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Pitt HC Pat Narduzzi Talks Georgia Tech’s Offense, Geoff Collins Handshake

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With the Panthers beginning ACC play this Saturday, head coach Pat Narduzzi is ready for the season to begin in earnest. He spent most of his weekly press conference discussing the upcoming game against Georgia Tech, a big change from last week, when he stewed over Pitt’s loss to Western Michigan.

PROTECTING THE FOOTBALL

Georgia Tech ranks No. 12 in the nation with a +5 turnover margin through four games. Narduzzi said that he’s preparing his team for the Yellow Jackets ballhawking defenders.

“They have been the team that’s always trying to go after the ball, they tackle the ball, and we have to do a good job of making sure our guys hold on to the ball when they are anywhere on the field,” Narduzzi said. 

He added that he incentivizes players on the scout team to force turnovers in practice. 

“I go down and encourage those guys, ‘Hey, go down and get a milkshake for everybody on the defense, have the GAs go out and get them their favorite flavor of milkshake if they can get a turnover,’” Narduzzi said. “I haven’t had to buy any. Guys offensively are doing a good job holding on to it and got to continue to do that.”

RUN-PASS OPTION FOCUS

Narduzzi said that Georgia Tech has had a lot of success early this season deploying run-pass options, a category of play that gave the Panthers fits against Western Michigan.

We worked a lot on RPOs last week and changing things up and doing some little things here and there,” Narduzzi said. “With [the Yellow Jackets] doing RPOs, they are going to take a lot from the Western Michigan game, so we’ll obviously give them a different look.”

QB CONTROVERSY?

Jeff Sims, the Yellow Jackets starting quarterback, missed a few series against UNC due to injury before returning for the second half. Narduzzi said that the Panthers are preparing to face both Sims and his backup, Jordan Yates, on Saturday.

“You have to prepare for two different [quarterbacks],” Narduzzi said. “Sims, you’ve got to be careful because that guy can go and he likes to pull it and he likes to run and he’s going to use his feet… I think Yates is more of a passer.”

GEOFF COLLINS HANDSHAKE

Following Pitt’s win over Georgia Tech in 2020, Geoff Collins, the Yellow Jackets coach, blew off Narduzzi’s handshake attempt at midfield. Narduzzi said that following the slight, the two of them talked it over.

“We talked at Media Day face-to-face and he apologized, and it’s over,” Narduzzi said. “He’s a classy guy and I appreciate him apologizing. I know how tempers go. I didn’t take it personal.”

Narduzzi complimented Collins further as he discussed Georgia Tech’s transition from former head coach Paul Johnson’s triple option offense.

“Coach Collins has done a heck of a job of developing that program and building [it] up,” Narduzzi said. “That’s why they have given Clemson and North Carolina fits the last two weeks.” 

SCOUT TEAM UPSIDE

With many of the players on Pitt’s roster getting a chance at playing time during the Panthers blowout victory over New Hampshire, Narduzzi mentioned a number of players on the scout team who have impressed him thus far. One was freshman quarterback Nate Yarnell, as well as Pittsburgh area defensive linemen Nakhi Johnson and Elliot Donald.

Narduzzi also praised redshirt freshman wide receiver Luke DelGaudio, who he said has excelled at blocking punts in special teams practice. 

Sandy Schall, Coldwell Banker
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Jeff
Jeff
21 days ago

I think the handshake thing is overblown and I was kind of disappointed that the reporter even brought it up. It’s kindergarten type stuff and I’m sure neither team is thinking about last years handshake. It was rude and immature of Collins but it’s not the first or the last time we’ll see an adult that knows better behave immaturely out of frustration. The task at hand is what should be focused on. Last years handshake should be left in the past where it took place.

Last edited 21 days ago by Jeff
Paul mcgrath
Paul mcgrath
20 days ago
Reply to  Jeff

Well said but it’s the reporters job to bring it up. He wouldn’t be a good reporter if he didn’t ask the question. You can’t be disappointed in him.

Jeff
Jeff
20 days ago
Reply to  Paul mcgrath

Point taken. 👍

TMG
TMG
19 days ago

GT has had this game marked since last year… They’re gonna want this bad!

better be ready

dennis wagner
19 days ago
Reply to  TMG

Pitt will give GT the game by throwing 45 times, wearing out the defense chasing Sims around blitzing every down. Give me the head coach at B.C. and the O.C., former Pitt great QM John Congemi, Pitt would win by 21. This will be another Narduzzi-Whipple loss. Swallow the contract in 2022, offer B.C. coach raise and one to Congemi. Pitt can easily out recruit B.C. and with a football ould win the the ACC>

dennis wagner
19 days ago

If Pitt wants to get back to a running game that will take any heat of Pickett they need to stop playing 170 lb RB who are not able to break are tackles at line of scrimmage. Play Carter, 230 lbs., and Sibley 225 lbs. like Pitt use to with Ollison. Both Players because of their size can get to the second level which would wear down the defense and eliminate the number of blitzes Pickett would face. I am shocked by the simplicity of offensive scheme. 170 lb RB are dinosaurs in D! football (it’s 220 or>). Straight ahead… Read more »

Duquesne WBB

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