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Opponent Breakdown: Pitt Panthers Offense

NCAA Football: Pittsburgh at Virginia Tech Peter Casey-USA TODAY Sports

Pat Narduzzi is stealing money at this point. He fields a good team each year but once he built his program to the point that he had a legit shot to consistently compete for the conference championship, he sabotaged it. In 2021, Pitt averaged 41 points per game which was nearly two touchdowns more than they averaged the year before. Following that season, Narduzzi ran off his offensive coordinator. He passed on elevating his wide receivers coach who has one of the more innovative schemes in the country. He then openly complained about the team not running the ball enough. I can’t imagine how Pitt fans put up with him.

Over the last two years, Pitt has been pretty abysmal at the quarterback position. Kedon Slovis struggled to move the offense last year even with one of the best rushing attacks in the country to help him. This year, Pitt brought in Phil Jurkovec to turn things around but he has played so poorly that he is now a tight end.

Jurkovec was very bad this year but I don’t know that any quarterback would play well in this offense. It is a boring system with no real imagination. Christian Veilleux will now take over and if we’re judging him based on his performance off the bench against UNC, he will also struggle. Veilleux threw two picks, completed 39% of his passes, and fumbled on a zone read run.

Pitt uses a stable of backs but Rodney Hammond will be the starter in the backfield. He and C’Bo Flemister have been solid this season but both are being held to under 40 yards per game. The running backs as a group aren’t even averaging 100 yards per game. Hammond has good speed and could break a long run if he gets space, but this should not be a group that causes issues for the Cards.

Pitt has some of the better talent in the ACC at wide receiver but they can’t do much with the poor quarterback play. Konata Mumpfield was a prized transfer recruit last season but injuries have impacted him as much as the quarterback play. Bub Means is a speedy option on the outside but he went viral a few weeks ago when he was targeted 11 times but had no catches.

The best option in the passing game so far this season has been Gavin Bartholomew at tight end. He has speed and size and this offense works to get him the ball a lot. The middle of the field is still a concern for Louisville and they need to have a plan so that this group doesn’t get going against them.

Pitt’s offensive line has been flat-out bad this year. They can’t protect the quarterback and they can’t open up rushing lanes for the backs. PFF ranks them 110th in pass blocking while they are 111th in run blocking. It doesn’t help things that Jurkovec has held onto the ball too long or that the offense uses a lot of long-developing plays. But, this group just doesn’t do anything well and the more aggressive approach Ron English has been relying on should have good results again.