Pitt football notebook: Pat Narduzzi purposefully vague on his plans for V’Lique Carter
Pitt coach Pat Narduzzi offered Bronco Mendenhall considerable praise Monday, but not what the Virginia coach really wants to hear.
That would be if Mendenhall should prepare to face newly anointed Pitt freshman sensation V’Lique Carter.
“I’m obviously not going to reveal whether we’re using him this week or not,” said Narduzzi after he announced plans to vote for Mendenhall for ACC Coach of the Year.
While the Panthers (4-4, 3-1) approach the final month of the season, they might need to win each of their four remaining games, including Friday night at Virginia, to win the ACC Coastal. All four of Pitt’s conference games have been closely contested, so Carter’s speed and elusiveness could be the difference.
He ran seven times for 137 yards and two touchdowns in Pitt’s come-from-behind victory against Duke on Saturday.
Narduzzi must weigh whether it’s best to use Carter now, with a conference title at stake, or save a season for later by limiting him to a total of four games so he can redshirt.
In all probability, Narduzzi already has made up his mind with gameplan implementation accelerated by the short work week.
But he still enjoyed planting seeds of doubt at his Monday news conference.
“We have to pick and choose when it’s important to use him,” he said. “We’ll find out. It depends on the matchup and what we feel like we got.”
He said Virginia’s 3-4 defense offers different problems than Duke’s base four-man front, with only two linebackers.
“Peace (Virginia’s weakside linebacker, Chris) hanging off the edge doesn’t make it easy to do much,” he said. “Every week it will be a matchup as we go.
“Certainly when you watch (Carter) play, maybe he could have played since Game 1. You’d like to preserve it if you could. I think we got other good players that can make plays happen.
“Was he lucky? Is he good? I don’t know. Maybe he just got lucky that day. I don’t know. Maybe (the game) just set up perfectly for him. I think some other guys can do the same thing.”
He also was vague on which position group meeting Carter, 5-foot-9, 170 pounds, attends.
“He works with wide receivers, sometimes running backs, sometimes the defensive backs,” Narduzzi said. “We haven’t put him at linebacker yet, but we’ll probably use him there, too.”
For the record, his name does not appear anywhere on the depth chart,
Keep your eyes open
In the form of a “guarantee,” Narduzzi said he plans to use one or two players against Virginia who haven’t played this season.
“You guys got to figure out who it is, like Waldo,” he said.
The ACC said start time for Pitt’s final home game Nov. 10 against Virginia Tech will be announced after the results from the upcoming weekend. The conference and ESPN also put a six-day hold on kickoff times for Clemson at Boston College and Miami at Georgia Tech.