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Pitt Football

Sights and Sounds From Pitt Practice: Tackles and Teambuilding

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The Panthers had a scrimmage at Heinz Field on Sunday, Aug. 22, and head coach Pat Narduzzi said that their starting lineup is coming together with 11 days remaining before the season opener.

Narduzzi said that both the offense and defense had capable showings, with the run game making waves once again.

“The offense ran the ball on the defense,” Narduzzi said. “But there was only one explosive gain, which is good for the defense.”

FUN IN THE SUN

The scrimmage capped off a run of 11 straight days with practice, and Narduzzi took his team to Kennywood as a reward for their hard work. 

Teamwork and camaraderie, very much the Panthers’ M.O. this season, came up once again as Narduzzi discussed their day at the amusement park.

“The highlight was hanging out with our guys in line and talking to them,” Narduzzi said. “So often we’re coaching them hard in the meetings… we needed a break.”

KICKING THINGS OFF

Practice began with another kicking competition, one with much better results than last week. Kickers Ben Sauls and Sam Scarton combined for a perfect 10-for-10 during the period. 

Narduzzi said that the Panthers need a kicker to step up to replace Alex Kessman, who left for the NFL in April.

“Now that Kess is gone, all of a sudden that 86% [kick conversion rate] is not there,” Narduzzi said. “We need to get it back up to 86.”

TACKLE COMPETITION

Narduzzi said that Gabe Houy and Carter Warren have the upper hand over Matt Goncalves as the two starting tackles. 

According to Narduzzi, quarterback Kenny Pickett prefers Warren as his left tackle, so Houy will likely play at right tackle.

Despite Goncalves taking the back burner to the two redshirt seniors, Narduzzi reiterated his confidence in the young tackle. 

“We trust Matt to go out there and be a starter for us,” Narduzzi said. “He’s a good player, and we’re excited for where he is.”

D-LINE SLEEPER

Narduzzi mentioned a handful of players who stood out in Sunday’s scrimmage, headlined by defensive tackle Keyshon Camp.

“Camp is playing at a high level… he’s not gonna get hurt this year,” Narduzzi said. “He’s gonna be a force, so we’re excited about him.”

Camp has struggled with injuries throughout his career, but he mentioned after practice that he’s focused on “pre-hab” as well as rehab, taking care of his body through how he trains and eats in order to prevent further injuries. Camp is likely to start this year, and Narduzzi’s praise (and injury prediction) make him a player to watch at a position loaded with talent.

Sandy Schall, Coldwell Banker
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