The Panthers lead the all-time series 3-2.
The Last Time
Pitt and Virginia last met on September 29, 2007 in Charlottesville. The Cavaliers won that game 44-14.
2012-13 Virginia Season Review
Head Coach: Mike London (3rd season)
2012-13 Record: 4-8 (2-6, 6th in Coastal Division)
Beat Penn State 17-16.
Beat Miami 41-40.
The London File
Charged with restoring Virginia football to prominence, Mike London took over the Cavaliers' program in 2010 after leading his alma mater, Richmond, to the FCS National Title in 2008 and a semifinal berth in 2009. Despite only guiding the Wahoos to a 4-8 record in his first season (2010), London oversaw impressive progress in 2011. The Cavaliers finished 8-5 and became the first college team to ever win road games at Miami and Florida State in the same season. London was named the ACC's Coach of the Year after leading the Cavaliers to the Chik-fil-A Bowl, though his team's follow-up to 2011 was somewhat forgettable. Looking to put their sub-par 2012 campaign in the rear view, London will rely on a solid group of returners and a revamped coaching staff to fuel a successful 2013 season.
New Names, Faces in 2013
Following a dismal 4-8 campaign in 2012, Mike London has made significant changes to his staff heading into the 2013 season. Featuring a wealth of experience, London's staff will have five new coaches this year - three of which will serve as his offensive, defensive and special team's coordinators. Here's a quick look at four notable additions to Virginia's staff:
1. Tom O'Brien, Associate Head Coach for Offense/Tight Ends - O'Brien has 38 years of coaching under his belt, most recently serving as the Head Football Coach at North Carolina State.
2. Steve Fairchild, Offensive Coordinator/Quarterbacks - Fairchild boasts 31 years of experience at all levels of the game. He most recently served as a senior offensive assistant for the San Diego Chargers after a four-year stint as Colorado State's Head Coach.
3. Jon Tenuta, Associate Head Coach for Defense/Defensive Coordinator/Linebackers - Entering his 33rd season of collegiate coaching, Tenuta is a well-known defensive mind who has coordinated at schools like Notre Dame, Ohio State and Georgia Tech.
4. Larry Lewis, Special Teams Coordinator/Running Backs - Lewis owns 32 seasons of coaching experience, including an eight-year stint as the Head Coach at Idaho State.
Looking at the Cavaliers Offense: 4 starters lost, 7 return (21 lettermen return)
1. A few losses - Among Virginia's departing starters on the offensive side of the ball, a few stick out. The Cavaliers will have a new starting quarterback in 2013, as Michael Rocco has transferred to Richmond. However, junior Philip Sims appeared in 12 games last season and sophomore David Watford emerged from spring practice as the frontrunner for the vacant position. Virginia's biggest loss offensively is probably tailback Perry Jones, who rushed for 463 yards (2nd on team) and 2 touchdowns last season. Jones also led the Cavaliers in receptions in 2012, tallying 49 on the year. London does return four of five starting offensive lineman, but the lone departed, tackle Oday Aboushi, was Virginia's only draft pick in the 2013 NFL Draft (5th Round, NY Jets).
2. Looking for a spark - After finishing in the middle of the conference in terms of total offense last season, Virginia is looking for a spark in 2013. The Cavaliers return a very capable receiving corps, headlined by wide receiver Darius Jennings (48 rec., 568 yards, 5 TD) and tight end Jake McGee (28 catches, 374 yards, 5 TD). The key to getting the Cavaliers' passing game going this season is quite obvious - quarterback play.
Defense: 4 starters lost, 7 returning (18 lettermen returning)
1. Build on last season - The Cavaliers finished fourth in the ACC last season in total defense. With seven starters returning and the experience of new defensive coordinator Jon Tenuta, I would expect Virginia's defense to improve in 2013. However, if they aspire to be the kind of defense that wins games for their team, they will have to make greater strides in two important categories - sacks and turnovers gained. The Wahoos finished dead last in the conference last season in turnovers gained (only 12) and 10th in sacks (1.42/game, 17 total).
Keys to Victory
1. Win the turnover battle - Pitt needs to continue protecting the ball and forcing turnovers the way it did in 2012. The Panthers finished 15th nationally in turnover margin, forcing 22 turnovers and only yielding 10. Conversely, Virginia needs to drastically improve their turnover ratio from last season - the Cavaliers finished last in the ACC in turnover margin. As is usually the case (there are always exceptions), the team that wins the turnover battle will win this football game.
2. Contain Watford - If sophomore David Watford indeed wins Virginia's starting quarterback job, the Cavaliers will certainly aim to utilize his athleticism. Pitt will need to keep him in the pocket, as allowing him to escape and become a run-pass threat would play to this young man's strengths. If the Panthers do "set the edge" and contain Watford, things would seem to be more difficult for the first-year starter.
Check back in two weeks for a preview of Pitt's week 5 Opponent, Virginia Tech.
Pitt football wide receiver signee Jester Weah, from Madison, Wisc., was highlighted in today's Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. Not for his football skills, but for his short, but very successful track career.
The countdown to full membership in the Atlantic Coast
Conference is down to just over one month away. As July 1 quickly approaches,
the move becomes more and more tangible and today was another of those exciting
The Panthers will travel to Clemson, Duke, Maryland, Miami,
North Carolina, Syracuse, Virginia and Virginia Tech. Pitt's home and away
partners will be Syracuse and Clemson.
Fans will have a chance to meet the leader who will take the
Panthers into the ACC this season as new Pitt women's basketball coach Suzie
McConnell-Serio will be at the University Club on campus on Thursday, May 30
from 4:30-6:30 p.m. for a meet and greet. Parking is available for $5 in
Soldiers and Sailors garage beginning at 4 p.m.
The Panthers lead the all-time series with nine wins to Duke's eight.
The Last Time
Pitt and Duke last met on October 2, 1976, the year the Panthers were crowned National Champions. Pitt won that contest 44-31 in Durham, as quarterback Matt Cavanaugh threw for five touchdowns in the victory.
Interesting ACC Note
The Panthers and Blue Devils are the only two ACC schools with all 12 of their opponents having won at least four games in 2012.
2012-13 Duke Season Review Head Coach: David Cutcliffe (5th season)
2012-13 Record: 6-7 (3-5, 5th in Coastal Division)
Made first bowl game appearance since 1994
Three Blue Devils earned first team All-ACC honors
Cutcliffe was named ACC Coach of the Year
Beat rival North Carolina 33-30 in dramatic fashion, scoring the game winning touchdown with 13 seconds left in the fourth quarter.
The Blue Devils scored a school record 410 points last season.
For the second consecutive week, the Panthers will be facing an opponent coached by a well-respected college football veteran. David Cutcliffe, entering his sixth season at Duke, has built an impressive resume over the course of his 30-year career. Known for his offensive acumen and his ability to coach the quarterback position, his career stops have included programs like Tennessee, where he was instrumental in the development of NFL star signal-caller Peyton Manning, and Mississippi, where he served as head coach and tutored Peyton's talented younger brother, Eli. Though his primary focus has clearly been the rejuvenation of the Blue Devils' football program - as was evident with their improvements last season - Cutcliffe continues to work with the Manning Brothers to this day. Take a look at this video of Peyton and Eli working out on Duke's campus this April.
Looking at the Blue Devils Offense: 4 starters lost, 9 return (includes two players that started on defense in 2012)
1. Filling Voids - Duke's passing attack in 2012 was potent, averaging 284 yards per game and producing 27 touchdowns, but the Blue Devils will have to replace two key parts of that unit in 2013. Gone is Sean Renfree, a three-year starter at quarterback who threw for 3,113 yards and 19 touchdowns last season. Renfree set or matched 30 school records during his career. Connor Vernon, Duke's leading pass catcher last season, has also graduated. A first team All-ACC selection who finished his career as the ACC's all-time leader in pass receptions and receiving yardage, Vernon hauled in 85 passes for 1,074 yards and eight touchdowns in 2012. The Blue Devils do have some experience returning on the offensive side of the ball, however. Probable starting quarterback Anthony Boone played in nearly every game last season, throwing for 531 yards and five touchdowns. The redshirt junior threw for 212 yards and four touchdowns in his only career start, a 42-17 win against Virginia last season. Wide receiver Jamison Crowder also returns after a spectacular 2012. Crowder tallied 76 catches, amassing 1,074 yards and scoring eight touchdowns
2. Run game needs work - Though their passing game helped make up for a lackluster run attack in 2012, Duke surely would like to see their ground game improve in 2013. The Blue Devils averaged a meager 125 yards per game on the ground last year. Duke should be able to improve that number this season, as they return four-of-five starting offensive lineman and their top three rushers from last year. Look for the Blue Devils to divide carries between Jela Duncan (109 att., 553 yards, 4 TD), Josh Snead (99 att., 496 yards, 2 TD) and Juwan Thompson (75 att., 352 yards, 1 TD). Also be wary of reserve quarterback Brandon Connette, a strong runner that scored eight touchdowns last season in situational duties.
Defense: 4 starters lost, 5 returning (2 starters moved from defense to offense)
1. Relying on defensive front - Duke finished second to last in the ACC in Total Defense last season, but the Blue Devils will hope to rely on the return of three starting defensive lineman for an improved 2013. Defensive ends Kenny Anunike, who led Duke with five sacks in 2012, and Justin Foxx will combine to provide what the Blue Devils hope will be an improved pass rush (Duke only registered 25 sacks last year). Improving their play against the run will also be vital, as the Blue Devils allowed over 200 yards rushing per game last season.
2. Fresh start for the secondary - After allowing 267 yards per game through the air last season, the Blue Devils are revamping their secondary in preparation for their 2013 campaign. Duke will only return one starter from that unit - first team All-ACC corner Ross Cockrell. In addition to having lost two starting safeties to graduation, Cutcliffe and his staff moved another starter, Brandon Braxton, to wide receiver this spring, leaving three secondary positions open for competition heading into the 2013 season.
Keys to Victory
1. Win the battle up front - The Panthers will need to run the football effectively in this contest. Doing so will keep Duke's offense off the field and wear down their defense down over time. Defensively, Aaron Donald and company need to get after quarterback Anthony Boone early and often. Disrupting the timing of Duke's passing game, with pass rush and coverage variation, will go a long way in stopping Cutcliffe's offensive arsenal.
2. Keep Crowder in check - Pitt's secondary will be strong in 2013, with corner's K'Waun Williams and Lafayette Pitts returning as well as safety Jason Hendricks. But they will have their hands full with Duke's Jamison Crowder. The 5'9", 175 pound speedster averaged 14 yards per catch last season. The Blue Devils may very well line him up in the slot, in an effort to gain matchup advantages. Pitt must be aware of his whereabouts and have a plan to contain him, as he has big play potential whenever he touches the rock.
Check back next week for a preview of Pitt's week 4 Opponent, Virginia.
The Chicago Bears have announced that they will retire Pro Football Hall of Fame tight end and former team head coach Mike Ditka's No. 89. The number will officially be retired during halftime of the Bears game versus the Dallas Cowboys on Dec. 9's "Monday Night Football" matchup.
"Mike Ditka embodies the spirit of everything the Bears are about," chairman George H. McCaskey said. "He's an icon. The last time we won the championship Mike Ditka was our coach and the last time we won before that Mike Ditka was a player. The organization knew it was the right thing to do. - NFL.com
"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.
ESPN.com's Brett McMurphy is reporting from ACC meetings in Amelia Island, Fla., this week and had a chance to speak to Pitt athletic director Steve Pederson about the Pitt football series vs. Penn State.
This week, the Atlantic Coast Conference is holding its annual spring meetings with head coaches and athletic directors from around the conference. Local beat writers from the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and Pittsburgh Tribune-Review are in attendance and will be reporting back with news and information all week. Check back for a collection of the top stories from the meetings.
Pitt head baseball coach Joe Jordano enters tonight's game with Kent State with 750 career victories. Pittsburgh Tribune-Review columnist John Harris featured the Pitt skipper in Tuesday's newspaper:Pitt coach Jordano talks more than a good game
Ford City, Pa., native Dylan Wolsonovich and the 17th-ranked Pitt baseball team were featured Monday morning in the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. The Panthers swept yet another Big East series over the weekend, defeating Villanova 4-3, 12-4 and 10-2. The three wins gave Pitt 40 victories on the year, which marks a school record for victories in a season. The third win of the weekend also gave head coach Joe Jordano his 750th career win.
Take a minute of your time today to send Coach Jordano and the Panthers a note of congratulations on the Pitt Facebook page or to @PITTBaseball on Twitter.
The Panthers host Villanova this weekend with a doubleheader on Saturday and the final home Big East game coming on Sunday at Charles L. Cost Field. Today in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, the squad and their goal of advancing to Omaha are still alive and featured: Pitt baseball team still has Omaha on its mind
The 17th-ranked Pitt baseball team hosts Villanova this weekend in their final home Big East series at the Charles L. Cost Field. The Panthers currently sit tied for the league lead with USF and are eyeing their first Big East title since 1994. John Harris of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review takes a look at the team and their current success: Pitt Baseball eyes strong finish, postseason run
ESPN and the Atlantic Coast Conference jointly announced on Wednesday afternoon that Pitt will host Penn State as part of the 15th annual 2013 Big Ten/ACC Basketball Challenge presented by DICK'S Sporting Goods.
The last time Pitt and Penn State met in basketball was on December 10, 2005, a 91-54 Panthers victory at the Petersen Events Center. Check out some of the great photos as well as postgame coverage from the last game.
Andrew Taglianetti and Jarred Holley are both currently taking part in the Steelers minicamp as undrafted free agent invitees. Taglianetti visited with 93-7 The FAN's Starkey, Miller, and Mueller recently to talk about his experiences and his attempt to make an NFL roster in the city where he grew up. Click here to listen
David Teel of the Daily Press in Hampton Roads, Virginia does outstanding work covering the ACC. Here are links to his two latest stories about the conference. First, another look at how the ACC grant of rights agreement came about, and in the second Teel discusses ACC divisions, revenue sharing, and other issues with ACC Commissioner John Swofford.
1. Teel Time: Swofford met with Virginia Board to discuss ACC's grant of rights:Story
Also, ESPN's Heather Dinich and Andrea Adelson put a wrap on ACC football for the spring in their notebook. Some interesting information about our future conference opponents, and teams that we'll see at Heinz Field next fall. ACC Spring Wrap
As we told you last week, 16 Pitt student-athletes traveled to Haiti to serve at an orphanage. They returned to the United States this past weekend, and after a week relaxing at home, will be back on Pitt's campus next week for the start of summer classes. We'll catch up with them when they do and bring you more details about their amazing experience. They were able to send back some photos throughout their trip, and the following is the second gallery we've been able to post. Enjoy, and Hail to Pitt!
Pitt fans have much to be excited about as the Panthers prepare for July 1 and their official entry to the Atlantic Coast Conference. The good news continued today as the ACC announced their 2013 Football Bowl Schedule. All told, the conference will have eight guaranteed bowl games and one conditional game that could involve an ACC team. Even better news for Pitt fans, every game will be played between December 27 and January 3, wrapping up with the Discover Orange Bowl at 8 p.m. There are a lot of great bowl games and great road trips on the list, so click the link to check out the official release.
The Panthers and Seminoles have sparred eight times in their history, each of which took place during the 1970s and early 1980s. Pitt has had the upper hand in the matchup, winning five of those eight contests.
The Last Time
The two schools last met in 1983 at Pitt Stadium. The Panthers won that matchup by the smallest of margins, edging the Seminoles 17-16. Pitt overcame a 13-0 second quarter deficit to win the game, scoring the eventual game winning touchdown on a pass from John Congemi to Chuck Scales early in the fourth quarter.
2012-13 FSU Season Review
Head Coach: Jimbo Fisher (3rd season), 31-10 Overall at FSU
2012-13 Record: 12-2 (7-1 ACC)
Orange Bowl Champions
Finished year ranked 10th in AP Poll/8th in USA Today
Notable Team Stats:
No. 2 in the nation in total defense, allowed only 254 yds./game
No. 1 in the nation in pass defense
Reload, Reload, Reload
Florida State was tops amongst all colleges represented in the 2013 NFL Draft with 11 players selected. All together, the Seminoles must replace 13 starters this season and they must do it with six new assistant coaches. Here's a look at some key departures:
1. E.J. Manuel, Quarterback - two-year starter, 25-6 career record, drafted 16th overall by the Buffalo Bills
2. Chris Thompson, Running Back - amassed 687 yards in eight starts last year before his season ended due to injury, drafted in the fifth round by the Washington Redskins
3. Menelik Watson, Offensive Tackle - Started 12 games at right tackle for the Seminoles, drafted in the second round by the Oakland Raiders
1. Bjoern Werner, Defensive End - Unanimous All-America last season, drafted 24th overall by the Indianapolis Colts
2. Cornellius Carradine, Defensive End - First Team All-ACC player who registered 11 sacks last season, drafted in the second round by the San Francisco 49ers
3. Xavier Rhodes, Corner - First Team All-ACC player who had three interceptions last season, starting all 14 games. Drafted 25th overall by the Minnesota Vikings
The biggest hit was taken by the Seminoles' defense, as they must replace seven starters and reload a defense which finished second in the Nation overall.
1. Dustin Hopkins, Placekicker - Selected first team All-America by various publications and organizations, drafted in the sixth round by the Buffalo Bills
OFFENSIVE OUTLOOK - More focus on the run game in 2013
Despite having a new starting quarterback, Florida State returns three running backs - each of whom played in at least 13 games last season - and four of their five starting offensive lineman from last season. Based on those facts, my guess is this will be a team that will rely more heavily on the run game, especially early in the year. The Seminoles will still have to throw the football if they plan on defending their ACC Crown, but the pressure will be thrust squarely on a brand new starting quarterback to distribute the rock to a stable of experienced wideouts and tight ends.
Players to Watch:
1. With junior Clint Trickett opting to transfer, it seems the quarterback position will be filled by redshirt freshman Jameis Winston. He will get competition from sophomore Jacob Coker.
2. The `Noles have two backs returning who each logged significant time after Chris Thompson went down with an injury last season. Look for James Wilder, Jr. (635 yards in 2012) and Devonta Freeman (660 yards in 2012) to split time, with competition form Mario Pender.
3. Junior Rashad Greene returns to lead FSU's receiving corps. He led the Seminoles in that category last season, reeling in 57 passes for 741 yards and 6 TDs. He also excels as a punt return man, ranking third nationally last season with a 15.4 yard average per return.
DEFENSIVE OUTLOOK - Experienced secondary will lead new look defense
The nation's second-ranked defense in 2012 will have a new look and plenty of new faces in 2013. Jeremy Pruitt, former defensive backs coach at Alabama, takes over as defensive coordinator in his first year in Tallahassee. He'll have to replace seven starters from a defense that led the ACC in nearly every statistical category last season. The biggest holes will be up front, where the `Noles will have four new starters. Gone are Bjoern Werner, the ACC Defensive Player of the Year, and a slew of other defensive playmakers. Pruitt is also charged with replacing two-thirds of his linebacking corps. Despite having to reload, he does have experience returning in the secondary. Three-fourths of his secondary is back, meaning a unit that ranked No. 1 in the nation in pass defense will remain the strength of FSU's defense in 2013.
Players to Watch:
1. Senior Lamarcus Joyner is the unquestioned leader of the Seminoles' secondary. Starting 27 consecutive games, he is expected to see more time at corner this year and is a dangerous kickoff returner.
2. Sophomore Defensive End Mario Edwards, Jr., a highly touted recruit in 2012, played in spot duty last season. The son of former FSU star Mario Edwards, he is expected to step into a starting role in 2013.
Looking ahead to Labor Day
There are really three keys that stand out as I look ahead to Labor Day, here they are.
1. Manage your emotions - Heinz Field is going to be on fire. It's going to be loud and exciting. It is vital to maintain focus and composure on the biggest of stages. There will be ups and downs, Pitt has to stay steady.
2. Run the ball and stop the run - It's pretty simple. Pitt has to get the run game going against a revamped Florida State front seven. If they do that, it will open up opportunities to take some shots through the air. On the defensive side, the Panthers must stop the run. The Seminoles will surely try to get their run game going in an effort to ease their new starting quarterback into the game, but Pitt needs to put them in situations where the young signal caller has to make some throws.
3. BIG PLAYS - Get 65,000 fans loud and on their feet. There is nothing like a home field advantage.
Check back in next week for a preview of the Panthers' week two opponent, New Mexico
ESPN.com's Heather Dinich recently traveled to Pittsburgh and was able to take some time with Pitt football DB K'Waun Williams. You can find additional content from that interview here: Checking in with Pitt DB K'Waun Williams
This week 16 student-athlete representatives from various sports teams at Pitt have traveled to Haiti to serve at an orphanage. The group is led by student-athlete ministers Mark Steffey and Kelly Cooke and is scheduled to return home on May 4. The group has sporadically been able to send back photos from their second trip to the country in two years and would like to share with you the love and hope of the Haitian people. We will bring you their stories upon their return, but for now please enjoy the photo gallery.
The Pitt men's basketball team partnered with the UPMC Center for Rehab Services to raise money for ALS. With May representing ALS Awareness Month, UPMC's Centers for Rehab Services recently completed its first year charitable campaign by contributing $4,450, with the help of the Panthers from the free throw line. For every free throw made by the Pitt men's program, $10 was donated to the cause.