Teamwork and competition are the two biggest buzz words around Pitt practices this year.
The Panthers 2021 mantra “We Not Me” and practice jerseys with “TEAM” emblazoned on the nameplates are two examples of the former. Any practice report as Pitt’s final roster shakes out displays the latter.
Quarterback Kenny Pickett said that “We Not Me” is his favorite of all the slogans the Panthers have used during his time in Pittsburgh.
“It’s all about the team, I think we kinda have that mindset going into this season,” Pickett said.“
Working together and competing against one another seem contradictory at face value, but Pickett explained how the two mindsets fit together.
“We’re building off each other, trying to take the next step,” Pickett said. “Competition breeds success… they’re working together as well, they’re helping each other out.”
What makes it worse is that college athletes have a limited shelf life: four full years of playing, maybe a fifth or even sixth in rare circumstances, and then their time is up. Many players transfer to get a chance at starting right away, knowing they need to milk their playing years as much as possible. Pickett took an altruistic approach in describing positional battles.
“The best man will play no matter what,” Pickett said. “So you might as well just work together and just go out there and play hard.”
In his last year with the Panthers, Pickett feels the ticking clock. He said that he emphasized the brevity of his college career during his senior speech to the team.
“You just can’t take a day off,” Pickett said. “This thing goes fast… you blink and it’s up.”
Building off of that, Pickett said that the special bond in Pitt’s locker room won’t matter unless the team succeeds.
“We have a really special group, a pretty tight group, but that doesn’t mean anything in the long run,” Pickett said. “We have to go out there and win games, we can’t waste a game, can’t waste a Saturday.”