Narduzzi emphasizes smart and fast defense


In his first season as coach of Pittsburgh, Pat Narduzzi helped guide the Panthers to a surprising 8-5 record and a bowl game. Pitt received significant contributions from star freshmen Jordan Whitehead and Qadree Ollison — both of whom received honors for their on-field achievements.

Narduzzi, who has been coaching college football since 1990, had to deal with far more than just learning the ropes at a new school, though. Running back James Conner, the conference’s player of the year in 2014, missed almost all of last season while dealing with Hodgkin lymphoma. Narduzzi was there for Conner, who was cleared of cancer in May and is back after an emotionally filled calendar year.

The Pitt coach sat down with The David Glenn Show in Charlotte at the ACC Kickoff to talk football, life, the ACC Network and the challenge of elevating the program back up to where it was in the 1980s. When Narduzzi is around, you can bet he will have some philosophical thoughts on defense:

“A defense that we’d like to be known for is a fast and physical defense — that really knows what they’re doing. We have to have an element of intelligence on the field, and you just can’t play with guys running around there, not knowing what’s going on.”