Game 1 Offense: Florida State at Pittsburgh

Florida State opens the season with a road test at Pittsburgh on Labor Day night. It will be the Panther's first game in the ACC and it will be played before a nationally televised audience. Today we look the returning offenses of both teams in terms of talent and experience.

All numbers for the recruiting ranking are from Phil Steele as are the depth charts

QUARTERBACK

FSU

Jameis Winston, Freshmen, 6'4, 218 (#2)

Jacob Coker, Sophomore, 6'6, 235 (#38)

PITT

Chad Voytik, Freshmen, 6'1, 205 (#10)

Tom Savage, Senior, 6'5, 230 (#9)

If Savage wins the job at Pitt then there is some edge to having a QB that has a few years of experience (15 starts) at the D-1 level. Savage threw for 2,732 yards at Rutgers with a 52% completion percentage (16-10). He transferred to Arizona......then to Pitt. As his ranking shows, he was once a coveted recruit and there is certainly talent there. He was put on the bench at RU.

However most feel it will be Voytik and then the edge shifts back to FSU and Winston. <----- Is more athletic, has some D-1 seasoning (baseball), and was far more coveted as a QB on the recruiting trail.

QB is the most important position on the field and this will be the position with the most uncertainty entering the game.

RUNNING BACK

FSU

Devonta Freeman, Junior, 5'9, 208 (#28)

James Wilder, Junior, 6'2, 226 (#2)

Mario Pender, Freshmen, 5'11, 195 (#6)

PITT

Isaac Bennett, Junior, 5'11, 205 (#153)

Malcolm Crockett, Sophomore, 5'10, 200 (#60)

Demitrious Davis, Freshmen, 5'10, 175 (#76)

This is one of the biggest edge's on the field as FSU not only has more talent---significantly---- but it also has more returning production. The loss of Rushel Shell will definitely be felt by Pitt. They do not possess a back that should scare FSU. Couple that with perhaps a green QB and FSU should be able to be aggressive in their front 7.

There is a ton of upside in the FSU backfield and it has the makings of the best trio in a decade in Tallahassee. All three backs are capable of being 1,000 yard feature backs. The backfield has thunder (Wilder), lightning (Pender), and consistency (Freeman).

WIDE RECEIVER/TIGHT END

FSU

Rashad Greene, Junior, 6'0, 175 (#27)

Kenny Shaw, Senior, 6'0, 170 (#29)

Kelvin Benjamin, Sophomore, 6'5, 242 (#17)

Willie Haulstead, Senior, 6'2, 227 (#36)

Nick O'Leary, Junior, 6'3, 238 (#4)

Christian Green, Junior, 6'0, 205 (#9)

PITT

Devin Street, Senior, 6'4, 190 (#164)

Tyler Boyd, Freshmen, 6'2, 185 (#15)

Kevin Weatherspoon, Junior, 5'10, 170 (#90)

TE J.P. Holtz, Sophomore, 6'4, 245 (#37)

TE Manassah Garner, Junior, 6'2, 220 (#32)

Street has been a second team all-conference guy in the Big East. He has excellent size which he uses to his advantage, but does not have great speed or agility. Street has over 2,000 career receiving yards and 30 starts making him the most experienced receiver in the game. Big things are expected out of Boyd as he is a true freshmen with some buzz. They list two TEs as starters and are in solid position at that spot. Garner is a transfer from Wisconsin and Holtz started 10 games last year.

The Phil Steele ranking really hammers home a point that FSU fans have been discussing----the lack of big-time weapon. Not listed are Greg Dent (#50) and Jarred Haggins (#66). Still it is a much deeper unit than Pitt and that is with more talent. Benjamin has the potential to be a player like Street (with more big plays) and Pitt has no proven answers to Greene, Shaw, Haulstead, and Green.

This is an area where FSU enters the game with a lot more to count on. An injury in August to Street or Boyd would really devastate Pitt.

OFFENSIVE LINE

FSU

Cam Erving, Junior, 6'6, 310 (#281)

Tre Jackson, Junior, 6'4, 327 (#221)

Bryan Stork, Senior, 6'4, 312 (#176)

Josue Matias, Junior, 6'6, 326 (#51)

Bobby Hart, Junior, 6'4, 316 (#11)

Austin Barron, Junior, 6'3, 295

Jacob Fahrenkrug, Senior, 6'4, 322 (#2)

PITT

Adam Bisnowaty, Freshmen, 6'6, 275 (#35)

Cory King, Senior, 6'6, 325 (#128)

Gabe Roberts, Freshmen, 6'5, 295

Matt Rotheram, Junior, 6'6, 335 (#49)

T.J. Clemmings, Junior, 6'6, 295 (#22)

Juantez Hollins, Senior, 6'5, 330 (#157)

Ryan Schlieper, Senior, 6'5, 310 (#134)

The big difference here will be in experience. Erving, Jackson, Matias, Stork have at least a year under their belt as starters. Only Rotheram and King have that for Pitt.

For Pitt there is still plenty of reason for optimism. Clemmings is moving over from DE (where he started some games), Bisnowaty was a coveted recruit that has looked good, and they get Hollins back from injury.

Heading into this article I would have thought FSU was the bigger of the lines, but it is pretty close all the way through. Some of the recruiting rankings will surprise many, but that is the way it is on the offensive line-----take note at FSU that Hart and Fahrenkrug would be the 'most coveted', yet Hart would be behind both Matias and Jackson in that recruiting class. Fahrenkrug did not live up to expectatations two years ago.

We give an edge to FSU entering this game.

OVERALL THOUGHTS

FSU holds a big edge at RB and a reasonable edge at WR entering the game. We also feel like FSU should feel better about the offensive line entering the game as it is more proven. The quarterback situation is the big wildcard. It should be noted that Winston has essentially won the job, while it is still very much up in the air who will start for Pitt. There is an old saying "if you have two quarterbacks, you don't have one."

Tomorrow we will look at the defensive side of the football.


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