Pitt head coach Pat Narduzzi held his weekly press conference on Monday, Nov. 15, discussing his team’s preparation to face the Virginia Cavaliers in a game that could decide the ACC Coastal Division Championship.
Cavaliers quarterback Brennan Armstrong led the ACC in many passing categories before he went down with a rib injury against BYU on Oct. 30. Both Narduzzi and the Cavaliers expect Armstrong back this weekend, and Narduzzi said he’s talented as a pure passing quarterback.
“They like to throw it 70% of the time, so it’s going to be a drop-back, line up at empty with all these different personnel groupings and chuck it deep, chuck it wherever they want to,” Narduzzi said. “We do expect to get their best player [Armstrong]…and he has a bunch of big targets.”
Well Rested Panthers
Narduzzi complained about the short week leading up to the Panthers’ clash against UNC, and with two extra days to prepare following that Thursday night game, he changed his tune.
Narduzzi said the extra time gave his players a chance to get healthy and gave his coaches an opportunity for a mental break following a jam-packed week of practice.
“Our kids had off Friday and Saturday, just injury checked,” Narduzzi said. “Last week was not an easy week to prepare for. Probably easier on the players than it was on the coaches. [The weekend] was a ‘get fresh’ for the coaches.”
Narduzzi said that the Cavaliers have a deceptive, versatile scheme on both offense and defense.
“Defensively, they’ve run a little four down, three down, and it’s kind of hard to see what they are…we have to prepare for both fronts and what they’ve been,” Narduzzi said. “They run 60 different [offensive] personnel groupings for our kids to figure out.”
Next Man Up
With right tackle Gabe Houy already out, the Panthers had to juggle their offensive grouping when starting right guard Jake Kradel went down with an injury against the Tar Heels. Narduzzi said that his offensive line needs to do a better job as the next men up.
“We didn’t do a good job blocking [the Tar Heels]…Blake [Zubovic] Blake had two holding calls, which were critical. Those are drive killers,” Narduzzi said. “We can’t have them. So he has to get better, and he will.”
Recognizing the Seniors
The Panthers will recognize their seniors on Saturday, Nov. 20, their last home game of the season. Much has been made of the older leaders on the team, and Narduzzi spoke to the impact they’ve had on this year’s squad.
“It’s been a tremendous group from the super seniors to the seniors. They provided a ton of leadership for this football team, made a lot of plays,” Narduzzi said. “We’re going to miss each and every one of them when they walk out in Heinz Field for the last time on Saturday.”