Pitt needs clean-up effort to reduce a wave of penalties | TribLIVE.com
Pitt

Pitt needs clean-up effort to reduce a wave of penalties

Jerry DiPaola
1652221_web1_gtr-PittOhio08-090719
Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review
Pitt kicker Alex Kessman has missed a pair of field goals this season.

Pitt’s margin for error will be reduced significantly Saturday when it faces No. 13 Penn State at Beaver Stadium. The game will be the first of two consecutive games against ranked opponents. Pitt plays No. 17 Central Florida on Sept. 21 at Heinz Field (kickoff 3:30 p.m.).

As the schedule gets more difficult, coach Pat Narduzzi becomes more demanding of his team to clean up the sloppiness from the first two weeks. Especially in regards to penalties. Pitt has committed 15 for a loss of 126 yards in two games.

“There are still things you’re disappointed in,” Narduzzi said Monday. “There are five illegal procedures. That’s 25 yards, OK. They’re drive killers.”

Narduzzi said he was surprised by the penalties because they didn’t occur in training camp.

“I remember complimenting the offense,” he said. “We do some hard cadence, and we worked the cadence pretty good on offense, where our guys don’t even move.

“So I don’t know what was going on out there, but I’m sure we got them all out of our system. We got five for the year. I don’t expect to see another one.”

Special gaffes

He also said he will fix the special teams errors: two muffed punts by Maurice Ffrench (he recovered his own fumbles) and Alex Kessman’s missed field goals from 50 and 45 yards.

“Sometimes we think those 50-yarders are easy,” Narduzzi said. “Like what are we doing here? It’s a 50-yard field goal. Maybe we should just go for it or punt it.”

Narduzzi said the misses were tied to an issue with Kessman’s plant foot.

Deeper depth chart

Narduzzi added a couple more ‘ors’ to his depth chart, most notably at running back where the starters are A.J. Davis or Todd Sibley Jr. or freshman Vicnent Davis, who is second on the team in rushing yards (56) to A.J. Davis’ 114.

“It’s the Davis twins right now,” said Narduzzi, joking because they are not related. “But A.J. Davis has done a nice job, and Vince is a young kid that I’m glad we put him in at the end of that Virginia game just to see how he’d react, what he’d do.

“I mean, if he fumbled the ball in the last two snaps, he might not have played at all (against Ohio). But he’s mature. He’s loose. He doesn’t play tight. He doesn’t get nervous. He doesn’t trip and fall down.”

The other ors:

• Redshirt freshman Devin Danielson (Thomas Jefferson) is an ‘or’ with Amir Watts at defensive tackle.

• Senior Saleem Brightwell, who didn’t play in the first two games, has entered the competition at middle linebacker with Chase Pine and Elias Reynolds. Pine and Reynolds have each started one game. Reynolds was used on third down Saturday.

What was he thinking?

Narduzzi explained why he chose fourth-and-1 over third-and-5 on Saturday when he declined an offsides penalty against Ohio.

“You listen to your staff, and you feel pretty good about what you were going to do,” he said. “But you know, flip a coin.

“We had a play we liked, we thought, and that play wasn’t as good as you thought it was (a sweep lost 3 yards). So bad decision.

“But the great thing is we put our defense in a tough position, and they held. I think you take risks. There’s high-risk, high-reward when you do that, but, obviously, we had some faith in our defense.

“But I don’t want to do it to them all the time. Yeah, you could say it’s a bad decision. I’ll take it. My fault.”

Get the latest news about Pitt football and all things Panthers athletics.

Jerry DiPaola is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Jerry by email at [email protected] or via Twitter .

Categories: Sports | Pitt
TribLIVE commenting policy

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.