Quarterback Kenny Pickett is still recovering from the ankle injury that forced him from Pitt’s loss to Boston College on Saturday, but head coach Pat Narduzzi isn’t ready to rule Pickett out for Pitt’s next road trip to Miami on Oct. 17.
Pickett injured his ankle after being sandwiched between Boston College defenders while scrambling in the third quarter of what became a 31-30 overtime loss to the Eagles on Saturday.
He missed the rest of one offensive series and was replaced by Arizona State transfer Joey Yellen, who handed off twice to Vincent Davis as Pitt scored a touchdown.
Pickett returned and led to Pitt to overtime, before the Panthers lost on Alex Kessman’s missed extra point. He was in obvious pain after returning and could not walk without a limp, putting his availability for Pitt’s next game in doubt.
“Kenny, he’s banged up,” Narduzzi said on Monday. “But he was a lot better yesterday than I thought he might be. We’ll see what happens at practice this week, but the one thing I know about Kenny is he’s tough as can be. You talk about nails, that guy, that last run he had down on the goal line, he’s tough, and it’s going to be hard to hold him out, that’s for sure.”
It’s not clear if it would be Yellen or fellow redshirt freshman Davis Beville would start if Pickett is unable to play. When Pickett left an earlier game this season, it was Beville that replaced him, not Yellen, who got the call on Saturday. Narduzzi refused to commit to either player being the primary backup at this juncture.
“I don’t know who (the No. 2 quarterback) is right now, but every week we try to figure that out, and it depends on how good of a week every quarterback has, and whichever quarterback has the best week will be that first guy to come in,” Narduzzi said.
Yellen started one game as a true freshman at Arizona State last season, while Beville has never thrown a pass in an NCAA game. Fellow backup Nick Patti saw extensive action is place of Pickett in 2019, completing 26 of 43 passes for 301 yards, three touchdowns and one interception.