…and Pat Narduzzi should be afraid of the dark after last night.
68,400 people watched the Same Old Pitt (SOP) in action and now there can be no denying it. Let’s not make excuses for Pitt’s showing last night’s either – the Refs didn’t screw us, the weather didn’t stop us and Penn State isn’t even that good of a team this season. But we really are that bad and that falls directly on Pat Narduzzi’s head.
I’ll do a Monday Morning QB article tomorrow but last night’s game, the staff and the Pitt players need talking about right now. Because this loss to our rival and the severity of it isn’t that huge of a shock to some Pitt fans and POVers. Nor are all the peripheral and negative things that happened on the sidelines. We have written on here many times that Pat Narduzzi is not the guy or coach most Pitt fans believed he was… and that’s true.
When I earlier published the 2018 Pitt football surveys asking questions about the team and ‘who would do what’ I added at the end of it “Will Pat Narduzzi Scream at his coaches…and how many times” and you all thought that was a joke. But it wasn’t meant to be and we last night saw PN hit the trifecta of deflected blames when he yelled at his players, his staff coaches and then directly the Referees. (and get his two-faced ramblings in his post-game press interview).
But this is who he is. He’s been in the panic mode since Nate Peterman graduated and it has shown in many different ways. Since the summer of 2017 the POV has written extensively about two things that continue to hurt Pitt football. Narduzzi’s poor recruiting and his looking for and receiving transfers policy. Those two things combined to help give us a five win season last year and a 45 point loss last night.
When you are in Year Four of a HC’s tenure and your starting lineup is still evenly populated by the previous HC’s players – your recruiting sucks. And regardless of what # ranked his recruiting classes were they have actually been poor.
My God – wasn’t anyone listening when we screamed from the mountaintop that any offensive line which has three 5th year Seniors who never started a Power 5 game at their positions (Dintino, Millin and Herndon) was going to be a bad one? Last night Pitt fans screamed for other offensive linemen to be in-game substitutions and Pitt did so with Brandon Ford, Gabe Houy, Bryce Hargrove and Jerry Drake Jr. and they played just as terribly. Why? Because our OL recruiting is poor also.
Do you wonder why Kenny Pickett is playing substandard QB so far in our last six quarters of play (and he really is). It’s not because he’s untalented; it’s a fact that he does have talent – it is because virtually every time he has dropped back to pass the OL has so quickly crumbled that he’s had to try to complete passes on the scramble and most attempts have either failed or had to be short check-downs… as we knew the situation would be going into fall camp.
When Narduzzi has gotten decent recruits many of them have left because of the average-at-best upperclassmen transfers he has brought in to fill holes in the roster that he himself created. That’s panic mode folks. Last night four of those transfers played and aside from Mack did nothing and Mack was just there and not doing much. But that is par for the transfer game after Peterman left.
At the Albany tailgate last week I asked some POVers why they believed the defensive backs were an “Upgrade” over last season even though we lost two good ones (best we have had in a while) in Maddox and Whitehead… and no one could really explain why they felt that way. But I know why they did – because they are Pitt Fans and want the best to happen with the team even if it means heavy wishful thinking in place of critical analysis.
But again, when after four years your two best DBs are rsSR Briggs and rsSR Motley – both average Chryst recruits – you are going to have problems. I shudder to think how many passing yards and more points PSU would have had if their WRs and TEs didn’t drop seven or so passes. They were wide open all night long and our DBs couldn’t cover them well enough to save their (or their teammates’) lives.
Three of the four rotation linebackers we put out there are also the previous regime’s recruits and none of them are so good they couldn’t be sat down if there was any quality talent at all behind them… but there isn’t. With the exception of Wirginis maybe, but don’t watch how many times he was faked out last night on both rushing plays and passing ones.
Understand what I’m saying above – two out of the three main defensive units; the LBs and DBs, haven’t been improved by Narduzzi’s recruiting in four years now. Don’t get me started on having to play Shane Roy in the middle of the DL. And this is from a guy who is supposed to be a defensive guru and able to spot great defensive talent a mile away.
A few of us here on the POV predicted an under .500 won / loss record for our team this year. But the vast majority of readers felt we’ll win 7, 8 or even 9 games. While that could still happen I think last night brought us to crash landing in reality – this is not a very talented team nor is it a well coached one.
Look at where we stand nationally after two games…but when you do also remember this fact; Pitt hasn’t scored a 2nd half point yet this season and that is against a pushover FCS team also.
I know this article screams “I told you so” but that really isn’t my intent. What I’m getting at is that in all our discussions over the months from the end of 2017’s Miami game until last night I and a few other POVers on here have been heavily criticized as being unrealistically negative about Narduzzi, the program and 2018’s prospects as a team.
We have stated that we were being realistic in taking a truly critical look at the team’s strengths and weaknesses – and were shouted down at every turn by the Eternal Optimists who refuse to see anything that isn’t shown in a positive light.
Remember that “Dark and Stormy Night” part in the title above? Well – darkness is part of this program whether you like it or not. It has been evident for some time now that Narduzzi was lucky as hell to inherit the roster he did from Paul Chryst and that his initial 8 win seasons were heavily influenced by the players he inherited. Well, some those guys are still starting at this late date… and they aren’t even the really good ones like Boyd, Conner and the whole Chryst OL guys.
That’s tells me the ‘Stormy’ part ain’t over yet my friends…