Two days ago we posted up the verrrrry early look at a possible two-deep for Pitt’s 2018 season. We concentrated talking about the offense in that article. today let’s look at the defense.
Here are the graphics I included in that last article:
And here is the prospective ’18 two-deep:
OK – let’s start breaking this defense down. First we’ll start with the Defensive Line.
At one DE position we see returners 4* transfer Dewayne Hendrix, who transferred in from Tennessee, and 2* kid Rashad Weaver. Weaver is, to me, the better of the two players. Hendrix hasn’t shown us much at all while after his rsFR year in 2016 Weaver came on strong in starting five games.
Over the season Weaver was very productive for a kid who spot-played until the last quarter of the season: 28 tackles, 6 tackles for loss (TFL) and 3 sacks – then he had 3 pass breakups to boot. Really pretty impressive for a first season of play.
Again, Hendrix not so much and he was sat down numerous times for James Folston. He played in 11 games, started 10 of them and did this: 21 tackles, 5 TFLs and 3 sacks. We Pitt fans were truly expecting way more from Hendrix, given the hype surrounding him when he transferred in, then he gave us.
So I think Weaver ascends to the starting role on that right side and Hendrix backs him up. But Weaver is a player to keep an eye on as he may just bust out to stardom this year.
The DE spot on the left side is a bit worrisome to me though. Right now I pencilled in 3* rsSR James Folston in as starting with Patrick Jones as the relief help. But that could change in a hurry. Folston has speed but he’s never really put it together to grab a starting position. Now he was a LB for the first part of his career before being asked to move up to DE but I wonder if he’s the best we can do there.
2* rsSO Patrick Jones will be in the mix more this season than last and his track record as a part-time player isn’t bad, just nothing jumps out at you. He’s young though and if he can beat out Folston for a lion’s share of the playing time he may well surprise.
Our DEs didn’t play all that well last season. we were 74th nationally in sacks with only 23 so that really has to improve. As with all of Narduzzi’s defenses the main thrust is pressure on the QB and that wasn’t happening on a consistent basis last year – and the DEs have a lot to do with generating that.
Our interior linemen on defense have to be a lot better than they were last season. I have said this many times but every time I see 3* Shane Roy out on the field I have to really wonder how good Narduzzi’s recruiting in this area has been. He’ll be a rsSR this year and having started every game at nose tackle last year was seriously unimpressive. He ended up 15th on the defense in tackles with only 14 and had only one sack on the year.
Granted a nose tackle’s job is to grab and hold the OL from getting into the ‘second level’ so that our LBs can execute tackling ball carriers but that wasn’t going all that great either. However, of all the team stats on defense our rushing defense was the best at 41st giving up 142 ypg so some things went correctly – I just believe that if we can’t get a real honest-to-goodness NT to replace him in ’18 we’ll be in trouble.
The best bet to do that would be 3* rsSO Rashad Wheeler, a local kid out of Central Catholic. He played sparingly in ’17 and didn’t tally up stats much but I think he should usurp Roy and get a real chance. One kid to watch maybe 3* rsFR Jaylen Twyman.
The other defensive tackle spot will most probably be continued to be held by 4* JR Amir Watts. He never red-shirted and took over the starter’s job for the last four games in ’17 doing a pretty darn good job rotating with 3* rsSO Keyshon Camp who came to Pitt amongst great hype as the nation’s 17th ranked DT. Well, he’s only played one year so far but has a long way to go to meet those expectations.
Thankfully our transfer Problem Child DT Kam Carter has been dismissed from the team. What a ridiculous action in the first place – with all that baggage all he did was take up a roster spot and a scholarship from a DT we could have recruited who would have lasted for more that one year.
I especially hated the fact that the kid was kicked out of Penn state then we begged him to come to Pitt.
So those are the linemen I think we’ll see get the bulk of playing time as 2018’s two-deep. I’m two-blocked on stuff I have to do this afternoon so we’ll get to the LBs and DBs in a couple of days.
⁂ Yesterday I had a back-and-forth with an “Anon” poster who did some good research and refuted something that I had commented on about recruiting. That was a good thing to do and I learned something from it – rather important also. But what really was uncalled for was Anon’s attitude when I didn’t respond to his post right away.
There we a couple of reasons for that but the main thing is that any post with more than three links in it gets flagged by WordPress and sent to me via email to approve. That’s what happened with his post. Then I didn’t check my email until 6:00 am this morning so I didn’t have a chance to approve it earlier.
As I have said many times once I write an article I am not tethered to this blog to jump at any little thing. Of course had I seen his post in email earlier when he posted I would have approved it immediately.
But the icing on the cake is when he wrote this when his post didn’t show up right away:
“Ask reed why he won’t let the facts be released. The response i wrote explaining my sources and findings is still “awaiting moderation”
The man asks a question and then censors the response.”
Which is childish and a load of crap but you could tell he was loving writing it – because he followed up with another zinger.
wow you’re really going to ask me to explain my post and then censor my reply? niceeeee
So, two things – if you are going to insult me, and that sure was personally insulting, then do it to my face – do not hide behind a cloak of anonymity.
Second, do not ever assume or believe I censor posts because I do not agree with them or if they prove me wrong. Again, that is very insulting and infers I’m petty enough to do something like that. I have never censored anyone when it comes to Pitt football talk nor have I banned anyone on here. But the fact that you so quickly jumped to that conclusion makes me wonder if you yourself may be the type of person who would do that, after all it was the first thing that came to your mind and you seemed to enjoy it. Glass houses buddy….
BTW folks – no one is actually “Anon” to me on here… you are anonymous to other posters but not to me.
⁂ Just noticed that every scholarship QB Pat Narduzzi either inherited or recruited so far, save Pickett, didn’t finish out their careers at Pitt. They either transferred or were dismissed. Strange that and we need to really work on getting at least two but preferably three decent QBs on roster all the time..