When Pitt played Marshall this weekend, they were without a key player in starting safety Jordan Whitehead. That forced backup Reggie Mitchell into action and Whitehead’s status is still unclear.
After the game, Pat Narduzzi fired a preemptive shot to the media before anyone could get a chance to ask him where his star player was.
“You guys probably noticed that Jordan didn’t play today so it’s nice to get a ‘W’ when one of your best players doesn’t get on the field,” Narduzzi said at his post-game press conference. “As you guys know, I’m not going to talk about personnel and injuries and all that, so we’ll just kind of leave it at that.”
When asked later if his absence was injury-related, Narduzzi wouldn’t budge, again declining comment.
But while the head coach didn’t specify why he missed the game, he did offer some hope in that he added he could return as soon as next week. “But expect him to hopefully be ready to go this week. We’ll play that by ear.”
Obviously, the sooner Pitt gets Whitehead back, the better. I thought, as Narduzzi did, that Mitchell played pretty well in his absence. But Whitehead’s absence just makes the team much thinner back there.
The other factor, of course, is that when Whitehead doesn’t play, he’s missed on offense. He’s generally good for a few plays there and helps keep defenses on their toes since he’s capable of doing a lot with the ball.