Pat Narduzzi Faces a Pivotal Season

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University of Pittsburgh Head Football Coach Pat Narduzzi

The current era of Pitt football can have said to have begun the day after Christmas in 2014. That was the day that Michigan State Defensive Coordinator Pat Narduzzi was introduced as the new Head Coach of the Panthers. This followed what can charitably be described as several years of turmoil at the position. Barring something unforeseen, Pat Narduzzi will kick off his 4th season on the job in September, providing Pitt with this level of stability at Head Coach for the first time in 10 years.

The first 3 years of this era have certainly had their ups and downs. From the highs of thrilling victories over Penn State and eventual National Champion Clemson, to the lows of a historically inept defensive performance against Oklahoma State last year, to the bizarre of whatever was going on against Syracuse the Saturday after Thanksgiving 2016, nobody can say Pitt football under Narduzzi has been boring. However, after Narduzzi took the Panthers to bowls in each of his first two seasons, they suffered the ignominy of staying home over the holidays this past winter for the first time since 2007. Despite ending the season on a high note with an upset over previously undefeated Miami (again ups and downs), Pitt undeniably had a disappointing season. After finishing 5-7 last year, Pat Narduzzi faces a pivotal season and he needs to have the Panthers bowling in 2018 or he will be firmly in the “Hot Seat”.

Narduzzi came in and had relative success right away, guiding Pitt to an 8-4 record in his first season. This represented a not insignificant step forward from the purgatory of 6-6 records that Pitt had been mired in for the previous four seasons. He was able to replicate the record the next year thanks to a momentous offensive output. However, it was undeniable that the defense under Narduzzi was bad and had gotten worse in each of his three seasons. The credit, and blame, for both rests on former Head Coach Paul Chryst. While Narduzzi was, “playing with Chryst’s players” there was an asterisk next to all his accomplishments, as well as his setbacks. It’s at the point though that this argument,