PITTSBURGH — Last time the Pitt Panthers made the three-hour trek out Route 22 and up Interstate 99 to Happy Valley, things didn’t go so well for the Panthers, with Penn State winning, 33-14 in 2017.
So Pitt is going to do things a little differently this weekend during the trip to Happy Valley.
“[We will do things different] logistically, probably because I’m superstitious,” said Narduzzi.
Two years ago, Pitt’s football team stopped and worked out on the way to State College. The Panthers lost that meeting with the Nittany Lions. Narduzzi wants to change things up ever so slightly, this time around.
“Last time we went to Altoona High School and worked out,” Narduzzi said. “This time we will do all our work right here in our facility and then head to the hotel.”
Pitt always stays in a hotel the night before a game, even for home games, so a close road game will be no exception. Pitt left for Penn State early Friday afternoon. Even though it’s only a two-and-a-half-hour drive, the Panthers aren’t going to treat this game any differently.
— PITT Football Equip (@PITTequipment) September 13, 2019
“We will go to the stadium, go in the locker room, and check it out so they will see where they’re going to be,” Narduzzi said. “They can put their head on the pillow and visualize where they’re going to be and where they’re making plays.”
With Penn State having an expected crowd of over 105,000 on Saturday, Narduzzi is well aware of the challenges that come along with that. He referenced, however, that it doesn’t affect running or passing the ball.
“It’s the pre-snap [that the noise affects], it’s getting the ball off, it’s the communication in the huddle,” said Narduzzi.
Pitt has practiced dealing with the noise and the communication in the huddles back in camp as well as this week leading into the rivalry game.
“It’s the communication with the offensive and defensive line and we’ve practiced that — in camp and we’ve practiced it this week,” said Narduzzi.