Take 5: Expectations are rising on the cusp of training camp

Football returned to Benno Cook Fields on Monday when Pete opened his summer training camp, launching a lengthy process to defend the ACC Championship.

With the return of the 13 players who claimed the All-ACC title last year (at one level or another), expectations – not just hopes – are high.

However, leaving the first team all-American Kenny Beckett and Jordan Addison were huge contributors last season, isn’t some 11-3 dip inevitable? How much is the question.

Football matches, on the other hand, are won in the trenches, and Pete has a total of 13 senior players in both lines, as well as a defensive tackle for the All-American of the third team, Caliga Kansi. 11.3 Set the bar too low?

Many questions and circumstances surround Pat Nardozzi as he approaches his eighth season. Incidentally, he has been linked with Walt Harris for the longest time among Pete’s coaches at 57 years old. This stability may be the main reason why Pete should have another good, if not great, season.

Here are five ideas for meditation on the eve of camp:

1. Can Pete do it again?

After achieving their best season in 40 years in 2021, can the Panthers repeat this rare feat as soon as possible next season?

An optimist will tell you: Sure, no problem, given how many important contributors come back: 25 total (11 in attack, 14 in defense), if you don’t limit the number of participants to beginners.

However, a pessimist will warn you: If you expect Another special season While Beckett and Addison chase their dreams elsewhere, temper your enthusiasm.

Tom Loginbill, an ESPN college football analyst, said Pete’s fans should be encouraged by the Nardozzi Foundation he put in place.

“Pete still has good players,” Loginbeil told the Tribune Review. “I know what they lost. You are still an ACC champion. You don’t suddenly fall off a cliff.”

2. How about a quarterback?

Pitt’s moments of greatness last season were determined by Beckett’s arms and legs and Addison’s ability to open up.

Pickett was responsible for 47 touchdowns, including a 58-yard run in the ACC Championship game that changed the NCAA rulebook. Edison more than doubled every other House pass catcher with 100 receptions for 1,593 yards and 17 degrees.

The offensive regression wouldn’t be a shock.

Narduzzi has talked repeatedly about the quarterback competition between Kedon Slovis and Nick Patti. Slovis should be considered the favourite, but Patty is highly respected by his teammates and coaches. At worst, patty is a capable backup. At best, he is a reliable, solid midfielder who is ready to play by any means necessary. Narduzzi believes Patty’s early loss in a 31-21 loss to Michigan State at the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl made a “14-point difference” in the score.

Slovis threw for 3502 yards and 30 touchdowns as a freshman at USC in 2019, and his name appeared on the Heisman and Davey O’Brien Watch rosters the following pre-season. But injuries were part of his decline in 2021 when those numbers fell to 2,153 and 11 in two lower starts.

Luginbill worked at USC Games when Slovis was the quarterback, and he believes in the quarterback’s talent.

“I know there’s a lot of discussion right now about Kedon Slovis,” Loginbill said. “I also think there are a lot of question marks about him. He’s erratic and has health issues, and he’s been injured a lot.

“He is going for a completely different scheme. This is not the air raid as it has been in the past two years, it is a running game. They have to be able to run the ball and take some pressure off the centre-back.”

3. Back position

John Petration, Cam Bright, and Phil Campbell III scored 200 assists, 21 TFLs, and 12 sacks last season. All gone, with Bright moving to Washington. This will be a closely watched site in the camp, and an area of ​​concern for Nardozzi and his staff.

Cleverly, Narduzzi sensed a problem and found Shane Simon (Notre Dame) and Tyler Weltz (Missouri) at the NCAA diversion portal. Also, Bangally Kamara and Solomon Deshields, third-year players who acquired the old-school way through their recruitment, will be important players in the rotation.

Senior Sir Foscia Dennis, perhaps the ACC’s best full-back despite being left out of the Conference squad before the season, returns in the middle or out. He can and will play both.

4. Remittances received

Pete has lost 17 players to the gate since the start of last season, including Addison, Bright and linebacker Wendell Davis Jr (Northwestern).

Narduzzi added seven players for his scholarship from the gate, including wide receivers Konata Mumpfield (Akron) and Bub Means (Louisiana Tech and Tennessee). Mumpfield and senior Jared Wayne (career stats, 85 receptions, 1,241 yards) have the must-have merchandise for Slovis—or Patti—go-to.

5. Narduzzi speaking

When Pete’s coach went to car dealer Richard Bazi’s podcast and shredded ex-offensive coordinator Mark Whipple, he made it two-for-three throwing darts at newly callers. All Whipple did was lead Pickett to a world of NFL fortunes and Pitt to the ACC Championship while directing an offense averaging 486.6 yards per game (the fifth among the Power 5 schools).

Nardozzi also questioned Matt Canada’s experience after the 2016 season when Pete scored 532 points (76 vs. Syracuse) and defeated Penn State and Clemson by scoring 42 and 43, respectively.

In both cases, Nardozzi’s unnecessary and unwarranted remarks served no purpose and were insults to two good men. Pete’s coach sometimes likes to speak his mind, but he should realize that this is 2022. Saying the wrong thing – even if a few of them are listening – can make a respected coach look bad.

One of the ways Narduzzi makes people forget about this transgression is by winning double-digit games for the second year in a row. The games are what count – if you win them.

When Nardese disrespected the Big Ten by saying, “Let’s go to the Big Ten and win it every year,” he was defending Pitt and the ACC. This is impressive.

But he wasn’t thinking about his record against non-conferences, Power Schools 5:2-10 (1-6 vs. the Big Ten).

Now, he’s facing two more — West Virginia and Tennessee — to start the season.

If Pete loses even one of those schools (WVU was picked 8th in the Big 12 pre-season poll and Tennessee is 3rd in the SEC East), the national media will recycle Narduzzi’s previous notes.

pressure to win? Narduzzi wouldn’t admit it, but now he’s dug fertile ground for it to thrive.

Jerry DePaola is a Tribune Review writer. You can contact Jerry via email at jdipaola@triblive.com or via Twitter .