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September 25, 2021

Pat Narduzzi

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA

Press Conference

Pitt 77, New Hampshire 7

PAT NARDUZZI: Obviously that's what it's supposed to look like. I was just proud of our kids. We were a little banged up even coming into the game, had some guys who didn't play, but kids came out and played with some energy, and it's just the way you want to bounce back from a week ago.

We've still got a ways to go in a lot of different phases, and we're going to get better. The preseason is over and we get to go into ACC play, and I think they're excited about that.

New Hampshire is a good football team. I was scared of that quarterback coming in. I almost feel bad it went down like that. Sean McDonnell is a great guy, but we've got to do what we've got to do.

My man over there, Captain, good to see you over there. I see you. Appreciate you helping us get that victory. We didn't get your trick play in, though, but we'll get it in.

I'll open it up for questions there.

Q. You mentioned ACC play; where do you feel your team is going into that?

PAT NARDUZZI: We're 3-1. It's where we are. I think our offense is playing at a high level. I think we're throwing the ball well. I think we ran a little bit better. It's good to see Rodney and Isy get going. We know Vince has got some things and it was -- you could see Rodney just needed to get in a groove, and with our second offensive line he was out there getting some yards.

So we'll evaluate it, we'll go back, we'll make corrections and try to be even better next week.

Q. What's to be gained and/or proven by a game like today?

PAT NARDUZZI: Nothing. Nothing gained, nothing lost. That's what you expect to do, and that's the most impressive thing. I think it's hard to score 77 on air. Our guys went out and executed.

But we've got to be consistent. It's got to be that way every Saturday. You can't dip down and go a different way.

We've got to learn from our past mistakes and continue to move forward. There's nothing to gain; 24 hours, we'll put that one to bed and get ready for real football.

Q. What did you notice about Jordan's progress going into this game?

PAT NARDUZZI: He's a football player. He's fast, he's explosive. You see the yak he's getting. People are at his ankles, and he's making plays. That's what you expect guys to make plays when they catch the ball, not catch it and falling down, which is what we did a year ago. Makes Kenny look better when those guys are making plays after the catch.

We were kind of shorthanded at receiver with Jared Wayne not being out there today, and I consider him a starter, but he'll be ready to go next week.

Q. Getting back to conference play, is that kind of launching pad for you as a coach?

PAT NARDUZZI: It is, yeah. One way or another it's a launching pad; regardless what we did today, it does not matter. It does not matter. We're going to play Georgia Tech down in Atlanta again for the third year in a row, and we've got to be ready to go.

Q. You said Wayne will play. What about SirVocea; will he play next week?


Q. Same with (inaudible)?

PAT NARDUZZI: I don't know, I think so, maybe; who knows.

Q. Maybe not so much today but just the four games overall, is this exactly what you expected out of Kenny or even more so?

PAT NARDUZZI: That's what you expected. He's really calm in the pocket, and he didn't take many hits, which we're blessed to make sure our O-line is protecting him well and he's getting rid of the ball, he's staying in the pocket, he's composed and it's what you expect out of Kenny. It's going to get a little harder next week.

Q. You discussed Hammond in the spring, his ability to move the pile, is that something you saw in high school; is that one of the things that got you excited about him?

PAT NARDUZZI: Yeah, he's strong, he's physical, gets north and south, and he just wiggles through. He's just going to continue to get better, I think.

Q. Do you feel Kenny is better now as he pushes the ball downfield, more confident in that regard?

PAT NARDUZZI: Yeah, more confident. Receivers are catching the ball, too. Really helps when they're catching it at a high rate. Knock on some wood there; they're doing a good job catching the football.

Again, I give to credit to Coach Whip and Coach Marion, just the things he does, the the drills that he does to make sure that they're making those contested catches and then getting yards after the catch.

It takes 11. It's not Kenny all by himself, but he's got an offensive line to protect him and give him time to make those throws and he's got guys making catches.

Q. You talked about the running game and needing to break some plays open; do you feel like some of the runs that you guys had were what you guys have been looking for?

PAT NARDUZZI: Yeah. We didn't get them early but we just kind of wore on them and they were kind of loading the box and bringing safety blitzes and whatever else. We hit them with a pass and then we came back and hit them with an upper cut with some runs, and that's kind of the way it went down. We'll look at the tape and see.

Q. They had the one big run, but other than that not much offensively for them. What did you like about the defense today?

PAT NARDUZZI: They were consistent. We gave up that one play, an outside zone at stretch. I can't wait to watch the tape, but a little bit of motion. Didn't like that one at all, and that was the only bad play really for the day.

So they played well, and I'm telling you what, I was scared of that quarterback. I told him afterwards, he scared me on tape; you guys are going to have a great year in your conference, and just bounce back. They'll be angry next week. That's a good football team. That quarterback was scary. If you watch enough tape, he had me worried.

Q. Did Sauls pass up Scarton during the week, or did you just want to try something different?

PAT NARDUZZI: During the week it looked like he did, so we just said we're going to go really -- we were going to kick Sam with the field goals and give Ben a chance just to kick the extra points because he was hitting those well, and didn't work out, so back to the drawing board. I don't know. It's not good.

Q. What have you seen out of Gavin Bartholomew now four weeks into his college career?

PAT NARDUZZI: The guy is going to be a force in the conference. He's tough, he's physical. He gets yaks, as well. He's a good football player, which we had a sense of this spring, and he continues to get better every week.

Q. Was there a conversation at halftime with Kenny, like we're going to send you out for the second half?

PAT NARDUZZI: Yeah, we talked about it coming down the tunnels. There was a logjam in the tunnel. Happened that I just said, hey, he's coming out in the first series, we're going to start the second half just like we started the first half; we're going to start fast on both sides of the ball.

So the message was to the team at halftime, hey, the ones are going out first series; let's continue to do what we did, come out in the first series and go, and then we just pulled them after that.

Q. When you guys deferred, was that just a normal game plan thing or was that a message, hey defense, you guys got to step it up this week?

PAT NARDUZZI: It's a normal -- I haven't lost faith in our defense. It's kind of what we do. We're going to defer and play defense first and try to win the field position war, and again, we started off with I think two sacks and a safety, and then our kids just started to feed off of each other and had emotion today, and you can't play this game without emotion.

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