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Kenny Pickett still ‘not moving great’ in Pitt practices

Joey Yellen has taken the lion's share of first-team reps at practices and appears poised to start again at Florida State

NCAA Football: Louisville at Pittsburgh Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Pitt quarterback Kenny Pickett injured his ankle during his team’s 31-30 loss to Boston College last month and was forced to sit out for the subsequent losses to Miami and Notre Dame. And unfortunately for the Panthers, it appears the senior signal-caller is still recovering from the injury this week, leaving his status for Pitt’s trip to Florida State as questionable.

“I wish I could confirm that he’s good to go,” Pitt head coach Pat Narduzzi said in his press conference on Monday. “I think he gets better every week. We’ll just keep working at it. ... [Joey Yellen is] still taking the majority [of first-team reps at practice]. Kenny can go out and throw, but he’s not moving great obviously. But he’s out there watching at least this week.”

Prior to his injury, Pickett was the catalyst of the Pitt offense and one of just a few reliable cogs in that particular machine. Since then, that machine has fallen to pieces, posting 19 points against Miami and being held to three by Notre Dame in an embarrassing loss.

While Yellen has performed decently in Pickett’s stead, his inexperience has shown, and it has contributed to Pitt’s woes. In particular, Pickett was averaging 277.8 passing yards and 2.6 total touchdowns per game, while also chipping in as a short-yardage rushing threat. But Yellen has since averaged 189.0 passing yards per game and scored just once, and his relative lack of mobility has limited Pitt’s already ailing offense.

Time will tell when Pickett will be able to get back on the field, but with the Panthers at 3-4 and struggling to pull out of a multi-game skid amid the toughest stretch of their season, the quarterback’s return may be the last event the team’s fans have to look forward to in 2020.