PITTSBURGH — As the Pitt Panthers prepare for their ACC opener against Georgia Tech, one player stands out in the Yellow Jackets movie — quarterback Jeff Sims.
Sims has been at the center of Pitt’s game plan this week because he’s Georgia Tech’s best player. The Yellow Jackets run through him for almost everything, whether they want to attack on the ground or in the air. Pitt head coach Pat Narduzzi has great respect for what Sims can do with his arms and legs.
“I really like him,” Narduzzi said. “I think he’s a talented, talented young man, and he’s starting to get older. …He’s tall, he’s long, he’s thin. …He can throw All the balls, he can crawl out of the pocket. If he doesn’t like what he sees, you better put him in the pocket.”
Narduzzi said the Sims’ first instinct when scrambling is usually to run, and with his speed, that’s a good thing for Tech. Usually, his best performances come when things fall apart and he’s forced out of the script.
“I think he was heavily instructed, if your reading isn’t where you want to go, take off and run, he’ll do it,” Narduzzi said. “You look at the third down and the long tape, and he’s either throwing it or he’s taking off and running and not making much progress … his third progress.”
When faced with an opponent who plays so well after breaking the containment, defenses sometimes try to play him a little softer. They’ll rush over more deliberately to make sure he can’t outflank them. But Narduzzi wants his defense to rely on their aggressive personalities.
“We have to be in kill mode, not capture mode,” Narduzzi said. “There are two modes – let’s put him in the pocket, bring him slow, and everyone’s afraid he’s going to go out.” will not be afraid. We’re going to pick him up. He’s a big guy, he’s not easy to knock down, but we have to go get him. So catch them, not contain them. “
Another key for Pitt is to disguise and change their coverage. They want the Sims to think longer and take away the bread and butter of offense.
“We’re going to have to change our attitude towards him and confuse him a little bit because what we’re doing to him doesn’t make it easy for him,” Narduzzi said. “Because if you’re on a screen three, he’s going to hit the one and he can fire and get the ball to him quickly.”
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