Day 13 is in the books, and the Panthers are scrimmaging today. Looks for some meaningful depth chart updates to leak out (or be straight up published by the SID…) next week.
Here are yesterday’s interviews and Narduzzi Transcript. My only observation is that both Linebackers, Pine and Reynolds, appear to have turned the corner from a maturity standpoint. This will especially help Pine. Hopefully Reynolds has worked on his speed and quickness over the offseason, as he’s always been good between the ears. Hail to Pitt.
PITTSBURGH—The Pitt football program held the 13th practice of its 2019 training camp on Friday morning at the UPMC Rooney Sports Complex on the South Side of Pittsburgh.
Head coach Pat Narduzzi met with reporters prior to the session, while linebackers coach Rob Harley, wide receiver Maurice Ffrench and several other Panthers answered questions after the workout.
Head Coach Pat Narduzzi Transcript
“Practice 13 today. We had a very solid practice yesterday. Obviously, today is a little lighter; we’re out in shells. The kids always love to not have those pants on. That will add a little bit more energy and freshness to their minds, although it will be the same tempo. We didn’t have any live periods yesterday or today, so we’re trying to stay healthy that way. Tomorrow is jersey scrimmage number two, which is important. It’s like game day; we try to keep them fresh before game day. Tomorrow is a big day. Tomorrow is really that last chance to try to make a move on the depth chart. I think that there will be some moves and solidifications of the depth chart after tomorrow. Next week, we get into a lot of game-planning in preparation for Virginia as well as continuing to work on our trade.”
On what position group he will watch closely in Saturday’s scrimmage:
“I’ll be watching the quarterback to make sure that he doesn’t get hit. It’s always intense out there on game day; it scares the heck out of me. That’s what the tape is for. I’m looking for details. I’m watching where the ball is on offense, missed tackles. It’s not like I’m watching just one position. The film is for that, the videotape afterwards – and it’s every position. It’s not like, ‘I’m good there, don’t worry about that,’ because that guy that you think you’re good with, he has to show up ready to play, too. It’s every positon, it’s not just one focus.
The offensive line is going to focus on the offensive line. Coach [Dave] Borbely is going to be all over them. But as a whole, my job tomorrow is to just focus on the team, making sure that we get into situations that we need. Then we’ll focus on certain positions. Every position is open, really. There might be a solid one, but who’s the two or three? Those are all huge battles that are happening at every position.”
On the importance of Mark Whipple’s offensive identity:
“It was important, obviously. When you’re hiring an offensive coordinator, you’re looking for some diversity as far as what he does. It was important that he was not a fast-tempo, spread guy like really 90 percent of what college football is. I didn’t want that. I wanted to have a different identity. He gives you the same identity of a pro-style. He likes to run the power; he is going to do things old school with a little flavor of some new stuff. He’s a gym rat, as far as football goes. There’s not a day that he’s not just watching our videos, but he’s watching NFL football. He’s evolved through the years, but he’s still got that old-school mentality.”
On if he has considered taking the team abroad to another country:
“I’d consider it. I’d love to go to Italy, back to the home country. However, it’s just time. I think that It’s a recruiting… I don’t know. Talking to people at different places that do that, people don’t get real excited about it. It’s just more of the grind. Our kids need time off. They need time away from our coaches. It started as a way to get more spring ball somewhere else, like spring training. If it was that exciting and everybody heard rave reviews about it, everybody else would be doing it. I don’t think that it ever comes down to money; it comes down to what’s best for your kids. That’s my opinion.”
On linebacker Saleem Brightwell:
“Saleem is doing well at that Mike spot. Elias [Reynolds] has done well, too. It’s a battle there, of course. I feel like we have two starters there. Saleem can also play the boundary, so you feel good about that. He’s worked both.”
On Mychale Salahuddin’s recovery:
“He’s full go. He’s been full go for a couple of days. Sorry, I didn’t let you guys know that. He’s been full go. We slowly got him into it, and he was full go this week. He did not go full go in the scrimmage. He was upset about it, but we were live. ‘Hey Mike, you’re going to take a day off. It’s a recovery day for you.’ This week, we started to get him hit. We could have put him out there week one and said, ‘hey, you’re live. You’re just like everybody else.’ It’s just being smart, letting his feet get back underneath him. It’s been a year. God forbid anything happens, then at least you won’t have regrets as a coach.
Our main concern is the safety of our football players. I think that everybody will look at it and say, ‘They did that guy right.’ So, we’re just taking our time, even though he’s battling – ‘Coach, I’m ready!’ It doesn’t matter. I’m not ready. ‘I want to make sure that you’re good.’ So, he’ll go live tomorrow. It will be a great opportunity for him.”
On how excited he is to see Salahuddin in the scrimmage:
“I’m excited to see everybody. But him and Haba [Baldonado] are in that same boat. Those two guys were on the same track. He’s done more live all this week, and he’s been impressive this week as well. The basketball team went to Rome… well, we’re going to see a defensive end from Italy that is going to play for the Panthers this year.”
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