Connect with us
PSN is sponsored by Beaver County Auto

Pittsburgh Sports Now

Opinion

Vukovcan: Special Times Ahead for Pat Narduzzi and Pitt

Vukovcan: Special Times Ahead for Pat Narduzzi and Pitt

The Cardiac Kids (AKA the 2019 Pitt football team) hung on at Syracuse last night to win another close game and took another step towards a possible return trip to Charlotte.

Pat Narduzzi’s team has now won five of their last six games and are another Virginia loss away from controlling their own destiny and repeating as ACC Coastal Division Champions. Regardless of what happens with Virginia, this 2019 could turn out to be a special season and the start of Pitt turning the corner as a football program.

With a current record of 5-2 and the fact that they’ll be favorites in their remaining games against Miami, Georgia Tech, North Carolina, Virginia Tech and Boston College, and with a bowl game ahead, the Panthers have a decent chance of reaching a nine- or 10-win total.

What’s so special about that? Consider that Pitt has only won 10 games once in the last 37 seasons (2009 when they went 10-3). Let me repeat that, Pitt has ONLY ONE 10 WIN SEASON SINCE 1981. That’s hard to believe but unfortunately it’s true. During that same time span, the football program has only won nine games three times (2008, 2002, 1982).

I would advise Pitt fans to keep those numbers in mind the next time they start getting frustrated with Narduzzi and want to look for another coach. The fact is, that due to a lot of factors that preceded him this isn’t an easy job but it sure looks like “Duzz” is on his way to making Pitt football a winner and more importantly, relevant.

Patience is needed when trying to resurrect a program or organization and that surely is the case with Pitt. Unlike in professional sports, a college team can’t fix their problems by trading for or signing a free agent player. In college, it’s all about stacking successful recruiting classes and that’s what Narduzzi and his staff have done.

How else do you explain losing two of your best defensive players for the season to injury, graduating your three starting linebackers from last year and the defense still being the strength of the team and one of the strongest units in the country? The answer to that is quality recruiting and having a talented depth chart.

Although it’s taken time, Pitt has gotten to the point where they have a depth chart that’s filled with players who are currently backups that in reality are talented enough to start if called upon. That’s how the most successful programs in the country remain good year after year. As the saying goes, they don’t rebuild, they just reload, which is where Narduzzi wants to get Pitt to.

The exciting news for the future of Pitt football is that players with large roles on the team such as Jaylen Twyman, Jason Pinnock, Damarri Mathis, Deslin Alexandre, Carter Warren, Cam Bright, Paris Ford, Dontavius Butler, Habakkuk Baldonado, Shocky Jacques-Louis, V’Lique Carter, Devin Danielson, John Morgan, Jake Kradel and Tyler Bentley all have multiple years left in the program. Plus, talents such as Jerry Drake, Erick Hallett, Marquis Williams, Wendell Davis, Judson Tallandier, Daniel Carter, Sirvocea Dennis, Will Gipson, Jared Wayne, AJ Woods, Kyi Wright, Brandon George, Bam Brima, Brandon Hill, Davis Beville, Bryce Nelms and Leslie Smith haven’t really been called upon yet.

Considering this, plus the current Class of 2020, the fact that the future non-conference schedule isn’t going to be as demanding as it’s been of late, the talented group of assistants that Narduzzi has surrounded himself with and the impact winning will have on future recruiting, there’s no reason why the success Pitt is having this year isn’t something that becomes the norm around here.

For the first time in a very, very long time, the future of the entire Pitt athletic department appears to be as bright as it’s every been. The future for Jeff Capel and the men’s basketball team appears bright, Lance White has the energy and a plan to get the Pitt women’s basketball team winning again and the volleyball, wrestling and soccer programs are all soaring.

My advice to Pitt football fans is instead of complaining about things in a win or predicting that something bad is going to happen, enjoy and realize what’s going on with your football program. You’ve desperately been asking for a team that’s ranked in the Top 25, competes for the division championship and is playing in a prestigious bowl game. Thanks to Narduzzi and his staff, it appears all that is happening and it won’t be a one-year wonder.

After a long, long, long wait, it appears Pitt once again has a legitimate college football program.

13 Comments

13
Leave a Reply

avatar
5 Comment threads
8 Thread replies
0 Followers
 
Most reacted comment
Hottest comment thread
  Subscribe  
newest oldest most voted
Notify of
Justin Dietrich
Member
Justin Dietrich

We had similar talks last year about getting to 9 wins and they flopped in their final 3 games. Until Narduzzi can figure out how to make adjustments after halftime, I don’t see this team getting more than 8 wins this year. The lack of scoring in the 3rd quarter is going to bite them in the ass against better teams.

Jack
Guest
Jack

8 wins is still a successful season, considering the level of expectations entering the season. Realistically 2-3 of the games would have not been won without a little luck. The exciting thing is that there’s no reason the team can’t keep playing hard and getting a few lucky breaks. There’s no such thing as being “due” for bad luck in college football.

Justin Dietrich
Guest
Justin Dietrich

It’s really not at this stage in Narduzzi’s tenure and given the current landscape of the ACC. Guessing you were a WaHa supporter since you seem to strive for mediocrity.

Kevin
Guest
Kevin

I agree and have been saying the same thing for several years!!! Pitt’s halftime adjustments are TERRIBLE and need to change if they want to get to the next level.
Focus on what works (positive plays), not trying to correct mistakes. When you focus on negativity you get negative results!

Section 122
Guest
Section 122

Not so fast my friend …

1. Narduzzi has never beat UNC
2. Sooner or later odds will have Pitt on the other side of these late game wins
3. GT is the big time trap game Pitt usually falls into
4. Still way too many defensive penalties keeping drives alive

Eddie Futch
Guest
Eddie Futch

Section 122 you are right they will lose to UNC, Georgia Tech, Miami and Virginia Tech. They will beat BC on a Kessman 77 yard field goal and become bowl eligible at 6-6. All the kids returning next year will transfer and none of the recruits for 2020 honor their commitment. He will fill out his roster with kids from Bishop Canevin and Avella. Heather Lyke will fire him and bring in Mike Ditka. He will go 2-10 in 2020 and have a small bar on the sideline serving never ending bourbon. I have never seen more negative people in… Read more »

Section 122
Guest
Section 122

Put down the the koolaid and get back to me if they are 7-2 going into UNC Thursday game after UNC beats Virginia.

Eddie Futch
Guest
Eddie Futch

UNC could not beat Virginia Tech.
They are nothing special. To think Georgia Tech has the personnel to beat Pitt is laughable. No reason not to believe in Pitt. This is the best defense they have had in years. Much more speed and they have play making receivers and a seasoned gamer at QB. Once pseudo Pitt fans make me sick. Typical negative Pittsburgh mentality.

Section 122
Guest
Section 122

Correct GT should be a slam dunk.

That’s why it’s a TRAP GAME.

Take your head out of your @$$.

Clark Martineau
Guest
Clark Martineau

Hello Whiners,
Get over it. your not going Pitt to heckle anymore.
The recruiting and play of this team are rising quickly.
Hail to Pitt!!

Section 122
Guest
Section 122

Lighten up Francis.

Terrence Otoole
Guest
Terrence Otoole

Great article Mike ,we have a pretty good team and we do have some flaws as of this yr our offensive line is what I think is holding this team back from being a top 15 team it really concerns me that we don’t have any younger guys better than ullizo cause he’s really bad but this line needs addressed I don’t know if it’s the coach or players

TSD2007
Member
TSD2007

I agree/disagree with the optimism. The success under HCPN— mixed results so far. The shortcomings are there and they are real– Bad losses, Never beating an awful NC, Not winning a bowl game, Failing to adjust in the 2nd half, week after week. The Defense PN put on the field his first three seasons as HC is just inexcusable and cannot be overlooked. (remember when in his first 3 seasons when everyone kept waiting on PN to make some tweaks to the defense to improve that mess? Those adjustments never came.) On the plus Side, the man can recruit and… Read more »

Get PSN in your inbox!

Enter your email and get all of our posts delivered straight to your inbox.

Our Sponsors

Dunkin' Donuts proudly supports Western Pennsylvania high school football
7 Fields Wealth Management
Duquesne Football
Duquesne Men's Basketball
The Travel Company
Archie's Southside
To Top

Send this to a friend