Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Narduzzi Goes with Gut on Qbs

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Narduzzi Goes with Gut on Qbs

Article excerpt

The odds on Kenny Pickett not taking a single snap Saturday at Duke probably were been pretty low.

And if someone had told you Ben DiNucci wouldn't throw a single touchdown pass, you would have felt safe wagering on an appearance by the freshman who replaced him in a one-score game a week earlier.

But Pitt's 24-17 win against the Blue Devils was a rare occasion this season of coach Pat Narduzzi not making a quarterback change due to ineffectiveness at the position, and Monday he expounded a bit on his postgame explanation as to why.

"For a young guy like Kenny, everybody wants to get in, but the run game was going good. We weren't making mistakes, weren't turning the ball over, so I think that kind of goes with it," Narduzzi said, adding that he would've done the same if it were Pickett who started or even Max Browne, before his season was lost to injury.

"It's a matter of how things are going. It comes down to a feel thing. Do we need a spark? Do we need something else?"

One could argue Pitt's offense certainly needed a spark Saturday under DiNucci. He was 3 of 10 for 38 yards at halftime, and, by the fourth quarter, had thrown for just 55 yards. DiNucci's day ended up looking a lot better after passing for 94 yards in the final 15 minutes, when he was a bit sharper, but Narduzzi acknowledged there's still a long way to go.

"Happy with some of the run game stuff, not as happy with the pass-game stuff. I think we missed some plays. Gotta be a little more composed in the pocket, but that will come with time, too," he said.

Narduzzi also wasn't pleased with DiNucci being sacked three times but noted that Duke came in with 21 sacks on the season, and a team that brings that much pressure can make life tough for a young quarterback.

Asked if it feels good to have some stability under center, as well as at running back with breakout star Darrin Hall, Narduzzi cautioned that no one on the team can afford to get a "fat head" and that "it's all about what have you done for me today. …

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