Let’s not kid ourselves here – there was  an flung wide open door for Josh Conklin to walk through on his way to Wofford College.  A Defensive Coordinator at a Power 5 school doesn’t jump down in professional status unless there is a pressing need to do so. Make no mistake about it, dropping to the HC position in the FCS Southern Conference isn’t a bright spot on any coach’s resume’ in this day and age.

As anyone who has been in the position of firing an executive knows there are many ways to do it so the departing can save face. One way is to sit him down and say ‘Look, it isn’t working here so find a job ASAP so we can say you left on your own volition, if not we’ll let you go in 30 days” (or whatever). In college ball that is usually done before all the National Coaches Conferences are held as those are the meet and greet venues for job hunting for staff and assistant coaches.

And truth be told it should have happened at least a year ago; I would have preferred before the 2016 season if I had my choice – which I don’t, but as you all know I was damned vocal about wanting it to happen.  I believe the ‘pat on the back and thank you for your service note’ to Conklin was done for two reasons…

First because Pat Narduzzi realized that lightning only strikes few and far between and he had that happen with an amazing record-setting offense in 2016. Put that in perspective – Tony Dorsett, Dan Marino, Curtis Martin, etc… were all great offensive players at Pitt yet we set offensive records in ’16. It was a once in a career year for some head coaches.

That happened because after his initial season as HC at Pitt, and coming of a truly not so bad defense he had the pieces in place, especially at QB with Nate Peterman, at RB with James Conner returning and a very talented and experienced offensive line to make some serious points show up on the scoreboard.

Following his initial 8-5 season, which is a great start for any HC let alone a Pitt HC, he was poised to possibly break the double-digit win ceiling – as long as his defense progressed to learning how to stop the other team from also scoring huge points.  But that didn’t happened and Conklin’s defense dropped to the horrible level.

It was as big a missed opportunity as I have seen in all the years I have been following Pitt football.

Secondly I believe Pat Narduzzi has taken a long hard look at what his offense is going to be like in 2018 and found it wanting. That doesn’t mean it will be terrible, but there are a whole lot of big question marks at very important positions on offense going into spring practices starting with the QB.

I love the incumbent starter Kenny Pickett and have since I watched him play last spring. But I also realize that he’s a true SO coming of just a few full quarters of play at the D1, Power Five level and may not yet be a strong enough QB to toss the offense on his shoulders and win football games with his arm. He may well do, but it’s certainly not a given.

That possibility, matched up with a rebuilt OL (which I’m not excited about at all) and serious questions at the running back and receiver positions looks like it will be a major rebuilding year on offense for the Panthers. The fact that we lost LT Brian O’Neill and WRs Jester Weah and Q. Henderson – along with Jordan Whitehead’s offensive contributions – doesn’t help matters there either.

Our offense last season was ranked 97th overall. That is scary enough as it is but when you look at the changes it is going to have going into next season it is true cause for concern.

So – Narduzzi knows he has to have a much stronger defense in ’18 than last year’s to keep the scores low enough for us to win games. It is going to be that simple.  And as much as Pitt fans want to believe that the defense made great strides last season it really didn’t. It progressed sure, but not as far as close to being where it needs to be.

Of course when stacked up against the two previous seasons when our defense was at the bottom of the FBS barrel in so many ways it shone by comparison… but the truth is it wasn’t even an average defense when all is considered.

Stat Rank Value
Total Defense 69 396.6
Rushing Defense 41 142.4
Passing Yards Allowed 105 254.2
Team Passing Efficiency Defense 88 136.42
Scoring Defense 65 26.6
3rd Down Conversion Pct Defense 82 0.406

Yes, we held Miami to a low score to win in that upset (the fact that Miami scored an average of 13.6 ppg over its last three matches explains some of that), and we played decently the week before against VT to almost win that game – but against VT we still gave up 375 yards, over 200 yards passing and 157 yards rushing and 20 points… and we lost the game.

But it was better at the end than the beginning, so that’s something.

The fact is that in our seven losses we gave up an average of 35 points to the victors. It is heartening that our defense played better at the end of the season than the beginning. And we did play better last season than we did the year before – all good things.

On the flip side in our wins we only scored 29 ppg – 42 of those points were against Rice – and we beat the lesser teams on our schedule save one.  That has to improve and while it looks like it should (maybe) there is no guarantee.

The name of the game in college football is scoring points, and of course holding the opponent to fewer points than you score.  We didn’t do that last year and lost seven games because we had an offense that couldn’t get out of its own way.  This 2018 schedule is stronger and harder that ’17’s was so Narduzzi realized changes had to be made on defense or there was a distinct possibility we’d have the same thing present itself again.

And he can’t afford that to happen and keep his job. That is it in a nutshell. Forget about that seven-year extension on his contract – it means less than the paper it’s printed on. Either party can get out of that at the drop of a hat. He can’t afford two losing seasons in a row especially when the bulk of the lineup will be his recruits with substantial years in the program this season.

Narduzzi has to right the ship and fast, there is no disputing that and he finally realized that the one thing that was truly dragging him down was his totally ineffective defensive coordinator.   It isn’t enough to hope that, after a full three seasons, his lame ass coordinator was going to finally get adequate enough to field a good defense. Not just an average defense but a good one.

He needed to do his best to ensure it happens. Thus sayonara to Conklin.

 

126 thoughts on “It Really Did Have to Happen Folks…

  1. Note: I spent six hours yesterday watching Shakespeare’s plays on TV and sat down last evening to draft a piece looking at Pitt football – Narduzzi, Conklin, Lyke and Gallagher as a Shakespearean tragedy and was going to post in this morning… no kidding.

    I’ll update it and post it later – but strange huh?

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Probably did get a nudge, but just like why a kid choices a school, medical program or he likes the uniforms or close to home compared to where his girlfriend is going it is hard to say. The last coach was there 30 years and it is closer to home, maybe he sees that as a good thing. I think if Partridge gets the job that will be telling though to some degree.

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    1. Closer to home??? Conklin is from Wyoming and last I looked Spartanburg SC is fair distance away from Wyoming. Yes he coached there previously and coached at the Citadel but IMO he was shown the door and he made his move quickly after Narduzzi let him know he wouldn’t be coming back to Pitt for the next season.

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  3. Six hours watching the college football playoff on News Year’s Day, I get that. Same time invested on Shakespeare on New Year’s Day is a very interesting alternative.

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    1. I don’t care all that much about college football, or the NFL for that matter, if Pitt isn’t playing – that why I never write about anything other than that.

      For me it’s ‘What do I do that reallys makes me think afterward’ and watching teams play who I don’t care about isn’t it.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Reed,
    Once again, thank you for a great and timely article! As you have noted, our D has been at the bottom of the barrel. NOW comes the interesting part – who does the Duzz get to replace the Conklin? Does the new guy stay in the horrid current D scheme? Stay tuned HERE for these critical Patman answers from the Pitt Patcave!!!!

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    1. Does the new guy stay in the horrid current D scheme?

      Probably since the scheme is Narduzzi’s and not Conklins. It’s basically the same as he used at MSU. I doubt anyone coming in will change it that much if at all.

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  5. I agree, Reed. 2016 was a bummer in that we could have won a couple more games with a decent D. And double digit wins is a rare occurrence for Pitt.

    Other than Partridge, who do you think Pitt is considering for the DC position? Maybe we can entice Wade Phillips or Dick LaBeau to come here for a year or two (kidding).

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    1. Not if you want to get into the Power Five considerations for a head coaching job. More money maybe but a career killer. I very much doubt this is what he wanted to happen.

      And the fact that he did it before the coaches conferences is telling also.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I just can’t see Narduzzi actually doing this since it is a admission of guilt on him. You know. I will take your word for it as you know way more than me. Quality of life is pretty nice down there though and looks like he has a 1 year old.

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  6. I believe you got this right Reed. Considering the secrecy in which Narduzzi operates it makes all the sense in the world that he took Conklin aside and told him to start looking. I like the idea that HCPN would think this way.

    It would shock me if Charlie doesn’t get promoted. Bringing in an outsider would probably not sit well with CP. Another thought is how the extra coach may play into all this. PITT now has room to add 2 coaches to the team. Again, I would love to see Shafer and a QB coach added. Pretty sure that Conklin leaving was the icing on the cake for Reed’s New Years!

    On and hey Reed, received a nice gift in the mail just now. Thank You for the book. I’ll be getting on that ASAP! ike

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  7. Reed…your fantasy firing scenario NEVER happens in the business world. Maybe in government or education. In business it’s “ don’t let the door hit you in the ass on your way out”. I have great experience in both sides of that coin!

    I sat bring in Canada to run the offense and have Duzz oversee the defense.

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    1. Dan – sorry, but you’re wrong. This sort of thing happens all the time in the business world. An executive who is well liked but not performing is given an opportunity to find a new gig rather then be fired. I’ve seen this many, many times in business at multiple companies.

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  8. The new defensive coordinator needs to be someone with a strong personality and be highly respected by Narduzzi. Narduzzi should be able to work with him but let him add his own wrinkles to the defense. If this is Partridge, that would be OK but I like Shafer as a better choice. Off course if we get Shaffer that means we lose Partridge.

    This has been probably posted as a comment on some other article here but Kenny Picket has been identified as a breakout player for 2018 by ESPN.

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  9. You know what guys – perhaps Narduzzi should get a strong DC then keep his hands off of the defense.

    His way of doing business so far has resulted in pretty bad defenses over the last two years. I don’t think he’s equipped to be both the HC and pseudo-DC.

    If you look back over Pat Narduzzi’s time as a DC he clicked at the end of his time at MSU – but his first four years were ranked #32, 58, 73, 43 and then he came into his own. But that was in Big Ten ball.

    His defenses in the ACC have been a shadow of that. Pitt may be best served by getting a good DC and giving him his head.

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    1. Interesting take.

      Great thread.

      D got better over time. Problem is when you really suck it is hard not to get better.

      Still have a hard time with zero adjustments in coverage the first year. Terrible defense first year. Suggests to me maybe Duze’s system was not universally applicable to the ACC.

      Bring someone in strong and let them borrow from current scheme but do own thing. Just like new OC. Making Watson run key sweeps every other down was nuts.

      I like this idea Reed. Become a true HC. Delegate.

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  10. With all of the statistical data presented on this site since its inception, it continues to amaze me to no end that the reason for all of the defensive shortcomings in 2016 is solely placed on the coaching staff. In 2015 with the very same coaching staff and scheme, Pitt gave up 26.2 ppg and was ranked 37th overall in total defense.

    Georgia was ranked 5th in total defense this season prior to facing Oklahoma yesterday. For you watching CFB yesterday instead of “Othello” or “The Taming of the Shew”, how did that Top 10 defense look yesterday?

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    1. I think I see where this is heading as I may have heard it before.

      I have omitted annual conference games. I have omitted whether the opponent was ranked at the time Pitt played them, ranked at any point in the season, or ranked at the end of the season. I have omitted whether the opponent played in a bowl game or championship. I have omitted the number of actual or anticipated NFL draft picks and their rounds. IHowever I suspect all of that might come up later.

      2015
      Youngstown State (407 total, 258 passing, 149 rushing, 37 points) (FCS)
      Akron (105 total, 63 passing, 42 rushing, 7 points) (MAC)
      Iowa (363 total, 258 passing, 105 rushing, 27 points) (B1G)
      Notre Dame (437 total, 262 passing, 174 rushing, 42 points)
      Louisville (354 total, 355 passing. -1 rushing, 34 points) (ACC Crossover)
      Navy (590 total, 173 passing, 417 rushing, 44 points) (Bowl)

      2016
      Villanova (172 total, 119 passing, 53 rushing, 7 points) (FCS)
      Penn State (406 total, 332 passing, 74 rushing, 39 points) (B1G)
      Ok State (640 total, 540 passing, 100 rushing, 45 points) (B12)
      Marshall (344 total, 240 passing, 104 rushing, 27 points) (C-USA)
      Clemson (630 total, 580 passing, 50 rushing, 42 points) (ACC Crossover)
      Northwestern (462 total, 214 passing, 248 rushing, 31 points) (Bowl)

      2017
      Youngstown State (418 total, 311 passing, 107 rushing, 21 points) (FCS)
      Penn State (312 total, 162 passing, 148 rushing, 33 points) (B1G)
      Ok State (676 total, 572 passing, 104 rushing, 59 points) (B12)
      Rice (277 total, 222 passing, 55 rushing, 10 points) (C-USA)
      NC State (446 total, 198 passing, 248 rushing, 35 points) (ACC Crossover)
      No Bowl Game

      A quick conclusion that I can draw is that Pitt really benefited statistically from playing Akron in 2015 and Villanova in 2016. Now if Youngstown State would just lie down.

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      1. FWIW, the 12th ranked (and 8th defensive ranked) Washington Huskies gave up 35 points and 552 yards to Penn State (Pitt did better … much better in total yards)

        and last year … the 7th defensive ranked Wisconsin gave up 38 points and 435 yards

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    2. Taming of the Shrew, The Scottish Play (MacBeth) and King Richard II to be exact.

      You keep making excuses for Narduzzi and Conklin’s poor defenses when in fact – and spare me the harder schedules crap – Chryst’s were way better…

      2012 – 17th
      2013 – 34th
      2014 – 33rd

      I’d say that beats Narduzzi’s…

      2015 – 37th
      2016 – 101st
      2017 – 69th

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      1. are you providing defensive rankings or schedules?

        In 2014, Pitt only played one team that finished in the Top 25 rankings – GT.
        In 2015, four — Iowa, ND, UNC, Navy
        In 2016, five — PSU, Ok State, Va Tech, Clemson, Miami
        In 2017 five — PSU, Ok State, NC State, Va tech, Miami

        now please tell me how the 2014 schedule was harder?

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        1. I never said it was – I say it is the height of excuse making to always point back to something that is vague instead of very clear on the face of it – the last two years Narduzzi’s defenses have been worse than anything Chryst put out – and really, to drop from the 30s into 101st and 69th is horrid – regardless of who you play.

          Those great teams you keep pointing to we had to play scored more points and gained more yards against Pitt than almost all the other P5 teams on their schedules…

          Enough yapping – you and I will never agree.

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          1. I totally agree that Pitt defense of 2016 and the first part of 2016 stunk on ice. But I do not agree that the coaching staff is the sole blame. There are many elements involved … talent, inexperience and schedule matters ….. but you just continue to ignore these. They are REAL

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      2. hey Reed,

        If you haven’t seen it yet, watch the Orson Welles version of Macbeth. It is some awesome dark stuff. Find the original version with the original Scottish-tinged soundtrack.

        Amazing what he did for $700,000 (even in 1948).

        DaveD

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  11. Wasn’t Watson told to run Canada’s offense when he was hired? Who knows what Narduzzi will decide for his defense but he probably won’t give up on it entirely. After all his defense is his claim to fame so to speak.

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  12. I think duzz probably wants Shaffer but he knows partridge can recruit well in fla. If they can co exist I like adding Shaffer but not if they lose partridge.
    What well have here is a hire that duzz knows will stay a couple years. I personally was not all that impressed with the d line this year but partridge didn’t recruit any of those guys.

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  13. I think most know this already but Scott Shafer and Narduzzi are old pals from way back. So yes, I think Partridge and Shafer could work together rather nicely. Narduzzi is new to head coaching so by Conklin easing himself out the door works for both of them. Narduzzi will be looking for his 4th coordinator this winter. << That doesn’t look good for him.

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  14. Glad you took to Shakespeare ol longfellow.

    What you may have missed briefly is that GA starts a Freshman QB. The Alabama qb is a sophomore, but started last years national championship as a freshman. The factories play the frshman if they are good enough, period.

    Robert Foster is the northernmost recruit on Alabama’s roster except for a 3 star OL from Minnesota. He is 7th on the team in number of catches this year and 6th in yardage. He needs a big game in the final.

    We will hear all year how the big10 dominated the bowl games. Record wise, yes, but dig deeper. For instance, the big # 1, 2, 3 etc plays against all other P5 2nd, 3rd, 4th rated teams. The SEC for instance would have their 3rd best team against a potential #1 or #2 because 2 sec teams are in the playoffs. It skews the results. What i am saying is that the big and the pac’s best team, didn’t play the best team from the other conference because they were in a playoff. Just sayin.

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    1. I must be missing something.

      Wisconsin (#1 in B1G West and conference runner-up) beat Miami (#1 in ACC Coastal and conference runner-up)
      Northwestern (#2 in B1G West) beat Kentucky (#3 in SEC East)
      Purdue (#3 in B1G West) beat Arizona (#3 in Pac 12 South)
      Iowa (#4 in B1G West) beat BC (#4 in ACC Atlantic)
      Ohio State (#1 in B1G East and conference champ) beat USC (#1 in Pac 12 South and conference champ)
      Penn State (#2 in B1G East) beat Washington (#2 in Pac 12 North)
      Michigan State (#3 in B1G East) beat Washington State (#3 in Pac 12 North)
      Michigan (#4 in B1G East) lost to South Carolina (#2 in SEC East)

      The thing I see is that the B1G dominated the Pac 12 (but then so did everybody!).

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  15. I believe the reason Mich State has two defensive coordinators would be the same reason Narduzzi might. To keep them both on the team they were promoted and given Co/DC positions.

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  16. Statement from Pitt Head Coach Pat Narduzzi:

    “I would like to thank Josh Conklin and his wife, Molly, for their tremendous commitment and contributions to the Pitt football program the past three years. We are all thrilled that Josh has received this opportunity to be the new head coach at Wofford, a place he and his family are very familiar with given his past tenure there. Everyone at Pitt holds Josh in the highest regard as a person, teacher and coach. We know that Wofford will achieve great things under his leadership.”

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        1. I think you are a realist and 99% of the time give a fair assessment. I do think you allowed the Clemson Win (Awesome by the Way) to cloud some of your vision. I can understand that as you were there in person. Happy New Year Doc.

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  17. I am still waiting to see the Partridge Florida recruits???? How many were there? 2

    What did CP do when he was a DC? What were his defenses ranked?

    I think there are way better candidates.

    Liked by 1 person

  18. Some of you need to give Narduzzi some credit for making the change. I kept reading he would not do it.

    It is okay to say something positive about him once in a while.

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  19. Upitt you may be right, but why do I feel you would have spun your response any which way that would may have resulted in Narduzzi looking like the bad guy that Conklin wanted to escape from?

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  20. “Some of you need to give Narduzzi some credit for making the change. I kept reading he would not do it.”

    We don’t know if he did make the change. When CREDIBLE information comes out that Conklin was forced out by Narduzzi and by Narduzzi only, I will give him immediate kudos. To this point however, we only know Conklin is possibly on his way to Wofford.

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    1. You know it’s really not the act of removing that matters to me as much as what you replace the coach with that matters most.

      I mean does who we have on the staff have the “IT” factor?

      And I would agree with the sentiments above where if Nard dog wants to be an effective “CEO” he needs to put someone in place that can execute the vision without micro-managing.

      So while some can applaud the move…I caution with some words of wisdom. I said to my brother Jamie Dixon has taken Pitt as far as he can, we need to take a chance on hiring a new coach that takes the next step and not be afraid of the Ralph Willard effect.

      And then they went out and hired the “Safe” retread.

      So this could all be for naught.

      DaveD

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  21. Conklin was told to start looking. Now both he and Coach look good. But I wonder if Coach or Heather or Boosters were the impetus for the move.

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  22. Everyone is entitled to our opinions I guess. Said it from the minute I read he was leaving and I’ll say it again. Conklin was told to look elsewhere. PITT had actually changed up their defense a little towards the end of the season indicating that maybe Conklin wasn’t running the whole show anymore???

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  23. Good riddance Conklin. I would be fine with giving Partridge a chance at DC.

    On another note, you mention that our offense was ranked 97th. Well, it’s very clear to me the reason for that is having terrible quarterback play all year until Picket became the starter. Play Picket all year and we’re singing a different tune.

    I understand some of your offensive concerns too, but I think we still have a decent crop of receivers, what appeared to be a solid run game toward the latter half of the season (with two strong senior running backs returning), and some 4-star young talent on the offensive line. A lot is unproven, but I think there are some positive things to look forward to next year…especially actually having a quarterback.

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  24. You have two additions to make to your staff. I can live with moving current guys around, but hire the two best recruiters out there. Snake oil salesmen, I don’t care, but get two guys who can recruit. I agree, haven’t seen much from CP in the recruiting yet, so hire someone who can recruit. You can always make them be the sidelines guys or something.
    If you don’t think CP is the guy, then go for a young hot shot. And here’s why; you’ll never,ever have the bucks to bring in a stud. And anyone else will be a retread. Go get the great young mind. He’s out there, do the really hard work and find him. It’s easy to get a retread, and wishful,thinking to hope for the stud, but to find the young guy, now that’s where you earn your money.

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  25. My question is should the “recruiters” hired be required to sell seats for the games in order to help make their recruiting jobs somewhat easier?

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  26. Pitt was young. had issues of depth and losing Whitehead, and Wirginis certainly was key. Add in Taleni and Blair and you have 4 starters gone for 3 weeks to all season. But with added depth the D has more flexibility to play nickle and use various coverages that were simply not available in 2016. I see a much better D in 2018. But college football is simply no longer based on stout defenses with maybe Bama being the exception. this coming year will be a true indicator of Narduzzi and his program.

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  27. Maybe I’m biased but in witnessing several of the New Years bowl games yesterday I didn’t feel like Pickett couldn’t have held his own playing QB for a number of those teams.

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  28. About all this Pickett talk about not starting at QB until late in the season, should be tempered a bit. I’ll say it again. The whole story may not be known about the reasons why he didn’t see action earlier on in the season. A wink is as good as a nod.. wink wink…

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  29. Pitt needs to establish themselves as a proven football program. Pitt is becoming closer to the likes of Indiana and Illinois each day

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  30. Sometimes things just work out for the best. I wish Conklin the best at his new employer.

    Just got out of work, and haven’t had time to read the posts to the article, so this point may have been made from yesterday’s bowl games already.

    If I’m a UCF fan, I am crowing that the Knights should be crowned National Champs and here is the reason – UCF beat Auburn and Auburn beat both Georgia and Bama.

    Next week’s NC game is “just” the SEC championship game. If Pitt did what UCF did, that’s what I’m saying.

    Ok, blast away – lol.

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  31. Any school but Pedo State, Domers and the SEC. Yes – I’d crown WVCC with a crown of sheep dip before I’d crown any SEC school. UCF turned things around with a great coach, great assistants, supportive President and AD, and booster involvement. Whats wrong with Pitt?

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        1. Palazzo 1837? Nah wasn’t me. I was waiting tables at Max n Erma’s in Shadyside though, so if you dropped in for a burger we might have met.

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  32. TX Panther (post before last) — I am wondering the same thing: either Heather or Gallagher (through Heather as a result of some Boosters talking to Gallagher) told Narduzzi that the defense was obviously in the dumpster and was a laughing stock and things had to change. And that discussion happened at the time of PN’s extension. Timing is too coincidental.

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    1. I agree with you. And if thats the case, I’m glad somebody at Pitt cares and forced Narduzzi’s hand. I truly dont believe it was soley the Coaches call.

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  33. Not one mention of Pitt BB and the big game tonight w Louisville favored by 17.5.

    Take your mortgage payment, kids tuition payment and Gas and Electric and bet on Louisville!!

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  34. Most famous case of getting rid of unwanted exec. was the Dole Pineapple case. Mandatory study at Pitt for MBA. Taught us a lot!,

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  35. BTW Reed, I really miss my Sunday mornings with you on the podcast. Question, are you happy with Conklin leaving??? Que the dance song, Reed still dancing bad back and all. Screw the canes.

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  36. Source: FootballScoop – Oakland Raiders linebackers coach Sal Sunseri (former Pitt All-American LB) is a strong candidate to join Dan Mullen’s staff at Florida coaching the defensive line. Sunseri coached defensive ends for Jimbo at Florida State 2013 & 14 and served as defensive coordinator at Tennessee prior to that (and as Alabama’s assistant head coach / linebackers prior to that).

    Does that eliminate the earlier rumor that Sal would be joining Conklin at Wofford?

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  37. UCF was 0-12 in 2015. I do not think UCF beats Alabama or Georgia once in ten tries. If Pitt went 12-0 in the reg season, you can guarantee they are in the playoff because of the ACC.

    Barv – you missed my point. Stated differently, try this. Ohio St. gets into the top four. At that point, wisconsin plays USC. PSU gets to play one of the current 4 playoff teams…..and onward. I think the end result is not as good for the big under that scenario. It worked out well for the big10 as they end up ranked higher than each of their opponents if you look at the playoff rankings this year and because they were shunned by the committee. It wouldn’t have worked out as well in my opinion if OSU got in the playoff. Does that bring more clarity or muddy it up?

    If you want to compare who has the best players, consult the big league draft.

    Glad Conklin is moving on. Let’s see who he takes as players and or coaches. Wofford has played solid ball for many years. Narduzzi may go co-defensive coordinator (run game/pass game) as Dantonio did at msu. Give em both a bump.

    Also, look for Pitt to make a run at Joe Burrow from OSU. He may graduate in spring and have 2 years of eligibility remaining with no sit out! He may end up in texas with herman or fickel in cincy since he was from athens, oh. We should be all over him as he is a star waiting to happen.

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  38. I would hire a QB coach before I hire a coach to share coordinator duties.

    Narduzzi could have used an assistant coach the first 2 years on the job despite his 8 wins. He was in over his head and still seems to be to some degree.

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  39. A retired bench coach would have been ideal, like don zimmer to joe torre. Or, pick 3 former college head coaches to Lou Saban. They are deemed consultants so they dont count against the number of coaches.

    @Tex – not hiring a dc in my scenario as Hurley and Partridge are already in the fold. Just a bump in pay. That would give us two openings (10th coach and DC). I would get the best recruiter money could buy in flurrrrida. FAU, USF and UCF will start getting better flurrrrida players because those teams are on a roll. UCF is most likely to fall off with the new coaching change. Not so much with charlie strong and lane kiffin. Add Mullins at Fla., Fl.St. and Richt and the numbers get tighter.

    I still go with the flurrrida 3 star baby!

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  40. I agree. Need a coach that is an outstanding recruiter in ACC territory. Coaching is almost secondary given the pathetic results thus far.

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  41. Happy for Pitt, opportunity to get a better DC in here. Happy for Conklin, seemed like a great guy, “his’ defense improved dramatically in year 3, regardless of how t\he Nancys’ spin the stats. If it’s Patridge or Shafer, sounds good to me. I suspect recruiting emphasis will be key.

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      1. Facts can certainly be misleading. Take for example the points allowed per game. If the offense stinks and has poor time of possession stats that will affect the amount of snaps the defense has to defend against. I’m not saying points allowed per game is a meaningless fact. Then there’s points scored on the offense. And there’s points scored in blowouts that can be misleading. As I’m not trying to convince nice anyone of anything other than to point out the limitations of stats I will not cite the Oklahoma State game blowout as an example because that game was an example of an unprepared and poor in every respect defense. I can still see their QB laughing at our feebleness.

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  42. I disagree with the idea of hiring a defensive coordinator just for his recruiting ability. There are plenty of young coaches out there that Pitt can hire to do that. What we need is a strong, knowledgeable defensive coordinator who will feel comfortable standing up to Narduzzi when necessary. If Partridge is favored just for his ability to recruit in Florida, I would not have a problem with him leaving. If Shafer is interested, he is who we should get! A plus for him would be his past association with Narduzzi and hopefully the respect Narduzzi has of Shafer’s opinions.

    Is there any credible evidence that Lykes may have had a hand in this? I hope so!

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  43. Don’t you think when his contract was extended and salary increases were reported for his coaching staff – well, that he was told, you have more money, you need to make changes, here you go.

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  44. No JoeP, I really can’t see Heather Lyke telling Narduzzi what he has to do. Maybe it was suggested but I even doubt that. I have no doubt that Conklin was given his walking papers and a heads up to save both Conklin and Narduzzi a little face.

    Partridge probably brought here under the impression he may become the DC sooner or later. Being CP’s second stint at PITT I’m sure things were ironed out beforehand. I’m ok with Charlie becoming DC and that also allows PITT to bring in two more coaches of any kind.

    I’m really leaning towards PITT going with co DC’s and Shafer would fit like a glove. I believe he made around $400,000 last year and with a nice little raise and the Narduzzi friendship might get him to PITT at a rather bargain price?? That lends itself to hiring some help for Watson on offense. Maybe a full-time QB coach for KP and the young QB’s?

    It also helps me to believe Narduzzi has formed or forming a plan with the coaching staff for the future which is encouraging to me. I’m sure there will be some bumps and bruises this coming season but like Reed mentioned, I expect this season to be more like Nate Peterman’s first year at PITT but 8 wins will be a tall task to achieve.. ike

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  45. Suggesting that the BOT suggested to Narduzzi to make changes goes against everything we discuss on the POV. Most of those guys don’t have a clue about PITT football and or care. The ones that do are in the serious minority.

    and thinking Heather bossed Narduzzi around??

    Someone above mentioned how some just won’t give Narduzzi credit even when he does something they called for and not you Reed. You laid all that out nicely in the article. and BTW, Do you think Heather told Narduzzi to make changes? How about the BOT and the BIG boosters?

    I also received a nice Thank You from Heather this morning. It was nice she found the time to send me an email Lyke that. Don’t you think? 🙂

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  46. For those interested PSN has a nice writeup on Pickett with an interview with Tony Racioppi from Test Football Academy in New Jersey. Evidently Pickett has been training under him for some time.

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  47. Praise the lord. Listened to Conklin talk D several times and he sounded like coach speak with no real understanding. We were out coached at that position too many times. Looking fwd: After having a career in two fortune 500 top 25 co.s and engineered various org. moves I guarantee this was finessed and hopefully the next step has already been planned . Lots of good suggestions here on POV like Partridge to DC then either hire replacement and QB coach or hire Shaffer as co DC, Partridge as co DC and Asst HC and replacement. Have said for some time we need a QB coach that will help QB recruiting and development. One absolute !!! No more DCs in training. We had 2 in a row. Maybe Nardo is becoming the CEO of the program and not the Co Defensive Coordinator/ HC. Keep the good ideas flowing . Never know who is reading.H2P

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