PITTSBURGH — Pitt got back onto the practice field Tuesday, taking things indoors at the Panthers South Side practice facility to get out of the still-sloppy weather.
With the turning of the page came a new focus, as well, as the Panthers began preparations for their unique task at hand of facing the flexbone, triple option attack of Georgia Tech.
Part of that option attack includes a serious propensity for cut blocks, and that’s one of the biggest things Pitt’s defensive players were working on Tuesday morning.
Here’s more in the sights and sounds from Pitt’s practice:
WHO PLAYS WHO?
If you were looking closely at the above safeties video, you’ll notice that Therran Coleman is wearing the blue top of an offensive player and the number 16. That’s because Coleman is going to spend this week as the scout team quarterback, mimicking Georgia Tech’s TaQuon Marshall.
But the Yellow Jackets played two passers last week in their 49-38 loss to South Florida, and backup Tobias Oliver played well enough that he may get some snaps going forward. Pat Narduzzi said on Monday that Pitt was going to prepare for both quarterbacks, and it’ll be Pitt freshman Nick Patti that works as Oliver this week.
Here’s Patti and the rest of the quarterbacks on Tuesday.
Holder Jake Scarton practiced with the same large brace on his left arm that he was wearing on Saturday and wide receiver Kellen McAlone was working with Pitt’s specialists on Tuesday, so it seems like McAlone is at least Plan A for the Panthers going forward.
Or does it? Freshman kicker Will Connelly, a Beaver who was with the Panthers during the summer but did not participate in training camp, was at practice on Tuesday. I can’t say for certain when he was added to the roster, but it’s possible Scarton’s injury is serious enough that it could also prevent him from serving as the backup to Alex Kessman.
During one drill, defensive coordinator Randy Bates was supervising the cornerback when he pulled Paris Ford aside to give him some further instruction about jamming receivers and fighting through blocks.
Georgia Tech announced that the Yellow Jackets will wear head-to-white on Saturday. Pitt was wearing its primary gold helmets. The Panthers wore their throwbacks the last time Georgia Tech came to Heinz Field.
— Georgia Tech Football (@GeorgiaTechFB) September 10, 2018
Georgia Tech head coach Paul Johnson said that starting B-back KirVonte Benson will miss the rest of the 2018 season after suffering a knee injury against South Florida last week.
“I feel terrible for him, because he worked hard, but he’ll be back,” Johnson said. He’s a strong kid and he’ll work hard. He’s undergone that before. He had it happen in high school, so hopefully he’ll be back.”
Benson had 1,053 yards on 204 carries in his first season starting as a sophomore in 2017. He had 196 yards and two touchdowns against the Panthers in Atlanta last year.
He’ll likely be replaced by redshirt freshman Jordan Mason. Mason has 180 yards and a touchdown on 24 carries so far this season.
The B-back in Georgia Tech’s offense is the larger and more physical of the three players that line up in the backfield.
Here’s the rest of Johnson’s press conference.
After Georgia Tech, Pitt will travel to North Carolina to face the Tar Heels in their first road game of the season on Sept. 22.
The Tar Heels canceled their game against Central Florida this week in response to the approaching Hurricane Florence.
SCHEDULE ALERT: Due to Hurricane Florence, Saturday’s game against @UCF_Football will not be played.
— Carolina Football (@TarHeelFootball) September 11, 2018
Elsewhere, West Virginia’s game at North Carolina State is cancelled. Wake Forest moved its game against Boston College to Thursday at 5:30 p.m.
Pitt volleyball, scheduled to play a two-game tournament at Coastal Carolina on Friday and Saturday, has not yet modified their schedule, according to a team spokesperson.