Pitt Spring Football Day 3
March 15, 2018
Post-practice Interview Session Videos & Coach Pat Narduzzi Transcript
COACH PAT NARDUZZI TRANSCRIPT
On whether the team had a good practice, its first in full pads:
“I wish we had a good day. It got better. But usually that first day in pads, guys are going crazy. We’ll look at the tape. I probably shouldn’t say it was bad without looking at the tape first. Sometimes you look at the tape and it’s clean. It just wasn’t as crisp as you’d like it to be. But it got crisper as we went, that’s for sure.”
On if he believes the defense is ahead of the offense at this point:
“You would think so. But, you never know. I was impressed today. I will go back and watch the tape. We had a couple thud periods and we had a couple live periods, but I was impressed with our offense, the way they ran the ball. They were just doing some different things. I think our offensive line played good. I thought the run game was probably pretty good. We’ve still got some things we need to clean up in the pass game, but I was impressed with how we ran the ball and what we did offensively, so that was really good to see. I would say the offense is ahead in the run, defense ahead in the pass.”
On the offensive line:
“I thought they did a nice job in the run game. I thought in the pass game, we still have some work to do. We did a two-minute at the end, and there was probably more pressure on the quarterback than you would want. You try not to put yourself in a two-minute situation. It’s hard to run the ball in that period. Like I said, I was impressed with the way we ran the ball and the run blocking. We seem to be moving a lot faster to where we are going.”
On if he feels he has depth in the offensive line position:
“I feel like we have some young guys, and we don’t have a lot of experience, we don’t have a lot of game reps, but we have some talent there. I really believe we have talent with [Carson] Van Lynn and Gabe Houy and Bryce Hargrove. There are a lot of guys who have opportunities to make plays.”
On the versatility of offensive lineman Alex Bookser:
“He’ll go wherever we want him to go. He can plug any hole. We try not to make him play everywhere, but we’ll figure it out.”
On how Dewayne Hendrix and James Folston Jr. have looked this spring:
“Dewayne [Hendrix] has had a great spring so far, three days, first one in pads. Both him and James Folston have. One thing I’ve noticed the past couple of days is just the get-off. [James Folston] used to be the slowest guy off the ball. We already know that he is fast, maybe one of the faster guys, but he can just get off the ball. His get-off is much better than it used to be, and Dewayne has been the same way. They both haven’t been a surprise, but I’ve been very pleased with what I have seen from them.”
On the importance of having fullback George Aston on the field:
“George [Aston] is the energy; he’s the energy bus. Besides being a good football player and those things and being tough, I think he brings people together, so having him in that huddle means there is a lot of things we can do offensively. He’s a difference-maker.”
On bringing in guest speaker Maurice Clarett:
“We have a thing called ‘Developing Pitt Men.’ It’s a series of bringing in different speakers each week to talk to [the team]. [Maurice Clarett] is a guy who has gone through some struggles. It’s part of life. One major thing that he talked about, which was something the kids took away, was trust the people around you. Back when he was in high school, and when he won a national championship, he didn’t embrace and trust the people trying to pull him in the right direction. So the biggest message we got from him was to trust the people around you. [The coaching staff] are here to help you.”
NOTES: Here are some other media articles after Practice #3…
The P-G’s piece on new DC Randy Bates is interesting:
<p>Randy Bates coached linebackers for 12 years at Northwestern, and before that it was the defensive backs at Louisiana Tech.</p> <p>.</p> <p>As a first-timer running a defense at the Power Five level, one thing Bates won’t lack on Pat Narduzzi’s staff is energy and enthusiasm. Much is expected of Pitt on that side of the ball in 2018, given how much experience returns, and the cultivation commences now in spring camp.</p> <p>Bates cuts a similar profile to the man he replaces, Josh Conklin — not all that tall, on the thin side and usually sporting a forward-facing baseball cap — but he’s nearly 20 years older and perhaps a few octaves higher when he chimes in to the defense.</p>
Please tell me that the P-G isn’t in the market for a proofreader after all this time – that is what the article looks like on all my devices…
The Trib has a Bates piece also:
Bates takes over a defense that ranked 11th in the ACC in yards allowed — and 105th nationally in passing yards allowed. He’s working with a pair of new coaches in charge of Pitt defensive backs in secondary coach Archie Collins and safeties coach Cory Sanders.
Though Bates has been a linebackers coach for 24 of the 36 seasons he’s been in the business (his coaching career began as the offensive line coach at Muskingum in 1982), he also has five seasons in charge of the secondary on his résumé.
Bates’ only time spent as a coordinator was in 2005 at Louisiana Tech. “I will go over to the secondary and say hello. We have two new coaches there, so we are forming relationships at those positions with those coaches, and they are also with me,” Bates said. “So I am also helping there, and then I jump down with the D-line and really just come and yell at them for a couple seconds. They are doing great.
Here is what his Tech team did on defense in his lone season as a DC – pretty decent all around especially in the rushing defense category (see table below).
|Passing Yards Allowed||99||256.5|
|Team Passing Efficiency Defense||69||128.58|
That Passing Yards Allowed scares me though – the same way our Passing Yards Allowed defense has scared me over the last three years. if we don’t fix that (105th nationally giving up 254.5 yards and 24 passing TDs on the year) we are in dire defensive straights yet again.
Here is an article published last week that was listed under the “Penn State” header in the P-G. The headline reads: Pitt coach Pat Narduzzi says Penn State doesn’t want to play. Well, they will if it’s a two for one deal home field and Pitt won’t accept that… although I don’t know why. Pitt Fans are clamoring for a harder OOC schedule and there it is – Penn State every year. I find it ironic that a team that just last season went for seven losses and was beaten by little sisters SYR and North Carolina (at home mind you) feels that we’d be at a distinct disadvantage if we travelled to Happy Valley to play ball games.
Is this an ego thing on Pitt’s part – not wanting to look desperate? Heather – give the Pitt fans what they want and that is to play PSU on a regular basis – the time for looking down Pitt’s football nose at anything passed by 30+ years ago.
One kid we are counting on to be a speedster target for QB Kenny Pickett is WR Tre Tipton who missed last season due to injury – The Tribune Review has a bit on him this morning.
The return of the 6-foot, 185-pound redshirt junior could bolster an unsettled position for Pitt, which lost wideouts Jester Weah and Quadree Henderson to the next level. Top receiving options back from last season are senior Rafael Araujo-Lopes (43 receptions), junior Maurice Ffrench (25), junior Aaron Mathews (16) and sophomore Ruben Flowers III (none).
In nine games in 2016, Tipton had 12 receptions for 142 yards and a touchdown and added 61 rushing yards on 11 carries.
We ain’t missing anything with the departure of Henderson from the receiving corps – from a returner standpoint yesy, but his work in the offense was rather minimal last season and can easily be picked up by others. Henderson had 17 catches for 186 yards (10.9 ypc) and no TDs last year – with a long of 74 yards. Takeaway that big play and his stat line reads 16 for 112 for only 7.0 ypc. As I said – minimal at best.
In that same article we read the same coachspeak from Narduzzi about the prospective talents of the OL that we read every spring…
NARDUZZI PRAISES OFFENSIVE LINE
Pitt coach Pat Narduzzi had mixed reactions to his team’s first practice in pads, but his praise for the offensive line’s effort was clear.
“I was impressed with our offense, the way they ran the ball,” he said. “ … We’ve still got some things we need to clean up in the pass game, but I was impressed with how we ran the ball and what we did offensively, so that was really good to see.”
The offensive line depth should help alleviate the roster departures, he said.
“We don’t have a lot of experience, we don’t have a lot of game reps, but we have some talent there,” Narduzzi said. “I really believe we have talent with (Carson) Van Lynn and Gabe Houy and Bryce Hargrove. There are a lot of guys who have opportunities to make plays.”
It is interesting to look back a full year and to see what the other staff coaches were saying about the team after the same point in the previous year’s Spring Drills. Here is a news release for after 2017’s Day 3 and some of Pat Narduzzi’s observations:
On his impressions of tight end Chris Clark:
“Chris has been good. He’s got soft hands, but I’ll look at his run game. It’s easier to see him when he’s wide open. We’ve seen him run down the field, he’s got those soft hands, and he can run. He asked me the other day saying, `Coach, what did I look like today?’ I said `you have to get better at blocking.’ You have to watch the tape to see his blocking and if he did the right thing. Overall, I’ve seen a lot of good things out of Chris Clark.”
On the encouraging signs he’s seen out of the defense:
“I’m really excited about the defensive front. I feel like we have some more depth up there than we’ve had in the past. We’re rotating Patrick Jones II in there. Deslin [Alexandre] is playing, and Kaezon Pugh has made some nice plays out there as well. Keyshon Camp has been playing really well. I feel like we’ve got some young guys in there, and we’ve got numbers to work with so we can stay healthy.”
My – how things change – except for Clark’s blocking, that wasn’t a strong point by any means last season.
Hey – like the picture up above of Pat Narduzzi wearing his “Victory Cape”?