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PSN Poll Question: What Is The Biggest Problem With Pitt’s Running Game?

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Head coach Pat Narduzzi and the Pitt defense received all of the criticism following last Saturday’s loss to Western Michigan so lost in the outcome was something that has been a continuing issue with the Pitt program.

Since Mark Whipple was hired as Pitt’s offensive coordinator, the Panthers simply have not been able to run the football. That’s not an exaggeration, that’s just the ugly truth and the facts.

This flaw in their offense has been covered up over the last year because of the play of quarterback Kenny Pickett. However, following this season, Pickett won’t be the quarterback anymore and the offense likely won’t be relying so much on the passing game to move the football and they’ll have to be able to get some production on the ground.

Over the last two seasons, here are the game-by-game rushing leaders for Pitt running backs and as you can see, it’s not very impressive.

Western Michigan– Vincent Davis, 38 yards
Tennessee– Israel Abanikanda, 43 yards
UMass– Rodney Hammond, 44 yards
Austin Peay– Vincent Davis, 43 yards
Syracuse– Vincent Davis, 70 yards
Louisville– Vincent Davis, 68 yards
NC State– Vincent Davis, 49 yards
Boston College– Vincent Davis, 54 yards
Miami– A.J. Davis, 25 yards
Notre Dame– Vincent Davis, 34 yards
Florida State- Vincent Davis, 54 yards
Virginia Tech– A.J. Davis, 80 yards
Clemson– A.J. Davis, 21 yards
Georgia Tech– Vincent Davis, 248 yards

To fix the problem, determining the cause of the problem is key. Our PSN Poll Question for today is, what is the biggest reason Pitt can’t run the football?

Why Can't Pitt Run The Football?

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Sandy Schall, Coldwell Banker
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Jeff
Jeff
25 days ago

I’m of the belief that there is talent in the offensive line room but it’s not utilized to it’s full ability and in some cases not utilized at all. Goncalves for example played last year during Pitt’s most productive rushing effort versus Georgia Tech. For some reason Goncalves is not currently starting on the offensive line. I just want the most talented guys on the field and in some cases I don’t believe that’s what’s happening with our offensive line. Perhaps Narduzzi and Borbely believe their rewarding the patience and dedication of guys like Drexel for waiting their turn and… Read more »

Mugrad_89
Mugrad_89
25 days ago
Reply to  Jeff

I agree that at times it appears that Narduzzi favors experience over talent.

Clark Martineau
Clark Martineau
25 days ago

I sure would like to see the running game improve this week.
But I disagree with your assessment of Patti and Beville. I think either of them is ready to step in when Pickett moves on to the NFL. They’ll have a squadron of excellent receivers to pass to and have shown that they can run when necessary.

Jeff
Jeff
25 days ago

I can’t honestly say that I have serious concerns with Patti or Beville either. There will obviously be some growing pains and that’s natural and to be expected but having either take the reigns isn’t something that causes me serious concern. In the instances when Patti has entered the game I believe he’s shown composure and he’s performed well. I also have confidence in Beville moving forward.

Mugrad_89
Mugrad_89
25 days ago

You need to add a fifth option to your poll about the wrong running back being used. No way Davis should be starting over Izzy.

Chuck
Chuck
25 days ago

Talent at running back and OL I don’t is the issue. The running backs were talented enough to either be highly rated or highly recruited. OL has some talent too. To me the break down is with both Whipple and the O line coach either not fitting their system to the players they have (which is probably an issue team wide) or just bland, conservative, predicable, play calling or a combination of both. But talent isn’t the issue.

Jeff
Jeff
25 days ago

Below is a portion copied from the 2021 Pitt football roster concerning Matt Goncalves. And currently he is not among the starters on the offensive line. Pitt had Keldrick Wilson enter a game so far this year. Goncalves has not made an appearance thus far. Go figure! 👇👇👇 2020: Played in nine games, starting Pitt’s final three contests at left tackle…named a Freshman All-American by the Football Writers Association of America (FWAA)…in his initial start against Virginia Tech (Nov. 21), helped the Panthers compile a season-high 556 yards in a 47-14 win…made subsequent starts at Clemson (Nov. 28) and Georgia… Read more »

Last edited 25 days ago by Jeff
TMG
TMG
24 days ago

It takes the whole STAFF. OLC, OC, HC and AD INCLUDED. It’s not anyone coach they all have to look at them selves and call out the person in the mirror. Two years in a row they have REGRESSED yet KP excelled. In this world, You get what you pay for.

Jeff
Jeff
24 days ago

I’m not at all attempting to make excuses for Narduzzi by saying what I’m about to say because I believe this teams shortcomings thus far fall firmly on the coaching staff and Narduzzi’s excuse making and stubbornness but I think a real disaster is what they have in Nebraska with Scott Frost. In 4 years he’s like 14 and 22 I believe while making $5 million a year. That’s a proud program that has really fallen off since the Tom Osborne years. I do my best to be optimistic while remaining realistic when it comes to Pitt and where they… Read more »

Giovanni
Giovanni
24 days ago
Reply to  Jeff

Pretty sad that we now have to resort to comparing Pitt to one of the largest coaching change failures in college football. Geeze.

Jeff
Jeff
24 days ago
Reply to  Giovanni

I don’t see Narduzzi as an utter failure. I see him as having been decent in recruiting and for the most part improving overall talent on the roster. I see him as mediocre and not being a very competent game day coach. The team is scoring and the team has some talent. I just believe firmly that he won’t be the guy that brings Pitt to the next level. So in short my comment wasn’t so much a comparison to the Nebraska situation. I intended to convey that my belief is that Narduzzi will mean stable mediocrity. He’s not a… Read more »

Jeff
Jeff
24 days ago

Having stated that it could be worse I can’t help but wonder what Joe Moorhead could do for this program. I have a feeling that he could be the guy to really take this program to the next level and keep it there for a substantial period of time. So the overall feeling is that talent exists but I feel Moorhead could actually coach that talent up properly and further add to that talent for years to come. If the opportunity presents itself I hope Pitt jumps at that opportunity.

Last edited 24 days ago by Jeff
Realitychek
Realitychek
24 days ago
Reply to  Jeff

We better be ready to open up a write a big big check for Moorehead. I know he’s from Pittsburgh, but why would he take a Pitt job when he’s been a head coach in the SEC (albeit not successful)? He’s also building leverage for another big time program the way he’s running Oregon. If Franklin goes to USC, then Moorehead back to PSU is a more sensible job for him. In the long run, I think he’s one of those coaches who is a better coordinator than HC (Rex Ryan, Tom Herman, Manny Diaz)

Fizz
Fizz
24 days ago

It comes down to coaching philosophy…and Nardi hasn’t one on the offensive side of the ball. Under PC, we knew the run game was more important, and our run game flourished for several years after he left. It’s up to Nardi to be more specific as to what value he places on the offensive scheme.

Realitychek
Realitychek
24 days ago

I think the biggest reason is certainly not establishing a running game and sticking with it, but that might be because they can’t recruit good O-Lineman. Consistent 3 stars won’t get it done, very few turn into Jimmy Morrissey. Perfect example on this site:
Pitt recruiting Michael Crounse (not even rated by 247) and Jven Williams (another not rated, and their level of football at Wyomissing is awful)
Gotta find a way to get some studs.

Giovanni
Giovanni
24 days ago

There is a good amount of talent to be developed on the Pitt squad. However, none of this matters until the Panthers bring in a highly intelligent coach who can maximize player talent (and recruit at a higher level).

Duquesne WBB

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