Pitt had its first full practice of Georgia Tech week this morning in preparation for Saturday's game against the Yellow Jackets. As coach Pat Narduzzi promised yesterday, today's practice did look a bit different than normal as the Panthers' get ready for Georgia Tech's triple-option offense. Here are a few notes from the day.
- As I mentioned, the practice looked a bit different than normal. Usually, the players go through stretching, huddle at the center of the field and then break up into their tackling/turnover circuits on defense, while the offense does some goal-line work. Today, the defense broke off into position groups, but started doing some option-specific drills (some of which you can see in the videos below).
- One of the interesting things about triple-option preparation is how the scout team gives the starting defense a look at the Yellow Jackets' attack. Today, it looked like Pitt had a couple of guys ready to mimic Yellow Jackets' quarterback Justin Thomas. Freshman quarterback Ben DiNucci was in No. 5, but so were cornerback Dane Jackson and wide receiver Manny Stocker. Jackson was also used as a scout team quarterback when Pitt prepared for Virginia Tech's Brenden Motley, and Stocker used to play quarterback during his first two seasons at N.C. State in 2012 and '13. My guess is Pitt's scout team will rotate these three guys in to simulate Thomas in different situations.
- A few videos from today...