August 26, 2013

PITT’s Projected 2013 Depth Chart

Filed under: Football,Players — Reed @ 5:23 am

Sam Werner of the Post-Gazette has published his projected 2013 PITT depth chart and it is as follows:

Tom Savage, RS Sr.
Chad Voytik, RS Fr.
Trey Anderson, Jr.

Isaac Bennett, Jr.
James Conner, Fr.
Malcolm Crockett, RS So. OR
Rachid Ibrahim, Fr.

Devin Street, RS Sr.
Ed Tinker, RS Sr.
Chris Wuestner, RS Fr.

Tyler Boyd, Fr.
Kevin Weatherspoon, RS Jr.

JP Holtz, So.
Scott Orndoff, Fr.

Manasseh Garner, RS Jr.
Jaymar Parrish, Fr.

Adam Bisnowaty, RS Fr.
Juantez Hollins, RS Sr.

Cory King, RS Sr.
Ryan Schlieper, RS Sr.

Gabe Roberts, RS Fr. OR
Artie Rowell, RS So.

Matt Rotheram, RS Jr.
Carson Baker, Fr.

TJ Clemmings, RS Jr.
Dorian Johnson, Fr.

David Durham, RS Jr.
Ejuan Price, RS So.
Shakir Soto, Fr.

Aaron Donald, Sr.
Darryl Render, So.

Tyrone Ezell, RS Sr.
Tyrique Jarrett, Fr.

Bryan Murphy, RS Jr.
LaQuentin Smith, Jr.

Anthony Gonzalez, RS Jr.
Todd Thomas, RS Jr.

Shane Gordon, RS Sr.
Mike Caprara, RS Fr. OR
Matt Galambos, Fr.

Bam Bradley, RS Fr.
Nicholas Grigsby, RS So.

Jason Hendricks, RS Sr.
Cullen Christian, RS Jr.

Ray Vinopal, RS Jr.
Terrish Webb, Fr.

K’Waun Williams, Sr.
Trenton Coles, RS Fr.

Lafayette Pitts, RS So.
Titus Howard, Fr.
Jahmahl Pardner, RS Fr.


Chris Blewitt, Fr.
Brad Lukasak, RS Fr.

Matt Yoklic, RS Sr.
Ryan Winslow, Fr.

I really don’t know what to think about this.  There is a glaring lack of talent at some positions and just plain unknown players at others.  For instance, our DBs look very solid except for the big question mark at Free Safety with Vinopal as the starter and true FR Terrish Webb behind him.  Vinopal didn’t play all that well in his past here at PITT but maybe being named a starter and his having a good command of the defense for his calls from the Safety position will make that work…. or not.

Personally my biggest areas of concern are at QB where I’m not sold that either Savage or Voytik can carry the team if our running game falters.  A huge factor is going to be how well our OL can pass protect the QB.  Neither player has a quick trigger and a common theme in camp was that when we saw a big passing play completed the QB would have been sacked before he got the ball off in real competition.  Everyone worries about the ACC speed at the skill positions, but it is the difference in speed on the opponents’ defensive lines that might be our undoing.

Center is a also a question where there is no playing experience at all.  At DE, where Durham has never played a down yet is a starter, and Murphy who in all his time at PITT hasn’t produced much at all, will get the starts.  Uh…, we may see our DBs tested 30+ times a game if the DEs can’t produce better than they did in camp. It isn’t like our interior DL is that great at getting pressure on the QBs well enough to hide the DE’s flaws.  This is a big worry for me.

I’m wary of Gonzalez at the weak LB spot and think Thomas will start there as soon as possible.  Strong side LB is interesting. It is as if both Bradley and Grigsby were making noise about leaving so than as soon as one actually did it the other would say “Nah, Nah! Changed my mind!” and automatically become the starter there.  Bradley was impressive in camp though and earned the start there.

However, I also look at some individuals and believe we’ll get excellent play out of them.  Boyd at WR may be a star as the season progresses but for right now I’ll say he’s a solid #2 WR.  Bisnowaty has played well and might keep the QBs safe from that side.  I really like Tyrique Jarrett at Nose Tackle but if Ezell plays to potential we might not see Jarrett much.

I’m also excited to watch Garner and Parrish at H-Back.  Garner has ‘star’ potential like Boyd and Parrish is a big bruising kid who can move downfield after a catch.  Both of them tore up the scrimmage on Thursday and both look to be future stalwarts at that position.  Look for Garner to be split out more if the #2 & #3 WRs falter.

We still have to see if our TEs can really block like Chryst wants them to.  Holtz didn’t necessarily stand out with that tasking last season but then again he was a true FR.  Orndoff will play but I don’t expect a whole lot out of him for 2013.  We may well see Holtz with Garner instead of Orndoff more often if the passing game takes front seat.

This is a young team going into the season and very inexperienced past the starting lineup.  On offense alone we have 14 of 22 players  on the two deep who are rsSO or younger. Yikes!  Don’t even get me started on House ‘s inexperience as a DC.  That could be the stake in the heart of the season.  It’s fine to simplify the defense to play ‘quicker’ but the ACC has some excellent HCs and OCs who will exploit that until the cows come home.  We may see that happen as soon as Labor Day.

All in all when I see this lineup on paper and take time to really think about it I’m not that impressed. If we end up on the positive side of .500 I think it will be because of  Special Teams play, Boyd and Bennett really stepping up and some better than 2012 coaching by Chryst.

Note:  Familiarity with a player doesn’t translate to that player actually having BCS talent.  I think fans, myself included, tend to inflate a player’s worth because we know them and want them to do well.  That isn’t always the case.






It is amazing how many true freshman are projected to make the two deep.

Comment by Winedogs 08.26.13 @ 5:40 am

Offensive Tackles, Defensive Ends, Running Backs, Linebackers are the major question marks. If they surprise in a positive way we will be fine. If not it will be trouble.

We lose 7 senior starters next year, 8 with the punter. Chryst is going to need 4 more years to turn this around.

Comment by gc 08.26.13 @ 6:25 am

A team with with more questions than answers, get ready for a rough ride gentlemen.

Comment by alcofan 08.26.13 @ 6:43 am

Momma never said it was going to be easy 🙂 Go Panthers

Comment by pittman4ever 08.26.13 @ 6:47 am

Traditionally, Pitt’s offense starts slow where the defense keeps us in the game. Hopefully, starting the season with a top twenty team will help Pitt’s offense build confidence as the season matures. Lets hope the team can stay healthy.

Comment by MariettaMike 08.26.13 @ 6:53 am

I don’t think that two deep is accurate for the safety and corner position. This staff like to give kids that may redshirt or are lower on the depth chart first team reps to further evaluate them.
I would hope Jevonte Pitts and Ryan Lewis would be well ahead of Webb since they have been here longer. I think the staff was high on Lewis last year.
I seriously doubt Webb and Howard play this year.

Comment by notrocketscience 08.26.13 @ 6:58 am

Questions, questions, questions! We won’t know if we have the answers to any of them until the end of September. If we are sitting at 2-2 after the Virginia game, then I think that we have a football team that can compete in the ACC and can put together at least a .500 record for the season. If we’re winless by then, forget about it!!! One win means a long second half of the season and a probable 4-8 record or worse.

Now on the optimistic side, we could sneak up on FSU. If I was an FSU player, I’d have a hard time taking Pitt very seriously because of all of these unknowns and their recent past history of under achievements. If guys like Durham and Gonzalez on defense, and Bisnowaty, Clemmings, Garner, Conner, Boyd and, most essential, Savage on offense come to play on Monday, FSU could be asking themselve come halftime, “who are those guys”?

Pitt has to change it’s team personality however to have any chance of winning this game. They have to develop the desire to come out and sock somebody in the mouth right out of the gate. I don’t know if the ABT factor alone can provide that needed change. This team has to develop a hunger to win. Hasn’t been there since the Stull QB years, and even then it was spotty depending on the opponent.

This is a huge landmark game for the Panthers. It is a rare opportunity to take a major leap onto the national stage come Monday night. Pitt’s history predicts that we will wither under the pressure, but this is a different group of individuals. Can this young group function as a team well enough early on to surprise FSU and make a game out of it? We’ll know by halftime.

If so, then the rest of the story remains to be told . Will they have the attitude so necessary to stand toe to toe with them for the full 60 minutes, if they’re lucky enough to come out strong in the first half, and make a game of it?

A win would be a milestone victory that Pitt fans would talk about for years to come, but just playing a hard competitive game would be acceptable in my opinion. We’ll see soon enough what the character of this team is. Hail to Pitt!

Comment by Dr. Tom 08.26.13 @ 7:15 am

I’m just sitting here sipping Koolaid and wondering whether Pitt will go undefeated or not.

Comment by 66Goat 08.26.13 @ 7:47 am

Dr. Tom – if recent history serves (2012) one thing PITT could do was get up for the big games everyone thought we had no chance at winning. VT and ND showed that.

I’ve constantly thought that the opener last season was a storm of circumstances that led to the YSU loss. New HC, new staff and those six suspensions all came together to really shake up an already unsettled team.

Had those six suspensions been awarded a week or two earlier and the rest of the team getting used to it then I think PITT may have played a completely different game. Having it happen late at night and then the team finding out about it just a few hours before game time rocked the squad.

I believe football fans look at only talent levels sometimes and think “We were more talented than YSU and should have won that game.”, but there is so much more than that involved and especially at the college level. Team unity and morale can make up a lot of ground for the lack of some talent. The lack of same can bring a team down very quickly.

I’m hoping, and I think it will happen, that as the season unfolds we will see this team start to play at a higher level than we had last season. But should we stumble badly out of the gate, and I don’t mean the just the FSU game, then it could be tough to pull together enough to get six or seven wins.

I had some very interesting conversations both on the sidelines at the practice on Thursday and at the Kickoff luncheon the next day. What I have come to understand is that those departures and dismissals have not really impacted the team that much if at all.

Apparently all those who are gone, with the exception of Chapman maybe and he was only around for a month or so, are not missed by the rest of the team.

That said, the talent that has gone may be missed in Eric Williams, Shell and Carswell but talent leaves the roster every season. I guess what I’m saying is that I think this 2013 team will have much firmer footing to open the season, especially with the new staff in their second year, than did last years team.

Comment by Reed 08.26.13 @ 7:49 am

“We’ll see soon enough what the character of this team is” – Doc – well stated..

At least PC has that trait and shows Character, unlike others who are “just characters”.

Comment by CompLit 08.26.13 @ 7:54 am

Reed, great – if not sobering – analysis. A few questions / comments.

1. Just how bad were the DE’s in camp? You make it sound like they were pretty bad.

2. I would argue that Garner is an upgrade from Carswell. Carswell always seemed to come up with a drop at at a key moment. Granted, we haven’t seen Garner in an actual game…

3. If Vinopal falters, what do you see happening? How can the trio of Hendricks / Williams / Pitts make up for some of his perceived deficiencies?

4. I agree that this coaching staff has been able to get the team up for big games. If we could hang with ND with a third-string MLB on the field I feel like we have a legitimate shot to not totally embarrass ourselves on Monday.

hail to pitt

Comment by Atlanta Panther 08.26.13 @ 8:38 am

While the FSU game is a great platform for Pitt, no question the program is about consistency and that involves recruiting, coaching and development and a luck. How Pitt does against NC and GT and VT are much more important to me.

Comment by chethejet 08.26.13 @ 8:57 am

I know most people will freak if Pitt loses to FSU but lets be realistic. Break the season into 3 or 4 game stretches. 2-2 after four would be good.
Good college football teams progress as the season moves along. Traditionally VT, not counting last year, is the perfect example. By the end of the year they become very strong.
With no preseason and seasonal roster changes, college football is all about development. That does not stop during the season.

Comment by notrocketscience 08.26.13 @ 9:02 am

Reed, you have it right about intangibles sometimes determining outcomes of games. Last year “the better team for that night” won the game at our home opener.

Team spirit, emotion and momentum can turn a game on it’s head irrespective of what the “rational analysis” states should be the outcome.

As I always say, that’s why the play the games.

Comment by Dr. Tom 08.26.13 @ 10:02 am

Sobering analysis. A record of 6-6 would
be amazing given the lack of depth and
difficult schedule. If key players
sustain injuries it could be very ugly.

Comment by JR 08.26.13 @ 10:25 am

The second year of a 4 year rebuild stinks.
Just glad Temple and Tulane aren’t on the schedule.
Win or lose I’ll enjoy watching. H2P

Comment by Tackle made by Hugh 08.26.13 @ 11:20 am

I sure hope we do better than 6 and 6. Most of the people on this blog, myself included, called for the dismissal of a head coach that won 9, 10, and 8 games in his last three seasons. Have we reached the point where following that up with three straight 6 win seasons is a “positive” event for the Pitt program? I hope the coaches have higher expectations for our win total than we do. Acheiving a record of 6 and 6 is not a goal; to the contrary, it is a tail-tucking capitulation. I’m not saying it will not happen, I just hope the coaches and players “goal” is to win every game we play.

Comment by HbgFrank 08.26.13 @ 11:27 am

” A hard,competitive game would be acceptable ” As much as I dislike reading that statement by Dr Tom == I agree. == All the questions surrounding this Program are driving me crazy!! We need some juice-fire,burning desire WINNING football !!! HTP! PANTHER UP!!

Comment by DC33 08.26.13 @ 12:09 pm

@ HbgFrank, You have to right attitude and I hope the Coaches share your POV. Who knows, if this team is going to be competitive it will be because they’ve transformed their mindset, and the coaches have to encourage your kind of thinking if that transformation is to take root.

The “rational analysis” says we should win 6. With the “Can Do” mindset and a little luck staying healthy that could change however.

Expectations are funny that way. After our horrible start last season, NOBODY gave Pitt a chance in Hell of beating VT and we know how that turned out. So preseason, 6-6 expectations are both realistic and it keeps the “Koolaid” in the cupboard for victory drinks after grabbing a win over somebody we have no business of beating with such “analysis” on paper.

That could just be FSU for all we know. Everybody is hyping FSU but they have as many questions regarding untested players as Pitt does. They are “reloading” however with 4 and 5 star recruits, many of which have seen the field at some point already, although not as starters.

Pitt to the contrary has untested players who don’t come in with glowing credentials (other than Tyler Boyd) that we are “rebuilding” with. None of that really matters when the teams take the field on Monday night however.

It’s all about who wants it more for that particular 60 minutes. And with so many questions for both teams coming into the season, it is a tuff call on what kind of game to expect. I think that is one reason that the Vegas line is only Pitt +10.

Wouldn’t it be great if we actually gave these guys a run for their money? We’ll see. Hail to Pitt!

Comment by Dr. Tom 08.26.13 @ 12:26 pm

If we lose by 30 on National TV does that put Pederson on the hot seat??? If we win by 10 does Pederson get a key to the city? Chryst has a few years sure but Pederson SHOULD be on thin ice. The only way we win is if we can run the ball and we put so much pressure on Jameis that he can’t see straight. Athletically we will be outclassed. I think Jameis will prove hi #1 ranking but we shall see. I think a win is to keep the game respectable. Loss under 17 is a good step in my opinion.

Comment by Upittbaseball 08.26.13 @ 3:15 pm

freak no i will not freak if we lose FS only if we lose bad only if we look like we should not be on the same field with them a blow out .
then i will freak out a 21 to 13 loss will not freak me out but a 45 to 13 loss will make me go nuts

Comment by FRANKCAN 08.26.13 @ 3:55 pm

6-6 would actually be pretty good. As there are 5 games we should be favored in: New Mexico, Duke, UVA, Old Domnion & Navy. Maybe 6 if Cuse starts out poorly.

However knowing PITT as well as I do, they always lose at least one and more likely two games that they’re favored in. One only has to think of UConn annually. Add Syracuse last year and YSU. Someone in that grouping of Duke, UVA & Navy will be this year’s Uconn & Syracuse.

Hopefully it won’t be more than one, but who knows how this team will play on the road in the ACC.

Please don’t let one of those losses be New Mexico or Old Dominion, but we really don’t know if this coaching staff will be able to keep this group motivated and ready to play on a week to week basis. They couldn’t last year.

I’d say on the other games against the better teams the game we probably have the best to win would be North Carolina at Heinz. They lost their star RB, Giovanni Bernard who did everything for them last year. Of course it’s later in the season though and their offense might have to gel by then.

Don’t see much of a chance with Notre Dame (which seems to beat PITT in Pittsburgh all the time sans 1999), VA Tech will be itching for some revenge from last year, Miami will clearly have superior athletes to us and GT’s offense will chew up our defense on the ground.

Only hope there is we play Navy the week before GT and they both run the triple option offense or something like it. Both are on the road however, but if you’re going to beat GT, playing Navy the week before should help, you would think !

And I as noted before, the season rests with how quickly the O-Line gels, they should all right with run blocking you would think since it’s a zone blocking scheme. The key will be; will they be able to pass block, as Savage doesn’t have a quick release per Reed, and to run deep routes and complete them, the QB has to have the time.

Concern there is, if the ‘H-back’ is out running routes, there is no Fullback in on pass protection. If that is the case then Bennett (bad knee) or Connor (true Freshman) better be good at pass blocking !!!

6-6 would be a success with this schedule and totally new O-Line and RB’s. But I also could see 4-7 or 4-8 very easily.

As long as we get to the Avrocare 100 Bowl I’ll be happy. haha 🙂 (for the drive thru Daiquiri places)

Comment by EMel 08.26.13 @ 4:05 pm


But I also could see 5-7 or 4-8 very easily.

Hey we’ll rent a Limo in Shreveport for the Daiquiri Drive-Thru’s.

Avrocare 100 Bowl here we come ! 🙂

Comment by EMel 08.26.13 @ 4:13 pm

Interesting note on 2013 schedule.

The Syracuse game is in….Cuse again this year.

That would be back to back games in Cuse.

Giving them an extra boost to beat us again. And after playing the likes of GT, Notre Dame and North Carolina in successive weeks, we could be pretty banged up by then.

Cuse has Wake Forest, Maryland and at Florida State in the weeks leading up to the Pitt game.
Hopefully after playing FSU, Pitt won’t seem to be in slow motion for Cuse.

Certainly we have the much tougher 3 game set before Pitt/Cuse at the Carrier Dump.

Why am I highlighting this game, it’s the next to the last game for each team and if we have 5 wins by then, it will be our best shot at getting #6, as in Avrocare 100 eligible !

Comment by EMel 08.26.13 @ 4:26 pm

Emel, i lived there 8 years. I have the eateries, limos, vino, cigars, bourbon, and enough places to stay. Buddy runs Sams Town Casino!!! We will take the damn lkmo thru the drive through daquieri!!!!

Comment by Upittbaseball 08.26.13 @ 9:41 pm

Emel – you hit the nail on the head re: pass blocking. Neither QB gets the ball off quickly.

Comment by Reed 08.27.13 @ 4:56 am

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