On Monday, Pitt head coach Pat Narduzzi held a press conference to talk about the Panthers loss to NC State and preview the upcoming matchup with Boston College. Here is what he said about the Eagles.
As part of his opening statement
Looking forward to the challenge of a good Boston College football team. Jeff Hafley, I’ve known Jeff for a while, I know he’s a former Pitt coach along with Frank Cignetti, two guys with Pittsburgh ties, so it’ll be personal to them. It’ll be personal for us.
Again, Jeff has got that team really on all three phases playing tough. Those defensive guys stick together, but it’s a tough, physical, well-coached football team on both sides and on special teams. That’s what you see out of them. They’re a good football team. They took North Carolina to the end. They fight back and beat a Texas State football team and really that’s the last two weeks, but really good football team.
Obviously on offense Cignetti runs it. Obviously got a ton of experience as an offensive coordinator. Phil Jurkovec is the guy throwing the ball. They are a lot more pass-oriented. They really want to throw the ball. It seems like with Phil and his arm he’s got a lot of confidence in his arm. They’re heavier pass, so we’ll have to tighten up our coverage a lot more from what it looked like last week. We’ll have to play a lot better at the No. 1 receiver because we got pushed off last week, so we’re going to have to fight into that and we’ll coach the heck out of that this week. That’s happened a few years back with Virginia Tech, and they came in on a Thursday night and we saw it.
We’ll probably see a lot more push-off, catch the ball the rest of the season, so we’ll coach it and get better at that and throw that on the coach’s plate as far as things we could have done better as we always, as coaches, take a lot of the blame as far as what happens in a game in any respect.
Really good offense. I mean, they’re — Zay Flowers is a wideout that’s really good. Their tailbacks are great. Tight end, No. 80, Hunter, is an exceptional player. He’s got like 48 targets on the year in three games, Hunter Long, that is. But I mean, he’s talented. He’s as good a tight end as you’re going to see; he’ll be playing on Sundays and be a first- or second-round pick I’m guessing based on the way he runs and makes plays.
I think that’s about it. Defensively they’re tough. Isaiah McDuffie, one of the linebackers, really stands out to you; Max Richardson, as well, two inside linebackers that make a lot of plays, pressure off the edge. They’re well-coached. Questions?
Q. This is a very different team than it was a year ago. Head coach, quarterback. Are there similarities now, things they do the same?
PAT NARDUZZI: There’s a lot of similarities. They run a lot of the same kind of run concepts. They like to — they run a pro play called the push play where they’re trying to get double teams and just really knock you back and see if they can just push the line of scrimmage. But it appears that they just kind of run the ball just to say they ran it, but they really want to throw the football. Like I said, we’re going to be really good in our pass defense. Structurally we’ll have to change a few things just to make sure that we secure our passing game.
Q. Does Phil Jurkovec play the way you expected him to play when you watched him in high school?
PAT NARDUZZI: No question about it. He’s got a quick release. He’s got a strong arm, he’s confident like he was in high school. He likes to take off running. If it’s not there, he’s taking off and you’ve got to use those legs. He’s a hard guy to get down. We’ve got to stress that he’s not going to just be dragged down to the ground. He bumps people off of them, he shakes them. He does not feel like he’s going down, so if we’re going to get to him we’ve got to get to him and we’ve got to get all of him down on the on the ground, so we’ll be live on the quarterback this week and we’ve got to get two hands on him. He’s not going down with one hand, that’s for sure. But he’s exactly what you thought.
They’ve done — Cignetti has done an outstanding job with him. He’s confident, he’s getting the ball out. They’re not giving up sacks. He’s throwing the ball and he looks really, really good. He’s a good football player. He’s just as good or better than what we faced last week as a quarterback, and I thought Leary was really good.
Q. You talked about the tight end Long right off the top. What do you need to fix or improve after giving up two touchdowns to the tight end last week?
PAT NARDUZZI: Play better coverage, get our hands on people, have better focus, better leverage, better eye control. But it comes down to eye control. Again, we were loose in coverage. We just didn’t play our football game.
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Transcript courtesy of Pitt Athletics