Pitt’s front four getting pass-rush job done
Pat Narduzzi did not want to give away any secrets, so he was reluctant to talk about how frequently Pitt calls a blitz.
But he is pleased with the pressure his four down linemen are putting on quarterbacks.
The Panthers are fourth in the nation with an average of 41⁄2 sacks (18 total). Of the total, 13 are from the front four.
He said Pitt is blitzing “more than you think.”
But he admitted, “We’ve gotten some good four-man pressure. On third down, people have struggled to protect against our nickel (defense).”
That’s without starting linemen Rashad Weaver and Keyshon Camp.
“You wonder, wonder, wonder (what would be if they were healthy),” Narduzzi said.
Nonetheless, he expects no less than what he’s getting, no matter who is on the field.
“Did I expect it? Yes, that’s what we expect. We’ve expected it before and didn’t get it,” Narduzzi said. “It’s a pleasant surprise when guys are making plays, and they tell me they’re getting a sack. (Redshirt freshman end) John Morgan said, ‘Coach, I’m getting a sack Saturday (against Delaware).’
“We’ll find out. I want to see John Morgan get a sack. He’s had the three best days of practice he’s had (this week).”
Narduzzi said the sacks come from a combination of scheme and brute strength.
“If it’s all scheme, you’re going to lose the scheme battle sometimes,” he said. “Schematically, if you can get it perfect, as a coach, that’s great. If you can’t, someone has to make a play. We’ve had guys get off blocks and go.”
Kessman not ‘struggling’
Alex Kessman has missed five of his eight field-goal attempts, but Narduzzi said the kicker is no longer struggling.
“We have to keep analyzing it and try to fix what he’s doing,” Narduzzi said. “We’ve hit on some things. I’m confident we can fix it.”
He said the fix does not include a new holder. Punter Kirk Christodoulou has kept his job, Narduzzi said.
Senior tight end Jim Medure is a semifinalist for the William V. Campbell Trophy, which recognizes college football’s top scholar-athlete.
Jerry DiPaola is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Jerry by email at [email protected] or via Twitter .