One of the many pleasant surprises, if not the biggest, has been the consistent play of the offensive line.
Even in a game where Tom Savage threw for six touchdown passes, and where James Conner rushed for 173 in the same game, the offensive line' performance was just as noticeable. And the great thing about that it you can't keep track of offensive line statistics.
Or maybe you can. Savage was sacked twice in 33 passing attempts on Saturday, which led to success in the passing game. Pitt has rushed for an average of 225.8 yards in the last two games the ground. All the while, a total of -1 rushing yards on just one carry for negative yards, out of a total of 80 carries.
"We're doing some good things, we're doing some better things, but it's early," offensive line coach Jim Hueber said. "We need to play good this week, we need to play good over the break, and then we need to stretch where we're not going to have any time off; we have to play good again."
While Hueber takes the humble approach, consider this:
* Pitt has given up six sacks despite a first-year starter in left tackle Adam Bisnowaty, a redshirt freshman no less. Bisnowaty, of course, protects quarterback Savage's blindside. Even more impressive when you factor in two of Florida State's sacks in as a result of corner blitzes. And best of all, with three games under his belt, the learning curve--if there was any--is over for Bisnowaty.
* A first-year starter at center in Artie Rowell, a redshirt sophomore. If anything, the tough decision Hueber had after camp between Rowell and Roberts is still a tough decision. He at least has some battles going on, even after training camp. The constant competition, no doubt, has made this unit tougher mentally.
"If I think one guy has the ability to go ahead of somebody, I'm not going to hide it, I'm not going to sugarcoat it," Hueber said. "We're trying to get guys in at different situations, trying to add people so we're not stuck with a bunch of guys who haven't played."
* One such player is Dorian Johnson. After T.J. Clemmings, who has had a remarkable move to right tackle, won the job in training camp, Hueber has still found a way for Johnson to the field as an extra tight end. It's not a matter of just making play time for someone. It's because he feels Johnson is a good enough player, good enough for a role, good enough to get more acclimated.
"If you asked him, I think he's happy that he's in there," Hueber said. "If he shows up in an 80 number, and we throw a ball to him, let's all keep our fingers crossed. It's a viable package, and it allows us to get another blocker in there."
* As for Clemmings, from bowl preparations, through spring ball, and through the first three games, Clemmings has done little to prove he does not belong in the starting lineup.
"It wasn't like we just sprung on him," Heuber said. "He's had a lot of time to prepare."
* And how could we forget about returning starters Cory King and Matt Rotheram; returning starters from the left and right side of the line, respectively. Both moved inside to guard at the respective side, and back at the more natural guard position, according to Hueber.
"You talk about two guys that didn't need to be tackles, that got us through last season," Hueber said. "They got moved to guard and haven't flinched. They're doing everything we ask.
Here's the rest of Hueber's interview from Tuesday: