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S. Florida WR had Pitt as it


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http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/05286/587858.stm

Thursday, October 13, 2005

By Paul Zeise, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

If things had happened differently, South Florida receiver Johnny Peyton would be a Pitt player and thus he would be a teammate of cornerback Josh Lay.

Instead, Peyton and Lay will go head-to-head Saturday when the Panthers (2-4, 1-1 Big East) play host to the Bulls (3-2, 1-0) at Heinz Field. The head-to-head matchup between the two should be one of the most intriguing individual battles on the field because both players are among the best in the Big East at their respective positions.

Lay, however, isn't getting all charged up to play against Peyton for several reasons, most notably because he's expecting the Bulls to attack the Panthers the same way their previous six opponents have -- on the ground. That means he is not likely to see many passes come his way.

"It's been kind of boring for [Pitt's other starting corner] Darrelle [Revis] and me from a coverage standpoint these days," Lay said. "The last game I only had three balls thrown my way, I knocked two down and should have intercepted the other. They throw at Darrelle even less. I usually get up to play the top receivers, but this year it doesn't seem like teams are really coming after us at all.

"We do a lot more against the run than we do in pass defense, but that's just how it is right now. Teams are going away from us and I expect South Florida to do a lot of the same things we've seen."

Pitt coach Dave Wannstedt said that his two corners have played well, but they better not relax because they still have a lot of areas in which to improve. That's especially true with regards to tackling, considering both missed key tackles in the Panthers' 38-20 win against Cincinnati Saturday.

"We're probably spending too much time having them cover people and not tackle because they could both improve their tackling," Wannstedt said half-jokingly.

"But seriously, when you have two guys who are both talented and experienced, teams have a tendency to try and attack other parts of your defense. But it changes every week, and the minute you think you are OK, it becomes a nightmare for you.

"We're fortunate that we have two very good corners but both guys can get a lot better. I like the improvement that they've made but they can still get better and they know that and they're working hard."

Peyton, who is a sophomore who originally made an oral commitment to the Panthers but changed his mind and signed with the Bulls, will no doubt present Lay and Revis with the biggest challenge they've had thus far. Peyton is big (6 feet 5, 200 pounds), fast and he is a tremendous athlete with exceptional leaping ability and soft hands.

Lay (6-2, 200) said that although Peyton is likely the most talented receiver the Panthers have faced this season, there are others who are more difficult to match up with because he's all finesse.

He also believes the Bulls' offense is much more centered around the talents of tailback Andre Hall, who has 521 yards on 102 carries and is the Big East Conference's second-leading rusher, than its passing game, so he expects to have another week of stepping up and trying to stop the run.

"Most of what they do comes off play-action or they'll just try and run fades when we're in press coverage, so we'll get some chances to make plays," Lay said.

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http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/05286/587858.stm

Lay, however, isn't getting all charged up to play against Peyton for several reasons, most notably because he's expecting the Bulls to attack the Panthers the same way their previous six opponents have -- on the ground. That means he is not likely to see many passes come his way.

"It's been kind of boring for [Pitt's other starting corner] Darrelle [Revis] and me from a coverage standpoint these days," Lay said. "The last game I only had three balls thrown my way, I knocked two down and should have intercepted the other. They throw at Darrelle even less. I usually get up to play the top receivers, but this year it doesn't seem like teams are really coming after us at all."

I can't wait to see if our passing game makes him eat his words. USF's offense is getting too predictable; if you can stop Andre, then that's all there is to it. Some long bombs, which actually get caught, down the side lines should change that perception.

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