Anson from SBNation's newest Big East blog Cardiac Hill was nice enough to talk to us about the RB duo of Dion Lewis and Ray Graham, Tino Sunseri, and the job security of Dave Wansstedt.
1. What happened to Dion Lewis? It seems like he took a huge step backwards, and Ray Graham has taking some of the carries. Any specific reason why?
CH: Lewis started off a bit slowly. Some blamed it on the poor offensive line, but Graham ended up performing well behind that same line. Lewis also missed a game due to injury, which gave Graham more time to build momentum and he didn't disappoint. They've both performed well, but because Graham was so good early on, Pitt's really had no other option but to play both of them. Lewis has picked it up lately and has been playing much better than early on this year, but Graham is still getting carries. Graham had a costly special teams fumble in that debacle of a game last week against UConn, but it's unclear if that will have any effect on the number of carries he gets.
2. We know about Greg Romeus' season ending injury, but is there anyone else that might miss the game Saturday?
CH: To my knowledge, no...at least not any big time players. Pitt has had some bumps and bruises this season like any other team, but I'm not aware of any star players that are expected to miss the game.
3. How confident is the fan base with Dave Wansstedt? Will a disappointing finish get him on the hot seat?
CH: I think much of the fan base is frustrated. There are those, like me, that believe Pitt would be better served by keeping Wannstedt. I actually ran an article earlier this week on SB Nation Pittsburgh about why he probably will be retained no matter what. But in a nutshell, he's led Pitt to 19 wins over the past two seasons and has been recruiting out of his mind this year. I think that maybe outside of losing his last three games this year that he'll be back. I'd say he's already on the hot seat with fans, but not with the administration actually making the decisions.
4. How is Tino Sunseri doing in his first season at the helm? Do you think he has what it takes to be a productive QB in the conference?
CH: Sunseri, last game aside, has performed pretty well. I do believe that he'll be a productive QB in the league - his decision-making is pretty good, he can sometimes create plays out of nothing, and even though he's a first-year starter, isn't afraid to get in the face of a lineman that has a lapse - which has been frequent this season. That shows me he's got the makings of a leader. He may never go from good or very good to 'great', but is he a capable QB? I'd say yes.
5. Any predictions for the game Saturday?
CH: Man, I really don't want to do this. It's just so hard to predict after that UConn game. This team could easily lose all of its last three games or it could run the table. The one thing I will say about the UConn game is that when the team took an eight-point lead, it looked like they would win the game. But the ensuing kickoff return and later kickoff fumble by Pitt really was too much to overcome. As much as I hate to admit it, Pitt did do some good things in that game and I think barring the special teams gaffes, they probably win that game. The thing I think South Florida may struggle with is Pitt's defense. They had trouble with WVU and Syracuse and I think Pitt will really try to get after them defensively. So with the urgency factor, I'll pick Pitt. But if they aren't favored to win (and I don't know if they are), I won't be surprised even a little.
Bonus 6th Question: How has the basketball team preformed this season? Do you think they will take care of business in NYC this week?
CH: The basketball team has been good so far. They had an opener against Rhode Island that was closer than most thought it would be, but they're off to a 3-0 start and have the look of a good team. I don't know if they're Final Four or even Elite Eight good, but when they play the way they're capable of playing, they will be a tough out. I think they get by Maryland and either Texas or Illinois, but 1-1 isn't out of the question. Playing two good teams in back-to-back nights is never easy. The good thing for Pitt is that they've had some time off this week to prepare as their last game was Saturday.
Thanks again to Anson, and make sure you check out Cardiac Hill. We are thrilled to have him aboard, and he does a tremendous job following the Panthers.