It’s no secret that Pat Narduzzi is a defensive-minded head coach, but it’s clear now that he’s not all that involved with the offensive personnel decisions this season — especially at quarterback.
Narduzzi hasn’t wavered from his position that Pitt shouldn’t just “pull the plug” on Jurkovec though.
As the calls for Phil Jurkovec to be benched have grown louder and louder over the last two weeks, especially after such a poor showing against West Virginia in the Backyard Brawl, Narduzzi has remained steadfast in his support of the sixth-year senior.
“You know what, he’s a leader in that huddle,” Narduzzi said Monday at his weekly news conference. “He’s a guy you trust. You’ve seen it every day.”
He may be a leader in the locker room, in the huddle or wherever, but through the one-fourth mark of the season, it’s not a stretch to say Jurkovec has been the worst quarterback in the ACC. He’s completed 35-of-75 pass attempts (46.7%) for 474 yards (both the lowest among ACC quarterbacks) with four touchdowns and three interceptions. He’s coming off perhaps the worst performance by a Pitt quarterback since Kenny Pickett in the ACC championship game a few seasons ago.
And if there’s to be a switch at quarterback this week or in the future, it won’t be Narduzzi who will make that decision himself.
“I’m leaning on Frank (Cignetti Jr.) and the offensive staff to make the right decision and make decisions at every position,” Narduzzi said.
“I mean, those guys know better. I don’t sit in there. I spend 85% of my time in the defensive side of the room. In practice, I spend probably 85% of my time watching them because I know I’m going to watch it with the defense and watch it with the offense and making sure we’re getting what we need out there and seeing what the tempo of the practice is.”
It’s not surprising that Narduzzi is more hands-on with the defense. But it certainly is concerning that in the midst of such a poor stretch of play, he’s only spending 15% of his time with that unit. He’s the head coach, not the defensive coordinator.
It’s clear that Pitt needs a change, even if it’s just to provide a spark to a stagnant, underperforming offense, but it appears as though that will only happen if Cignetti decides to do so. Not Narduzzi.
Pitt’s Week 4 depth chart featured Jurkovec as the starting quarterback, and that’s not surprising either. Narduzzi said that there will be more competition and evaluation this week in practice, as he did all summer, but quarterback is still the biggest question mark on the roster.
No. 17 North Carolina awaits, and the Tar Heels’ quarterback is far from a question mark.