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Pat Narduzzi addresses the media (Photo credit: Alan Saunders)

Pitt Football

Five Takeaways

PITTSBURGH — Pat Narduzzi addressed the media in his weekly Monday press conference. Here’s my five big takeaways as Pitt prepares for Marshall this Saturday.

FINISHING STRONG

Narduzzi said that after watching the film, he thought the majority of his team’s fourth-quarter defensive snaps were quality. But there were enough below-the-bar plays to let the Tar Heels put together scoring drives.

“When you look at that 17-play drive and chart every play as a win or loss, 12 of the 17 plays were really good,” he said. “It only takes five of the 17 to be really bad. We have to make a play. We have to find a way to knock and arm off us and get to the quarterback. We just have to find a way to make a play. … Players make plays. They made them and we didn’t.”

PERSONNEL CHANGES IN THE CARDS?

After the pass defense was exposed for the second week in a row, Narduzzi was asked about potential personnel changes.

“You may see one or two (changes), but I don’t know if they’ll help things,” he said. “There’s always time to shake things up a little bit. We’ll shake some things up. I’m a firm believer that we had the right players out on the field. It’s our job as coaches to get them to do it the right way and do it better.

“It’s our job as coaches to get the best players in the best situation. They have to be locked in and focused. We have to make sure the best players physically and mentally are playing for us. No matter how many moves we make, we have to be better. It doesn’t help throwing a guy out there in a pinch and thinking he’s going to be the answer. I would disagree with that. It’s our job as coaches to make them better. That’s the challenge that I love. If it was all easy, it would be easy to coach.”

HERD MENTALITY

Narduzzi was quick to mention the quality of his team’s opponent this week in a Marshall Thundering Herd squad that is coming off a 59-28 loss to Louisville.

“Those were two athletic football teams out there, “ Narduzzi said. “Obviously we played Louisville last year and Lamar Jackson is obviously hyped up for the Heisman. Marshall is an athletic football team that never quit. They play to the end. They’re tough, physical and athletic. They will be a great challenge. … They’ll come in here with a chip on their shoulder. We’ll have to be well-prepared.”

TACKLING DRILL

One of the things I highlighted in this week’s film study was the defense’s lack of tackling on underneath pass plays. Narduzzi was asked about it and said there were a couple, in particular, that really bothered him.

“Some guys make you miss,” he said. “One of the things you don’t like to see is that sideline tackle where we let a guy get down the sideline and use the sideline and cut back on us. … Those are some things that bother you. Some of the others were more alignments. … When you go back and watch the tape, how far off are they? It’s details.”

INJURY UPDATES / KUDOS / SCHEDULE

• Narduzzi expects starting OLB Mike Caprara to return this week and said he could have played Saturday, but did not want to risk re-aggravating the injury.

• He also said freshman CB Damar Hamlin is “progressing nicely” from his still-undisclosed injury, but did not have a timeframe for when he would be able to return to full participation in practice.

• WR Quadree Henderson was named to the Paul Hornung Award Honor Roll for the second time this season. He had 249 all-purpose yards against North Carolina.

• Pitt’s game on Oct. 8 against Georgia Tech will have a 12:30 kickoff and will be televised on ACC Network and WTAE-TV Channel 4 locally.

• My depth chart:

screen-shot-2016-09-26-at-4-36-57-pmscreen-shot-2016-09-26-at-4-36-53-pm

Sandy Schall, Coldwell Banker

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