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Breaking down the Two-Deep: Pitt vs. Akron

A closer look at Pitt's depth chart for the Akron game on Saturday

Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

QB - 1. Chad Voytik  2. Trey Anderson

Chad Voytik was finally asked to throw the ball down field a few times, and he responded with a 250 yard performance.  I think Voytik played well for the most part, and it at least gives everyone the faith that he can make a throw when he has to in a key situation. Voytik did stare down Boyd a good bit, but found other receivers too. He missed some throws, but came up with some good ones too. Chad Voytik was able to keep plays alive, and stuck in the pocket a few times and nailed some throws. It was far from a perfect outing, but it wasn't bad either. I feel better about him now than I did before.

RB - 1. James Conner  2. Isaac Bennett

James Conner leads the nation in rushing yards and rushing touchdowns.  There is no doubt James Conner is the real deal, and is arguably the best back in the country right now.  He has the numbers to support those kind of claims, and getting 155 yards against a strong Iowa rush defense was no easy task. Isaac Bennett had one carry, while Chris James had five including a 14 yard touchdown burst up the middle. It is an ongoing battle between the two that has been back and forth in both games.

HB - 1. Jaymar Parrish  2. Scott Orndoff

Jaymar Parrish came up with one catch for four yards in his first touch of the season. He continues to play well as a bowling bowl blocker for Conner and company.  Orndoff still only has one catch this season, and the clamoring to get the tight ends more involved is getting louder. Orndoff and Holtz are very athletic big guys that can help this offense, sooner or later Pitt will get them the ball.

WR - 1. Tyler Boyd  Manasseh Garner   2. Ronald Jones  Kevin Weatherspoon

Tyler Boyd had an excellent game with 10 receptions for 153 yards. Boyd did not put up a touchdown, but seemed to be making plays all over the field, and even mixed in a beauty of a catch down the sideline. Pitt opened up the play book a little, and more receivers were in the mix Saturday.  Manasseh Garner hauled in three passes for 38 yards, including one spectacular grab down the sideline as he dragged his foot falling out of bounds.  Ronald Jones and Kevin Weatherspoon each caught two passes. It is clear there is a big drop-off in talent behind Boyd, but at least a guy like Garner or Jones can make a play or two when they have to do it.

TE - 1. J.P. Holtz  2. Devon Edwards

Pitt continues to show little use from their tight ends. Sure, Voytik moved the ball around to a few more receivers last week, but Holtz and Orndoff still have seen limited targets thrown their way this season.  Holtz has been a big part to the running game with his blocking, but you would like to see him utilized more than that.

LT - 1. Adam Bisnowaty  2. Jaryd Jones-Smith

LG - 1. Dorian Johnson  2. Carson Baker

C -  1. Alex Officer  2. Gabe Roberts

RG - 1. Matt Rotheram 2. Alex Officer

RT - 1. T.J. Clemmings  2. Alex Bookser

The offensive line played well on Saturday.  The offense racked up 435 total yards, won the time of possession battle, and led James Conner to another 150 yard game.  Pitt chewed up a nine minute possession that resulted in a touchdown in the first half with the offensive line setting the tone.  Voytik saw some pressure but not a ton, but unlike in past years with Savage and Sunseri, Voytik can bail the line out and make a throw on the run to avoid a sack.  I think the unit showed up nicely against a strong rushing defense.  The offense as a whole had a drop-off in the second half, but I still think this unit did fine.

DE - 1. Shakir Soto  David Durham  2. Luke MacLean  Rori Blair

Pitt had a very limited pass rush in the game against Iowa.  The Panthers did not apply enough pressure, especially in the second half against the backup, and it was a big part of why the outcome went as it did on Saturday. Pitt looks to get a 100% healthy David Durham back this week, and that should help matters.

DT - 1. Darryl Render  2. Justin Moody

Like the ends, Pitt didn't see much of a pass rush from the interior either.  We knew this whole unit would struggle with losing Aaron Donald, and it is taking time to show they can be a productive unit.  Render has been playing well for the most part, and I'll give him that.  Pitt held Iowa's running game in check essentially. They really had to pound the ball and they earned every yard they got in my opinion.

NT - 1. Khaynin Mosley-Smith  2. Tyrique Jarrett

Mosley-Smith and Jarrett both came up with some tackles as they were plugging up the middle. I will build on what I was saying earlier.  Iowa rushed for 133 yards, with Weisman going for 88 himself. I really thought Iowa had to earn all of their yards. They didn't have a big run or anything, and it's been over a year since Pitt has allowed a single back to rush for 100 yards.

FREEZE - 1. Nicholas Grigsby

Grigsby only recorded one assisted tackle in the game against Iowa.  His role is different and his package wasn't always on the field against a power running team.

SAM OLB - 1. Anthony Gonzalez  2. Bam Bradley

Anthony Gonzalez had 7 total tackles against Iowa and he continues to lead the team in that category.  Gonzalez has really improved his game, and I think the linebackers have been playing well overall.

MLB - 1. Matt Galambos  2. Mike Caprara

Matt Galambos had a strong day, but facing a pro style offense, that should come as no surprise. He is third on the team in tackles, but there is still concern for his sideline to sideline speed.  He's holding his own in his first year as a full-time starter.

WILL OLB - 1. Todd Thomas  2. Quintin Wirginis

I thought Todd Thomas came up with a number excellent plays on Saturday, and really showed his athletic ability in some of them. He recorded the lone stop for a loss on Saturday.  I'm not sure where things stand with the NFL, but he looks more and more like someone that can play in that league each and every week.

CB - 1. Lafayette Pitts  Reggie Mitchell  2. Avonte Maddox  Ryan Lewis

Where do you even begin with this unit?  Pitt allowed a backup quarterback go 7-8 and for 98 yards in the second half. Pitts, Mitchell, and Maddox were all beat deep, pass interference penalties were called, missed tackles/assignments.  The whole thing was just a debacle.  This unit needs to improve, because with the depth on this team, nobody else will be able to do it. Either these guys get better, or Pitt's best defense becomes their own methodical offense.

SS - 1. Terrish Webb  2. Jevonte Pitts

Webb leads the team in interceptions and is second in the team in tackles. Overall for a first year starter, Webb has played very well.  Still, the pas breakdowns can't be entirely blamed on the corners. Pitt just needs better play from the back four against the pass.  Period.

FS -  1. Ray Vinopal  2. Pat Amara

Nothing different here. The secondary needs to improve. As an individual player, Vinopal has gotten much better during his time here, hopefully with that confidence and his leadership role, he can help turn things around in pass coverage.

K - Chris Blewitt  P - Ryan Winslow  LS - David Murphy

Blewitt nailed two kicks on Saturday, and now is a perfect 6-6 on the year. Winslow has been kicking well also. Pitt has good special teams this year.

PR - 1. Tyler Boyd  2. Kevin Weatherspoon

Pitt had a few seconds on the clock when they received the ball back the final time trailing Iowa 24-20, and you almost thought Boyd might pull off an improbable punt return to the house. The idea didn't seem that far-fetched, so I guess that's how most people feel with Boyd back deep on punts. He's pretty good.

KR - 1. Tyler Boyd  2. Ronald Jones  3. Avonte Maddox

No change here all season. Maddox was back there a few times, so it seems they feel comfortable with all three of them.