Pitt offensive line to remain intact
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It's safe to say that the clips from Pitt's 14-13 loss Friday to Syracuse won't be showing up on the offensive line's highlight reel.
The unit struggled in pass protection, allowing five sacks of quarterback Tino Sunseri, and failed to get any push for the rushing attack, which gained just 27 yards.
Despite the struggles, Panthers coach Paul Chryst said Monday that there is no chance of any depth chart shake-ups along the line before Pitt's game Saturday against Louisville.
"Right now those are the five best," Chryst said of the current starters.
"There's no doubt in my mind, those are the five best that we have right now."
Pitt had plenty of experience on the interior of the line coming into the season, highlighted by seniors Ryan Turnley at center and Chris Jacobson at left guard.
On the outside, though, Matt Rotheram and Cory King are first-year starters at tackle. King is also handling the transition from guard, where he played his first three seasons.
"It is hard, especially [for] a guy who's been there for one year," Jacobson said. "It's a tough position, but Cory's a hard worker."
Behind the starting five, though, there's even less playing experience on the roster.
Of the five players listed as second-string on the depth chart, only backup left guard Arthur Doakes has seen any game action, mostly on special teams. True freshman Adam Bisnowaty was highly rated coming out of Fox Chapel High School, but looks poised to redshirt this year.
Fellow freshman Gabe Roberts had shoulder surgery last week and will miss the remainder of the season. Roberts likely would have redshirted regardless.
While they may not be ready for prime time yet, Chryst said he liked the way the younger players were progressing.
"I think they're getting better," Chryst said. "I'd like to think that.
"Nobody is at the point where we feel like they're ready to take over, but I think they're working -- well, I know they're working -- but I think they're getting better."
When Louisville comes to Heinz Field, it will be the second time the Panthers play host to a top 25 team this season.
On Sept. 15, Pitt beat then-No. 13 Virginia Tech, 35-17. The Hokies have fallen off since then, and are now unranked.
Still, the Panthers have shown they won't be intimidated on their home field.
Chryst said that the experience from that game will help this week, just like every other game this season.
"There are lessons to be learned, I believe, in every game," he said. "Certainly I didn't sense this with our group, but I don't think anyone will be intimidated by the fact that a ranked team is coming in. I would hope that we'd continue to draw on all our past experiences and not just focus on Virginia Tech."
While some Pitt fans were upset when ESPN announced that the homecoming game against Louisville would kick off at 11 a.m., Chryst said he appreciated the early start time.
In the past two years as the offensive coordinator at Wisconsin, Chryst had six games start at 11 a.m. local time (noon Eastern).
"We get to play early and it's awesome," he said. "We don't have to worry about the tailgate, we don't have to worry about all those things. We get to get up, jump in the shower, eat a little something, get on a bus and go play a game. It's a great time."
First Published October 9, 2012 12:00 am