Let’s clear up a few things from the last article’s thread that pertain to myself and Pitt football. There always seems to be the question hanging that I either like or dislike Pat Narduzzi as the head coach at Pitt. That is a question that has multiple answers. To simplify this I’ll say I think he was a good hire three years ago. But a lot happens in two and a half seasons to build opinions on.
First off and let’s make this perfectly clear – I do NOT want to see Pat Narduzzi fired. Some other posters may want that but you haven’t read that from me at any point. I think he deserves a full four/five years at least and he certainly deserves a chance to right the ship after the dust settles on this (hopefully) aberrant season.
Do I “like” Pat Narduzzi?
Yes, in many ways. I think his work as the leader of the football program and the players off the field has been excellent and I have agreed with his disciplinary measures. This is a big deal for me because I believe these young men are student/athletes and a large part of any HC’s job at Pitt is to show leadership to them and instill discipline among them.
As far as pure football goes I think he is an average head coach who has done pretty well so far… with mainly other HC’s players. But with that he also made the move to get Nate Peterman in at QB and ’16’s OC Matt Canada to Pitt and thus we had two eight win seasons in HCPN’s first two years. Pretty good work there, especially given our program’s record over the last five or so years.
I think he makes mistakes on gameday and is too risk-adverse to roll the dice and win sometimes – and BTW, after a full two years as a HC he should have minimized those by now. A good example is his opting for 3 points vs 7 points in the 4th quarter of the NC State game when down 28-14. He chose the FG because “that is what the chart says to do” instead of gambling and trying to make it a one-score game. We can argue this forever but my point is he is averse to risk taking.
Is he a good motivator of his staff and his players? Yes, in the main. You don’t beat Penn State and Clemson last season without getting those kids ready to play. Yet there have been times that we have come out of the gate either flat or too cocky which happens to all HCs at some point. I’ll say that I expected more consistency on this issue by now – the YSU game showed me that this year’s team had some real problems with this when we deadpanned after halftime… and then some players said publicly that they “let up” in the 2nd half almost costing us a loss to a FCS team.
So I sometimes question his in-game coaching but at the same time realize that when Saturday rolls around his role is mainly passed over to the Coordinators for in-game decision-making – both in personnel use and in playcalling. Except for timeouts, punt/no punt or crucial play calls as described above.
This is an area where I feel he has stumbled and mainly because he has watched his defenses start out rather poorly in 2015 and get worse over the last two years… yet he still sticks with his defensive coordinator Josh Conklin.
I think that is almost mind-boggling stubbornness and that it cost us a shot at a true excellent year last season – one where we could have at least been playing for an ACC championship or even, possibly, perhaps, the NCAA Playoffs. We won’t see that high quality of an offense again for many years in my opinion and in a sense it was wasted because our defense was so very bad.
Fans seem to think the opposite about his staff work here and I believe it is only because it was Narduzzi’s decision to hire Conklin in the first place… but so what? Conklin is an employee and certainly can be let go for not doing his job well enough.
As far as Pat Narduzzi as a person?