Last night in Blacksburg was as bad and embarrassing as it gets for Pitt.
In times like this, people tend to overreact to the current situation, but this is no overreaction- this is the low point of the Pat Narduzzi era at Pitt. This is the first time Pitt has started 1-4 since 2005, Dave Wannstedt’s first season at Pitt. Following that 1-4 start under Wanny, that team went on a 3-game winning streak, trust me, this 2023 Pitt team isn’t doing that.
Unfortunately, it’s become evident that this team isn’t that good. Once again, they’ve misevaluated talent, this team doesn’t have that ‘Dude’/leader on it, the program as a whole has become stale and the direction from the top has been awful.
Other than that, Pitt football is in great shape.
This has become the biggest challenge of Narduzzi’s coaching career and I’m not confident that he can or knows what to do to turn things around.
To start with, for some God forsaken reason, he’s anchored himself to quarterback Phil Jurkovec.
I have no idea why he’s showing so much loyalty to a player he’s coached for less than a year. It’s not as though he’s a program player, Jurkovec rejected Pitt years ago and only came this year because things didn’t work out at both Notre Dame and Boston College. It would’ve been nice if Narduzzi would’ve shown this sort of loyalty to Nick Patti last season, instead of being stubborn and refusing to replace Kedon Slovis.
The way he’s coddled Jurkovec is mind blowing, treating him as a true freshman instead of the 5th year senior that he is. Jurkovec isn’t a kid, he’s grown man, it’s time to start treating him like one.
The fact that Pitt hasn’t made Jurkovec available to the media during the week or for postgame interviews since the Wofford game is laughable. During good times and bad, Kenny Pickett spoke to the media every week before games and during postgame interviews. Pitt didn’t hide him like they are Jurkovec. If Jurkovec can’t handle difficult questions, that probably tells you all you need to know.
All the good will Narduzzi developed with the winning and the ACC Championship is slowly vanishing with the way he’s handling this offensive disaster- both with the quarterback and offensive coordinator.
Narduzzi’s bending over backwards last night to defend Jurkovec, even bringing up the name of Dan Marino was laughable. No one, including the players on the Pitt team (if they’re honest), want to keep hearing excuses about why the quarterback can’t produce. Despite the million excuses that Narduzzi makes, the bottom line is that Phil Jurkovec has stunk this season and isn’t going to get any better.
It’s time that Narduzzi uses this bye week to deal with reality instead of latest nonsensical answers and BS that he continues to spew.
In their next game against Louisville, Christian Veillux or Nate Yarnell need to start, or someone’s job should be on the line. If Frank Cignetti, Jr. makes that decision like Narduzzi said a couple of weeks ago (no way do I believe that), the next two weeks of practice should be with Pitt’s new quarterback going forward.
If Cignetti is unwilling to do that, then Pitt should be in the market for a new offensive coordinator. Maybe they should be thinking about that anyway considering they’ve scored just seven touchdowns in 4 games this season against FBS teams. I don’t care what excuse you want to make, that’s just embarrassing, and needs addressed.
Narduzzi has always been someone that isn’t afraid to talk tough to the media. The question now is will Duzz be able to make and act upon some upcoming tough personnel and potentially coaching decisions.
While this 2023 season is lost, the remaining seven games still are important, and they need to start setting the foundation for the future, which obviously doesn’t include Jurkovec.
This is obviously not what Pitt environed for 2023, but it is what it is and starting today, they need to start dealing with reality.
That starts with the head coach. Let’s see if he’s up for that challenge or if he’ll continue to wear blinders and refuse to deal with reality.