Coach Speak: Joe Rudolph
Joe Rudolph
Panther Digest Publisher
Posted Sep 18, 2013

Regardless of the difference in opponent, there's already more optimism surrounding Pitt's offense, one game removed from the disappointment of the Florida State loss.

In Week One, it started with a long touchdown drive. It ended with just 13 points, a blowout loss at home, no other touchdowns, three sacks allowed and a pair of interceptions.

And that's putting it mildly.

In Week Two, it started off the opposite. An interception on the first play, yet a final result of seven offensive touchdowns in a blowout win.

"I though ball security wasn't great, something to improve on," offensive coordinator Joe Rudolph said.

And if there is me area the team can improve on overall, it would be turnovers. Pitt has committed an average of 5.5 penalties per game--showing commitment to keeping those type of mistakes minimized.

Turnovers is a different story. The Pitt offense has turned the ball over six times this season, while the defense has only recovered one--and average of a -2.5 turnover margin per game.

How to correct it. James Conner gave us the best glimpse this week. He fumbled the ball away in the third quarter against New Mexico.

"The whole team told me, shake it off," Conner said. "Coach (Rudolph) kept saying, it's about the next play, have a short-term memory."

And that's the worst of it. Aside from the obvious turnovers, which Pitt expects to work on cutting down this week--or at least be more aware of it--Rudolph says there's more positives to take away from Saturday's offensive performance, going forward.

"There were some things that looked exactly the way we it wanted to look," Rudolph added.

* Take for example, aside from Savage' two interceptions, he did complete 13-of-17 passes for 236 yards on the day. Aside from those two interceptions, there were just two incompletions aside from that.

* The fact that there were two 100-yard games from the Pitt backfield. Not to mention, the number of carries that Isaac Bennett and James Conner have been getting throughout the season has been similar. Both backs took nine carries each in Week One. In Saturday's game, Bennett carried it 14 times, Conner 12. Productive, efficient, equivalent--that is a positive sign for both.

* Through two games, Devin Street still leads the team with 11 catches for 221 yards, and surprisingly no touchdowns. He's sure to get a touchdown reception at some point, which hasn't even crossed his or anyone else's minds because the attention has been on Tyler Boyd. In fact, Street says he's noticed the shift in double-team coverage.

"A little bit, but not too much," Street said. "Once Tyler had that second catch, they laid off a little bit."

Just ask Duke head coach David Cutcliffe what he thinks of Pitt's offensive weapons.

"That's as good a combination as there is in the country," Cutcliffe said.

And with the heavy use of the tight end in this offense--can you believe that the four tight ends in the rotation (Manasseh Garner, J.P. Holtz, Scott Orndoff, Jaymar Parrish) have combined for seven of the 29 receptions so far this season for 56 yards and two touchdowns? We might see more of them, but when you hear from the players and coaches, Rudolph in particular, he's pleased with how the tight ends have either created a distraction or come up with the big catch when called upon.

"It gives you multiplicity when you line up positions," Rudolph said. "Is it going to be two-tight end sets, is it going to be a tight end in the slot. I think it adds a little to it.

"I don't know what (defenses) think about all the time, but it helps us."

For the rest of Rudolph's briefing of the offense, check out his full interview below.

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