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Narduzzi: 'A good day overall'

MORE HEADLINES - Video: Narduzzi on the first day of spring camp | Slideshow: The first day of camp | Spring camp video: QBs on the first day | News and notes from the first practice | PODCAST: Getting ready for spring camp

Pat Narduzzi talked about Kenny Pickett, secondary moves and more on Monday. Here’s a full rundown of everything he said after Pitt’s first practice of spring camp.

Narduzzi: It was good to get day number one in after a long spring break for our guys; they had some time off to recover from our fourth-quarter workouts. But really happy with Day One. They did a nice job. A lot of good carry-over from where we were in the fall. I think, football-wise, we’re a long way from where I thought we were even a year ago, mentally, especially at the quarterback position. But a good day overall.

You mentioned the quarterback; you haven’t really been shy about saying Kenny’s your guy. Was it important to make that clear from the start?
Narduzzi:
You know, we’ve been impressed with him. Kenny is our guy. But he’s going to get pushed. There’s competition. I can say Seun Idowu is our starting Star and you can do that with every other position: ‘He’s our starting outside linebacker,’ but, you know, there’s guys that are going to push you. Same thing with Zeise. I don’t think it’s any different.

I can’t say those two are both one’s right now; Kenny is clearly the number-one guy. But I’ll tell you what, Ricky Town does some nice things here. He’s got a nice arm. You guys will be impressed when you get to watch him throw the ball around.

Obviously, any new year there are a lot of familiar faces that are gone and some new ones stepping in; what do you think is this team’s identity going into 2018?
Narduzzi:
You know, we’ll find out. I think that’s what we’re trying to find out right now, trying to look at the chemistry. Today we had Avonte Maddox and Jaryd Jones was here, Jordan Whitehead’s at practice today. So they left but they still come back, which is a good thing. I wish we could get them out on the field.

But we’ll find out who we are, I think, as this spring goes on and into offense. I think you find out who your identity is by personnel on both sides of the football.

As you head into this, how close do you feel you are to the type of kid and the type of mentality you want for this program?
Narduzzi:
I think we’re getting closer. We’ll see. You lose some ones that have that attitude, like Avonte Maddox; we want everybody to have that Avonte Maddox attitude. But I think every year is a new team. I think we had some tough players last year and guys who played with an attitude, and I don’t think that really changes. I think every year it’s who steps into those roles.

What’s it like having four new coaches on the staff, just getting everybody on the same page?
Narduzzi:
To be honest with you, four new coaches, pretty smooth, smoother than you would think. But I think we did a great job of prepping them and really the entire staff. I think you coach your coaches just like you coach your players. It’s Day One: don’t assume anything. Don’t assume that, ‘Oh, I thought you knew that, I forgot to tell you that.’ We pretty much detailed in that way, even after some time away last week. Our guys were on top of it. We were pretty organized today.

What can you learn about your team through these drills?
Narduzzi:
It’s like I said to the team this morning: we’re going to find out who the new players are, who the new guys are. Everybody’s getting better…that’s what we’re working on. I think the interesting thing is the coaches to find out where we have gotten better, what guys are doing better and how far we’ve come from a year ago.

You had a couple moves in the secondary with Therran Coleman and Paris Ford - what led to each of those?
Narduzzi:
It’s just kind of trying to get your best 11 on the field. I don’t think there’s anything to it. Paris could go back and be a safety in a second. Therran can go back and be a corner. It’s kind of, ‘Where do we want to start?’ All four of those guys back there, corners and safeties, should know every one of those spots. Paris is learning both. Therran knows both already, he’s played corner and moved to safety. It’s just trying to get our guys where we think they best fit right now for us.

With so many guys back from last season, how often do you point to how you guys closed last year against Miami? Or do you just turn the page?
Narduzzi:
Well, we’re turning the page. And I think you use something to look at, that last game against Miami, about what we did in that game. But what matters is what we did in practice today and we want to stack practice on practice here, stack number two on top of number one and find out where we are. I think we ended the right way but we have to start the right way and finish it the right way next year, too.