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August 24, 2012

A Very Soft Middle

Filed under: Football,Injury — Chas @ 12:09 am

In case you missed it, the already thin and questionable linebacking corps got a bit thinner with the news of Ejuan Price.

Linebacker Ejuan Price tweeted that he will take a medical redshirt after undergoing pectoral surgery in the spring.

In the long-run, it is probably good for Pitt. The linebackers will be stronger, and Price will have an extra year.

But this year? With Todd Thomas still a big question mark when he is getting all the way back from his ACL surgery? Not so much.

Dan Mason may see more action than anyone really wanted that surgically repaired foot to ever see at this rate. Or maybe Pitt pioneers a 4-2-3-2 defense as a more general defensive look. There is going to be a lot of trial by fire for some of the underclassmen.

One thing I’m feeling sure of: there won’t be a label on Coach Paul Chryst about how he doesn’t play freshmen.


The LBs are why I don’t see us being a 9-10 win team this season, and this just made it worse.

Comment by Reed 08.24.12 @ 6:53 am

wow I must be getting psychic in my middle age, as I called a Redshirt on Price yesterday in a blog. Maybe I should start playing the Lotto.

I see TT getting one too btw.

Not good news at all !

Comment by Emel 08.24.12 @ 7:19 am

here is the LB depth chart according to Pantherlair:

49 Eric Williams | 6-3, 215, RS SO
8 Todd Thomas | 6-2, 215, RS SO
26 Jason Frimpong | 5-11, 205, RS FR
11 Deaysean Rippy | 6-2, 200, FR

36 Manny Williams | 6-1, 235, RS SR
3 Nicholas Grigsby | 6-1, 220, RS FR
5 Ejuan Price | 6-0, 235, SO
47 Devon Porchia | 6-2, 225, FR

44 Shane Gordon | 6-1, 220, RS JR
53 Joe Trebitz | 6-3, 220, RS SR
40 Dan Mason | 6-0, 240, RS JR

Not much experience at all but defiinitely some potential

Comment by wbb 08.24.12 @ 7:24 am

some news about our new transfer from Wisc (excerpt from the Trib): Garner, a 6-foot-2, 212-pound junior, was one of the top players in Pennsylvania in 2009 and considered Pitt before commiting to Wisconsin. He has played sparingly at Wisconsin, recording his only two receptions for 45 yards last season. He also played defensive end and special teams.

“He’s very gifted. He’s very fast,” Bielema said after Garner recorded three tackles on kickoff coverage in a victory against Ohio State in 2010. “He’s got a little bit of understanding of ball awareness, football IQ. He’s played a lot of football at different positions, so I think his general football awareness is really good.
Garner also played defensive end in that game.

“There at the end of the game, when we’re running out of guys to rush (quarterback) Terrelle Pryor, I about subbed (Garner) in without checking with our defensive coaches,” Bielema said. “Just because I knew it would be a guy that had a fresh set of legs, that could go out there and run people down.”

Comment by wbb 08.24.12 @ 7:32 am

i think its safe to say that bam bradley and deaysean rippy will get some decent playing time. it seemed like both showed great flashes in camp and bradley was a playmaker. also, anthony gonzalez might get pt as that safety/lb hybrid that huxtable likes. of course, linebacker is now a question mark, moreso than before, but for the future this is the best thing. in 2013 pitts linebackers will be price, thomas, williams, rippy, bradley, gordon, grigsby with experience and porchia and whatever recruits they bring in. that sounds good to me

Comment by pk 08.24.12 @ 8:35 am

wbb, it seems that he was going to be wisconsins 3rd reciever this year. wiscys third reciever is pitts first or second with street returning and possibly robert foster. thats a wr core with a lot of potential

Comment by pk 08.24.12 @ 8:38 am

wbb, After looking at your post, I guess freshmen will be seeing playing time at linebacker spots. I’m up-beat about the upcoming season and I cast my vote, along with Curt Herbstriet, for the Panthers to surprise people.

Comment by Justinian 08.24.12 @ 8:41 am

Guess I’m not so pessimistic about LB. I would be if it were more a function of lack of talent and athleticism than merely a lack of experience which is how I view it. I think we will be just fine, especially after a few games into the season.

Comment by pitt1972 08.24.12 @ 10:09 am

Justinian, I agree. I would not pencil in a loss to any current BE team. There is no team in the BE with more talent than we have on their roster. There may be some close or even equal, but none can boast “superior” talent. As for the non-con games, there are only two teams with better talent, far better talent, than we have and those are VT and ND. Those are the only two games that I am willing to pencil in as a “L” going into this season (but a ND or VT choke would be greatly appreciated!). So, 10 wins would be great, 9 OK, 8, so-so. Less than 8 would be a big disappointment. This team is going back to the future with PC. It was built to run a power offense, and it will improve over last season, including Tino. HTP!

Comment by HbgFrank 08.24.12 @ 1:08 pm

I’m guessing you all heard Manasseh Garner is transferring to Pitt.

link to

But this post is about unis. I love the big, bold W on Wisconsin’s helmets. It says, well, big and bold.

Comment by steve1 08.24.12 @ 2:08 pm

At least we won’t be thin, and lacking experience in ’13 going into the ACC.

Hail to Pitt!

Comment by Digdug 08.24.12 @ 2:43 pm

steve1 Wbb PK i posted that garner would be transfering to pitt if coach wanted him a day or two ago i guess you all missed it.

Comment by FRANKCAN 08.24.12 @ 6:39 pm

Guys – we have Joe Trebitz as a 2nd string MLB. That’s doesn’t worry you?

according to the above our second string is Grigsby, Frimpong and Trebitz. Exactly where is the talent there?

Two of our best and experienced LBs won’t play much at all this year Price is out for the season and Thomas will be a long time coming. Dan Mason is an afterthought.

One of our starting LBs, Manny Williams, is a rsSR. So five years in the program and he has eight tackles from three year ago. Last year he was on special teams only in only half the games.

Starter Eric Williams has mop up duty in three games under his belt.

I’m sorry, but outside of starter Shane Gordon I do see where this is a ‘function of lack of talent’ because it certainty is, at least as far as returning talent. Any other talent is pure conjecture.

Granted anything can happen out on the field but we may very well have to play former walk-ons and true freshmen perhaps even early on in the season.

Had Todd Thomas and Ejuan Price been ready to go, hell – even if LaQuentin Smith hadn’t changed positions I’d feel much better about this. But those are three talented experienced guys who are not in the mix at LB.

Put it this way. If our DEs don’t live up to the billing, which isn’t hard to fathom given the starters are Clemmings, who hasn’t shown anything in a game yet, and Jack Lippert (!) our LBs are going to be run ragged out there.

Personally, I think the LBs are our biggest concern this season, even bigger than QB play.

Comment by Reed 08.24.12 @ 7:02 pm

Agree Reed, LB is more than a major concern.

Only Gordon with 2 starts(I believe) under his belt has ANY significant playing time at all.

We’re all going to be wishing Max Gruder (there I said it) was still on the team I’m afraid.

No doubt these guys are going to have a learning curve. Any smart OC is going to exploit their lack of experience, which is why I see Cincy as a a loss. Unless this offense can really score some points !

Comment by Emel 08.24.12 @ 7:43 pm

That’s really a shame too. Cause this defense was set, to be pretty good if not very good. As the secondary should be very good and the strongest part of the D. And with Aaron Donald and the other talent on the D-Line that should be pretty good as well.

But looking closer at the D-Line, we’re going to have 2 new guys with very limited playing time on there (Clemmings & Lippert) and the 3rd (Ezell) has never started or played that much either.

So now all of a sudden in the starting front 7 on Defense, you have one (1) guy, Aaron Donald who has started more than 2 games and actually was a playmaker and an impact player. Good defenses are built on cohesion and experience playing together.
No matter the talent level.

Huxtable is going to earn his pay this year, for sure !


Comment by Emel 08.24.12 @ 7:53 pm

All i can say is that Scott McCurly was not-that-bad. So yea, either walk-ons or a lot of nickel defense on 2nd down…

Comment by Atlanta Panther 08.24.12 @ 7:59 pm

info for you there is a 50 percent chance 4 star
RB cory clement decommits from pitt it will be a big loss if he does.

Comment by FRANKCAN 08.24.12 @ 8:12 pm

I thought Corey Clements was a 3 star. lol

What when he commits he’s a 3 star and when he de-commits he’s a 4 star. come on Frank !

Comment by Emel 08.25.12 @ 9:25 am

You must mean Scott McKillop Atlanta Panther.

No he was more than not bad, he led the entire nation in tackles one year. I’d say he was pretty good. If we had him & Gruder now we wouldn’t be in this predicament. Would we ?

But I do agree with you, lots of Nickel D with a hybrid Pantherback. (a mean and nasty one)

Comment by Emel 08.25.12 @ 9:28 am

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