The Pitt Panthers made a somewhat unorthodox decision this spring by choosing to cancel their spring game in favor of getting one extra workout in during the spring. Normally, the spring game is a great way to cap off the spring practice session and give fans a show of what they can expect in the coming season. While it’s unfortunate for Pitt fans that they will miss out on this annual exhibition, the Panthers will be better for it on the field during the 2014 season.
Head coach Paul Chryst cited the youth of his team as the reason to forego the usual spring game this time around. That’s a valid point as the Panthers are extremely young with their two best players for 2014, Tyler Boyd and James Conner, coming off impressive freshman seasons in 2013. But on top of being young, they aren’t all that deep. The team comes into the spring with just two quarterbacks on the roster and only one more coming in the 2014 recruiting class. Avoiding injury should be a major point of emphasis for Pitt this spring and cutting down on the live action will help with that.
Chryst knows that doing what’s right for the team isn’t always what’s best for the fans but Pitt plans on making up the lost fan experience in other ways during the spring. They are organizing fan outreach programs to give the Pitt faithful something to enjoy this spring and will increase the number of intrasquad scrimmaging done during spring workouts. Controlling the pace of play and focusing the work that gets done will help the young and thin roster of Pitt get the most out of their spring practices in preparation for the 2014 season.
While it may be disappointing for Pitt fans who were counting on seeing their team in action prior to next fall, cancelling the spring game is a sound decision by Chryst that will help the Panthers be better prepared for 2014.