Pitt will meet Buffalo on Saturday with a different look at linebacker, but coach Paul Chryst isn’t changing the lineup for punitive reasons.
It’s a simple matter of injury and recovery.
Chryst said on his radio show Wednesday that outside linebacker Manny Williams won’t play against Buffalo. He wasn’t as definitive about middle linebacker Shane Gordon missing the game, but he did admit that Gordon hasn’t practiced yet this week.
Meanwhile, Todd Thomas is getting stronger and looks ready to shoulder a heavier workload on the weak side.
“I am really looking forward to him being a much bigger contributor now,” defensive coordinator Dave Huxtable said.
The starting lineup at linebacker could be Thomas and Eric Williams, with Dan Mason in the middle. It would be Mason’s first start since severely injuring his knee 25 months ago.
Others who could miss the game due to injuries are tight end Hubie Graham and his backup Drew Carswell and fullback Mark Giubilato.
Meanwhile, there are several players on both sides of the ball battling lesser injuries, but finding a way to stay on the field.
“They are suffering in silence,” Huxtable said. “Everyone is banged up this time of year. That’s football.”
If Gordon doesn’t start against Buffalo, redshirt freshman cornerback Lafayette Pitts will become the only defensive player to start all seven games.
“He has a tremendous work ethic,” Huxtable said. “He’s in here all the time in the study room, watching film, studying the opponent and the passing game. He gives you a good day’s work every day on the practice field.”
Huxtable also appreciates Pitts’ toughness.
“He won’t turn down a hit. He’s going to bring it and he’s going to throw his body around. He’s just not a guy out there as a corner covering. He’ll participate in the game and get involved and mix it up.”