December 26, 2014

Open Thread: Welcome Narduzzi

Filed under: Coaches,Football,Hire/Fire — Chas @ 3:29 pm

Once more into the introductory press conference, dear friends. Once more.

Pat Narduzzi will be introduced in a few minutes as Pitt’s newest football head coach. Here’s the link for the live stream of the presser.

I look forward to believing.

I don’t look forward to the mindless complaints that are sure to come with the reports that Pat Narduzzi will finish his duties at Michigan State as defensive coordinator in the Cotton Bowl. I dare anyone to bet against me that Ron Cook will lead the charge to complain about this.

There is no problem with this. He is very close with MSU HC Mark Dantonio. Michigan State has been very good to him (and paid him well), and he leaves on good terms. There is no doubt he and Pitt will get positive coverage during the bowl game.

The bowl is in less than a week. It is a recruiting dead period. By all reports he is already working on creating a new staff.

Pitt still has an interim coaching staff trying to get ready for their bowl game. Minimize the overlap if at all possible so the players — especially the seniors — have a chance to finish well.

Don’t look for reasons to be unhappy.

Chryst not only did a great job with Shell, he did Rushel a favor, that kid has a different attitude at WVCC.

Comment by marcus of schaumburg 12.27.14 @ 9:09 pm

Boston College ruined my night. What a complete and utter choke job.

Comment by htp123 12.27.14 @ 9:12 pm


Reed elaborated well on a lot of the message that I was trying to convey in my commentary on Chryst laying a foundation for the program, but I’ll add to it.

When I say he built a foundation, it goes mostly to building an identity that current and future players will embrace. Chryst made a concerted effort to bring the team together and establish a unified identity. It took basically two years and there was a lot of attrition along the way, but this is by all accounts a very close team that takes a lot of pride in each other and the idea of playing for Pitt.

That was a point echoed early on in the preseason as something that really stuck out about this group, especially because it wasn’t necessarily there with previous teams, particularly those immediately caught in the Wanny-Haywood-Graham coaching transition.

You see continue to see it with a lot of these guys through comments they give to various media outlets and also in social media. It starts with the two most public faces of the team – Boyd and Conner – but it shows through in tweets made by a number of players. You saw it in tweets from players after it became clear that Chryst was leaving. Everything was about pride in the PITT name and program, not anger and frustration that we saw during previous changes. That’s an identity and a foundation.

Did this translate completely on the field? Well, no. But that’s only half of it. A lot of these younger players are actively involved in recruiting. Whitehead is said to be very close with Conner & Boyd, and also a number of the current commits. Shareef Miller and McKee both apparently hit it off with a number of younger players during their respective visits, and that was before Narduzzi came on board. Jamal Davis, who may be starting at LB sooner rather than later, has been all over Twitter talking up Narduzzi because of previous contacts he had with him.

That sort of thing can be nothing but a (huge) plus when it comes to recruiting, especially given that the core of this team is so young.

That’s what I mean about the foundation.

As far as Chryst’s 19-19 record or what the team did last year, that’s last year. Yes, the defense was bad, but I’m not convinced it was bad because the talent was bad. What if a lot of that talent just very young and not necessarily developed the right way? What if that changes?

Or what if a lot of that talent was misused in schemes that weren’t correct by the previous coaches? What if THAT changes?

I know Narduzzi is not going to be DC here, but we already know it’ll be based on and coached according to the same model he used at Michigan State with coaches he wants coaching it. So with that in mind, watch Michigan State DE Shilique Calhoun and think of what Rori Blair could become with the same kind of coaching. That same scheme and coaching took a two-star DB named Darqueze Dennard and turned him into the top-rated CB in the 2014 NFL Draft; think of what he could do with Jordan Whitehead.

And if it IS a problem with talent being bad, it won’t be entirely difficult to fix that. Narduzzi has a strong track record as a recruiter and is said to be emphasizing assistants with strong recruiting backgrounds as well. There’s also talk of a national recruiting position being created here. That will all translate sooner rather than later.

Comment by Stoosh 12.27.14 @ 9:21 pm

Agree with other posts about” lets get off the list of Chrysts shortcomings”.Lets find what is good today and look to the future.It has not been this bright in a long time.

Comment by Pitt 60 12.27.14 @ 10:04 pm

It seems Coach Narduzzi has made his first offer as Pitt head coach…

link to

Comment by Mailman 12.27.14 @ 10:20 pm

I agree. It’s been a while since being able to smile talking/thinking about Pitt football. For now I am a happy puppy with the direction we are going.

Sorry though, when anyone says something nice about Chryst I start seeing red.

I don’t want to talk about it any more either. It serves no purpose.

Comment by Old Pitt Grad 12.27.14 @ 11:03 pm

Mailman, can’t figure out who Narduzzi offered

Comment by Old Pitt Grad 12.27.14 @ 11:09 pm

Old Pitt Fan–the offer is for the Florida 2016 DE prospect who shows up when you click on the link

Comment by pitt1972 12.28.14 @ 1:11 am

I wonder who the 1 or 2 DC candidates are that HCPN has left on his deep list, now that Dantonio has promoted the 2 D coaches to Co-DC’s yesterday (who were Pat’s top choices).

Tell me who HCPN works for right now?

DC candidates I would like to see interviewed:

1. Todd Orlando is always welcome in Pittsburgh.
2. Jerry Olsalvsky – Steeler D coach
3. Missouri DC
4. Former USC DC under Lane Kiffin

There, HCPN can relax and prep for Baylor.


Comment by Erie Express 12.28.14 @ 7:18 am

Chryst put the knife in SP’s back at his meeting with the top BOT.

At least he did one superb thing for us.

Comment by Tony77019 12.28.14 @ 8:08 am

So let me digest this post above from Mailman for a moment. HCPN is currently preoccupied with preping MSU to play in the Cotten Bowl, he’s been informed that his homies there, Tressel & Barnett are staying there, so scratch those guys from his staff list, still no assistant coaches hired, he has a bunch of guys in Pitt’s current recruiting class that require some stroking to keep them committed to Pitt during this coaching transition but currently no staff to do that, and there is a dire need for him to find about 3 or 4 uncommitted defensive recruits that are still on the fence to be convinced to say yes to Pitt on Feb 4th to improve the depleted defensive roster for this Panther squad in 2015.

So the first “real” news I hear regarding our new head coaches actions, as a HC, is him offering a HS junior out of FL a scholly for 2016? Is it just me or does everybody else also see the obvious irony of this as being a huge lack of attention to the true priorities of Coach Narduzzi’s current situation?

Very unsettling.

Comment by Dr. Tom 12.28.14 @ 8:42 am

P. S. Chas could you create a new thread please?

Comment by Dr. Tom 12.28.14 @ 8:43 am

Enough about Chryst, as far as I’m concerned, he’s in the rear view mirror. I’m interested in Pat Narduzzi. I’m interested in who he might be able to add to his staff. What additional recruits he can to bring to Pitt and how many of our other recruits he can retain. I think this is the most exciting Pitt coaching hire in a very long time. We have to make the most of it. It’s an opportunity to “Seize the day” and keep the momentum and enthusiasm with Pitt alums and fans. Out new has some very important qualities that were desperately needed, energy, enthusiasm and charisma. Pitt has the chance to re-boot and we have some talent in the tank.

Comment by Justinian 12.28.14 @ 8:47 am

@ Justinian – can you wait until Friday to get updates to fuel your excitement? HCPN has another job right now…

Comment by Erie Express 12.28.14 @ 8:55 am

All the people upset about Narduzzi finishing out at MSU must have always been jealous of their girlfriends back in college. Don’t worry he is being true, just needs to tie up some loose ends.

Comment by Oklahomeboy 12.28.14 @ 9:02 am

Don Treadwell was OC atCinci and MSU with Duzzer. Failed as a head coach. Working at Kent right now.

Possibility as OC?

Comment by notrocketscience 12.28.14 @ 9:06 am

@ Okyboy – nope. Not a correct assumption. But I do own & run a successful business. While I prefer my outgoing managers to give me two weeks notice, I also don’t pay the incoming replacements millions to turn things around.

It feels like SOP – sorry.

While I like the hiring of HCPN, I don’t like his arrival time. Punch in, we have work to do.

Comment by Erie Express 12.28.14 @ 9:09 am

What is with the Chryst bashing? Get the F over it.

It is like bashing an ex after a break up. No one wants to hear that bullshit and it makes you look like a bitter loser, lol.

Comment by notrocketscience 12.28.14 @ 9:10 am

About the Michigan State defensive assistant coaches, of course Dantonio was going to try to keep them. He has to replace Narduzzi and he has the $900,000 salary that was ear-marked by donors, for the defensive coordinator’s position. So he can sweeten to pot to beyond what Pitt can pay. Pitt by all reports has increased the funding for assistant coaches, so Narduzzi will probably still be able to adequately fill the positions he needs. Putting a new staff together isn’t as easy as people think. Even with a list of guys you want, a lot of things come into play. Hopefully he will get some good football coaches on board quickly. Hail to Pitt.

Comment by Justinian 12.28.14 @ 9:15 am

Which is exactly the reason why HCPN should be working the phones/emails and having guys flown in for face to face interviews with his coaching candidates NOW.

BTW, who was this guy Coach Chryst again that so many guys seem to be preoccupied with? Hard to go fast when focused on the rear view mirror!

Comment by Dr. Tom 12.28.14 @ 9:31 am

Not going to go back up and read them, but if it’s true that people are posting comments about Chryst, my suggestion is: please ladies, let it go.

Dr. Tom – With regard to your post at 8:42, yes I do believe it’s you. At times like this we’re all in the dark and don’t know what HCPN has done yet, and it’s only been 2 days. Therefore would advise to chill.

Comment by 1618mt 12.28.14 @ 9:33 am

I promise I won’t complain when our assistant coaching hires begin and NONE are from P5 conferences. Alert to MAC HC’s – keep a close eye on your staff – Pitt is looking to fill some spots.

SOP – Splash! Only (at) Pitt

Comment by Erie Express 12.28.14 @ 9:41 am

@1618mt — I side with Dr. Tom. If Chryst can move on and Mike Bobo at Georgia can move on, why does Pitt allow its new head coach stay and cozch? While Mike and Paul are building their staffs and watching film, Pitt’s coach is studying Baylor in a meaningless bowl game. Sorry 1618mt but I am tired of Pitt always sucking the hind tit.

Comment by MariettaMike 12.28.14 @ 9:52 am

We can be quite sure Narduzzi has already been in discussions with his 2-3 deep list of potential candidates to get his staff lined up. I would expect key assistant coaches to be announced during next week (Jan 5-9 week).

Narduzzi has been definitively reported to have been talking to Pitt commits on the phone to reassure them–and I am sure he is being ably assisted by Junko and LaSala in that regard. There isn’t much more you can do right now since some assistant coach candidates are still coaching in bowl games and we are in the NCAA recruiting “dead period.” No face-to-face contact with recruits is allowed by the NCAA until January 15–so tis telephone work is all that can be done now.

So, given bowl games and the NCAA dead period, what can be usefully be done this week is being done and no opportunities are being lost. We do need to chill!

Comment by pitt1972 12.28.14 @ 10:15 am

Are people really upset he’s going to finish his career with Dantonio admirably? Crazy talk. He’s been with the guy for 11 years. He’s not going to leave him high and dry. Regarding the two assistants being promoted, maybe that was the plan all along. Dantonio and Narduzzi are tight – I doubted all along he’d poach the coaching staff.

He’s reaching out to recruits. The FL kid was someone he recruited for Michigan St but the kid wanted to play in the ACC so they stopped recruiting him … That changed and maybe he’s a perfect fit for what Narduzzi wants to do.

Stop over analyzing everything. It was a weak class anyways and small and not a lot can be done because it’s a dead period. If Pitt was going to lose a class this is the one. Very few big names to get upset over if they switch.

Did you guys really think he’d poach his mentors and friends staff of the best talent? He’s going to create his own staff. Everyone’s getting ready for bowl games and it’s the holidays. Not much would get done even if he did join Pitt full time now.

BTW – Dokish has been retweeting several current recruits who have spoken with Narduzzi already … sounds like he’s doing his job to me.

I just find it hilarious that people find it insulting he’d want to finish what he started. People complain about loyalty from Pitt coaches constantly … and when we hire someone who shows loyalty he gets pounced on.

HCPC’s loyalty was always to Wisconsin so it shouldn’t be a surprise he’s not coaching for Pitt.

Comment by Tossing Thabeets 12.28.14 @ 10:20 am

I also fall more in the “we need to chill” camp, but if Pitt ends up with an inexperienced, underwhelming coaching staff, I will admit I was wrong. Not expecting that to happen though..Money talks…

Comment by PittPT 12.28.14 @ 10:21 am

Just to remind all, there is no “dead time” in college football. If you want to be a champion, it’s a 24X7X365 commitment. Just ask the teams in the SEC. I’m for Pitt & GA Tech (my two degrees from there). Paul Johnson is not a cumbaya type of guy. I’m hoping Pat Narduzzi will get Pitt back on the winning slate. Otherwise, his next life’s work maybe in Youngstown. Nuf said on this subject, I agree.

Comment by MariettaMike 12.28.14 @ 10:39 am

Baylor HC Briles hired his son as the new OC this week because Baylor’s former OC accepted the Tulsa HC job and left the team to begin his new assignment. So, Tulsa’s new HC & former Baylor OC won’t be coaching (Baylor) in the Cotton Bowl, but Pitt HCPN will be coaching for MSU…

Tulsa, man we’re talk in’ Tulsa

C’mon man

Comment by Erie Express 12.28.14 @ 11:02 am


that speaks volumes in my opinion…

Comment by goalie44 12.28.14 @ 11:06 am

@ Erie Express & Goalie44, DITTO! Nuff said. We all have our own opinions, but so far all I got to hang my hat on with Nard Dog is a lot of hope.

Comment by Dr. Tom 12.28.14 @ 12:55 pm

Well Graham didn’t leave Tulsa, because he thought Pitt was much better, it at all, in football.

It was ONLY because the money was more.

Interesting, Tulsa can get Baylor’s OC to start immediately after hiring him, but Pitt can’t get Baylor’s opponents, DC to start immediately.

I would have insisted and if not, it was a deal breaker.

Comment by Emel 12.28.14 @ 8:17 pm

Briles told him to hit the road. He wanted to coach in the Cotton Bowl. Who wouldn’t? That’s the difference. Both wanted to coach in the game – one was told yes and the other no from the previous regime.

If you’re truly following Narduzzi, he’s been interviewing staff and contacting recruits and even offered someone for next year. Stop trying to pick him apart without giving him a chance. If you didn’t like the hire – fine. Don’t make up convoluted BS to disparage him before he even hires a staff, closes a recruiting class or wins a game.

Comment by Tossing Thabeets 12.28.14 @ 8:35 pm


Comment by Giraffe 12.29.14 @ 12:05 am

Tossing – great comment – the SOP needs to add a letter – SOPF (Same Ole Pitt Fans – never happy!)

Comment by markp 12.29.14 @ 9:11 am

Powered by WordPress ©

Site Meter