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Five Takeaways from Pat Narduzzi’s Press Conference: Still Looking for Improvement

Five Takeaways from Pat Narduzzi’s Press Conference: Still Looking for Improvement

PITTSBURGH — There was still a lot of stuff that bothered Pitt head coach Pat Narduzzi following Pitt’s upset of then-No. 15 UCF at Heinz Field on Saturday.

Narduzzi talked about a lot of the positives after the game in his press conference. But Narduzzi knows that it’s back to work this week. He isn’t looking past the new challenge, of getting his team better for Delaware in Week 5.

Pitt fumbled the ball twice against UCF. They recovered one of them.

“We have to work on ball security again this week. Ball security will get you beat pretty quick,” Narduzzi said. “Our two missed field goals, that we cannot have.”

Pitt kicker Alex Kessman is now 3-for-8 on field goals this season.

“There’s still room for improvement,” Narduzzi said. “I don’t think you’ve seen a finished product yet, and I think that’s a good thing.”

“Our schedule has been really firm,” Narduzzi said. “We need to keep our foot on the gas pedal this week, because I think it’s awful important.”

Pitt has now played three games against teams who have been ranked in the top-20 at some point this season.

LIFE IS A GAMBLE

With the controversial fourth down field goal attempt against Penn State and then the “Pitt Special” call to win the game against UCF, Narduzzi’s decisions of when to be aggressive was questioned on Monday.

“We are always aggressive,” Narduzzi said. “We will be aggressive this week against Delaware.”

Narduzzi talked about the preparation for games and how they have written down whether they are going to be conservative or if they are going to gamble.

“Every week I laugh, like why do we even have this conservative thing – just throw that out,” Narduzzi said. “Why do we even look at it? I don’t feel like I’m ever going to be conservative.”

Narduzzi still doesn’t think that his play call at Penn State was a “conservative” decision.

“You’re going to make the best decisions for your football team,” Narduzzi said. “We’re gambling all of the time – every play is a gamble.”

Narduzzi makes it known that it’s not just the final plays of the game that are critical. He says that those aren’t the only decisions that they are gambling on.

“Every play is critical,” Narduzzi said. “If we watched tape together, you would see.”

SHOCKED THE COUNTRY

UCF had won 25 straight regular-season games before coming into Heinz Field on Saturday. Pitt jumped to a 21-0 lead and looked like the better team for the majority of the first half.

The Knights fought all the way back to eventually take the lead from the Panthers, but Narduzzi’s team didn’t go away. Pitt answered the massive push from UCF and won the game on a game winning drive in the fourth quarter.

“Nobody else in the country was really giving us a chance to win that football game.” Narduzzi said. “That was the sweetest thing about it.

“Obviously, it was a nice win for our kids and our coaches. A much needed one.”

DELAWARE HISTORY WITH DUZZ

With Delaware coming to town this weekend, Narduzzi went down memory lane, and talked about the Fightin’ Blue Hens and why he is taking this game personally.

“History with Delaware for me, goes way back to the old Yankee Conference,” Narduzzi said. “I’ve coached against them, I’ve played in games against them in three of them – I was a little ball boy against these guys back in 1979, [when his dad was coaching at Youngstown State].”

He wants his kids to take the game personal, even if they may not have any ties to Delaware.

“I tell our kids all the time, that these games have to be personal,” Narduzzi said. “They are personal for me — I’ll never forget 1979 [when Youngstown State lost to Delaware].”

Danny Rocco, who is in his third season as head coach of Delaware, is a Pennsylvania native. Rocco was born in Huntingdon, PA.

The Fightin’ Blue Hens “probably got 20 guys on the team from Pittsburgh … I know there is seven guys on the offensive side of the ball,” Narduzzi said.

PASSING IDENTITY

After four weeks of the college football season, Pitt is second in the country in passing attempts.

“No wonder we aren’t running the ball very well,” Narduzzi said. “If there’s no running, you can’t get any yards.”

Pitt hasn’t had a running back run for more than 89 yards in a game this season.

Narduzzi still doesn’t really care about the way that Pitt is able to move the ball, as long as they are able to.

“I don’t care about stats,” Narduzzi said. “I care about wins and losses.”

Sandy Schall, Coldwell Banker
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