Narduzzi Excited For Season But Not So Much For Pitt's Reworked Schedule

Panthers head coach disagrees with opponent re-arranging for 2020

PITTSBURGH (93.7 The Fan)- Make no mistake, Pitt head football coach Pat Narduzzi is fired up to actually be playing football in 2020. Once July came, Narduzzi felt good about the ability to get a season in place and it has…with some difference.

The ACC announced a reworked, all-conference schedule plus one non-conference game per school, that non-conference game coming in the form of Austin Peay this Saturday at 4 pm from Heinz Field.

Narduzzi told The Fan Morning Show Thursday morning that he thought there was some unnecessary re-shuffling for his team’s schedule.

“I was happy in one way and I was mad in another. I didn’t think it was going to go like that, as far as just what they did and how they did it. I am excited for the amount of teams that we have on our schedule in the ACC that we get to play. I’m excited about having Clemson. That’s a fact.

What I was not so excited about is that they just tore our schedule apart and had to rebuild it. I just thought that didn’t need to be done. Those conversations about playing in the north, I thought, ‘OK they’re going to move some things around, maybe we get a Louisville. Teams in the south will play the team in the south, the central teams would play the central teams. But then we would cross over into the central area, the south would cross over into the central area and we’d get our teams but that didn’t happen.

I just thought like everybody else did, like the Big Ten before they folded up, everybody else seemed to take the people on your schedule and add a team or two. All they had to do is add Clemson to our schedule and we would have been perfect. But they changed all the teams that we had worked [on] a ton during this pandemic and while we were home quarantined with our families and wives. We worked on these teams and game planned for them and then, all of the sudden we aren’t playing them anymore.

It’s like, ‘Why are we not playing Duke?’ I played Duke five years in a row. Like we want to play Duke, we want to play North Carolina. So those are what I was disappointed in, there was just no reason to do it. It’s here now and we’ll be ready to go. We’re ready for Austin Peay.”

Narduzzi expressed confidence in his defense and defensive line, despite the loss of Jalen Twyman to prepare for the NFL Draft. He said that he’s never had two safeties as good as Damar Hamlin and Paris Ford at the same time in his coaching career, even back to his days as an assistant at Michigan State.

Speaking of, Narduzzi offered these thoughts on assistant coaches in his program and beyond.

“I want all of our assistants to move on [if they want to].
It’s not about the loyalty part, you can work for me for one year and go get a great job that you want. I was with Mark Dantonio for 11 years and turned down four head coaching jobs, the first one being the Zips, the Akron Zips back in the day I don’t even remember what year that was it was so long ago.

It was just making the right move, so it’s not about the money, it’s not about loyalty, it’s about just being smart and taking the right move in my opinion. Everybody’s got their opinion so, you do what you have to do and everybody’s got different situations in life and I understand that.

That was just a point that I was making to some young coaches about just have patience in what you’re doing. I tell our kids all the time. Our kids, they all want to start as freshman and they get frustrated and it’s no different. It’s like, just trust the process, relax, slow down, and everything will work out. If you don’t have patience in this game, whether it’s [as] a fan or coaching, I think it will wear on your nerves.”