Quarterback remains questionable following Narduzzi’s press conference


Coach Narduzzi avoided talking about which quarterback will start in the team’s game against Georgia Tech this weekend. (Photo by Kyleen Considine | Visual Editor)

After Pitt football head coach Pat Narduzzi addressed the media Monday, the most important question remained unanswered.

Who will be the starting quarterback against Georgia Tech?

During a brief press conference Monday afternoon, Narduzzi talked about the Panthers’ struggles against No. 6 Oklahoma State and how they will prepare for this week’s matchup against Georgia Tech.

Narduzzi avoided revealing who would be starting at quarterback for Saturday’s game. He claimed that regardless of who is under the gun, the Yellow Jackets will prepare the same way.

“It’s important, but they are practicing the same things,” Narduzzi said. “It doesn’t really change what they do based on who they’re playing.”

Redshirt senior quarterback Max Browne’s struggles against Oklahoma State prompted Narduzzi to replace him with the backup — redshirt sophomore Ben DiNucci.

Addressing the defensive side of the ball, Narduzzi stressed the importance of defenders correctly positioning themselves.

“We’ve got guys playing off of guys, giving too much cushion. That’s fundamentals,” Narduzzi said. “We got linebackers not helping out in coverage when its pass — clearly a pass — or a run.”

But instead of harping on the team’s defensive struggles, Narduzzi tried to focus on positive elements from Saturday’s game — the Panthers’ worst loss ever at Heinz Field — and highlight the players who earned playing time.

Narduzzi praised redshirt junior Jalen Williams’ work ethic over the past two weeks and his performance on Saturday, even though he gave up a big play to Oklahoma State.

“Jalen Williams played his tail off, and it was impressive,” Narduzzi said. “He’s really done a fantastic job.”

Narduzzi also took a look at the offensive side of the Panthers’ game. He blamed missed opportunities and inexperience for the Panthers’ offensive woes so far this season.

“When you look at the offense, we’ve just got to make some plays,” Narduzzi said. “We had some guys open that we’re not finding or hitting with both quarterbacks in there. It’s youth.”

These young players included sophomore wide receiver Aaron Mathews and running back Chawntez Moss, along with DiNucci. They entered the game to spark the Panther offense. While they found some success, inexperience playing with the first unit left missed opportunities on the field.

Aside from dissecting last week’s loss, Narduzzi looked ahead to Georgia Tech and stopping their run-heavy triple-option offense. Though Narduzzi and the Panthers have experience playing Georgia Tech and their offense, he stressed how the Yellow Jackets change and adapt every week to present new challenges.

“That’s why we practice [defending the option] all during camp as well,” Narduzzi said. “This won’t be the first day our guys have seen it.”