PITTSBURGH – What does the coach say when asked about the QB competition in mid-March?
Well not usually great. Pat Narduzzi’s response Thursday wasn’t much different, but he offered some frustrations on Kedon Slovis, Nick Patti and the whole situation. As linebacker depth touched on, there were some names, such as how Pitt progressed this spring.
“We’re third on the road right now with spring ball, and there are always good and bad things,” Narduzzi said after Thursday’s practice. “I have observed Mardi’s practice and thought that the offense was superior. … But today the defense came back and looked really good, so much, they fight, they fight back and forth what you want.
Through five spring practices, the third official mark of Pitt this spring, Narduzzi has seen great work at the overall level.
Accordingly, Narduzzi reached the separate areas after Thursday’s practice.
Too early to say when it comes to quarterbacks
Kenny Pickett was Pitta’s second practice visitor Thursday, looking back at his former USC transfer and fought for a position that feels empty after a career with the program.
Narduzzi doesn’t really want to reach a position that has five spring training, but he’s all respected in the quarterbacks’ room.
“They all looked good, and it’s still too early to discuss, so I will probably stay away from that for now,” Narduzzi said. “Nick has done great things for Patti, Kedon Slovis has done great things, both are really good. Joey Yellen and Davis Beville fight well.
It’s clear Bevillem, who played mostly in the Peach Bowl after Patti’s injury, will be tied for third again in 2022, and Yellen will not see the field except for the three names ahead of him due to a significant upset. A fight between Slovis and Patti may be needed, but Beville’s spot seems pretty strong.
In evaluating Slovis’ integration into the program as one of the freshest team members, Narduzzi said coaches are amazing when watching him play. The player says that he is a blindfold, and that he throws a quarter of the pain that he throws football cleverly.
In terms of adjusting Slovis to the new location, teammates talked about the live integration, and Narduzzi praised Pitt not only for the receptive atmosphere but also for Slovis’ all new additions.
We have always embraced our translations here. And around the country, out of the same number who flew in the better. But our guys were great, and the quarterback room was good. They all work together together, they coach each other.”
Narduzzi Comforts with Pitt Linebacker Depth
After Preston Lavant entered the transfer door Wednesday, Pitt had a new depth linebacker with a total of eight injuries he hit in November — five of the linebackers they lost at the transfer gate, including starter Cam Bright.
However, Narduzzi said despite instability inside the room and a lack of starters at designated outside linebacker slots, he’s comfortable with higher — even if he misses the ball when he’d like through next week’s spring training.
“I feel good with our depth linebacker,” Narduzzius said. “Broken survivor. I wish (Lant) luck, you know, he probably saw the final fall coming, so it’s good for him and I’ll go back to the place he can play.
SirVocea’s Dennis is locked as linebacker Mike Pitt, and Shayne Simon appears to be a closer and closer lock to the financial position at linebacker, but the star position is still in the midst of competitions. And while Bangally Kamara is Pitt’s breakout linebacker formed in 2022, the other two guys have combined strong games thus far.
Buddy Mack III went down at linebacker this spring, battling for the star position after playing safety in reserve the last two seasons, and coming down to Narduzzium to win some of his best players. While Mack probably wasn’t on the edge as Brandon Hill would, he has the opportunity at linebacker.
“Buddy looks good, it’s twitching,” Narduzzi said. “If you guys remember, we moved John Petrishen to the star spot and we caught him for nearly a year. I think a little too far Buddy, learns, loves. You can see his energy from these.
With the twitching body and the ability already in place, it’s down to Mack to see if he will be able to grind up to the required weight (a 200 pounds title runner) and learn the time-lapse system.
Because of injuries to graduation and transferring, Narduzzi feels like Pitt will be fine in 2022 — and one of those reasons is Solomon DeShields.
“I do, I do. We will be good,” Narduzzi said.
DeShields, a 6-foot, 2, 235-pound linebacker from Millvale, New Jersey, played sparingly in the last two seasons at Pitt, but when asked for a return — Pitt told coaches he wanted to be a linebacker. The receiver is widely opposed – Narduzzi is confident in his ability to make an impact in 2022 .
Another one of the guys competing for the star slot in 2022, DeShields, Mack, Kamara will continue to fight for the slot, and all three will likely provide the key rotation during the season.