Thursday’s Notes From Nard

Head Coach Pat Narduzzi

Opening statement:

“I think the kids are maybe not as excited as the coaches are to put the pads on today. There should be a little bit more enthusiasm and a little bit more intensity out here today. It’s always a good day to put the pads on and go out there and have a little contact. We won’t have a lot. Obviously we can’t scrimmage. We really emphasize staying healthy, taking care of our kids, and staying off of the ground on these ‘thud’ days that we get. It should be fun.”

On whether or not the rest of camp will be full pads:

“I don’t have it marked down, but we’ll probably have a couple more shorts and a couple more shells. For the shells we’ll have thigh boards in really just to protect the kids. The only thing that they won’t have on is knee pads. They love shells, but if they practice well in shells we’ll do a little bit more of them.”

On plans to practice at Heinz Field this camp:

“We’re still working on the dates, but we’re playing a scrimmage there, not this weekend, but the following Saturday.”

On if the amount of time spent practicing in pads is something he has adjusted after a year of experience:

“Not really. It really depends on the maturity on the kids. Sometimes there’s a mental lapse when they feel, ‘Oh, we don’t have full pads on, so I can just go through the motions.’ That’s one thing that we try to fight against. That’s the hardest thing a coach has, is trying to find out where the team is [from a maturity [standpoint]. I think we have a mature team. We did last year too, and we did quite a bit of what we call shells.”

On if there is a point in time in camp that you can tell if a freshman is going to play early:

“I think sometimes on day one you see guys do a lot of things and you get excited about it, but today’s another day that you’ll find out just because there’s little bit more contact than there was the last two days. Then there’s that point where they may hit the wall. You think, ‘Oh wow, they’re going to play,’ and then they hit a wall mentally and all of the sudden they just fall apart. The wheels fall off of the car, and you have a problem there. It’s a process, and it’s never going to happen just like that.”

On what qualities defensive end Dewayne Hendrix has that will allow him to fit into this defense:

“First of all, it’s not about the defense. It’s about the player. I think Dewayne [Hendrix] would fit into a lot of defenses. It’s not just our defense. I think he’d fit anywhere in the country. Number one, he’s a fun kid to coach. He’s a super kid. He pays attention to coaching.

He was the first one on the bus this morning over at the dorm. I’m walking out with him at whatever time it was, 5:50, the first bus was at 6:00. He’s out there ready to go. He’s got his little roll thing to take care of his body and stretch out. He’s the first one over here, and he’s healthy. Why is he over here? Because he cares.

He’s just a fun guy to coach, and obviously he’s a talented player. Athletically he’s big, he’s strong, and he’s physical, but again, he hasn’t made a tackle for the Pitt Panthers yet, so there’s still a lot for him to prove in a game.”

On if linebacker Bam Bradley’s physical transformation was something he did on his own or if it took the encouragement of the coaching staff:

“The coaches gave him a nudge. We gave him a nudge for a year. That elbow starts to hurt inside after you give it to him so many times, but Coach [Dave] Andrews has done a great job with him. Rachel [Baker], our nutritionist, does an unbelievable job. She eats every meal with our kids, so she’s around.

She watches what those guys have on their trays. The one thing that’s different, this camp has been good so far, but there’s no cookies at lunch and dinner. I’m kind of disappointed. I like my cookies. I guess she’s taking care of the coaches too and trying to make us a little healthier. It’s hard to turn down those cookies if you walk by them.

The deserts have been not as much, and that helps our kids out. We really have paid attention to how you’re treating your body. We talk a lot about the fuel that you put in your body. If you put bad gas in the car it’s not going to get you here today. It’s the same thing with your bodies.”

On if he’s excited to see James Conner get back to taking some hits:

“Yeah, but I’m excited for everybody. I told him today on the way to breakfast, I said, ‘Hey, I think we’re going to take you out of practice today.’ He looked at me like, ‘What are you talking about?’ He’s ready to go, and I’m sure he’s anxious to get them all out.”

On how freshman Zack Gilbert’s attitude has been after learning of his cardiac condition:

“Every one of our kids has been great attitude-wise. Our coaches are around them every day. They’re still engaged. They’re still part of our family. You’ve got to treat it like it’s a knee injury, or an elbow injury, or a head injury. He’s got an issue that we were able to catch thanks to our medical staff. You can look at it in a bunch of different ways. You talk about that attitude and just be thankful and blessed that we found out about the situation before it’s too late. I think he’s had a great attitude.

“We’ve been doing this EKG [Electrocardiogram] and Echo [Echocardiogram] for 12 years now, and it’s the first time that we’ve found anything. You don’t anticipate it. There was nothing on the field conditioning-wise. I mean, George Hill ran a 4.4. There was nothing that you said, ‘Hey, let’s go get [him examined].’

Every one of our kids goes through that process. I think every athlete at the University of Pittsburgh goes through that process. A lot of places don’t do it. I think it’s something that the NCAA needs to make sure that everybody does just to save lives.”

On if simplifying the defense was something that they evaluated after last season:

“It’s something we evaluate all of the time. I think simple is better. Simple, but complex. We’ve still got to do a lot of things, and there’s still some new things that we’ll do. I think it also becomes simple for our coaches as time goes on as well. You find a different way to teach it. It’s something that we evaluate every day and every season. At the end of the season we go through an extensive self-scout of what we are.”

Note:  “Simple. But Complex.”  It’s like he’s tapped into my heart and mind.  No one knows me like Pat!


25 thoughts on “Thursday’s Notes From Nard

  1. You’re a very brave man Justin. Not to mention Reed has been known to change his appearance from time to time for top secret reasons.

    That’s a cool report Reed. I was wondering, can I lift that quote from Narduzzi or would I be in violation of some sort of etiquette?


  2. Simple but complex ,now that’s a master of ” coach speak” talking.’ Good update. Interesting on how the cardiac issues were caught. Living with the cardiac issues I have learned an EKG does not predict a heart attack but will tell you you are having one or had one. That’s why they give stress EKG,s and do Echo cardiograms.

    They tell the Doc’s what is really going on real time.These players can thank the good lord they chose Pitt on signing day. Maybe we’ll still see Gilbert yet before its all over. A lot of the abnormalities can be controlled, but aorta problems at these guys age, that’s scary.

    Lost a company softball player years ago. 28 yrs. old ,playing left field, ran full bore to back up the 3rd baseman caught the ball, threw to home and in same motion went down on his face dead.The docs said it was a blown aorta. He never new he had a problem


  3. Guys, Reed had mentioned that he probably wouldn’t be able to get out a report for last night. When this occasionally happens, Reed, wanting us to be able to get info and respond to each other on the pov, will get stuff from other sources, like the official Pitt website ( – this interview is from there. I want to thank Reed for continuing to give us quality materials, whether from Reed himself or when beneficial, from other Pitt sources. #H2P


  4. Wades answers were the type which should raise red flags. The answers to questions reminded me of an entitled pro atheletes who doesn’t want to be bothered, instead of a kid being interviewed by the hometown paper. I had heard he had an attitude and traveled with an entourage but didn’t really believe it. Surly and smart-ass punk come to mind.


  5. Oh, and more on point, Reed, your report the other day was one of the best Pitt articles I have read all year! You must be rubbing off on the big paper guys as I thought Rossi and the PG guy have stepped it up lately!


  6. Such is life at PITT football Joe and thanks for that. Love for PITT to reel him (Wade) in and in the past he would be paramount in helping PITT get it’s football program moving forward. I’m over that now and not sitting here on the edge on my seat fretting over where any player goes, local or not. Thanks to the change in administration. I’ve seen how this story plays out in the past and many times PITT fairs way better. Hope the best for the young man.


  7. On days that I travel I post the emails that I get from E.J. Borghetti – really just copy and paste – so that you all have a chance to discuss those days events. I’m at home now so will try to get a original article up tomorrow.

    Here is the P-G’s sports page from today – I don’t see an interview with Wade.

    I can tell you that in conversations around the facility with other media types recruiting is a concern… “Eating our lunch” is a phrase I heard said twice. Still early yet but we aren’t getting that recruiting ‘bounce’ from a new coach and 8 wins like we all kind hoped we would get.


  8. I believe the discontent with Wade’s interview is that he isn’t saying exactly what we as Pitt fans would like him to say. For example, he does not feel any added pressure to stay home. Fact is that he could play for just anyone he wants

    stay at home and play for a proven defensive coach
    stay in state and play in front of 100K who is on prime time TV more than local team
    play for ND and receive constant national exposure
    play for the likes of Bama or OSU and likely play in FB Final 4

    The kid is 17 …. it is not an easy choice. He is making his decision in December and may change his mind a few times before then. But wherever he goes, it is HIS choice, not ours.


  9. Reed, interview is on page C-8. His picture etc. under heading Blue Chip. Again, ?I may be reading too much into it, but I get a feeling about this kid, and it has nothing, nothing about if he goes to Pitt or not! (I have noticed that the online version of PG is often not complete)


  10. @ “JoeKnew” I haven’t read that exact article you’re referring to, and I’m not saying that young Lamont Wade is a Saintly person who is above all reproach about his words and actions or anything. But everything I’ve seen of him would lead me to be believe that he meant no ill-will towards Pitt or Pitt fans + supporters by anything he says.

    Like I said, I have zero clue how this young man conducts himself off the field and whatnot (not that it’s any of my business), but I think if he made comments that sounded rude in an interview it was simply “out of context”. Wade is unanimously rated in the top 50 Overall (all recruits in the USA) by every “Recruiting Service” (hahaha oh yeah —- real Talent spotting ‘savants’ they are 🙂 ). And wade is 5 star by most everyone and high-4 star at the minimum. I point that out because it’s just insanely rare to find Jordan Whitehead + Damar Hamlin level Quality of Character in High School players, who conduct themselves with such great class even with the “Jock-God-Hype”.

    Not saying Wade will ever be a future NFL player or anything like that, just relaying “Expert” (oh gosh, can’t stop laughing) opinions. Honestly I was shocked and amazed about Pitt Football and Narduzzi getting Jordan Whitehead (Eric Berry 2.0) and now this year Damar Hamlin (young Richard Sherman, tall, long, long arms + hops, and with even more explosive athleticism than Sherman —- and he won’t have to wait til the 5th round to get drafted).

    And I don’t really understand how the primo-talented Whitehead and Hamlin were not more hyped than Wade…….whatever sometimes the “Hype Train” just catches a hold of some players and the mindless “Scouts” just hop on. If they had any idea at all what they were doing they’d predict all the walk-ons, 2 star, and 3 star players who become future NFL All-Pros lol. That’s why even though it’s not gonna be “Sexy” I trust Narduzzi to go search and find great, athletic players with high character.

    I wish the young man (Wade) well and wish him success (as with anyone, not just athletes!) but frankly I watched his tape (meh):

    …….. and I’m just ECSTATIC that Pitt hit the Bulls-eye getting Whitehead and Hamlin. If Wade wants to come to Pitt to compete for a spot at corner great. He’s just gotta understand he will have to Work to beat out the 6′ + * 3 Star * corners Narduzzi is bringing in. And if not, Narduzzi is going to recruit a taller, longer, and just as athletic corners even if they’re just ho-hum “3 stars” with un-sexy offers lol:

    ………… and let me just say I also agree with a multiple posters above. Not saying the corner in question is ‘All Hype’!! But some guys, for whatever reason, some guys just get BLOWN UP by the Media types. But when I watch Wade’s tape he looks pretty darn solid against single A PA teams. Just one poster’s 100% honest feelings.

    ……. whoops, Sorry!!!! I meant: Lamont Wade you are SOOO BADA$$$$$$ , please, pretty-please come play at Pitt! (I didn’t use dollar signs to not-curse, but because Wade is soooo Money!!) haha 😉 😉


  11. DK, He said nothing that I would say is offensive to Pitt. Again, nothing toward Pitt at all, it was just the vibe I got. That’s all!


  12. @ JoeKnew sorry, I got what you meant, I just got carried away! I think Lamont Wade is a solid athlete, though I do think somehow he has been hyped-up by the “Scouts” to this crazy degree that is a little bit bizarre….I honestly thought Aaron Mathews (Pitt’s 6’5” receiver recruit from Clairton) dominated much more on his Defensive tape playing linebacker last year (and yet the 6’5”, 210lb player was totally not-ranked as a defensive player??? Just……….whatever I know nothing because I don’t work for: “Scout / Rivals” lol).

    On a more positive note: I Love Coach Tom Sims 🙂 🙂

    And I hope Dewayne Hendrix (listed at 6’4”, 260 and with 3 full years of eligibility left) really takes advantage of his great opportunity here at Pitt. Narduzzi and Coach Sims have been incredibly enthusiastic about his great Character and work-ethic. The question is, even though he has amazing physical size and strength, is he a game-day player? So many questions must be answered as camp unfolds.



    Aaron Mathew’s (Clairton, 6’5”, 210lb recruited as a wide receiver here to Pitt) Senior year tape, about half of which is him playing linebacker. He’s just annihilating these poor single-A kids on his hits just leaning into them lol. THAT’S what you want to see from a real future Pitt contributor playing at that level. Just like Henry Hynonski looking like he was playing against pee-wee kids on his High School tape —- and his high school his day was dominating way more than Clairton ever did in Single-A even during their dominance streak.

    Being real —- I watch Lamont Wade’s tape and it looks like a really ‘solid’, ‘pretty-tough’ corner versus his opposition…..only you have to pause and say, “Wait, this player looks quite decent, but isn’t this single-A??” — honestly the type of player who might struggle to even crack the depth chart here at Pitt in the future. Not even remotely close to a Damar Hamlin level talent.

    ******* A Cam Saddler, Shane Hale clone of an over-hyped local guy. Narduzzi should keep a scholarship open if Wade is adamant and informs him now he’s intending on committing and all, but he’s just a role-player quality-talent at Pitt’s level in the ACC. 😦 Sorry I can’t really hold my tongue on this I have to be real.

    Just watch the tape!!! That’s against Single-A. Don’t get Conned by hype 😦 😦 😦 because I’ll admit, they’re some potential recruits I would gush-over with no shame lol.


  14. I have to admit that I am enjoying this new version of the Dark Knight much more than the last one.

    Although hyped or not, Pitt needs to get as many top rated guys in the WPIAL and so far they are falling behind. Reed’s “eating our lunch” quote echoes the feelings I have about this years recruiting so far.

    As far as Saddler and Hale being overhyped, I would disagree. Having watched then in high school, they were tremendous, I agree they did not excel in college, Saddler due mostly to size and injury. Hale had a reasonable senior year, but never developed the way Donald did. That is why recruiting is so difficult, you never know whether a guy has peaked or is going to get hurt.

    Even in the pros, look at the Steelers wide receivers, Mostly mid-round guys, but Brown and Bryant turn out great, except for Bryant’s pot smoking penchant.

    Whitehead and Boyd lived up to the hype, but these guys don’t come with guarantees. This year’s non-football health issues are a strong example.

    Regarding the choices that wwb points out, I agree, they are many, and strong competition, but I am still disappointed in Narduzzi’s results so far after last year’s on the field and recruiting success. It seems like a step backward so far. This is an especially critical year for recruiting, since we lose so many starters and therefore many needs remain to fill, and to maintain upward momentum.

    We read about all the many offers to big time guys, but so far we are signing three star guys with weak offer sheets.Hope they turn out to be future Darrelle Revis guys, but I would feel better with a few more four star guys with offers from top twenty teams.


  15. Great read wwb, Ironhead was truly larger than life. Never really got the recognition at Pitt because of his off the field escapades. Funny I don’t remember any specific,, although when he left after his junior year, Pitt administration breathed a sigh of relief. Nice to read about the good things he did at Goodwill.

    Cam a great Steeler, hope his other son follows his Dad at Pitt.


  16. Great link to Cam Heyward article….Also great to have the BYB back on the schedule. Pretty obvious that it is just replacing the PSU game, but if it can’t be PSU, WVU is the next best game. Just wish it was on the schedule sooner than six years from now….I am sure we can work deals with both schools that gets them to Heinz Field more than once every 12 years…wish we could do the same for FSU and Clemson!


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