Pitt football struggling without Kenny Pickett

Pitt football struggled immensely on offense in its last two games with quarterback Kenny Pickett out due to an ankle injury. There is little known about the status of Pickett going forward, outside of head coach Pat Narduzzi saying, “Hopefully sooner rather than later,” when asked about Pickett’s return. This brings up a lot of questions for the remainder of the season as the Panthers’ offense has performed poorly without their senior signal caller.

In its 45-3 loss to Notre Dame on Saturday, Pitt fielded three different quarterbacks with Joey Yellen getting the start, Davis Beville coming on for one drive and Nick Patti closing out the game for the Panthers. Not a single one of these quarterbacks put up an impressive performance. Yellen completed 10 of his 27 attempts for only 101 yards, Patti completed two of five for 17 yards and Beville threw a single incomplete pass. The underwhelming performance of all three quarterbacks means Pitt may not only have a quarterback problem until Pickett returns, but also in future years.

With these three quarterbacks showing they are not yet ready to lead the offense, Pitt desperately needs Pickett back on the field. With Pickett, the Panthers were 3-2 on the season with their two losses both coming by a single point. In the two games without Pickett, Pitt is 0-2 and has lost by margins of 12 and 42.

While these losses came against the two best teams Pitt has played thus far, Miami and Notre Dame, there is still something to be said for the team losing by so much and the overall struggles of the offense. In the Miami game, the Pitt offense gained a total of 300 yards and against Notre Dame, it gained a measly 162 yards. These are the two lowest total offense numbers put up by Pitt this season. While these problems do not fall solely on the shoulders of the quarterbacks attempting to replace Pickett, their struggles passing the ball as well as the lack of Pickett’s veteran leadership in the huddle certainly play a big role.

These lackluster performances also open up talks on whether Pitt currently has an heir apparent for Pickett. Many Pitt fans and it seems the coaches as well, felt Joey Yellen would be the guy to take over at quarterback once Pickett was gone. Fans are now certainly not sold on Yellen being the future at quarterback, and with the flip-flopping at the position that has gone on during games, it seems the Pitt coaching staff may not be completely sold on Yellen either.

Yellen only has a few starts under his belt and is still only a redshirt freshman, so he has plenty of time to develop. The question of who the starter will be after Pickett is gone is an important one for the future of Pitt football, but it is one that can’t be answered yet. Any of these quarterbacks could step up in the next season or two and show that they have what it takes to successfully lead the Pitt offense.

Though the quarterback of the future in Pittsburgh is important, right now Pitt football supporters only want one thing - Kenny Pickett to return and end the Panthers’ current losing streak.

Photo by Kaycee Orwig | The Pitt News