Spring lookahead: Pittsburgh Panthers
2012 record: 6-7 overall, 3-4 Big East
Spring Practice opens: March 5
Spring game date: April 13
2012 in review: The Panthers had three two-game winning streaks and three two-game losing streaks. The difference was they lost 38-17 to Ole Miss in the BBVA Compass Bowl to finish with a losing record. Among the losses was a 31-17 home defeat to FCS member Youngstown State in the season opener. Pitt was crushed 34-10 by Cincinnati the following week, but recovered to give its season meaning.
Biggest hole to fill: Quarterback Tino Sunseri didn’t generate much acclaim outside of western Pennsylvania, but his numbers will be difficult for his replacement to duplicate. Sunseri completed 65.1 percent of his pass attempts for 3,288 yards, 21 touchdowns and just three interceptions. Junior Trey Anderson is the only other Panthers’ quarterback that got any snaps last season and he completed only two passes for 53 yards. In 2011, however, Anderson was just 12-for-33 for55 yards with three interceptions. The eventual starter, though, may be Rutgers/Arizona transfer Tom Savage. Savage was a Freshman All-American in 2009 after passing for 2,211 yards and 14 scores. He passed for 521 yards as a sophomore before getting hurt and losing his job. He later left for Arizona, but them left there when Rich Rodriguez was hired, and Savage didn’t fit his spread offense system.
Watch out for: Savage. He was well-regarded coming out of high school and still has a good arm and a burning desire to get back onto the field and show what he can do. He originally wanted to return to Rutgers, but Big East bylaws precluded him from doing that because Pitt was still in the conference last summer. But Savage now knows the system, will get plenty of work this spring, and the competition for the job isn’t exactly stellar. Once he gets into a groove, Savage could post some nice numbers in Pitt’s inaugural ACC season.