PITTSBURGH – Following head coach Pat Narduzzi’s disheartening announcement that junior defensive end Rashad Weaver will miss the entire 2019 season with a torn ACL, the Pitt defensive line was back to work on the seventh day of training camp from the South Side in search of their next man up.
Weaver paced the Panthers in sacks (6.5) and tackles-for-loss (14) last season, and is one of the leaders in the locker room. He also recovered three fumbles, which was also a team best.
While junior defensive end Patrick Jones II was Weaver’s likely running mate on the opposite side of the defense, the Panthers are now in search of his replacement. Through the first week of training camp, sophomore Deslin Alexandre and redshirt freshman John Morgan look to be the two most likely candidates to compete for Weaver’s snaps.
Weaver was still an active member of practice with his position group, looking on and providing coaching to his teammates.
The Panthers defensive line worked on pass rush moves and generating turnovers on Friday, as they continue to work towards the season opener on Aug. 31 against Virginia.
The Panthers practiced blitz pickup during the media viewing window of practice on Friday. The drill pitted three offensive linemen, a tight end and a running back against five defenders, as they try to correctly pickup and block exotic blitz packages. The offense had to allow the quarterback enough time to complete a pass to the boundary.
Defenders were doing a solid job of applying pressure, but the offense responded well, giving the quarterbacks ample time to make an accurate throw. The running backs especially held their own in pass protection, which is something they will be asked to do more in Mark Whipple’s offense.
Pitt defensive backs also worked on their ball skills during Friday’s practice. The Panther’s defense intercepted nine passes in 2018, and is looking to exceed that total this season.
SIGHTS AND SOUNDS
Here are the rest of the sights and sounds from the seventh day of Pitt training camp.