It was sort of chilly this morning as Pitt hit the outside area on the UMPC Rooney Sports activities Complicated, and seeing as Pitt has been held inside lots this spring due to late-season snowing, it made sense because the pads popped down on the Monongahela River.
After the ultimate padded observe earlier than the Blue-Gold Spring Recreation on April 9, head coach Pat Narduzzi was as soon as once more requested in regards to the brewing quarterback competitors between Kedon Slovis and Nick Patti. And Narduzzi as soon as once more shot down any probability of even inching nearer to naming Kenny Pickett’s alternative.
Narduzzi did, nonetheless, spotlight how new offensive coordinator Frank Cignetti Jr. has been implementing his new-look offense, and how the offense is adapting to maybe the most important offense Narduzzi’s seen whereas at Pitt, and how the protection has been giving the offense a real-life check at each observe.
With the spring recreation simply days away now, Narduzzi mentioned the fellows are excited to get out on the sector and compete within the highest-stake scrimmage earlier than the 2022 season rolls round in September. Coming off a scrimmage at Heinz Subject on Saturday, there are nonetheless areas to be touched up.
“We had a good scrimmage Saturday, a lot of good things, a lot of things we need to clean up before Saturday,” Narduzzi mentioned. “We had too many unforced errors, illegal procedures, that kinda stuff, jumping offsides. … But besides that, really crisp.”
Frank Cignetti Jr.’s Huge, New Offense
Protection has reigned supreme to date this spring, holding the blue observe jerseys after gaining the higher hand in every of the final two spring practices, however Narduzzi isn’t fearful about it. Not with the duty at hand for Cignetti in implementing his new offense.
“Defense came out on top, but it’s a little skewed. I think there were three turnovers in the scrimmage, that’s how you get beat,” Narduzzi mentioned. “The offense should never lose if you don’t turn the ball over, but they had three turnovers — some good plays by the defense. But I will say coach Cignetti is just getting the offense installed, and I say that, he’s not trying to win the scrimmage. Which, in the fall camp, I’m gonna tell him you have to win the scrimmage or try to win.”
Cignetti is engaged on simply calling performs, getting some work at sure areas of the offense and discovering his really feel for the offense as an entire. Narduzzi mentioned he utterly understands Cignetti’s strategy, which is one thing each offensive and defensive guys can relate with.
“I think we probably have twice the offense we had in a year ago,” Narduzzi mentioned. “I look around and we have a lot of different stuff in — we’ve got a lot of same stuff. But we’ve just got a ton of offense in right now, we haven’t had this volume of offense in years. I think that’s a good thing.”
With Slovis and Patti adapting to the offense at crucial place, Narduzzi mentioned the offense as an entire is doing nicely in studying on the fly and executing Cignetti’s offense. With a pro-style offense that options parts from Pitt’s earlier offense beneath Mark Whipple, Cignetti’s new touches will focus extra on implementing a speeding assault to open up the passing recreation.
The Quarterback Competitors Gained’t Have a Winner for a Whereas
“I don’t know,” Narduzzi mentioned. “You can see, maybe. I don’t know, we haven’t even talked about it … You could, but then still, what happens in the fall? You could be the starting Mike at the end of spring ball, but are you starting at the end of fall camp? So, it comes down to that.”
What does that sound like? Slovis and Patti’s performances have been lauded by practically each coach and participant on the roster this spring, with some variant of, “both are competing, and it’ll be exciting to see how it plays out,” coming as the standard response. That’s to be anticipated.
Whereas the scrimmages to date this spring haven’t been open to the media, Saturday’s Spring Recreation would be the first probability to see each quarterbacks in motion with true first-team caliber reps on the house area. As of now, Narduzzi has mentioned each quarterbacks have regarded good.
“They’re doing good,” Narduzzi mentioned. “They’re both picking up the offense well and they didn’t just offside not one time. They’re doing a good job operating the offense, and like I said, there’s a lot of offense in.”
Nonetheless, if something, the spring quarterback competitors is underwinding precisely how he foresaw it coming into spring practices on the finish of February.
“No question about it,” Narduzzi mentioned. “I don’t even know if it’s unfolding, we’ll see soon enough. We want it to be a battle. We want it to be a battle at the kicker position, we want it to be a battle at the outside linebacker position, at the right tackle position. Competition is great.”
Transfers Being Welcomed into Pitt
With Slovis, Shayne Simon and Konata Mumpfield all arriving from both Energy 5, or Group of 5 in Mumpfield’s case, applications, it may generally be laborious for guys to combine into new locker rooms.
Narduzzi mentioned he’s seen Simon and Slovis smiling lots, simply having enjoyable at observe, and that’s a superb signal that the fellows are having enjoyable.
“I think good, but I’m not up on campus,” Narduzzi mentioned. “I don’t see that, but I think everyone gets along on the field. The quarterback room is great. Nick has done an unbelievable job and Kedon has as well. I think the chemistry is good. I think everyone wants someone who can help them win football games and our kids have always done a great job bringing guys in.”
Slovis, Simon and Mumpfield will play massive roles in Pitt’s 2022 season, and if all three are already comfy, that can solely assist group chemistry.
Sam Vander Haar Adapting to American Soccer
Kirk Christodoulou began as Pitt’s punter for the reason that 2018 season, and with him leaving this system on the finish of the 2021 season, a compatriot has taken his spot — and accomplished nicely adapting to soccer in the USA.
Sam Vander Haar, a 2022 early enrollee from Professional Kick Australia, is already taking Pitt’s first group reps at punter, and he’ll proceed to develop because the spring winds down and he’ll have the chance to work on his craft all through the summer time.
“(Sam’s) really good,” Narduzzi mentioned. “Obviously we’re running the same punt team as we did last year, and he’s done a nice job. He can punt it in the pocket and he can run you to the right, so he does a little bit of both.”