Narduzzi shares blame with Boyd
Surrounded by balloons and boosters, Pitt coach Pat Narduzzi was not shy about tackling the news of the day concerning his team.
The sixth stop on his Panther Prowl tour designed to raise support and funds for the Pitt football program took Narduzzi to the Chadwick in McCandless on Tuesday night.
Before he entertained football questions from a crowd estimated at about 250 people, Narduzzi addressed the issue of record-setting receiver Tyler Boyd’s arrest last week on DUI and other charges.
A preliminary hearing for Boyd has been scheduled for 9 a.m. Aug. 5 before District Judge Guy Reschenthaler of Jefferson Hills, according to Reschenthaler’s office.
Narduzzi did not speak of the charges directly, although he did call it an “unfortunate incident.”
In fact, he accepted some blame for what happened to Boyd, a 20-year-old junior from Clairton.
“I don’t really want to get it into it, but it’s a learning situation,” Narduzzi said. “The first person I look at is myself. What could I have done better?
“You always look at yourself. What can we do better as a staff and a head football coach. That’s everything we do. We talk all the time about making right choices. I’m a father of four. I feel for him. I feel for his family.”
Asked how he might approach possible punishment for Boyd, he said, “We are going to look at every case individually and address it that way.”
The Panther Prowl was Narduzzi’s idea from the outset. He initially brought up the idea to Jeff Gleim, Pitt’s associate vice chancellor for alumni relations, while at the Armed Forces Bowl in January. His plans for a $3.5 million renovation of the team’s practice facility also made it prudent to invite fans and donors. Gleim said the tour attracted more than 1,000 people to five previous sites — Washington D.C., New York, Philadelphia, Atlanta and Fort Lauderdale, Fla.
Narduzzi was joined Tuesday by basketball coach Jamie Dixon, athletic director Scott Barnes (on his second day on the job), offensive coordinator Jim Chaney and offensive line coach John Peterson.
He said the most frequent question he has received during question-and-answer sessions is a simple one: “Are you going to stay? That’s the big one.” The answer? “Yeah, I’m here. I’m here. It’s about getting the right people and getting the right fit and making it work.”
He said the question was not unexpected.
“It’s surprising, but it’s scars from having too many coaching changes,” he said. “It’s understood.”
He said the situation was “almost identical” in 2007 when he joined coach Mark Dantonio at Michigan State where the team had gone four years without a bowl berth.
“I remember walking into parties like this and people saying, ‘We’re glad you’re here. Please don’t leave.’ ”
Narduzzi pointed out another comment from a fan at a previous stop about past Pitt teams.
“He said, ‘Coach, I could tell they weren’t ready to go.’ ”
Narduzzi said, “We are going to be ready to go.”
He said he plans to develop an aggressive defense that will attack and blitz from a variety of areas.
“We are not going to sit on our heels,” he said. “We are going to get you.”
He also pointed out senior cornerback Lafayette Pitts has lost 17 pounds from last season.
“He looks better than he did before,” Narduzzi said.
Narduzzi will make his last Panther Prowl appearance Wednesday at the Hilton Garden Inn in Canonsburg.
Jerry DiPaola is a Tribune-Review pitt football reporter. You can contact Jerry at 412-320-7997, firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter .