T9C Countdown: #25 Pittsburgh Panthers.


Gearing up for the 2009 college football season takes a lot of work. Ranking players, critiquing coaches and drinking massive quantities of beer is tough. That’s why The Nine Commandments is creating its first T9C Top 25 Countdown. Be sure to check back daily for the latest.

Louisville Pittsburgh Football

LeSean McCoy is gone but the rebuilding continues in steel country. McCoy put up 4.8 yards per rush in 2008 (1,488 total) but the success of this Pitt team relies on the offensive line, something to be expected from a Dave Wannstedt coached team.

This 2009 Pitt team will need to be tough in the gritty Big East and all signs point to this team dominating the conference. The offensive line is the driving force to Wannstedts offense with an experienced trench crew to help facilitate the run first, pass second offensive mind-set. Though they have lost their two leading rushers and first team All-Big East selection C.J. Davis on the O-Line, Wannstedt works in a system that doesn’t rely solely on individual players.

The most dominant part of this Pitt team is the defensive line, something any defensive coordinator in the country will be sure to drool over in 2009. Tackle Mick Williams and ends Greg Romeus and Jabaal Sheard will collapse on the pocket, stopping any team running the spread offense. Look for Pitt to command the Backyard Brawl against Bill Stewart West Virginia, locking down Jarrett Brown in the backfield. They’re fast and they will get you.

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I expect Wannstedt to go with a running back by committee to keep the defense guessing. The true freshman Dion Lewis has impressed coaches early on with his speed while Shariff Harris will be the power back the team will be looking for in the red zone. I see this aspect as one of the best, yet unexpected successes of this 2009 team.

Quarterback Bill Stull also returns for his final year hoping to better his mediocre statistics from 2008. A 57% completion rating nearly won the Panthers a trip to the Orange Bowl, but his numbers will need to improve to help his team hoist the Big East Champions trophy. With multiple running backs vying for the starting spot, Stull will need to look to the flanks for needed support to cut down on interceptions.

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What has mostly gone unnoticed in the national headlines is the teams discipline problem off the field. This is something that should be bothersome to Wannstedt if he wants to keep a team focused on the prize. MLB Adam Gunn was suspended indefinitely for public drunkenness (really?) while T.J. Porter was kicked off the team after his second DUI in less than a year. Sophomore Jonathan Baldwin has also run into legal troubles, something that should disturb Pitt fans a lot. If the discipline problems persist between now and the end of the season, Wannstedt will be pressured to sit key players, resulting in detrimental effects to the team. Keep your eye on the crime section in Pittsburgh, this may get bumpy.

If this team is to succeed, Stull needs to play above expectations without making as many mistakes as he did in 2008. While 2009 looks promising, there will obviously be many roadblocks that could trip up this team. The game at Rutgers will be tough, but if they are able to come out of that game on the positive side, Pitt will make the Orange Bowl.

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2008 Fun Stats: [via Scout.com]
– 4th Quarter Scoring: Pitt 122 – Opponents 47
– Red Zone Scores: Pitt 41-of-45 (91%) – Opponents 28-of-35 (80%)
– Penalties: Opponents 73 for 624 yards – Pitt 57 for 440 yards

2009 Schedule
DATE OPPONENT TV TIME (ET)
9/05 Youngstown State 1:00 PM
9/12 @ Buffalo 12:00 PM
9/19 Navy 6:00 PM
9/26 @ North Carolina State
10/02 @ Louisville 8:00 PM
10/10 Connecticut
10/16 @ Rutgers 8:00 PM
10/24 South Florida
11/07 Syracuse
11/14 Notre Dame
11/27 @ West Virginia
12/05 Cincinnati

Vegasinsider.com over/under: 7.5

Key Games:
9/26 @NC State
10/16 @Rutgers
11/27 @West Virginia

Key Players:
TE Nate Byham – First Team All-Big East (Senior)DL Greg Romeus – Second Team All-Big East (Junior)
CB Aaron Berry – Second Team All-Big East (Senior)

Key Losses:
OG C.J. Davis – First Team All-Big East
RB LeSean McCoy – First Team All-Big East
LB Scott McKillop – First Team All-American; Big East Defensive Player of the Year
WR TJ Porter – Third leading receiver in 2008, first in 2007

And just for shits and gigs:

No, I don’t know what this is all about.

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6 Responses to “T9C Countdown: #25 Pittsburgh Panthers.”

  1. T9C Countdown: #24 North Carolina « The Nine Commandments Says:

    […] The rest of the countdown: #25 Pitt Panthers […]

  2. T9C Countdown: #23 Illinois. « The Nine Commandments Says:

    […] rest of the countdown: #25 Pitt Panthers #24 North Carolina Tar […]

  3. T9C Countdown: #22 Kansas Jayhawks. « The Nine Commandments Says:

    […] rest of the countdown: #25 Pitt Panthers #24 North Carolina Tar Heels #23 Illinois […]

  4. T9C Countdown: #21 Nevada Wolfpack. « The Nine Commandments Says:

    […] rest of the countdown: #25 Pitt Panthers #24 North Carolina Tar Heels #23 Illinois Illini #22 Kansas […]

  5. Aw fudge it. Here’s my top 25 college football teams. « The Nine Commandments Says:

    […] #25 Pittsburgh Panthers […]

  6. Wednesday Winks 7/29/09 | Detroit 4 Lyfe Says:

    […] T9C  Countdown #25: Pittsburgh Panthers [The Nine Commandments] […]

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