I realize Pitt is re-transitioning to a 4-3 defense, from the 3-4, but given that it was only one season. And most of the players were already schooled in the 4-3 principles, I’m not going to be buying too many excuses for struggling based on that move.
On the other hand, the linebackers themselves may be a big concern. Todd Thomas appears to be slower coming back from his ACL injury than hoped. Shane Gordon is out, Ejuan Price is coming back slowly from a spring injury, and several others appear to be dinged up at the moment. Heck, moving to a 4-3 may have been necessary based on the depth chart.
With Thomas out, and linebacker Shane Gordon “day to day,” fifth-year seniors Manny Williams and Joe Trebitz have filled those roles. Wednesday, redshirt freshman Jason Frimpong found himself practicing with the first-team linebackers after Eric Williams went down with an injury.
Trebitz played in 12 games last year, but registered just five tackles. Manny Williams didn’t see meaningful playing time.
Now, Chryst said, is the chance for those guys to prove they deserve playing time once the presumed starters return.
“We’ll find out [about our depth] as you go through in practice,” Chryst said. “Because of the guys that aren’t practicing, other guys have opportunities and we’ll see what they do with that opportunity.”
Lots of questions about how the linebackers will turn out, since there isn’t a lot of experience.