PITTSBURGH — Pitt head coach Pat Narduzzi espoused the benefits of the new-for-2018 NCAA rule that allows player to play up to four games and still use a redshirt on Thursday, when he talked about the playing time that freshman running back Mychale Salahuddin has gotten this season.
Earlier this week, one of Narduzzi’s conference opponents learned of the downside of that rule, as deposed Clemson starting quarterback Kelly Bryant announced after Week 4 that he intends to sit out the rest of the 2018 season, redshirt, graduate and transfer to a different institution.
Byrant, a senior, would have otherwise finished his eligibility on Clemson’s bench this season after being passed on the depth chart by freeman Trevor Lawrence.
It’s not necessarily the situation the rule changed was designed for, but well within Bryant’s rights to preserve what’s left of his eligibility.
So could that happen at Pitt? And is it something that Narduzzi has concerned himself with?
There are of course any number of players at Pitt that have the ability to make such a decision. As an example, true seniors like Darrin Hall and true juniors like Aaron Mathews and Damar Hamlin could sit out the rest of 2018, graduate and play as graduate transfers in 2019.
But will they? There’s been no reported grumblings that any of the current Panthers are thinking seriously of transferring and Narduzzi doesn’t seem concerned about the prospects of that happening, if and when it does.
“We’re not going to take it into account. We’re going to keep treating our kids like we do,” he said. “I think Pitt’s a great place to play. We treat our kids well. I don’t want to worry about the problems of other people. I just hope we don’t have that problem, but you know, it’s bound to happen at some point.
“They’ve got so many people in their ears about ‘You should be doing this, you should be getting this.’”
Narduzzi added that the health of his team through four games, with only right tackle Alex Bookser missing a game amongst starters, has prevented there from being a lot of different players on the field.
“You can only get 11 guys on the field,” he said. “That’s the sad thing when you’re healthy.”
Surely, it’s an issue he prefers to the alternative.