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Serious Questions Need to Be Addressed for Pitt

Serious Questions Need to Be Addressed for Pitt

“Don’t stumble over something behind you.”

That phrase can be applied to where the Pitt Football program currently finds itself. Don’t dwell on the past, fix what’s wrong.

For the first two years of his regime, Pat Narduzzi brought enthusiasm and hope. Pitt fans truly believed the University hit a grand slam with his hiring and good times were ahead.

Following last nights disappointing loss to North Carolina, for the first time, fans are wondering if Narduzzi is the right man for this challenging job. In my opinion, last night was Narduzzi’s worst loss at Pitt.

My stance on that hasn’t changed and that’s that Narduzzi is a good coach and is the right man for Pitt. Let’s remember, this is only his third year as a head coach. It’s tough to hear and maybe accept, but he’s still learning on the job.

Coach Pat Narduzzi yells during a timeout at Heinz Field on November 9, 2017 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. — DAVID HAGUE

That being said, part of being the CEO of a company or as in this case a football program, means that tough decisions need to be made and tough questions need to be asked of staff members and also of yourself.

As the 2017 season winds down and what could be an eventful off-season begins, Narduzzi has to look back at some things he did and not be too stubborn to admit mistakes that may have been made.

While I’m still a supporter of Narduzzi, I think there’s things he’s done this year that have to be questioned. First and foremost his handling of the quarterback situation.

To be blunt, he screwed it up big-time and has been too stubborn to make a change and do the right thing.

His reasoning for burning freshman Kenny Pickett’s redshirt is still a mystery. It’s probably the biggest mistake Narduzzi has made as head coach.

Kenny Pickett during pregame September 2, 2017. — DAVID HAGUE

To compound the mistake, he continues to sit Pickett instead of getting him meaningful game action to see what he might have at quarterback for 2018. Since the redshirt is burnt, it’s mind-boggling as to why he hasn’t gotten playing time.

If he had his mind was made up to play DiNucci, then why not let redshirt freshman Thomas MacVittie finish the Syracuse game? That still makes zero sense.

One thing that’s fairly obvious to anyone that’s watched this year and that is Ben DiNucci isn’t the answer. This isn’t meant as a criticism of him but taking the hometown factor out of this, Pitt needs to do better at quarterback if they’re going to be a consistent winner.

With DiNucci as the quarterback, it limits the play-calling and basically takes away the option of throwing deep. While he might be a decent backup, he isn’t a starter.

Narduzzi has stated that DiNucci hasn’t made mistakes which is mostly true. However, a head coach has to expect more from his quarterback than to not make mistakes.

Ben DiNucci passes down field, October 28, 2017. — DAVID HAGUE

By continuing to go down this road, all Narduzzi has done is make the quarterback position a bigger question mark heading into 2018.

Here’s another legitimate question for either Narduzzi or Shawn Watson. What took so long to get Darrin Hall on the field and feeding him the ball?

In his last 3 games as Pitt’s featured back, Hall has rushed for 486 yards and 8 TDs. Where was he early in the ACC schedule when Pitt was only rushing the ball 10-12 times a game?

Did the light just turn on for him or did the coaches do a bad job of evaluating talent?

If Hall would’ve been used, the redshirt of highly regarded prospect AJ Davis wouldn’t have had to be used. This situation appears to be another mismanagement of a players eligibility.

AJ Davis, September 30, 2017. — DAVID HAGUE

The toughest and first real big decision that Narduzzi might be faced with is does he need to make changes on his coaching staff?

Both Shawn Watson and Josh Conklin are getting questioned and criticized by fans and— I’m sure by some alumni — for the performance of their units. Will anyone in Pitt’s administration express their displeasure to Narduzzi about what they’ve seen and if so, how will he respond?

If Narduzzi is going to get better as a head coach and ultimately make Pitt a better program, he’ll need to make tough decisions and don’t be afraid to admit a mistake.

Although you wouldn’t know it from last night, Pitt has some solid pieces in place for 2018 and like has happened at other programs, things can change quickly.

The question is can Narduzzi learn from the past and make the proper adjustments to make Pitt a winner again?

Should be an interesting off-season.

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12 Comments on "Serious Questions Need to Be Addressed for Pitt"

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They are a young team this season. Give him another year. However, if in year four (with his players) there is no improvement, a move must be made.


This team isn’t winning more than 6-7 games next season with that schedule. I hope that’s an improvement in your eyes.


Good coach becomes greater with good assistants.
Average coach becomes good with good assistants.
Narduzzi needs better assistant coaches, not his friends or mentors.

Ben is not the answer for the QB. He is a high school QB. Happy feet, fixed on one WR, throws on back foot. See the picture in the article.

Seeing Ben playing gives no hope for the future. At least, Pickett gives hope.

True about coaches/assistants. Interestingly, when PC was here he inherited a much tougher situation and turned-it-around with class. He wasn’t given benefit of doubt, rather fans and media wanted him gone. He is, and look at his record since. Dinucci put us in position to win, coaching lost it. With better coaching we would have been bowl eligible before the NC game. NC’s qb is more challenged then Ben, yet our lack of defense allowed NC to move ball in outrageous fashion. 3rd and 19 run for first down. Cut me a break! On our part,the last posession, we pick-up… Read more »

Not sure why the fixation on the QB. or Coaching. Seems to me that Defense is at times either confused or Over-Matched
Once again Pit’s best player IMO is not on the field. Paris
Ford needs to play. I will not point fingers at players, ALL of the defensive unit needs to improve. Linebacker play is at best Mediocre.

Robert Hall

This was not a defense loss. They held them to 13 points in the second half and put the offense in position to win until Carolina’s final drive. This was bad play calling and qb play p!ain and simple. You have a defense is bad fixation and its wrong. I agree with the Point’s of this story 100 %.


In major college football, the QB has to do more than just not make mistakes if you want to win. Coaching has to get better and they must start to adjust to the flow of the game. I would like to know Narduzzi’s second half of games total scores compared to other teams. Pitt gets out coached almost every game in second half.

Rich J
I agree that he needs to upgrade his coordinators. I have been saying since they hired Shawn Watson he was a bad hire. As a play caller and a coordinator he is to predictable. Both Narduzzi and Conklin were out coached yesterday. We have some pieces, but we cannot continue yo wait 3 and 4 years for them to grow. We need to recruit better players, get better coaches. Kevin Sumlin will be available. Nazz has made to many bad decisions wasting redshirts and not adjusting his defense according to the talent. Giving up a first down on 3rd and… Read more »
Pitt Fan

3 years and no player development. Time for new assistant coaches on Defense.


Truth is we have break-downs on both sides of the ball. Fundamentals are lacking. HC needs to address them in offseason and re-enforce during pre-season and refine in season.

I think the QB is the least of the problems, DiNucci has been able to move the ball whenever he has been in there. To me it does not matter how you move it as long as gaining yard/ 1st downs/pojnts and DiNucci has been doing that when give the chance. The biggest QB dilemma is that they burned Picket’s redshirt which was a horrible decision and they brought in a QB that had no game experieince and was only going to be here for 1 year and that basically ruined the entire season and next. If DinNucci or Picketty… Read more »
Dennis Wagner

Only hope is transfer QB/Conztrando top recruit from Central Catholic made a mistake 3 years ago went to FSU (potential big time college QB: Savage, Peterman, Browne; 2 years left. Let him know he has a job for 2 years if he would wise up and come home. He has not been mentioned as a QB at FSU, two 5 star QB’s they are big on.
Pick up the phone.

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