Before I get into the meat.....errr......Boca Burgers and Potatoes of this breakdown there is some news I must address first.
Pitt athletics director Jeff Long has been offered the same position by Arkansas. Now Jeff would probably get a nice raise if he went there and Arkansas is a school that has much more support than Pitt. Again, that's one of the negatives being a school in a major city. I'm not going to get into Jeff should do this or Jeff should do that. I just want to make everyone aware that both Jason Jones and I have dealt with Jeff Long many times in the past and he is one of our favorite people at Pitt. He is always nice and sincere with us and will always take the time to talk. Jeff, whatever you choose for your future, we wish you the best of luck.
Now on to the breakdown.
So I'm sure you all think you know everything there is to know about Grambling. Yes, they have a world famous band and drumline.......Actually thats probably all that you know. Here's a little quick fact for you, Grambling's marching band played the halftime show at Superbowl IX between the Steelers and Vikings. Amazing to think of how far halftime shows have come along. Anyways, onward with the breakdown!!!
Grambling is entering Heinz field tomorrow with a 1-0 record. Representing the SWAC, Grambling dismantled Steve McNair's alma mater and conference rival Alcorn State by a score of 31-10. While the score may not look that impressive, let me give you some stats from that game.
Grambling's QB Brandon Landers threw for over 300 yards and 4 TD's and 0 int's. Running back Frank Warren averaged 4.8 yards per carry last week. He had 143 yards rushing on 30 carries. The other player to watch out for on offense is Reginald Jackson. Last week, the senior receiver had more yards in one game than he had for the entire season over the past two years.
While the offense looks pretty scary on paper here, we must keep this in mind. Last week they did beat up on an 0-2 Alcorn State team. Running back Frank Warren, while speedy is pretty light at 6'0, 180. The defense, now with improved size and speed should be able to contain him for the game. Unless he has one big run, I can't see him or any other grambling running back having over 50 yards against our Panthers. In regards to the passing game, Grambling does try some trick plays. You may see some flea flickers, halfback option passes, and other tomfoolery that if the Panther's bite on would cause some trouble. The way Paul Rhodes sets the defense, players are expected to stay in their lanes and fill the gaps, so if our players can stay composed, there isn't any reason to believe we should be hung out to dry on one of these trick plays. Grambling's passing attack doesn't make me lose any sleep at night either. It is not because I feel they are incompetent, I just truly believe that our secondary is still well above average and should be able to shut them down. Ricky Gary will get his second start at corner to allow Aaron Berry time to rest up for the MSU game (tsk, tsk tsk on me for looking ahead). I really really really, really really really really can't see the Grambling offense coming out and putting up a ton of points.
On the defensive side of the ball, Grambling's D appeared to play very solid last week vs. Alcorn state. However this is the key of the game. Pitt's starting offensive line will have the height, weight, and strength advantage over the Grambling defensive line. Pitt's Oline should be able to open HUGE holes for the man who should be starting, LESEAN MCCOY! I believe that no matter who Pitt would start at running back this week, he could have over 150 yards rushing if given an ample amount of carries. As we all know though, LeSean McCoy, Hot Rod, and Shane Brooks will be the primary backs for the game. If Shady has at least 15 touches, I don't see any reason why he shouldn't have over 100 yards rushing. This game will provide a lot of highlight footage for the 2007 squad as you see Shady and Hot Rod busting out big runs. Also, Pitt's receivers create a huge match up for the Grambling Tigers. Pitt's plethora of large receivers should have an easy day catching passes from starter Kevan Smith....Oops I just leaked some confidential unknown information there. Yes, Kevan Smith is the starter and will have nice looking, inflated stats following tomorrows blow out. The one position I am unsure of what to expect of tomorrow is the tight end spot. Byham, Pelusi, and Strong all have the capabilities to put up big numbers, but I really don't see that happening. The TE's will be used in more of a blocking role to help create even more match up problems for the already undersized Tigers. When you're watching the game tomorrow and you see Pitt line up with 2 TE sets on the O-Line, you, as an educated Pitt fan, should expect to see a running play.
The only note of importance about special teams is that grambling uses two kickers. I really don't see this being a problem as I am sure that kicking in Heinz Field is nothing like they have ever seen before.
I don't expect us to run up the score like Jason had predicted, but I don't think a 34-6 win is out of the question either. If we were going to pass the ball more then I would say the score will be higher, but tomorrow will be a nice run the ball and control the clock day. Keep your eyes out for the Cat Basket sign and enjoy the game tomorrow.
~ The One and Only~