Pitt notebook: Panthers to face more triple-option
Pitt has a winning record (4-3) after seven games for the first time since 2010, but the schedule takes a difficult turn this week.The Panthers travel to Atlanta on Saturday to face ACC Coastal Division opponent Georgia Tech (5-3, 4-2).
After that, it's Notre Dame (6-2), North Carolina (2-5, 1-3), Syracuse (3-4, 1-2) at the Carrier Dome and No. 7 Miami (7-0, 3-0).
The good news is Georgia Tech plays the same triple-option offense that Pitt prepared for and confronted Saturday at Navy. Georgia Tech coach Paul Johnson is a former Navy offensive coordinator (1995-1996) and coach (2002-2007).
The bad news is Pitt couldn't stop Navy's offense in the fourth quarter of a 24-21 loss.
“Hopefully by next week, we should be able to get it,” defensive end Bryan Murphy said.
Murphy said he was surprised Navy gave Pitt so many problems after what he termed a good week of practice.
“Everybody was so confident. Everybody trusted each other that they were going to have each other's back,” Murphy said.
Linebacker Todd Thomas was Pitt's leading tackler against Navy, with nine stops, a week after he was benched against Old Dominion in favor of an extra defensive back.
Thomas said he was impressed with Navy's energy level.
“They work hard. They won't stop,” he said. “Full of energy. I guess they wanted it little bit more than we did.”
Pitt lost failed to capitalize on big opportunities when it was clinging to a 13-7 lead Saturday:
About seven minutes into the third quarter, Murphy sacked Navy quarterback Keenan Reynolds.
The punt gave Pitt possession on the Navy 49, but what followed were:
• A 1-yard completion to tight end Manasseh Garner.
• A gain of 3 yards by running back Rachid Ibrahim.
• A false start by left tackle Adam Bisnowaty.
• A loss of 4 yards on a pass to Ibrahim.
• A punt.
“We had great field position, and we did nothing with it,” coach Paul Chryst said.
After that sequence, Navy scored on three consecutive, game-ending possessions (17 points in 14:28 after scoring seven in the first 45:32).
Murphy on the rise
Murphy has been one of the most improved players on defense since the beginning of the season. He has at least one tackle for a loss in four of the past six games. His only shutouts were when he was injured and didn't play against Duke and Virginia.
Chryst, who seldom singles out specific players for praise, said: “I thought Bryan Murphy played real well (Saturday).”
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.