Game 1: UB at Pitt
When: Saturday, Sep 3, 2011 - 6:00 PM
Where: Heinz Field
Series History: Pitt 2 - Buffalo 0
Tickets: Get them right here
The Stache is a Job Requirement
In about a month the Bulls will kick off their 2012 campaign. Unlike last season the Bulls won't get their layup game right out of the gate, instead they will face Pitt, a team UB has never beaten.
The Panthers road the coaching roller coaster this off season. Out went the Stache, torpedoed for annual luke warm performances. And in was
Mike Haywood err Todd Graham.
Their first choice Mike Haywood lasted less than a month before off the field issues forced the panthers to look elsewhere. Their new "New Coach" Todd Graham comes from Tulsa with a respectable record in the Conference USA ranks.
Pitt on Offense:
Ray Graham is not Dion Lewis but he is still one of the better half backs UB will face this season. A fast back who can cut back as good as just about anyone out there Ray will really test UB's veteran Linbackers. Buffalo, under Bill Inge, play with a aggressive defense, backs who make that solid first cut did pretty well against us last season. Buffalo also has to worry about Cameron Saddler a change of pace back who could make the plays that break UB.
Scout compares Saddler to Tulsa's Damaris Johnson who led the nation in all-purpose yards in 2010, catching 57 passes, rushing for 560 yards. Graham, it seems, loves to hurt you with a scat back and in Johnson he might have that weapon.
Junior QB Tino Sunseri has a very solid one two punch on the ground. All he need do is manage the game and avoid any big mistakes. If the Panthers are going to go full Tulsa in year one then it may take a short while for Sunseri to master the offense.
Pitt on Defense:
Keith Patterson is cut from the same cloth as UB Defensive Coordinator Bill Inge. Release the hounds and hope the secondary holds up. UB's propensity for awful turnovers last season would make almost any defense go hard after the Quarterback, but a defense that already does that? This game could easily get out of hand early.
Defensive lineman Brandon Lindsey stepped in when Greg Romeus injured his back last September and became the biggest surprise in his conference. He is a relentless pass rusher. Last season he racked up 51 tackles,18 tackles for a loss, and 10 sacks. At 6-2 and 250 pounds he is comparable in size to Steven Means and has a similar style.
But in Pitt's scheme he is playing something of an elephant back who may inherit some traditional linebacker responsibilities. Overall the Panthers have more size up front so he will be used in ways that UB can't afford to use Means in.
Bleak. Yes Pitt had more drama than daytime television this past season but they still have years of pretty solid recruiting in their corner. They are deeper just about everywhere than UB with a coach that has worked with far less in the past then he has at his disposal now. Even if the Bulls are a vastly improved team from last season fatigue will eventually be a factor.
The Bulls Can Win If:
Chazz Anderson and the offensive line impress. Pitt is going to throw the kitchen sink at the Bulls offense, wouldn't you? If the line gives Anderson (or Davis) a modest amount of time and they make good decisions throwing the Ball than maybe Pitt backs off a bit so the Bulls can run.
Follow Pitt at the SBNation Blog: Cardiac Hill