Here's the first in a series by the guys at PITT Blather, one of the Panthers better sites, because it's never too early to get to know the team FSU tees it up against in just five months.
PITT’s Five Things for Spring: #5 – Wide Receiver
by Reed Kohburger from PITTBlater.com
Number five on my list of concerns, five being the least worrisome and one being the most, is our depth at Wide Receiver. PITT went into spring drills with one true wide out returning as a starter. That would be Devin Street and he’s been a productive player for us for over the last three years. Last season he had his best year yet with 73 receptions for 975 yards (13.4 ypc) and five TDs. That is a lot of production returning. Street has also been our best deep threat which, due to a QB who couldn’t throw a deep ball to save his life, led him to be wasted in that role.
However, transfer Tom Savage (yes, he hasn’t played for two year which is another thing to be concerned about) will most probably be our QB this season and his deep passes are the strength of his game; big arm and very accurate. His yards per completion average is a very good 14.3, so we PITT fans expect big things from that combo in 2013.
In addition we are very high on Manasseh Gardner, another City Leaguer (it is unusual for PITT to have two on roster) who transferred back home to play for Paul Chryst. Chryst had recruited him to Wisconsin when Chryst was the OC there. This guy is the talk of spring practices so far and showing both good speed and great hands. He has that feel that he could explode given the chance to play regularly. He’s just a playmaker. Chances are he’ll jump Tinker and be the second WR on the field.
However, PITT is going to see a lot of three and even four WR sets so all three will get ample playing time. There is a chance that our OC will use Gardner more as a hybrid H-back and put him on the OL as a TE sometimes also. If that happens then we won’t be seeing three or four WR sets.
One player who opened eyes last season as a true FR walk-on was Chris Wuestner. He did so well in summer camp last year that the staff awarded him a scholarship prior to the first game. He’s the type of player who skimmed under the recruiting radar as he missed his whole JR year of HS with a shoulder injury so the big schools hadn’t been following him. He averaged nearly 17 yards per catch as a HS SR, compiling 52 receptions for 880 yards and nine touchdowns.
He reminds me of a bigger and faster Steve Largent – if that makes any sense. He runs surgical routes and catches everything thrown in his vicinity, at least in practices.
Most PITT fans don’t even know who this kid is as he redshirted last season but the staff sure does and he’ll see playing time this season. Plus, he’s an Army Colonel’s son so he’s been good at discipline all his life. That may not be true but as a retired military man I wanted to throw that in.
So – the scouting report for our WR area of concern is basically this: We have a very good starter on one side and who really knows what on the other. It is worrisome but all of these untested WRs have been showing well this spring and I feel that once they all get summer camp under their belts we’ll be able to field a decent WR corps for the FSU game.