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Pitt DT Calijah Kancey Learning to Face Double Teams, Make Sacrifices

Calijah Kancey said he's glad to take on double teams if it means other Pitt Panthers defenders can make plays themselves.

PITTSBURGH -- It's reached the point in Calijah Kancey's career that snaps against just one blocker have become rare. The Pitt Panthers' best defensive tackle is facing as many pointed protection schemes as possible as opposing offenses try to limit a force that has been growing stronger and stronger with each passing week. 

Kancey has recorded 19 total tackles, 7.5 for loss and three sacks through five games. That puts him on pace to shatter career-highs in each category and it all comes despite the extra attention teams must now send his way. 

But Kancey doesn't see the extra coverage as a challenge, but rather a chance to open up plays for his teammates. He might get more sacks or tackles for loss for himself playing one-on-one ever down, but he is glad to swallow up offensive linemen if it means his teammates can make plays more easily.

“I know if my teammate gets a one-on-one, he’s going to win and if I get a double team, I’m going to fight to win," Kancey said. "If my teammate makes the play, I’m happy for him. It means I took a sacrifice for the team.”

That excites defensive line coach Charlie Partridge too. He commended Kancey for how he's taken the added pressure and said that with time, as teams begin to realize the pressure can come from anywhere on that Pitt front, Kancey will be freed up to make more plays as well. 

"I’ll tell you, what’s fun right now is that [Habakkuk Baldonado] and [Deslin Alexandre and John [Morgan], while they’re not getting the kind of stats that everyone wants, they’re getting pressure on the quarterbacks and pushing him up and David Green has been coming up with some production too," Partridge said. "So it’s hard to hold onto those double teams with Calijah forever."

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