Had a chance to catch the press conference yesterday announcing Pat Narduzzi as Pitt's next head football coach.
A lot to digest, obviously. And in terms of 'newsy' stuff that came out, Narduzzi said he isn't planning to call defensive plays and that he would look at retaining current Pitt assistants (I didn't buy that second part as much and he even said that coaches want to tend to bring in their own guys). But beyond looking for actual pieces of news, I just tried to listen. To follow his gestures, etc.
Here are five things I noticed.
1. Dude was nervous: I don't know if anyone else got this at all, but Narduzzi looked kind of nervous - at least to me. Now, maybe I'm mistaking some of that for his enthusiasm, which he had plenty of. But he was kind of bouncing all over the place - particularly early on. To be fair, it's nothing to be concerned about IMO. He genuinely looked like a guy who couldn't get started and as a first time head coach, this is all still brand new to him. "Hail to Pitt, I guess. Right?" pretty much summed it all up.
2. Dude was enthusiastic: This kind of goes hand in hand with the first one, but Narduzzi was very enthusiastic from start to finish. He had a lot of nervous energy at first and eventually, once things settled down a little, some of the nervousness seemed to go away. And his quote about opposing teams playing Pitt knowing that they were in a brawl was perfect and will win over a lot of fans.
3. Dude could stay: Much has been made of the fact that Pitt is a stepping stone job and that Narduzzi could bolt in a few years a la Paul Chryst. But one thing he said that sort of addressed that was that at Pitt, he's at the school closest to home (which is Youngstown, where he grew up) where he can win a national championship. He actually called Pittsburgh home for him and referenced that he's closer to family and where he grew up. None of that is to suggest that he won't leave for a bigger job or that he's firmly entrenched at Pitt for the long haul. But if you take him for what he said, it seems like a place where he could conceivably stay.
4. Dude sounded like a head coach: Yeah, he was nervous. Yeah, he was more excited than some of your kids on Christmas morning. But one thing I took away here was that he's very believable as a head coach. He's a younger guy that has a lot of coaching experience overall - just not at as a head guy. But if you listen to the way he spoke, he just came across as a guy that is a head coach. You don't get that feeling with everybody right away and he just sounded like a head coach to me.
5. Dude was genuine (I think): Truth be told, you can never tell how genuine someone is - especially someone you've not heard speak in person as is probably the case with 99% of us and Narduzzi. But for the most part, Narduzzi came across as a genuine guy to me. When he talked about Michigan State, his past coaches, etc., he just came across as someone that wasn't spoonfeeding a pile of crap to the media.
The jury is out on him and, ultimately, it will come down to winning games. But overall, there was a lot to like in his opening press conference.
- Pat Narduzzi to Pitt: Michigan State coach Mark Dantonio responds to Narduzzi hiring
- Pat Narduzzi to coach Michigan State in Cotton Bowl before coming to Pitt
- Pat Narduzzi hired at Pitt: New Panthers coach talks toughness, energy at press conference
- Pat Narduzzi officially hired as new Pitt football head coach
- Pat Narduzzi to Pitt: With schedule and talented offense, the new Panthers coach has a chance to finish above .500 in debut season