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Sights and Sounds From Pitt Practice: Tackling Drills, Passing Chemistry

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Pitt head coach Pat Narduzzi kicked off the Panthers 12th practice of summer camp by talking about the team’s camaraderie, emphasizing the 2021 team’s “We, not me” mantra.

“It’s we-we, not me-me,” Narduzzi said. “It’s all about the team, the team comes first.”

Narduzzi voiced his complaints with the individualistic culture of social media, although no issues with social media from the Panthers are readily apparent.

FRESHMAN PHENOMS

Narduzzi mentioned several first-year players that he thinks will have a role on the team this year, including running back Rodney Hammond and defensive back P.J. O’Brien.

“Rodney’s been good…I’ve been happy with where he is as a freshman,” Narduzzi said. “He can get carries [this season].”

When talking about O’Brien, Narduzzi lauded his feisty play.

“P.J., he’s fiery. He’s gonna talk a lot, he’s gonna get in your head. He’s doing well,” Narduzzi said. “He’s gonna play for us this year.”

Narduzzi praised true freshman defensive backs Stephon Hall, Noah Biglow, Khalil Anderson and Tamarion Crumpley, as well as defensive lineman Elliot Donald and the tight end group, but remained non-committal on if they’ll get playing time in 2021. 

POSITION GROUP PRACTICES

Defensive position groups focused on tackling drills, shedding blocks, wrapping up on dummies and blocking sleds. 

The receivers and quarterbacks continued to work on routes and rhythm and had a nice day in practice, minimizing both drops and errant passes. 

Running plays dominated the team drills as the running back battle continues to be a focus. Israel Abanikanda had a nice run inside where he made it through the defense untouched. Narduzzi again emphasized the moving parts that go into a successful running game, this time focusing on the running backs themselves.

“A good back is his own blocker,” Narduzzi said. “BYOB: be your own blocker. [You’ve] gotta make people miss, I think that’s what you have to do at that position.”

Sandy Schall, Coldwell Banker
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