Pitt Preview: Offensive Line

The University of Pittsburgh has had its share of standout offensive linemen. Players such as Jimbo Covert, Russ Grimm, Mark May, Bill Fralic, Emil Boures, Randy Dixon, Jeff Christy and Mark Stepnoski all made successful transitions to the National Football League.

Over the last ten seasons the Panthers, for whatever reasons, have failed to develop any NFL quality lineman. Not since Reuben Brown, chosen by the Buffalo Bills in the first round of the 1995 NFL draft, have the Panthers sent a pro bowl caliber offensive lineman to the next level.

When Dave Wannstedt hired former Panther offensive lineman Paul Dunn to tutor his young linemen, he did so knowing that Dunn would bring instant credibility. Having been a success at his every stop (from Edinboro to Kentucky), he brings a fresh approach to the new staff. Dunn is a tireless worker who not only teaches excellent technique, but he also challenges his players to become great football players.


Left Tackle:
(*Sr.) Charles Spencer .... 6-5 / 330
For two years Charles Spencer never realized his enormous potential on the defensive side of the ball. In 2004, without the benefit of spring drills due to off-season shoulder surgery, Charles Spencer was switched from a defensive tackle to offensive guard. It's no wonder that the new coaching staff had little reservation about switching Spencer's position from left guard to left tackle, replacing first team All Big East performer, Rob Petitti. Not only did he exceed all expectations in 2004, he earned himself a selection on the All-Big East second team and was voted Pitt's Most Improved Offensive Player.

This guy has unlimited potential and will catch the eyes of NFL scouts.

Left Guard:
(*Fr.) Dominic Williams .... 6-4 / 300
When Charles Spencer was moved from left guard to left tackle, head coach Dave Wannstedt declared the position open for competition. It didn't take long for Wannstedt to notice red shirt freshman Dominic Williams. Williams is extremely aggressive and athletic for a man of his stature. He stays low in his blocks and gets off the ball very well. Williams looked very good during spring drills and has continued to make progress in fall camp. The hard work has netted huge results for this former highschool wrestler.

Dominic Williams was a two-year at offensive guard at the Air Force Prep School. He was named All Conference and All Area his senior year at Harrison High School in Colorado.

(*Jr.) Joe Villani .... 6-3 / 300
Joe Villani may never be referred to as the most athletic of Panther offensive linemen, but what he lacks in overall talent, he makes up for with heart, determination, versatility and heady play. Villani is a student of the game who puts in long hours working on his game. The hard work and dedication to become Pitt's starting center has paid large dividends.

Villani joined Pitt in 2003 as a walk-on after transferring from Bucknell University (Lewisburg, Pennsylvania). After sitting out the 2003 season (NCAA guidelines) he played in all 12 games in 2004. Villani was the primary backup to left tackle Rob Petitti in 2004 though the majority of his contributions were on special teams.

Right Guard:
(*Jr.) John Simonitis .... 6-4 / 325
John Simonitis 100% healthy. After missing the first three games of the 2004 season with a left ankle injury, Simonitis started the last eight games at right guard. During his Pitt career Simonitis has started 19 games, most among present Panther offensive linemen. Simonitis uses his experience and savvy as well as his large frame to ward off defenders in pass coverage and considered a road grader in run blocking.

During the 2003 season Simonitis played in all 13 contests, starting the final 11 at right guard.

Right Tackle:
(*So) Mike McGlynn .... 6-5 / 325
Mike McGlynn entered his senior season at Austin Finch High School with high expectations. McGlynn, who was one of the states top linemen, was being wowed by the likes of Michigan and Ohio State. A big season for this talented lineman and all the big programs would come calling. McGlynn played four games into that senior season when he fractured his fibula. The injury was thought to be so severe that he might never play football again. Just like that, the big programs turned their backs on him. Enter the University of Pittsburgh. Former coach Walt Harris had seen the talent. He then saw McGlynn's determination to overcome this major setback. When Harris was told McGlynn was cleared to play, he quickly plunked down an offer.

McGlynn, who red-shirted in 2003, earned the starting right tackle spot in 2004. He won the Conway, annually presented to the team's most improved players, this past spring for the second consecutive year. McGlynn has excellent size and a nonstop motor. He's a student of the game who strives to be the best at his position. McGlynn is a player that you can build an offensive line around.


OL Chase Clowswer
Chase Clowser: (*Fr) .... 6-7 / 315
Chase Clowser is a massive offensive line prospect who enters his first active collegiate season. Through hard work and dedication Clowser has lost close to forty pounds since arriving at Pitt. He has an excellent frame and the more he works in the weight room and on the field the better he gets.

A three-year offensive line starter who did not allow a sack his senior season at LaGrange-Keystone High. In addition to offense, he compiled 56 tackles and two sacks as a defensive lineman his senior year. Chase Clowser was a two-time first team All-Lorain County Conference and a two-time first team All-Lorain County.

Jerald Robinson: (*Fr.) .... 6-8 / 330
Jerald Robinson has nice athleticism and an excellent frame for a lineman. He worked at both tackle spots in the spring. Jerald will be counted on to provide quality depth behind the starters.

During high school Jerald was a four-year starter at Fort Pierce Central, playing both offensive and defensive tackle. On the defensive side of the ball Robinson compiled 73 tackles, 16 tackles for losses and six sacks. Jerald was selected to play in the Outback Treasure Coast all-star Game.

OL Dave Weber
Dave Weber: (*Fr.) .... 6-3 / 310
Dave Weber has made enormous progress on the playing field. Due to injuries in both spring and fall camps, Weber got a chance to work with the first team offense. The experience is paying off. Weber is a mauler type lineman who never gives up on a play. Weber is good enough to see plenty of action in 2005.

Dave Weber was a three-year starter at Upper Merion High School. He was named to The Associated Press All-Pennsylvania Class AAA Team (second team) following his senior season. He was the 28th ranked prospect in the state of Pennsylvania in 2003.

OL Chris Vangas
Chris Vangas: (*So) .... 6-2 / 300
Chris Vangas came to Pitt as a member of the heralded fab four. Though expectations have always been high for Vangas, he's yet to establish himself as a starter. He has great intensity and a nonstop motor. He needs to work on his technique.

Vangas was a three-year starter at center earning first team All-Ohio Division II for state champion Chaminade-Julienne High School his senior season. Chris was voted Greater Cincinnati-Dayton Catholic League North Division Offensive Lineman of the Year following the 2002 season and was selected to play in the Ohio all-star Classic.

Dale Williams: (*Sr.) .... 6-6 / 300
During his career at Pitt, Dale Williams has been either a part-time starter or backup offensive tackle. Not any longer, Williams was moved from right tackle to the right guard spot, a position he had never before played. Williams who has fully recovered from off-season knee surgery adds depth to an offensive line looking to improve on the 2004 season. Williams brings intelligence and a veteran presence to the line rotation.

In 2004 Williams played in all 12 games. He was in the starting lineup through the first five contests. Four at right tackle, the fifth at left tackle replacing the injured Rob Petitti. His first career start was game one of the 2004 season versus Ohio.


C.J. Davis: (Fr.) .... 6-2 / 290
C.J. Davis starred on the offensive and defensive lines at West Allegheny. Davis was a three-year starter and was named to The Associated Press Pennsylvania Class AAA All-State Team (first team), Pittsburgh Tribune-Review "Terrific 25", Pittsburgh Tribune-Review All-Class AAA, All-Parkway Conference honoree on both sides of the ball following his senior season.

OL John Brown
John Brown: (Fr.) .... 6-3 / 295
John Brown is a legacy recruit, the son and nephew of former Panther players, John and Tom Brown. He was a three-year starter on both sides of the ball at Burrell High. Brown was switched to the offensive line prior to his senior season. He was selected to The Associated Press Pennsylvania Class AA All-State Team (first team), Allegheny Football Conference Lineman of the Year, and the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review All-WPIAL Class AA.

John Bachman: (Fr.) .... 6-4 / 260
Bachman was a four-year letterman at Moon Area High School and was an All-Parkway Conference selection on both sides of the ball as a junior and senior. Following his senior season Bachman was named to The Associated Press Pennsylvania Class AAA All-State Team (first team), Pittsburgh Post-Gazette "Fabulous 22", Harrisburg Patriot-News "Platinum 33", Pittsburgh Tribune-Review All-Class AAA.


Coming into the 2005 season the offensive line was a huge question mark. Replacing All Big East tackle. Rob Petitti was only one hurdle. The remaining hurdles were to find the best five guys to build an offensive line, and find quality depth at those positions in case of an injury.

From the opening of spring drills to the close of fall camp head coach Dave Wannstedt and offensive line coach Paul Dunn wanted to not only find the five players best suited for their new run first oriented offense, they had to find them quickly to build some sort of continuity. The coaches now have their players in place and the results are good.

The Panthers offensive line looks like it will be a team strength for the first time in years. The Panthers line, led by bookend tackles Charles Spencer and Mike McGlynn, this unit will only get better as the season progresses. If the games are won in the trenches, I like the Panther's chances.

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