Pitt HC Pat Narduzzi Speaks Out About Mark Whipple, Peach Bowl Showing on Local Podcast
Richard Bazzy, the owner of Shults Ford and Lincoln in Wexford, asked Pitt head coach Pat Narduzzi the tough questions on the Shults Ford podcast Wednesday, and Narduzzi answered.
If the Twitter outrage from the Big Ten hasn’t caught your attention, Narduzzi broached Pitt’s Peach Bowl against Michigan State, the offensive coordinator who must not be named and much, much more in a 19-minute segment. However, he started it off, of course, by giving all praise to his players.
“When you have great players, you can come down to the South Side and coach these players,” Narduzzi told Bazzy. “It’s easy.”
Bazzy's Black & Gold Banter Episode 38 https://t.co/9GGDJl6T34
— Shults Ford (@ShultsFord) July 20, 2022
However, that doesn’t mean that Narduzzi felt like all of his coaches made it all that easy last season — one area in particular. It was actually part of the reason why Pickett chose to sit out the Peach Bowl, Narduzzi said, to rest up after being beaten up all season.
“I think when you throw the ball 85 percent of the time, and you’ve got people teeing off on the pass rush, we didn’t make it easy on Kenny,” Narduzzi said. “I think the impressive thing about Kenny Pickett is that everybody knew we were going to throw the ball, and we threw the ball.”
Pitt’s pass-heavy offense in 2021 was no secret, especially with Pickett and a stable of receiving options including Jordan Addison, Jared Wayne, Taysir Mack, Gavin Bartholomew and Lucas Krull, but the three-headed monster of Israel Abanikanda, Rodney Hammond Jr. and Vincet Davis wasn’t exactly utilized to the fullest of their potentials. Abanikanda is Pitt’s lead back heading into 2022, and with a new philosophy to establish the run game, all three backs will be utilized.
“Our old offensive coordinator had no desire to run the ball,” Narduzzi said. “Everybody knew it; he was stubborn. Wake Forest was 118th in run defense, and we threw the ball every down. When we ran it, we ran it for 10 yards, but that wasn’t good enough.”
That old offensive coordinator, of course, is Mark Whipple. Whipple left Pitt for Nebraska in December, and the combination of new offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach Frank Cignetti Jr. and wide receivers coach/passing game coordinator Tiquan Underwood has Narduzzi excited. Excited enough to declare that he feels even better with his staff right now than he did a year ago.
“We’ve got better people coaching on those positions on offense, I guarantee you that,” Narduzzi said. “Coach Cignetti and Coach Underwood couldn’t be any better.”
And while Pitt may have lost in the Peach Bowl to Michigan State, a 31-21 Spartans win in which third-string quarterback Davis Beville played all but two series, Narduzzi said that he liked Pitt’s odds — in a big way — if either of his quarterbacks were playing.
“(Pickett’s) a 21-point difference,” Narduzzi said. “Michigan State gets their butt kicked in, and I tell you what, it’s at least a 14-point difference if Nick Patti plays the whole game.”
The confidence in Pitt’s ability to win with either Pickett or Patti grew even further, with Narduzzi expressing even more confidence and the comment that drew the most attention from Big Ten fans online.
“If that what was one of the best Big Ten teams last year then let’s go to the Big Ten and win it every year,” Narduzzi said. “Okay, so I don’t want to hear about this Big Ten dominance or SEC dominance.”
Pitt, however, will not be in the Big Ten next season. While Pickett has left, well, walked across the team facility to the Steelers’ facility, Patti is still around. As is USC transfer Kedon Slovis. And while Narduzzi opened up a bit on the Shults Ford podcast, he still maintained his tight-lipped stance on his quarterbacks.
It’s going to be a battle that continues through summer camps in a few weeks.
Haha…duzz “lets go win the Big ever year”. That’s laughable
Outside of OSU, the Little 12 is vastly overrated.
True. OSU is the only program that can compete with Alabama and Georgia, etc. in most seasons. Michigan was waxed 34-11 by Georgia. That was no contest and they were the best team last year.
so what would that make the ACC? A joke….
What is laughable is having group sex in the PSU locker room, sending the videos to some woman so she can extort you over it!! Your boys are real scholars!!! I guess debauchery and perversion runs deep in Happy Valley. Are you going to give me a H2P?
h2p!!!! let’s go!!!!
so easy to get you riled up..h2p
Narduzzi calling someone else stubborn….wow!!
Stubborn. Getting passed all over by Oklahoma State at home with Mason Rudolph and refusing to get out of Cover 4 (Man-Press), that’s stubborn. . Playing Cover4 (Man-Press) with 3 and Long and ending up in a Pass Interference because you are on an island, more than once, that is stubborn. . If Cignetti is an upgrade because of balance, hopefully it is not Cavanaugh2.0 Play-Action pass capable only. It is interesting watching the Spring game with Slovis having Cignetti as his Play Call versus whomever (perhaps T.Salem) calling Patti’s plays. Patti was chucking it good with accuracy (some Drops… Read more »
Remind yourself what the previous coach left him with on Defense before he bolted. Aside from Whitehead there were 2 star walk ons starting on that D. It’s much improved wouldn’t you agree?
Beville played well particularly since he had little practice. Wish him well at OK.