Pitt-Penn State game week is officially here. But if you were hoping to hear what the Panthers’ players are thinking about the game, you’re not likely to hear anything on the record.
That’s because head coach Pat Narduzzi declared access to players to be cut off. Pitt practices will also not be opened to the media (though, he has only allowed a small portion to be open in practices, anyway).
I know a lot of people have a problem with this. Chief among them, the media themselves who rely on access to players, in part, to generate content. But while I can understand their plight, count me in the group that has zero issue with this.
I’ve made this point in the past, but at the end of the day, Narduzzi is Pitt’s head coach. He has the right to give as much (or as little) access as he deems necessary. Sure, we can argue back and forth about what’s fair, etc., but that’s a decision he gets to make. His job, like the jobs of reporters, is always up for grabs. If this is how he determines his players will be able to keep the most focus, I’ve got no real issue with it.
Now, we can debate how effective this is. Just like we can debate if the practices always need to be mostly closed, if the scrimmages need to be closed, etc. Some of that, I think goes over the top in terms of not wanting anything out there. I’ve attended Pitt practice scrimmages in the past when Paul Chryst was coach and, well, there’s just not a whole lot there. Other than seeing players in action, that’s really the scope of it. But as I said then, whatever access Narduzzi wants to provide is ultimately his call.
I’ll also reiterate something I said on Twitter earlier today. If Pitt wins, there won’t be any complaints from fans. The media won’t be happy, but the fanbase won’t care one bit if they’re denied a Jordan Whitehead quote about playing Penn State if the Panthers come out on top on Saturday.