PITTSBURGH — After a day off on Monday, Pitt’s football team returned to practice on Tuesday under drab conditions of an overcast sky and sprinkle that turned into a driving rain on the South Side.
That suited Pitt head coach Pat Narduzzi just fine, as he wasn’t totally satisfied with the way his offense held onto the football during the team’s scrimmage on Saturday.
“Ball security was solid for three quarters of the game and then it got a little sloppy,” Narduzzi said Monday. “That’s how the defense won the scrimmage.”
With ball security at the front of his mind, Narduzzi’s men went through their ball security drills with a slick football and less-than-ideal conditions.
Emerging on the other side of that victorious was starting quarterback Kenny Pickett. If there have been ball security issues on the offense, they haven’t come on Pickett’s watch. He said after practice Tuesday that he hasn’t been intercepted once all season and that he takes ball security issues with the offense personally.
“I’m really priding myself in this camp on protecting the ball and that’s what I’ve done so far,” Pickett said. “I’m going to carry it out into the season. I think it’s huge. If you don’t turn the ball over, you have a really good shot at winning the game.”
Here’s more from Pickett, along with the rest of Pitt’s quarterbacks, wide receivers and tight ends working on holding onto the football in today’s soggy version of training camp sights and sounds:
Those that would disrupt Pickett’s perfect passing streak this summer weren’t the only ones paying close attention to Pitt’s quarterback on Tuesday. An AFC scout from one of the Steelers’ rivals was asking about Pickett’s future NFL potential.
AIRING IT OUT
One of the areas that Pitt hopes to improve upon from 2017 is the ability to go deep aerially. One of the big plays of the scrimmage was a deep pass from Pickett to freshmen Shocky Jacques-Louis in the shadow of Pitt’s goal posts.
“It was a nice deep ball,” Narduzzi said. “We didn’t see too many of those last year. We’ve been throwing the deep ball a lot better than we have in the past.”
“We definitely didn’t hit as many deep ones as we need,” Pickett said. “I think that’s something we’ve been harping on this season. I think that’s something Shocky is going to help with. Maurice Ffrench has also been doing a great job of getting vertical.”
ALL OVER THE PLACE
The biggest news item of the day was Chase Pine’s move from linebacker to defensive end, but there have been plenty of other players making part-time shifts. Defensive tackle Keyshon Camp has been getting reps at end, cornerback Paris Ford continues to work with the wide receivers at times and newly minted tight ends Jim Medure and Kaymar Mimes have gotten positive reviews after starting out as defensive ends.