PITTSBURGH, PA (WKBN)- In Ursuline grad Pat Narduzzi’s first weekly press conference as Pitt Panthers head coach, Narduzzi said that he has a ton of respect for YSU’s Bo Pelini and opening his career against Pelini and the Penguins is very special to him.
“It does but you can not let the emotions get to you. It is great to go out there and play against someone that you know and like I said I have a ton of respect for Bo, we went out and visited him probably five years ago because we are friends and talked ball for a few days,” said Narduzzi.
Saturday will be both coaches first game at their new schools, they faced off against one another several times while Pelini was at Nebraska and Narduzzi was the defensive coordinator at Michigan State. The two took the field against one another in high school as well. In 1984 Narduzzi’s Irish topped Pelini’s Cardinal Mooney team 35-0 for the Steel Valley Conference title.
“Clearly being Ursuline/Mooney it plays into it but you know what, when it comes down to it me and Bo aren’t going to play one down. We are just going to shake hands, a little hug pregame and let the players take it over.”
Narduzzi also spoke highly of Pitt freshman and Austintown Fitch grad Darrin Hall. The former Falcon is on the two-deep depth chart for the Panthers but sits behind reigning ACC Player of the Year James Connor, sophomore Chris James and redshirt freshman Qadree Ollison.
“Darrin has looked really good. He is a polished back, very intelligent, he is strong, physical, he has burst. We are excited to get him going and he is going to play for us this year. He has been on special teams as well, he is a guy that can do a lot of different things. Great hands out of the backfield so we are looking forward to getting him on the field,” said Narduzzi.
Pitt is 12-1 all-time against FCS schools. The only loss came in 2012 at the hands of Youngstown State at Heinz Field 31-17.