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


October 14, 2019

Pat Narduzzi

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

PAT NARDUZZI: I'm kind of going to stay away from the last game with Duke. You guys can ask questions if you want to, but it seems like it's so long ago that we'd be beating a dead horse with that. After a much needed bye week just for our kids to get fresh, get a little bit healthier, self-evaluate where we are. Again, halfway through the season after six, with half the season to go in the ACC, obviously great week, and we face a great Syracuse team.

And when I say great, anytime they play the Pitt Panthers, we're know we're in a for a dogfight. We get to go up in the Dome. We know it will be hot, we know it will be stuffy, we know it will be loud one way or another. And, you know, the Orange will be ready for the Panthers. They always are. It's funny how you remember just about every game. There's only about one I really want to forget -- you know, one win I want to gorget as far as how many points were scored that day.

Got a lot of respect for Dino Babers and who he is. He's just a great football coach that motivates his team, will get them going. Had a tough loss last weekend to North Carolina State, so I know we'll get their best as we travel up to Syracuse, New York.

Defensively, it starts with their defensive ends, Alton Robinson, has created havoc in just about every backfield he's played this year, last year. He's a first-rounder. Our tackles will have their hands full with him all day. And then Kendall Coleman on the other side is a guy that, again, will create havoc over there. So those are their guys on the edge. I think, again, with what we do and what they do, we'll have to play well and protect well throughout the game.

And then we expect Andre Cisco, who dressed for the game the other day, he'll be back. And, again, I think he had seven interceptions a year ago. He's their leader back there. That will really make them feel better on the back end with those D-ends they have up front.

And then on offense -- and, again, looking at really what they do defensively, they zone blitz a lot. They run -- probably their favorite blitz is the double-A gaps, which looks just like our blitz, so we know what to do with that. That is their favorite, and I feel good with getting their favorite blitz and what we do. And our offense sees it every day, so we've got some things there, I think, that are an advantage for us, since it really came from us, I think, in the long run.

And then on the other side of the ball, offensively, tempo offense, like Central Florida, snapping the ball as quickly as five seconds, averaging about 15 to 17 the last couple weeks here. Seems like every week they get a little faster. So we'll be prepared for that. When they run their fastest, it's going to be quick now routes, bubble routes, just getting the ball in their playmakers' hands off a similar formation that they ran the play before. So those are all things obviously we get a chance to work. And it's nice when you know a team and you've played against a team for as long as we have.

Obviously running the show is Tommy DeVito. We haven't had a chance, Tony Dungey -- I should say Dungey, we're glad he's gone. That guy was a great player, and DeVito is getting his first year under his belt and he's done some really nice things.

Moe Neal, their tailback, 21, as well as Abdul, 23, are two really explosive guys. They like to run the ball on offense. Probably run it a little bit more than they have in the past, so we've got to be prepared with all their personnel groupings that they run to handle all that stuff.

And then out at the receiver spot, they have a trio of guys. Trishton Jackson, a transfer from Michigan State that I know who he is. I've talked to those guys up there just to get exactly who he is physically, so we know a little bit more just because of the contacts up there. Sean Riley, a little slot guy, also a punt returner, a great player, kickoff returner, dangerous in all aspects. As well as Taj Harris, who's a guy that runs skinny posts on the backside of most routes, and that's probably his favorite route and he hit one on us last year.

Great, great football team and going to be a battle. Both teams will be ready to go. Questions?

Q. Is there anything special to playing inside the Carrier Dome, or is it just a normal football game?
PAT NARDUZZI: Special? It's a normal football game. The field is 100 yards long. I think the special thing is the heat turned up and the music. It'll be probably 50 degrees out up in Syracuse, New York, Friday night at 7:05 or whatever time the kickoff is, and it'll be like 95 in that indoor. That's the memorable thing I think about the Dome is the heat is turned up and it'll be hot. We'll turn our heat up over here in Pittsburgh and get it going.

Q. What do you guys think your biggest point of emphasis is this week?
PAT NARDUZZI: You know, being locked in and -- just like every week, there's no point of emphasis. Being locked in and executing. It's about what we do when we go up there. Obviously we watched the tape on Syracuse, find out who they are, what they do. But it's going to come down to fundamentals, execution, and discipline. I've been disappointed the last couple weeks with some of the way the flags have been thrown around, and I don't like where our discipline is.

Really Syracuse had the same problem. We've got to correct that. It's hard to win on the road, as I told our team this morning before we practiced, hard to win on the road when you don't do those little things well in all three phases.

Q. The defense as a whole, how do you feel they've done getting after the quarterback for 60 minutes?
PAT NARDUZZI: You know, you've got to give us an above average, I guess, right? I'd say above average. Again, nobody cares. We know Duke gave up one coming into it. Alabama had one, we had three. That's good. But that was last week or two weeks ago, whatever it was. But our guys have done a solid job. But you're one game away from being crappy. You guys will be talking about it on Sunday going what the heck? Friday or really Saturday, you guys would be talking about it, they got no pressure on the quarterback. They get the ball out quick, run a ton of screens, hard to pressure them, so we've got to be careful when we do. And we've got to be able to the four-man pressure and get some coverage sacks.

Q. They've given up a lot of sacks this year. Is it something that their offense is doing wrong or is our defense just doing well?
PAT NARDUZZI: I mean, Clemson got a few of them. North Carolina State has got a good front, which they did a good job of getting some three-man pressure and some six-man pressure, so it's a combination of good coverage and decision making back there. But we'll have to take care of business.

Q. In your self-scouting, what do you think has held the running game back so far?
PAT NARDUZZI: I'm not going to get into what it is, but obviously some fronts that have taken the run away from what we've done in the past. But you know, obviously Qadree Ollison and Darrin Hall -- keep saying that -- I think once you've had so much experience in the back field at the tailback spot. You had a pretty mature run game. Even last year, early in the season, we did not run the ball as well, and then we started to get in a groove as the season went on.

I think it's going to be the same thing. We're going to keep working it, we're going to keep getting better at running the football, and get some things that make our offense successful running the football.

Q. Do you see a lot of eight-man fronts?
PAT NARDUZZI: Yeah, we're seen eight, nine, we're seeing a little bit of everything. Oh, yeah.

Q. Do you have a status update on the Davis brothers --
PAT NARDUZZI: No, I can't talk about those guys.

Q. With Paris having to sit for a half, who are some of the names you're looking to step up in that role?
PAT NARDUZZI: Obviously Stocker and Bryson Gardner are the two guys under the boundary. They've gotten all those reps over there, so those will be the two guys.

Q. Is there a review process involved in something like that?
PAT NARDUZZI: The appeal is when they go up to the box and it's never been done before, so the appeal is when they go look at it, and those guys that make those decisions.

Q. Do you feel there should be an appeal process after that?

Q. Is this a game you look forward to every year? You play them every year, football, basketball, volleyball. This rivalry, there's always something exciting in this game.
PAT NARDUZZI: It is an exciting game. I look forward to every game. Every Saturday, Friday night, or Thursday night, whatever it may be, is fun. I look forward to every game. I mean, this is special because it's Syracuse. I really like Dino Babers. Again, it's got a little different flavor to it. I wish it was home instead of up there. We like home games better. But regardless of who we play, we enjoy those evenings or afternoons.

Q. How did Kradel do?
PAT NARDUZZI: Jake Kradel did an outstanding job. I think he ended up getting 57 plays, which is great that he was able to get that experience. We would have liked to have slowly gotten him that experience, but he was thrown in there and took it like we thought. He's a mature kid that is into it, and our kids have a lot of faith and trust that he was going to go in and get the job done.

Q. Is Gabe going to start on Saturday?
PAT NARDUZZI: We expect him to. We expect him to.

Q. Why does Kylan Johnson fit in seemingly so easily into your defense?
PAT NARDUZZI: You said Kylan? He's very coachable and very smart. He can fit in I think into any defense just because he's a smart kid that loves the game of football, that goes after it every day. He goes out every day -- I think I said this back in camp, just consistent because he does his job every day, and he understands it and he asks good questions. That's why he fits in because he does what we ask him to do, and obviously he's got talent, a ton of talent, I think NFL talent.

Q. Any word on a backup receiver besides Mack and Ffrench?
PAT NARDUZZI: Yeah, Shocky did some good things last week, Jared Wayne did some nice things. So yeah, we're getting good work out of those guys. They come in and fill in and catch some balls and I think they're only going to keep getting better.

Q. I think you guys said that you guys were close to kind of finally breaking the return, Damarri was able to the last game. Is that still an evolving process, even with who's returning the kicks?
PAT NARDUZZI: Yeah, I think every week it's an evolving process, and again, I don't know if we'll get a kick return. Their kickers are outstanding, kicker and punter, I should say. So I don't know if we'll get a punt return or a kick return this week, and you practice it and you get -- nowadays it seems like you just get less and less of those opportunities to return in a game. If we added every year, it just seems like there's more and more touchbacks. They've taken the return game out of college football, as a lot of different other things, as well. But it's part of the game.

The fewer reps you get at it live, game day, block them, return it, I think the harder it is to get real good at it.

Q. After the Duke game, you said you sure hoped that Elias and Chase would be available. Any update there at all on those two guys?
PAT NARDUZZI: Yeah, we sure hope. I hope, I pray. I hope so. They ain't out for the year.

Q. Are you in favor of eliminating kickoffs?
PAT NARDUZZI: Yeah, because it would save us 10 minutes a week in practicing them for nothing, and I think sometimes your kids feel the same way, like we're not going to get a chance, and then you drop back, all of a sudden you're like, oh, wait a second, it's returnable. But I mean, I -- based on the way it is and how good the kickers are kicking the thing in the end zone, it wouldn't bother me.

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