It’s safe to say that Deion Sanders isn’t a big fan of Pat Narduzzi right now.
Pitt and Colorado have played a grand total of 0 times, but over the last few weeks, there has been a surprising amount of Pitt-Colorado discourse.
In an interview with 247Sports’ Carl Reed, Sanders touched upon his son (and Buffaloes quarterback) Shadeur, former top prospect Travis Hunter, roster turnover, and by extension, Pat Narduzzi.
Pat Narduzzi? What? Why would Sanders be talking about Narduzzi? Well, because Narduzzi was asked about Sanders last month.
Narduzzi was asked about Sanders’ transfer portal approach at the ACC spring meetings last month, and as he does, he didn’t mince his words.
“That’s not the way it’s meant to be,” Narduzzi told 247Sports’ Brandon Marcello last month. “That’s not what the rule intended to be. It was not to overhaul your roster. We’ll see how it works out but that, to me, looks bad on college football coaches across the country. The reflection is on one guy right now but when you look at it overall — those kids that have moms and dads and brothers and sisters and goals in life — I don’t know how many of those 70 that left really wanted to leave or they were kicked in the butt to get out.”
So, when 247Sports once brought up Pat Narduzzi, Sanders let his thoughts be known.
“What was his situation when he came to Pitt?” Sanders said to Reed. “He had a different situation than me. He is not mad at me, he is mad at the situation in football now that allowed his best player to leave a year ago. He’s not mad at me, he’s using me to shoot bullets at another coach who he has an issue with. I don’t know who he is; if he walked in here right now I wouldn’t know him.”
That is an interesting statement for a couple of reasons. If you say you don’t know someone is, you likely wouldn’t be able to recall that person’s job location or the specifics of a transfer portal situation from more than a year ago.
But why would Narduzzi say what he had previously said?
Sanders was hired at Colorado on Dec. 3, and in the six months since, at least 70 players have left the program — including at least 44 since the spring game in April. But he has added 49 transfers to the roster from the portal, which includes Shadeur and Hunter from Jackson State.
The roster overhaul has been made possible largely due to a new NCAA rule that allows first-year coaches to remove players from the roster as long as their scholarships are honored. So, like Sanders said he would upon arriving, he gutted the roster to ensure he was able to add the players he handpicked from Jackson State and other programs around the country.
It’s that sort of roster pruning from Sanders and the Colorado coaching staff that Narduzzi took issue with.
“I grew up in a profession that you can’t tell a guy that he has to leave based on athletic ability,” Narduzzi said. “I think he’ll be shocked that he probably had some pretty good football players in that room. When I got to Pitt back in 2015, I didn’t kick anybody off. Zero. Those are your guys. When you become a head coach you inherit that team and you coach that team. If someone wants to leave, that’s great. You don’t kick them out. I disagree with that whole process. That’s not why I got in the game.”
And when Sanders said that Narduzzi isn’t mad at him, that he’s using him to take shots at someone else, of course, he was talking about USC head coach Lincoln Riley.
If we need a refresher, new Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Jordan Addison transferred from Pitt to USC in April of 2022, serving as the first major transfer portal exit in the class.
But in my humble opinion, this current discourse doesn’t have anything to do with Addison’s transfer to USC. It’s more about a coach’s utilization of the transfer portal.
And it’s up to the individual to decide form him or herself whether what Sanders is doing is what’s best for college football.