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“He (Lewis) is quick, fast, not great size but he is the same type of back that Jacquizz is,” Whittingham said. “He has great vision and balance. He is a powerful runner in regards to his size.”

The challenge this season is that opposing defensive coordinators have had an entire offseason, not just a hurried week of pregame preparation, to design schemes to control Lewis. With the unproven Sunseri at quarterback, opponents know that Pitt will lean heavily on Lewis during the early part of the season.

Not that Wannstedt would have it any other way.

Being able to recruit running backs like Lewis is one reason why Wannstedt stays with a pro-style offense that often includes a blocking fullback, Henry Hynoski. The last three seasons, Lewis and LeSean McCoy combined to rush for 4,615 yards; McCoy gained 1,488 yards as a sophomore and 1,328 as a freshman before going to the NFL.

“I think we’ll be even better this year,” Hynoski said. “That might be hard to believe for some people because we did so well last year. But I think we’ll have an even bigger year. We’re primed for it.”