Pitt’s offensive line. They are controlling the line of scrimmage each and every week. Pitt is eating up the time of possession, and the rushing game ranks 15th nationally, and third in the ACC. Peterman generally has time to throw as well. They are fine, and just need to stay healthy.
DE - 1. Ejuan Price Rori Blair 2. Allen Edwards James Folston 3. Rashad Weaver
Ejuan Price is second in the country in sacks and tackles for loss. He is tied for third in forced fumbles. Price had some big plays on Saturday against North Carolina including a tackle for loss on Ryan Switzer that caused a safety.
Blair came down with half a sack, and two tackles against North Carolina. The Tar Heels got rid of the ball quickly, and it seemed like the pass rush was hard to get going consistently.
DT - 1. Shakir Soto 2. Keyshon Camp OR Amir Watts
I thought Shakir Soto had a very strong game on Saturday. He had four tackles, with one of them going for a loss. It’s hard to always judge how a defensive tackle plays, but I thought he made his impact felt. Overall, his move inside has been a positive in my eyes.
NT - 1. Tyrique Jarrett 2. Shane Roy OR Mike Herndon
It’s not always about the stats with a nose tackle. He’s there to clog the middle. North Carolina was held to 18 yards on 22 carries this past week. While Pitt’s pass defense is in shambles, the run defense has been pretty good. It’s just a bit overshadowed a bit.
Money Linebacker - 1. Mike Caprara 2. Saleem Brightwell
Caprara was out Saturday and is still listed as the starter anyway, but his backup Saleem Brightwell was on the field quite a bit. Brightwell was active with a sack, a fumble recovery, and pass breakup to go along with five tackles. He was a recruit many were excited about out of high school, perhaps he gets himself into the mix more each and every week.
Mike Linebacker - 1. Matt Galambos 2. Quintin Wirginis
Matt Galambos had four tackles, while Wirginis chipped in with three. Wirginis recorded his second sack of the season as well. Again as I mentioned above, the run defense was solid. The defense got some pressure on the quarterback as well, but this pass defense is among the worst in the country.
Star Linebacker - 1. Seun Idowu 2. Bam Bradley
This spot was a problem on Saturday. It kept getting matched with a slot receiver, and Idowu was not up to the task. Narduzzi keeps mentioning he won’t change personnel, but this isn’t working out too well. I believe they miss Elijah Zeise here.
Cornerback - 1. Avonte Maddox Ryan Lewis 2. Dane Jackson Phillipie Motley
Not much to say here, we’ve been watching it for three weeks now.
Strong Safety - 1. Jordan Whitehead 2. Dennis Briggs
I thought Whitehead was better against North Carolina than the Oklahoma State, although the bar was rather low for that. Whitehead led the team with 12 tackles, and had a forced fumble on a big hit in the first quarter. The pass coverage is on the entire secondary, but fewer big plays seems to happen when Whitehead is near.
Free Safety - 1. Terrish Webb 2. Reggie Mitchell
This position has been a letdown this season given their experience.
Kicker - Chris Blewitt Punter - Ryan Winslow Long Snapper - Pat Quirin
Chris Blewitt nailed a 50 yard field goal and a 40 yard field goal, while also going a perfect 4/4 from extra points. He turned his season around rather quickly after a very poor start.
Kick/Punt Returner - 1. Quadree Henderson 2. Avonte Maddox
Be honest, there was a split second you thought Henderson was going the whole way with two seconds left.