Pitt coach Pat Narduzzi says tackling below par on 1st day in pads
The fourth morning of Pitt football practice dawned sunny and hot Monday, which is the way it’s supposed to be in August, right? With temperatures in the mid 80s, it’s a day seemingly ordered by football coaches trying to get their players in shape.
For Pitt, Monday was the second day players wore shells, meaning an increase in action and intensity. Coach Pat Narduzzi said the first day in shells Sunday showed what the team needs to work on early in camp.
“I don’t think the defense tackled like it needs to,” he said. “Which is usually a product of what they’ve done all summer.”
Narduzzi was not surprised because prior to camp players were coaching themselves — no coaches allowed, per NCAA rules.
“They aren’t very good coaches. They’re good players and good athletes,” he said.
Narduzzi did make a point of praising graduate transfers Nakia Griffin-Stewart, Kylan Johnson and Nolan Ulizio, who are gaining respect at tight end, outside linebacker and offensive tackle.
“Those guys are going to help you immediately, I believe,” the coach said.
Asked about the depth behind starting defensive ends Rashad Weaver and Patrick Jones II, Narduzzi mentioned sophomore Deslin Alexandre looks like the No. 3 guy at the moment.
“It looks like he’s really made some improvements,” he said.
Redshirt freshmen ends John Morgan, Habakkuk Baldonado and Chris Maloney received mention from the coach. Maloney is an in-state walk-on from Fort Washington.
“It’s a pretty deep position,” Narduzzi said.
Actually, if the season goes as expected, there won’t be an abundance of playing time behind Weaver and Jones, who combined for 10 ½ sacks last season.
Weaver, who had 6 ½ sacks as a sophomore, brings more than athleticism to the position.
“He knows what the linebackers are doing. He knows where everybody fits,” Narduzzi said.
Jerry DiPaola is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Jerry by email at [email protected] or via Twitter .