What if Pitt’s Pat Narduzzi could redshirt every freshman? | TribLIVE.com

What if Pitt’s Pat Narduzzi could redshirt every freshman?

Jerry DiPaola
Pitt head coach Pat Narduzzi during practice Aug. 5, 2019 at UPMC Rooney Sports Complex.

In August, optimism rules the day at football training camps. Everywhere, not just at Pitt.

Everyone is a candidate to start; everyone is having a good camp; coaches aren’t sure what to do with all these good players.

With depth at most positions looking good after nearly a week of drills, Pitt’s Pat Narduzzi falls into the category of coaches who publicly state their rosters are stacked with talent.

Before practice Thursday, he let himself dream about what it might be like to redshirt his entire freshman class.

Yeah, really.

“Our depth is so good at the top, almost you could take that freshman class and maybe you can redshirt them all,” he said. “Wouldn’t that be awesome?”

It’s actually easier to redshirt freshmen these days with the year-old rule that allows teams to use players in four games and still save the redshirt.

“You play four games and see what happens,” he said.

That was the plan last year with then-freshman V’Lique Carter. But Carter showed enough game-breaking ability that Narduzzi used him in seven.

Without being asked, Narduzzi named four freshmen who could help this season — linebackers Brandon George and SirVocea Dennis, defensive back Brandon Hill and tight end Ky Wright.

“You never know,” Narduzzi said of Wright, who went to Farrell High School. “He’s athletic. He runs well.”

Plus, Pitt has a need for a playmaker at tight end.

He added that freshman running backs Daniel Carter and Vincent Davis will get “opportunities.”

On the sideline, there were several visitors to practice Thursday, including retired coaches Walt Harris and Jim Render.

Harris, of course, is the longest tenured Pitt coach (eight years, 1997-2004) since John Michelosen (1955-1965).

Render, 77, coached 40 years at Upper St. Clair, winning more games (406) than anyone, including five WPIAL championships and two state titles. He retired this year and said he’s spending his first summer away from football since the sixth grade — 65 years.

He visited the Steelers on Tuesday at Saint Vincent and was at Pitt practice Thursday to see two of his former players, offensive linemen Gabe Houy and Brandon Ford.

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
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