PITTSBURGH – Pitt junior defensive end Rashad Weaver will miss the entire 2019 season with a torn ACL, as Pitt head coach Pat Narduzzi announced on Friday.
Following practice, players and coaches shared their reactions to Weaver’s injury and what it means for the Panthers moving forward.
Pitt defensive coordinator Randy Bates expressed his heartbreak for Weaver, but said that he is taking it well.
“Well, first of all it’s just really sad for the kid,” Bates said. “You just feel sorry that it has to happen. It is part of the game, and he has taken it outstanding. If you noticed, he was out there coaching the guys up today. He is just a tremendous kid.”
Bates also mentioned that he is confident that the younger players behind Weaver will be able to step up and contribute in his absence.
“We will see who steps up,” Bates said. “Obviously it’s Des’s turn, but we have plenty of young guys behind and it’s their opportunity too.”
Junior defensive end Patrick Jones II and sophomore defensive end Deslin Alexandre also shared their reaction to Weaver’s injury. While Jones II was going to play opposite Weaver, Alexandre is the most likely candidate to replace him on the starting defense. Both players voiced their support for Weaver.
“Anytime you have a thing like this, it’s like, you know, that’s our brother,” Alexandre said. “You never want to see one of your boys go down. But we know we want to keep fighting for him.”
Jones II and Alexandre also talked about how they will have to make up for the loss of Weaver in their new roles going forward.
Weaver led the Panthers in sacks (6.5), tackles-for-loss (14) and fumbles recoveries (3) last season, and was expected to have a breeakout season in 2019.
During Pitt’s media day on Aug. 2, Weaver told Pittsburgh Sports Now that his personal goal for the season was to win ACC Defensive Player of the Year.