Pitt head coach Pat Narduzzi did not offer an update on any of his injured players during his weekly press conference on Monday, but he did make a type of a statement with the depth chart that was also released early Monday afternoon.
Pitt tight end Lucas Krull, who missed Saturday’s game with a left knee injury and was using crutches to get around on the sideline, is not listed on Pitt’s depth chart in advance on Saturday’s game against NC State.
Pitt also gave Krull’s uniform No. 7 to wide receiver DJ Turner, seemingly signifying a long-term absence, though Narduzzi insisted that the tight remains “day to day.” A graduate transfer from Florida, Pitt had big hopes that Krull would become a weapon in the passing game after lackluster results at the position over the last few years. Krull caught just one pass so far this season. He also missed the Austin Peay game with an undisclosed injury.
Krull was joined on the Pitt sideline by fellow tight ends Kyi Wright and Jake Zilinskas. Zilinskas was injured against Syracuse. Wright’s absence was not explained, though he did not dress against Louisville. In their place, redshirt juniors Grant Carrigan and Daniel Moraga earned most of the playing time at tight end, and to Narduzzi, played to mixed results.
“I saw some busts. I saw some mistakes,” Narduzzi said. “We had more mental errors in the tight end room than we had in the entire offensive line who played, you know, how many plays. There’s one tight end out there probably per snap, maybe every once in a while you put two. We just had mental errors there. I think Danny Moraga is really good. Grant Carrigan didn’t have any. He had a winning performance.”
Carrigan a 6-foot-7, 285-pound Pine Richland alum, had played 27 games at tight end for the Panthers over the last two season and made one start, but was slated to be moved to tackle this season. Instead, he was back in his familiar No. 84 for the season opener and has remained there since.
“Grant is tough and has gotten a lot better,” Narduzzi said. “We’re excited about what he’s become — a better blocker — because that offensive line work that he’s had. So I’m excited about where Grant is, especially with that winning performance that he had.”
Narduzzi has listed Carrigan as the presumptive starter for Saturday’s game against the Wolfpack, with Moraga and Wright given joint second-team designations.
Pitt’s other injured starter that missed the Louisville game, linebacker Wendell Davis, was also removed from Pitt’s depth chart. Davis suffered an injury to his right knee and was also on crutches on the sideline. He was replaced by Chase Pine in the starting lineup, with Brandon George providing depth. Like Krull, Narduzzi characterized Davis as day to day.
Pitt suffered two other in-game injuries of significance on Saturday, with running back A.J. Davis and right tackle Gabe Houy both leaving the game with first-half injuries and not returning. Davis suffered a lower-body injury. Houy injured his right arm. Narduzzi did not offer any update on their condition.
Houy was replaced first by Keldrick Wilson and then Carson Van Lynn. Israel Abanikanda worked as the primary change of pace to starting running back Vincent Davis after A.J. Davis was injured.
“Carson played a really good game,” Narduzzi said. “He had one bust in protection; you guys could probably watch it. He saw a corner coming and there’s a guy that’s like 260 in front of you, or 280, whatever he is, and then there’s a 185-pound guy there. He jumped out and tried to block the corner and left a big ol’ five-technique for Vince Davis to block.”
The play resulted in a sack and fumble, but Davis was able to recover Kenny Pickett’s fumble. Narduzzi seemed to prefer Van Lynn’s performance over that of Wilson, a graduate transfer from Hampton.
“When Keldrick was in there, you know, saw a guy run by him,” Narduzzi said. “I saw him getting out of his stance a little bit late. I kind of focused on that. … He’s just getting better. I like where Keldrick is. He’s probably not where we want him to be right now.”