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Q: No one is discussing the losses of Dorin Dickerson and Nate Bynam. In my opinion, the most important aspect in Bill Stull's dramatic improvement was the use of a hybird tight end/wide receiver in Dickerson. Is there anyone who can fill those shoes this year and can any tight end run block as well as Bynam?
Mark Schilajew, Erie
ZEISE: No, there isn't a tight end who can do the things that Dorin Dickerson did.
Nor is there a tight end who can block as well as Nate Byham.
But Mike Cruz has shown he is very catching the ball and he is improving as a blocker so he'll be able to fill some of that void. I think what you'll see a little more of is three wide receiver sets -- as opposed to two tight end sets -- and that will help compensate for the loss of Dickerson.
Also, Brock DeCicco is young but he is pretty good as a receiver as well and Andrew Devlin and Justin Virbitsky can fill some of the void in the "jumbo" and short yardage packages as blockers. Clearly the position is not going to be the same as it was last year but as a group there are enough pieces that it can still be productive and coaches will make sure they use them all based on situations.
Q: How is it possible that a freshmen can become academically ineligible without even taking a college class?
Ben Shockey, Syracuse, Ind.
ZEISE: I assume you are asking about Khaynin Mosley-Smith, who was declared ineligible by the clearinghouse last week. The issue didn't have anything to do with grades and everything to do with the NCAA rejecting one of his high school classes, leaving him a few credits short in the necessary core classes of being eligible. KK will hopefully go to prep school, take the necessary class and pass it and return to Pitt in time for next season.
Q: Paul, how is Ray Graham's knee?
Mike Buncher, New Hope, Pa.
ZEISE: He appears to be getting better but I don't know that he'll be ready for the Utah game. He is just now starting to run in a straight line and hasn't been able to put a lot of stress on it to make cuts at full speed. He is clearly going to play this year, he is clearly working through it but coaches are going to be careful with him and do their best to make sure he really is healthy before putting him out there. Remember, the way college football works, the meaningful games don't start until week six when conference play starts.