Pitt football training camp opened up this weekend and after a long summer, we can finally get around to talking more football as a result.
It will be a popular theme throughout camp but quarterback Kenny Pickett is, for all intents and purposes, opening up this camp as the face of the team. That’s partly due to the lack of known stars and also partly due to the way he ended the season with some good play and offered some hope for this year. You combine those two things with the fact that he’s the quarterback and Pickett becomes the leader practically by default. Since last season ended, fans have been buzzing about him and that’s carried over all the way into this season.
Last year, Pitt was 5-7, landing out of a bowl for the first time since 2007. Last year had some parallels to that season as the Panthers also were 5-7 and finished the season with the huge win against West Virginia. Speaking at training camp Pickett, for one, said that won’t happen again.
“Last year, honestly, was embarrassing,” the quarterback started. “I was embarrassed. Some people won’t say that but I love to win. 5-7 won’t happen again, I guarantee that.”
Strong words, obviously. Pickett continued, talking more about the hard work necessary to win this season.
“You don’t show up to work today that’s why you go 5-7. I’ll say that to the guys. Some of the guys having a bad day, you know, winning teams don’t have bad days. They don’t have off days like that.”
Some people might look at where Pitt ended last year, they guys they lost in the offseason to graduation and the NFL Draft, and be inclined to think this is a rebuilding year. But Pickett talked about the high expectations this team has.
“We all know the expectations. We want double-digit wins. We want to be in a January Bowl game. We want all of it, so we’re coming for it.”
Some of that is pretty standard stuff, I guess. I don’t think any player is going to not say that that’s the goal. But Pickett talked confidently and checked the box so that’s going to impress a lot of fans.