PITTSBURGH (93-7 The Fan) — Out with the old and in with the new. Pitt’s spring football practice began on Sunday and first year head coach, Pat Narduzzi is pleased with what he has seen so far from the Panthers.
“Day one was a pretty good day and we will just keep stacking one on another and keep getting better,” Narduzzi said. “It was a lot of fun out there and a lot of enthusiasm.”
Pitt finished the last four regular seasons with a 6-6 record and last season the defense allowed an average of 26.3 points per game, ranking the Panthers 58th in Division I-A in scoring defense.
Narduzzi, a former defensive coordinator at Michigan State said he’s not concerned with Pitt’s former defensive struggles.
“It’s a fresh slate and it doesn’t matter what happened before it’s where we are now and that’s really the way we’ve started,” Narduzzi said.
Fifth year senior cornerback, Lafayette Pitts is all too familiar with starting spring football with a new head coach, but he said it can actually be a good thing to have to adapt to new coaches.
“It helps you because you have to prove yourself every year to new coaches to try to keep your spot or work for a new starting spot, so I think it’s a good thing sometimes,” Pitts said.
He’s also looking forward to having a defensive-oriented head coach for the first time in his collegiate career.
“You got a guy behind you that sees things the way you see things,” Pitts said. “He puts more pressure on us because he coaches the defense and likes the defense so it’s a good thing.”
On the offensive side of the ball the new coaching staff inherited plenty of skilled players including James Conner, the 2014 ACC Player Of The Year and first-team All-ACC receiver receiver Tyler Boyd. Chad Voytik is also returning at quarterback after a strong finish last season.
“They are a real competitive group of kids that’s what was obvious to me today, they want to go out there and be successful,” offensive coordinator Jim Chaney said. “We are trying to teach an offense and install plays we aren’t necessarily trying to go defeat our defense on day one.”
Voytik was also pleased with the energy and enthusiasm that he saw from the team on day one and he said his relationship with Chaney has grown over the last couple of months while he’s studied the new offense.
“I think it’s a staff that everyone’s going to really enjoy playing under and being coached by,” Voytik said. “If they like us, and we like them, it’s a good combination.”