Pitt’s Pat Narduzzi unafraid to admit nerves are part of any game | TribLIVE.com
Pitt

Pitt’s Pat Narduzzi unafraid to admit nerves are part of any game

Jerry DiPaola
1605748_web1_gtr-pitt02-080619
Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review
Pitt head coach Pat Narduzzi during practice Aug. 5, 2019 at UPMC Rooney Sports Complex.
1605748_web1_gtr-weekinpics14-090318
Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review
Pitt’s Maurice Ffrench leaps into the end zone past against Albany in last season’s opener. Pitt is 4-0 in season openers under coach Pat Narduzzi.

After weeks of preparation for his fifth season opener as Pitt’s coach, Pat Narduzzi said his feelings of nervousness are the same for ACC foe Virginia as they were in 2015 when Youngstown State was on the other sideline.

Only the stakes change.

“If someone tells you,’I’m not nervous,’ maybe (they’re) not ready,” he said. “There are going to be nerves with everything that goes on with our players until that first snap. I think it goes away (after that).

“There are things you worry about all the way up to game time as a coach.”

He also said the feeling of excitement is there for any opponent at any time of the year.

“It doesn’t change,” he said. “It’s like after your first grandchild to your sixth one. You get excited.”

But he admits playing Virginia on Saturday at Heinz Field is different. He didn’t reference defending last year’s ACC Coastal title, but, obviously, that will be more easily attained with a victory against Virginia. But it will be one of the most difficult games of the season.

“There are so many unknowns with the opponent we’ve got,” he said. “An opener against Albany and Youngstown State is different than an opener against an ACC opponent. It means more. The details are going to matter in this game.”

The Virginia game will be the third opener in school history against a conference opponent. Pitt is 0-2, losing to West Virginia (Big East) in 1996 under Johnny Majors and Florida State (ACC) in 2013 under Paul Chryst.

Narduzzi is 4-0 in openers, beating Youngstown State twice, Villanova and Albany.

When Narduzzi took the job after the 2014 season, he became Pitt’s fifth coach (counting two interims) in 36 months. The program desperately needed stability, and he brought it.

Narduzzi is only the fourth Pitt coach since John Michelosen (1955-1965) to hold the job into a fifth year. The others are Jackie Sherrill, Walt Harris and Dave Wannstedt, and all three enjoyed success in their tenures.

• Sherrill had a Pitt-record .842 winning percentage (50-9-1).

• Harris’ final team went to the Fiesta Bowl.

• Wannstedt is the only Pitt coach in 37 seasons to record a double-digit victory total (10-3 in 2009).

• And Narduzzi won a total of 16 games in 2015 and ’16, more than any coach since Sherrill in his first two seasons. Then, after a losing record (5-7) in ’17, he won the Coastal in his fourth season.

Narduzzi (28-24) has a contract through 2024 and more administrative support than many previous Pitt coaches, something he acquired by earning the trust of his athletic directors and chancellor Patrick Gallagher.

Asked to describe the overall difference in the state of the program five years later, Narduzzi said, “We’ll decide that at the end of the year.”

Wins and losses do matter over anything else in college football, and he knows it.

Meanwhile, he said, “We’ve taken our steps”

“I think we have great kids. Academically, we’ve graduated our players. The relationships are great,” he said. “Our third program goal is to get to a championship game and win championships. We’ve done that.”

Then, he added, “We need to go win a bowl game.”

He is 0-3 in those games.

“Is it a perfect road?” Narduzzi said, quickly providing the answer. “It never is.”

Jerry DiPaola is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Jerry by email at [email protected] or via Twitter .

Categories: Sports | Pitt
TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.