October 31, 2007

Growing pains for young Pitt players

If class listings are added to the stat lines, the game book for Pitt's 24-17 loss at Louisville last Saturday gives a pretty idea of what the Panthers (3-5, 1-2) look like this season. To wit, Pitt's top performances in the game break down as follows:

Pat Bostick (True freshman) 10/20 136 yards

LeSean McCoy (True freshman) 26 carries, 120 yards, 1 TD

McCoy 3 receptions, 60 yards, 1 TD
Moe Williams (True freshman) 3 receptions, 50 yards
T.J. Porter (True sophomore) 3 receptions, 31 yards

And that's essentially what the 2007 season has become: due to injuries, the Panthers are a team riding on youth, with a true freshman starting at quarterback, a true freshman starting at running back, and a third true freshman as the top reserve at receiver. On top of those three, Pitt also sports a group of key players at receiver and on the lines, both offensively and defensively, who are all in their first or second seasons.

At the top of the list is the backfield duo of Bostick and McCoy. McCoy has virtually established himself as the team's best all-around player and a dynamic force in the backfield, having compiled 100-yard games every time he gets the ball at least 25 times in a game (and once when he only carried 19 times) for a total of 925 yards and 10 touchdowns this season. With his talent and natural ability, it was only a matter of time before McCoy became the Panthers' primary option at tailback.

Bostick took over the quarterback job at halftime of Pitt's loss to Connecticut, and he has started each of the four games since then. Bostick's path hasn't been quite as smooth as McCoy, having started under center for three losses and one win, nor have his numbers been as impressive as McCoy's, with four touchdowns and seven interceptions in six games this season.

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