Coach: Walt Harris
27-31-0, 5 years
2001 Record: 7-5
at Notre Dame LOST 7-24
at Boston College LOST 7-45
at Temple WON 33-7
at Rutgers WON 42-0
at West Virginia WON 23-17
UAB WON 24-6
North Carolina State WON 34-19

2001 Final Rankings
AP-UR, Coaches-UR, BCS-UR

On defense Gerald Hayes is going to be yenz cole slaw on top of the sandwich.
2002 Outlook

The Panthers are riding a six game win streak since closing out the 2001 campaign, which also encompassed a nice Tangerine Bowl victory over NC State. Head Coach Walt Harris has been masterful since taking over in 1997, as the Pitt program was suffering horribly prior to his arrival. Steel City U. lost some big rivets from last fall. When talking about names like English, Bryant, Priestly, Walker, and Knight, yenz have to consider the losses to be more significant than somebody else using up the last of the Heinz 57. But there is some sauce left in the back of the fridge, as 77% of the starters still make their way back for another run. Fans are aware of the feet on quarterback Rod Rutherford, now if he can get the throwing motions down, the Panthers might still be able to stack more sweet pickles on top the stack. The offensive line will be bigger than a large order of fries from the Original Hot Dog Shop. No way will defenders be able to eat that much. But Rutherford will need to locate some go-to guys on the outside with his receivers in order to aid his aerial maturity. On defense Gerald Hayes is going to be yenz cole slaw on top of the sandwich as he has stacked up over 254 career tackles. Obviously, locals will be anxious to make sure the slow sluggish start of 2001 doesn't haunt the Panthers once again. The Texas A&M visit to Heinz Field in just the second game is going to put the equation to the test in some capacity. Yenz definitely want to tune into that Iron City tanker. At some point, thoughts will have to evolve from being a third place Big East team to a contender. There is as much talent at some positions as almost any team out there. The offense just needs an identity and some consistency for a surge to lift them past dreaming to doing. A third straight bowl season is open for business. As sure as Squirrel Hill tunnel traffic, the Panthers will be there. With a little quick chemistry, 2002 could become more.

Projected 2002 record: 8-5

QB - 3 DL - 3
RB - 4 LB - 4.5
WR - 2.5 DB - 3.5
OL - 4.5 ..

Passing: Rod Rutherford, 19-56-4, 262 Yards, 1 TD

Rushing: Raymond Kirkley, 155 att., 645 yds., 3 TD's

Receiving: Lamar Slade, 27 rec., 226 yds., 1 TD

Scoring: Rod Rutherford, 6 TD's, 36 pts.

Punting: Andy Lee, 64 punts, 41.1 avg.

Kicking: none

Tackles: Gerald Hayes, 104 tot., 62 solo

Sacks: Gerald Hayes, 6.5 sacks

Interceptions: 3 players with 1 each

Kickoff returns: Torrie Cox, 24 ret., 24.0 avg.

Punt returns: Yogi Roth, 6 ret., 7.7 avg.


OFFENSE: David Priestley-QB, R.J. English-WR, Nick Lotz-K, Antonio Bryant-WR (NFL)
DEFENSE: Joe Conlin-DT, Bryan Knight-DE, Amir Purifoy-SLB, Brandon Williams-WLB, Mark Ponko-SS, Ramon Walker-FS (NFL)

Big East Conference Official Release

Two key weapons from 2001 - quarterback David Priestley and wideout Antonio Bryant - are gone, but eight returning starters lead the way on offense. Junior quarterback Rod Rutherford is one of two candidates at signal-caller. He completed 19-of-59 passes for 262 yards and one touchdown in a limited role. He also added a rushing component, posting 255 yards with six scores. Sophomore Pat Hoderny could also earn the start. High school standouts Tyler Palko and Luke Getsy will compete when arriving in the fall.

The backfield figures to be a key offensive strength. Sophomore Raymond Kirkley was eighth in the BIG EAST in rushing with 645 yards and three touchdowns. The total is fifth among returning league backs. Sophomore Marcus Furman had 5.8 yards per rush in ‘01. Junior Lousaka Polite boasts two years of starting experience at fullback. Sophomore fullback Dustin Picciotti returns after redshirting last year due to a concussion. Junior tailback Brandon Miree, a transfer from Alabama, is eligible for this season.

Senior Lamar Slade has the most experience of the wide receivers. He had 27 catches for 226 yards and one touchdown as a reserve last year. Junior Yogi Roth had 291 receiving yards on 11 receptions. Sophomore Roosevelt Bynes has the Panthers excited after showing flashes a season ago. Redshirt freshman Joe Stephens may also be considered a target. True freshman Larry Fitzgerald and junior college transfer Princell Brockenbrough should also press for time. Junior tight end Kris Wilson is back after finishing fourth on the team with 19 receptions for 272 yards (14.3-yard average).

The entire offensive line is intact to play again in 2002. Senior Chad Reed is the starting center. He has been contributing since his freshman campaign. Guards Bryan Anderson and Dan LaCarte will play again. Anderson boasts 34 career starts, while LaCarte showed promise in just his first year on the line. Sophomore tackle Rob Petitti was named Freshman All-America by The Sporting News and Football News in 2001. Junior Matt Morgan has two years of starting time at the other tackle spot. Numerous backups will provide solid depth.


Returning Starters in Bold
QB Rod Rutherford-Jr Pat Hoderny-So
FB Lousaka Polite-Jr Dustin Picciotti-So
TB Raymond Kirkley-So Brandon Miree-Jr
WR Roosevelt Bynes-So Joe Stephens-Fr / Marcus Furman-So
WR Lamar Slade-Sr Yogi Roth-Jr
TE Kris Wilson-Jr Erik Gill-Fr
OT Rob Petitti-So Jason Capizzi-Fr
OG Dan LaCarte-Jr Penny Semaia-Jr
C Chad Reed-Sr Justin Belarski-So
OG Bryan Anderson-Sr Jon Schall-Jr
OT Matt Morgan-Jr Dale Williams-Fr
K J.B. Gibboney-So Mike Rava-Fr



Big East Conference Official Release

The Panther strength on defense will be at linebacker, as all three starters are back. Leading the way is senior standout Gerald Hayes. A two-time All-BIG EAST selection, he has logged over 200 tackles the last two seasons, with back-to-back 100-stop efforts. Junior Lewis Moore was fourth on the team in tackles with 67 and earned Defensive MVP honors in the bowl game. Senior Brian Beinecke is the other returning starter. During shared time last year, he amassed 48 tackles and two sacks. Sophomore Malcolm Postell moves over from running back to join sophomore Mike Jemison and redshirt freshmen Joe Dipre, J.J. Horne and Monroe Weekley in providing depth.

Harris has 10 lettermen back on the defensive front. Seniors Brian Guzek and Ryan Smith shared starting duties last season. Guzek had 48 tackles, including 11 for loss. Smith fought through a shoulder injury to post 33 stops and three sacks. Junior defensive end Claude Harriott is the leading candidate to replace All-BIG EAST First Team choice Bryan Knight. At tackle, sophomore Tyre Young started the final seven games a year ago. Junior defensive tackle Darrell McMurray is a leader for the other starting nod. Sophomores Dan Stephens and Troy Banner and redshirt freshmen Vince Crochunis and Jake Holthaus will compete for time.

The secondary took a hit when junior all-conference safety Ramon Walker departed for the NFL. Five lettermen - including four with starting experience - return at cornerback. Senior Torrie Cox had 48 tackles (37 solo) and 11 pass break-ups in 2001. Junior Shawntae Spencer led the BIG EAST with 18 passes defended, tying a school-record set by senior teammate Shawn Robinson two years ago. Robinson and junior William Ferguson will push hard for game action. Senior safeties Gary Urschler and junior Corey Humphries both saw solid playing time behind Walker the last couple of years. Sophomore Tyrone Gilliard and redshirt freshmen Darren McCray and Tez Morris are also available.


Returning Starters in Bold
DE Brian Guzek-Sr Ryan Smith-Sr
NT Tyre Young-So Jake Holthaus-So
DT Dan Stephens-So Darrell McMurray-Jr
DE Claude Harriott-Jr Thomas Smith-Fr
SLB Lewis Moore-Jr Mike Jemison-So
MLB Gerald Hayes-Sr Joe Dipre-Fr
WLB Brian Beinecke-Sr Malcolm Postell-So
CB Shawntae Spencer-Jr Taron Gray-Sr
CB Torrie Cox-Sr Shawn Robinson-Sr
SS Tyrone Gilliard-So Darren McCray-Fr
FS William Ferguson-Jr Tez Morris-Fr
P Andy Lee-Jr Jay Junko-Sr
The backfield has improved to become a key offensive strength with sophomore Raymond Kirkley. - (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)