Typically when I put the weekly injury report together, it's always from a Pitt perspective. But a pair of big injuries to important Virginia Tech players this week is hard to ignore. As stated in the preview, the Hokies will be without quarterback Michael Brewer, who is recovering from a broken collarbone. It was learned this week, too, that they will be missing star cornerback Kendall Fuller as well, who just had knee surgery and will be out for the season.
Neither of those guarantees a Pitt win, of course, but they should help the Panthers' chances.
On the Pitt side, the team looks to get former starting safety Reggie Mitchell back. Head coach Pat Narduzzi said in his weekly press conference that Mitchell had practiced last week and should be ready to play.
I hesitantly say' former' there because we aren't yet sure if/when he'll get his job back. Both starters, Jordan Whitehead and Terrish Webb have been playing out of their minds and it's hard seeing those guys come off the field - at least until they deem themselves not worthy to continue receiving starts. A move back to cornerback could be in line for Mitchell down the line, but to this point, that's a lot of speculation.
The 'new' news is that the Panthers will be without running back Darrin Hall, who is out with a leg injury, per the Trib's Jerry DiPaola. That's a big blow to a running game that has been hit hard with injuries. Pitt is down to primarily Qadree Ollison and Chris James (more on him in a minute), and it looks like, more than ever, that transfer Jameel Poteat could get some carries. Poteat transferred to Pitt, moved to linebacker, but has been also getting looks at running back, his initial position, mostly due to the injuries the team has sustained. Right now, he appears to be the team's third back.
Also 'back' should be the aforementioned James. Technically, he played against Iowa, but registered only two carries - so we're talking about him having a bigger role here. It was just learned this week that James suffered a concussion earlier this year and that helps to explain his lack of utilization the past two weeks. As I wrote earlier, the running game has unquestionably struggled and if he's able to go, he could even reclaim the starter job that has been up for grabs since James Conner's injury.
No real word on the offensive line injuries from earlier in the year, but those guys appear to be getting healthy. And hopefully with the bye week, the Panthers are mostly ready to go this weekend.