The Pittsburgh Post Gazette's Sam Werner put out a nice article talking about Pat Narduzzi meeting with his new team for the first time on Friday night.
First and foremost, it seems the Pitt players were happy with Pitt's choice of new coach:
"I loved him," running back James Conner said. "He seemed focused. I feel like that’s what we need is coach Narduzzi. I feel like he’s the man for the job, not that coach Chryst wasn’t, obviously, but if anybody’s going to replace coach Chryst, it should be him."
"He came in there, cracked a few jokes and he was telling us how fired up he was to be there," freshman cornerback Avonte Maddox said.
"He said he was very glad he was here, and he was going to get it going for us. He was just firing us up, saying how he really appreciated the job offer and how he’s going to get us going."
Obviously getting positive reactions from the team, especially after they campaigned for Joe Rudolph to be hired, is a good thing. This group, especially the juniors and seniors, have simply had a revolving door of coaches, so I wouldn't have blamed them for having a sarcastic or apathetic response to a new coach. The young guys at least seem to want to take advantage of a new approach to Pitt football.
Narduzzi's meeting also gave some hints on what he plans to run on both offense and defense. Anson wrote about the expectations for both, and it seems his thoughts were reinforced by what Narduzzi told the Pitt players.
The best news to Conner, who was named an AFCA first-team All-American last week, was that Narduzzi plans to keep Pitt’s pro-style offense and maintain the emphasis on running the ball.
Narduzzi’s background is primarily defense, but Conner has no doubts that the two of them will get along just fine.
"He was talking about the defense and how he wants people to come up and force turnovers and run through people," Conner said. "He just sounds like my kind of coach."
Now, the part about Conner saying Narduzzi planned to keep a pro offense isn't backed up by an actual quote saying that, but this would certainly cut down on the number of potential offensive coordinator names for Narduzzi to hire. One name that has been floated around by some is the offensive coordinator for Nebraska, Tim Beck. He's a very well respected, and very well paid ($700k plus) coordinator, but runs a spread. Considering Nebraska running back Ameer Abdullah had 1600+ yards with 19 touchdowns this season, it's clear that offense can make the running game a focal point. It is, however, a spread which would seemingly rule him out if Narduzzi did indeed say the words "pro style" to the players.
Another name could be Don Treadwell. He was offensive coordinator for Michigan State from 2007 to 2010 until he was hired to be Miami of Ohio's coach after Pitt took Haywood (lol). He was fired last year, and served as the running backs coach of Kent State this year. The offense his last year at Michigan State was pretty good, and had a very balanced attack. He'll probably get a look from Narduzzi.
There will certainly be more names floated around for staff, and we will be exploring them more in the future so stay tuned.