August 26, 2012

We are now under the one week count down until the 2012 season opener and Paul Chryst’s debut as the PITT Panther Head Coach.  The Youngstown State Penguins come into Heinz Field Saturday at 6:00 pm for an out of conference and out of division game.  Please try to make it to the stadium, Paul needs you to be there.

Here is the .pdf of the 2012 media guide for YSU.  They are in the Missouri Valley Conference of the NCAA Football Championship Subdivison (FCS), as opposed to our being in the famed Big East of the BCS division.

YSU has an interesting coaching staff with some familiar names on it.  The Head Coach is Eric Wolford who has “has moved the Penguins back into postseason contention and is showing the nation that the program is on the cusp of returning to national prominance.” Those are YSU’s words, not mine. I would have spelled ‘prominence’ correctly.  He is married to Melinda Wolford and has two children.

Their Ass’t HC and DL coach is PITT alumni Tom Sims; their WR coach is Andre’ Coleman the former NFL receiver; their OLB coach is one of the famous Stoops boys, Ron Stoops, jr and their Cornerbacks coach is Glenn Davis who has been dead for seven years.

YSU was 6-5 last season playing a “multiple” offense which apparently a mixture of Ace, I, Flexbone, Shotgun and with the wishbone mixed in.  The last team that played that mixture of offenses was the Tower Of Babble Wildcats.  So, they return 10 starters from an offense that wasn’t too shabby all in all.   YSU had a pretty solid running game in 2011 with 231 yards per game and they scored at a 36.2 ppg clip.

YSU also plays a 4-3 defense, which I understand because Dave Wannstedt lived by it.  They return four starters from a defense that gave up 33.2 ppg and 436 ypg.  Looking good for us, we could use a defense that gives up yards on the ground.

But enough about them.

PITT is going into this week of closed game-week practices with some real questions about the team. Here is the two deep as well as I can figure it out – it will probably be different come gameday but this should be close to what we’ll see on Saturday.


Quarterback – Tino Sunseri, Chad Voytik/Trey Anderson

Running back – Ray Graham, Isaac Bennett, Rushel Shell

Fullback – Mark Giubilato, Adam Lazenga

Tight end – Hubie Graham,  JP Holtz/ Drew Carswell

Left tackle – Cory King, Adam Bisnowaty

Left guard – Chris Jacobson, Gabe Roberts

Center – Ryan Turnley, Artie Rowell

Right guard – Ryan Schlieper, Shane Johnson

Right tackle – Matt Rotheram, Zenel Demhasaj

Wide Receiver – Mike Shanahan / Cam Saddler

Wide Receiver – Devon Street / Ronald Jones

That isn’t a bad showing of talent there.  There are some caveats though,  Ray Graham is iffy at best to be able to play in this game.  I wouldn’t be surprised if he sits it out completely.  I don’t think Shell is going to redshirt this season so I expect the two deep for RBs will be Bennett, Shell and/or Crockett.  We most probably will see all three get carries depending on the scoring pace we set.

At QB the pre-season 2nd string guy has been Chad Voytik since Trey Anderson was injured in the second week of practice.  Voytik has played well enough to hold onto that spot since then but because Chryst and OC Joe Rudolph won’t tip their hands to the public we have to assume Voytik will be QB2 going into the season.  Its a safe assumption at this point.


Defensive end – T. J. Clemmings, Bryan Murphy

Nose guard – Tyrone Ezell, Khaynin Mosley-Smith

Defensive tackle – Aaron Donald, Darryl Render

Defensive end – Jack Lippert, Shane Hale

Strong-side linebacker – Eric Williams, Jason Frimpong / Emanuel Rackard

Middle linebacker – Shane Gordon, Joe Trebitz

Weak-side linebacker Nicholas Grigsby, Manny Williams

Cornerback – Lafayette Pitts, Ryan Lewis

Strong safety – Jared Holley, Ray Vinopal

Free safety – Andrew Taglianetti, Jason Hendricks

Cornerback – K’Waun Williams, Cullen Christian

Look, it is a hell of a thing that LB Todd Thomas won’t be playing for at least a while and LB Ejuan Price is out for the season.  In addition, last season we had LaQuentin Smith at LB who showed some promise but now he 45 pounds heavier, a DL and injured.  Those LBs scare the crap out of me.

You can look at those defensive starters and feel good if you want to, or you can, as I do, have some trepidation as to how the inexperience is going to translate into production over the course of the season, and that may happen as the weeks go on.  However, we are talking about the first game here and I think we’ll see some real “learning experiences“,  which is another name for giving up big plays.

This will be a fun game to watch for a lot of different reasons.  Paul Chryst’s debut; how effective our RBs actually are; what does the new and simpler offensive system do for Tino Sunseri’s play; how aggressive is the defense really going to be, and on and on.

The bottom line is this is a game PITT has to win and win somewhat convincingly to get the players to feel good about the annual changes in the coaching staff and this new staff’s approach to football.  A squeaked out win doesn’t do it and a loss would be psychically worse than the Bowling Green game of some years ago.   No folks, we need to get out ahead and stay ahead with a comfortable lead for four quarters.  It doesn’t have to be a 40 point blowout, but we have to be in command from the opening play to the ending whistle.

I’ll be there, Paul!

Comment by lee in altoona 08.26.12 @ 8:10 pm

I’ll be there early wearing a bib with dibs on the ribs.

Comment by Dr. Tom 08.26.12 @ 8:44 pm

Is this game being broadcast anywhere? or are we looking at the standard ESPN3/WatchESPN?

Comment by Lou Gagliardi 08.26.12 @ 9:01 pm

Whats the line?

Comment by alcofan 08.26.12 @ 9:09 pm

We are flying into Pittsburgh from San Antonio. We will be there for Rushel Shell’s first game just like we were there for LeSean McCoy’s first game in 2007. H2P Go Panthers!

Comment by Jeff Janosko 08.26.12 @ 9:16 pm

WVU has lost a RB torry clayton fr wants to transfer out.
he was a 3 star nimber 33 rd rb last year runs a 4.4 forty 5 foot 9 190 pounds.
should chryst try to get him ?

Comment by FRANKCAN 08.26.12 @ 9:16 pm

Ask Joe D and of course did he run track

Comment by WLAT and the Big Beat 08.26.12 @ 9:32 pm

Sheldon Royster the number 7 safty in the nation in 2011 is transfering out of south carolina.
he wants to be closer to home he is from NJ
should chryst try for him?
i like transfers becuse they sit out a year get biger stronger and have lurned the system before they can play they are like money in the bank.
that is why are DB are so deep and good this year transfers you got to love them.

Comment by FRANKCAN 08.26.12 @ 9:35 pm

WLAT i get it you dont like JD but there is nothing wrong with speed. it is a good thing to have on a football team.

Comment by FRANKCAN 08.26.12 @ 9:41 pm

I can’t find a milesplit profile for Clayton..
I would assume he didn’t run track 😉
He did an underarmour combine… 40 in 4.52.
He is from South Dade HS..Florida..
His other offers were…. ball state, memphis, ucf, west michigan.

Comment by Joe D 08.26.12 @ 9:44 pm

Pretty sure it’s juat an ESPN3 broadcast, Lou.

Comment by Mailman 08.26.12 @ 10:05 pm

the site i found him on listed him at 4.4
but it is unimportant.
i just like the idea of takeing one from WVU.
I HATE wvu.

Comment by FRANKCAN 08.26.12 @ 10:06 pm

Same as Lou’s question: Televised? What network? I assume the unusual 6:00 pm start time is to accomidate tv. I have committments at home in Maryland that weekend but will definitely be in for the v.t. game.

Reading the recent articles and many of your posts regarding transfers etc. it feels like hcpc is doing a good job of building for next year and beyond. However some of the recent comments by some of you particularly about the the quarterbacking and especially reed’s comments about the state of the linebacker corps right now are downright scary. Ok, repeat 3 times “it is just anticipation of the imminent start of the season jitters. We have an experienced quarterback who will be working in the kind of a system in which he does best. The linebackers will learn during the season. In the meantime strengths at other positions especially safety will compensate. Pitt has many experienced, talented players and a grown up for a coach who is used to fitting the system to the players. This is a building year but may also be a surprisingly good year. Relax and enjoy the ride.” Now take 3 yoga style deep breaths. Oh, wow, I feel much better. Lets go Pitt!!!

Comment by opfim 08.26.12 @ 10:10 pm

Joe D you left off 2 of his offers he hadone from illionis and one from cincinnati plus thoes you listed this is per ESPN and it was rival that had him at 4.4 . and of course WVU.

Comment by FRANKCAN 08.26.12 @ 10:16 pm

rival… the player can put whatever number he wants…
I googled and found the underarmour results.. it is also what they used on his espn profile. ESPN profiles will only put 40 times from combines..
but 4.52 is fast for a HS kid.

Comment by Joe D 08.26.12 @ 10:24 pm

Mailman, you are right, I checked the Pitt web site-ESPN 3. Damn one of those obscure ones. Verizon will love it if I add to my plan.

Comment by opfim 08.26.12 @ 10:33 pm

Joe D i believe you i just wanted you to know
that i did not make up the time out of thin air.
you did see the outher 2 offers then plus WVU
on the espn site but like i said i just like the idea of takeing one from hated WVU
may be chryst doesent want him maybe he wants to go home to south dade.

Comment by FRANKCAN 08.26.12 @ 10:34 pm

My biggest concern with transfers is about why they are transfering. Anyone can look up numbers and scholarship offers.

But why are they leaving? Depth chart? coaching change? Aacademics? Discipline? Locker room cancer? etc. That’s where the coaches will be doing some investigation work to see what the big picture is…
That’s also stuff that you and I might never hear about except for rumors.

Comment by Bowling Green Panther 08.26.12 @ 10:35 pm

Youngstown State has just the kind of a team that would give a Dave Wannstedt or Fraud Graham coached team fits.

No predictions here…just do it on the field, just like coach said.

Hail to Pitt.

Comment by Dan 72 08.26.12 @ 10:36 pm

I totally agree with Bowling Green Panther’s comments about transfers. That said I believe the current coaching staff does a thorough job of vetting these guys. I don’t have any hard information on this, just an impression of how HCPC and staff go about their business plus PC has experience with transfers from his long time at Wisconsin. Looking at your comments again Bowling Green Panther, I think I’m echoing you.

Comment by opfim 08.26.12 @ 10:53 pm

Bowling Green Panther i know what you mean but i dont list them is there is trouble.
The boy wants to be closer to home we just had one leave our team for same reason .
and the outher they said he just wanted to leave they said it was his idea not theres may be droped down on the depth chart,
I think that is why we got the kid from wisconsin he only had 2 catchs last year and just played on special teams.

Comment by FRANKCAN 08.26.12 @ 10:58 pm

I got the list of offers from scout… i rarely go to scout.. lol
Bowling Green…
He is a freshman.. 2012 recruit…
He probably doesn’t like 5 RB’s on the 2013 commit list!!! And there were 5 RB’s brought in in 2012!!!

Comment by Joe D 08.26.12 @ 11:03 pm

But if they have not been in trouble i like the idea look at our DB this year it is deep and very good becuse we had 3 or 4 DB transfers and with out them were would we be we would have no depth
and it woud not be the strong unit that it is.

Comment by FRANKCAN 08.26.12 @ 11:10 pm

Does anybody know if espn 3d is the same
as espn3???

Comment by JR 08.26.12 @ 11:35 pm

Joe D you make a good point WVU has 5 commited RB
and i dont know this for a fact but i belive RB zaire williams commited to WVU becuse we had RB cory clement commit to us.
i wonder how he fells now that WVU has 4 outher RB
5 counting him.
hell had he come to pitt there would be just him and clement,
now he has 4 outhers to worry abought.

Comment by FRANKCAN 08.26.12 @ 11:40 pm

Reed, props for the Glenn Davis find.

Comment by Chuck Morris 08.27.12 @ 12:34 am

Chuck – we are older and wiser than most.

Opfim – your’s is exactly the right approach to take. This is how PITT football is for me. I follow it all year because of this blog and am usually very optimistic going into training camp. Then I start seeing the kids play and feel pretty good. About a week before the season starts I take a reality check on myself and usually go a bit overboard the other way.

After the first game is in the books I normal out and think things will be OK. It always helps to not worry too much about what the final scores will be and how many wins we’ll get – which I don’t.

From the “Only at PITT” dept.;


Running back Isaac Bennett returned to practice after missing some time last week to rest his sore knees.

The doctor said I was born with loose kneecaps,” he said. “I guess my knee came out, and it got a little inflamed. I’m good now.”

Of course! Loose kneecaps on our starting RB. Just another PITT thing to worry about.

Comment by Reed 08.27.12 @ 6:10 am

Didn’t see any betting line on game. Sagarin’s initial ratings predict Pitt by 21-22. Since I am hoping Chryst coaches this team up to better than the Sagarin (and others) prediction of a 7-5 to 8-4 season I am hoping we see more like a 28+ win that might hint at this team being substantially better than its pre-season predictions.

Reed’s point about starting out confidant is also well taken in regards to the importance of winning in a comfortable manner.

Regarding broadcasts, I believe in addition to radio, the only TV is ESPN-3 over the internet.

Comment by pitt1972 08.27.12 @ 7:37 am

Only on ESPN3 via internet if your cable carries it. Not on ESPN Gamecast: cable ppv. Not on satellite tv either.

Reed thanks, I can never get enough info about YSU.

Comment by steve1 08.27.12 @ 7:52 am

Man if price,thomas and mason were all healthy.. that would have been a stacked Defense.

Comment by Snala The Panther 08.27.12 @ 9:11 am

You can’t mock a misspelling of “prominence” when you just put “BCS” instead of “FBS” right before that.

Comment by Mario 08.27.12 @ 10:09 am

As far as the YSU game, Pitt has better athletes and should beat them soundly with vanilla offense and base defense, keeping in mind Cincy is right around the corner on a short week.

5’9″ 180 is not in the PC wheelhouse. He don’t play smurf ball. Listen, the kid may be good, but Pitt does not want to be the landing place for cast-offs. Granted, the prior staff brought in a few to address depth and because they had prior relationships with the players.

Coach Chryst wants players that want to be at Pitt. Some of the folks mentioned never had Pitt on their board. Pitt should still be on Zaire. If Corey Clement takes his visits, they should pull the ship. We want commitments, not wafflers. Paul Chryst wants them “all in” and I agree with that approach. Pitt is going to win with Chryst.

Comment by dhuffdaddy 08.27.12 @ 10:18 am

@FRANKCAN, good info as always from you.

@JR, I believe that ESPN3 is on your computer. ESPN3D is on the tv, in 3d.

I’m going to the game, but I did watch some games last year on the ESPN3 on the computer, fantastic picture. I have Verizon Fios. Problem with watching on the computer, is watching in the regualr type chair.

If I would have moved the lazy boy in front of the computer, I would have felt blazing eyes looking at me.

Besides, if you kick back in a lazy boy, the screen is going to be to far away.

Picture was fantastic, just had to get up and walk around every once awhile so my back didn’t seize up. LOL

Comment by Dan 08.27.12 @ 10:52 am

p.s. The reason I spoke of the picture quality several times, in case anyone thinks it’s the picture type from a couple years ago, kind of distorted, or always buffering, not the case, very crisp and clean, no buffering. If I was out of town and couldn’t get to the game, would definitely enjoy watching Pitt on the computer.

Comment by Dan 08.27.12 @ 10:54 am

I believe if you have a newer PS or XBox or any newer gaming console, access to ESPN3 should come with it. I’m able to watch ESPN3, Netflix and other services on my TV via my XBox.

Comment by cnorwoodaz 08.27.12 @ 4:06 pm

Driving up from Virginia and looking forward to Sat night and the beginning of the Chryst era!

Comment by Joe Lawrence 08.27.12 @ 9:50 pm

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