PITTSBURGH — There’s a shakeup on the Pitt offensive line ahead of Saturday’s kickoff against Cincinnati.
According to a report from the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette’s Noah Hiles, BJ Williams will make his first career start against the Bearcats tonight in place of incumbent left guard Jason Collier Jr.
Williams, a 6-foot-3, 315-pound true freshman from Creekside High in Fairburn, Georgia, made his collegiate debut last weekend against Wofford, taking 25 snaps at right guard in the fourth quarter.
It’s a huge opportunity for Williams who arrived in Pittsburgh as an early enrollee in January, quickly working his way into the offensive line rotation as a second-teamer. And, already, his older linemates have faith in his ability to handle the workload of a Power Five football game.
“He’s a freshman, but he’s been here since the spring, and it’s like he’s been here forever,” Blake Zubovic said earlier this week. “He doesn’t whine, keeps his nose to the grindstone and I think he’s taking coaching as well as anyone here. Physically he’s ready to go in if you need to. He’s strong, quick. I think BJ is in a place that a lot of guys in their first year are.”
The change at left guard could come as Pat Narduzzi pointed to an increase in pressure in the A-gap against Wofford, with interior pressure leaving Phil Jurkovec unable to step up into the pocket at times.
The rest of the offensive line will likely remain unchanged, with Matt Goncalves at left tackle, Jake Kradel at center, Zubovic at right guard and Branson Taylor at right tackle. Collier and Ryan Baer appear to be the first two linemen off the bench.
Kickoff at Acrisure Stadium for Pitt-Cincinnati is scheduled for 6:30 p.m.