Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Narduzzi Lone Voice in Rivalry Battle Cry

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Narduzzi Lone Voice in Rivalry Battle Cry

Article excerpt

Pitt coach Pat Narduzzi will be the lone voice coming from the football team's locker room this week.

Penn State week is here.

That, Narduzzi said, means every minute will be devoted to preparing for the anticipated rivalry whose return is 16 years in the making and his team is on a kind of football-only lockdown.

"This one's a little bit different," Narduzzi said. "It's an in-state rivalry. It's ACC-Big Ten. Everybody in the country is going to be watching.

"The city of Pittsburgh, the state of Pennsylvania, there's going to be a lot of eyes."That's what makes it different . I'd like to be the only voice this week, eliminate all distractions."

Narduzzi made the announcement Monday at his weekly news conference, explaining that he will not permit players or assistant coaches to do interviews this week. Only him.

While no one cries for the media, it does say something about the magnitude of the game and the return of the rivalry.

"Every minute is important," Narduzzi said. "I want our guys to be locked in. It's an attitude for our football team right now to be able to do that. . When they come off that field, I'd rather them go right in the film room than have to spend . if it's three minutes [doing interviews], it might be three minutes that we missed."

Narduzzi, who grew up in nearby Youngstown, Ohio, said he vividly recalls the yearly tradition of Pitt-Penn State.

"As a little kid that was the game," he said.

But his players were just children the previous time the game was played - Sept. 16, 2000. Some freshmen born in 1998 were still toddlers.

"We're going to pound on that this week. It's something we haven't talked a whole lot about," Narduzzi said. "It's 16 years. I know when I first got into a major rivalry I didn't get it. I didn't get it the first year, but I got it the second year. …

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