I'm still getting caught up on some of the updates on camp and where things stand with the team, but I'm encouraged by what I've read so far.
Cheesesteakwithegg's spoiler post above hits on a lot of the same thoughts I had about various positions and players, but I'll throw some other thoughts out there.
1. Voytik has apparently had his share of struggles in camp so far, but it sounds like it's stuff that just along the standard developmental curve of any redshirt sophomore QB getting to run the offense for the first time. In other words, I don't think Chryst is going to have to eliminate entire sections of the playbook in order for him to be functional. Even moreso, I don't think opposing defenses will know Chryst had to eliminate entire sections of the playbook in order for his QB to be functional.
2. For the first time in probably 5 years, there appears to be a bonafide two-deep along the offensive line. I think there are a lot of players who are still works in progress, but the depth is there and much of it is comprised of players with actual pedigree. This should make it much easier to bear the burden of any injuries along the offensive line this year as opposed to the two previous years.
3. O-line is critical because Voytik likes to get outside the pocket. If the line can protect him on its own and free up JP Holtz as another receiving threat, that could be a huge plus for the offense.
4. I'll be interested to see who emerges opposite Boyd at wideout. Ronald Jones was a prototype Todd Graham guy - small, very quick and brought in to exploit quick slants and skinny post patters, so he could do some damage in the slot, especially if Orndoff is running down the other side. Jennings really looks the part and is said to be one of the better receivers already in terms of blocking, so I expect we'll see at least something from him. Intrigued by Challingsworth and Weah as well.
5. Chryst's penchant for deep backfields at Wisconsin was one of the reasons I was happy Pitt hired him, and he's building the same thing here. With so much built around quick-strike offenses, you know you're going to have to be able to score at least 30-35 points to win games and maybe more. But if Pitt can build an offense capable of doing that AND chewing up some clock into the 3rd and 4th quarters, that's a huge advantage.
Some more thoughts later, but I'll also say this...
I think one other thing will manifest itself this year in actual gameplay, and that's the idea that this program finally has an identity again. I'm talking internally much more than externally here. This is identity as it relates to all the players and all the coaches moving forward together. This has been a common theme that I've read and heard from people who have covered or been around the team since spring ball. There's a sense of unification and purpose that wasn't there in 2012, and was still mostly developing in 2013.
Pitt critics mocked the way Graham's recruits and some of Wannstedt's younger recruits fled the program prior to the 2012 season and then again after, but 1) it was to be expected anyway and 2) it was necessary. It may have cost them a win or two in 2012, but so what? The trade-off was that it allowed Chryst to expedite the transition to making it HIS program. That's something this program lacked from the time the 2010 regular season ended. And it allowed them to get to this point all the sooner. That's a good thing.
It's Chryst's team now. It's his program now. The handful of guys left from the Wannstedt and Graham classes are the guys that bought into Chryst's program from the start; those players had time and options to salvage, but chose to stay. The rest are his recruits, and he showed no hesitation to play them if they earned it and he recognized that the team was better for it.
I still expect growing pains this year, and they may not do any better than 7-5 or maybe 8-4. And that's fine, especially if it's a strong 7-5 or 8-4 season. If younger players struggle but get better, it's fine. If they respond to a bad loss with bigger moments, it's fine. When you consider what they may be building towards in 2015 & 2016 (Years 4-5 of Chryst's tenure), it could reflect the strongest program Pitt has assmebled in decades.