Pitt Football Preview

A 7-4 regular season and a trip to a bowl game was a good start for the Panthers. While players should be pleased with what happened last year, it should serve as a reminder of how much harder they need to work. Close losses to Virginia Tech and North Carolina should fuel the competitive spirit as the team prepares for the season opener against ETSU Sept. 1. There are a few players that are pretty solidly entrenched in their positions but, many questions need to be answered during camp.

Running Back

Running Back


      Who will step up and take over for Kevan Barlow? Right now it's anybody's guess because not one player returning with any game experience. Freshman Mike Jemison has an edge heading into camp because he enrolled early and took part in spring drills.  Redshirt freshman Malcolm Postell is another who has an edge on the incoming freshmen; those would include Abdur Abdullah, Darren Felder, Marcus Furman, James Johnson, Raymond Kirkley and Tim Murphy. Someone will most likely come through as the lead back and don't be surprised to see one or more of these freshmen handle some of the return duties.

      Fullback is solid with sophomores Lousaka Polite and Dustin Picciotti.  Picciotti was hampered by a concussion last year and should do better. Some have mentioned that Polite or Picciotti could move to tailback if none of the freshmen comes around.  More intriguing would be to see both Polite and Picciotti in the backfield at the same time with a tailback as well. Similar to what Virginia Tech did to the Panthers last year after Michael Vick was knocked out of the game.




      Just as important to who emerges at tailback is the complete return of quarterback David Priestley. The senior should be fully recovered from his shoulder injury from two seasons ago. That means it won't be up to redshirt freshman Pat Hoderny or sophomore Rod Rutherford to save the day. Hoderny has a big arm but it would be tough to see a freshman lead an offense without a proven running game. Rutherford did not show the accuracy during spring drills that would indicate he is ready to be the starter. Plus, he threw just three passes last year and completed none.


Wide Receiver


      Helping to make things okay for the offense is an abundance of talent at receiver. Led by junior Antonio Bryant. Things should be fine here, assuming that the Biletnikoff Award winner has his mind on football and has shaken off h

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