Pitt’s Pat Narduzzi: No scholarship players sought to transfer this year
It’s July, and everyone is 0-0. So, of course, everyone has high hopes for the upcoming season. Pat Narduzzi is no different.
But what makes Pitt’s coach most hopeful about the direction of his program is something that occured — or, actually, didn’t occur — in the offseason.
“We were fortunate enough in Pittsburgh this year,” said Narduzzi, speaking at ACC Media Days in Charlotte, N.C., “that not one scholarship player has come into my office and said, ‘Coach, I’m leaving.’ ”
The NCAA reported a 9.2 percent transfer rate among football teams in 2017, third-most among sports in the FBS.
“To me,” Narduzzi said, “that tells you about what our culture is in our program.”
Senior wide receiver Maurice Ffrench said he has seen attitudes change among his teammates since he was a freshman in 2016.
“I have definitely noticed the change,” he said. “We went from having average seasons, not a whole team caring and spurts of people trying. But I will definitely say (Narduzzi) definitely changed the attitude within our locker room and coaching staff as well.
“I feel like now we have a whole unit of smart people who want to get better, want to know the game and want to win games.”
Ffrench vs. Jackson
Ffrench was asked about trying to get open against cornerback Dane Jackson, who led Pitt with 14 pass breakups last season.
“Every time we go against each other, it’s nothing but a battle,” Ffrench said. “We compete at the highest level. Dane is very smart. His technique is very sound.
“If you’re not a good quarterback and you don’t have a good arm and you don’t get it there, Dane will be on that ball.”
Of Ffrench, who collected 1,224 all-purpose yards last season, Jackson said: “He’s fast. He’s physical, and he’s very smart. I think a lot of people underestimate his physicality just because he’s fast.
“But he’s able to push off at the top of those routes and be able to get the separation he needs.”
Ffrench averaged 14.7 per reception last season.
Jerry DiPaola is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Jerry by email at [email protected] or via Twitter .