Q&A : Tuesday Edition

How will Pitt rebound, as they face a nationally-televised Thursday night game with Cincinnati in just two days. Already, a lot of fans have chimed in with some questions following Saturday's loss.

What adjustments are going to be made so that there is pressure on the QB? Is it a scheming issue or just a lack of production?
Both. Scheming and especially a lack of production. I was not aware that Saturday ended a streak of 25 consecutive games with at least one sack. That last game was the 2010 opener at Utah.

Youth, to an extent. Still, Pitt had a run for awhile where it didn't seem to matter who was on the defensive line, there was production--or even some pressure. Part of me says that getting Tyrone Ezell, Shayne Hale and T.J. Clemmings back will help. If you base it on training camp, Clemmings saw the most action on the defensive line of anyone not named Aaron Donald. Ezell is versatile. Then again, these are fairly inexperienced players too.

Whatever the reason, if you let an offense go 11-16 on third down, and allow an offense to convert scoring drives of 10, 12 and a pair of 15-play drives, you're going to lose whoever the opponent is. Even if it's one sack, this defense--in particular the front seven needs to get more pressure. Maybe a good start would be getting someone else inside to free up Aaron Donald. I anctipated Donald would get double-teamed a lot this season. I can guarantee Cincinnati's coaches have seen the game film, and will do the same--knowing no one else will step up and create pressure. If someone does, it will free Donald up so he can do his thing.

But basically to answer your question, yeah, both...but as you can see, the questions in the front seven and the lack of pressure are very evident.

Is this Youngstown State loss the worst in school history?
In my last ten years around this program--through close to eight different head coaches including interim coaches--that's really hard to identify. Especially when you factor in a 2003 team that was a preseason No. 9, that lost at Toledo in Week Three, a 2004 team that lost to UConn in its first year as a I-A member, a 2001 team that lost to a South Florida team playing its first BCS opponent at the time, a 2005 team that lost at Ohio, a 2006 team that gave away a fourth quarter lead at UConn...and a 2010 team that gave a fourth quarter lead and a BCS berth away.

Basioally, there's a dozen or so losses over the last decade or so that make you scratch your head, or make you say 'is this the worst one?' Lets just say every year, this program--whoever the coach is--falls flat on its face. As to whether or not this will be the only time, well, we've still got 11 games left to find out.

Will Ray Graham see the same number of carries as last week, and will he share the carries with Isaac Bennett as he did against Youngstown State?
Ray Graham will take as many carries as Ray Graham feels like. I think it's safe to say he starts, and it wouldn't surprise me to see him and Bennett alternating series. My only concern is that this is what happened in 2010 with Dion Lewis and Ray Graham. It wasn't affective for both, but when one got the hot hand, we'd start seeing that hot hand more. I suspect this staff will run it the same way--at least that's how it looked Saturday.

How is this new Pitt commit?
What's not to like about a 6-1, 200-pound corner from an ACC state like North Carolina? I could be reading into it a little too much, but to get a prospect like that off of a loss to Youngstown State is remarkable. Regardless of need at position, or wherever, Pitt needs playmakers on defense. Not saying Covington is the answer right away, and that he'd make the loss to Youngstown State go away. If you look at Saturday's loss, there were no plays coming from defense. You may as well take whatever you can get going forward, and start building for now and for the future.

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