For the second time this season, the Georgia Tech defense can’t be sure which quarterback it will face Saturday.
The Pittsburgh Panthers used a pair of quarterbacks in last week’s lopsided loss to Oklahoma State, and Pittsburgh head coach Pat Narduzzi isn’t ready to who will start under center.
“It’s a coaching feel,” Narduzzi said. “The quarterback situation —we’re going to continue to evaluate. They both do some really good things on tape.”
The Panthers started Max Browne against Oklahoma State and brought in Ben DiNucci to get the offense sparked. Browne is the superior passer, and DiNucci is a definite running threat. The duo is trying to replace veteran Nathan Peterman.
Georgia Tech head coach Paul Johnson said his staff focuses on the big picture when getting ready for the Panthers.
“It’s a little uncertain with their quarterbacks right now, whether it will be Browne or DiNucci,” Johnson said. “We kind of get ready for their system. One is a little more quarterback-run game than the other one, but that’s the stuff you see every week, so you have to have a play for that as you go in.”
Johnson’s guess is that DiNucci would be the starter but added, “Who knows; they both may play.”
Neither Pittsburgh quarterback has generated much offense. Browne has thrown for 338 yards and one touchdown, and DiNucci has thrown for 277 yards and one touchdown. The Panthers are averaging 21 points.
“Do we have a great quarterback? No, not right now,” Narduzzi said. “That’s what happens when you’re a young football team. It wasn’t Max’s fault. It was all 11 players plus me. We’ll continue to evaluate and watch the tape and see where we are.”
Narducci said the decision would be made on performance in this week’s practice and emphasized the advantage would go to the quarterback who was best able to extend drives and keep Georgia Tech’s offense off the field.
“Every series is critical because when Georgia Tech gets the ball, they can go, and they’ll grind up and have a 15-, 18-play run drive, and the whole first quarter will be over.”
The Panthers lost all-conference running back James Conner to the NFL but return the dependable Qadree Ollison at running back and versatile Quadree Henderson at receiver. Ollison started the first two games at tailback and was moved to fullback for the Oklahoma State game.
The most dangerous player may be Henderson, who ranked 11th in the nation and second in the ACC a year ago with 160.23 all-purpose yards per game. He had 2,083 all-purpose yards, joining Tony Dorsett as the program’s only players to reach that milestone.
But Henderson and Jester Weah, the other standout receiver, are limited when the offense can’t run the ball. It happened last week when the Panthers rushed for only 103 yards.
“Obviously people are sitting down on our run game a little bit because until they see us effectively throw deep and actually catch the ball, they’re going to play the run,” Narduzzi said.
Hall of Fame adds six
The Georgia Tech Sports Hall of Fame will induct six members Friday. They will be introduced at halftime Saturday. They are Matt Wieters (baseball), Roberto Castro (golf), Roger Anderson (tennis), B.J. Elder (basketball), Ashlee Kidd (track and field) and Durant Brooks (football).
Brooks, who graduated from Tattnall Square, punted for the Yellow Jackets in 2006 and 2007 and won the Ray Guy Award as the nation’s best punter in 2007.
Pittsburgh at Georgia Tech
12:20 p.m., Saturday