Q&A: What was up with Greg Romeus against Utah?

Pitt football Q&A with Paul Zeise

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Q: What was up with Greg Romeus against Utah? He seemed either tired or injured all game, and had virtually no impact on the game at all. Infact the whole D-line got no pressure on Jordan Wynn at all.

John Wall, Franklin Park

ZEISE: A few things.

First, he didn't play well at all and second, he didn't seem like he could stay loose as they kept working on him and stretching him every time he came off the field.

But also, Utah's offense is a hard one to play the "let's rush four and only four" defense preferred by Dave Wannstedt. The Utes are so well coached and really did a great job of scheming against what Pitt does well.

There were times, in fact, the Utes used Pitt's aggressive approach along the defensive line against the Panthers by running some counters and screens and some other plays designed to take the defensive line out of the equation.

It is simply a very hard offense for a defensive line to have much success against. The coaches realized this and did a nice job of mixing in some blitzes and bringing more pressure to slow the Utes down and force them into some mistakes.

Q: Do you think that if Pitt would have made their adjustments earlier (blitzing, throwing on early downs) they would have won the game?

Mark Schilajew, Huntingdon, Pa.

ZEISE: It's hard to say. I think they should have thrown the ball a little more in the first half but I thought the defense played very well (minus a couple of blown coverages) against a very difficult offense to deal with.

There is just no way to really prepare for what the Utes do because they are so good at it, and they do so many different things. And still, the bottom line is this -- despite all that Pitt did wrong and all the bad plays the Panthers made and mistakes they made -- they had the ball first-and-ten inside the 15 with a chance to win the game at the end and I bet you'd sign up for that against Miami, or most other teams, right now.

So all was not lost in this game and I thought the coaches did a reasonably good job of working around some key injuries and some deficiencies.

Q: Have any of the Pitt football team coaches ever heard of play action? Seems with the Utah team being so concerned about Lewis, when they were inside the 15 as time was running out, a play action pass would have been called for. Never once during that entire game did the offense run any play action.

Denny Guth, Port Matilda, Pa.

ZEISE: This is sort of a strange question -- this is a pro-style offense and play-action passing is one of the most important principles of offensive football to both the head coach and the offensive coordinator. The play action passing game is something the Panthers have done well in the past although you are right, it was noticeably absent against the Utes. I think we will see much more of it as the season rolls on.


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