In its first season in the ACC, Pitt has been one of the early surprises in the league.
The Panthers have recovered from a Labor Day loss to Florida State and carry a three-game winning streak into Blacksburg, Va., this weekend and will face a Virginia Tech team that they have beaten four straight times.
ESPN.com caught up with Pitt quarterback Tom Savage earlier this week to talk about the program's early success in 2013. Savage left the Panthers' last game (against Virginia on Sept. 28) because of a concussion, but he is good to go on Saturday.
How would you evaluate the offense's play as a whole through the season's first four games?
Tom Savage: I think we're doing very well. I think we've got a bunch of young guys in there who have really stepped up and really took that role for us, and I think we're playing very consistent. We've just got to keep fixing some mistakes that we made, protect the ball and I think we're good to go.
How are you feeling, health-wise, after last week?
TS: Good. Real good. Ready to go.
How much easier do some of these receivers make it for the offense when everyone's clicking the way they do?
TS: They're unbelievable, both Devin [Street] and Tyler [Boyd] and all of our receivers. You have numbers at receiver, so they're good and it makes it a lot easier for me. I think just knowing when they're out there they'e going to come down with the ball no matter where you put it, so it makes it a lot easier, and I know our offense relies on these guys and they definitely show up for us.
Virginia Tech has one of the nation's top defenses. What are your impressions of the Hokies and the challenges they present?
TS: I think you said it right there. I think they're obviously one of the best defenses in the country, so we've go to go out there and play our game and control the controllable, and I think we'll be all right.
I know you weren't playing, but what do you remember about last season's game, going into it 0-2 and pulling off the upset? Is there anything you can take away from that matchup?
TS: Yeah, I think that was definitely a fun game to watch. I think we've just got to be physical, and when we execute our plays that the coaches call, I think we have a good shot to beat anybody in the country. And I think Virginia Tech is a phenomenal team. and they've got a great defense. It's going to be an interesting game, but I know we've just got to focus on what we can control and go out there and just execute, and I think we'll be all right.
How would you assess the confidence level of this team? Going into a new conference, having the kind of early success that you've had, taking a winning streak into the bye week -- where would you say this team's confidence level is at right now?
TS: We're pretty high, but coach does a good job of keeping us level-headed. I don't think we get too high on ourselves. We watch the film, and we know there's a lot of areas of our game that we can improve, so definitely a good thing to know that even though we are winning, we have so much room to improve. So I think that kind of gives us something to work toward, and we're not getting too high off our wins here. We've just got to keep building and keep working, and I think the rest will take care of itself.
You guys beat Duke 58-55. You come back a week later in a bit of a grinder with Virginia and pull that one out 14-3. What does that say about this offense and this team as a whole, knowing that there were two completely different types of games in back to back weeks, and you guys can kind of play any style?
TS: It's funny because obviously you go out to Duke and you put up some big numbers, and then our defense against Virginia really held it down for us. They did a phenomenal job of really just giving us an opportunity to win, and that's what good teams are made of. Obviously our offense, we didn't have our best game of the season against Virginia. We left a lot of meat on the bone out there. But I think our defense stepped up, and that's what good teams are about, and it's good to know that on the other side of the ball we have people [who] have our backs and can win games for us.