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Notre Dame Football

Narduzzi Expects Pitt To Be Up For #3 Notre Dame

October 20, 2020

Pittsburgh has managed to knock off a couple of top-ranked teams under Pat Narduzzi’s leadership, upsetting #3 Clemson in 2016 and #2 Miami a year later.

The Panthers will have another chance at such a victory when #3 Notre Dame comes to town on Saturday.

“I wish I could tell you I had my magic wand underneath here,” the Pitt head coach joked with reporters on Monday afternoon. “It's not here today. I mean, there's no magic to it. It's getting your guys prepared mentally, physically. That's my job every week.”

Narduzzi is convinced his players will be ready on Saturday.

“We face a great Notre Dame team, #3 in the country, coming into our house, coming to Pittsburgh,” he said. “We know it's always been a good game, a game our kids will look forward to.”

But he also knows knocking off the Irish won’t be easy.

“They’re talented across the board; offensively, defensively,” he said. “They are big, strong and physical. A typical Notre Dame football team.”

Narduzzi noted Notre Dame’s multi-tight end base offense, highlighting Tommy Tremble as “a physical, great blocker.” 

He’s clearly impressed with the experience of the Irish’s offensive line.

“They’ve got 129 career starts up front,” he said. “I don't know if I've ever seen 129 combined career starts.

“They have a veteran O-line, and that's why they are running it a little bit more. I am sure we will see some RPOs and pop passes as talented as their tight ends are on some of the run game and the run/play-action pass. We'll work our tail off this week to make sure that stuff doesn't happen.”

Narduzzi doesn’t just see experience either, he sees talent.

“I added up the 129 starts, you guys should add up all the stars they got,” he said. “They're deep and physical.”

He’s familiar with a few of the Irish players who are from Pennsylvania, including offensive lineman Robert Hainsey and Josh Lugg.

“Josh Lugg, as good as he is, he's backing up over there, which is amazing,” said Narduzzi.

He’s also familiar with defensive tackle Kurt Hinish.

“They rotate a lot of guys up front, but he's a starter,” Narduzzi said. “He's tough and physical and smart. He reads blocks well. He's a really good football player. They’ve got a bunch of four and five-star football players on that team.” 

Narduzzi is familiar with Clark Lea dating back to the Irish defensive coordinator’s days as an assistant with Syracuse and Wake Forest.

“Up front, they’re just very sound across the board,” said Narduzzi. “Their safeties are active like our safeties are, so they make a lot of tackles. We're going to have to play our best to get a 'W' on Saturday.”

While heights and weights can often be inflated on rosters, Narduzzi thinks it goes the other way with the Irish.

“I look at some of the depth chart, I think they have all their freshman/freshman year in high school heights and weights. That guy ain't 6-2, he's 6-4.

“I’m going to see if (Brian) Kelly will give us some exact heights and weights on these guys because sometimes they look bigger than sometimes the numbers tell you.”

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