Sam Werner: We're about 30 minutes away from this week's early edition of the Pitt football chat. Feel free to leave your questions now. Quick programming note: Once again, we'll have to hold tightly to 30 minutes because of some work obligations I have.
Guest: Now that Dorian is good to go and Foster & Boyd are close to ending their recruitment, are their any class of 2014 kids on the horizon that we should know about???
Sam Werner: I think it's still just a bit early to start thinking about 2014 kids (though obviously not for the coaching staff). We've got three months until signing day and the staff's biggest priority, recruiting-wise, right now is making sure they hold on to their current commitments and securing a few more (particularly Boyd and Foster) to round out the class. The only 2014 verbal commitment right now is Blackhawk quarterback Chandler Kincade, and I don't really expect that to pick up until the spring and summer when the staff can really get out and recruit in earnest.
sricemtv: Rutgers and Pitt are both moving conferences, which team do you think, long term, has a better shot at succeeding in their new conference?
Sam Werner: Well, given the way conference realignment has gone, both could be playing in the Pac-12 in five years.
I kid, but, long-term, I think Pitt is set up better from an athletics/competition standpoint in the ACC. It'll be a good basketball conference for them, and football will include enough marquee matchups to hopefully get some more interest and fans in Heinz Field.
That said, it's tough to deny that Rutgers is entering a better deal financially. I'm not convinced the Big Ten Network will always be the money-printing machine it is now, but getting that revenue is a huge boon for the Rutgers' athletic department.
PGHirish: Not including the Pitt-Rutgers game, which matchup are you most excited for and why?
Sam Werner: It's actually tough to say because Saturday is shaping up to be one of the best college football days all the way around the country. Outside of Pitt fighting for it's bowl life, you have Ohio State/Michigan with the Buckeyes going for a perfect season and a potential AP national championship, Florida/Florida State at 3:30 with both teams still at least somewhat in the hunt for a national championship, then obviously Notre Dame/USC at night. The Irish just need to win and they're in the championship game, but USC has spoiled Notre Dame's season in the last week on more than one occasion.
All in all, Saturday's just a great day for college football fans.
Amo: What would you say the percentage chance that a) Foster and b) Boyd commits to Pitt?
Sam Werner: At this point I'd probably put Foster at slightly above 50/50, maybe 70 percent. Though he can be tough to get a read on. Boyd I think is still 50/50. He was favoring West Virginia for a while, but the Mountaineers stumbles may have opened the door for Pitt to get back in it.
Seveo: Any idea why PItt is so thin at LB? Playing Trebitz seems to signify a depleted corps at LB? Who hasn't worked out or am I missing something or someone?
Sam Werner: Pitt has really just been very unlucky with injuries at that particular position this season. Starting with Ejuan Price taking a medical redshirt to recover from injuries, to Dan Mason suffering a weird lacerated liver, and now Emanuel Rackard going down, it's been just bad break after bad break for the Panthers there.
I think, had everyone stayed healthy, a linebacking corps of Eric Williams/Shane Gordon/Todd Thomas is pretty darn good. It hasn't just bee the starters getting hurt, though, but the second-string guys which makes the staff go further down the depth chart.
Pitt13to9: What are your quick thoughts on expansion? Should Pitt fans be worried they will be left out in the cold when all is said and done if the Big Ten and SEC go to 16 teams each. Lots of rumors out there.
Sam Werner: My actual thoughts on realignment/expansion are not printable in this forum, so I'll leave it at this: I'm sick of it.
The 16-team "super-conference" rumors have been out there since the summer of 2010 when the Big Ten first decided it was going to expand, so I don't think anything is more imminent now that Maryland and Rutgers (two schools that aren't exactly major players) are making moves. Most likely, the ACC will grab UConn or Louisville and move forward with that.
I know Steve Pederson has his share of detractors in the Pitt fan base, but he has shown that he's not afraid to be proactive to protect Pitt's conference interests. No one really saw Pitt to the ACC happening until it did.
Pitt13to9: How is Hubie Graham? Playing?
Sam Werner: No official word yet. He didn't practice last week during the off week, but Chryst said Monday he hasn't been ruled out of Saturday's game. That said, he didn't really sound all that optimistic either. We'll likely find out more today.
Chris: Is anyone at Pitt worried about more poaching from the ACC? Most importantly FSU, Clemson, VT etc
Sam Werner: That's always going to be a concern in this day and age. It all depends on what conferences would want them, though. The SEC seems very content with 14 teams, and the Big Ten doesn't seem interested in expanding that far south. I think there's a good chance that these two moves (Rutgers/Maryland) are isolated incidents, but you never know these days.
Pitt13to9: Is there anyone that is redshirting this year that has stood out in practice?
Sam Werner: One guy I know the staff is really high on is tackle Adam Bisnowaty. He came in a little on the smaller side, but offensive line coach Jim Hueber said a few weeks ago that he's done a good job putting on weight this year and should be ready to go next season. The staff sees him as a prototypical left tackle, so I wouldn't be surprised to see him there next season, with Cory King moving back inside to his natural position.
Seveo: In an article posted about Maryland leaving the ACC, the owner of Under Armor was quoted and listed as a booster/backer. How is it possible to large corporations like that and Nike w/ Oregon continue to supplement programs and why doesn't Pitt have any of these guys?
Sam Werner: Money makes the world go 'round in college sports. Nike does well when Oregon does well and vice versa. Maryland is a bit different since they haven't had the same kind of on-field success as the Ducks, but it's good publicity for these companies if the teams do well wearing their uniforms. Oregon, quite simply, is known best for it's crazy Nike uniforms and Maryland wants to be the same way.
Pitt doesn't have a guy like this because no Pitt alum has gone on to found a multi-billion dollar sportswear company. If that happens, no reason Pitt couldn't do the same thing.
Seveo: Sam, great chat and Twitter feeds...keep up the great work! Is there any reason why Pitt isnt interested in Devin Wilson from Montour? The kid couldnt do any worse than others they have given scholarships too and being local would send a message about keeping kids local..
Sam Werner: I think the staff is definitely keeping an eye on him, but just haven't reached out with an official scholarship offer yet. Depending on if some other prospects (possibly Tyler Boyd) fall through, Wilson might rise up the staff's board. Right now, though, he looks like more of a MAC-level prospect.
Part of this staff's philosophy recruiting is to only offer the guys they really want, and use a very targeted approach. That said, keeping local guys at Pitt is definitely a priority.
Seveo: Other than Aaron Donald, who is the next Pitt guy we could expect to watch on Sundays?
Sam Werner: Ray Graham will certainly make his case for an NFL future once this season is done. I also think K'Waun Williams is an NFL-caliber cornerback on this team.
Sam Werner: Alright, folks. Thanks for coming by. I've got to take off now, but we'll go back to Thursday next week for a pre-South Florida Pitt football chat. Hope everyone has a happy Thanksgiving!