About a month ago Athlon Sports published a piece called “ACC Coaches Talk Anonymously About Conference Foes for 2019”
Here is what they said about Pitt:
“Year in and year out you always see the same thing from these guys — they reflect Narduzzi in how they’re physical and disciplined and really mean working against you, but it’s always a question of how far their talent can take them. It’s not about a limitation of their culture or their play calling. It’s really all about what kind of talent they can get.”
“They were a one-dimensional offense after Matt Canada left, and you can’t do that without being really, really talented at that one thing.”
“Mark Whipple is a really great offensive mind. They don’t have a ton of talent to hand him, but the guy is coming from UMass.”
“They’re going to have to ugly it up with their defense to stay around .500 this year.“
And now I will translate this out of coachspeak:
“Kenny Pickett really isn’t very good”
“Kenny Pickett really isn’t very good, and their running game isn’t going to bail them out this year.”
“Kenny Pickett really isn’t very good but maybe Whipple can make something out of him. Maybe.”
“That offense is going to suck.”
As much as I hate to say it, you’d have to be completely blind to reality to disagree. And believe me, I wanted to Believe. I wanted to believe that every quarterback Mark Whipple touched turned to gold. I wanted to believe it was Shawn Watson’s fault, and that Kenny was just being handcuffed by bad play calling and an outdated scheme. I wanted to believe that Kenny had developed all his weaknesses into competency during the offseason. That he had matured between the ears, that he had developed a pocket presence and lost the happy feet.
With the exception of a brief period in the second quarter last night, that belief was systematically shattered. One horrendous drop back at a time.
Lets check off the list we carried over from last season, shall we?
- Poor touch on short passes – check
- Poor ability to get the ball to second and third options – check
- Panics in the pocket and steps into sacks too often – check
- Gets happy feet instead of scanning the field and trying to make a play with his arm – check
- Poor accuracy on deep balls to wide open receivers – check (actually this was not a problem last year…)
I want to stop here and acknowledge that this is a tough thing to write. We are talking about a 21 year old kid here. Pickett has undoubtedly put a ton of time and effort into his game. I respect him for that, and to be completely fair, Virginia was expected to have an outstanding pas defense. Probably top 20 in the nation. It is also expected that a team will see the most improvement from week one to week two, so it’s possible (but not probable) that Pickett could be a different man against Ohio. Still, it was just so frustrating to see the exact. same. player. that we saw last year. Heck, even his stat line looked the same.
Except for two things:
- Pickett threw the ball about 23 more times than he did during an average game last year
- Pickett threw more interceptions
I guess Watson doesn’t seem so bad now does he?
your regularly scheduled MMQB content will be posted on Monday.