Pitt notebook: Narduzzi focuses on building chemistry
Pitt offensive tackle Adam Bisnowaty usually believes everything coach Pat Narduzzi tells him.
But when Narduzzi said he was comfortable spending Monday night with his players in the old Sutherland Hall freshman dormitory on campus, he wondered: “I’m not sure where he slept.”
Narduzzi is staying with the team through the first days of training camp to get closer to his players. He said he wants “to see how they live, see what type of music they listen to in the evenings, what they are eating.”
Plus, there is plenty of football talk just before bed check and lights out at 10:45 p.m.
“If coaches love the players and players love the coaches, we will win some football games,” Narduzzi said. “That’s No. 1, getting our chemistry going. If we don’t know each other, we can’t play hard for each other.”
In the first weeks after accepting the job at Pitt, Narduzzi scheduled 15-minute meetings with every player, something all coaches do. But he said those meetings often turned into 30- and 40-minute conversations.
“I wasn’t going to cut anybody short,” he said.
The message to the new guy: The team needs better chemistry.
Bisnowaty said the result has been the emergence of more team leaders.
“Before, all the guys just looked up to one or two guys,” he said. “(Now) there are so many leaders, I can’t even name them all.”
Among them is wide receiver Tyler Boyd.
“He’s good at knowing what’s going on with people,” redshirt freshman wide receiver Elijah Zeise said.
“He’s a very good speaker. He keeps us going. He picks us up.”
Narduzzi said the team is becoming “bigger, stronger, faster” under strength coach Dave Andrews.
He said Andrews concluded that players seeking to gain weight added a total of 362 pounds in the offseason. An example of that is punter Ryan Winslow (6-foot-5, 210 pounds) hitting the overhead beams in the indoor facility.
He also said those wishing to lose weight dropped 230 pounds.
“We trimmed fat and put muscle on,” Narduzzi said. “When you look at our players, they look a little bit different.”
Redshirt freshman James Folston has changed positions, moving from middle linebacker to defensive end, where the team is short on numbers.
Narduzzi said the move was made to “give us more speed off the edge.”
“I gained 18 pounds (to 240) since I made the move,” said the 6-foot-3 Folston, who played “a little bit” of end at Cocoa (Fla.) High School.