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Vukovcan: Time For Pitt To Move On From Pat Narduzzi

Vukovcan: Time For Pitt To Move On From Pat Narduzzi

The Pitt football program was embarrassed on national television Saturday against Notre Dame and honestly, the entire 2020 season is headed down the road of shame as well, as a promising 3-0 start has turned into a 3-4 disaster.

Pat Narduzzi has had six seasons to put his mark on the program and to turn Pitt into more than an average football program and hasn’t done so. Someone needs to be held accountable for this program’s continued shortcomings.

Narduzzi has had more than enough time and in my opinion, his time has run out. Pitt should move on from Narduzzi and Heather Lyke needs to start looking for a new head coach following this season.

The bottom line is that for all his brash talk, Narduzzi hasn’t accomplished anything expect keeping the program average.

In six seasons, Narduzzi has a record of 39-33, which considering he’s not playing in the SEC or Big 10, that’s average or below. After starting out with back to back eight-win seasons, Narduzzi has followed that up with season win totals of five, seven, eight and this year, they sit with just three with slim prospects of too many more.

By all accounts, including from Narduzzi himself, this was his most talented team and they were expected to finish in the upper half of the ACC. With only three wins and a remaining schedule of Florida State, Virginia Tech, Georgia Tech and Clemson, Pitt has a strong possibility of finishing the season with less than five wins. The last time that happened was in 1998 under Walt Harris (2-9).

But it goes beyond their final record this season and is more about the continual issues that fail to be corrected by this staff and his coaching abilities and overall judgement.

The current roster that Narduzzi has assembled are all the players that he’s recruited, so that can’t be used as an excuse. The bottom line is that either the players aren’t being developed properly, the staff isn’t evaluating players properly when recruiting or the scheme and system that is being run isn’t a winning one.

I’d make the case that all three of these are accurate and that falls on the lap of the head coach.

It’s tiring to hear from the head coach after a loss that “our players played their tails off.” That’s meaningless, they should be playing hard and shouldn’t be congratulated for giving an effort for 60 minutes.

What I want to hear from the head coach is game after game, why the team is still unable to run the ball, failing to score in the red zone, giving up big plays in the secondary, dropping passes, allowing too much penalty yardage, failing in games decided by a touchdown or less. Eighteen of Narduzzi’s 33 losses have been by seven points or less, which is a sign that he’s not making the proper in-game decisions and adjustments.

While I do believe Pitt’s overall recruiting has improved in the last couple of seasons, I aslo think that’s largely due to the additions of Charlie Partridge, Archie Collins and Chris Beatty not Narduzzi. The problem is that the winning hasn’t spiked despite the improvement in recruiting and that’s on coaching.

While he should get credit for the hiring of Partridge, Collins, Beatty and Cory Sanders, Narduzzi has once again whiffed on his choice of offensive coordinator. Following the departure of Matt Canada, Narduzzi made the mistake of hiring Shawn Watson and followed that up by bringing in Mark Whipple, which has been a complete disaster. The once-proud Pitt rushing attack is gone and is embarrassing to watch, they have a losing formula of operating in the red zone and the young talent they do have at wide receiver isn’t being used properly.

After what we’ve witnessed this season and in particular against Notre Dame, Mark Whipple should not be a member of the Pitt coaching staff for their next game against Florida State.

Because of the money remaining on his contract, the shaky financial times for all universities and the fact that it would mean the program is starting all over again, firing a head coach isn’t easy to do. But buyouts are generally paid for by fed-up donors and not from the university’s pocketbook.

Pitt has what looks to be a very talented incoming 2021 recruiting class and brought in some talented players last season. They would run the risk of a host of players de-committing or transferring if they fire the coaches that recruited or brought them in.

I realize those risks, but they’re not things that Lyke can worry about.

Under her leadership, the Pitt basketball programs appear on the upswing, the men’s soccer team is ranked No. 1 in the country, the women’s soccer team was also ranked this season, the volleyball was ranked No. 2 last season and is in the Top 10 again this season and the wrestling program is ranked nationally.

However, as we all know, the football program is the centerpiece of most athletic programs and that’s the case with Pitt.

Despite having six years to turn Pitt into something the fan base could be proud of and excited about, Narduzzi hasn’t been able to accomplish that. Considering what’s happening this season, the athletic department has no chance of selling the fan base on excitement and optimism for 2021. Donors to the program aren’t likely to open up their wallets and Narduzzi has alienated many alumni with his brash attitude, which is troubling.

Six years is enough for a coach to turn things around.

It’s time for Lyke to make her biggest move as Pitt athletic director and hire a new head football coach.

The Narduzzi Era should end after this season.

Sandy Schall, Coldwell Banker
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Dave Yarkovsky
Dave Yarkovsky
1 month ago

Agree positively

Section 122
Section 122
1 month ago

“See you in Charlotte.”

Terrence Otoole
Terrence Otoole
1 month ago

Couldn’t agree more mike ,his best years were with mostly paul christs recruits just look at the running backs he left him conner, ollison,and hall ,and now what do we have,the o line he was handed was pretty good also ,now we have a line that couldn’t move a high school team off the ball ,and we havent had a tight end since orndorf another christ recruit ,and his way of running a program is a joke esp with the lack of knowing about injuries ,and the zero information the fan base gets during camp news such as scrimmages he… Read more »

Andy
Andy
1 month ago

It is easy to say that it is time to move on,but the more important question is can they do it financially? I am not an expert on how much of a buyout Narduzzi would receive, but if you write an article on why he must go, you need to cover all angles. Let’s not forget that they had to pay a large buyout to the basketball coach who shall remain nameless, but also this year there is no ticket revenue. If it is economically feasible AND there is enough money to bring in a suitable replacement (and staff) then… Read more »

Terrence Otoole
Terrence Otoole
1 month ago
Reply to  Andy

Ok what’s one more year gonna do and what offensive coordinator is gonna come here knowing that narduzzi’s seat is awfully warm ,you make some valid points about the finances ,but this narrative of giving him one more year and he’s going to magically make this team better ,just isnt going to happen, in year 6 this program is a disaster

Andy
Andy
1 month ago

If there weren’t 4 years left on his contract, then fine, fire him. I have explained that I am not an expert in how the finances work. Now when you factor in his buyout, the basketball coach, no ticket revenue how much money would you have to hire a new coach? What if you let Narduzzi go and the coaches you are looking at want too much money? I really don’t know what the right answer is, just trying to factor everything in. As far as a new offensive coordinator coming in, there would be interest. Look what Matt Canada… Read more »

Frank James
Frank James
1 month ago
Reply to  Andy

Buyout would be offset by his next salary. Won’t cost as much as people think, especially when you factor in lost revenue for keeping him.

Frank James
Frank James
1 month ago

Fire Duzz today and give Partridge the job for the remainder. He can’t do any worse.

Kevin
Kevin
1 month ago
Reply to  Frank James

So True!!! Why don’t teams try to get younger coaches in their late 20’s (who kicked ass at a lower level, have connections, and have intense drive), who are willing to do what’s needed to get to the next level? Ie: Scott Frost hired at UCF. Plus you don’t have to pay them a fortune.

Gary O'Shell
Gary O'Shell
1 month ago

I wanted this man to succeed. I continued to think he could reverse the negative trends we’ve all been seeing, but Saturday convinced he won’t and can’t. It will be a short term setback to let him go, but I can’t believe he will ever, no matter who he recruits, get us more than we’ve seen.

local_troll
local_troll
1 month ago

Section 122 is a beta cuck.

Mike seems like an alcoholic dad who gets into fights in the parking lot of a JV football game, but he isn’t that far off. If you fire Whipple what OC is going to take his place know that Narduzzi is on a short lease. It’s all or nothing.

I would still let him stay because this university has had so many coaching changes. You have 4 games left and if they go well he should stay. Otherwise you could make the game for an overall.

Frank James
Frank James
1 month ago
Reply to  local_troll

Give OC to Chris Beatty for remainder of the year. He’s been a Co-OC previously at Maryland and is a great recruiter. I’d then call Josh Gattis at Michigan and offer the head job to him. He’s a young up and coming coach who will get a job next season. He can also recruit. Make the move Heather. Duzz is Dunn

Section 122
Section 122
1 month ago
Reply to  local_troll

Stay as classy as ever Troll Boy.

Terrence Otoole
Terrence Otoole
30 days ago
Reply to  Section 122

He’s a narduzzi fan boy

James from Florida
James from Florida
1 month ago

We all see the shortcomings and I’m sure the administration sees the problems.

I’m sure his contract will be terminated at the end of this season, how the termination clause is written is anyone’s guess.

Heather is a good AD and has made the right calls in the other sports. She did not hire Narduzzi, so this will be her 1st football hire.

Clark Martineau
Clark Martineau
1 month ago

Why not wait until the end of the season for this discussion? Someone mentioned Paul Chryst, so I will say this, No one in Pittsburgh would have predicted he would have Big Ten championships and multiple 10 game win years when he left Pitt. I think the difference for Chryst was the caliber of players he was able to recruit. Narduzzi is doing better and better in that field. The schedule for this year is a killer. Why not see what next years recruits can do. Starting over is a train wreck.

Bill
Bill
1 month ago

I read a lot of the comments on these sites, and a recurring theme I see from this fan base is to fire Narduzzi and bring in some young OC or DC next year. While I agree the duzz needs to go, why would anyone ever want to bring in another unproven coach from another team?!? It makes zero sense. The only way this program comes back to life is to hire a PROVEN head coach. Look at UNC. A garbage program for some time, then they bring in mack brown and within 2 years they’re in the mix for… Read more »

Section 122
Section 122
1 month ago
Reply to  Bill

That makes a lot of sense. I’m not sure why Narduzzi didn’t go to his backyard near Youngstown sand try to get Mark Mangino instead of Whipple. He won an a Orange Bowl with a Kansas team that had as much talent as Washington and Jefferson in the PAC.

Craig
Craig
1 month ago

I understand the frustration, but don’t think he will get fired after this year. Lyke needs to point out his shortcomings to him in the offseason and see if he can correct them next year. If not, then it’s time for a change.

Frank James
Frank James
1 month ago
Reply to  Craig

I’m sure Duzz will respond well to an AD telling him how to coach. Just accept mediocrity if he’s running this team.

Craig
Craig
1 month ago
Reply to  Frank James

She’s his boss, so he would be wise to listen to her!

Frank James
Frank James
30 days ago
Reply to  Craig

That’s usually not how it works in big time college football. Coaches wag the tail. We know Duzz would not respond well to your suggestion. I am for that though, maybe it would make him quit.

TMG
TMG
1 month ago

Heather needs to think YOUNGER. Keep some of the Recruiting staff if they would stay.
It’s time Heather put her signature on this program. That means buying the current HC out at EOS.
Being a Pitt Fan should come with Medical benefits.
Every week I’m sick to my stomach and want to puke!

Kevin
Kevin
1 month ago
Reply to  TMG

So far she has done a great job, and she isn’t afraid to make changes. I trust she will make the best and most classy decision.

Tom DiPasquale
Tom DiPasquale
1 month ago

I came to this conclusion after year 3, but I agree now more than ever. This year, the discipline is awful, The execution, the scheme, the losses to BC and NC State are terrible. He stinks. Time to go.

Tom DiPasquale
Tom DiPasquale
1 month ago

I’m a season ticket holder and I can tell you that Pat has really soured most of the ticket holders I know. He’s sucked the life out of the program. The games last year at Virginia, Miami and BC (All at home) were awful. He’s got some really good recruiters as Assistants, but he’s a terrible program manager. He can’t pull it together. he inherited a decent foundation and did nothing with it. If ever there was going to be a 9-3 or 10-2 year, this was it. Even 8-4 would have bee semi- successful, under the circumstances of the… Read more »

Pat Adonizio
Pat Adonizio
1 month ago

Nardi showed main flaw early and it has haunted him and the progam since. He looked for quick fixes in the transfer sector before the portal was in vogue,rather than recognizing latent and proven talent and what development can produce. He had a proven commodity in Voytik, a kid in DiNucci who would prove more than capable, and McVittie in tow. Had he stayed with Voytik, then DiNucci, and give time for Pickett to develop we could have been the hotbed of qb recruiting. He’s done the same each year, and qb situation has suffered, ergo, our offense. It’s not… Read more »

Frank James
Frank James
1 month ago
Reply to  Pat Adonizio

Hotbed of QB recruiting? That’s a good one

local_troll
local_troll
1 month ago
Reply to  Frank James

Between you and Section 122 I cannot tell who is more miserable to be around.

This is not the 1970s what kind of results are you looking for?

We have been rebuilding for the last 20 years and I know that is frustrating but you are so negative at the expense of team that is giving extreme effort.

I wish someone could make a blog of your poor edits in your spreadsheets or whatever you do professionally.

Frank James
Frank James
30 days ago
Reply to  local_troll

Give them all a pay on the back and a participation trophy. I can flip it and say you are the reason this program has struggled. You seem to accept mediocrity and the first column in my spreadsheet would be people who want to win, second would be people who are fine with being average. I would check the latter by your name.

Section 122
Section 122
30 days ago
Reply to  local_troll

Find a mirror

Richard Johnson
Richard Johnson
1 month ago

Pitt has talent , I think the schemes suck. Quit trying to make the players fit schemes that don’t work. Duzz is to stubborn to change he and Whipple are stuck in time. Keep the other Coaches who can recruit, give the reigns to Partridge and fire Borberly also. Our O-line stinks.

Thomas McGraw
Thomas McGraw
1 month ago

Agreed

Frank James
Frank James
1 month ago

Zero talent at RB
Zero talent (every year) at TE
One decent WR
Zero OL talent

local_troll
local_troll
1 month ago
Reply to  Frank James

do you think Jimmy Morrissey is a talented player? Or are you just a hyper critical person?

Also the top two TE’s went down with injuries this season.

Izzy is a talented RB he just needs to learn to block.

Frank James
Frank James
30 days ago
Reply to  local_troll

Morrisey is an average player at best and has been getting beaten all year (which is why he had no ranking in high school and was a walk on)
Salem is terrible and TE hasn’t been good for years, which is why they desperately look at the transfer/grad pool every year for a quick stopgap. How about recruit and develop?
Izzy might have some skill but do you have confidence Duzz will coach him up?
Learning and wanting to block are two different things.

TJSu
TJSu
1 month ago

I agree. I was with PN up until this year. He has had plenty of time and even though covid has created havoc on the season, it has affected everyone. If we make it just about $, the decision will never get made. There never is a good time. Rip off the bandaid and get it over with. H2P !

Frank James
Frank James
1 month ago

With his stock soaring, Will Addison stick around or transfer?

Jim Garland
Jim Garland
30 days ago

This is by far the most spot on analysis of the Pitt football program under Narduzzi that I’ve seen anywhere. As a lifelong Pitt fan, it angers me to see where the program is, and how matter of factly many in the fan base accept it, as if there’s no chance to be better. What a bunch of nonsense.

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