Will Pitt’s Offense Improve on Dismal 2019?

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After a tumultuous offseason that had nothing to do with football, the Pitt Panthers begin their 2020 season this weekend against Austin Peay out of Clarksville, Tennessee. Realistically, we should all just be grateful that we even get Pitt football this Fall, unlike a certain in-state rival. We should all also be hoping that the season is able to be played relatively safely for the players, staff, and other football operations personnel. There will also be an ever-present looming specter of postponements, outbreaks, players opting out, and of the season not even being completed. All of these factors that should be at the forefront of our minds as we begin a college football season unlike any other in living memory. However, at the end of the day we’re all Pitt fans. Regardless of what else is going on, it’s natural to want the Panthers to go out and win as many games as possible. In service of that, there’s no shame in wondering, is the offense going to be any better this season? College football can be very unpredictable. This will particularly be the case this season. However, there are several factors that point to a high probability of at least a modest increase in offensive production.

For as good as Pitt’s defense was last year, it’s offense was just as bad. If not worse. Though Kenny Pickett had over 3,000 yards passing (3,098) that number was mostly due to the pass-heavy offense utilized. That reveals itself when looking at Pickett’s pedestrian 6.6 yards per attempt figure. Among 101 qualified passers in the country (14 attempts/game, 75% of school games played), that ranks 87th. For the offense as a whole, Pitt had 380.9 yards per game and 5.2 yards per play. Those stats rank 87th and 102nd out of the 130 FBS teams. Unsurprisingly, the run game was even more anemic with 119.2 rushing yards per game (118th) and 3.5 rushing yards per play (119th). At the end of the day all that matters is how much the Panthers scored. Unfortunately there’s little good news in that area as Pitt’s 21.2 points per game ranked 113th in the country.

The good news is that there’s not much room