PITTSBURGH - Spring drills have come and gone, and the clock is now ticking to the official start of Pat Narduzzi’s fourth season as the Pitt Panthers' head coach. In about two weeks, summer training camp will start, and Channel 11 Sports Director Alby Oxenreiter talked with Narduzzi about the upcoming season.
When asked if he has a feel for what his team can do this year, Narduzzi said, “Yeah we really do. I think we’ve got a good feel. You obviously feel very comfortable with the quarterback position with Kenny Pickett, being a guy that’s leading our football team during the summer. I think we’ve got a great leadership group right now from the top-down really, and I think that’ll go a long way in the football season.”
Pitt beat the No. 2 team in the country each of the last two seasons, Clemson in 2016 and Miami in 2017. But those wins are ancient history to Narduzzi and don’t carry any momentum to this season.
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Narduzzi told Channel 11, “None of those wins in the last couple of years are going to give us a win in 2018, but it still sits with them. If we put it all together and we have a great off-season, if we study the game, we learn football, we listen to our coaches, we behave off the field, then great things can happen. The ACC championship, you know, is right there for the taking.”
Pitt once again has a brutal schedule, with three ranked nonconference opponents, including Central Florida, Penn State and Notre Dame. Their final non-conference opponent is Albany. Narduzzi wouldn’t have it any other way.
He said, “We love that kind of schedule. I think our kids embrace that. To be a champion you’ve got to play the best. It’ll prepare us as we move into an even tougher conference schedule.”
Narduzzi is truly happy to concentrate on coaching once the season gets underway. “No doubt about it. It’s probably the easiest part of the year because you have a very stable daily process to go through,” said Narduzzi.
“Every year it seems like there’s more detail to try to be even better at what you do. It takes more time to be better.”
Pitt’s season kicks off Sept. 1 against Albany at Heinz Field.
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