PITTSBURGH — Pat Narduzzi made it quite clear Monday morning that Pitt football does not take any days off. Even on the weekend.
Pitt, now infamously, pushed through Saturday and Sunday practices down at the UPMC Rooney Sports Complex, and while the demise of Kedon Slovis was greatly exaggerated (more on that below), Narduzzi is happy with the work put in over the weekend.
“We’ve stayed relatively healthy off of six practices so far. Our guys are competing,” Narduzzi said. “I love the way they compete. Yesterday, first day in pads, was a back-and-forth. The offense would win one period, and the defense would come back and win the next. It was just kind of a back-and-forth thing, which you love to see.”
The back-and-forth, never-say-die competition is something Narduzzi has loved to see this year, considering there were times in years past when if one side took over during any practice, it stayed that way. The compete level in battling back from adversity is an encouraging sign for Narduzzi.
With just three Mondays remaining until the Backyard Brawl rolls around on Sept. 1, the compete level will only get higher.
Kedon Slovis is Fine
The reports of Slovis being carted off the field with a major injury during Saturday’s practice were false, but he did pick up a minor knock.
“I wouldn’t say he got hurt,” Narduzzi said, but he did say that Slovis would take it easier on Monday — and in the drills available to the media, Slovis did not take part. But he was out on the field with the team, walking around without any sort of brace or seemingly discomfort.
“Well, tomorrow’s an off day, so I guess it would be the next day (that Slovis practices in full),” Narduzzi said. “But he would be full tomorrow if we did go. I don’t know if you ever had a muscle spasm, but you’re talking muscle spasms… I’m not giving you any more information on health.”
According to Narduzzi, it’s nothing significant when it comes to Slovis. Check back on Wednesday to see if Slovis is indeed a full participant in practice.
Leaders in the WR Room
It’s no secret that Jared Wayne is the leader in the wide receivers room, but he’s been supplemented by a somewhat surprising new face.
“Jared’s led all summer long, and I think that’s the most important thing when our coaches aren’t here,” Narduzzi said. “And obviously when we get here, it’s time for not only him to lead, but our coaches to lead at that position as well. So, he did the heavy, heavy load in the summer, but he continues to lead every day here in practice.
“Konata Mumpfield has also stepped up at that position as well and started to speak his mind,” Narduzzi said. “So, he’s feeling a little more comfortable, which is great. The more you’ve got, the merrier.”
Mumpfield arrived from Akron in January, coming off an All-American true freshman season with the Zips, and it’s an encouraging sign that he’s not only impressing with his play on the field but his leadership on and off the field. With Wayne and Mumpfield, the core of Pitt’s wide receiving corps is in excellent hands — literally.
Daniel Carter Continuing to Play Well
As Pitt’s offensive Ed Conway Award winner, given to the player with the most improvement during the spring practice window, Daniel Carter’s emergence this offseason hasn’t exactly come out of nowhere. And he’s continuing to do all the right things this summer.
“Daniel Carter is having a great camp,” Narduzzi said. “He’s pushing for playing time at tailback, but some of that tight end work he’s getting — F work — is good as well. So, I would say he’s having a great camp so far.”
F for flex work? If that’s what you want to call it. It’s clear that Carter will be utilized in a variety of roles in 2022. Whether that’s tailback, halfback, H-back, F work, tight end, whatever. With the added level of physicality in Carter’s game this offseason, it’s been the different mindset that’s allowed him to stand out a bit more.
Even since winning the Ed Conway Award in April, Narduzzi said that Carter is a different player still. In a deep, deep running backs room, Carter has a role to play.
Quote of the Day:
When It’s Live, It’s Live
“When we go live, it’s live,” Narduzzi said. “There’s no holding back. We’re going. Like today, you’ll see us — we’ll do six plays with ones, twos and threes here with what we have out there, just to teach them. I don’t want them to get into a 15 or 20 play live period where it’s out of control. You’re still teaching them how to get into that mode, just like you teach them at other tempos, teach them how to practice and take care of each other.
“When it’s live, it’s live.”