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Pat Narduzzi talks Jordan Whitehead on offense

Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

For much of this season, wide receiver Tyler Boyd has dominated the talk on offense. But after Saturday's game against Notre Dame, a new potential star on offense is emerging - true freshman Jordan Whitehead.

Whitehead is also a starting safety for the team, but made his mark on offense by scoring two rushing touchdowns. As it was his first time on offense this season, naturally, there were questions at Pat Narduzzi's weekly press conference.

So what will Whitehead's role be going forward? That sounds as if it's somewhat to be decided. But for now, he won't be a full-time player on offense. "No. I think he's a great player on defense, too," Narduzzi said. "He's made a ton of plays back there and if we don't have him back there then I wonder what the yardage and points looks like. He's a guy that I think can do a little bit of both..."

Keeping Whitehead on defense makes sense. And truthfully, it's where the team needs him most. He can be effective on offense as we saw this week, but Pitt, even without James Conner back there, is still somewhat deep at running back. I have no doubt that he could be a big-time player on offense, but to Narduzzi's point, imagine where Pitt's defense would be without him. As a true freshman, he's the teams leading tackler at safety and seems like he is around the ball almost every time out.

Narduzzi also said the discussion to use Whitehead on offense had been discussed before, but that he wanted to make sure his freshman had a good grasp of the defense first. Again, this also makes sense and the last thing you'd want to see is the staff throw too much at him too soon.

In addition, another thing that could have opened up the door for Whitehead on offense is that the team just got safety Reggie Mitchell back. Mitchell has missed most of the year and that made Pitt thinner at safety. With him back for these last few games, it will allow Whitehead to get a bit of a breather on defense when needed. Narduzzi himself alluded to that fact when he mentioned getting Whitehead back.

I remain interested in just how much we'll see him on offense. To be fair, I don't think the staff knows yet, either. I don't base that on anything other than the simple fact that he just played his first game there. I really believe that since they were cautious in not using him up to this past weekend there that they want to bring him along somewhat slowly. It may get harder to do that if he continues to make an impact, but for now, I expect they'll throw a few things his way and see how he reacts.

Regardless of how much time he gets there, it's a wise move for the staff to utilize whatever they have in trying to jumpstart the offense a little.

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