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Opinion

Vukovcan: Narduzzi’s Raised Expectations of a Successful Pitt Season

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Pat Narduzzi has changed Pitt football in a good way.

He has created expectations for the football program and that’s a good thing.

More importantly, after some years of instability following the firing of Dave Wannstedt, Narduzzi has turned Pitt into a winning program and one that has challenged for (and won) championships the last couple of years.

Following last night’s domination of Miami, a program that’s still searching for all of the things I just listed above, Pitt finished the 2022 regular season with a record of 8-4.

While that doesn’t constitute a terrible season, the Panthers fell short of what they wanted and honestly what they should have accomplished, which is winning another Coastal Division championship.

It’s disappointing because now that the season is over with, it’s easy to see that Pitt had the most talented team in the division.

But the most talented teams don’t always win. That stretch of games against Louisville, Georgia Tech and North Carolina in October will no doubt haunt the Panthers all offseason.

Instead of focusing entirely on what wasn’t accomplished this season, fans shouldn’t lose sight of what Narduzzi and his program was able to accomplish.

First of all, Pitt finished the month of November with a record of 4-0, which was the same record that had last November.

That means Pitt is 8-0 in November in 2021-2022. In those eight wins, six of them have been by double digits, which means Narduzzi’s teams are getting better as the season goes on.

The biggest thing that I take from this is that despite the criticism Narduzzi gets from fans and media, his players love playing for him and don’t quit.

Following that loss to North Carolina, which dropped their record to 4-4, plenty of people wondered if Pitt would even qualify for a bowl and, considering the problems on offense, if Narduzzi was in danger of losing this team.

We now know the answer to this is a resounding no.

People on the outside (like me) can have our opinions about certain things that happen at Pitt, but the bottom line is that Narduzzi and his assistants create relationships and have created an environment within the program that is player friendly and family like.

The proof is really in the pudding. Look back over the years of the number of players that have decided to stay an extra year when they could’ve gone to the NFL and also the few numbers of starters at Pitt that transfer. Unlike many programs, Narduzzi hasn’t lost many key players or starters to the transfer portal.

Jordan Addison was an exception to that but that also coincided with the start of the NIL. there’s no better compliment you can give a coach than players love to play for you and that’s certainly with Narduzzi. His players love him.

While the regular season is over with, this Pitt team still has important things left to accomplish.

With the 8 wins this year and the 11 from last year, Pitt has 19 wins over the last 2 seasons, which is their best stretch since 2008-09.

If they’re able to win their upcoming bowl game, that would give them 20 wins, which would be the first time they’ve done that since 1981-82. Win the bowl game and Pitt will likely finish the season ranked in the top 25.

While the ultimate goal wasn’t accomplished, the 2022 season can still be a good season for Pitt.

Disagree? That just shows you the expectations that Narduzzi has created at Pitt, where a 9-win season can be looked at as disappointing.

Sandy Schall, Coldwell Banker
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Robert E Landel
Robert E Landel
2 months ago

Vukovcan, the worse thing that can happen is for Slovis to return. It took 12 games for him to finally play decent football. Even against a poor Miami team he made big mistakes that the announcers couldn’t resist telling us. His slow reads, keeping his eyes on the receiver, lack of mobility, not seeing open receivers. and poor passing. What makes you believe he will get better. He has already played 5 years. The best has come and gone.

SRS
SRS
2 months ago

This was his 4th Season in College.
PITT is historically an 8 win a year club for 40+ Seasons, 9 is great, 10 is fantastic, 11 was amazing. Go ahead and check it back from 1982. The Sherrill and Majors years before that distort our reality. Unless of course we resort to Jackie Sherrill type recruiting, wink-wink.

Giovanni
Giovanni
2 months ago

Slovis hit his Peter Principle. Duzz needs to conjure up the courage, and humbleness, to be able to admit when he is wrong and then make the necessary enhancements to the team (e.g. replace Slovis). These are qualities that the top college coaches have, such as Saban and Sweeny.

Tim
Tim
2 months ago

I had the Panthers at 9 and 3 going in. Losing to Tennessee, North Carolina and Miami. I won’t be working for a sports wagering establishment anytime soon.

Eli
Eli
2 months ago
Reply to  Tim

Same here, man.

alcofan
alcofan
2 months ago

That Tennessee game knocked the heck out of pitt for a month, glad they came back for nov.

Dixon
Dixon
2 months ago

Admittedly, it doesn’t take much to impress me, so four straight wins including a blowout victory against the thugs from Coral Gables has given me some real hope for next season.

Burton Tee
Burton Tee
2 months ago

The real success or failure of this season will been seen when Narduzzi signs his next class. He had the opportunity to really elevate Pitt’s recruiting profile and so far, as it stands now, is really disappointing and pretty bad for a team coming off a conference championship.

On Campus Stadium Please
On Campus Stadium Please
2 months ago
Reply to  Burton Tee

You can’t continually sign 3* and unranked recruits. FSU is back in a big way, Clemson and Miami will rebuild quickly. Next year and the year after will be a big story. Need a solid QB

Giovanni
Giovanni
2 months ago

Yes, maybe Duzz & Staff will figure out how to get the best out of their team very early in the season, rather than very late. So much talent and experience making so many unnecessary mental errors throughout the season with persistent penalties, bad snaps, the still unresolved horrible punting situation, and other disciplinary basics that are still vital to master for a maximized season. This team really should be at least 10-2 right now if not for the above coaching failures.

Sousesider
Sousesider
1 month ago
Reply to  Giovanni

So you believe that a couch is responsible for a player jumping early, or a db getting hands on a receiver with is beating him of the break. They practice alot and sometimes you just get beat by the opposing athlete.

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