Pat Narduzzi got in front of the media today and did a Zoom interview. So did Joey Yellen and Rashad Weaver.
on Jaylen Twyman: He had some things family-wise that he had to take care of that were pretty important…to him and to me. I mean it was like, you know, I might have to kick him out the door to take care of it. As much as I didn’t want to. When we talk about family it’s the most important thing, period.
Instant Analysis: I’m no face-reader, but someone’s expression and tone of voice can tell you a lot about where they are coming from. This one rings real to me, and I think part of the reason why Narduzzi is reputed to have such a strong bond with his players is because of his authenticity. Good for him. And good for Jaylen for picking Pitt and not having to deal with a coach who might have given him a guilt trip.
On Whether player Opt-Out decisions are considered Final and whether he gets guidance on that from the NCAA: I’m not going to write out Pat’s entire response here, but he gets really worked up. As worked up as I’ve ever seen him, and that tells me two things. One, he just really doesn’t know, and two, he’s not ready to make anything final, three he’s borderline exasperated with all this COVID stuff. I guess that makes two of us. Here are a few of his more choice quotations:
When asked if he’s getting guidance from the NCAA: Ah no. The NC-double A, Who is the NC-double A? I don’t even know who they are. They’re nonexistent. They can’t even fine me. The ACC, they can fine me, but the NCAA I don’t think they can fine me.
If a kid’s got to take a leave for a couple days, and he’s got to get his mind right and he’s got to think about some things, then he’s got to go. If the kid says “hey I’m going to opt out” and then he wants to come back and play, how can i say no? I can’t say, “No you can’t come back.” I mean, what’s he going to do all day up on campus, he’s going to be miserable
We weren’t even supposed to practice today. [says some other things] The calendar? The calendar I’ve thrown out. I’ve just got to say one day at a time.
On kids opting out: If they come back then that means there somehow is a bad mis-communication. [says some stuff]. I’d like them before they leave to make a GOOD decision and be firm where they are. And I think that’s going on across the country. I’ve talked to a few coaches and its, everyday it’s something else. [takes nonchalant swig of water with the cap on]
On if they are going to fill in the Sept 12 date (formerly Miami of OH): The ACC protocols are going to get more strict not less strict. I’m not sure that some of the teams are going to be able to do what we want them to do.
Notable: Pitt is managing their COVID protocols with a custom app. Sounds like they manage a lot of team activities with that app as well.
15 minutes in, after a bunch of COVID questions to open it up: Does anybody want to talk football?
On Joey Yellen: We’re in a COVID situation. You gotta get as many guys ready as you can at every position
He claimed that the offense is running the ball “a little bit better“, but he kind of winced when he said it…ruh roh. But overall “There’s some good football being played“
On DT Kalijah Cancey: Wait till you see this guy. This guy’s electric. This guy’s fast, and he can rush the passer.
On getting a wavier: I knew the compliance department was really good here.
On getting the offense: I’m starting to see it a little bit better now
More on the offense: I went from a spread back to more of a pro-style. (chuckling a bit) Saying the plays was really kind of difficult at first.
Sounds like the guy is all business: When asked about being in Pittsburgh his response was basically “Well I’ve pretty much spent all my time in the facility” (I’m paraphrasing here)
On frustation from COVID: As long as we get to go play some games I’m good
On his health: My neck hurt more than anything else. The leg’s good! I’m just back getting used to hitting people.
On COVID Risks: Learn to live with it, and protect myself. Wear a mask, avoid big crowds, not go out and stuff during my free time.
On if he considered opting out and preparing instead of playing: They would just have tape from 2018 to watch on me, and that would be nothing like I am now. [Says stuff] I’m stronger faster, all last summer I worked on pass rush a lot more. A more complete player just focused on being violent out there.
On Protocols and Priorities: Maybe you see a girl and you want to see her face or something, but you’ve got to keep the bigger goal in mind.
On the Emotion: You know it’s great, just the other day we were just sitting out there after practice on the ground and Damar walks up to me and he’s like “I don’t even want to go inside. You don’t have to think about anything while you’re out here.”
Defensive Prediction: Well predictions don’t really do much, but last year we wanted to be a top 10 and now we want to be the number one this year. If you don’t want to be the best then what are you out there working for honestly?