As we sit here, 14 days away from a college football season that came perilously close to not happening (and still may yet not happen), the time has come to ask ourselves, “what do we have?”. In many ways, we already know. A good defense. Questions on offense. A coach that can motivate his team to greatness on any given Saturday and at other times lead an undisciplined rabble onto the field. And yet, for all his perceived shortcomings, (questionable in-game decisions, high rates of penalization, lack of focus on offensive recruiting), Narduzzi has won more than he’s lost, against tougher schedules than any other Pitt football coach since Jackie Sherrill. And that in and of itself is something. He’s also maintained a clean program, ranked fourth in the ACC in APR, and by all rights built a team culture that is one of the strongest in recent memory.
But APR does not win games. Players do, and to some degree scheme. Pitt has the players on defense (except for a newly-formed question mark at corner) and certainly the scheme. Offensive talent is…well behind the defensive curve, but the scheme is there with Mark Whipple, who made a living for four years at UMASS coaxing an effective passing game out of questionable talent. If ever there was a situation that called for that skill set, that situation is Pitt right now.