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Pitt WR Jaylon Barden Named Starter for North Carolina Game



It hasn’t been an easy year for Jaylon Barden, and Pat Narduzzi admitted that Pitt’s staff hasn’t always made it easy on the speedy junior.

There’s been a bit of learning too much for Pitt’s wide receivers this season, trying to fill up with as many roles as possible and not knowing any as opposed to honing in on one area perfectly, and that’s a bit of what happened with Barden.

When Bub Means wasn’t able to go Saturday against Louisville, Barden wasn’t able to step seamlessly into his outside receiver position because he hadn’t been practicing for it.

“He didn’t get to practice it last week,” Narduzzi said Thursday at the UPMC Rooney Sports Complex. “We put him in a bad position, that’s our fault as coaches, but we didn’t have any options. I guess the option was to put Gavin (Thomson) in there, which is what we did, but we’re playing to put the best football player on the field. Which is Jaylon Barden.”

Narduzzi confirmed that Barden will make his first start of the season against North Carolina, and with the way that Barden wasn’t able to slide into Means’ outside slot last weekend, it’s likely that Barden has been working on the outside this week in practice.

“(Barden’s) had a good week, he’s had a really good week,” Narduzzi said. “And again, I think I told you, he’s gotta play one position. You can’t ask him to play two or three, it’s like I tell our coaches all the time — these guys, they come down here for two hour practices, an hour meeting, three hours a day, we’re here from 6:30 a.m. to 10:30 p.m.”

It’s not as simple as simply knowing the receiver roles in the offense and knowing which routes to run. It’s converting routes against a variety of coverages perfectly, every time. Which hasn’t always been the case for Pitt’s wide receiving corps this season.

Barden’s start will be his first extended taste of game action this season since he hasn’t had many snaps on a game-to-game basis. With just six targets this season, hauling in three catches for 19 yards (most of which came on a 17-yard catch against Tennessee), Barden’s speed hasn’t been a factor offensively.

At 5-foot-11, 175 pounds, Barden is one of the fastest players in Pitt’s offense, and he’s getting his chance to shine against UNC. With a deep passing game element largely non-existent in Pitt’s offense, Barden’s deep threat is a strong option.

Barden caught all three of his targets of at least 20 yards last season, racking up 104 yards (34.7 average) and a touchdown.

Means’ status against North Carolina is currently unknown, having played just one snap against Louisville after suffering a pre-game injury, but Jared Wayne and Konata Mumpfield will remain in the starting lineup.

The depth options remain thin with just Myles Alston and Gavin Thomson having received snaps this season.

Sandy Schall, Coldwell Banker
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Tom D
Tom D
1 year ago

Completely fucked up the situation with Bradley. So dumb. Means stinks.

1 year ago
Reply to  Tom D

Means was overhyped. Not to mention…. This site made Slovis out to be the next Pickett and Mumpfiled to be Addison 2.0. Just sayin.

Katsura cassells
Katsura cassells
1 year ago

Barden should have started from the beginning. He put in the time and has elite speed. Pitt needs a downfield threat running deep routes.

1 year ago

Narduzzi must be activey working to run Barden off the team. That’s the only logical conclusion after telling people that Barden will start and then he gets zero snaps in the actual game.

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