PITTSBURGH — Pitt head coach Pat Narduzzi announced on Monday that he’ll be changing his two-year old policy and allow his players to speak with the media the week leading up to his Panthers facing Penn State on Saturday.
But plenty of his players had already spoken out about the upcoming matchup with the Nittany Lions after Pitt’s 33-7 season-opening victory over Albany at Heinz Field on Saturday.
Here’s what some of the Panthers had to say about facing the Nittany Lions:
JUNIOR SAFETY DAMAR HAMLIN
On Penn State going to overtime with Appalachian State:
“Penn State is a great team. You can’t ever count them out. If you’ve watched them the last few years, they’ve been in a lot of tough games and they always come out with a dub. You can never count them out. … We were in a similar situation last year with Youngstown State. We know what it’s like.”
How much have you been looking forward to the game?
“I look forward to that game a lot. Just the way the city and the fans react to it, it just makes it seem like you’re part of something that’s way bigger than you and came way before you. Just seeing all the old guys come back just shows how much that game means and it just makes you feel good to be a part of it.”
How would you rate the environment at Heinz Field against Penn State in 2016?
“That’s probably the craziest environment that I’ve been a part of that. That and the Clemson game my freshman year. It’s just more personal because this is home.”
How will it being a night game this time change it?
“The whole city will be shut down for that game.”
You’re close with Penn State’s Lamont Wade (Clairton) and Miles Sanders (Woodland Hills). Will you talk to them this week?
“Those are my boys, Lamont and Miles. We’re cool. We communicate all the time, but this week, we’ll see how it goes.”
SENIOR RUNNING BACK QADREE OLLISON
On the importance of the game:
“This game is the most important game because it’s the next game. I’ll say the same thing next week. … That’s the mindset that we’ve got to carry into each week.”
On not talking to the media before Penn State:
“You want to just get to the game. You don’t want to do a lot of talking. You don’t want to get into ‘How are you guys going to do this, how are you guys going to do that?’ You just want to get to the game and play. He does that so we can focus just on the game.”
SENIOR LINEBACKER QUINTIN WIRGINIS
What are you looking forward to?
“It’s personal. We take every the same way no matter who we play, but we’ve got to focus on getting this film cleaned up and moving forward to next week. After we do that, we’re on to the big game.”
Is it different being a local guy?
“Yeah, I think it’s different for all of us. Once you’re in our family, you’re in the culture that we bring, it’s just different.”