James Ferguson
Author

Five Concerns The Pitt Panthers Face In 2014

Mar 17, 2014 12:20 PM EST

4. Who Will Fill In For Aaron Donald?


Another area of concern will be Pitt's defense. Can they get the job done without Donald?

He was the standout on defense and single-handedly tore offenses apart. The Panthers fielded the 70th-best defense in the nation by allowing just more than 27 points per game. That was with Donald in the lineup and that was against the likes of FSU and Duke.

The Panthers will have to face the tough ACC teams again in addition to Iowa, their second home opponent for 2014.

There really is only one true question to this concern. Who will step up and fill in that defensive star spot left by Donald?

Two defensive players I believe that could step up or combine to fill the void are linebackers Ray Vinopal and Anthony Gonzalez. The duo at linebacker, were second and third in tackles last season, will have to make a big stand in their senior season. 

Starting defensive end Bryan Murphy, who finished second on the team to Donald with four sacks last season, left the program recently, adding to the need for new standouts to emerge.