What You Need To Know About The Pitt Offense
– The offense that struggled so much last season – averaging just 366 yards and 24 points per game – at least has a direction. It might have issues at wide receiver and tight end, but the ground attack under offensive coordinator Shawn Watson should be terrific, and the quarterback situation is set.
Ben DiNucci left for James Madison, star recruit Nick Patti is for the future, and one-time USC super-recruit Ricky Town can play – this is Kenny Pickett’s O to fly. The star of the Miami upset came up big late in the season, and now the expectations are off the charts. He’s expected to carry the team and be the signature star, but he’ll have to be even better than that because …
– The receiving corps is a potential problem. Leading pass catcher Rafael Araujo-Lopes is back, but he’s just okay. Jester Weah – the team’s most explosive target – is gone, and Indiana transfer Taysir Mack won’t be eligible until next year. That means a whole slew of young parts of the puzzle have to rise up and be stronger, including at tight end.
Seven of the top eight pass catchers from last year are back – not including TE Chris Clark, who took a leave of absence from the team – but they all have grow into playmakers. Fortunately, Pickett might be that good, and …
– The running game should be a whole lot better. Darrin Hall is terrific and Qadree Ollison is a good veteran, but the ground game only ran for 1,782 yards and averaged under four yards per carry. However, the talent is there in the backfield, especially with star recruit Mychale Salahuddin a potential part of the fun.
Part of the problem – at least statistically – was that the line couldn’t pass protect, and now three starters are done, including top tackle Brian O’Neill. There are plenty of veterans to play around with, and there’s help from a slew of JUCO transfers and former Kent State tackle Stefano Millin, but this should be the biggest area of focus in fall camp.
Biggest Key To The Pitt Offense
The line has to figure out how to dominate on a consistent basis. It might be a problem considering all the moving parts, but after giving up 31 sacks and 79 tackles for loss, keeping the strong ACC lines out of the backfield is a must.
Pitt, potentially, has one of the league’s better backfields, but everyone needs more time and space to work. The ground game that only hit the 200-yard mark twice against FBS teams has too much talent to be that mediocre again.