4. WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT THE PITT DEFENSE
– The defense wasn’t all that bad considering how many issues there were in previous seasons. The run defense might have had its down moments, and the secondary want’s a rock, but the pass rush was okay and the D finished fifth overall in the ACC. Six starters return, but three of the fop five tacklers are done.
– The line suffered a massive blow losing pass rushing star Rashad Weaver to a torn ACL, but the combination of Amir Watts and Jaylen Twyman on the inside should be okay in a rotation. If Patrick Jones can turn into a terror despite the loss of Weaver – he showed flashes – the Panther front four will still be a problem for offenses.
– The outside linebackers have to be replaced, but junior Elias Reynolds turned into a decent starter in a 49-tackle season. The secondary also loses just enough parts to be annoying, but junior Dane Jackson should turn into one of the ACC’s better corners, and Damar Hamlin is a 90-tackle free safety with great range.