Pittsburgh Football 2013 Spring Wrap Up
Man, the spring really left more questions than answers if you ask me.
Sophomore running back, Rushel Shell, was expected to be the unquestioned starter. But he recently decided he wanted to transfer out of the program and that will push junior Isaac Bennett to the forefront. Bennett has shown some flashes of being an excellent running back, but the loss of Shell really hurts the depth of that group.
At quarterback, senior transfer Tom Savage hasn’t impressed in the spring and to compound things a bit, redshirt freshman Chad Voytik, had an excellent Blue-Gold spring game last week. That has many calling for him to start as he’s really viewed as the quarterback of the future. His play could shake things up in the fall and make the starting job more wide open if he starts off well during training camp.
On defense, a lot of guys were banged up and the team also lost defensive lineman Terrell Jackson (who was slated to get minutes even if only by default) to a transfer. Redshirt freshman linebacker Deaysean Rippy also reportedly flirted with a transfer. I doubt the staff got done as much as they wanted to this spring on defense and that could make things more challenging in the fall.
Running back Isaac Bennett steps front and center to a team expected to be one that is run-first. Pitt fans are familiar with him as he had a big spring last year before fading into the background behind senior Ray Graham and the aforementioned Shell, but he’s not a name known by most outside of western Pennsylvania.
He didn’t play a lot in 2012, but as he showed in the spring game last week, he’s capable of breaking big runs – he broke loose for a 48-yard touchdown in the contest. Bennett could pile up yardage as he’s expected to get a lot of carries.
At wide receiver, Pitt needs to replace senior Mike Shanahan. They’ll get big time recruit Tyler Boyd in the fall, but Kevin Weatherspoon is a name to watch. He had a team-high 11 catches on 175 yards in the spring game and really impressed a few of us that went to last year’s training camp.
On defense, there’s been a lot of noise about linebacker Anthony Gonzalez playing well. Gonzalez has been moved around quite a bit since coming to Pitt a few years ago – he’s been a quarterback, receiver, and now a linebacker.
I’m very high on the secondary as the unit returns three starters, including Jason Hendricks who was the Big East’s interceptions leader last season. Both corners return and keep an eye on true sophomore Lafayette Pitts who started last season and can make plays.
This will be kind of a bland answer, but I really don’t think so. I fully expect this team to play right around .500 football. The schedule is difficult enough that I don’t think it warrants me giving them any more than seven wins.
Conversely, there’s enough talent here that makes me believe they’ll avoid sliding to fewer than five wins. If everything breaks right, maybe the team surprises and gets to eight wins … but I wouldn’t count on it. The early suggestion here is a 7-5 year.
Check out our Pittsburgh 2013 spring preview here.
Anson Whaley, the manager/editor of Cardiac Hill provided the information for our Pittsburgh football 2013 spring wrap up. For more Pitt football information, commentary and analysis, you can follow Anson on Twitter@PittPantherBlog and on Facebook.