PantherDigest Q&A : Tuesday

Questions surrounding recent position switches, as well as some of the recent news in recruiting

Pitt75:Everyone still seems like they are on WVU's bandwagon. Why do you think Pitt is so far under the radar?
PantherDigest:A lot of Big East voters are gun shy after last year. Pitt was the overwhelming favorite to win the Big East, and in fact, secured the most amount of first-place votes since the 2005 Louisville team. Instead, Pitt ended up with an 8-5 record.

There's also a lot of support because West Virginia has proven the ability to win games in the clutch (i.e. 2009 and 2010 games against Pitt with the conference on the line). Until someone else steals that thunder, they will remain a conference favorite—especially with a coach of Dana Holgorsen's credentials coming in.

Ajpitt3521:Does the fact that Coach Graham named Andrew Taglianetti as co-starter at the Spur indicate that Todd Thomas is having trouble grasping the defense or weak in pass coverage or is it more of a nod to Tags' ball hawking skills?
PantherDigest: Neither, actually. Strangely, it's a page from the previous staff's book. What this shows, is how regardless of who's in charge, this is what's becoming the norm in trying to stop the the spread offense.

This shouldn't be a knock on Todd Thomas not grasping anything, as much as it is a credit to the staff being comfortable with Taglianetti's ability to cover and tackle in the box. You'll see Taglianetti as the Spur against spread teams. When it comes time for the Iowa game—against a two tight-end set, with a team who has a knack for the power run game, look for Thomas to start.

In addition to the staff being pleased with Thomas, this Spur and the Panther position for that matter rely more on instincts than the previous setup. We've heard very little about players not understanding terminology, and players have looked less confused than in years past. In fact, we've seen more of the athleticism from players coming out—a good sign that the coaching staff is doing a good job putting players in position to make plays, or in the case of a Thomas, comfortable with a redshirt freshman like him being in contention for valuable playing time.

jells73:Now that Trey Anderson is the backup, when do they put him on scholarship and when does Myers transfer?
PantherDigest:Anderson probably will not be on scholarship for this season, but based on his value to the position already, is almost a lock to be on scholarship a year from now. The staff will wait to ensure they won't lose any players to injury this year—any players they might have to medically redshirt—then sign the 2012 class. After all that, they'll assume that no players will transfer or graduate early. That's never a given either. Then, when all those processes are done, Trey Anderson will be in consideration to earn a scholarship.

As for Myers, expect him to at least stick it out for this year, being that classes and everyone else's season is underway. Injuries, or anything can happen and change people's position on the depth chart, especially in week 1. Look at Purdue, where former Miami transfer Robert Marve is still not back from a torn ACL injury and projected starter Robert Henry tore his ACL last Tuesday. The Boilermakers open the season with third-stringer Caleb TerBush, who is 4-of-10 for his career, with that last action coming against Wisconsin in 2009.

JNasty10: With the video of Chris Davis basically saying that Will Mahone was coming to Pitt, do you think that both them (Mahone and Shell) will both commit to Pitt? Also, which one would you rather have?
PantherDigest: Probably going to catch some flack for this answer. There's no question Rushel Shell is an very talented player, but based on the fact that Will Mahone plays both running back and linebacker for an entire game, not to mention that Mahone plays in an exact replica of Pitt's offense, we feel Mahone is the one we'd rather have if it comes down to it. Not to mention, it would be a big recruiting win over Notre Dame and Penn State—the other two finalists.

Not that we don't want to see Shell too, as Pitt has a very good chance to land both. Even though Shell is one of the nation's most-regarded and heavily sought after prospects, landing him seems much easier. Plus, there's already been a lot of indications he will be a Panther.

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