What's New On Offense?

Before everybody starts designing variations to his new "Wildcat'' offense with various Panthers in the lead role, Pitt coach Dave Wannstedt put a stop to it during his weekly press conference Monday.

And don't expect Pittsburgh to use the formation on a full-time basis, if at all.

"I don't even know if we'll use it, to be quite honest with you,'' Wannstedt said. "It'll be a week-to-week decision, and it'll be a situation each week when we think that there's something that we might be able to take advantage of.''

Wannstedt assured those in the audience that the offense was not installed because redshirt freshman Kevan Smith was the quarterback. That the entire package was put in after spring drills when offensive coordinator Matt Cavanaugh and his staff were dispatched to Arkansas to see first hand how the Razorbacks utilize talented tailback Darren McFadden.

"So, we started up in April, and we'll continue to have it,'' Wannstedt said. "It'll be part of our offense, but I think it's a game-plan thing, week-to-week, how we'll use it, when we'll use it and what we'll do out of it.''

It was suggested that maybe freshman Maurice Williams, a former high school quarterback, might be well-suited to the lead role so he could either run the option or pass from there, as well as run or hand off. This is where Wannstedt felt the need to put on the breaks.

"We'll talk about it as we get into this week, but I don't want to open a can of worms for you guys,'' Wannstedt said. "Everybody write down their plays that they like out of this thing. ... And we'll look at it. But that can be the problem. It can become a monster, and I'm not going to let that happen.

"But we're going to do what we have to do to win a football game or I wouldn't have done it Saturday. I felt like we had to do it to generate some offense, because we didn't have any success throwing the ball. But we have to be careful, because we don't want to let this thing become a monster.''

Wannstedt also said that he expected Smith to be the starting quarterback again this week, but "we haven't locked that into stone yet.'' Both he and freshman Pat Bostick, who put his helmet on once but never left the bench against Michigan State, will get equal snaps with the first team this week.

Wannstedt noted that he nearly put Bostick into the MSU game to open the second half, but went to the Wildcat offensive package instead.

"I thought about (Bostick) at halftime, to be honest with you, but then we put Shady at quarterback,'' Wannstedt said. "No, I thought about it, and I just felt like going to our Wildcat package and we started making plays, that it would slow things down enough. And we were still in the game. We were just one throw or one catch from winning that game.

"Kevan was fine on the sideline. He knew what we were doing and talking about, good and bad, and what we were trying to do to win the game. If I'd have sensed panic or him totally coming unglued, then I would have made a change. But that wasn't the case. He really was trying to do everything he could do, under the circumstances, to win the football game.''

Wannstedt didn't rule out Bostick starting at quarterback, but he wanted to see how Smith bounces back in practice this week.

"Kevan can do everything that we're asking him to do, and he had a very good week of practice last week, I promise you,'' Wannstedt said. "So, we went into the game, and there's two things. Making proper decisions to get the ball to the right guy, and when you do have guys open you've got to hit him. ... It was frustrating, because we didn't make enough plays on our whole offense.

"So, let's not make this just about our quarterback. The quarterback didn't play well enough for us to win, we know that, but the times that we did have somebody open and he was getting ready to get rid of the ball and we get pressure. Then, we get good protection, and Kevan makes a nice throw that would have been a touchdown catch, and we don't make it.''

Those plays and several unfortunate penalties all contributed to the loss.

Notes: Even though he had a breakout performance in his first start, frosh LeSean McCoy is listed as the backup TB to LaRod Stephens-Howling, who Wannstedt said should practice today. ... Also, redshirt frosh Ricky Gary is expected to make his fourth straight start ahead of sophomore Aaron Berry at CB. ... Sophomore Jovani Chappel apparently has been moved from safety back to CB and is listed as a co-backup with senior Lowell Robinson behind fifth-year senior Kennard Cox. ... Wannstedt expected sophomore RT Jason Pinkston, junior NT Rashaad Duncan and redshirt sophomore DT Mick Williams -- injured at MSU -- to be fine this week. ... If Pinkston can't play, several options are available, Wannstedt said. Fifth-year senior Mike McGlynn could move from RG back to RT, and sophomore Joe Thomas could play RG or redshirt sophomore John Bachman could play RT, while McGlynn stays at RG. ... The Sept. 29 game at Virginia will start at 7 p.m. and be on ESPNU.

Panther More Top Stories