McGlynn Boosts Pitt's Offensive Line

After a solid performance in its opening win against Eastern Michigan, if the Pitt football team had one weak spot it was on the offensive line.

Many believe that will be cured this week, as fifth-year senior Mike McGlynn returns to the starting lineup. McGlynn played last week, extending his consecutive games streak to 36 (to tie Kennard Cox). His streak of 31 straight starts ended, however, as he only came in for one play last week.

Pittsburgh coach Dave Wannstedt noted that McGlynn is working at center, right guard and right tackle, just in case he's needed. And said a final determination will be made on his status later in the week.

"I don't expect him to play the whole game,'' Wannstedt said, "but he'll play and will get his first full-speed play this week. He's our most knowledgeable offensive lineman that we have. ... He brings talent, experience, toughness and leadership, (and) we need that particularly with that group.

"Mike's capable of playing all three spots, but I want to see these offensive linemen this week. I was not pleased with how we played there last week, so I have to see how we respond and how well we practice and prepare.''

McGlynn has practiced primarily at right guard and said he is slated to start there for sophomore Joe Thomas. That appears to be the only change to the offensive line this week, and McGlynn is just glad to get the chance.

"I'm excited to be back this week,'' McGlynn said. "I do nothing but smile, now, because practice went great (Tuesday). ... I feel like I've been limited a bit still the past 2-3 weeks, but I'm ready to go now and can't wait to go out and get win No. 2. It seems like it's been forever since I've played.

"So, I just can't wait for Saturday. There's nothing like going out in front of 30-60,000 people to play football. ... I haven't had any problems with my shoulder yet, and knock on wood, I hope to not have any problems for the rest of the season.''

While McGlynn hasn't always graded out as Pitt's best offensive lineman, he certainly has been fairly consistent the past three seasons. And he noted that he provides something else for the Panthers offense.

"I think something that I bring to the table is experience,'' McGlynn said. "I've played in now 36 consecutive games here, after getting in for one play on Saturday, but young guys sometimes get in there and get so caught up in the moment that they don't let the game slow down.

"So, I think that the experience that I have, I can come in and let the game slow down some and help us out with what the defense is going to do when they get in certain fronts. ... So, I feel like having guys on the line with more experience and playing time, I think that will help us out a lot.''

Senior left tackle Jeff Otah quickly agreed.

"With MIke McGlynn coming in, we should be better off, because he's been around a whole lot longer,'' Otah said. "And he should know what's going on. He knows what a defense is going to do from how they line up, and ... he knows all the calls and all his plays, and it will help out (Jason) Pinkston being right beside him. I thought our performance was OK, but if Wannstedt said it wasn't good enough, then it wasn't good enough.

"We started out pretty slow, and you can't do that against a good team. We could get behind, but our defense kept us in the game until our offense got going last week. I think he was mostly talking about the running game and protecting the quarterback. We gave up too many sacks and pressures, and we have to do a better job running the ball. ... We have to open up holes a little better for Hot Rod and LeSean and (our running backs).''

And with McGlynn at right guard against Grambling State, there's a better chance that will happen.

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