It's the little things.
Pat Narduzzi's staff has yet to coach a game but there's already a growing swell of enthusiasm being injected into the program. That's almost always true when a new coach comes in, of course, but I think it's particularly true in Pitt's case.
Narduzzi is just getting a lot of people excited and while many were sorry to see Paul Chryst leave, there's just a lot of excitement about what the new coaching staff will do.
One point of interest is in recruiting and one of those little things I mentioned is what the program is doing in terms of spotlighting the coaching staff's pursuits. The Panthers' Facebook page recently had a map of where coaches were recruiting in Pennsylvania with the slogan 'Protecting our Turf'. And on Wednesday, the athletics department had an expanded map, 'On the Prowl', detailing efforts of the new coaches working the east coast.
You also might consider this a minor detail, but the Narduzzi signature on each of these (to me, anyway), makes this look like it was his call/idea. I wouldn't be surprised if he went to the athletics department to try to get something like this put together - and that, again, just speaks to his attitude and wanting to drum up interest. I remember back to one of his earlier interviews after his hiring and he talked about it being his job to get fans interested. Things like this (if it was, in fact, his idea) really seem to point to that not just being lip-service.
I could be wrong about this, but I don't remember anything like it from the Chryst era. The Panthers, of course, recruited, but Narduzzi really seems to emphasize it a lot more. As I wrote after he was hired, recruiting was one of the things he said he really enjoyed about college football, whereas I think the opposite was true for Chryst.
Then there's the Twitter focus. Chryst didn't even maintain a presence on Twitter, which, in this day and age is utterly preposterous. Narduzzi isn't only on Twitter, but is extremely active with his 'Pitt is it' tweets, indirectly hinting that the Panthers have scored a find.
He just gets it.
This isn't about making it a Narduzzi vs. Chryst comparison. There's a lot to be said for Chryst's steady and honest influence. But the interest and the enthusiasm surrounding the program now is so much more evident. Part of that was that the program is a little more stable now - when Chryst was hired, things were a mess. But a lot of it has to do with the attitude and fire Narduzzi brings to the table.
Getting back to the recruiting focus, you can also see it in the hires he made, bringing coaches in that were former recruiting coordinators. There's also the fact that he's getting guys that seem to be equally excited about recruiting as he is, such as Rob Harley.
Narduzzi's efforts paid off on Wednesday night as the Panthers landed a couple of very solid three-star recruits. First, there was Jay Stocker and a little later came the news that Shawn Curtis had committed.
We'll have to see where this goes and plenty of enthusiastic guys have flamed out to pretty short careers. But it's really hard not to like the attitude that Narduzzi and company are bringing to the program.