PITTSBURGH — Konata Mumpfield was a late scratch against Virginia Tech Saturday, walking out onto the field at Acrisure Stadium in his sweats, and he was just another in a long list of Pitt players to miss time this season.
“He was not ready to go,” Pat Narduzzi said following the game. “We’ve got a lot of that going on. Again, we’re six games in. We’ve got a halftime. We get a week off, which is much needed.”
Pitt leaned heavily, very heavily, upon Israel Abanikanda to beat Virginia Tech 45-29 Saturday afternoon, and with the injuries across the offense and likely the bumps and bruises picked up against a physical VT defense, the bye week before traveling to Louisville in two weeks will prove huge for Narduzzi’s team.
Rodney Hammond Jr. dressed and warmed up before the game, his first time dressed since the season opener, and Narduzzi expects to have him and a few other missing pieces offensively back for the Louisville game in two weeks.
“I think we’ll have some guys back,” Narduzzi said. “Rodney Hammond will be back. Pregame, I’m like, ‘Dude, you ready to go?’ He went through pregame. He looks like he’s ready to go. Hopefully we’ll get two starting offensive linemen back. Hopefully Konata will be back. Konata has been good the last two weeks.”
With Hammond and Mumpfield back at the skill position, a load off Abanikanda’s steadily worked shoulders, the “two offensive linemen” figure to be Carter Warren at left tackle and Owen Drexel at center — two veteran presences that missed the Georgia Tech and Virginia Tech matchups.
However, even with the mass of injuries sustained across the offense and defense this season, Narduzzi recognizes that it’s just the nature of the game.
“Hey, that’s the way it goes,” Narduzzi said. “That’s the thing, we don’t have a bunch of starters out there. Second half you’ve got (Habakkuk) Baldonado and SirVocea (Dennis hurt). I was worried about not having No. 7 in there in the middle just controlling things. But Shayne Simon did an outstanding job moving from the money position to the Mike and just gives you more combinations.
“I told SirVocea, ‘Maybe you just got beat out by Shayne today in the second half. Looked like we stopped the run better.’ … Just joking. 7 will be on the field.”
Pitt will need Dennis, and a lot of the other injured players back entering the Louisville week. The bye week coming up has arrived at a very opportune time.