Pitt is missing a pair of defensive backs at the Panthers’ practices leading up to the 2018 Sun Bowl.
Redshirt sophomore safety Bricen Garner and redshirt freshman Paris Ford, who had been moved from cornerback to safety earlier in bowl practice, were both absent as the Panthers began preparations on Thursday in El Paso, Texas.
Pitt head coach Pat Narduzzi said that Garner wasn’t there for “discipline reasons,” while Ford was absent for “personal reasons, family reasons.”
He did not elaborate in either case and does not expect either player to re-join the team in time for Tuesday’s contest against Stanford, but said there is “always a chance.”
“Unfortunately, those are two guys we don’t have here,” Narduzzi said. “Otherwise, we’ve got everybody else in that locker room.”
Narduzzi added that he expects both players to remain part of the program going forward.
“No question about that,” he said.
The losses could impact Pitt’s depth in the secondary, but neither player was expected to play a large role against Stanford.
Garner has been the team’s No. 3 field safety behind starter Damar Hamlin and backup Jazzee Stocker. Stocker plays both safety spots, which has led to most of Garner’s playing time. Garner had 11 tackles and a forced fumble in 13 games.
Ford had been stuck behind Dane Jackson, Phillipie Motley, Jason Pinnock and Damarri Mathis at corner. It’s not clear what, if any, role Pitt had devised for him at safety during the Sun Bowl. Ford had five tackles in nine games.
The only other announced departures for the game are transferring wide receiver Darian Street and graduating backup quarterback Ricky Town.