Home Youth jerseys Pitt Take 5: Scrimmage Saturday at Acrisure gives quarterbacks a chance to make their point

Pitt Take 5: Scrimmage Saturday at Acrisure gives quarterbacks a chance to make their point


Pat Narduzzi will take his team to Acrisure Stadium on Saturday for Pitt’s final scrimmage of the summer.

Big surprise: quarterbacks will be a major area of ​​focus.

Narduzzi reiterated Friday morning that he doesn’t know when he will make his decision between Kedon Slovis and Nick Patti public, but he said the scrum will have a major bearing on it.

“What they do, how they do it,” he said.

After the scrimmage, the next step is to prepare for the guys wearing different colored jerseys and start proving that all the national championship talks about is more than just good-sounding words. Narduzzi said there will be a serious study of West Virginia next week.

What would a win — coupled with another nine days later against Tennessee — mean for the No. 17 Panthers? Probably a top 10.

Here are five thoughts to ponder before training resumes – never-ending training – on Monday.

1. Another Aussie

Special teams coach Andre Powell says first-year punter Sam Vander Haar will be the starting punter, Pitt’s second in a row from Australia.

Like Kirk Christodoulou, who was Pitt’s punter for the previous four seasons, Vander Haar hails from Melbourne, Australia and played Aussie Rules football as a youth. He is 25 years old and newly married. His wife, Hallie, is a graduate of Duquesne University.

“When you get these guys from Australia who don’t play American football, there are certain things they have to learn,” Powell said. “But he can kick football very well and he is improving.”

Pitt was practicing the directional punt on Friday morning, and Vander Haar was slapped in the hand by Narduzzi after a particularly accurate punt.

“If he gets the ball and hits it where we want it and gets it out of his hands at a fast enough pace, he’ll be fine,” Powell said.

Rules football is not a game for the meek. Players can tackle, push, bump and block, and there are no protective pads to absorb contact.

That said, Vander Haar (6-foot, 205 pounds) must be a badass, right? In fact, Powell isn’t so sure.

“I’m not going to endorse him for being a badass,” he said. “I’ve never seen him in a fist fight.”

2. Kancey’s Journey North

Getting defensive tackle Calijah Kancey, an All-ACC preseason pick, to sign up for Pitt could be one of line coach Charlie Partridge’s greatest triumphs.

How did he do it?

Kancey said he met Partridge in his locker room at Northwestern High School in Miami in 2017.

“He said, ‘I don’t like your movie. I love your movie,” Kancey said. “I said, ‘Oh, okay. I like this trainer.

Partridge was relentless in his recruiting effort. “I talked to him a lot. I thought I was on the team already,” Kancey said.

Kancey quickly learned that Partridge was a business on the practice field.

“That’s the transition that young guys have to learn,” Kancey said. “These are not official visits and recruitment. Now that’s business. Now it’s time to get to work. It was easy for me to figure that out, and I just went in and worked.

3. 14 against 14

It will be interesting to see who becomes Pitt’s go-to receiver. The Panthers were champions last year in large part because Kenny Pickett had a special bond with Jordan Addison.

Jared Wayne and Konata Mumpfield could be prime candidates to take on Addison’s role. Wayne is a dependable possession-type receiver; Mumpfield uses speed and acrobatics.

“He’s different,” cornerback Marquis Williams said of Mumpfield. “He’s a dominant receiver. He’s the best first-pitch receiver I’ve seen in my college career. His first step is crazy.

Wiliams and Mumpfield developed a friendly rivalry on the training ground – one No. 14 against another.

“After every rep, whether he wins or I win, we wonder what I did wrong or how can I fix this,” Williams said.

4. Safeties, Older and Younger

Safety coach Cory Sanders insists starting jobs won’t be awarded until September 1.

“We will know our starters the week of the match,” he said. “We have six or seven safeties who will get reps with the (first team). Four to five guys at cornerback.

It will be a shock – and a big mistake – if Erick Hallett and Brandon Hill don’t line up safely for Game 1. Because Hallett and Hill are so experienced, coaches aren’t afraid to try new designs and techniques.

“We’re not shy about discovering new things,” Sanders said. “It’s not like, ‘Ah, can we handle it? Right now, let’s put it on them and see what they can handle and what they can’t.

But Sanders said he was developing some security depth, with sophomore PJ O’Brien and redshirt freshmen Khalil Anderson, Stephon Hall and Javon McIntyre.

“Even the questions they ask and where they’re at, they’re more advanced (mentally) than your typical redshirt freshman,” Sanders said. “As a coach, you love getting a text message in the evening asking a question about training. Or, when they come into the meeting room with questions prepared. It’s nice to be able to talk about the ball and the football situation with these guys.

5. The outsider’s point of view

ACC Network analysts Jordan Cornette, Eddie Royal and EJ Manuel were in practice Thursday and praised the Panthers. Royal, a nine-year NFL veteran as a wide receiver, said Pitt looked the part. “I said it looked like an NFL team. This is what big Power 5 football should look like.”

Cornette came to town thinking Miami would win the ACC Coastal, but changed his mind after watching the Panthers practice. “Games are won in the trenches,” he said, “and this team has it on both sides.”

Cornette has openly speculated that Slovis will beat Patti at quarterback, but he likes Pitt’s depth in that position.

“I watched two capable quarterbacks there. I think it will be Kedon. I think everyone would say that,” he said. “But if Nick was going to go, we saw Nick in the Peach Bowl and I saw what Nick did here.”

Jerry DiPaola is an editor at Tribune-Review. You can contact Jerry by email at [email protected] or via Twitter .