PITTSBURGH — Pitt linebacker Chase Pine has moved to defensive end, Panthers head coach Pat Narduzzi announced before his team’s practice on Tuesday.
Pine, a redshirt sophomore from Williamsburg, Virginia, played in nine games and had 11 tackles in his first collegiate action in 2017. Six of those tackles came at Virginia Tech on Nov. 18, when he earned his most extensive playing time.
In his time at Pitt, Pine has played both the “Mike” and “Money” linebacker positions. This summer, he had been lining up as a middle linebacker, battling with fellow redshirt freshman Elias Reynolds to be the primary backup to fifth-year senior starter Quinten Wirginis.
“Elias has been doing really good there, and it’s not that Chase wasn’t doing good, but it’s a two-way battle,” Narduzzi said. “How long are we going to wait to have three really good “Mikes” when we can find a way to get a guy on the field.”
The Panthers also have more depth at the position in the form of true freshman Wendell Davis, who has impressed coaches since arriving on campus.
That depth, combined with a desire to get Pine on the field more often in order to utilize his pass-rushing skills, were the reasons Narduzzi gave for the move.
Pitt also has plenty of depth at defensive end, where James Folston, Dewayne Hendrix and Rashad Weaver all have starting experience and Patrick Jones had provided solid depth. But Narduzzi said he feels that Pine will be able to make an immediate impact at that position.
“He’s big, he’s athletic and we’ve got some different styles of defensive ends that we like and he fits into the mold,” Narduzzi said. “He’s pretty smart. We’ll see.”
Narduzzi said that Pine will still play linebacker in the team’s sub packages, where he will most likely be used as a pass-rushing threat.
Here are Narduzzi’s full remarks to the media before Tuesday’s practice
Pine worked out with the defensive ends on Tuesday.
Here are Pine and defensive line coach Charlie Partridge talking about the move: