home jobs contact us
Our Clients:
Browse by Sport
Find us on ASAP sports on Facebook ASAP sports on Twitter
ASAP Sports RSS Subscribe to RSS
Click to go to
ASAP Sports e-Brochure View our


November 21, 2017

Pat Narduzzi

Greensboro, North Carolina

PAT NARDUZZI: First off, I think the Panthers have probably the toughest job in the ACC this week, week 12 of the season with the Miami Hurricanes coming up to Pittsburgh. They're fast, they're explosive, they're confident, they're well-coached, and we've got a great challenge. So great football team coming in here, and we've got an opportunity to play a playoff game.

Q. Coach, facing an unbeaten Miami, wouldn't it be more likely your team was able to take something from last year's similar situation where you took care of Clemson in their only defeat of the season? How much does it help with Senior Day with some other guys from Florida knowing they want to go out on a winning note?
PAT NARDUZZI: Yeah, no question. I think you can always refer back to what's happened in the past. We try to live in the present. So all our guys know what happened a year ago. I think all our guys understand that anybody can beat anybody on any given day. You can get beaten by anybody on any given day. I think that's the method our kids have walked into every game that, hey, we can win. I think they believe that we can win.

We've got to go out and compete against the best. They're certainly the best. They've proven they're the best in the ACC, and one of the top four teams in the country. So they know it can be done. But it's not just going to be laid in their lap. Miami's not going to come in here and lay down. They're well-coached, they're motivated. Like I said, they're a very confident bunch of guys that are on a mission. They have a lot to lose if they don't come in here ready.

I've known Mark Richt for a long time, since he was at Georgia, and shoot, we played when I was at Michigan State. He's a tremendous football coach. He's done an incredible job in the last couple years with some talented football players and a talented location down in South Florida. So he's got a great football team, and it's an opportunity for us to step up and find out where we measure up with maybe one of the best teams in the country.

Q. One more thing really quick. Speaking of seniors, how much are you going to miss your one-arm DB, Avonte Maddox after this game? I spoke to him yesterday, he is one impressive guy.
PAT NARDUZZI: He really is. I appreciate you saying that. I was talking to someone yesterday. It was parents day, and I see his mom will get down for the game. Who wouldn't want Avonte Maddox as a son. He'll be a son to me for the rest of my life. He's just a super, super kid. We've got a bunch of seniors the same way. We've got the character of kid we have here at the University of Pittsburgh is second to none. I'm proud to say I'm their head football coach, and Avonte is certainly a special individual.

He's got two arms though. He's got two arms though.

Q. One of them only works partially?
PAT NARDUZZI: He's got a heck of an interception last week with that arm and a half there.

Q. Just what can you say about learning through this ACC and being part of the ACC for the last few seasons? Just what you've taken away from the level of competition and the level of talent, and how people from the outside looking in typically say from top to bottom, but it doesn't really feel like there is a bottom to the ACC thing?
PAT NARDUZZI: No, not at all. This conference, and I think I've said this on other calls, so for you listening you're saying, gosh, he said the same thing last time. I've been in the Big Ten for eight years and I've seen different levels of competition. I've seen the speed. I've seen the quarterback levels. I truly believe, again, at least in my three seasons at Pitt, watching the talent level, that there is no better conference in the ACC.

I'm not saying that to pump up our league or my league. It's certainly one of the best. Not only the players, but the coaches. I think the amount of quality, classy, head football coaches and a group of assistant coaches and coordinators at all levels. I mean, when you watch the tape and you put it in, you say that's a good scheme. That's good stuff right there. It comes down to your players better make plays. And I couldn't be more impressed with, obviously, the level of play and coaching in this conference.

Q. Then as far as your quarterback position with Kenny Pickett and Ben DiNucci, what you can say you've taken away from these young guys under center for you as you move forward and look for that right guy under center. What have you taken from Kenny and Ben so far?
PAT NARDUZZI: Yeah, that's what we're looking for is that right guy. One day it's this guy, one day it's the next guy. There is constant competition. That's kind of how the game of football is supposed to be, I guess. Everybody would like to lock in and say this is the guy and just live with it. But there comes a point where maybe he's not the guy.

They're both still young quarterbacks. They're not perfect. They both try to get better every day, and we've got to ride the hot hand.

Last week we felt like Kenny was a hot hand. We're going to continue. We've got one more day of practice for this week, and we'll find out who the hot guy is this week and kind of go with him. If things don't go as well as we want, we'll make a switch in whatever manner we feel is best to carry the program forward.

The great thing is we have two really good quarterbacks for the future that are going to continue to develop under Deshaun Watson, our quarterback coach and coordinator. I'm impressed with the way they get better every week. I think really both of them have gotten better. We see it every day in practice, and unfortunately the media sees it just on one day, game day. That's the thing, regardless of your position, you continue to push forward daily and persist, and try to fundamentally, and mentally be a better football player.

Q. As you look at Miami on film, what jumps out at you to explain, okay, this is why they're undefeated this year? This is why they have a better record than they did last year? What jumps out at you to give insight into that?
PAT NARDUZZI: First, it comes down to coaching. I mean, I think obviously the coordinators Manny Diaz does a great job on defense, and Mark calls the offense. It comes down to number one, some play calling. They've got some tremendous athletes that are big and fast and not just fast and tiny. They've got a legitimate National Championship caliber football team, period. That's what they have. They've kept it simple enough that those guys can play fast.

They're not an overly complicated football team when you look at what they do offensively and defensively. But you don't have to be when you have better dudes out there, and they've got some guys that can flat play. They're smart, and they get the job done.

When you look at the ten returning starters they have on defense, they've got three really returning defensive ends between Jackson, Thomas and Harris, and then Ken Norton inside with McIntosh, they're good. Shoot, their linebackers were all freshmen a year ago. I was like, holy cow, did they graduate yet? They don't graduate in one year at Miami, but those three guys are all sophomores. I can't imagine what they'd look like if they stayed for two more years. Unfortunately, most of them don't anymore. But three tremendous players at the linebacker spot.

Then offensively, I really think Malik Rosier is a fast, fast quarterback. When I look at him, if things break down in the passing game or in protection, he's able to go make plays with his feet. So I've been impressed obviously with him. Travis Walton -- I believe the Walton kid, their starting tailback in the past, obviously, is not in the two deep, but Travis Homer is a football player that kind of reminds me -- I know he wears 24. Kind of reminds me of James Conner a little bit. Just a physical, strong, fast, running back. He runs with his pads low. He's impressive. Obviously their skilled receivers out there lineup in three receiver sets probably 85% of the time.

Ahmmon Richards is a tremendous football player. We saw that a year ago that we're going to have to match his speed. It's going to be a test of speed out there on the edge. Our DBs are going to have to play a heck of a football game to cover them.

Q. What did your defense do particularly well last week against Virginia Tech that you want to maintain that level this week?
PAT NARDUZZI: I'm sorry, say that again?

Q. What do you feel your defense did particularly well against Virginia Tech that you're saying we need to keep that level this week?
PAT NARDUZZI: Yeah. Well, I think they played the passing game well. Did not play the run game as well as we'd like, not to our standards. We'd like to keep them under 100 yards rushing. We didn't do that. They had some quarterback runs in there. I don't think they had a big run. They only had three explosive plays.

So if you ask me as a former defensive coordinator and defensive coach, you want to be stingy, you want to take everything away. We have somebody at minus-48 yards rushing, that's kind of what the expectations are. I know that's unrealistic in some of the games that we're playing nowadays. I guess the biggest thing that impresses you, we took away explosives last week. They only had three explosive plays. I feel like if we keep a team under four explosives, which is a 15 yard run or 20 yard pass, that you have a chance to win the game.

Unfortunately, if we eliminate the one long pass, I should say a 38-yard, 25-yard pass at the end for a touchdown where Jackson threw it up there, we would have won the game. So there is never a magic number. You put a total on that as far as explosives. But I guess the biggest thing we did is we eliminated explosive plays. We bent, but we did not break on the explosives.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

ASAP sports

tech 129
About ASAP SportsFastScripts ArchiveRecent InterviewsCaptioningUpcoming EventsContact Us
FastScripts | Events Covered | Our Clients | Other Services | ASAP in the News | Site Map | Job Opportunities | Links
ASAP Sports, Inc. | T: 1.212 385 0297