4-1-Zoo: Pitt’s offensive line starters change
PITTSBURGH (93-7 The FAN) — I wrote on Monday that it seemed like much of Pitt’s 2011 roster was set, and then coach Todd Graham switches things up on all of us.
Serves me right, considering Graham said from day one that all spots would be up for grabs during training camp. In the latest developments, it appears that Cory King is the odd man out on the offensive line.
This is how it appeared the offensive line would look come Week 1 as recent as yesterday:
LT — Jordan Gibbs
LG — Chris Jacobson
C — Ryan Turnley
RG — Cory King
RT — Lucas Nix
But that was before Pitt’s final scrimmage on Saturday, one that was closed to both the public and the media. Apparently Juantez Hollins made a big enough impression that he was named the starter at left tackle.
In turn, the offensive line shifts around a bit…
LT — Hollins
LG — Jacobson
C — Turnley
RG — Nix
RT — Gibbs
Hollins assumes the left tackle spot, which bumps Nix over to guard and forces King to the sideline. Gibbs moves from left tackle to right tackle and the line is set, with King and Greg Gaskins being the primary backups.
Now, this is how the offensive line looks today. That’s not to say this whole thing couldn’t change next week, or even after the next practice.
Graham was high on King from day one, which was a surprise to me but it told me that Graham really saw something he liked in King and that he believes in him. King now gets bumped for more experience and Hollins — a monstrous 6-foot-5, 300 pounds — steps in.
So much can change in the next two weeks. Gaskins is an experienced guy that can come in at tackle. King is a guy Graham really likes, and Turnley at center isn’t nearly a sure thing — Graham said the one thing that keeps him up at night is bad snaps, which have been an issue at times so far this summer.
But for now, the line has taken a new form. Graham will have to make a final decision soon, and the earlier the better, seeing that guys like Nix and Gibbs are moving to completely different sides of the line.
The depth is nice. Graham is still toying with his pieces.
Chris Gates | Area 4-1-Zoo Blog