Pittsburgh is starting to take on identity of 1st Year Head Coach Pat Narduzzi

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Before Pat Narduzzi  took over the head coaching job at Pittsburgh, he was the Defensive Coordinator at Michigan State. The Spartan’s defense became one of the most fundamentally sound, toughest, most hardnosed in the country. His hire was universally hailed as a good one, and many felt he was exactly the type coach that could turn Pitt around. Pittsburgh after defeating free-falling Georgia Tech stands 5-1. Their only loss is on a last second FG to 6-0 Iowa. They are a contender for the ACC Coastal Division this year, and they are taking on the identity of 1st year head coach Pat Narduzzi.

When Narduzzi arrived at Pittsburgh, this is what I saw when I looked at the Pittsburgh program – decent talent capable of competing with just about anyone on their schedule, but fundamentally unsound. They were prone to blow late game leads. A blown 31-6 4th quarter lead in the Armed Forces Bowl to Houston was the epitome of Pittsburgh football.  They played well at times, made some critical mistakes, blow a lead, and lose.

Under Narduzzi, Pitt had 4th quarter leads at Virginia Tech and Georgia Tech, won both. They committed only 4 penalties against Georgia Tech with just 0 turnovers. Coming into the Georgia Tech game, Pittsburgh was ranked 6th in the country in total defense. That certainly sounds like what you would expect from a defensive guru like Narduzzi. Even today though, when the Panthers defense wasn’t at it’s best, and gave up nearly 500 yards  to Georgia Tech they found a way to win. They are finding ways to win even when All-American runner James Conner went down early this year.

They don’t make a lot of mistakes. The Panthers are among the top 25 teams with the fewest penalties and penalty yards this year. These are type things many thought Narduzzi would bring to Pitt. The season is only half over, but these characteristics of good defense, physical football, and limiting unnecessary mistakes are what I believe we are going to see for years to come under Narduzzi at Pitt.

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