Thanks to a pair of inexcusable one-point losses to NC State and Boston College, Pitt’s 2020 season is on life-support with the prognosis looking terminal.
Considering the remaining schedule of games with Miami, Notre Dame, Florida State, Virginia Tech, Georgia Tech and Clemson, even the most optimistic Pitt fan could pick out two or three realistically winnable games.
If this turns out to be the case and Pitt finishes the season with only five wins, they’ll be plenty of unhappy and nervous individuals in the Pitt athletic department.
This is a roster that looks to have possibly half a dozen future NFL prospects and one that Pat Narduzzi has openly referred to as his most talented since taking this job five years ago.
A four or five win season would represent a failure by this coaching staff and a setback for the program.
Coming up with a list of things that are holding this team back is easy as you can point to a coach that fails to adjust possibly because it would be a outward sign of being wrong, a running game that has been invisible for two years, failure to develop the offensive line and tight end positions, questionable offensive play-calling and weekly big plays allowed by the secondary.
I could go on because the problems are easy to dissect, but the hard part is coming up with solutions.
The most popular solution amongst the fan base right now seems to be to fire Narduzzi.
It’s not crazy or out of line to believe that this program should be in a better spot than it is and continuing their pattern of losing winnable games and playing down to opposition.
The reality is Narduzzi is under contract through 2024 and in these uncertain financial times, it’s highly unlikely the university would be willing to eat that many years of a pretty substantial contract.
While a change at the top is unlikely, the same can’t be said for the offensive staff and their philosophy. Mark Whipple was hired two years ago to improve the passing attack and overall effectiveness of the offense.
While they are passing for more yards, there’s no question that the once famous running game is a complete disaster. Since Whipple’s arrival last year, Pitt’s running game has regressed to the point of being embarrassing.
The question still remains, is the problem the talent at running back, on the offensive line or the overall run scheme? The bigger question does Whipple have the ability and willingness to make the proper changes?
Until Pitt shows the ability to run the ball, most of the current problems on offense will continue?
In order to run the ball, you need the big men up front to do so and it’s looking as though Pitt lacks that crucial element. Is that because of lack of development by this staff or was it misevaluation when recruiting?
When questioning an offensive scheme or personnel, that’s a tricky thing to change because most of these players were recruited to play in a certain system.
The other disappointing part of the job Whipple’s doing is his inability to take full advantage of his speed and young playmakers. Pitt continues to run a conservative passing attack that runs horizontal passes instead of going vertical. The full playmaking ability of players like Shocky Jacques-Louis, Jordan Addison, Taysir Mack and Jaylon Barden aren’t being utilized due to the offensive philosophy.
Their are no easy solutions to these problems but that’s why Heather Lyke is paying Narduzzi the bug bucks.
This administration has shown tremendous faith in Narduzzi by rewarding him with multiple pay raises despite not advancing the program much.
It’s past time Narduzzi started to reward his bosses for their faith in him by coming up with solutions or else Pitt could be starting the seemingly every few year ritual of finding someone to lead this program.