Defense Dominates Again

Tony Tucker

Greg Cross saw a lot more action in this Saturday's scrimmage than he did in last week's, but once again, the defense ruled the day.

It only took five plays for the first-team defense to sack quarterback Bill Stull twice. First it was left end Doug Fulmer. Next it was right end Greg Romeus. On the 10th play of the scrimmage, Stull was intercepted by Jovani Chappel.

"Defensively we came out and started fast," Pitt coach Dave Wannstedt said. "Offensively, until we get consistent running the football, it's going to be tough."

LeSean McCoy only played the first two series with the first-team offense and only gained 12 yards on seven carries.

"We can't use the excuse that LeSean's not getting the carries or LaRod," Wannstedt said. "We've got to block people and we're not doing that right now."

Several running backs tried to carry the load. Shariff Harris gained 29 yards on seven carries, Kevin Collier netted eight yards on five rushes, and Stephens-Howling got just two yards on seven attempts.

"The offensive line is still something that we need to focus on and work on," Wannstedt said. It didn't get any help when redshirt freshman tackle Dan Matha, who worked with the first team on the right side, had to leave the scrimmage with a knee injury, to which Wannstedt didn't know the extent.

Still, the Panthers threw the ball plenty. Stull completed 11 of 14 passes for 98 yards, and despite the interception, offensive coordinator Matt Cavanaugh liked Stull's poise in the pocket.

"I was disappointed on the interception he threw," Cavanaugh said. "But what he's doing really good is stepping up in the pocket. He's keeping his vision downfield and he's not getting flustered by the rush." "[Cross] did some really nice things today," Cavanaugh said. "For about almost three weeks now, he's just learning. He's obviously not where Stull, Pat Bostick and Kevan Smith are as far as knowing things, but his package is expanding each week, and each time he gets the ball in his hands he's a threat."

A double-threat, because of his running ability and athleticism. Cross also ran five times for 14 yards and another score.

Williams caught another touchdown, too, a seven-yard score from Pat Bostick, who completed 6 of 10 passes for 45 yards, but also threw two picks, one to cornerback Ricky Gary and the other by defensive end Tony Tucker, who also had 1 ½ sacks and two tackles-for-loss.

"I thought Tony Tucker made some plays today," Wannstedt said. "That's real encouraging."

Outside linebacker Greg Williams had arguably the hardest hit of the day when he popped Bostick behind the line of scrimmage for one of his six tackles. Brandon Lindsey also had a nice tackle-for-loss on Stephens-Howling.

Still, Scott McKillop led the team in tackles with seven, seeing a lot more work this week than he did last week. The Panthers even showed some four-linebacker sets on the first team, with freshman Tristan Roberts coming in as the extra man.

"He's a freshman, he's athletic, and a great playmaker," outside linebacker Adam Gunn said. "We're going to need him this year, and a lot of other freshmen are going to start making plays as well."

PantherDigest.com Recommended Stories


Up Next


Forums


349 Fans online
    Join The Conversation

    Tweets