Pitt lost this weekend to North Carolina to fall to 2-2 on the season. But while it was a game many felt the Panthers would win, head coach Pat Narduzzi doesn’t think this one came down to effort.
“I look at our kids’ attitude and their effort and the toughness they played with,” Narduzzi said, speaking at his weekly press conference. “You never question that out of our guys. They played their tails off until the end on the road, which it’s never easy to go on the road.”
“The biggest thing is are they giving you everything they’ve got, and our kids are playing hard.”
You might think that most coaches are going to say things like that. But Narduzzi isn’t exactly afraid to call out his guys for effort. Last year during training camp, for example, while he was pleased with the team’s attitude, he said early on that the effort was lacking. Generally, Narduzzi seemingly calls it like he sees it.
I know some might question that but I don’t dispute it. Pitt’s problems on Saturday looked to often be about some mental lapses or, particularly on defense, looking a bit confused at times in the secondary.
In looking back at the Penn State game, I think you could make a bigger case against throwing in the towel. Narduzzi, for the record, did not. But the Panthers proved they could play better in the first half and took a close game and made it one of the ugliest in recent memory. Maybe you make the case there that guys weren’t tuned in once they fell behind by a big margin. Saturday, though, I didn’t see any lack of effort. You can always look at the sidelines or a player on the field and maybe come to the conclusion that he’s a little disinterested, I suppose.
But I tend to agree with Narduzzi here that the effort didn’t seem to be the problem. To me, as it often was, it came down to not being able to stop an opponent’s passing attack, among other things like questionable special teams play.