PITTSBURGH — While the talk of training camp has been Pitt’s retooled passing game, the Panthers have just as much work to do ensuring that their rushing attack is as potent as it was a year ago.
The Panthers enter the 2019 season having lost two of the best running backs in the ACC. Qadree Ollison, now of the Atlanta Falcons, led the team with 1,213 rushing yards last season and eleven touchdowns. Darin Hall, most recently with the Green Bay Packers, was no slouch either, as he ran for 1,144 yards and ten scores. Ollison was third in the ACC in rushing, Hall was fifth.
Pitt will try to replace all that production with a skilled, but inexperienced group. Junior running back A.J. Davis has just 48 carries over the last two seasons. Sophomore Todd Sibley Jr. carried the ball just once in 2019.
They may be green, but Davis and Sibley Jr. are ready to make their mark in an offense that hopes to create more space with a revitalized passing game. Add in sophomore Mychale Salahuddin, and the Panthers should have a solid group at running back like they seemingly always do.
Freshman Daniel Carter and Vincent Davis should also see some opportunities this season, as head coach Pat Narduzzi is leaving the door open for any of the running backs to make an impact.
One of the deeper positions for the Panthers this season will be the defensive line. In addition to last year’s sacks (6.5) and tackles-for-loss (14) leader Rashad Weaver, the Panthers have surplus of talented defensive linemen with experience returning.
After spending time behind Weaver and former Panther Dwayne Hendrix last season, redshirt junior Patrick Jones II looks primed to snag a starting spot in 2019. Jones II had four sacks last season.
The Panthers also return senior Amir Watts, junior Keyshon Camp and sophomore Jaylen Twyman, who should all make a big impact this season at defensive tackle.
RIGHT ON TARGET
Kenny Pickett is looking sharp. The junior quarterback was on target again, as the quarterbacks and wide receivers threw routes during Thursday’s practice on the South Side. Pickett was hitting every pass, and looks to be building chemistry with a majority of the wideouts, tight ends and running backs.
SIGHTS AND SOUNDS
Here are the rest of the sights and sounds from the sixth day of Pitt training camp.