The Guru Grill

Hello, Pitt football fans. On this dreary, but warm February day, it seemed like a good idea to fire up The Guru Grill.

This is where Panthers fans go to get the answers to questions about University of Pittsburgh athletics and primarily recruiting from Scout.com Recruiting Analyst Bob Lichtenfels. Bob will answer the recruiting questions, and Senior Writer Dale Grdnic will handle questions about this year's Pitt football team.

dj0825: Dale; how about giving the ridiculously early "what to expect'' for next season's grid iron version of the Panthers? When I thought about it during the season I thought we could withstand the losses we would incur (McKillop, Lee, Kinder, Collins, Howling, Brytus) but now we've added Shady, how do you see the offseason unfolding into spring, who on the current roster is up and coming, and who if any RedShirts or true Frosh can have an impact?

Answer: There's only a few weeks until spring practice, and I also believe the losses can be withstood, for the most part. The running backs group was the hardest hit with Shady and LSH combining for nearly 1,700 yards and 26 touchdowns last season. Chris Burns and Shariff Harris likely will make the biggest impact, mostly because they'll have to. Lucas Nix and Chris Jacobson will have to fit in somewhere. There are many WRs to replace Kinder. Hynoski steps in for Collins, and Dan Hutchins and Kevin Harper are up next as in the punter and PK spots. There should be a good battle for McKillop's MLB spot between Steve Dell, Brandon Lindsey and probably Max Gruder. Don't know about true freshmen competing, but the skill guys, RBs and WRs, have the best chances to play.

panthers28: Assuming the QB position is truly wide open, do you think that either Bostick or Sunseri would have to outplay Stull by a considerable amount to beat out Stull or do you think that DW would think about Bostick or Sunseri if they were playing comparable to Stull in the spring and training camp?

Answer: Whomever wins the QB job ahead of Stull will need to outplay him. Both Wannstedt and new OC Frank Cignetti have said that Stull is in the lead now, but the others should get a serious shot to beat him out.

panthers28: Assuming the competition for MLB is wide open, is it possible for Dan Mason or Shane Gordon to see immediate playing time (not a starting role, but perhaps) or do you think he is the type of kid who needs a year to mature and learn the system until he is ready to compete for playing time, especially with how reluctant DW is to play true freshman?

Answer: Sure, it's possible, but it's better if both take a year to mature and learn. They're both going to be good ones, but it's doubtful they'll get any PT this year unless the other guys on the depth chart are incredibly inept.

rmf05: What's your take on Tom Ricketts? What is the staff looking for, in terms of improvement, for them to offer him at camp?

Answer: The staff likes Ricketts, but they need to see him in person to see how he moves, his athleticism and strength. Ricketts has one offer, from Maryland, but Pitt could offer at camp. The Panthers are interested, but need to see more of him.

w0lfinator: Best guess: Give me your starting OLinemen, QB, RB, and DBs.

Answer: The O-line from L to R: Pinkston, Jacobson, Houser, Malecki, Thomas or Nix. Stull at QB. Burns and Harris at RB. The DBs: Berry and Chappel at CB. Taglianetti and DeCicco at Safety and Fields with PT as well.

ConjuntoPanther: Let's say that PITT's new OC moves to the West Coast offense, in what order would you rate our current crop of QBs?

Answer: Bostick doesn't have a big-time arm, but I believe he can be the most accurate passer. Stull is next. Cross and Sunseri are unproven, but are the best athletes. After the fact, now that Cignetti has been hired, there will be no West Coast offense. I don't believe it ever will be as long as Wannstedt is here.

CaptainH: Somebody has to ask: who do you expect to commit first to Pitt and when do you think this will happen?

Answer: It's Derrick Burns. We'll take bets on the next one. My money's on Miles Dieffenbach, the OL from Fox Chapel. His father is the tennis coach at Pitt, and I don't believe he'll go anywhere else.

Have you seen enough tape to rank Boisture and Gonzalez compared to each other? Which qb does the staff seem to prefer? Who do you feel are potential fallbacks if neither of these materialize?

Answer: Both are good quarterbacks, but Gonzalez is the better athlete and Boisture the better passer. The staff likes both. E.J. Schneider from Delbarton School in Morrstown, N.J.; Kyle Smith from Lancaster, Pa. Catholic HS; Tyler Smith from Wilson HS in Easton, Pa. and Raheem Jones from Aliquippa, Pa. HS are all being considered.

cabe23: It appears that Eastern/Central PA will be very strong in 2010, so will PSU get most of those kids? I'm talking Corey Brown, Kyle Baublitz, Anthony Gonzalez, Dakota Royer and the big DT from Philly. Of the top WPIAL players, like the trio from Penn Hills and Andrew Carswell, who does Pitt have a shot at?

Answer: Penn State could get a couple of those guys, sure, but Pitt is in the running for all of them from each area in Pennsylvania.

tbro34: More of a Big East Question: Louisville Coach Steve Kragthorpe, just fired Jeff Brohm from Offensive Coordinator. Everybody in the coaching world seems to think the world of him, while his fan base sees their record and completely dislikes him. What do you think is the future of Louisville football.

Answer: Louisville will be just fine once they start recruiting better. Kragthorpe and his staff have not done a good job recruiting. The program's in trouble now.

cabe23: Do you think we will offer Rasheem Jones or Tyler Smith? Jones seems to have a big arm and nice athleticism and size. Plus, he is from Pitt's pipeline school of Aliquippa.

Answer: I believe they're waiting to see if they can get an early commit from one of the other QBs they offered. If not, then they'll offer Smith and Jones.

pantherpride24: I was just wondering if we have offered JR Ferguson yet. He seems to be a very highly touted player and all the other schools that he seems to be interested have offered except for us. I just found that odd.

Answer: He has been offered. The name Ego Ferguson, his nickname (for some reason), is the one listed on the 2010 offer thread.

rmf05: Coach Cignetti mentioned former teammates coaching locally. Do you have any names to enlighten us? Also, do you see him having a specific geographical area to recruit? Where do you see him fitting into our recruiting efforts?

Answer: Cignetti likely will recruit in the Cleveland and Youngstown, Ohio areas, where Cavanaugh was supposed to recruit. But Pitt hasn't done much in Ohio the past couple years, so it's a good bet for Cignetti. However, Wannstedt said that hasn't been determined yet. I believe he'll be an asset to recruiting. He's supposed to be a good recruiter, he's young and apparently doesn't mind doing it. I need a little more time to research his former teammates as coaches.

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