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Panthers eager to get new life in ACC under way

August 7, 2013
Weirton Daily Times

PITTSBURGH - Devin Street is an old guy, at least by college football standards.

The fifth-year Pitt senior has seen it all - six head coaches for starters - and watched the Panthers nearly do it all. Still, even he's pumped up about the school's move from what's left of the Big East to the ACC.

"It's a whole new lineup," Street said. "It's something you're going to walk into and you don't know what's coming. You're going to go into new venues and stuff like that, so I'm excited. It's kind of like a different journey."

The journey began when training camp opened on Tuesday, with the buildup for the nationally televised season opener against Florida State on Labor Day night already underway.

All the new trappings, however, doesn't change the focus for second-year head coach Paul Chryst.

"I think last year focused on the team's we're playing," Chryst said. "This year we're focused on the teams we're playing. For myself, it's not much different than last year."

But before the Panthers play a game for the first time with "ACC" emblazoned on the crowns of their helmets instead of "Big East," there are some questions Chryst must answer, starting at quarterback.

Gone is three-year starter Tino Sunseri who threw for 3,288 yards and 21 scores last season.

As of now, it's still a mystery as to who will fill his shoes as Chryst watches over his signal-callers to find out who has the most command of Chryst's system.

One of the men involved in the so-called battle, Tom Savage, enters as the likely favorite as a redshirt senior and having spent last season running Pitt's scout team after transferring from Arizona. His main competition is Chad Voytik, recruited by Todd Graham and the No. 1 recruit out of Tennessee in 2012.

"We're just going out there competing, and (do) whatever coach says," Savage said. "We're all different quarterbacks and we just have to be the best quarterback we can be. Whoever that is, they'll be the starter."

Beyond Street, who enters 2013 just 28 receptions away from becoming Pitt's all-time leader in receptions, the receivers are a mystery. Senior Ed Tinker saw time with the first-team offense, while quarterbacks completed passes underneath to tight ends for most of the drills.

Freshman Tyler Boyd has impressed as well, but it's very early.

"Just smooth," Street said about Boyd's play. "Seeing him out there, everything's natural for him. He's definitely going to be able to contribute for us."

Despite what may be perceived as one of the more wide-open positions on the team after Street, the senior insists there is enough talent around him to make an impact in a tough league.

"I want us to be the core of that offense," Street said. "I want us to be the main focus, and getting guys going. Guys can watch us going 100 percent, and that motivates them."

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