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Surfin’ on Vacation

Not that you’d know it by reading today’s story about Joe Clermond, but I’m on vacation this week.

Even so, I’m keeping up with Pitt football news on the Internet and noticed a couple of stories involving one former Panthers player and another who is an incoming freshman.

It appears Pitt has its first redshirt candidate, although a grayshirt (waiting until January to enroll as a full-time student) might be more beneficial in the case of McDowell tackle Dan Matha.

The good news is that, according to the Erie Times-News, the 6-foot-7 Matha has shed 30 pounds and is down to 280. The bad news is that he had surgery April 23 to reattach the labrum and capsule to his right shoulder, and will require similar surgery on the left shoulder on Aug. 7.

This is a serious blow to Pitt’s offensive line. Matha likely would have served an apprenticeship behind the starting right tackle, either Mike McGlynn or Jason Pinkston. Instead, Matha will miss valuable practice time in training camp and during the season and won’t be ready until spring drills.

More importantly, shoulder injuries are always troubling for offensive linemen, especially tackles. This makes John Bachman and Chase Clowser the most likely backups, although walk-on Kevin Cimador played tackle at New Mexico State before transferring to Pitt.

It was no surprise when freshman defensive end McKenzie Mathews left the program shortly after the conclusion of his first semester, considering he almost quit the team during training camp.

There was word that Mathews might be done with football altogether but, according to the Syracuse Post-Standard, he has resurfaced at Bentley College in Waltham, Mass. The Falcons play in the Division II Northeast-10 Conference.

Although neither Matha nor Mathews is considering a devastating loss, the troubling thing is that Pitt has yet to start the 2007 season and depth already is becoming an issue with the Panthers.

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