PITTSBURGH — On Monday, Pitt head coach Pat Narduzzi met with the media for his weekly press conference. This Saturday, the Panthers will travel to Georgia Tech to play the 2-5, 1-3 Yellow Jackets at 4 p.m.
Below, are five takeaways from what Narduzzi had to say on Monday.
On Saturday Pitt had a chance to win five straight games for the first time since 2009. Turnovers and a total struggle on the offensive end, erased that feat.
Pat Narduzzi wasn’t pleased following the game on Saturday and didn’t get over it for the remainder of the weekend.
“Obviously, a disappointing afternoon on Saturday — a tough one to swallow,” Narduzzi said on Monday. “Not only Saturday after the game, but even Sunday as you watch the tape.”
Pitt turned the ball over three times and failed to get in the end zone the whole game. Despite that, still found themselves winning the game late in the fourth quarter, until ultimately letting Miami score the game winning touchdown.
“Complacency, comfortable? — I don’t know what it was,” Narduzzi said. “We failed in (crucial) situations. But it’s a learning opportunity for our kids — We’ve moved onto the Georgia Tech game.”
Positive Rushing Attack
Pitt ran the ball 42 times for 176 yards on Saturday. Pitt quarterback Kenny Pickett only threw for 146 yards against the Hurricanes.
“The way we ran the ball (was a positive),” Narduzzi said. “People haven’t run the ball — against (Miami), like we did.”
That was the first time in Pitt’s first eight games that they rushed for more yards than they threw for.
“A.J. (Davis) is running solid,” Narduzzi said. “I like the way that V’Lique (Carter) didn’t dance around — he hit (the gap). I think that’s another positive.”
Running back Todd Sibley Jr. carried the ball four times for 55 yards, Carter rushed 11 times for 54 yards and Davis had 15 carries for 45 yards.
Georgia Tech ranks last in the ACC in rushing defense. They have allowed 226.1 yards per game and are allowing 4.8 yards per rush.
Moving Pieces On The Offensive Line
On the Pitt depth-chart this week, Narduzzi listed either/or starters at left tackle and right guard. Carter Warren and Carson Van Lynn at left tackle and Gabe Houy and Jake Kradel at right guard.
The last few weeks, all four of those guys have been getting reps up front, and there has yet to be a set in stone starting offensive line.
“Whether we rotate those guys in there or what — we’ll find a plan,” Narduzzi said. “Carson (Van Lynn) played well and Gabe Houy, as well –So, we’ll find out where we are (soon). I threw some ‘ors’ in their because I think (all) those guys deserve more reps.”
Dropped The Ball Against Miami
Pitt unofficially had six dropped passes in the 16-12 loss on Saturday. For a passing offense that has been potent all year, it seemed as if they forgot what they were good at against Miami.
Their were signs of the drops during the last few weeks, but the win column adding up made the drops more forgettable.
Narduzzi talked about how you handle a situation where the focus just isn’t there with regard to reeling in those fairly simple grabs.
“You talk to them (the players),” Narduzzi said. “It’s no different than a field goal kicker — you love them up, put your arm around them and try to get the best out of them (down the road).”
“The biggest thing is you got to let it go,” Narduzzi said about his players paying attention to the criticism that comes with those mental errors. “‘Oh, you’re reading Twitter? — that’s a dumb thing to do'”.
Narduzzi says that he would like to go get all of his players flip phones, so that they aren’t distracted by the junk that they read on their phones.
Can’t Snooze On Georgia Tech
Despite their 5-2, 1-3 record, Narduzzi is all in on preparing his team for the Yellow Jackets.
“They beat Miami the week before (we lost to them),” Narduzzi said. “(Head coach) Geoff Collins is a defensive guy — and very creative on the offensive end. You don’t really know what you are going to get (from them) offensively.”
With the Miami loss, Pitt didn’t fall in the ACC standings, so their championship goals continue this week when they hope to get back on the right track down in Atlanta on Saturday.