An Early Look at the Panthers 2003 Opponents

Pitt will play against six opponents who won nine or more games in the 2002 season. Here's a team-by-team breakdown of what they will be bringing back onto the field against the Panthers in 2003, as far as starting personnel goes. The number of returning starters may not be exact due to injuries, but should be very close.

Kent State
-Returns 7 starters on offense and 4 starters on defense.
-Finished 3-9 last season.
-Key Losses: They lose 3 of 4 starters on the defensive line and 3 of 4 starters in the secondary.
-Strengths: Returns 7 starters on offense including standout QB Joshua Cribbs.

Ball State
-Returns 5 starters on offense and 8 starters on defense.
-Finished 6-6 last season.
-Key Losses: RB Marcus Merriweather, who rushed for over 1,600 last season, and two standout senior starters on the OL.
-Strengths: 8 starters return on offense, including the entire DL and LB units.

Toledo
-Returns 5 starters on offense and 6 starters on defense.
-Finished 9-5 last season and played in the Motor City Bowl.
-Key Losses: They lose standout seniors on offense in QB Brian Jones, and WR's Carl Ford and Donta Greene. They also lose two excellent senior LB's in David Gardner and Tom Ward.
-Strengths: They return 6 starters on defense, including three on the DL.

Texas A&M
-Returns 7 starters on offense and 5 starters on defense.
-Finished 6-6 last season and upset #1 Oklahoma.
-Key Losses: Standout defensive performers in DE Ty Warren, OLB Jared Penright, ILB Brian Gamble, and CB Sammy Davis.
-Strengths: 7 Starters on offense, including QB Reggie McNeal, RB Derek Farmer, and both starting WR's.

Notre Dame
-Returns 6 starters on offense and 6 starters on defense.
-Finished 10-3 last season.
-Key Losses: Offensive threat Arnaz Battle and several key starters on the offensive and defensive lines.
-Strengths: Top offensive talents return in QB Carlyle Holiday, RB Ryan Grant, and WR Maurice Stovall.

Miami
-Returns 8 starters on offense and 7 starters on defense, if nobody goes Pro.
-Finished 12-0 and will play for their 2nd national title in two years.
-Key Losses: QB Ken Dorsey, Center Brett Romberg, and all 4 starters on the DL.
-Strengths: The entire two-deep in the secondary and at linebacker returns, as well as superstars on offense, such as RB's Willis McGahee and Frank Gore, plus Andre Johnson and Kellen Winslow Jr.!

Virginia Tech
-Returns 6 starters on offense and 8 starters on defense.
-Finished 10-4 last season.
-Key Losses: RB Lee Suggs, FS Willie Pile and CB Ronyell Whitaker.
-Strengths: 8 starters return on defense, including the entire DL and linebacker units.

Boston College
-Returns 6 starters on offense and 5 starters on defense.
-Finished 9-4 last season.
-Key Losses: QB Brian St. Pierre, two senior starting WR's in Jamal Burke and Keith Hemmings, plus 3 of 4 starters in the secondary. They also lose standout defensive lineman Antonio Garay.
-Strengths: They return three very good running backs led by Derrick Knight. They also return three starters on the DL.

Syracuse
-Returns 7 starters on offense and 6starters on defense.
-Finished 4-8 last season.
-Key Losses: LB Clifton Smith and Safety Keeon Walker.
-Strengths: Returns most of their top players, including RB Walter Reyes and 4 starters on the O-line. They also return all 4 starters on the D-line.

West Virginia
-Returns 5 starters on offense and 4 starters on defense.
-Finished 9-4 last season.
-Key Losses: RB Avon Cobourne, WR Phil Braxton, DT David Upchurch, and Safety Angel Estrada.
-Strengths: QB Rasheed Marshall, MLB Grant Wiley, and 3 of 4 starters in the secondary return.

Temple
-Returns 4 starters on offense and 4 starters on defense.
-Finished 4-8 last season.
-Key Losses: RB Tanardo Sharps, DT Dan Klecko, WR Sean Dillard and 4 starters on the OL.
-Strengths: QB Mike McGann and CB Yazid Jackson.

Rutgers
-Returns 4 starters on offense and 4 starters on defense, although with injuries and playing younger players, they return a lot of experience.
-Finished 1-11 last season.
-Key Losses: LB Gary Brackett, FS Shawn Seabrooks, DE Raheem Orr, and TE L.J. Smith. They also lose 4 starters on the OL.
-Strengths: QB Ryan Cubit and RB Clarence Pittman.


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