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Narduzzi could give Pitt an identity

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I see some similarities between the Pitt Panthers and Pittsburgh Pirates fan base. Is the Pitt fan base looking for an identity spark? They may have just found one.

Photo used with permission of the University of Pittsburgh athletics department (www.pittsburghpanthers.com)

If you're a Pittsburgh Pirates fan that also follows Pitt, you might see some parallels between the current Pitt team and the team the Pirates were a few seasons ago. With a few stars, the Pirates were looking to establish an identity in Major League Baseball.

The Pirates had a few things going for them and went out and got starting pitcher A.J. Burnett. Burnett may not be an ideal ace, but he provided the team with something they sorely needed - an attitude.

Pitt has had several players over their long stint of mediocrity that have, from time to time, provided an attitude. We all remember Tyler Palko's famous words after throwing five touchdown passes in South Bend on national TV. Pitt has had other players over the years, but needs a 'Burnett' to help lead the way.

Interestingly enough, they may have found it not int he form of a player, but with new head coach Pat Narduzzi. His press conference was about what a presser should be for a head coach introduction.  He wasn't as extreme as Todd Graham and not as subdued as Paul Chryst. Somehow, he was right in between and said the team would win with "a ton of energy, passion, and discipline."

Narduzzi seemed very excited and even mentioned that his wife asked him to tone it down during the press conference beforehand. What caught my ear though was his interview on The Fan that Anson wrote about earlier.

During the interview on Starkey and Mueller, Narduzzi was asked about recruiting and specifically about James Franklin's introduction at Penn State, and his attitude about his "dominate the state" drum beat at Penn State. Narduzzi danced around it a little bit and mentioned that the Panthers would do their talking on the recruiting trail and then made this statement: "You know, we sat in the tiny state of Michigan with another school right down the road that maybe had the same attitude." Narduzzi wasn't brash in his response, but at the same time, provided a firm answer displaying a little toughness.

In his answer, Narduzzi was speaking of course about the University of Michigan, who used to routinely beat up on Michigan State on the field and in the family living room when it came to recruiting. But after Mark Dantonio and his staff entered, it didn't take long for the Spartans to send the Wolverines into a tailspin of coaching changes and losses on the field.

Only time will tell if Narduzzi can turn things around at Pitt. And ultimately, a winning team is the only remedy for a stagnant program. However, Narduzzi gives the Panthers a little bit of the fire and attitude that they sorely have needed.

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