Pitt notebook:’War Daddy’ Ollison leads Pitt in rushing
Qadree Ollison is Pitt’s leading rusher after the first game, with 73 yards on only seven carries in the 33-7 victory against Albany.
But the number on his back is more important than the numbers on the stat sheet.
He said he has changed his number from 37 to 30 to honor his brother, Rome Harris, who was shot and killed last year.
“I lost my brother last year in October,” he said. “He wore No. 30 when he played football.
“It’s my way of telling myself he’s always with me. That’s a great feeling going out there with my mom and my dad and my family in the stands and all of them knowing why.”
Coach Pat Narduzzi said Ollison looks faster wearing No. 30. “I mean, he can tote the rock,” he said.
Narduzzi called Ollison “a war-daddy,”a slang term to signify toughness in a football player. It dates all the way back to the 1950s with Harold “War Daddy” White, the coach at Perkinston (Miss.) Junior College.
Pitt used three running backs against Albany while fullback George Aston had no carries, but two catches for 8 yards.
Sophomore A.J. Davis led the team in attempts (17) for 46 yards and Darrin Hall, who was last year’s rushing leader, carried only four times for 22.
A total of seven carries for 55 yards went to receivers Rafael Araujo-Lopes, Shocky Jacques-Louis and Maurice Ffrench.
Quarterback Kenny Pickett completed 16 passes to 10 receivers, making good on coaches’ intent to use a “posse” of pass catchers. Araujo-Lopes had three catches for 50 yards and two touchdowns and Taysir Mack added three for 44 yards.
Jacques-Louis had four touches (three carries for 21 yards and one catch for three). He was one of only two freshmen to appear in the game; the other was cornerback Marquis Williams. Pitt used 14 redshirt freshmen making their collegiate debuts.
More to come?
Pitt recorded five sacks, but defensive end Rashad Weaver, who had one of them, said there’s more alignments and attack strategies that remained hidden in the playbook.
“We were holding back for you guys,” he said. “That was nothing. It’s going to be lot more fun throughout the year. That was just a little taste. We have lot more coming.”
Jerry DiPaola is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Jerry at [email protected] or via Twitter @JDiPaola_Trib.