Two-Deep Surprises

Pitt released its two-deep Sunday for the Eastern Michigan game, and there were several surprises among the starters and their chief backups.

Senior Darrell Strong had such a strong camp that he is listed as a co-starter with sophomore Nate Byham and redshirt sophomore John Pelusi at tight end for Pittsburgh. They are listed alphabetically as Byham or Pelusi or Strong.

No other spots on offense were up for grabs, as all the prospective starters maintained their spots. Fifth-year senior Mike McGlynn was not listed at all on the two-deep for the EMU game. Fifth-year senior Chris Vangas is the starting center, and redshirt frosh walk-on Alex Karabin is the backup.

Junior LaRod Stephens-Howling starts at tailback, while frosh LeSean McCoy is the backup. And at wideout, redshirt sophomore Oderick Turner is the split end with Tamarcus Porter as the backup. The starting flanker is redshirt junior Marcel Pestano, while redshirt sophomore Cedric McGee is the backup.

"I told our quarterbacks that I wouldn't know who to tell them to throw the ball to,'' Pitt coach Dave Wannstedt said. "I think this is going to be more than ever before a team of multiple playmakers.''

The remaining starting offensive linemen, with their backups in parentheses, are senior Jeff Otah at left tackle (redshirt junior Chase Clowser), junior C.J. Davis at left guard (redshirt sophomore Craig Bokor), sophomore Joe Thomas at right guard (redshirt junior Dom Williams) and sophomore Jason Pinkston at right tackle (redshirt sophomore John Bachman).

Junior Bill Still is the starting quarterback. Redshirt frosh Kevan Smith is second, and freshman Pat Bostick is third. Junior Conredge Collins is the fullback, while redshirt sophomore Shane Brooks is the backup.

On defense, redshirt junior Adam Gunn is a co-starter with sophomore Dorin Dickerson at strong-side linebacker. That's the only spot up for grabs. Redshirt junior Scott McKillop is the starting middle linebacker, but redshirt frosh Dan Loheyde and redshirt sophomore Steve Dell are co-backups. At weak-side linebacker, redshirt sophomore Shane Murray is the starter, while fifth-year senior Jemeel Brady and redshirt frosh Nate Nix are co-backups.

Junior Rashaad Duncan and sophomore John Malecki are co-starters at nose tackle, while junior Gus Mustakas is the top tackle with sophomore Tommie Duhart and redshirt sophomore Mick Williams as co-backups. Fifth-year seniors Joe Clermond and Chris McKillop are the left and right ends, respectively, while redshirt freshmen Ty Tkach and Greg Romeus are the respective backups.

The boundary cornerback is fifth-year senior Kennard Cox, while senior Lowell Robinson is his backup. Sophomore Aaron Berry is the field corner with redshirt frosh Ricky Gary as the backup. The strong safeties are fifth-year senior starter Mike Phillips with sophomore Jovani Chappel as the backup, while the free safeties are redshirt junior Eric Thatcher with freshman Dom DeCicco as the backup.

Redshirt sophomore Lucas Stone will be the holder for redshirt junior place-kicker Conor Lee. Stone will also back up punter Dave Brytus. Redshirt junior Mark Estermyer is the long-snapper for punts, field goals and extra points.

Berry is the top punt returner, but Porter, Robinson and frosh Aundre Wright are also in the mix. Porter is the kickoff returner with either Robinson, Stephens-Howling or Wright.

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