Anger, disappointment, discouragement, depression and frustration are some of the feelings Pitt fans must have had following Saturday’s 44-41 deflating loss to Western Michigan.
Those feelings don’t seem to directed at the team, but more specifically, directed at head coach Pat Narduzzi. Narduzzi has had his ups and downs as Pitt head coach, and Saturday afternoon was certainly a down, one that left many Pitt fans calling for the firing of the head football coach.
It brings a start contrast to the last time Pitt had a coach with a lengthy tenure of only slightly better than average results.
When Dave Wannstedt was fired in 2010, people were genuinely upset and felt Steve Pederson made a mistake. Fans, boosters, former players, media truly liked Wannstedt and always rooted for and gave him the benefit of doubt in many ways, regardless of some of his faults.
That certainly won’t be the case when Pitt and Narduzzi eventually part ways. I can promise you that very few people will shed a tear when that day comes, which certainly wasn’t the case with Wannstedt.
With the arrogance in which he has always conducted himself, you’d think that Pitt is currently a Top 10 program with a trophy case full of recent championship trophies but that’s hardly the case. The reality is his personality only drives people away from caring about Pitt football, which isn’t the smart thing to do when you’re a perennial 7-8 win team which draws 25,000 to 30,000 actual fans a game.
If you want a perfect example of his arrogance and how not to be honest in dealing with reality, watch his postgame press conference after Saturday’s game, which was his most embarrassing loss at Pitt.
When you’re in year seven of your tenure as coach, such an embarrassment as fans witnessed should not still be happening. Just imagine what we would’ve watched if Kenny Pickett didn’t decide to return for another season. Holy hell that would’ve been ugly not that Saturday wasn’t.
Getting out-classed by a MAC program happened because of Narduzzi’s stubbornness and arrogance.
The biggest examples of that is the defense that he continues to run despite not having the personnel to do so, he refuses to adjust or change anything from his days at Michigan State.
Western Michigan head coach Tim Lester was offensive coordinator for Syracuse in 2015. Lester said he watched that video about “300 times” this week and knew exactly how to attack Pitt because Narduzzi is still running the same defense as six years ago.
If that doesn’t describe a coach that refuses to change or adjust things than I don’t know what does.
This arrogance or maybe it’s just he doesn’t know how to fix things also describes something that’s happening on offense and actually has been happening for three plus seasons.
Pitt physically cannot run the football and haven’t been able to do so since the arrival of Mark Whipple and Dave Borbely. Is that just a coincidence? Maybe, but all I know is that it’s a problem and has been a problem.
Either it’s the blocking scheme, talent on the offensive line, talent at running back or the offensive coordinator but the inability to run the football negatively impacts plenty of things both offensively and defensively. Narduzzi hasn’t fixed this and when questioned about it, he gives arrogant answers and is in denial like he was following the Tennessee game.
Kenny Pickett has covered plenty of warts when it comes to this Pitt team but No. 8’s time will be finished this year and then what?
Do you have any confidence that a current quarterback on the roster can immediately come in and move the offense the way Pickett has done for the last two years? With no ability to run the football, it’s a hopeless feeling isn’t it? Or in other words another rebuild or a six-win season?
It’s becomes a hopeless feeling because you get the sense that Pitt’s administration and money people are satisfied with the job Narduzzi is doing and being OK and being a good program. Maybe the feeling is that in today’s current climate of college football, this is the best Pitt can be. They know they’ll never be like Alabama, Ohio State, Clemson, etc. and are never going to be one of bottom feeders of the ACC.
If that’s how they truly feel, than Narduzzi is the perfect person for the job and he should remain as head coach for the foreseeable future.
However, if Heather Lyke and company aren’t just content with being mediocre, are tired of having no one in the stands at Heinz Field and want to raise expectations of the football program, than some hard decisions might have to be made after the season.
The University of Pittsburgh has been very patient with Narduzzi and have compensated him greatly and to this point, he hasn’t deserved either. Narduzzi needs to make serious changes starting with himself and his decision making process and if he isn’t capable of doing so, Lyke needs to be in the market for a new head coach.