Pitt notebook: Panthers defensive line packs powerful punch
Pitt coach Pat Narduzzi built an impressive wall in the middle of his defense Wednesday when he paired Tyrique Jarrett (335 pounds) and K.K. Mosley-Smith (305) side by side at the tackle positions.
Total it up, and that is 640 pounds between them. And the line won’t lose much when expected starting tackle Darryl Render, a 300-pounder, returns to his accustomed position.
Among those who noticed and nodded approvingly was linebackers coach Rob Harley.
“To have three big-time dudes in there, it makes our job a ton easier,” he said. “When those offensive linemen have to handle those guys first, we can just run free and run and hit.”
Jarrett is pushing Mosley-Smith and Render, who were last year’s regular starters, for playing time. Jarrett (Allderdice), the only City League player on the roster, was named the defense’s most improved player in the spring after appearing in only eight games with no starts last season. His imposing size — he puts 335 pounds on a 6-foot-3 frame — gives him a natural advantage, but he said it is more than simply manhandling the player in front of him.
“I’m more football smart,” he said. “It means a lot to really work for it. A lot of people say they want to get better, but they don’t really do anything to get better.”
Coaches probably will rotate all three this season to keep them fresh and rested.
“I have a lot of respect for K.K.,” Jarrett said. “We just want to get better together.”
Good, this time
Kicker Chris Blewitt, who earlier received tackling tips from Narduzzi, hit a 26-yard field goal from the right hash mark — the same distance and placement from which he missed a potential winner against Duke last year.
But linebacker Bam Bradley blocked an attempt from 44 yards.
Players wore shoulder shells for the first time Wednesday as Narduzzi picked up the pace of training camp. They will wear shells Thursday before they are fully padded Friday and Saturday. The team will scrimmage behind closed doors Saturday.
Fan committee named
Athletic director Scott Barnes named 22 members of the first Panther Fans Experience Committee. Those chosen from among more than 800 applicants include former football players Kevin Barthelemy and Adam Gunn. There are 17 Pitt graduates, two undergrads, 13 men and nine women.
The first meeting will be Aug. 31, and discussion topics are expected to center on game-day experiences, customer service, ticketing, donor support and communication with fans.