Let's Break Down the Pittsburgh O-Line Before South Florida Does.

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Let's Break Down the Pittsburgh O-Line Before South Florida Does.

Why has the Pittsburgh line been so erratic this season?

LeSean McCoy is averaging 4.4 yards per carry, Bill Stull has a 57% completion rate, and the team averages 152 ypg on the ground, but there are a series of glaring issues that should be exposed by the South Florida defense tonight.

The Pittsbugh Offensive line has given up 8 sacks this year. Bill Stull, and the Panther offense have only scored 2 passing touchdowns all season, and Stull's average completion goes for 5.8 yards!

A short completion average is a direct sign of a weakness in pass protection. Syracuse and Bowling Green kept Stull's longest pass under 20 yards. His longest pass completion went for 36 yards this season (against Buffalo). Otherwise, he's sticking to the 6 yard routes. That mindset is a RED-ZONE nightmare (consequently resulting in only 2 passing TD's)

Why is Stull forcing the ball to the checkdowns? How is a 300 pound line giving up 8 sacks to the likes of Bowling Green, Buffalo, and Syracuse? And how will they survive against South Florida's front-seven? Why are they so inconsistant?

Lets start with the the Guard spot.

Here is John Malecki, #1 Guard on the depth chart for the Panthers:

He's the guy that made the tackle in this play (underneath the opponent). He was on the defense last season, so his shift to the Offensive line must have been a difficult situation for him. I reviewed his scout film and he was featured as a nose Tackle in High School. I think he's still a work in progress on the offensive side of the ball. We have a converted defensive lineman as the #1 Guard. CLICK HERE to see John Malecki attempting the triple jump (humorous aside). There's your #1 problem on the line.

The Panthers also have a JUCO that was not highly regarded out of High School sitting at Center! Rob Hauser emerged out of Butte College to lead this offensive line. When you add an unfamiliar force at the Center position, and you place a young QB right behind him, then the chances of missed blocks become amplified.

WE have a JUCO at Center and a Defensive lineman standing next to him.


Jason Pinkston (So.) is one of the starting Tackles and, like his friend at the guard spot, he was a powerful member of his high school defensive line. He served, primarily as a guard on offense, and he was rated as a 3 star recruit (out of 5). He's still young, and developing nicely, but his inexperience has been apparent since the first game.


Joe Thomas is the other Tackle and he is perfectly suited for run blocking, but does not have the speed to get out on the edge rush. This is a considerable concern against the South Florida pass rush. Thomas rated as a 3-Star recruit when he came out of high school.


C.J. Davis was a 2-Star recruit, he's big, and effective (LG) in run blocking, but he appears to be slow in picking up the line-backers on the blitz on passing downs. It seems as if his vision never developed with regard to picking up the interior blitz.



There are two things I want to stress about the line instability for Pitt:

1. There is a JUCO at Center and a converted defensive lineman at Guard.

2. There is not a single 5 star recruit in the starting five. This is a patchwork unit, that was pieced together with a JUCO, and a converted defender.


Whether this is a result of poor recruiting, or a simple result of natural attrition, we cannot miss the glaring weakness of this Offensive line. I think this merits consideration in terms of backing the favorite, or seeking the Under. I believe South Florida has a great shot at penetrating the Pittsburgh line.


South Florida has the 4th ranked Rush Defense in the Nation, and they proved their depth in the front seven last week with Selvie and Mompremier injured. They held NC State to 26 yards rushing!


If the Bulls stop the run, then the sack totals should rise in this game....Perhaps we can find a sack prop, and also look into the longest play from scrimmage!

Good Luck Tonight!



  • Thanks Dave. I think you may be right about Selvie, so it's hard to cap him into the equasion, he's either out, or slow, and his speed is what makes him deadly.

    I just looked at the second half of the NC STATE game and they were teeing off on Beck with Jerriet Buie, Craig Marshall, and Freshman Keith McCaskill...all of them are listed at around 260, but they looked a lot bigger out there. I reviewed it in fast forward, but SF went Vanilla on the pass rush and STILL harrassed the State QB. There's depth in that line, so the loss of Selvie and company may be mitigated by the 3-deep.

    They were whipping the Wolfpack line with 4 down lineman........I was fast forwarding through alot of it, so I didn't see it all clearly, but I think SF only takes a small step back without George and company.

    Seems like Pitt will have to really open it up or die tonight.....If they sit in the pocket they are going to suffer....

  • NCST had to throw b/c they were down so fast right out of the gate last week. I actually expect Selvie to play but he won't be the same guy we're all used to, especially facing one of the best young RB's in the nation in McCoy.

  • I think Sampson Genus spells McClain, they both weigh around 310 so maybe the dropoff isn't that bad BUT,...... 4 of the 7  available "Tackles" are Freshman, and there is no comprable size in that group. I can't get past the fact that SF dominated State with a youthful 3-deep on that d-line, but I guess these guys are very good.

    I remember seeing the defensive line wearing out against Kansas, but they were running all over the place in that game. Selvie was taking plays off in the 4th..... Maybe the Freshman youthful blood is really good in that line.....

  • I think they both missed the last game and it didn't matter.

  • I think it matters, but the depth on that line is astounding. What they did to NC State without Selvie and a starting LB out was amazing....Did Mclain play in the NC State game?

  • No worries - it's not definite but wanted to get your thoughts.

  • Dammit! I thought Selvie would go...."likely" is a weird word, but I guess we have to go with the idea that George will be out.....

    Thanks Matty!

  • So does this matter or not?

    University of South Florida All-American DE George Selvie (ankle) and DT Terrell McClain (ankle) likely will miss their second consecutive game when the Bulls open Big East play against Pittsburgh on Thursday.

    I'm sure that's what everybody wants to know...

  • We may have a shot at a sack prop, or The longest play from scrimmage. JMHO