New Offensive Coordinator Mark Whipple’s new scheme was probably the most anticipated aspect of the 2019 Pitt football season. After a couple years of Shawn Watson’s antique unimaginative offense, fans were clamoring for something more explosive, exciting, and energetic. While I think even the most optimistic fan could realize that a turnaround wasn’t going to happen overnight, there was hope on the horizon that the staunch defense Pat Narduzzi has built up would have a bit of help on the other side of the ball. Well we’re one game into the “Whippleball” era and reviews are mixed to say the least. The Panther offense did score two touchdowns in the 1st half against a stingy Cavalier defense, they moved at a much faster tempo, and play-calling was vastly improved. However, they were blanked in the 2nd half and were doomed by Virginia being granted short fields on all 3 of their Touchdown drives. There are of course many things that need to be cleaned up. There were several drive-killing drops of extremely catchable passes by Panther receivers and Kenny Pickett needs to get rid of the ball more quickly and have better accuracy on deep passes. However, the most important thing that can be done to get the offense going is for the Offensive Line to play much better than they did on Saturday.
There were more than a few qualms regarding the Offensive Line coming into this season. That’s going to happen when a unit loses 80% of their starters, as happened with Pitt. However, there was reason to believe that the drop-off wouldn’t be as steep as feared. The best player and anchor of the Line, Center Jimmy Morrissey, was returning and healthy after missing the final 3 games of the previous campaign. Additionally personnel on the Line actually made more sense, as last year’s unit had a couple of “square peg in a round hole” situations with players who were better suited to play Guard suiting up at the two tackle positions. This is how you ended up with a unit so talented at run blocking, but just as deficient when it came to pass blocking. Finally, there wasn’t complete inexperience as every projected starter...
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