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Expect to see more of James Conner on defense for Panthers

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Yesterday, Pitt running back James Conner got onto the field as a defensive end in the Panthers' win against Virginia. He was also pretty effective, nearly sacking the quarterback on a play.

If you are a Pitt fan hoping to see more of that, it sounds as if you'll get your wish. Here's what head coach Pat Narduzzi said after the game:

''We've been kind of working that in and as you guys know, he was recruited as a defensive lineman,'' Narduzzi said. ''... James is a super football player. I was happy he got a hurry on the quarterback and we'll have a little bit more of that.''

The key is obviously the last part of that where he suggests Conner could be doing that a bit more.

As I said yesterday, I'm not sure I want to see James back there on defense playing 15-20 snaps. But at the same time, if Pitt wants to use him on a few plays, similar to what they do with Whitehead on offense, I think that could be helpful. Narduzzi also talked about using Conner in part to help keep his other players fresh, which obviously makes a lot of sense. And with Pitt missing star defensive end Ejuan Price with an injury for part of yesterday, inserting him made even more sense.

I'll be interested to see how much they use Conner on defense going forward. And from the sounds of it, we can count on Conner playing there in some capacity.

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