How do Pitt and USF match up?

Pitt football Q&A with Paul Zeise

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Q: What do you think the toughest match up will be this week vs. South Florida? Watching the Rutgers game I saw that the Rutgers blitz seemed to affect Pitt, do you agree? And do you know how many tickets have been sold for Saturday's game?

Jeff Daniel, Memphis, Tenn.

ZEISE: OK, let's go third question first -- in talking to people over there, they expect a crowd of between 50,000 to 55,000. If they get the latter, that would be a good start. The second question -- no, not really. Those blitzes have affected Pitt in the past but in this game, Bill Stull made a lot of throws with guys in his face and the Panthers only gave up two sacks. One thing I thought we'd see more of is screen passes against some of the blitzes, but for the most part Pitt handled them well. The two toughest matchups to me are going to be the Panthers keeping contain on B.J. Daniels and Pitt blocking that front four. Daniels is fast and scrambles around and makes plays and that front four is pretty special -- so Pitt will have its hands full with both. If the Panthers can win more of those battles then they lose, it should be a good day for them.

Q: It seems Frank Cignetti has been able to slightly tweak the offense by getting the ball in the playmakers hands more often in place where they can do something. Why not the same tweaking from the defense? It seems that as a group the linebackers are much more capable of getting to the quarterback than covering anybody. Why is Dave Wannstedt so stubborn?

Matt Beam, Califon, N.J.

ZEISE: He is a defensive guy and he has been at it for a very long time and these are philosophies he believes in deeply. So it is not going to be easy for him to abandon them, and he never will, especially since he's had plenty of success on defense in his career. I do think that there needs to be a little more pressure from the linebackers but the only thing is this -- to do that you need to have a very good secondary and I'm not sure, particularly with Aaron Berry out, that is where Pitt is at right now back there. Wannstedt isn't being stubborn, he is just doing what has always worked for him.

Q: I believe Frank Cignetti Jr. is a much better fit as a college offensive coordinator than Matt Cavanaugh. I think he has shown more creativity in his schemes and is younger and better with college athletes. Do you agree?

Jake Oswalt, South Fork, Pa.

ZEISE: Yes and mostly because he really likes being a college coach. Matt is a very good offensive mind and he knew what he was doing but in four years here you never got the sense that he really wanted to be a college coach, in fact he had said as much. His heart was in the NFL as a coordinator. Frank Cignetti wants to be a head coach and he loves the college game so he has embraced it and ran with it. He also, I think we can all agree, has some better material to work with than Cavanaugh did from the standpoint of Dickerson and Baldwin are much better now with a year of experience under their belts than they were last year and the addition of Shanahan and Hynoski I think have been upgrades in a lot of ways.


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