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October 7, 2017

Narduzzi F**ks Up

Filed under: Football — Chas @ 4:26 pm

Okay, I’m a little hot. If you are offended by [expletive redacted] then don’t click below.

Still with me?


That doesn’t even feel cathartic enough.

Where to fucking begin.

Pitt and Syracuse — despite not being real rivals — have played a slew of close games in recent years. Pitt has dominated this millennia because they have more talent and were slightly better coached.

I would still call Pitt’s overall talent level superior, but today the coaching was inferior. Not far inferior, because the Cuse had their own moments of What the Fuck????, but Pitt out WFT’d them today.

Cuse was favored. They have the type of offense that gives Pitt troubles, but they are still not that good.

Coming into the game I thought Pitt wasn’t as bad as their worst games had made them look. I still think that, but today the coaching failed this team as much as the boneheaded moments and bad tackling at big moments did.

Forget f0r the moment the bad toss sweep calls and the shovel passes. Try and pretend the O-line hasn’t abruptly gone to shit. And, yes, I get recency bias, but the final two plays of the game were criminally incompetent. I mean, incomprehensibly stupid. The kind of moments that made anything that pissed off fans about Walt Harris (swinging gate, quick kicks) look like harmless quirks.

Two plays that could very well be the things that Pitt fans never forgive Narduzzi (or will only blame OC Shawn Watson) for doing. I’m probably exaggerating, but there is a loud minority of Pitt fans that believe any screwups are evidence of incompetence and that the only option is nuclear.

Do the two previous paragraphs seem irreconcilable? They aren’t. One is frustration of the moment that I am fully aware, but know will fade enough to put in some perspective. The other is for those that can only go one direction and never go back.

With that said, it’s going to be a while before I trust or forgive Pitt’s coaching staff for those two final plays.

Time on this hasn’t been fixed yet, but let me. Pitt got a first down to the 23 with 29 seconds left. Rather then immediately spike the ball leaving 25-27 seconds left, Pitt opts to try and run a play. It makes no sense, and seconds tick off as Pitt — with this O-line — tries to get set. Somehow, DiNucci can’t even throw the ball away before the pressure gets to him. And in only one quarter, manages to have his helmet knocked off for the second time.

That really raises some other questions, but because of Pitt’s depth chart and no timeouts left there is no real time for that.  DiNucci had to come out for a play for safety reasons. At this point, Pitt is down 3 with under 15 seconds left.

Reality is there for the everyone. Pitt is going to lose barring something crazy. And Pitt has no QB to throw it. You use Quadree Henderson or Jordan Whitehead in some wildcat formation and see what happens. Which probably would be the best case scenario at this point.

You certainly don’t burn the redshirt on the Number 3 quarterback, Kenny Pickett, at this point. A true freshman, the coaching staff has a lot of hope to see next year and beyond. That’s exactly what they did to the shock and confusion of Pitt fans.

As you know, the game ended after a short completion but with no timeouts and no time left. Ultimately meaningless.

Bad enough to lose. Bad enough that it means Pitt is going to have to pull some amazing shit out of their ass to somehow get to 6-6 — which no one really believes. They wasted a year of a QB that the program and coaches want to tell us is the future. When it seems they have no idea how to plan and approach anything beyond the game in front of them.

Now what do you do with Pickett? Play him the rest of the way and hope that the experience behind this line doesn’t kill him, make him gun shy — but makes him tougher? You’ve wasted it like you have A.J. Davis’ and Tyler Sear’s with little purpose. There seems to be a carelessness with the management of the players beyond a brief moment of panic or slavish devotion to how the depth chart looked in practice.

You know, I just circled back on some of the comments above.

Chryst Haters Unite… you’re right. I relent.

It really is Chryst’s fault that Pitt has given up RECORD-SETTING Passing Yards consistently over the past 2+ years.

My bad.

Comment by PittofDreams 10.09.17 @ 4:54 pm

Feel free to skip prior Post (see above).

Comment by PittofDreams 10.09.17 @ 4:55 pm

Or don’t see above.

Chas, obviously you have some control over the number of viewable comments… now set at 75.

Comment by PittofDreams 10.09.17 @ 5:01 pm

Barvo – what did you post earlier? I saw it on my phone and planned on re-reading it when i got to my computer. We may disagree but I always respect what you post.

Comment by Tossing Thabeets 10.09.17 @ 5:21 pm

75 is the new 50. Play those numbers

Comment by TX Panther 10.09.17 @ 5:51 pm

Barnes fires HC Anderson at Oregon State.

If you remember, Riley left Ore St for Nebraska. Anderson left Wisconsin for Ore St and Chryst left Pitt for Wisconsin.

Pitt then filled it’s vacancy with Mich St DC Pat Narduzzi.

So far, Chryst has had the most success and it appears Anderson the least amount of success.

Nebraska and Pitt struggling in the middle.

Comment by Erie Express 10.09.17 @ 6:44 pm

Hard to believe Anderson left $12M on the table.

Comment by Gasman 10.09.17 @ 8:07 pm

Maybe something more to the Gary Anderson thing.

Scott “the NOISE” Barnes (former Pitt now Oregon State AD) and Anderson have a history.

Comment by PittofDreams 10.09.17 @ 9:14 pm

It’s funny to see that Oregon State and Scott Barnes will us the “old” search firm process to find their new football coach for 2018. I need to start a search firm, must be lucrative since the AD’s hired by several colleges can’t find coaches for their respective programs. You would think it included in their job descriptions when hired. LOL

Comment by Pitt Dreamer 10.09.17 @ 9:25 pm

Pulled this from the Trib –


The loss of Moss did not impact freshman A.J. Davis, who had one carry for 2 yards — giving him seven for 16 this season. Narduzzi indicated Davis cut the wrong way on his only run.

“He’s supposed to break it outside. He cuts it back inside,” Narduzzi said. “He’s still a young guy that I want to get him more carries, and I told him before the game, ‘We want to get you more carries,’ and, then, I’m not subbing guys in.

“(Assistant coaches) have to go with who they feel understands what they’re doing. I want to see the guy go and see if he can be a difference maker for us. But I wish he’d get more reps. I really do.”

Note to HCPN – then demand it from RB coach Powell who has been quoted as saying “we don’t need another Conner.”

Comment by Erie Express 10.10.17 @ 3:50 am

Where did you see that quote from Powell?
That is incredibly insane.

Comment by Dinosaur 71 10.10.17 @ 4:15 am

I have a close relative (in-law) who worked in the Pitt athletic dept under smug Steve – my in-law is still well connected and actually heard the comment directly from Powell himself.

Look, these coaches have big egos, and the ones that are really good (and win) have the biggest egos. But that comment is disrespecting a fan favorite and one of Pitt’s all time best.

No need to ever say it out loud, even if you do think it…

Comment by Erie Express 10.10.17 @ 6:52 am

I think you guys are reading too much into that comment. Plus, who knows what context it was said in.

When you have an offense struggling and a kid does the wrong thing, it’s hard to put him back out there. If the offense is clicking, you can live with the mistakes a little more. When the offense is struggling every mistake is magnified. It’s why they went back to Browne initially. Dinucci makes too many mistakes.

While I agree that I’d also like to see more of AJ, the reality is that the offense is a complete train wreck and if you’re going to get playing time you better make the most of your chances. AJ f’d up early and was relegated to the bench. He’ll get his chance.

This offense has no identity. Running the same offense has had the opposite effect it’s supposed to have. Watson is struggling calling plays, probably because he’s conservative by nature plus it’s an entirely new offense for him as well.

I think it should have better tempo and they should be passing out of it to open up the run game.

Instead they keep trying to establish the run, first, against 8 man fronts. It’s the 21st century. Let the pass open up the run.

Comment by Tossing Thabeets 10.10.17 @ 10:38 am

Erie E, Consider the success of Wisconsin under AD Barry Alvarez.

He retired as HC in 05, and his asst Bielema immediately won 12 games. Bielema was 68-24 at Wisc but is 27-29 at Arkansas.

Alvarez hired Gary Andersen who was only 26-24 at Utah St. Anderson was 19-7 in 2 years and left for Ore State where was 7 – 23.

And of course, PC comes here after a 19-20 record at Pitt, and now is 26-6 at Wisc.

Guarantee PC doesn’t leave any time soon.

Comment by wbb 10.10.17 @ 12:10 pm

Alvarez couldn’t justify hiring PC after Bieliema left b/c of his lack of HC experience, and he most likely knew that Garry Anderson was not going to be a good fit or be a longtime hire. Plus Alvarez understood how bad it would look if he poached Chryst after placing him there a season before. Alvarez had already, a year earlier, worked Pitt boosters to hire PC instead of SP’s desire to hire Cristobal … to get PC the needed experience to one day man the ship. The Wisc spot opened up a year or two sooner than expected but the plan was always to eventually get Chryst to Wisc.

Comment by Tossing Thabeets 10.10.17 @ 1:10 pm

I don’t doubt that at all. Wisconsin is perfect for Chryst and visa versa … especially under preview of its AD. If only Pitt had an AD in recent times that has his vision.

Comment by wbb 10.10.17 @ 1:15 pm

wwb – agree on your Wisconsin comment – match made in heaven. That school and fan base are totally behind the football program.

Pitt has had chances to get it right, but they seem to choose otherwise.

The vision never seems to be shared – which usually means there is no vision.

Comment by Erie Express 10.10.17 @ 2:49 pm

Also, Wisconsin breeds big O-linemen, Chryst’s Forte.I am very very thankful for what Chryst did for Pitt.

But that is history, the question now is will Narduzzi’s recruits and his coaching get better or is he another Foge Fazio, a lifetime coordinator?

Foge came in with a loaded cupboard and recruiting advantages, both things that Narduzzi did not have.

I think the real key is whether Narduzzi’s linemen turn out good or not? This is where the gap exists from last year to this year on both sides of the ball. Not that we would have been great this year with them but two fifth year senior O-linemen deciding to hang it up (pushed out?) and Taleni and Blair kicked out had to leave big holes which obviously have not been filled. Plus the Wirginis saga.

Also Narduzzi has been snakebit with the marquis players he did recruit, health issues, and Ford’s academic issues have been a major set back, added to Whitehead’s issues.

College Football has always been about recruiting, especially linemen. You need to recruit good ones every year to have a program.

When you are beat on the lines all the rest is a mute point. The next important component is the QB. You can’t win without a serviceable QB.

It is all about recruiting.

Comment by gc 10.11.17 @ 7:13 am

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