No quick fix for Panthers when it comes to O-line
Help for Pitt's struggling offensive line may be on the way — just not this season.
Coach Paul Chryst said Monday that the five starting linemen who have taken every meaningful snap are the best blockers on the team, by far.
“I think (the backups) are getting better,” he said. “I like to think that, but no one is at the point where we feel like they are ready to take over.”
Pitt's line will come under deeper scrutiny this week after a spotty performance last week in a 14-13 loss at Syracuse.
• Quarterback Tino Sunseri was sacked five times.
• False-start penalties by Chris Jacobson and Cory King helped eliminate offensive momentum in the fourth quarter.
• Pitt running backs averaged 2.1 yards per carry.
Despite the problems, Chryst doesn't have immediate plans to make changes.
Depth on the line was compromised at the start of training camp when tackle Juantez Hollins was suspended for the season for violating team rules. That forced Chryst to move King, a redshirt junior, from guard to left tackle.
“It's really hard,” said senior left guard Chris Jacobson of the move, “especially (to) left tackle.”
The options are limited, but freshman Adam Bisnowaty, who is listed at 6-foot-6, 275 pounds, appears to have a promising future after he adds weight. Freshman Gabe Roberts was headed toward a redshirt when he had left shoulder surgery last week.
Pitt also has received verbal commitments from offensive linemen Carson Baker (6-5, 315) and Aaron Reese (6-5, 290) of the Class of 2013, and is awaiting a decision from four-star Dorian Johnson of Belle Vernon.
Meanwhile, Pitt (2-3) struggles to find offensive consistency, even with Sunseri playing better than at any time in his collegiate career.
Pitt has allowed an average of 2.6 sacks per game (13 total), next-to-last in the Big East and 96th in the nation. All but two of those sacks occurred in games against Cincinnati (six) and Syracuse (five).
“Tino is doing a great job,” Jacobson said. “He just needs some time in the pocket.”
Jacobson, a sixth-year senior, said there is no excuse for the false-start penalties.
“I shouldn't be undisciplined,” he said. “They brought a blitz. I was anticipating it.”
He added that Syracuse lined up in different defenses, which might have helped put the brakes on the Pitt running game.
“But that's not an excuse,” he said.
Jacobson said the linemen continue to work hard, taking every rep at practice and watching plenty of video.
“We are doing a good job,” Jacobson said. “There were just some situations where we needed to adjust and we didn't.”
Jerry DiPaola is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 412-320-7997.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Pitt notebook: Receiving depth up in the air
- Pitt notebook: Boyd has breakout performance in loss
- Pitt blows 10-point lead as Iowa rallies for win
- Pitt meets Iowa’s muscle
- Pitt star running back Conner adjusting to higher profile this year
- Pitt football coach Chryst refutes analyst Wannstedt’s opinion
- Nothing fancy for Iowa coach Ferentz
- Pitt’s secondary has room for improvement