In the moments after Pitt’s 31-14 win over Virginia on Saturday, there was one theme in the post-game interviews that was noticeable - the team is getting more comfortable. Several players mentioned that theme and even that specific word after the victory.
The word was used when discussing the team as a whole, but more specifically, quarterback Ben DiNucci as well.
“I think that Ben is starting to get more comfortable,” starting running back Darrin Hall mentioned. “He’s starting to read things a little better...”
DiNucci himself basically said the same thing.
“The more I get out there, the more confident I will be,” he said. “It is starting to reflect because I am seeing improvement in moving around in the pocket.”
DiNucci isn’t playing great by any measure. He hasn’t thrown for even 175 yards in a game save the Oklahoma State contest where Pitt was forced to throw a ton, getting behind early. In the last two wins against Duke and Virginia, he’s been below 150 yards. But what he’s doing is giving the chance to win. He has only one interception in those two contests and his scrambling ability continues to be a weapon as he’s able to elude pressure that would result in sacks for a lot of quarterbacks.
The thing I keep coming back to with DiNucci is that, while he’s not necessarily making a ton of plays, he’s not making the gut-wrenching mistakes, either. He did have an interception against Virginia but isn’t costing the team games. Maybe that changes against better teams like Miami and Virginia Tech but, for now, his play in these last two games has been adequate and it’s hard to complain too much with what he’s been doing.
I’m not sure what the future will hold for him in terms of being the team’s long-term starter beyond this season. But the reps he’s getting now should help him in these final few games as the team pursues bowl eligibility.
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