Discipline; What Is It Exactly ?

I was wool gathering yesterday afternoon right after I put the Sunday podcast up.  I started thinking about why fans like what they like, what they dislike and /or are ambivalent to issues surrounding the Pitt football program.

It seems we are all different in our approach to what we want and expect out of the program.  I know what I expect and I haven’t been shy of stating it. I’ve been called old-fashioned or references made to my military background as having influence over my opinions – and that has to be true in a sense especially when discussing disciplinary issues.

But what have we seen transpire over the last decade or so that has had us discussing this topic?  After all Pitt went from pretty horrid in that department to almost pristine. Is it the recruiting ? Yes in some ways.  Is it the leadership we have had in place over the last five years? Most certainly.

Paul Chryst and Pat Narduzzi have done a remarkable job in setting tough but reasonable standards and then holding the young men responsible if they don’t meet them.

But this is the time of the school year where I start getting nervous about what we might hear regarding outside the program incidents. Now isn’t so bad because the kids are still in school going to classes, working out and getting ready for spring practices. In other words they are pretty busy and busy keeps things in order.

It’s after the Spring game and through until the first week of August when fall camp begins where I start to worry. That’s when they have a lot of time on their hands and get strange ideas.  Well, probably not any unique or ‘never-done-before’ ideas others haven’t had, but still…

Well, yesterday and many time before I have praised Pat Narduzzi for his ability to keep what appears to be a disciplined and straight forward program intact and on track. In any sense that is both needed and appreciated. One arrest since he was hired – one other inherited court case back in the summer months of 2105. That is pretty sparse and damned amazing in my opinion.

Joe Starkey of the Trib-Review wrote an article back in July of 2015 in which he had expressed thoughts that matched mine in an article I wrote for the Pitt Blather back on June 15th of 2015.

“There are really two different disciplinarian issues involved in this.  The civil laws and the local judicial system’s application of those this is one. The civil authorities will execute their responsibilities hopefully with no regard one way or another in Boyd’s status as a star player.  Again hopefully, there will be no formal charges.

Regardless that is completely separate from what the University of Pittsburgh’s responsibilities are here. What is awarded (or not) by the civil system should not have any effect on what the University does in applying its own internal discipline.  PITT has its own policies and has to work inside those.

In my mind it is early enough in the year to levy a suspension for either a week or two of fall camp, or not starting or playing in the first quarter of the YSU game.  Something along those lines, but I’d lean to

ward the lesser and softer punishment if I was in his shoes given what we know right now.  Had this incident happened in the fall after the season began Narduzzi’s hands would be tied a bit as his options would narrow down to something to do with Boyd’s participation in a game.”

I was happy with the opener suspensions and thought that was perfect for the situation. Many Pitt fans disagreed thinking that was too harsh and would negatively affect their careers… mostly Boyd’s truth be told.  But that didn’t happen much at all with the exception of being dropped then re-instated onto the Bilnetikof Award list.

It is certainly cause and effect that with his disciplining his star player and not being concerned about the depth chart and BTW he would have suspended the players even if we weren’t playing Youngstown.  What was the result from that?

No arrests or instances of disciplinary problems have been reported since June of 2015.  Huh, funny how that happens, isn’t it?

Now I feel this way about this issue.  I believe almost ever player deserves a 2nd chance after misbehaving as long as there wasn’t violence or sexual assault type incidents involved. I do not believe in 3rd chances under any circumstance – I just don’t. Not with a now four-year scholarship as collateral.  If you stop being able to play football for Pitt then  Pitt calls in

the loan – sometimes it is as simple as that.

Really, after two redemption opportunities (2nd chance) all those wayward players are doing is keeping  some other worthy kid from a scholarship that would be better used and more well-respected.

I also  believe that the entity in the authoritative position,  in this case the university and its athletic department, needs to act unilaterally in its decision-making.  Pitt disciplines is players according to Pitt’s requirements – not any outside judicial system.

There may be times when a charge is dropped or a player gets off any punishment and even if found innocent there was still a violation of Pitt’s rules. Now, that doesn’t mean a Pitt coach has to discipline the player – only that he should determine his course of action without regard to anything but Pitt’s standards.

It isn’t double jeopardy or anything untoward to receive punishment for some violations from two different institutions.  The kids, and their parents in some cases, sign on the dotted line knowing full well what Pitt’s rules and regulations are both in the university and then again in the athletic department.  believe me there is zero ambiguity there.

Lets hope we don’t have to worry about this for a long time.  But if something does happen I trust Pat Narduzzi to do the right thing for the team, the school and the player himself – because in the long run discipline awarded almost always results in a strong corrective action.  We saw that happen with both Rori Blair and with Tyler Boyd – and in concert we saw the rest of the team take those young men’s discipline to heart as something they can expect also if the step over the line.

Kudos again to Pat Narduzzi and keep up the good work.

On a real-time note ESPN just ranked the ACC QBs going into 2017 and Pitt was named “Sleeper #3”. Here is what they had

  to say:

Potential sleeper 3: Pitt. The Panthers have relied on their fair share of graduate transfers, and this season could be no exception with USC transfer Max Browne set to compete in spring practice. New offensive coordinator Shawn Watson has made his name developing quarterbacks, and Browne showed tons of potential as a former ESPN 300 recruit. With depth at running back and what should be a better defense, Pitt could make a Coastal run if it can get the most out of its next quarterback.

The red is mine…fingers crossed.

Other Notes:  I believe I have all the Thank You gifts out to donors now.  If anyone who chipped in doesn’t get something by Friday please let me know via email.

Also I have sent WordPress the screen shot regard this site’s security issues.  I changed the site’s public logo last week and that’s when the stuff started happening.  If it persists after today please let me know and I’ll brace up WordPress again – they haven’t gotten back to me yet.

33 thoughts on “Discipline; What Is It Exactly ?

  1. Good article Reed. Good link wwb.

    Watson sounds humble, flexible and knowledgeable. Pitt’s offense showed precision in most cases last year. Hopefully Watson demands the same.

    Already looking forward to September. I hope that PSU is heavily favored and we beat them by 30.


  2. wwb… I hope he sticks around long enough to make a difference with the underclass QBs.

    It would be nice to have a kid get 3 straight years with one OC.

    When was the last time we had that?

    Sunseri had 3 Palko had 2… Maybe MacVitte can be the guy…or Pickett…. or DiNucci.


    1. I would hope with his experience, he can effectively utilize his personnel to their strengths. He is 56 years old with a history of ups and downs; this could be his final stop .. hopefully it’s a lengthy one.


  3. Reed – Have you ever looked to see how Narduzzi’s pass defense trended at MSU? What has happened the last two years is part of the process in installing this defense. Now, with the ACC being a more prolific conference offensively, I’m not saying Pitt will ever be top 10 but Michigan St. ranked 116/120 against Big 10 offenses in his 3rd year as DC and two years later was #11.

    It takes time to get your kids in place and this is exactly why Conklin received zero heat this year. Narduzzi has been through it before. It’s part of the learning curve. With up to 8 new starters on defense, this year’s defense will look drastically different. There will be more team speed … but a lot less experience. It’s fine to be critical but lets not pretend defense was every going to be an overnight sensation.

    I would not be surprised at all to see a 50 place jump in pass defense this year.


    2007: #43
    2008: #68
    2009: #116 out 120
    2010: #68
    2011: #11
    2012: #7
    2013: #4
    2014: #61


    2015: #38
    2016: #127


  4. Actually Tossing by that timeline we are due for one more stinker… Maybe he to go to the bottom more quickly?

    On the offensive side did anybody read the ESPN feature on Watson? Said Pat didn’t want him to bring in a new system and he is learning Canada’s playbook and will run Canada’s offense, with a few of his own wrinkles built in. I’d say that’s about as much as we or the program could have hoped for, given the situation.


  5. Why would any head coach want to change the offensive system we had last year to any great degree? And from the Watson viewpoint why would not agree to abide by what Narduzzi wanted. Watson had come down the coaching ranks pretty far after the Texas debacle and I’m sure he is just happy for any decent chance to get back into the limelight at a good program. I’d be also willing to bet that Watson signed a fairly tightly worded contract on just Pitt would be compensated on any Watson voluntary departure. He just might stay for the remainder of his career if Pitt performs well on offense over the coming years.


  6. Thanks for the link wwb, sounds like PN realizes that we need continuity and Watson is buying in.
    I agree with Reed and Narduzzi approach to discipline. While as fans we want the best players on the field one must do what is best for the program. Once you go too easy it becomes a very slippery slope and spreads easily to the rest of the team. In Boyd’s case it was good IMO not only for the team but for him. He had a decent 1st year on and apparently off the field for the Bungals.

    As to the defensive timeline it would somewhat vary on how bad fo a situation one inherits overall. It isn’t just the DBs but for PN system to work it also requires pressure on the QB ie line and LBs and IMO we are short there as well. We shall see, i just wish he would recognize those here need some help by adjusting the system a bit by given the game situation to give help to the DBs in one way or another. Too many times there were multiple completions on flares down the sideline. Don’t overcomitt to the run.



  7. Hopefully Watson signed a contract that is incentive based. Keep the offense scoring at a record pace and get a big raise the following year.


  8. ATL – Yeah, those stats are at face value. I have no idea what MSU’s roster looked like but the learning curve is there. My guess is MSU had better defensive talent and year 3 was what what happened to Pitt last year. Admittedly, pure speculation.

    My larger point being, anyone expecting an overnight success with the defensive roster Pitt had was not looking closely enough.

    Could Narduzzi have adapted? Sure, but that’s very rare in college. I’ve said it before, NFL coaches have to adapt to the players they have. In college, the kids have to adapt to the coaches they have. The NFL is very personnel oriented and college is very system oriented.


  9. and again, I blame the NCAA and more directly the penn state officials for failing to recognize the damage done by joe paterno and their sick love at winning at all costs up there. This is exactly the fallout behavior I or anyone would expect from such atrocities committed without a real sense of sorrow expressed! .


  10. and… btw. My above post is very much related to Reed’s article concerning having a firm hand on how a football program should be managed and directed. Thank You Pat Narduzzi!


  11. We beat Wake and Ga Tech and we’re back on the bubble.

    Plus another 2 in the ACC tourney

    Need to beat Va Tech and FL State

    Still I think we are Nobody’s Interested Tourney. Thats what 8 losses in a row does for you.


  12. Upitt lol.
    As to Sandusky’s son it is not unheard of that the child victim of a sexual assault can have severe emotional problems and become a child predator as well. I maintain, though it will never happen, that Ped STate Main campus should be torn down and the earth salted. Keep all the branch campuses as state colleges like Clarion (wife went there also blue and gold) Slippery Rock etc. How soon till Sandusky’s legal team blames all Jerry’s problems on the son. Most heinous scandal in the history of the American University System. Note I don’t say Sports Scandal I say Scandal period. What a cesspool.
    ps TT your stats I think are interesting, valid and informative and hopefully we improve faster. 🙂


  13. North Carolina State basketball coach Gottfried is to be fired at the end of the season… Just heard it on the morning news driving to work…


  14. The best discipline a coach can teach to his charges is the type that they can continue to rely on for the remainder of their lives, when the lessons are internalized, “self” discipline.


  15. Sandusky was initially investigated for molestation circa 1996, but it was not publicized. And he was found innocent (of course) … it is not known if any type of payment (hush money) was made. Then, a few years later, the shower scene occurred .. and there is evidence of it being known by Pres, HC, AD and Security Chief and was hushed and not pursued.

    The Centre County DA became missing in 2005 … and eventually pronounced dead even though no body was ever found. Then circa 2010, the state, with the help of a female reporter from the State College paper, finally cracked the case.

    Now, Spanier (ex-Pres), Schultz (ex-security) and the ex-AD (forgot his name) is finally schedule to go to trial this spring. All of them currently have healthy pensions they are living on.

    Meanwhile, PSU finished in Top 10 … so all is forgiven in Happy Valley.


  16. Meanwhile, just be glad you are not this poor SOB who is the Ravens’ radio broadcaster

    Gerry Sandusky ‏@GerrySandusky 15 hours ago

    To all who again invite me to spend eternity in hell, just a friendly reminder, I’m Gerry with a G–no relation to former Penn St coach.


  17. I watch Gerry Sandusky all the time down here on the Baltimore station and he’s had a very tough time of it since the PSU scandal broke.

    Too much discipline can probably do that but I’ve never imposed too much – as a matter of fact in 33 years in the military I “booked” or brought someone up on charges only once – and that was a watchstander who fell asleep while on watch. Couldn’t let that one slide because while underway it could mean lives lost.

    I handled everything else internally and gave Officers and Enlisted men in my charge tons of latitude but also let them know they were responsible for their actions… and if it did get to me there would be ramifications at my level – extra hours and internal punishments, etc… that didn’t go into the ‘official record’.

    Twice I had to give junior officers low marks on their Officer Evaluation Reports (like a report card) which ensured they wouldn’t be promoted – but that was after extensively counseling them at the mid-point of the marking period.

    That was a way of firing them without really making a black mark on their employment record.

    I’m not naive enough to think there hasn’t been anything negative going on that Narduzzi has had to deal with – I know there has been but that is minor and again, internal, stuff. Missed meetings, being late, etc…

    Kids will be kids but if they insist on staying that way and NOT turning into young men then that’s when the problems start.


  18. Just for any who want to hear Pat Narduzzi talk for 45 minutes:

    Relevent to the Discipline —- @ : 1:27 — “When you look at it, you’ve got all these players, and they’ve got these Egos. And again, they were THE STAR in their High School ….okay, they’ve all got POTENTIAL….Some guys will reach that potential, some guys won’t . But that’s our jobs as Coaches to develop them as they get here.”

    —- A very Select-Few guys will always make it happen no matter what (James Conner, Tyler Boyd, Nate Peterman maybe — the “Special Ones”) — some guys need a ton of positive attention and Strong-Leadership to grow the right way (The majority of the guys always) …. yet in the end regardless most of the young guys better focus hard on their degrees and education solely for their futures….

    @ Reed I think Pat Narduzzi’s Leadership and Discipline is Exactly like your personal style : Treat all of his Players like Independent Young Men, and do everything in his power to encourage and help them.. But I’m sure he’s dropped the Hammer Mono-y-Mono on Players many a-time Behind Closed Doors.


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