Panthers head coach Pat Narduzzi held his weekly press conference on Monday, Nov. 8 as his team prepares to face the North Carolina Tar Heels on Thursday night.
Narduzzi focused on the Tar Heels and Panthers explosive offenses, as well as the difficulties in preparing during a short week.
Carson Van Lynn Revisited
Following Pitt’s win over Duke, Narduzzi suggested that the Blue Devils’ early success might’ve been thanks to Carson Van Lynn, a graduate transfer who played for the Panthers from 2017 to 2020. Narduzzi implied that Van Lynn was relaying the Panthers offensive and defensive signals to the Blue Devils sideline because of his familiarity with the team.
Narduzzi apologized to Van Lynn during his press conference, but doubled down on the claim.
“I want to apologize to him for what I said. Again, didn’t mean to make anybody feel bad or any harm to him…He didn’t do anything I wouldn’t do. I just called it out,” Narduzzi said. “[He’s] a super kid, couldn’t be a nicer kid in the world.”
Short Week Preparation
With two less days than usual to prepare for the Tar Heels, Narduzzi said that his team has a hectic schedule as they try to balance rest and recovery with preparation.
“Sunday we had to close the book on Duke, make the corrections on special teams, defense, offense,” Narduzzi said. “Last night was a late night because we had practice yesterday, last night at 7:30…We had to have everything planned so this morning we could go out and do what we needed to do. That’s no fun.”
Josh Downs, Jordan Addison Doppelganger
The Tar Heels have a pair of offensive players who will be playing on Sundays someday in junior quarterback Sam Howell and sophomore wide receiver Josh Downs. The duo has combined on 74 passes for 1,014 yards and eight touchdowns this season, and Narduzzi compared Downs to Pitt standout Jordan Addison because of his sneaky, explosive play style.
“He’s a young kid that’s just electric. He can slow, and then all of a sudden, like he’s shot out of a cannon. He’ll put you to sleep and then go,” Narduzzi said. “This guy is a special football player.”
Sam Howell, Dual Threat
Narduzzi said that Sam Howell’s ability to run with the football is a big concern for Pitt’s defense.
“He looks like he’s 235. He runs like a tailback. I mean, he is scrambling,” Narduzzi said. “You put too many guys, too many people in coverage, you got a problem. It’s hard to rush three against this guy because he’ll take off…it can be deadly.”
NFL Scouts in Attendance
The upcoming game between Pitt and UNC features two high-flying offenses, and Narduzzi said that 36 NFL scouts will be at Heinz Field to watch the matchup. Despite the game’s high profile, Narduzzi said he isn’t talking to his players about the scouts, but that they understand the high stakes that come with playing college football.
“I don’t mention it to the kids. I say that to you guys,” Narduzzi said. “Everything is on display when people are at the game, whether it’s ESPN people, GMs, it doesn’t matter. Microscope is on all of our kids.”