Pitt football team rallies around its youth
|By Jerry DiPaola, The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review|
|McClatchy-Tribune Information Services|
Pitt will carry a young team into this season that opens against Delaware next Saturday at
The starting lineup includes 11 sophomores, seven seniors, five juniors and a redshirt freshman. Of the 82 scholarship players, 61 (74 percent) have three years of eligibility remaining. Only 11 are seniors.
Offensive line coach
"We won't take youth or inexperience as an excuse," Hueber said. "The guys who don't have game experience or minimal game experience, they have to step up for us in a big way early and continue it through the season.
"We don't need to struggle because of any kind of youth."
Now half of the recruits from the 2011 and '12 recruiting classes are gone (19 of 38). A total of 49 players (60 percent) were recruited exclusively by Chryst, including eight sophomores who weren't redshirted last year and are part of this season's starting lineup.
"You can't even remotely think that this looks like the same team when we took over (in December of 2011)," Hueber said. "Attitude, body type, the way we practice, the way we move around.
"Now will that equate to wins? Time will tell."
To that end, the seniors are important and won't be ignored by the coaching staff. Four of them -- linebackers
Even backup seniors such as running back
"It's small in numbers," Chryst said of the senior class when he spoke Friday at the kickoff luncheon, "but it's got substance."
"We have guys who are still here from past regimes," he said. "They are our leaders. We do feel we have a group (of younger players) we can all rally behind, but we are really relying on the seniors."
Stirring the mix and forming a winning team is a difficult trick to accomplish. Hueber, who will start sophomores
"The seniors have to help us and the young guys have to not ride along," Hueber said. "They have to get involved right away."
(c)2014 The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review (Greensburg, Pa.)
Visit The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review (Greensburg, Pa.) at www.triblive.com
Distributed by MCT Information Services