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Tuesday, May 7, 2013
Pitt Panthers spring wrap

By Andrea Adelson

Pittsburgh Panthers

2012 record: 6-7

2012 conference record: 3-4, Big East

Returning starters: Offense: 6; defense: 9; kicker/punter: 1

Top returners

WR Devin Street, DT Aaron Donald, S Jason Hendricks, CB Lafayette Pitts

Key losses

QB Tino Sunseri, RB Ray Graham, C Ryan Turnley, S Jarred Holley

2012 statistical leaders (*returners)

Rushing: Graham (1,042 yards, 11 TDs)
Passing: Sunseri (256-of-393 for 3,288 yards, 21 TDs, 3 INTs)
Receiving: Street* (975 yards, 5 TDs)
Tackles: Hendricks* (90)
Sacks: Donald* (5.5)
Interceptions: Hendricks* (six)

Spring answers

1. Bennett is the man. Following the surprising news that projected starting running back Rushel Shell would transfer, all eyes turned to Isaac Bennett, who now gets his chance to start. Bennett had 114 yards rushing and a touchdown in the spring game, and will now have to transfer that type of production into a game. Malcolm Crockett figures into the mix as well.

2. Starting D solid. The Panthers are adjusting to yet another defensive coordinator, but the good news here is Matt House was promoted from within the staff. So there was not a huge change in scheme or philosophy. With nine starters returning -- including big man up front Aaron Donald -- this group has the potential to shut some teams down.

3. T.J. Clemmings switch. Clemmings made the switch from the defensive to the offensive line to help bolster a group that has struggled the past several seasons. That move looks as if it has paid off, as Clemmings left spring with the starting right tackle job. Clemmings also was selected the team’s most improved offensive player this spring.

Fall questions

1. Quarterback. No word yet on a starting quarterback, so the competition between Chad Voytik and Tom Savage will keep going into fall camp begins. Savage is the senior with game experience (albeit several years ago at Rutgers), while Voytik is the up-and-comer. Savage did take more reps with the first team during the spring, if that gives you any hints.

2. Offensive line. Though Clemmings is at least one answer, the group as a whole still has major question marks after the spring. New center Gabe Roberts had his struggles with the shotgun snap during the spring, and the Panthers are going to have to rely on some inexperienced players to start. Depth also is an issue again.

3. Team depth. The offensive line is not the only position on the team where there is a lack of depth. Just about every position is thin, from running back to receiver, to defensive line and linebacker. Work still must be done to develop the second unit before the season begins.