Pat Narduzzi – VT Week Press Conference

October 3, 2022

Pat Narduzzi Press Conference

Virginia Tech Week


PAT NARDUZZI: All right, guys. Ready to go?

Tough Saturday evening. I don’t think our guys executed. I don’t think we did a great job coaching, the whole deal. Our kids are playing their tails off, I can tell you that.

Look at the back of the wall, I talk about our attitude. I think our attitude is really good. Evaluate them on that all the time.

Their effort was outstanding, almost too good at times. Sometimes we’re trying to do too much at times. We just got to do our job, especially on special teams. MJ scores a touchdown, everybody wants to score a touchdown every time they line up on that team. Guys are doing extra, doing a good job to screen like we coach them to do. We’ve just got to do a better job at it.

They’re playing their tails off in every phase of the game. That’s all you ask for is effort. I think we’re a tough football team.

Our knowledge, details have got to get better. You see the little, little details that are hard to see on videotape for the normal eye. We have to clean those up. In the game of football, if one guy doesn’t do it the right way, you have 10 guys that are busting their tails, doing everything right. One guy, defense, offense, special teams, for that matter, good things don’t happen.

We closed a chapter last night. We’re moving on. I think we’ve got a team that’s getting better every week: Virginia Tech. Coach Pry coming to town, old Penn State guy. You’ll see some of that flavor defensively. You’ll see some Penn State offensive stuff as well. Really both sides of the ball.

Be another good challenge for our guys to bounce back and find out what we got.


Q. Do you see this loss against Georgia Tech similar to the loss last year against Western Michigan where you made some adjustments, turned it around?

PAT NARDUZZI: Every game you make adjustments. I don’t see it as that. Georgia Tech is a good football team. Anybody standing on the sideline, you look at them compared to Western Michigan, no disrespect to Western Michigan, you see what they look like, they’re a good-looking football team. They’ve got some great players from down the Georgia area, surrounding states down there. They’re a good football team.

Obviously they made a change for a reason, whatever. Obviously it was healthy for them. They played energized, like I knew they would, like I warned our team. They’re 0-0. They’re fresh. I don’t see it like that.

We’re going to make adjustments every week. There’s a lot of good stuff on tape, there’s a lot of stuff we have to clean up.

Q. You mentioned knowledge and details. Did you expect that to be an issue with how much experience this team has on both sides of the ball?

PAT NARDUZZI: Always. If I had to pull it up there, attitude takes no talent. Effort takes no talent. Toughness takes no talent. Knowledge takes some talent.

You’ve still got new guys out there, whether it’s at the linebacker position, new defensive ends out there, a new quarterback, new wideouts. You’ve got a new offensive coordinator as well.

There’s growing pains that go with that, how you want it done, what you’re doing, how you’re doing it, transitioning from different styles of games based on who you’re playing.

You’ve got a quarterback out for a game, game and a half, whatever it is. Okay, what do we have to do this week? You mold in what you need to win that week, getting out of the mold, doing what you do.

There’s not been a whole lot of consistency as far as who is out there, when they’re out, what we’re trying to do, need to do to win a football game.

Q. Is there something to being too self-assured?  

PAT NARDUZZI: Too confident, you mean?

Q. Yes.

PAT NARDUZZI: I don’t think there’s anything wrong with confidence. I think you better be confident in what you’re doing in your jobs, our jobs. You better be confident in what you’re doing. I like confidence. If you don’t have confidence, you have bigger issues than anything.

There’s got to be reality, too. I think we got a good balance of that.

Q. Kedon Slovis didn’t get a chance to go out and play after the Tennessee game. Are you curious to see, excited to see how he bounces back after a loss?

PAT NARDUZZI: No doubt about it. I think putting those games together back to back, playing your type of game, it takes reps. It takes time, too.

I was happy the way he played in the second half. Not as happy in the first half. Again, it wasn’t all him. There’s some protection stuff, things that we’ve got to get cleaned up against a good football team. I think they’re talented.

Q. Did the thought cross your mind of trying something else Saturday night, different quarterback?

PAT NARDUZZI: Not at all. Not at all. Not even close. He’s the best quarterback we’ve got at this point without a question. I mean, just watch the way he operates in the second half. You talk about having a short memory. To rebound in the second half. First half compared to the second half…

Again, we’ve got to get into a rhythm. How many plays did we run in the first quarter, anyone know, offensively?

Q. Nine.

PAT NARDUZZI: Nine plays. You don’t get in a rhythm. I’m telling you, it’s hard as a play-caller to get in rhythm when you run nine plays in the first quarter.

The first attempt, the first play of the game, we go to throw it, we got a guy that’s wide, wide open, okay? Kedon can’t see him because there’s a protection issue, then takes a hit. Just start off in that place.

Second play is a drop. You can talk completions. In the NFL or college football, you catch it or you don’t. Everybody has to help him, too. Completions aren’t all on the quarterback.

Again, it was a little sloppy early. The second half the weather got a little bit better. We had a little steady drizzle at least in the first quarter. We didn’t do well with that.

Q. Now that you’ve had time to watch the tape, how much of it was purely timing, the defense was reacting in certain situations, plays you guys drew up to give him a different opportunity?

PAT NARDUZZI: You can find out what they’re giving, what they’re doing. We adjusted I think for sure in the second half and did a good job at halftime.

It’s always part of that. That’s the game of football. That’s what we deal with. Everybody is going to play a little bit different.

Q. Do you think Kedon is as comfortable as he should be in the pocket, back under center?

PAT NARDUZZI: I think he’s really comfortable back there. You see how he sits in the pocket, throws the ball. He’s not afraid to sit back there, take a shot, throw the ball. He does it. That’s what you have to do.

He’s not a scrambler, not a guy that’s just going to take off and run for no reason. We just got to get him in a rhythm. That’s us as coaches. Our job as coaches, we have to put our players in position.

Going back again to Saturday evening, our job as coaches, again, there’s a lot of blame to go around, it starts with me and the coaches. I’ve said already after the game, our job as coaches is to put the kids in position to be successful. As you keep going, that’s what we have to do, is put them in better positions to be successful.

Q. Evaluation of Bradley, rough game against Rhode Island, not a great start to this game. Then he caught two touchdowns in the final quarter. Doing the right things.

PAT NARDUZZI: He is. I’m fired up for Jaden. Bradley has done a nice job. He’s fought through some adversity. Things aren’t going good. Short memory. Everything you want to see out of a wideout. We’ve helped him as well.

He’s confident, okay? He’s very, very confident to a point where he thinks he knows every position. I can play the X, the Z, I can do it at all. We had him learning them all. A mistake on our part. You might know what you’re doing, but can you do it at a high level?

He wasn’t doing it at a high level. That’s our fault as coaches not putting him in a position to be successful. I think what we’ve done the last two weeks is saying, ‘Listen, you’re playing one position and you’re going to know that position in and out.’

Again, what you lose by that is maybe he’s that fourth receiver in the game, you want to get him in whenever you’re able to get him in. Konata needs a break, go for the Z, go for the X.

But we’re not doing that anymore. When your position needs a blow, that’s when you go in. Just slim down what he has to know so he can play fast and do everything exactly the way we need it.

Everything is precision. Again, it’s one guy. One guy runs a bad route, it messes up the levels in a pass concept, you have issues. Everybody has to be in the right spot just to spread the defense out.

Q. You never like to lose, but is there almost a little bit of a benefit to having an ugly loss like this early in the ACC schedule so you can review everything, kind of start over from scratch?

PAT NARDUZZI: Hate to lose. I don’t know if there’s ever a good loss because you can learn from a bad win, too. We’ve done that, as well.

We’ve just got to keep getting better as a football team. We’re going to learn regardless of a loss or a win. We’re going to make our adjustments, regroup, start over again.

Q. You haven’t had your five offensive linemen together at all this season. Does that have a lot to do with what’s happened so far this year? When do you expect to have them all back together?

PAT NARDUZZI: I don’t know on the second part of your question.

I think you guys asked the question after the game. You want them all together. There’s the cohesion and a comfort level when you have them all in there.

We had some missed IDs, which we haven’t had a lot. You go into this game, all of a sudden there’s some center missed IDs, Owen doesn’t have very many of those because he’s a veteran. Followed up Jimmy. Kradel has done an unbelievable job. He gave up some pressures, miss identifications as far as the linebackers, where we’re targeting, where we’re going. Doesn’t help the offense or the quarterback any. But we’ll get it cleaned up.

Q. With Coach Pry in there, what have you seen on tape that reflects that Penn State flavor that you mentioned?

PAT NARDUZZI: He’s got his mark on defense. They’re playing really good defense, which he did when he was at Penn State. That’s why he got that job down there, because of the consistency, the type of defensive product he put on the field.

They’re playing really good defense. He’s got an old Penn Stater that’s running his offense. You see what he’d like to do, what his vision of an offense and a defense is on a football team.

Q. Fifteen carries for Vince Davis, more than he’s had since last September. What went into using him so much?

PAT NARDUZZI: Sometimes you don’t have choices. Izzy was banged up a little bit. Banged up in the game, not prior to the game. That happens. It’s going to happen.

We’ve got a lot of confidence in Vince. You guys can check back, I love Vince. Again, got a ton of confidence in him. He ran the ball well, too. He ran the ball well. Put the ball on the ground a couple times which is going to get you beat, period.

I don’t know if he’s had a fumble. I can’t think of a fumble in the last two or three years that Vince Davis has had. Mark that as one of those one-timers, never expect to see it again.

The type of kid Vince is, I’m sure he’s hurting from it, feels bad. He’ll be holding onto that ball a little bit tighter the rest of the season. Sometimes it’s got to happen for you to go, ‘Let’s go.’

Q. Did you have a chance to see Kenny play at all yesterday?

PAT NARDUZZI: I got home at about 11, 11:15 last night. As soon as I got home, my kids were like, ‘Dad, do you want to watch it? We DVRed it.’

I get a family text in the middle of the day, I’m seeing all those Steeler emojis and flags. Fans were going nuts, all that stuff.

I went home and stayed up a little bit longer. Usually when I go home, I pass out. Actually had text exchanges with Kenny last night and his dad. Was happy for him. I think he’s only going to get better with reps, yeah. Happy for Kenny and the family. See how it goes.

Q. Lot of work for Tylar Wiltz on Saturday. How did he do with getting more reps?

PAT NARDUZZI: Tylar did great. Tylar had a really nice game. I was excited about what we saw.

He plays fast. He’s been productive. He just keeps earning more reps every week that we play him. That’s for sure.

Q. You are back on top of the ACC in sacks, but what do you have to do to finish the pass rush more consistently?  

PAT NARDUZZI: We had four sacks in the first half, none in the second half. That’s not what you want to see. Sims took off running. I mean, he’s a good football player. That guy is really good. I think he’ll get a chance to play on Sunday somewhere, I’m not sure if it’s at quarterback or not. I made sure to search him out after the game to tell him what a nice ballgame he played.

He can run. He got the edge a couple times. Our guys misjudged his speed. A couple of them were some busts. It hurts when this is a hashmark and the ball is tackled right there, the defense thinks it’s on a hash. As a play-caller, you look down at your call script, you think you’re on a hash and you call a play. All of a sudden the ball ends up being over here. You’re like, ‘What?’ Now all the sudden it’s in the middle ofhte field and it becomes an issue. Hopefully we can correct some of that.

We made some errors with some of that. The only big pass of the game, if you go back and look, a 33-yarder. Haba’s got a sack, or Bangally’s got a sack, if we just do it the right way. Would have been sack number five. We didn’t do a good job of over-communicating on defense. We assumed everyone knew what was going on. Assumptions will get you beat. That’s over-communicating. Gave up the first field goal on a 33-yard pass, three-and-out, three plays, they kick a field goal.

Again, it was all structure and communication on defense.

Q. Same issues with the long run, 63-yard run?

PAT NARDUZZI: Which one? There were too many of them.

Q. 63.

PAT NARDUZZI: Who ran that one? I got confused because there were five big runs. We talk about explosive runs. Three the last three weeks.

We gave up five big runs. Again, the quarterback had the last one at the end. That was an adjustment. We didn’t get lined up perfectly like we need to. When they’re in four detached receivers, you got to get lined up perfectly. We didn’t. Again, I don’t remember the 63-yard run. Tailback?

Q. Tailback. You guys just scored.


Q. Fourth quarter.

PAT NARDUZZI: I don’t remember. Pull up the video, we’ll go through a video session here (smiling).

I would love to tell you which one it was. I can remember the quarterback on zone, what we call a swat play, sweep with the tailback, quarterback inside zone.

I’d be lying if I tell you I knew exactly which one it was. I’ve been watching a lot of Virginia Tech tape today.

Q. How do you clean up the penalties?

PAT NARDUZZI: We had two on defense. Holding on a five-yard play. We had one off-sides where Deandre Jules lined up about this far off-sides. Check for glasses today, make sure he can see the ball, doesn’t go over the ball.

We had four unforced errors on offense. Two false starts coming on a 99-yard drive.

I think Jacoby flinched one time. Then there was one holding on Vince in protection, which called back an 18-yard pass. That’s a large penalty when you’re going backwards. You’re talking about a 28-yard penalty because of the yardage we lost in the play, and the penalty yardage.

Again, we’ve been pretty solid on penalties. The most disappointing was what I started off with, talking about the special teams penalty. Our guys are busting their…butts down the field, trying to cut people off, not getting it done in the proper technique. They’re busting their butt to get things done, but you sometimes try too hard.

MJ can make people miss. If you can’t get your block, pull off and find a different colored jersey.

Q. Virginia Tech has given up the second-fewest sacks in the league. What have you seen that they do well in protection?

PAT NARDUZZI: Grant Wells is doing a good job of knowing where to go with the ball. He’s a seasoned quarterback from Marshall. Obviously a transfer in there. He can make all the throws. He can run. He does a lot of scrambling. We’ve got to be able to get him in the pocket when we have opportunities.

They run a lot of draws with him as well. He’s going to be a ball carrier, a lot like we saw this past weekend. Next weekend will be a good challenge for our guys. Following up with another similar offense.

They’re very similar to what they’ve been the last couple years offensively with some of the things they’ve been doing. It is almost like they went back and watched all of last year’s season and said, ‘Let’s do the same thing.’ New head coach doing kind of the same things on offense, which is very similar to what they did at Penn State as well.

I don’t know if I answered your question.

Thanks, guys. Appreciate it.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports