Pitt's defense was probably a shade better than the 35.2 ppg it surrendered last season but make no mistake, there were issues. One of the biggest was coughing up big plays. The Panthers allowed 24 plays of 40 yards or longer which ranked 121st nationally. Third-year had coach Pat Narduzzi will attempt to shore up a unit that is projected to be
this season. Pitt manages to avoid Clemson and Florida State but plenty of challenges await. After opening with Youngstown State, the Panthers travel to Penn State, home vs. Oklahoma State, and then open up ACC play at Georgia Tech. Those three squads averaged 39.3 ppg in last year's meetings. Pitt squeeked out two of the three but also went 0-3 ATS.
If you listen to coach Pat Narduzzi and defensive coordinator Josh Conklin, there are 13 young players who they believe are practicing well enough or will eventually compete for spots on the two-deep depth chart. Nine of the 13 are freshmen or redshirt freshmen, nine are shy of their 20th birthday and six are serious contenders to open in the starting lineup Sept. 2 against Youngstown State.