2. KEYS TO THE SEASON
Biggest Key To The Pitt Offense
The O has to get more out of the passing game. That’s where new offensive coordinator Mark Whipple kicks in. The options at quarterback are there – more on that in a moment – and the young receivers are promising.
Last year, Pitt was 5-2 when it got 150 passing yards or more, but it threw for 700 fewer yards overall than it did in 2017. The volume isn’t as important as the splash – the Panthers were dead last in the ACC in yards per completion, averaging just under 11 yards per connection.
Biggest Key To The Pitt Defense
Keep on stocking up the run defense. The secondary was the big, big problem early on in the Pat Narduzzi era, but it wasn’t all that bad last season. The run D wasn’t too lousy, either, but when it was off, it was really off.
The Panthers allowed 200 rushing yards or more six times, but managed to win two of them. However, they gave up two touchdowns or more on the ground nine times, and they went 4-1 when they didn’t allow a rushing score.
Key Player To A Successful Season
QB Kenny Pickett, Jr.
Or redshirt freshman Nick Patti, or true freshman Davis Beville. The Pitt passing game was inefficient, inconsistent, and ineffective, and it’s up to Pickett to change all of that now that he’s in his third year in the system.
Patti was a good get for the program, and Beville is a better one. Considering the turnover at running back, if Pickett and the passing game don’t pick up the slack, the other options will kick in.
Key Game To The Pitt Season
Virginia, Aug. 31
This was the turning point last season. Just when it looked like Virginia was going to take over the Coastal division race, Pitt ripped through the raindrops in an impressive 23-13 road win as part of a run of five victories in six games.
This time around the showdown is the opening game of the season, and the Cavaliers should be a wee bit better. Lose, and it’ll be an uphill climb for the Panthers to repeat as division champs – and it won’t even be September.
– Pitt Schedule Breakdown & Analysis
2018 Pitt Fun Stats
– Time of Possession: Pitt 32:34 – Opponents 27:36
– Penalties: Pitt 101 for 942 yards – Opponents 70 for 567 yards
– Passing Yards Per Game: Opponents 209.29 – Pitt 141.79