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Calm Before the Storm: Pitt Training Camp Ends and the Season Begins

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NCAA Football: ACC Championship-Clemson vs Pittsburgh Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports

Pitt football is back — almost.

Next week, we’ll officially have a ‘game week’ around these parts and the season is about to get started with next Saturday’s game against Virginia. I’m even told ribs will be there. The last official practice for Pitt’s training camp was Thursday and we’re now getting into game week mode.

The game will be a challenging one and we’ll dive deeper into that next week. For now, though, it’s all about getting the ducks in a row before the week begins.

First things first. We’ve discussed the quarterback situation quite a few times already. The bottom line is, will Kenny Pickett improve? Head coach Pat Narduzzi seems to think so but isn’t throwing out a full-throated endorsement, either.

“We’ll find out on gameday. It’s hard to see in practice. He’s become a better leader. He’s throwing the ball better. He’s reading things better. But you find out on gameday. I don’t see him any different right now than I saw him a year ago, except for leadership and a different guy telling him what to do. I’m sure on gameday, we’re going to see some changes. That’s when the test is. It doesn’t matter how you study for the test. It matters what happens when test day gets here. It’s coming soon.”

Frankly, I’m not sure that’s what a lot of fans will want to hear. The hope is that he would have taken another big step forward in terms of development and that we’d be hearing about it. Narduzzi mentions he’s reading things a bit better and throwing a bit better, but in the same breath doesn’t ‘see him any different.’ Narduzzi himself still sounds like he has questions.

What Narduzzi is saying, by the way, is absolutely true. Even if a guy looks great in practice, that means little. But, man, confidence booster this ain’t.

Running back, as it always seems to be, is unsettled with no clear guy there. In his latest press conference, though, Narduzzi says this is another area very much in flux. According to him, the “depth chart will evolve as the season goes on.”

I’m not putting too much concern into that. It’d be nice to have a clear cut guy but, heck, Pitt didn’t even have that last year and still had a great rushing game with two 1,000-yard backs. Who is doing the ball-carrying is of less importance than how that ball-carrying is actually being performed. If it takes four guys doing the job, that’s all fine by me.

The depth chart, as a whole, is being finalized. But Narduzzi also said it’s only at 80%-85% complete, so some spots are still apparently up for grabs. Perhaps some of that is about pushing guys to the finish line and driving competition but we’ll see.

Time to get the season started and see what we got.

Be sure to join Cardiac Hill’s Facebook page and follow us on Twitter @PittPantherBlog for our regular updates on Pitt athletics. Follow the author and founder/editor @AnsonWhaley.