Pat Narduzzi Gives Review Of Team Before Week 1 vs. Albany

Narduzzi excited for first real look of his 2018 Panthers

Matt Koll
August 30, 2018 - 11:33 am
Pat Narduzzi

Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

PITTSBURGH (93.7 The Fan)- Pitt head football coach is entering his fourth season (21-17) and is ready to go.

His Panthers start their season Saturday at 3:30 pm at Heinz Field against the Albany Great Danes and he joined The Fan Morning Show on Thursday to discuss it. 

"It presents our first opportunity to go out there and get a W," said Narduzzi. "It presents a different colored jersey coming in here for our guys to compete against and that's what we're looking forward to. It's been a while, the NFL is lucky, they get four preseason games. We don't get any. In the NFL they don't care if they win or lose [those first games], we want to get a win Saturday at 3:30." 

Narduzzi fully expects Albany, led by their head coach Greg Gattuso, an assistant coach at Pitt from 2005-10, to give Pitt their very best. 

"They're going to come in and give us their best shot, they're going to play the best game they play all year," said Narduzzi. "Gattuso would love to come into Pittsburgh and spoil things but our guys are prepared and we're not going to let that happen." 

Despite losing Quadree Henderson and Jester Weah, Narduzzi is very eager to see his wide receivers in action and believes they have some serious talent to show off this year.

"I'm as fired up to see that receiving corp as I've ever been here at Pitt, maybe Michigan State," said Narduzzi. "I think we've got some weapons and we've got to go do it on gameday. But, we've got a great mix of older guys with maturity and a great group of athletic young men that have a chance to be special on Saturday's. I'm looking forward to watching those guys maybe more than any other position just because of the talent that's in that group. "

He went on to say that many folks know the more familiar names in that group like Aaron Mathews, Tre Tipton and Rafael Araujo-Lopes, but he is excited to expose the youger players like Dontavius Butler-Jenkins (redshirt freshman), Shocky Jacques-Louis (freshman) and Taysir Mack (reshirt sophomore) to Panther fans. 

Narduzzi said his offensive line got better in camp and have a different feel about them this year. 

"Obviously we're going to get tested by a stout defensive line [in Albany], they're 275+ across the board, but [the offensive line] got better number one because they work hard," said Narduzzi. "Really fired up about the job offensive line coach Dave Borbely has done with that group. They've got confidence, I'm not sure they had that confidence before and that's my fault." 

Narduzzi made an interesting observation about his secondary, a unit that has had its struggles in the past during his tenure. 

"We're a little banged up back there, more than you'd like to be going into game one but I think we'll be good for game two," said Narduzzi. "Maybe not as much separation as you'd like, maybe some lack of consistency back there. Is it that all the guys are about the same? Is it maybe they're all average? I don't know. We're going to find out on Saturday who dominates. But I'm happy with all the guys we've got back there. We've got more depth than we had a year ago."

Narduzzi finished his interview by saying that the players feed off a big crowd and implored  Pitt fans to come out in droves on Saturday at Heinz Field to support this team. 

You can listen to the entire interview with head coach Pat Narduzzi on The Fan Morning Show below.   

                    

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