Pitt loses ACC Opener; Questions Still Unanswered

Posted on Sep 26 2017 - 8:26pm by Jordan Kiebler
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Photo of Ben DiNucci courtesy of Mike Zarrilli/Getty Images.

The Pittsburgh Panthers yet again find themselves losing after they fell to Georgia Tech last Saturday afternoon.

The Panthers are now 1-3, with Rice coming up next weekend. On paper, that should be a guaranteed win. In reality, who knows.

Here are my thoughts on the game

I’ll start with the defense.

Jordan Whitehead made his presence felt, and he looks like he hit the weight room in the off-season. He was effective in Georgia Tech’s triple option.

However, will he be effective when Pitt faces a passing team? From past experiences, no, he won’t. And that’s not a knock on Jordan.

I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again: Jordan Whitehead is the most talented player on the field. Pitt needs to find a way to put him in the right coverage to create a difference.

The biggest problem was the dive play for the Panthers. They simply could not defend that play. When Georgia Tech would option the ball to the outside, Pitt seemed to have a good handle on that. But if they handed it off right away to the back, it was almost always a gain of at least three yards.

That was happening all game. Why weren’t any adjustments made?

Georgia Tech had a total four fumbles. If I were to tell you the opposing team was going to have four turnovers, you would probably say to yourself, “well that team isn’t going to win the game.”

Well if you can’t capitalize off of turnovers, it doesn’t matter. Pitt did not find a way to get points off the miscues from the Yellow Jackets. That cannot happen.

Was it me or did it look like Georgia Tech committed a false start on 75 percent of the plays. They were caught on some, but it looked like the tackles were getting up a split second too early on a lot of plays.

To me, it looked like Georgia Tech was having a field day against Pitt’s poor defense. They kept doing the same thing because it was working. They were getting away with the dive, so why change? Pitt wasn’t doing anything about it.

Offensive notes

Georgia Tech had 25 first downs compared to Pitt’s 11. Tech also averaged 6.5 yards per rush for the game. If you give up 6.5 yards per rush, you aren’t going to win many games, if any. It seemed like the Yellow Jackets were constantly moving forward. Every play was up the field.

It was good to see Quadree Henderson return a punt again. He will silence some of the critics now for him having a slow start. To the fans who were giving him a hard time – don’t doubt an All-American. Be smarter than that.

After that punt return, I saw Ben DiNucci run up to Henderson and congratulated him right away. Now this might not mean anything to some people, but to me, that is leadership. That’s something I didn’t see from Max Browne. I really think DiNucci is a better leader for this team.

DiNucci had a stellar drive at the end of the first half that led to a field goal. He kept his poise, made some good decisions, and was able to get points on the board.

You have to give credit to the redshirt freshmen, Alex Kessman. He nailed a 55-yard field goal before half. That was big going into the half.

Here comes the fun stuff

Why in the world was Max Browne put into this game? First of all, his first possession in, he handed the ball off every time. DiNucci could have done that. One of our offensive linemen could have done that. I could have done that.

What does that say to DiNucci? It kills his confidence and makes him scared to make a mistake because he might get pulled. Awful coaching.

With that being said, once Browne started throwing the ball, he was completing passes and looking good. Did you take into account he was playing against a prevent defense? Yeah you should be completing those passes. It was a soft coverage.

So do I think DiNucci should be the starter because he scrambles better than Browne. Yes. What about the Panthers’ “passing attack” makes you think we need a pocket passer back there? What about the Panthers’ “downfield passing plays” makes you think they need someone who has a better arm?

I don’t understand how people are still missing this. With what we have, it makes total sense to go with DiNucci.

I also saw someone say Aaron Mathews should be starting over Jester Weah. First of all, I am a huge fan of Mathews and I think he will be very good for us.

However, what about our passing attack makes you think we need to switch up our receiving core. What about our downfield passing makes you think we need someone in there instead of Weah. What has Weah done to make him move down the depth chart.

He is our most talented receiver, but it doesn’t mean anything if no one can get him the ball.

He did pretty good last year didn’t he?

Way too many unanswered questions so far this year, and I’m getting close to start blaming the staff. I’m not quite there, but I’m getting close. Some things that work at Michigan State might not work at Pitt. It’s a different conference. Make some changes.

Hail to Pitt.