South Bend, Ind. — Ty Dieffenbach dressed and participated in warmups for the first time in his young Pitt career Saturday afternoon ahead of a contest against Notre Dame.
He had to since Phil Jurkovec, the former starting quarterback and announced third-string quarterback, warmed up with the tight ends and caught passes from the quarterbacks.
It’s the next step in the “Is Phil Jurkovec a Tight End or not?” saga that started after the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette’s Noah Hiles reported that Jurkovec was practicing with the tight ends after being benched during the bye week. But Narduzzi initially denied the report.
But he changed his tune in the buildup to Notre Dame earlier this week.
“That’s not for me to decide what he’s doing, but he wants to play a little bit over there and he still doesn’t have a position change, but he’s played on kickoff returns, he’s on the punt team, he’ll pay anything,” Narduzzi said Thursday at his weekly news conference. “He’s going wherever we can get him in.”
It still seems unlikely that Jurkovec will see the field against Notre Dame as a tight end — which, of course, is a homecoming for Jurkovec after beginning his collegiate career with the Fighting Irish.
Pitt already doesn’t target Gavin Bartholomew enough, and with Karter Johnson, Malcolm Epps and Jake Renda all seeing the field at times this season, Jurkovec is likely TE5 or so. But maybe his work on kickoff and punt coverage is another story.
He has a large frame, saying before the season that he weighed in at 245 pounds, so there is the possibility that he could provide additional blocking on the edge.