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Pitt wants to avoid looking beyond Villanova to Penn State matchup

Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports

The phrase trap game usually gets used at least once or twice a year. Pitt has one right out of the gate as they face Villanova in the opener.

Now, the Wildcats aren't a complete pushover. And as I mentioned in the game preview on Monday, they are a preseason Top 25 FCS team. But the Panthers should defeat Villanova if they show up and the schedule gets unquestionably more difficult after that game.

The trap for Pitt, in this case, is looking to their Week 2 matchup with Penn State. First order of business for head coach Pat Narduzzi? Ignore all media type folk.

"We try and make sure they ignore you guys [the media]," Narduzzi said. "That's the first step. That's our job as coaches."

Seems simple enough. But as I wrote on Monday, Pitt has had problems staying focused against weaker non-conference opponents early in the year. The Pitt head coach, however, thinks they will be fine.

"Anything we've asked of our kids, they've done. I don't see it as a problem. I see a good football team coming in here and I think they need to see a good football team coming in here. They listen to what we say. I think they've bought in to what we do and how we do it, so I don't think that's going to be a problem."

"But it's always a concern."

For the record, I think Pitt will be fine here. As I mentioned earlier, there's no shortage of reasons to come out swinging here. But don't forget, this team wasn't perfect in the non-conference portion of the schedule last year, either. After all, Pitt held on for only an eight-point win against Youngstown State in their opener last year as the two teams traded scores the entire second half. Pitt needed a ton of offense to knock off the Penguins, who scored 24 points in those final two quarters.

In other words, Pitt needs to come out ready to play.

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