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Pat Narduzzi Would Like Five Years of Eligibility for All Players

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Pitt head coach Pat Narduzzi.

PITTSBURGH — If COVID-19 had never happened, Kenny Pickett would’ve needed a waiver to play in the 2021 season because he had to suit up against Syracuse in the 2017 season — just before the NCAA moved to four games preserving a redshirt season.

Pat Narduzzi thinks four games is way better than what it used to be, but he still thinks it could be better.

“I think it’s a fantastic rule,” Narduzzi said Thursday at his weekly news conference. “I’m not too sure, with the portal we have right now, why not just let the guys play? And then we’ll worry about — I mean, we’d have probably played (Izzy) Polk, we’d have probably played Cruce (Brookins) last week just to get him in the game and see how he reacted instead of waiting until the No. 4 team in the country comes in.

“It should be unlimited, what are we talking about? Just give them five years and open it up. They’ve changed all kinds of other rules, we’ve got name, image and likeness, we’ve got the transfer portal, why do I have to hold on to him? Let me play him if I want to I won’t feel guilty for playing him for two plays.”

Pitt has had a handful of true freshmen make an impact this season, guys like Kenny Johnson, BJ Williams, Jordan Bass, Rasheem Biles and Braylan Lovelace who have already played in more than four games, and there’s a chance that Narduzzi would have played more if not for trying to toe the line between preserving future eligibility and gaining legitimate experience.

“There were times earlier in the season that Jordan Bass was looking at me like, ‘Come on, coach, put me in.’ I feel bad, like, ‘Oh, I don’t know if I want to play you yet early in the year.’ You feel bad, I don’t want to hurt the kids, I want to help them,” Narduzzi said. “And if they’d just open it up, I wouldn’t feel bad throwing them on the kickoff and let them run down the field as fast as they can and hit somebody.”

Narduzzi likes to get the true freshmen involved with special teams work early, but it’s resulted in Johnson, Williams, Bass and Lovelace all recording starts this season.

And now that there are just four games left, Brookins — who Narduzzi made a point of praising Thursday — is free to work his way onto the field through special teams work. Polk, who played in two early games, has less leeway, but the door is open in the month of November to work in younger players while still preserving future eligibility.

It’s a problem that all collegiate coaches have to deal with, and it doesn’t seem likely to change any time soon, but Narduzzi would be all aboard in the event that eventual dialogue arises.

Sandy Schall, Coldwell Banker
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Denny
Denny
7 months ago

That’s one way to dodge the real issue, coach!. Everything needs to change, and whatever you’ve been doing the past two years, you need to do the opposite, because the standard has to be somewhere well above this. The program is broken, and it is not unjustified for panther fans to angrily demand that it be fixed.

Last edited 7 months ago by Denny
Adam
Adam
7 months ago

I don’t think this is the answer; especially since now you don’t have to sit out a year for transfers.

James DeLeon
James DeLeon
7 months ago

Narduzzi spends too much time off task. He needs to shut up and coach. No one cares what he thinks.

Toledo Window Box
Toledo Window Box
7 months ago

If it means Dan Marino can play 1 more season then you have my support Nard

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