Pitt Offense Ready To Open Up

After a season where it seemed like all the Pitt quarterback did was turn around and hand off to tailback LeSean McCoy, it looks like Panthers offensive coordinator Matt Cavanaugh should be able to open things up this year.

There will be a lot of differences in the Pittsburgh offense that fans will notice immediately when the Panthers take the field against Bowling Green beginning at noon Saturday at Heinz Field.

"Well, No. 1 will be our quarterback,'' Cavanaugh said. "Bill Stull, everybody was hoping that he was the guy last year, but he didn't last very long. He busted up his thumb, but he's back in the lineup.

"And LeSean McCoy, hopefully he'll pick up right where he left off, but he's a little bigger and stronger. And we've got some depth at a lot of positions. Our wide receiver position, with Derek Kinder back, you'll notice him out there.

"We've got three tight ends that we feel real good about,'' Cavanaugh added. "Dorin Dickerson is there at a new position, and you'll notice him. On the offensive line, we have a lot of new faces, so people will be checking their programs to make sure they have the right guys.''

With McCoy and he running game, Kinder and other receivers like Oderick Turner, Cedric McGee, T.J. Porter and Jonathan Baldwin, and tight ends Dickerson, Nate Byham and John Pelusi, it's a wonder how Stull will be able to spread the ball around to keep all the offensive stars happy.

"I don't know how, I really don't, but if we win they should all be happy,'' Cavanaugh said. "It seems simple, and I know they all want the ball. And I feel confident in a lot of them that they deserve it.

"But we're going to do whatever we need to do to win. If that's run the ball 50 times, then we'll run it 50 times. If it's throw 50, we'll throw it 50. But they're a really good team, so we have to find a way to move the ball and put points on the board.''

While Bowling Green's offense gets the most publicity, Cavanaugh warned that the Falcons defense is much-improved this season. They use a four-man front and also go to three down linemen on third (passing) downs. Fifth-year senior Diyral Briggs had five sacks and seven total stops behind the line to lead BGSU last year. Weak-side linebacker John Haneline, one of five fifth-year senior starters on defense, had 96 tackles in just nine games last season.

There are two fourth-year seniors in the secondary, cornerbacks Antonio Smith and Kenny Lewis, while the safeties are juniors P.J. Mahone and Jahmal Brown. Mahone has seven interceptions last year, while Smith had two and Lewis had one. All four were among the team leaders in tackles, but all four are less than 6-feet tall.

Cavanaugh repeatedly talked about Bowling Green's experience on defense, as well as a penchant for "keeping it simple, and then waiting for us to make a mistake.'' Stull has to make sure that doesn't happen.

"BG is a good football team,'' Stull said. "We can't really say that we're going to run all over anybody. We learned last season that anything can happen. ... They've beaten BCS teams and have played well on the road against good teams, so we have to be prepared.

"They're very solid up front and do a lot of movements. It's a little different than what we seen, but we're preparing for them. Their corners come up and are pretty aggressive. They like to jump passes (routes), and that's something I have to be aware of. So, we're working on that.''

As well as spreading the ball around to all the talent Pitt has on offense.

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