Pat Narduzzi apologized to his football team for the comments that came out of the post-Notre Dame press conference Saturday night, moving on Monday with an eye on No. 4 Florida State, but he wasn’t the only coach around the country to bring up talent.
Colorado head coach Deion Sanders said that the Buffaloes need new offensive linemen after allowing seven sacks to UCLA. It seems that Penn State head coach James Franklin heard both remarks.
At his Tuesday press conference, Franklin didn’t directly call anyone out, but it doesn’t take much guessing to figure out who he might’ve been talking about.
“I’m always trying to do everything I possibly can to answer your questions, and I think sometimes you guys think I’m avoiding the question, I’m trying to answer your question without being divisive to my team and my players because we’ve all seen examples of coaches that have not handled that well,” Franklin said Tuesday. And whether they meant to be that way or not, that’s how it comes off and it causes problems.
“And that’s always the delicate balance. How do I answer your question without doing one of those two things? That doesn’t mean I’m not having very direct conversations with someone, but I also don’t want to say something in a press conference that I haven’t said to that player first or to those players first. I don’t think that’s the right thing to do.”
It’s not the first time this year that Franklin and Narduzzi have — seemingly — shared the headlines either. They took somewhat opposing stances on continuing the Pitt-Penn State series in the future.
“The thing I do know is when we went and played at Pitt, it was the second-largest, if not the largest sporting event, in the history of Heinz Field,” Franklin said. “And I don’t think you could buy a Penn State single-game ticket unless you bought their season tickets. So it was a very different deal.
“For us, it was an increase of 2,000 fans. To me, it needs to be an even exchange and it needs to make sense. But I think our ADs should get on the phone and work it out.”
It’s a stark contrast to the way Pat Narduzzi approached the idea of Pitt and Penn State renewing their rivalry in the future.
“You’d have to ask James Franklin,” Narduzzi told the 93.7 The Fan’s PM team of Andrew Fillipponi and Chris Mueller in August. “My call is, ‘Let’s go.’ We’ve called, we’ve asked.”
However, Narduzzi was certainly complimentary of the athletic director currently in place at Penn State.
“I have faith in Pat Kraft, the AD,” Narduzzi said.
Narduzzi, who worked in the same conference as Kraft when Kraft was Boston College’s athletic director from 2020 through starting at Penn State in July 2022, said Kraft is a “great guy.”
But Narduzzi doesn’t feel optimistic that the rivalry will return.
“These schedules are filled out for six, seven years (in advance)” Narduzzi said. “It’s going to be a while. I’ll be retired for 10 years, 20 years. I’ll be 70, 80 years old. I’ll be coming back in a wheelchair and maybe a cane.”