Big Game

Pitt Soccer Opens 2023 Coaching Camp


PITTSBURGH—Pitt opened its 2023 coaching camp on Wednesday on the UPMC Rooney Sports activities Advanced on the South Facet. The Panthers practiced within the morning and held media day actions within the afternoon, that includes a press convention with head coach Pat Narduzzi and availability with all assistant coaches and key gamers.

A transcript from Narduzzi’s press convention may be discovered beneath.

Observe Pitt Soccer on social media @Pitt_FB for updates all through this system’s 2023 camp.


Pat Narduzzi Press Convention Transcript | August 2, 2023

PAT NARDUZZI: Good afternoon. It is nice to have you ever again. Hope you guys had a terrific summer time. Like I stated, it is good to be in August. It is soccer season.

We welcomed our guys again, though they have been right here all summer time, yesterday afternoon. Had conferences all day lengthy. I imply, we had conferences from 1:30 to eight:30 final evening, however our guys have been able to play some ball right this moment.

Simply total, bodily I believe we got here into camp wholesome as may be. (Beat reporter) Jerry (DiPaola), you have been going to ask the well being query, so I figured I might give it to you early. However we’re wholesome and doubtless as quick and as sturdy as we have been.

I am not going to undergo every power, however whenever you have a look at it even in comparison with final yr and 2021, simply our common squat by place and bench and all these numbers, you type of go, ‘Whoa.’ So we have a robust soccer group. I believe we have a quick soccer group. I had a few 4.2s throughout summer time. I really feel good with the place we’re proper now.

Obtained primary (follow) beneath our belt right this moment. It is good to see the place you’re. We now have to interrupt from the dangerous habits within the July work the place they’re doing it by themselves and we will not coach them. So we’re within the enterprise of breaking dangerous habits now in August.

The children labored laborious right this moment. Once more, you get achieved with follow, and so they’re like, ‘Coach, that was quick. It is already over?’ So I believe we’re simply in actually fine condition and searching ahead to teaching these guys the remainder of the yr.


Q. What are you in search of within the first week of summer time camp? Are you simply trying to see who’s rusty from spring, who’s not? What are you in search of as an analysis?

PAT NARDUZZI: I really feel like they’re all rusty. They have not actually performed actual soccer since spring ball, for the reason that spring sport. Placing on a helmet, placing on their spider pads, no matter it might be, simply enjoying the sport and getting coached laborious.

I’d say all people is slightly bit rusty. It takes time to get within the groove. Whether or not it is a quarterback or a D-lineman, it is all the identical. It takes time to get precisely what we would like. Put it this fashion. If these guys may coach themselves in July, they would not want us. It could be like that A.I. stuff that is occurring proper now. They’d simply get coached by robots or no matter.

They want us. They’re all type of slightly bit rusty, I’d say. Hopefully there’s not an excessive amount of rust. Hopefully it is just a bit metal wool, we clear it up actual fast and polish it up and prepare to go and preserve getting higher.

Q. You guys received 5 video games to shut your season off. When you might have a lot time without work, does momentum exist?


PAT NARDUZZI: I’d say there isn’t any momentum from the place we ended the season. It is at all times nice to finish on a excessive observe, however we’re not carrying that in, going — I do not assume they are going, ‘Hey, we’re 5-0. Let’s go 6-0.’ I believe that is been lengthy gone.

Q. You had guys going again to final yr, with a quarterback that is used to your offensive coordinator, how way more do you begin with? What you are engaged on with the set up from final summer time to now, how a lot sooner will your installs be?

PAT NARDUZZI: I believe the set up can be sooner. Any time you might have a quarterback and coordinator that work collectively — I am watching Christian Veilleux on the market right this moment, I am like, whoa. Simply his second time going out in that second part — he went via spring ball. I assumed he regarded actually, actually sharp right this moment as properly.

It is like, oh, he seems to be slightly totally different. I sat him (Veilleux) down after follow and stated, ‘Hey, you are feeling slightly higher proper now than you probably did heading into spring ball?’ He goes, ‘Lots higher.’ Simply the terminology and the arrogance.

I believe for certain that is what Phil (Jurkovec) had within the spring. Once more, that is each place. Everyone must be slightly bit extra comfy.

Q. You talked about just lately the preliminary expertise disparity from whenever you first arrived at Pitt to now. What’s the greatest distinction between that group whenever you acquired right here and this group now?

PAT NARDUZZI: That is a terrific query. We may put some tape on. Put 2015 there and 2022 there. It is simply quite a lot of totally different. You have a look at it, it simply seems to be slower. It seems to be smaller. It simply seems to be completely — I imply, completely totally different. It is evening and day.

Perhaps it is the digicam man. Perhaps the digicam man is older and wasn’t so good again within the day and he is lots higher now.

Simply the expertise stage is healthier than what it was. That’sno disrespect to a few of the guys we had enjoying for us as a result of we had some good gamers. It simply looks as if prime to backside, you are watching guys on the market right this moment, and it is a totally different — I really feel higher this yr simply these guys operating round like, oof, it is a fairly good soccer group.

You guys inform me. You guys walked on the market. You have been there again in 2015. If you watched follow then and whenever you watch it now, there’s slightly little bit of a distinction now, I believe.

Q. You guys added some gamers from the portal after spring ball. How would you say their course of and getting built-in has gone to date?

PAT NARDUZZI: You’d have to inform me who they’re. I do know Epps was one among them.


Q. And Jackson Brown .

PAT NARDUZZI: Jackson Brown . When you aren’t getting spring ball in, they’re beginning at floor zero actually. We have seen each of them do some good issues via the summer time. We’re not on the market. We’re not watching them in July. You are getting very restricted alternatives to even see what they will do.

I do know Coach ‘Stacc’ (Stacchiotti, power coach) is happy with what they did numbers-wise and the work and energy they put in within the weight room. In order that can be — is it Jackson Brown , Malcolm Epps ? Is that it?

Q. Sure. You talked about — you discuss NIL and the switch portal lots. Now that it is the development, you talked about the wage cap.

PAT NARDUZZI: Once more, once I say wage cap, the NFL has it. I am not saying the wage cap must be down right here (low). It may very well be $20 million we are able to spend. I do not care what it’s, however get one thing the place everyone knows that is what now we have to be at. I might like to enter (athletic director) Heather (Lyke) and say, ‘Hey, all people else has acquired 20, so we want $20 million.’ That is it. What are we going to do?

To not know what all people’s doing, you are sitting there guessing. You do not know what it’s. It is laborious to design. Hey, guess what, we have 85 scholarships. I need to ensure that I’ve acquired 85. What in the event that they stated, you may have as many scholarships as you need, the place does it finish? What number of have you learnt you may take or what number of you may’t take? Everyone who desires 125 scholarships can have 125 scholarships?

That is what I am speaking about. Once more, regulation, I would like them to make as a lot cash as they will, however we have to place a lid on it so all people is aware of what the restrict is. There’s limits to every part. Your spouse, Jerry, most likely limits what you may spend. She most likely offers you $100 per week. There’s acquired to be a restrict someplace.

Q. What concerning the — wage cap is one factor, however are you telling me you are at an obstacle as a result of there is no such thing as a regulation proper now?

PAT NARDUZZI: I do not know. I could not inform you how a lot of an obstacle we’re at. There’s disadvantages throughout the nation. It would not be simply us. However the extra fannies you set within the stands, the extra alumni that you’ve. In the event you’ve acquired 17,000 alumnus — take into consideration if each alumnus gave 100 bucks what you could possibly have. All that stuff issues. There’s acquired to be some restrict.

Q. Has that elevated since you have been right here with new donations and stuff like that?

PAT NARDUZZI: Oh, yeah. Speak to (Pat) Bostick about that. He is accountable for main items. Get him up right here afterwards.

Q. How essential is group tradition every time — like retaining in thoughts what occurred at Northwestern this yr, how essential is it to have sturdy tradition in your locker room?

PAT NARDUZZI: Simply Chicago, it is actually sturdy. I can not inform you they did not have sturdy tradition there as a result of I’ve acquired a ton of respect for Pat Fitzgerald, what he does and who he’s as an individual.

However the sturdy tradition, doing issues the fitting means and staying on it. We had conferences yesterday. That is no totally different than we had in 2015, speaking about Title IX stuff, hazing, all that stuff. I can pull out a guide from 2015 that we undergo with all our guys and it is talked about on a regular basis.

We remind our guys what’s occurring, whether or not it is a playing factor occurring out at Iowa State, no matter it’s, I am at all times retaining our guys within the know. Our guys are on TikTok, Instagram. They don’t have any clue what occurred at Iowa State yesterday with the 26 violations or no matter you need to name it on the market.

I am at all times informing our guys what is going on on so that they’re conscious, like good factor we do not do this. It is only a fixed reminder. However having an excellent tradition, you have simply acquired to maintain it going as a result of it is daily.

Q. Do you are feeling slightly dissatisfied that you must inform children that hazing is dangerous? These children are adults now, if you’ll.


PAT NARDUZZI: That is our job. I do not really feel — it is our job. It is every part. We have a bunch — yesterday I had three or 4 guys, and I stated, ‘Who’s 17 years outdated in right here?’ We have 4 guys within the again, like holy cow. We have 17 to 22 years outdated or generally 24 or 25, no matter it’s. That is our job. That is what we’re right here for.

Dad and mom drop their sons off to varsity, it is like, hey, we will maintain your son. We’ll take it to the subsequent step. Various things occur, and also you get put into some tradition, and in the event that they’re doing one thing fallacious, children assume it is the fitting method to do it and it is not as a result of that is what they did earlier than and that is what they did earlier than.

That is our job. I actually do consider that. It is not simply teaching soccer. We have to verify they go to class. Do you assume it is unhappy we pay in your faculty and we nonetheless acquired to be sure to go to class?

Jerry (DiPaola), you most likely skipped. Billy (Hillgrove) skipped class most likely again within the day.

That is our job. It is every part. It is not simply coach soccer and Xs and Os.

Q. This time of yr, quite a lot of coaches prefer it as a result of you might have a lot time together with your gamers earlier than lessons begin, no matter. You get that tradition in place. Just like the Steelers, they have been going to St. Vincent for 50-some years. Have you ever thought-about taking these guys someplace to camp? What are the advantages of doing that?

PAT NARDUZZI: We have considered it. There’s some groups which have gone away. I’ve gone — after we have been at Cincinnati, we used to go to Camp Increased Floor.

If you get on the market, I will always remember sitting in a lodge room with the defensive employees like one among them Motel 6 lodge rooms. I am sitting there — no disrespect to Motel 6, however simply it was like what are we doing right here? The cameras are dangerous. The display screen falls down. It is simply all that.

Like when you might have this facility that we get to work with on daily basis, I do not assume twice about going anyplace. You are simply transferring your entire operation. The final week earlier than, you are watching the Steelers transfer all their weight room on the market, transfer every part on the market. To maneuver every part on the market, you’d need to have amenities already set. You would not need two amenities, if you would like one at Johnstown, for instance.

Our amenities are so good right here. We have the very best meals on the earth right here. We’ll go some place else, they’ll feed us what? Our children could be like, ‘Coach, what are we doing right here?’ We do put them within the lodge down the road. They’ve faculty lessons till Saturday. As soon as class is out, they transfer into the lodge like 16, 17 days.

Q. It is mainly replicating that form of camp really feel however perhaps a extra comfy setting? I am certain Motel 6 could be enjoyable for you, however perhaps not productive.

PAT NARDUZZI: Little doubt about it. We now have the very best right here. I keep in mind Camp Increased Floor, we did not have air-con. It was camp. We’re not in search of day camps. We need to attempt to win soccer video games.

The well being and security of our children, how they sleep, how they eat, how they’re handled, the chilly tubs — simply all of the amenities now we have and all of the restoration stuff, you may’t take every part that now we have right here and the standard now we have right here and transfer it some place else. It would not be the identical.

Q. Your group is picked to complete tied for sixth within the ACC within the preseason ballot, is that one thing that provides you a chip in your shoulder or one thing your group isn’t even conscious of?


PAT NARDUZZI: They’re most likely not conscious of it. I do not know in the event that they observe the ACC. E.J. (Borghetti) most likely is aware of higher than me.

I hope it places a chip on their shoulder. We have by no means been picked to be first. It is the identical factor as final yr, identical factor because the yr earlier than, besides now it is, I suppose, sixth within the whole ACC with one division now, I suppose, could be like being third within the Coastal. So I suppose we’re excellent the place they at all times put us.

Q. Is that irritating? Since you guys have had some success with profitable within the convention since you bought right here. But it appears to be the identical tune and dance each August, folks perhaps not recognizing that you’ve got improved right here considerably within the final eight or 9 years.

PAT NARDUZZI: Everyone thinks — once more, with out mentioning names, all people thinks that they are higher than you. That is type of how it’s. There’s another actually good packages on the market. Whether or not you beat them or not, we will be higher this yr. We have been dangerous final yr, however we will be higher this yr. All of them have excuses of why they did not win. We simply preserve plugging away.

Everyone believes the reasons and ranks them up increased, no matter. We simply preserve enjoying soccer. Our job is to win one sport at a time, as you guys know, and simply coach our soccer group and attempt to be good in August right here. As soon as September 2nd comes round, present folks what we acquired.

Q. Has the portal modified the way in which recruiting within the sense that now when a man commits, he goes elsewhere, there’s at all times that probability that they may come again. Or did you at all times preserve tabs on guys that you simply have been in on and went elsewhere in case they’d a change of coronary heart?

PAT NARDUZZI: I believe the portal modifications — it is all about relationships, whether or not you are available in first or second. Typically you are available in first and also you get the man. Typically you are available in second. It is the way you finish that relationship when a child commits — I at all times say that, when a child commits some place else, Congratulations toyou. Good luck. You are going to be a terrific participant there, and type of let it go.

A child from Pittsburgh, like M.J. Devonshire , when he goes and comes again, it is a simple recruit. Jackson Brown , one we have talked about, I do not assume they talked to Jackson Brown as properly. He did not come go to. Like M.J. went away and got here again, he did not go to the second time. I am coming to Pittsburgh. That is the place I ought to have been to start with, and he performed at Cal.

These examples with simply good relationships that generally you get them the second time round. These are ones that we would like as a result of we all know who they’re as folks, and once more, we belief our analysis the primary time.

Q. Can that enable you on the recruiting path regionally you can level to guys which might be excessive profile guys regionally like, ‘Hey, we had guys that went elsewhere and ended up coming again.’ Is {that a} helpful factor for this system?

PAT NARDUZZI: No query about it. We’ll attempt to stay off that man, whether or not it is New Jersey, New York, Ohio, or clearly within the space right here. We’ll attempt to get these guys again in the event that they find yourself going within the portal.

Q. Is there a man in your line of defense proper now that you could possibly lean on extra as a pacesetter? That is most likely the group who’s had the least quantity of gamers that you simply guys have had for the reason that COVID years on a roster.

PAT NARDUZZI: There’s a couple of of them, nevertheless it actually begins inside actually. I’d say David Inexperienced and Devin Danielson are two of the fellows. And actually Tyler Bentley stepped up. He is actually, actually grown up via the years. These could be the three guys I have a look at proper now. These are the three guys inside which might be actually the leaders of that.

Perhaps David Inexperienced could be the primary man proper now. I do know David Inexperienced is on our management council. Devin, I do not assume is, however Devin is a vocal man, and he is bodily. He leads by instance on the sector. So I’d say these two guys for certain are guys which might be main up entrance.

Q. Pat, I do know you say each place is up for grabs in camp, however what are some huge beginning place battles that you simply guys have occurring proper now? I believe you talked about guard on the ACC Kickoff final week. Is there something on the defensive aspect of the ball?

PAT NARDUZZI: They’re in all places, however I might say should you had to have a look at a few of the hottest contested locations, I might say the guard place for certain. However you realize what, Branson Taylor has acquired — I am simply watching a Bangally (Kamara) rush off the sting right this moment. We might higher tighten up over there as a result of Bangally type of wrecked the interval right this moment. He is 230 kilos, like somebody had higher know the place No. 11 is. So that you have a look at that guard spot, however like all people’s acquired to return out and follow and do this.

There’s nonetheless competitors at quarterback. You have acquired Rodney (Hammond) again there, however C’Bo (Flemister) is a extremely good soccer participant, Derrick Davis, Daniel Carter . There’s quite a lot of competitors in who’s getting the reps.

If you’re depth charts generally, there’s not a, hey, these are the highest 11 gamers. They’re fluid these days. You can nearly say there’s 16 or 17 starters on offense. You have a look at Gavin (Bartholomew) and Karter Johnson — Gavin Bartholomew and Johnson and Malcolm Epps , these three guys there, and Jake Renda , it simply retains getting higher. So there’s 4 tight ends which might be actually athletic now.

Receiving corps, I believe we all know who our prime two are with Konata (Mumpfield) and Bub (Means), however who’s going to be that third receiver, fourth receiver, fifth receiver? We have 4 true freshmen which might be all proficient. We noticed Issy ( Israel Polk ) within the spring, Lamar Seymore within the spring. Swiftly, Kenny Johnson comes into city. Zion (Fowler-El) had a heck of a day right this moment, I believe — he is a soccer participant — Fowler-El. So that you watch that, and you are going, oof.

A kind of freshmen goes to play for us, perhaps two. I do not know which one it may be, however they’ll play this season for us. There’s that competitors.

D-end there’s competitors. D-tackle, you have acquired some older guys in there that we talked about earlier with the management half they’re doing good. Linebacker, Brandon George is preventing to be that starter on the Mike or the boundary linebacker. Solomon DeShields , he is nonetheless preventing to hold on. Kyle Louis performed spring ball, and he is preventing to be a type of guys that is getting reps.

At security, most likely a serious battle, security spot with Javon (McIntyre) and Steph Corridor, all of these. There’s 4 or 5 guys that I do not know, like who’s going to play and who’s going to begin. It is broad open for my part. I’d say the primary man proper now’s Javon McIntyre at security.

Then the punter state of affairs with (Jeff) Yurk and (Caleb) Junko is a contest there too.

It is actually every part. I gave you each place, sorry.

Q. You talked about competitors at quarterback. Is that to begin or simply to play?

PAT NARDUZZI: I’d say it is competitors. It is good. Youlook on the spring ball, and also you assume Phil’s the man. However any time you go into the season, you look and assume, hey, who’s getting higher? Whether or not it is quarterback or nook or security, our children sit within the entrance row and the again row, these children know who the starters are. It is laborious to idiot them, yeah, that man’s a starter. Boy, did he have a (crappy) day right this moment.

They watch videotape too. Typically they watch it two or 3 times. Typically I will solely watch it two occasions. They watch it extra that I do. They’ve extra free time, the place I used to be busy placing out fires. They know who they’re.

There’s competitors at each place. There’s competitors within the NFL. There’s competitors.

Q. You are one of many few groups within the Energy 5 that can schedule — you guys have two Energy 5 opponents and Notre Dame in your nonconference schedule. You guys prefer to schedule ambitiously. Is there a cause why you prefer to schedule Energy 5 as an alternative of non-Energy 5 conferences?

PAT NARDUZZI: I will play anyone they need to play. It does not actually matter. Our children get fired as much as play huge video games, however should you instructed me we will play 4 powder puffs, I do not care, simply give them to me.

One of many huge causes is scheduling. We discuss promoting season tickets, who desires to see 4 FCS groups are available in right here? Is that what we’re paying for? Wait till October or November to get some single sport tickets. I believe that is one of many issues that comes out. You need to put thrilling groups on this stadium, on this metropolis to indicate off what we acquired and the way we match up with all these groups.

Ultimately, some folks have perhaps prettier information, however like who’s enjoying actual groups and who’s not? The folks that may measure that, that is nice. However they at all times say on the finish of the yr, they do not care who you beat. It is what number of wins you might have. They do not care whether or not you beat no one or beat anyone.

Q. What are your expectations for Dayon Hayes ?

PAT NARDUZZI: Identical to they’re for everyone else. We anticipate Dayon to be a extremely good soccer participant. Preserve getting higher, be constant. In the event you ask Dayon what I inform him on daily basis, consistency. Do not be a terrific participant right this moment and take a time without work tomorrow.

To me it is about consistency. I by no means needed to discuss to Calijah Kancey about consistency. He simply acquired it on daily basis. So to me, we would like him to be constant. We expect he may be actually good, nevertheless it’s on daily basis going to work and placing within the effort.

Q. I do know it is all spring follow and right this moment, however what do you want from every of the quarterbacks to date?

PAT NARDUZZI: What do I like from the quarterbacks to date?

Q. Sure.

PAT NARDUZZI: I suppose very first thing you like about Phil is Phil has acquired expertise. He is performed in huge video games. He kicked our butt a pair years in the past throughout COVID up there, and he is aware of the offense probably the most in that room.

Christian, you like the way in which he throws it. He is a competitor. I simply see him main out on the sector slightly bit extra. I see him slightly bit extra comfy. Once more, that is simply in the future, simply listening him discuss to the opposite guys, whether or not it is receiver or tight finish.

Clearly Phil has these management expertise. Nate Yarnell is a man that is robust and he is a gamer. He continues to get higher. There’s nice issues to love about all people and issues you have to work on with all people.

Q. Is Eli Kosanovich in your teaching employees?

PAT NARDUZZI: Eli is a pupil coach proper now. Good eyeball there.

You guys know, they modified that rule, and I will give Heather Lyke on the FOC (Soccer Oversight Committee), often we are able to carry 100 heading into camp, and the NCAA did the fitting factor. We type of acquired, I believe, emergency laws to usher in 120. So we acquired 10 additional gamers this yr.

We labored laborious on the ACC stage, Dave Clawson labored laborious, in addition to I did, making calls and simply making an attempt to determine all of it out. However we acquired it to 120, and Heather is the chair of that committee, and he or she pushed it. We did not assume it was going to undergo, and we acquired it.

Our children have been so excited as a result of there’s 12 months in a yr. For 11 months out of the yr, we are able to have 117 to 120 gamers on our group. Then when August comes round, crucial month of soccer, we must inform — I’d have needed to inform 10 guys in the event that they stored the rule the identical — and it did change per week in the past, ten days in the past — if it stayed the identical, I must minimize 10 guys. When faculty begins in September, we are able to carry again seven to every group. That is dangerous information.

That is not good for the psychological state of those children. A few of these children would possibly switch, we have had others switch previously. I am not coming to camp? I am going within the portal, and I will switch. I do not blame them.

It is a main change. What’s it, one other couple rooms within the lodge? Actually what are we speaking about? Admire all of the laborious work that Heather put in to get that achieved for school soccer. Clearly the Energy 5 groups wished it. A number of the Group of Fives did not need it as a result of it’s perhaps extra money for them. That is why generally there’s Group of 5 and Energy 5. Then you definately guys do not carry them in. Allow us to carry it in.

It was a terrific rule. Once more, it helps with the well being and security of your gamers since you’ve acquired extra guys. If a place will get damage, you bought guys down, you bought extra to place in there. You’ll be able to follow nonetheless. If somebody will get damage, you then begin to wear down the opposite guys behind them and so they get damage too, and you then actually find yourself in a jam.

It is a optimistic, and it is nice for these guys to be in right here. Speaking concerning the tradition, we sit in right here all day yesterday speaking about all the principles and the expectations of soccer, after which you do not have ten guys there. Then when faculty begins, you usher in different guys. You do not have time. You’ll be able to’t replicate what we did yesterday. These are lengthy conferences.

To have all people in that assembly listening to identical precise phrases, they know what now we have as coaches for expectations. That is one other enormous bonus is having all people. There’s no one going to be on our group come September that is not already been in that room.

Q. You talked concerning the offensive line. What concerning the two Ryans— Ryan Jacoby and Ryan Baer ? The place do they slot in?

PAT NARDUZZI: Baer will get work at each left guard and left sort out. Jacoby will get work at each left guard and left sort out and see the way it shakes down. We’ll discover the very best folks there. What higher time to search out out is the protection, all of the various things we do, we’ll discover out earlier than the season who’s the very best 5.

Q. How do you envision a floor sport? Would you like Rodney to be your lead man? Do you need to unfold that round?

PAT NARDUZZI: I need to discover out throughout fall camp and discover out the place they’re. We all know Rodney’s an excellent participant. I believe C’Bo is an effective participant too. We’ll discover out. We have a two-headed monster again there, that is nice too.

Once more, we had that final yr actually with Izzy (Abanikanda) and Rodney. Then when Rodney acquired damage, type of modified slightly bit. So we’ll see.

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