Pitt used a number of different combinations at linebacker and 2012, and has an unlikely group as they start spring drills in 2013.
Redshirt freshman Mike Caprara is filling in nicely at middle linebacker, and Todd Thomas--playing in his first spring football at Pitt after being out of the last two due to injury--is picking up where he left off at the end of last season.
The third is still adjusting to a move that was tested out at the end of last year, and that is Anthony Gonzalez.
""I think anytime you move a position, there's a learning curve that goes along with it, but again, he likes football, studies and made it happen," defensive coordinator Matt House said. "We protected him with some calls last year, but just like anything else as you learn, you progress and that's what he did."
Gonzalez, who came to Pitt as a quarterback, and just two years ago won the Ed Conway Award for being the team's most improved player on offense, is now at linebacker.
Gonzalez played in eight games last year, before seeing his role increase at the end of last year--at linebacker. He now feels he has a home.
"As of right now, it's a home, yes indeed," Gonzalez said. "I'm first team, so I just have to keep working hard."
Gonzalez finished the 2012 season with 10 tackles, a sack and a tackle for loss. Both the sack and tackle for loss came in the UConn game.
So far this spring, Gonzalez finds himself near the ball. It's safe to say he has a nose for the ball, one thing that's making him look good in this transition, while he learns the schemes and responsibilities for his position. It were those natural instincts that made him a natural choice for this move, according to House.
"He's got a lot of athleticism, he's got a lot of potential to be a really good football player," House said. "I think he's a wiling hitter. He likes football. He likes to study."