Pat Narduzzi had one of the most successful seasons in recent Pitt history last year and immediately complained about his offense. This was an offense that produced the best receiver in the country as well as one of the best improvements of any quarterback in the country. But Narduzzi wanted to run the ball more because winning the ACC with his ridiculous offense was somehow a bad thing. So when his offensive coordinator quit, he went out and hired a guy who likes to run the ball and that’s exactly what Pitt is doing this year.
Quarterback was a key position that Pitt had to replace and they landed one of the top transfers in Kedon Slovis. Slovis was very good during his short time at USC but he was a bit unproven. However, any coach in the country would take a guy who started at the power five level and played well. Slovis has been woefully inconsistent for Pitt but his skills are still very good. Slovis is plenty good enough to make plays against Louisville but he hasn’t been able to show it so far this season.
The star of the show is Israel Abanikanda and this is the last time I’m typing that name out. This kid is an outstanding talent and genuinely fun to watch. He runs with a unique blend of speed, power, and balance and he has been on a tear this year. Georgia Tech got lucky because he was injured. West Virginia got lucky that he was the backup at the time. Everyone else? Pain. UofL has to bring the run defense they brought against Virginia and USF. If not, it will be a long day.
The Pitt wide receiver room took a hit when Jordan Addison transferred to USC but I thought they did a good job to go out and mine the transfer portal to blunt the loss of his production. Konata Mumpfield was one of the best available receivers this off-season after having a big year at Akron as a freshman. While he hasn’t been able to break out for Pitt, he has been the guy they have utilized as their possession receiver and he has the ability to make a big play out of a short pass.
Jared Wayne is the most explosive receiver for Pitt and he has the size and speed to create a matchup problem for Louisville. He is the big play receiver for this team and Louisville will have to be able to keep him contained. Wayne doesn’t have a 100-yard game this season, so it’s possible to keep him from going off but we have seen other receivers have big days. The other player to watch is Gavin Barthalowmew who has had a strong season at tight end. He can do a bit of everything but UofL has struggled to handle tight ends in the middle of the field.
The Panther’s offensive line got some bad news this week when Pat Narduzzi announced that Carter Warren would miss the rest of the season. Warren is an all-conference left tackle and with Louisville leading the ACC in sacks, it can’t be a good thing to have to play this game without him. Overall, the line has been solid but this team has given up a lot of negative plays and they’ve allowed a good amount of sacks. If there’s an area that seems promising, it’s definitely up front. But we saw that this team didn’t take advantage of a bad Boston College offensive line.