PITTSBURGH — In this week’s Film Study, I broke down the issues with Pitt’s running game, particularly the Panthers’ inability to establish an inside running game.
Monday, head coach Pat Narduzzi explained in his press conference some of the issues that the Panthers face running the ball inside, particularly when it comes to utilizing someone like Jordan Whitehead in that role.
Tuesday, the Panthers were back on the practice field and the backs were working on and old Matt Canada standby: the jet sweep / inside zone combo.
Pitt used that combination a ton last season, with the jet sweep action used to get the middle linebacker to move to the motion side of the center, leaving a running lane for the back to the short side. With Quadree Henderson and James Conner, Pitt had a deadly combination on this play a season ago. Henderson is so fast that linebackers had to cheat to the outside to stay with him. Conner is so strong that cheating linebackers that couldn’t square him up could never bring him down with an arm tackle.
I broke down that particular play combo extensively last year after Pitt beat Virginia
Tuesday, Pitt had Qadree Ollison, Darrin Hall and A.J. Davis out there working on the play, with newly moved-RB Phil Campbell also out there.
After practice, running backs coach Andre Powell, Hall and Davis spoke to the media. Check it out.
The Panthers weren’t happy with the way they tackled in the running game against NC State, so there were plenty of tackling drills to be seen on Tuesday. Check them out in the sights and sounds of Pitt’s Week 8 practice.
Ben DiNucci was taking all of the reps with the first team, but Kenny Pickett looked good in individual quarterback drills. Here’s a sampling:
As you can see, Thomas MacVittie is on the scout team, cementing his status as an emergency option only for the Panthers.
Here’s Pickett on what he liked and didn’t like about his first meaningful playing time.