Pat Narduzzi met with the media this morning to preview Pitt's game against Virginia (the video is above). He said that, despite the win on Saturday, film study still showed plenty of areas where Pitt can improve upon moving forward. Here are a couple of other notes from the day...
- One of the topics I'm most interested in moving forward is how often Pitt uses backup quarterback Chad Voytik and his special "package" (or whatever you'd like to call it).
"I think every week we will have something going in," Narduzzi said. "I think he's a great football player and we want to keep him warmed up and ready to go. As a defensive coordinator, everyone is vulnerable to quarterback runs and it's the 11th guy."
Unprompted, Narduzzi also admitted that, eventually, Voytik is going to have to throw the ball to keep defenses honest. He even said that he wanted Voytik's first play Saturday to be a pass ("maybe this week") but the defense didn't call for it.
"Well we know he can throw the ball," Narduzzi said. "He was the starter a year ago. But, I think everyone is going to think that he's going to run it and I don't want that to be the case. He will run the ball and he will throw the ball."
- As I mentioned this morning, Qadree Ollison is listed as Pitt's starting tailback this week, and it looks like he's starting to separate himself from the pack a little bit.
"When he hits it up there, on that fourth and one, and not stuttering his feet — he's not a slashing back, he's a big bruising back," Narduzzi said. "He can play like that once it becomes a habit because that's how tailbacks run. I think he may have figured that out. Hopefully he can just get downhill and run."
- Narduzzi said that most of Pitt's pressure Saturday came from five- and six-man blitzes. It's something they'll continue to do, but they have to be careful because Virginia likes to run a lot of screens, which could expose Pitt if the Panthers are bringing pressure.
"We practiced the heck out of it last week," Narduzzi said. "Virginia Tech must've known we were practicing a lot of it, so we've got to get two good weeks of screen play and teaching our guys how to play the screen better. [Virginia] runs a ton of different screens and we'll really be ready for it."
- Pitt didn't really test the vertical passing game much against Virginia Tech and, when they did, they didn't find much success. They tried a couple of deep balls late to try and put the game away, but Narduzzi said they'll keep trying to work downfield when it makes sense.
"It's not easy," he said. "Nathan [Peterman] is going through his reads and we'll hit a few of them. It's nice to win without them. We'll hit them when we need to."
- Despite the forecast, Narduzzi said he didn't think the weather played a major role Saturday. It did stop raining in the second half, and, especially compared to Akron a couple of weeks ago, it was a pretty good weather game.
- As for this week, it'll be interesting to see what kind of crowd Pitt gets on Saturday afternoon. The Panthers have a lot of positive momentum right now...but it's also a game against a mediocre opponent (with a potential Pirates playoff game later that evening).
"I think winning takes care of that," Narduzzi said. "Putting a product on the field when people know they're going to see an explosive offense and a nasty defense. I'd come watch that."