"Pitt offensive coordinator and tight ends coach Joe Rudolph is entering his second season with the Panthers and he has six returning starters to work with. It's a young group that's facing a lot of questions, but Rudolph addressed some of those concerns and his quarterback competition in a spring interview." - Heather Dinich of ESPN.com
"In April, members of the Pitt Football team took part in a trip to Haiti to visit impoverished communities. The impact that the trip had on the players may have been greater than the impact they had on the community." - 93.7 THE FAN
The Panthers and Lobos will meet for the first time in 2013.
2012-13 New Mexico Season Review
Head Coach: Bob Davie (1st season)
2012-13 Record: 4-9 (1-7 MWC) Improvement from 1-11 campaign in 2011 10 players earned All-Mountain West honors in 2012 (only 4 did in 2011) Notable Team Stats: Greatest improvement of all 120 FBS schools in scoring margin and rushing offense. Improved scoring margin by 25.21 points in 2012 Improved by 188.14 rushing yards per game last season Finished 5th nationally in rushing offense in 2012 (301.3 yards per game)
The Davie File
A household name in college football circles, Bob Davie took over at New Mexico last season after nine years in the booth as a college football analyst for ESPN, ESPN2 and ABC. Prior to his television stint, Davie served as the head football coach at Notre Dame, where he took over for the legendary Lou Holtz in 1997. Davie served as Holtz's defensive coordinator for three years before taking over as the Irish's head man. Yet another example of working one's way up the coaching ladder, Davie has quite the football pedigree. A native Western Pennsylvanian, Davie played ball at Moon Area High School in Coraopolis and earned a full scholarship to Youngstown State University, where he was three-year starter at tight end. Upon graduating from YSU in 1976, Davie began his coaching career as a graduate assistant at Pitt under Jackie Sherrill. He would return to Oakland in 1980, serving for two of the three famed 11-1 seasons (1979, 80 and 81). In charge of the linebackers, Davie worked with the likes of Chris Doleman, Hugh Green and Rickey Jackson during his time at Pitt. His last year with the Panthers was 1982. His other career stops included Tulane and Texas A&M. Davie served as Defensive Coordinator for the Aggies in the 1989 Sun Bowl, when his team fell 31-28 to Pitt.
Taking a look at the Lobos
With his connections to the Steel City and the University of Pittsburgh being many, I'm sure Coach Davie is looking forward to bringing his team here in September. Let's take a look at what he has coming back:
1. Trying to spark the passing game - Though New Mexico lost quarterback B.R. Holbrook to graduation, Davie and his staff are optimistic their passing game will improve in 2013. Largely ineffective through the air last season, the Lobos only attempted 154 passes to 688 rushing attempts in 2012. They are hoping to create some balance in their pistol offense, which relied heavily on the read-option to generate yards last season. Quarterback play, undoubtedly, will be a key part of that formula. The top candidates to replace Holbrook and spark New Mexico's passing game are sophomore Cole Gautsche and junior Quinton McCown. They will try to do so with an inexperienced receiving corps, having lost three receivers and two tight ends to graduation.
2. Run game will remain the strength - New Mexico ranked fifth in the nation last year in rushing offense, amassing 3,917 yards on 688 carries and averaging a whopping 301.3 yards per game. Despite their efforts to improve their passing game this spring and summer, all signs point to a continued emphasis on the ground attack for the Lobos in 2013. Probable starting quarterback Cole Gautsche was the team's second leading rusher last season, picking up 760 yards on 109 carries and scoring seven touchdowns as a reserve. New Mexico's leading rusher, running back Kasey Carrier, returns as well. Carrier gained 1,469 yards on 255 carries, scoring 15 touchdowns last season. In front of Gautsche and Carrier will be an offensive line that features four returning starters from last year.
1. A change in attitude - 2012 was not a good year for the Lobos defensively, as they gave up 30.2 points per game and 442.2 yards per game last season. Bob Davie and his staff certainly have their work cut out for them in 2013 having lost 12 lettermen from last year's group, but they seem to think a change in attitude may overcome having to break in new personnel. With Davie's experience as a defensive coordinator, does this indicate that a more aggressive style of play will be imparted on the 3-4 scheme the Lobos introduced in his first season at the helm? That's my guess, but we'll find out September 14.
Keys to Victory
1. Discipline to defend the read-option - The Panthers must slow down the Lobos run game in order to secure a victory. This means stopping the ever popular read-option attack. In order to get this done, Pitt will have to remain sound in their assignments and tackle well. Gautsche is a runner at the quarterback position, so containing him will also be a key.
2. Balance on offense - Throughout the course of these previews, one common theme will remain - Pitt must strive to maintain balance offensively. The run game will be the foundation and the Panthers' reshuffled offensive line looks much improved heading into 2013. Getting Isaac Bennett and company touches will open up the passing game for Pitt to hit some home runs down the field. With the Lobos having lost four lettermen on the defensive line and four at the linebacker spot, it would seem to me that Pitt has the upper hand heading into this battle. But you still have to play the game.
3. Same intensity - Sometimes bye weeks come at good times, others not. But, nevertheless, they are what you make of them. The Panthers will be coming off a launch pad week one with a huge game against Florida State (hopefully a win!), so utilizing the off week following that contest and coming into their second game of the season with the same intensity will be vital. The lesson here? Treat every opponent and each game the same.
Check back next week for a preview of Pitt's week 3 Opponent, Duke.
Thursday marked the final day of the Atlantic Coast Conference's annual spring meetings and Pitt Live Wire brings you a collection of the coverage. The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and Tribune-Review have had beat writers on site for the meetings and their Friday coverage is below:
The ACC's annual spring meetings continue through today with the athletic directors, but yesterday was the final day for coaches. Pitt Live Wire brings you a collection of stories from Pitt's local sportswriters in attendance from the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and Tribune-Review. Check back tomorrow for additional coverage from Amelia Island, Fla.
On April 26, 16 Pitt student-athletes and two representatives from Pitt's Coalition for Christian Outreach traveled to Cap Haitien, Haiti, to help serve at the EBAC Orphanage. Below is just a portion of their powerful story.
While some Pitt student-athletes spend the summer offseason months
running up and down the hills of Oakland in preparation for their respective
upcoming seasons, 16 Panthers recently found themselves hiking a much steeper
terrain in an unfamiliar setting.
As part of a trip initiated by the Coalition for Christian
Outreach (CCO), nine female and seven male Pitt student-athletes climbed four
miles up a mountain in Haiti, providing food and clothes to many of the
One moment on the mountain even brought Devin Street to tears.
"As we were walking up the mountain with food and clothes, we
would see people in need of them," said Street, a wide receiver on the football
team. "We came across a little girl and her mother. The little girl had a
raggedy shirt on--it didn't fit her and was all dirty. She had no pants and no
shoes. And I had a pair of nice gold sandals meant for a girl with jewels on
them in my bag. We gave her the shoes and they fit her perfectly; they were
meant for her.
"I broke down on the mountain thinking about people that have to
live like that," Street added.
Soon after spring semester finals finished up in late April, the
group traveled to Cap Haitien, Haiti and stayed and helped at the EBAC
orphanage, which houses and educates about 90 Haitian children. The
student-athletes also spent time at the IDADEE orphanage that is run by five
adults who grew up at EBAC.
Mark Giubilato, a fullback on the football team, was also touched
by his interactions with a young Haitian boy with dirty clothes during the trek
up the mountain. He said the boy led the group up the mountain, holding his
hand the entire way.
"When we got to the church [at the top of the mountain], I
took out a pair of sweatpants from my bag--Pitt football sweatpants--because I
saw what he was wearing and I gave them to him," Giubilato said. "He was so
grateful and wouldn't let go of my hand. And down there, that's how you show
that you genuinely care about somebody else."
Although the hike up the mountain certainly stood out as one of
the more memorable moments of the voyage, CCO member Mark Steffey, the chief
organizer of the trip, said that the group spent most of its time helping the
orphans at the EBAC school.
"The school work was a big part of it," Steffey said. "Just
sitting with the kids and doing homework took a bulk of the days. And when we
visited IDADEE for two days, our function was to hold babies. Just being with
the kids, giving them that attention and playing games with them is what is
Beyond the experiences of the mountain and the orphanages, women's
soccer midfielder Katie Lippert, a health and physical activity major, got to
meet a Haitian doctor named Pastor Cebien (Alexis) who runs a medical clinic
near the EBAC orphanage.
"A lot of the kids love him and look up to him--they all want
to be doctors because of him," Lippert said of Pastor Cebien. "Some of us
studying in the health field had the opportunity to go see his clinic for a few
hours one day, and that was an awesome experience. To see how he treated his
patients was an experience I don't think we'd get to have here."
Like Lippert and some other Panthers, Giubilato also went on a
similar CCO trip to Haiti last year. He said that seeing how the experiences of
the trip to Haiti changed his fellow student-athletes making their first trip
to the Caribbean country really stood out to him.
"This year, since there were a few of us who had already been
there before, I got to see Devin [Street], Mike Caprara, Joe Trebitz and people
from other sports who were going for their first time and how much they changed
throughout the week and how the trip affected them," Giubilato said. "Everybody
did an awesome job and loved it."
Caprara, a linebacker on the football team, and gymnast Tiara
Chadran both made their first trips to Haiti with the CCO and the Pitt team of
student-athletes. They both agreed with Giubilato's statement.
"Being out of our comfort zone brought the whole group
together," Caprara said. "We became so much closer -- everybody from every
different sport. And I just thought that was amazing. You could see each one of
"There's not one person on the trip who I don't feel
comfortable with. And I'm confident these friendships will last," Chadran
added. "It's awesome."
With limited electricity and inconsistent running water at EBAC,
the student-athletes also spent time playing soccer and basketball with the
children. They distributed 20 soccer balls, 23 soccer jerseys, 20 t-shirts and
23 pairs of soccer socks that were donated by recently graduated Pitt football
linebacker Joe Trebitz's former high school classmate Jozy Altidore, who plays
soccer professionally in the Netherlands, represents the USA men's national
soccer and is of Haitian descent.
And when it came time to head back to Pitt, everyone left with
much lighter luggage after donating most of their own clothes and shoes to the
Street was overcome by his emotions once again when giving his
clothes to two native boys.
"I noticed these two boys who everyday they would trade
t-shirts--they only had two shirts. They switched shorts too, just so they
wouldn't have to wear the same thing each day," Street said. "And at the end of
the week, I gave them all of my stuff. I gave them seven shirts, five pairs of
pants and three pairs of shoes. Seeing Reginald, the older one, smile so
much--that was just another breaking point for me."
"We got to see a different side of everyone," Lippert said.
"I never got to see a football player cry, but to see who they really were on
the inside was really cool."
Lippert believes that the group of 16 Pitt student-athletes was
certainly changed for the better by the trip.
"As a group we affected Haiti," she said. "But Haiti affected
us even more."
Complete list of the student-athletes who made the trip to Haiti:
Danielle Benner (women's soccer)
Mike Caprara (football)
Tiara Chadran (gymnastics)
Hillary Doucette (cross country)
Mark Giubilato (football)
Bri Hogan (gymnastics)
Katie Lippert (women's soccer)
Ryan McKenzie (men's soccer)
Alyssa Meier (women's soccer)
Dan Prete (men's soccer)
Morgan Sharick (women's soccer)
Alec Sheaffer (swimming and diving)
Devin Street (football)
Joe Trebitz (football)
Leigh Waltz (swimming and diving)
Tyler Wilps (wrestling)
Kelly Cooke (CCO)
Mark Steffey (CCO)
Pitt head coach Joe Jordano and his 16th-ranked baseball team head to No. 10 Louisville this weekend for the most important series for the Panthers in nearly two decades. With a series win, Pitt would claim the outright Big East title -- its first since 1994. Jordano spoke with Pitt Live Wire prior to the team's trip to Louisville on Wednesday morning:
Coverage from the annual spring Atlantic Coast Conference meetings, held this week in Amelia Island, Fla., continues with stories and blogs from both the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and Tribune-Review. Pitt athletic director Steve Pederson, head football coach Paul Chryst, head men's basketball coach Jamie Dixon and head women's basketball coach Suzie McConnell-Serio are all present this week and will be visiting with media. Below are Wednesday's stories. Be sure to check back throughout the week at Pitt Live Wire for a collection of the coverage.