The Dave Wannstedt era hasn’t gone exactly the way he planned when Pitt hired him to replace Walt Harris in December of 2004, until now… Well, hopefully until now.
Pitt was picked to win the Big East by many media accounts, an opportunity it failed to capitalize on the past two seasons with losses to Cincinnati in what was essentially the Big East championship game. Still, the Panthers will have many holes to fill when the season kicks off September 2, at Utah.
There is no doubting the talent and star potential on this team, as Pitt could potentially have up to five players selected in the first round of next April’s draft. But even with all of the proven talent at the skilled positions, the Panthers have several positions of concern on the offensive side of the ball.
Bill Stull may not have been the most popular player according to Pitt fans, but it’s hard to argue with his production last season under first year offensive coordinator Frank Cignetti Jr. Can Cignetti work the same magic with this year’s projected starter, redshirt sophomore Tino Sunseri?
Sunseri has long been regarded as a quarterback with a big arm and all of the intangibles needed to run a team. His youth could be a concern, but with all of the weapons arround him, including two potential All-Americans in half back Dion Lewis and wide receiver Jonathan Baldwin, Sunseri will not be needed to carry the team.
The offensive line may be the biggest area of concern on offense for the Panthers, as it had to replace the entire interior line. Maybe more troubling, Wannstedt has only announced the starter for one of the vacant positions. Just last week, Chris Jacobsen won the starting left guard job. The center and right guard positions are still very much up for battle, but for now, Alex Karabin (center) and Greg Gaskins (guard) are working with the first team.
However, even with the concerns at quarterback and offensive line, the Panthers are still poised to win its first Big East title under Wannstedt, who will be entering his sixth season as head coach. This season, fans, players and coaches alike will be living by the same motto: Big East title or BUST.
About the Author
Written by Dan Miller
I am currently a senior Media & Professional Communications major at the University of Pittsburgh. I also am a part-time employee of the Pittsburgh Tribune Review.