After losing 44-41 to Western Michigan in embarrassing fashion last Saturday, quarterback Kenny Pickett and wide receiver Jordan Addison, who have combined for 23 passes for 407 yards and eight touchdowns this season, knew they had to make a statement.
“I think everyone was pretty pissed off, we wanted to come in and get a win convincingly,” Pickett said. “We had a meeting on Sunday, we kinda got it squared away. Just a players meeting, and everyone got on the same page…it’s a wake up call. You can always spin something negative into something positive.”
The duo starred again against New Hampshire, with Addison reeling in six of Pickett’s passes for 179 yards and three touchdowns.
Both Pickett and Addison emphasized their shared mindsets.
He has a really similar mindset to me, so I think that’s why we get along so well,” Pickett said “We’re always on the same page.”
Addison said that the way they practice translates to Saturdays.
“We just know each other’s strengths and weaknesses,” Addison said. “Every day in practice we just go full tilt, we work hard, so when game time comes everything will be easy.”
Pickett already has a new season high for touchdown passes just a third of the way into the season. Addison and the rest of the receiving corps do what they can to make their quarterback’s life easier.
“We’re starting to believe in ourselves, we’ve just having confidence everytime that ball is in the air. We just go get it,” Addison said. “My goal is to break tackles and get yards after the catch.”
Now in year two together, Addison said that Pickett trusts him innately to make big plays.
“Every time i got a deep ball, he just tells me ‘run as fast as you can, they can’t run with you,’” Addison said. “He just puts it there every time, he just puts it right on the money.”
Pickett added that the way they practice has contributed to their special connection on the playing field.
“Work and time, I mean that’s the only way you’re going to improve in this game,” Pickett said. “You can’t just walk out there and go put on performances like that.”
The Panthers have emphasized teamwork repeatedly this season, and in their 77-7 win over New Hampshire, nearly everyone got a chance to contribute. Pickett said that seeing his other teammates get a chance to make plays was a huge bonus for him.
““It’s a great feeling. You’re seeing guys like Eli Kosanovich getting in there, a kid who’s worked really hard to get in that position,” Pickett said. “Having him go out there and get some snaps, I was really, really happy for him.”
Pickett said he made sure to cheer on his teammates as they got a chance to contribute because of the way that they back him as he plays.
“That’s what it’s all about, supporting your teammates,” Pickett said. “They support us when we’re in there, so it’s great to see those guys get in as well.”