Here's a little something extra this week. I exchanged questions and answers with Chas of Pitt Blather, which he has been running independently since August, 2003 *applause*. His answers to my questions are below. My answers to his questions will be on his site tomorrow (or when he posts them).
1. What are two things the Hokies must do on Saturday in order to defeat the Panthers? (I hope that questions lends itself to two answers other than score more points.) You may also read this question as, what are Pitt's two biggest weaknesses?
On defense, they have to get pressure on the quarterback. Whether with a normal rush or a blitz. That is the big thing. If Savage is not getting time, he is not going to be able to get the ball downfield to Devin Street and Tyler Boyd. Pitt has had success running the ball, but the scoring and driving is keyed by Savage getting the ball a good 20 yards out to the receivers.
On offense, there are two possibilities -- or just do both and watch the chaos. The first is to let Logan Thomas run. Pitt struggles against mobile quarterbacks. I'm not talking triple-option, rarely throwing QBs. I mean the quarterbacks that can pass the ball but are also as likely to pull it down and run. Duke was really good at doing that.
The other thing, is to go no-huddle. Pitt likes to do a lot of substituting on defense. Rotating guys in and out. No-huddle throws that off. The defense gets shaky and discipline quickly evaporates. Even Virginia found some offensive success when they quickened the pace. (Of course, the Hoos pure incompetence on offense meant that they couldn't go no-huddle for more than 2-3 plays before they abruptly stopped and gave Pitt's defense a chance to regroup.)