BBVA Compass Bowl Notebook: Pitt comes to grips with Ole Miss' speed
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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. -- The phrase "SEC speed" has become a nearly ubiquitous part of the college football lexicon. When Pitt studied tape of Mississippi heading to prepare for the BBVA Compass Bowl today, the Panthers got an understanding of what that phrase means.
"They're a real explosive running team," defensive lineman Aaron Donald said. "They've got some fast backs and a quarterback that can run, too. We're going to have to try and contain those guys."
Rebels receiver Donte Moncrief has 60 catches for 948 yards and 10 touchdowns this season. Quarterback Bo Wallace is a dual-threat who racked up 2,843 yards passing and 363 yards rushing this season.
The Panthers have struggled with mobile quarterbacks at times and know they'll have their hands full with Wallace.
"Me as a cornerback, I've just got to plaster on my coverage, stay with my guy the whole time," cornerback K'Waun Williams said.
"Anything can happen, receiver can break upfield, and I can't quit on a route. I've got to cover him all day."
Offensive line shuffle
One day after being mum on the subject, Pitt coach Paul Chryst opened up about his plans for the starting offensive line at the coaches news conference Friday.
Redshirt junior Zenel Demhasaj will replace Arthur Doakes in the starting lineup, but Demhasaj will play right tackle.
Regular right tackle Matt Rotheram will slide in to right guard to replace Doakes, who was suspended for the game earlier this week and did not make the trip after an undisclosed violation of team rules.
"I love the way the guys have gone about the preparation and I'm looking forward to seeing our guys play," Chryst said.
Praising the Panthers
Just like Pitt, Ole Miss waited until the final game of its season to lock up bowl eligibility. The Rebels beat arch-rival Mississippi State, 41-24, in the Egg Bowl to clinch the BBVA Compass Bowl berth.
Rebels coach Hugh Freeze said he was excited his team was matched against another team from a BCS automatic qualifying conference, noting that it ramped up bowl preparations.
"To see the way Pitt finished the year, to take Notre Dame to three overtimes, we have great respect for their program," Freeze said. "And I see a team that's extremely similar to ours."
First Published January 5, 2013 12:00 am