There’s no better way to inject a badly needed dose of energy and hope into a team that has grown accustomed to losing than a midseason coaching change.

The jolt usually doesn’t last long. But while it does, it can be a powerful force.

I get it.

But even that doesn’t explain or excuse what Pittsburgh allowed Georgia Tech to do to it Saturday.

Less than a month after entertaining legitimate hopes for a spot in the College Football Playoff, the Panthers were relegated to next to last in the ACC Coastal Division by losing at home, by a wider margin than the 26-21 final score indicates, to a team so bad that coach Geoff Collins and athletics director Todd Stansbury were showed the door after only 4 games.

Take nothing away from the Yellow Jackets. They played their behinds off for interim coach Brent Key and put together by far their best effort of the season.

They also got plenty of help from the reigning ACC champions, who entered the game as a 22-point favorite.

Pitt gave new meaning to the phrase “charity begins at home” by turning the ball over 3 times, twice on fumbles by running back Vincent Davis and once on an interception thrown by quarterback Kedon Slovis, while committing 12 penalties for 75 yards.

Even with all that, it still took the Yellow Jackets until early in the 4th quarter to score their 1st touchdown. By the time a Panthers offense that outgained Georgia Tech 411-334 finally stopped self-destructing, it was too late.

While the stunning loss in its ACC opener dropped Pitt to 3-2 overall and out of the national rankings, it happened early enough that there’s still time to recover just as it did last year after an equally mystifying loss to Western Michigan.

First, though, coach Pat Narduzzi and his staff will have to fix what’s wrong with their stumbling team. That is, once they determine where to start.

Whether it’s injuries, scheme or execution, the Panthers haven’t looked like the same team since the 2nd half of their overtime loss to Tennessee on Sept. 10.

“Our knowledge, our details have got to get better,” Narduzzi said Monday at his regular weekly media availability. “You see the tiny little details that are hard to see on video tape for the normal eye, we have to clean those up.

“In the game of football, if one guy doesn’t do it the right way and you have 10 guys that are busting their tails, doing everything right – defense, offense, special teams – good things don’t happen.”

At least the defense, which was projected to be among the best in the ACC, has had a good excuse for its early shortcomings and is starting to come together with the return of defensive linemen Deslin Alexandre and Habakkuk Baldonado, along with cornerback Marquis Williams, to the lineup.

Injuries, including those that sidelined both starting quarterback Slovis and his backup Nick Patti, the running back tandem of Israel Abanikanda and Rodney Hammond and wide receiver Jared Wayne for at least a game each, have played a role on offense as well.

But as the turnovers and penalties against Georgia Tech suggest, there’s more askew than just the absence of several key players.

In a poll taken by the website this week asking readers to pinpoint the offense’s biggest problem, 38% of those responding paced the blame on the play-calling of new offensive coordinator Frank Cignetti Jr. The 2nd choice at 32% was poor offensive line play, followed at 22% by quarterback play and 8% by a lack of playmakers at wide receiver.

In truth, the right answer probably is all of the above.

While Slovis has been serviceable, ranking 3rd in the ACC behind only North Carolina’s Drake Maye and Wake Forest’s Sam Hartman in passing yards per game at 249.3, he’s only 7th in passing efficiency. And he hasn’t shown the same kind of downfield ability as his predecessor Kenny Pickett, who now is in the NFL.

Some of that might have to do with the combination of Cignetti’s heavy reliance on the ground game, the disappointing line play and a receiving corps that misses NIL free-agent departure Jordan Addison than Narduzzi wants to admit.

The good news for the Panthers is they play in the Coastal Division, where preseason favorite Miami is experiencing issues of its own, rather than having to chase down Clemson in the much more challenging Atlantic.

With upcoming games against ACC divisional bottom feeders Virginia Tech and Louisville sandwiched around an open date, the schedule should be conducive to a quick recovery.

Just as long as they can clean up the mess they made against Georgia Tech. And they don’t get blindsided again by another midseason coaching change.