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October 3, 2020

Pat Narduzzi

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA

Postgame Press Conference

NC State 30, Pitt 29

PAT NARDUZZI: All right, guys. Obviously that was a hell of a ballgame. Our kids played their hearts out. Don't question their effort at all. Anytime we win, we win as a team, and we lose as a team. But just overall we just didn't make enough plays.

Give North Carolina State credit; it's a good football team, talented football team, made some plays on some deep balls. But we had our opportunities, whether it was a two-point play that would have won us the game, opportunities -- Kessman kicked the ball well again, but I'd like to score touchdowns when we're down there. Have a great drive in the second half and take it down to the 1, had four downs from the 1, we don't punch it in, and then to finish it off we left too many open receivers in the two-minute drill, which I trust our defense to get that thing done, and we've just got to secure the win, and we didn't get it done today.

Everybody in our football team has a part in a loss, including me, every coach and every player, and that's just kind of how it goes. Kids are hurt. Kids are hurt bad in the locker room, but we'll rebound and stick together and come back next week against Boston College.


Q. What did NC State do offensively that was so effective against this defense?

PAT NARDUZZI: I think Devin Leary, number one. The guy pulling the trigger obviously had a good game today, and he made the right decisions. He got the ball out pretty quick. We couldn't get as much pressure as we'd like. We'll look at the tape and find out exactly what happened, but we just didn't play good enough. We'll look at the tape and evaluate and I'll let you know for sure on Monday, I guess.

Q. We've talked about what we called unforced errors, specifically penalties in the past, a really big problem for you today. What do you feel like went into that? And is there anything you feel like you can do about that?

PAT NARDUZZI: There's a lot we can do about it. We'll look at the tape and evaluate it, but obviously it starts with the offsides on defense. They drove us off, they did a nice job, and we didn't have enough discipline -- that's where it starts. Some of those PIs, I don't know about. I'll watch the tape. But looked like it was both ways. There was a lot of pushing off, put it that way, and we'll look at the tape and we'll become a better football team from it.

Q. What in your mind is the reason why -- is there one reason or multiple reasons that this offense just can't seem to punch it in when it really needs to? It's been an issue for over a season, going back to the beginning of last year.

PAT NARDUZZI: You know, obviously there's things that we need to do better when we get down there and we've focused on it more than we ever have really to be honest with you. Again, give them credit now, they've got a good defense and they played well today. We had our opportunities, and we've just got to finish.

Q. The drops have also kind of been an issue, and I know that's something you guys harp on, but is it disappointing to see that from some veteran guys in back-to-back weeks?

PAT NARDUZZI: Our offense made plays with the ball. I'll have to go back and watch the tape. I can't -- you can watch an NFL game, you can watch a college game, there's going to be drops. Nobody is going to be perfect. I don't know how many we had today but I didn't sit there and go, that was the reason we lost the football game, I can tell you that.

Things are going to happen out there. There's a lot of things happening. We'll go back and look at it, but our receivers made a lot of catches. Let's talk about the catches they made as opposed to -- because there was some critical ones. Taysir Mack was on fire, making some big catches on 3rd down, moving the sticks and getting us in an opportunity to score touchdowns. We'll look at the tape.

Q. What's mostly disappointing is you have a veteran team who made a lot of errors, especially in the first half and then left a lot of open receivers in the second half?

PAT NARDUZZI: Yeah, we'll watch the tape and see why, but it wasn't as clean. Give them credit as far as their game plan and what they did and how they did it, and we've got to fix it and come back and be even better.

Q. You mentioned earlier in the week how NC State tries to slow things down with their counter run and outside zones and different things they try on offense. Is that part of the reason why you only had two sacks on the day or is that more things that you had control over?

PAT NARDUZZI: You know, maybe their cadence slowed us down early and we just didn't get off. When we did bring pressure we didn't get home quick enough, but Leary got the ball out. It's kind of a double-edged sword there as far as what we're doing. We've got to be more disciplined on the snap and the claps and all the rest of it.

I'm not sure what you're talking about the outside zone and slowing things down, but it's a good football team. We stopped the run. What did they have, 62 yards rushing, but we didn't stop the pass the way we needed to. We'll look at what we did coverage wise and where the mistakes were and we'll get better from it.

Q. Did you think your corners had some trouble with their receivers, specifically with their size at the line?

PAT NARDUZZI: You know, at times we did, yeah, and like I said, they threw some balls up and we're in position. Nobody was wide open like Jordan Addison was. I'd say you have a problem at corner when you leave guys wide open. But I think we threw for more yards than they we and we stopped the run. We rushed for more yards. We just didn't -- we got opportunities down there, we've got to punch it in. It hurts when you lose like that.

Q. Can you talk a little bit about the offensive line play for you guys? It seemed like they were getting a lot of pressure, a lot of tackles for loss, and it seemed like Kenny was under pressure more than the three previous games.

PAT NARDUZZI: Well, Kenny had one sack in a football game, and usually when you've got one sack you're playing pretty good. Kenny played well, threw it a bunch. He threw for 411 yards. Wasn't enough pressure on him, I guess. I thought the offensive line played solid. Again, we'll look at the tape. It's hard to say from the sideline what it is, what it was, but three-down most of the game they're in a three-three and bringing guys, but the pressure was okay. Kenny made some great decisions with his arm and his head, and we'll look at it. Not disappointed at all in Kenny or the offensive line.

Q. Are you concerned about the running game, though? When Kenny is your most effective runner that's probably not the best day at the office for you guys. We're four games in now; should somebody be in control of that position at this point?

PAT NARDUZZI: Yeah, you would like that to happen, but that's not where we are right now. Again, I thought Vince ran hard when he had holes, especially in the second half. We ran the ball better. But again, give them credit. They stopped our run early.

Again, we'll watch the tape and evaluate and I'll let you know Monday what I see. That's what it is. They made one more play. You don't look at it and say we got blown off the field out there. It's a good team, and they made one more play than we did. That's what it comes down to, and we left a lot of plays on the field, and that's the thing that hurts the most.

Q. DJ Turner had a big drop last week but he stepped up for several big gains this week. What did you think of his performance and his connection with Pickett coming through for you guys?

PAT NARDUZZI: DJ played great. We didn't have Jordan Addison in the second half and DJ stepped in, and DJ is a good football player, and he played a great game. Like I said, it comes down to a two-point conversion; comes down to defense stopping them in a two-minute. And again, we can point to all kinds of different things, but it starts and ends with me. Got to have them better prepared.

Q. Can you give an assessment on Jordan's injury or how serious it may or may not be?

PAT NARDUZZI: I don't think it's serious, but we'll see.

Q. You played most of the game without Keyshon Camp at the defensive tackle. How do you think that affected the play of your defensive line and any update you may have on him?

PAT NARDUZZI: Yeah, Keyshon was kind of banged up from last week and wasn't 100 percent, so I don't think it had any factor at all. I mean, one guy is not going to make or break the team. We've got plenty of guys in there at D-tackle that need to make plays, and obviously it would be great to have a senior out there, but we'll rebound and fix it and we'll be ready for next week.

Q. I know you've talked a lot about wanting guys to turn out the noise, but they generated some buzz with the way they played defensively the first three weeks. Is there any concern that maybe they got a little too ahead of themselves and that led to maybe the slow start defensively, that they just sort of --

PAT NARDUZZI: Yeah, you know, again, we harp on that. Nobody cares what you did last week. It's all what you do this week. That's why I tell you, we don't evaluate a defense until the end of the year, what they do and how they make plays, and obviously we left some plays out on the field today. We'll tighten it up, we'll rebound, and sometimes it's the best medicine is really to get humbled, as far as who you are and what you do and just remember how you got where you are. And I think that's the big thing. Whether we came in too confident thinking we can stop anybody and no one can get a 1st down, maybe one three-and-out in the first half, I told you last week we had eight. This week we couldn't get off the field at times, and again, a lot of it was due to what we were doing. I don't know how many 1st downs they had by penalty, but quite a few. That's not good when the referees are saying 1st down based off of penalty.

Q. You guys used a lot of hurry-up late in the fourth, trying to get a rhythm going. Was that something you were planning on just to keep the rhythm flowing for the offense or was that a mid-game adjustment?

PAT NARDUZZI: It's a mid-game adjustment. We had some tempo in the first half, too. Even the second play of the game where Jordan starts, some of the guys aren't lined up and that's how we get a big play. We'd like to get it going a little faster. Sometimes it's too slow, but we go tempo, we huddle at times and then we come out in tempo.

You kind of go with what's working and you stick with it.

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