Pitt set to follow Jimmy Morrissey, Damar Hamlin into the meat of schedule | TribLIVE.com

Pitt set to follow Jimmy Morrissey, Damar Hamlin into the meat of schedule

Jerry DiPaola
Pitt center Jimmy Morrissey snaps to quarterback Kenny Pickett against Ohio Saturday, Sept. 7, 2019 at Heinz Field.
Penn State quarterback Sean Clifford (14) passes as Pittsburgh defensive back Damar Hamlin (3) rushes in during an NCAA college football game in State College, Pa., on Saturday, Sept. 14, 2019. (AP Photo/Barry Reeger)

Jimmy Morrissey was torn between telling the truth and trying not to disrespect a defeated opponent.

He managed to succeed on both fronts, but the bottom line going forward for Pitt’s junior center and co-captain is this: Pitt’s offense needs to get better.

“We put up 17 points last week against an FCS team,” Morrissey said Wednesday after the second day of preparations for Saturday’s game at Duke. “Now, granted, Delaware is a very good team, lot of respect for them, they played their hearts out.

“But that shouldn’t happen.”

Meanwhile, on the other side of the ball, senior safety Damar Hamlin likes the way his unit is performing, but he knows that doesn’t happen by accident.

He said he studies so much video of the opponent every week that he can’t find time to watch his favorite television program, “The 85 South Comedy Show.”

”Whatever team we’re playing, that’s the only thing that’s on my TV,” Hamlin said. “If I’m not in class, I’m watching film all day. I watch the game cut-ups on YouTube as I fall asleep.” He said it’s not unusual for him to watch video for as many as four hours a day.

“As you watch more film, you’ll see different things pop up,” he said.

Maybe he will see something that will lead his unit to a turnover. When it was suggested to Hamlin that Pitt’s difficulty in creating turnovers can be attributed to bad luck, he disagreed.

“You have to make plays happen,” he said. “It’s isn’t anything about luck.”

Morrissey and Hamlin, two of the most respected leaders on the team, will make the 29th (Morrissey) and 24th starts (Hamlin) of their careers Saturday in Durham, N.C., where Pitt gets down to the business of defending its ACC Coastal championship.

On Morrissey’s side of the ball, the running game needs to get better. He made that declaration without hesitation, even though Todd Sibley Jr. ran for 106 yards against Delaware, the only triple-digit effort this season by a Panthers back. Pitt (3-2) enters the sixth week of season ranked 100th in the nation, 12th in the ACC in average rushing yards per game (126).

Asked if the running game has ascended to a status where he wants to see it, Morrissey said, “No. Nowhere close.”

“It’s inclusive of all us, (offensive) line majority. We’ll take big responsibility for that. It’s all on us. But, then, the running backs and tight ends, too.”

He said the mistakes he has seen – and made himself – involve details such as footwork and head placement.

“Just the little things,” he said. “If you watch every play, it’s usually one guy making one mistake.”

Morrissey is the only returning regular on line, but he doesn’t blame problems on youth.

“It could be (youth), but I don’t believe so, no,” he said. “We just have to pay attention more in practice, more urgency, emphasize more doing the little things right.

“It’s making sure we’re one cohesive unit. We just haven’t put that on film yet.”

Pitt (3-2, 0-1) needs to do more than keep pace with Virginia. The Panthers must pass the Cavaliers in the standings. Virginia owns the tiebreaker edge due to its 30-14 victory against Pitt in the opener.

“We’re getting into Week 6,” Morrissey said. “It’s ACC play.”

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

Categories: Sports | Pitt
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