PITTSBURGH — Pitt assistant head coach and defensive line coach Charlie Partridge is in his third year back with the Panthers after he served on the staff from 2003-07 under Walt Harris and Dave Wannstedt.
Before coming back for the second stint with Pitt, Partridge coached at Wisconsin, Akransas, and most recently as the head man at Florida Atlantic.
When Partridge was at Wisconsin he had a big hand in the development of current NFL all-pro J.J. Watt. So you could say he has has some great experience in coaching talented defensive lineman.
With this defensive line that he has at Pitt this season evolving into a dominant force, Partridge gives all the credit of the success to the players. However, the way that he leads them in the right direction and has them buy into what he’s teaching gives a clear picture of why the success is there.
Pitt’s defensive line is currently No. 13 in the country and has 19 of the teams 27 sacks.
“We thought this had a chance to be a breakout year, for the group,” Partridge said. “With the production of Jaylen (Twyman) and Patrick (Jones II) and Haba’s (Habakkuk Baldonado) doing a nice job with his development. … But really all of them have been able to rise with the tide.”
The development of those guys became even more crucial when Rashad Weaver and Keyshon Camp went down with season-ending injuries. Partridge says that he tries to eliminate the thoughts of thinking ‘what could have been’ with those guys out there.
“If I get into that, then my mind will go to a bad place — I know that, so I try to control myself,” Partridge said of missing arguably his top two guys.
Partridge will gladly take the compliment of what his group has been able to accomplish this year, with the odds against them from the beginning of the season.
“It’s certainly a compliment, in terms of the depth that we have been able to build,” Partridge said. “You’re trying to build a culture where we (as players and coaches) are trying to teach and develop each other.”
“I walk in (to the facility) every morning and I’m having to change my schedule at night, so that I’m truly available in the morning,” Partridge said of his groups dedication. “I’m talking like six in the morning — There’s five, six, seven guys in the (film) room with their breakfast waiting to get extra work done. … And that’s every day.”
Partridge says that this defensive line group has brought the best out of him, as a coach. He isn’t going to take that for granted.
“In your career, you run across a couple people that make you better as a coach and challenge you as a coach,” Partridge said regarding some guys in his defensive lineman room. “(They) bring up things that make you really investigate portions of what you’re teaching.”
It’s evident that this group wants nothing more, than to continue to improve each and every day that they step foot in the film room and on the field.
While Pitt is currently on their bye week, and then a trip to Syracuse, expect the defensive line to be as prepared as ever to keep up their passioned play.