PITTSBURGH — In Pitt’s first three games of the 2019 season, the Panthers didn’t manage a single turnover on defense.
That changed in Pitt’s win last Saturday against UCF. Phil Campbell III and Jason Pinnock each had an interception and Aaron Mathews blocked a punt that was recovered by Wendell Davis.
Coming into the season, Pitt’s defensive leaders had decided to come up with their own version on Miami’s turnover chain — something to reward players that earn a takeaway.
With the Panthers finally breaking through with three turnovers on Saturday, it was time for their idea to be unveiled. Each time the defense gets a turnover this year, they will all surround a mini basketball hoop and the man with the football will get a chance to show off his dunking abilities.
— Joe Lassi (@joelassi) September 22, 2019
“We decided to do it as a defense, to bring some juice,” said Patrick Jones II on Monday while talking to the media. “Every time we get a turnover, you get to dunk it … Whoever gets the turnover.”
The defense had been eager for the chance to bring out the hoop prior to the turnovers against UCF.
“It was fun to see out little turnover celebration of dunking the ball … That was definitely fun,” said Jaylen Twyman.
Twyman is taking some of the credit for coming up with the idea, with help from Demar Hamlin and a couple of the other seniors on Pitt’s defensive unit.
“It’s definitely [going] on the road,” said Twyman. “We were just waiting to break the ice on stuff like that.”
There wasn’t too much creativity brought to the table when it came to the dunks in the debut of the turnover hoop but Twyman doesn’t think that will last.
“We got to get some more of those and do some trick dunks,” said Twyman.
A number of the players on the team have played basketball growing up and still enjoy the game, but Twyman knows that his physicality and getting after the quarterback has always been his strength.
“That’s why I played football and didn’t play [basketball] in high school … because I got in too many fights,” said Twyman. “I’d have five fouls, 20 rebounds, and two points.”
The turnover hoop will continue to evolve and will try to give the Panthers’ defense some extra “juice”.