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August 31, 2019

Pat Narduzzi

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Virginia - 30, Pitt - 14

PAT NARDUZZI: Obviously that was not very pretty in any aspect. As I told the football team afterwards, I don't care, offense, defense, special teams, it wasn't good enough. As I always say, you're going to make your biggest improvements from week one to week two. It's one football game. I'm not worried about one football game. It will not change the rest of the season and what our goals are.

We've been in this position before, but basically we'll go back and watch the tape, but we didn't make enough plays. We missed throws, we dropped balls, we don't protect the quarterback, we don't tackle as well as we need to, and it starts with me. I've got to do a better job getting them ready.

I thought emotionally and physically they were ready to go. We had guys open in the passing game. We had what we wanted, we just didn't -- you've got to connect.

We came out obviously throwing the ball, which was our plan. We wanted to do that. We knew the box would be stacked up pretty good, and it was, and we had guys open and we've got to make those plays, but I think that's something our football team will learn from, and again, make those improvements. Questions? Hard to win a football game when you have a blocked punt and two interceptions, and you've got two short fields. It's 14 points right there. I mean, that's the game right there when they've got to go 20 yards.


Q. How much do you think the offensive struggles were part of just kind of getting used to the offense --
PAT NARDUZZI: We can make all kinds of excuses why, but that's obviously one of them. The next one is make plays. I don't know. But you've certainly got to look at new offense, new terminology, new stuff, and then you've got to make plays. I can point to probably 10 things, and after I watch the tape, I'll probably point to 20 things. But we've got to -- everybody has got to make plays. We weren't as crisp and clean as we need to be. And it's a good football program, so give Bronco and Virginia credit. The quarterback is a good player, made some plays with his feet. We got to him early, we didn't get to him later. I think we got three sacks in the first half, we got zero in the second half.

Q. You guys had some momentum going into the half. What happened in the second half in terms of the adjustments they made or the adjustments you didn't?
PAT NARDUZZI: You know, I don't know if there was any adjustments. I don't think they changed much. Might have -- you know, it's hard to tell out there really what they did. But I think it's more about what we did, not what they did.

Q. How much do you think it was Virginia's defense playing very well against you guys and how much do you think it was the pass protection lacking and the inability to make pick up some blitzes in the second half?
PAT NARDUZZI: Yeah, it's always a little bit of both. I mean, one play, two guys were coming through, so obviously good scheme. But that's what happens when you're throwing it a little bit more is they're going to be coming after you a little bit more, so that goes with the territory. We've got to learn how to pick that stuff up. Kenny took some hits today. We can't let our quarterback take hits like that.

Q. There was a sack followed by an interception at two points of the game. How much do you think that had something to do with each other, the sack followed by an interception?
PAT NARDUZZI: You know, he was trying to make a play, and you're talking about the one down at about the -- probably the 35-yard line, down at the closed end there, the Champions Club end? I mean, they're all together. I mean, I think you try to make a play, you take a sack, you want to go make a play the next play, and he thought he had an open receiver and the linebacker jumped in front of it.

Q. The running game never really got going. Was that part of the game plan to pass more or just how the game played out?
PAT NARDUZZI: Part of the game plan was just to throw it a little bit more. Again, each week we'll have a little bit different what we want to do, I guess, offensively. But we did some nice things at times, and shoot, Kenny ran the ball well just scrambling, but that's really not the run game.

Q. Did you think about using Vincent Davis a little more earlier in the game?
PAT NARDUZZI: Not really. We were struggling with really just pass protection. I was disappointed with our pass protection, with our running backs. I mean, AJ soft corner coming at times, didn't pick it up as physical as we'd like to, and it's not Qadree Ollison or Darrin Hall they're protecting. Vince is a littler guy and he's not a pass protector guy right now. He will be, but right now he's not there.

Q. Kenny looked pretty good on those two scoring drives in the second quarter. What do you think was clicking there, and maybe lacking later?
PAT NARDUZZI: You know, I don't know. He threw some balls in the dirt. Even the first play he throws in the dirt, really went the wrong way. So it's just first-game jitters, I guess. He's going to have to relax and do a good job, but got a lot of faith in Kenny.

Q. As a head coach, what steps do you take to make sure a loss like this in the season opener against a divisional opponent, what steps do you take to make sure that the effects of this loss don't linger too much?
PAT NARDUZZI: That's football. That's life. If we look in the rear-view mirror we're in big trouble, so we need to look forward. We'll put this thing to rest tomorrow afternoon and we'll move on to Ohio and work on them. It won't linger.

Q. Your pass rush didn't get to Bryce Perkins as much in the second half, but you did pretty well in the first --

Q. Yeah, was it something that their offensive line did?
PAT NARDUZZI: Yeah, maybe -- we'll look at it. We'll see what we were doing. I don't think we were tired. I don't think -- I think we were in shape. We'll see what they did. Maybe it comes down to execution. Maybe they hit a couple 3rd downs where we jump out of coverage, we got a guy running up on the quarterback and they throw it over your head. There was just some stuff out there, guys, that can't happen if you want to play championship defense.

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