PITTSBURGH — The quarterback is the leader of the offense, and for most football teams, he’s one of the biggest overall leaders.
Presumptive Pitt starter Kenny Pickett is just a sophomore with one career start, but that doesn’t seem to have changed much in terms of the usual hierarchy.
After Pitt’s first official practice of 2018 training camp on Friday, Pickett laid down the facts about what he saw as a disappointing 2017 campaign for the program.
“Last year, honestly, it was embarrassing,” Pickett said. “I was embarrassed. Some people won’t say that, but I love to win. We win at Pittsburgh. So, 5-7 won’t happen again, I can guarantee that.”
Pickett added that he’s used the teams’ substandard finish a year ago as motivation for keeping his teammates on their toes.
“I’ll say that to the guys,” Pickett said. “If some guys is having a bad day, winning teams don’t have bad days. They don’t have off days like that. We all know the expectations. We want double-digits wins. We want to be in a January bowl game. We want all of it and we’re coming for it.”
How has that attitude gone over with the more experienced members of Pitt’s squad, including those that were key components of last year’s team? Just fine, according to offensive tackle Alex Bookser.
“He’s not afraid of anybody — not afraid to tell me to shut up,” Bookser said. “He’s a different kind of guy and it’s awesome to have him leading the huddle.”
Bookser smiled and then clarified that Pickett is only one that’s allowed to tell him to shut up
“He plays like a senior,” Bookser added. “He’s super smart. He’s a tremendous competitor.”
It wasn’t all that long ago that Pickett was a fresh-faced freshman on the scout team, and even still, he’s started just one game, but he’s still expected to not succeed, but excel.
“I think the expectations are way up there, somewhere,” Narduzzi said, extending one arm to the sky. “He’s still a true sophomore. He has not played that much, but he’s a leader. We trust in that guy.”
Pitt has a lot of questions to answer this training camp in order to avoid another 5-7 season or worse, considering the difficulty of the club’s 2018 schedule, but it seems that quarterback is not going to be one of them.
Pickett will start, Pickett will lead, and if you believe him, he’s going to lead Pitt to more victories than a year ago.