Panther-lair - Narduzzi 'a little disappointed' by the first day in pads
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Narduzzi 'a little disappointed' by the first day in pads

Pat Narduzzi wasn't impressed with what he saw on the first spring practice in pads. Here's what he said after Thursday's practice.

What were your impressions of the first day of full pads and hitting?
Narduzzi: It was soft. I thought it was soft. I was a little disappointed. We had a good day and we got better, but usually, that first day, you’ve got guys going crazy. I probably shouldn’t say that without looking at the tape first, because sometimes you look at it and it comes out looking pretty clean, but it just wasn’t as crisp as you’d like it to be. But it got crisper through the day, that’s for sure.

With the relative level of experience on each side of the ball, would you expect the defense to be ahead at this point in time?
Narduzzi: You would think so. You would think so, but you never know. I was impressed today, and I’ll go back and watch the tape. We had a couple of thud periods and a couple of live periods, but I was impressed with our offense and the way they ran the ball, just doing some different things. I think our O-line played good. I know that young part of the O-Line, everyone’s talking about, ‘Oh gosh, what’s gonna happen there?’ But I thought the run game is probably pretty good. We still got some things to clean up with the pass game, but I was impressed with how we ran the ball and what we did offensively. That was really good to see. I’d say the offense is ahead in the run, defense is ahead in the pass.

What did you see from the O-line?
Like I said, I thought they did a nice job in the run game, in the pass game, you still got a lot of work to do. We did a two-minute at the end, and there was probably had more pressure on the quarterback than you’d want. You try not to put yourself in a two-minute situation and it’s hard to run the ball in that period. I was impressed with the way we ran the ball. The run blocking, we seem to be moving a lot faster where we’re going.

Do you feel like you have some depth there even if you don’t necessarily have a lot of experience, you have a lot of guys that could be fits for those three open spots?
Narduzzi: You talking about the O-Line?

I feel like we got some young guys. We don’t have a lot of experience, we don’t have a lot of game reps, but we have some talent there. I really believe we have talent with (Carson) Van Lynn and Gabe Houy and Bryce Hargrove. I’m probably going to miss a lot of guys over there. There’s a lot of guys who have opportunities to make plays.

(Alex) Bookser still remains the wild card, right? The guy who could fit in anywhere?
He’s wherever we need him to go. He can probably play there. We try not to make him play all, but we gotta play him with everyone coming in, and where we put him, we’ll figure that out.

What have you seen from Dewayne Hendrix so far this spring?
Narduzzi: Dewayne’s had a great spring so far, three days, first day in pads. But him and James Folston, the one thing I’ve noticed the last couple of days is just their get-off. Folston used to be the slowest guy off the ball. We already know he’s fast, maybe one of the fastest guys on the team. Folston has to get off the ball and his get-off is much faster than it used to be. Dewayne is the same way. I’m not surprised, but very pleased with what I’m seeing right now.

Was it nice to see George (Aston) out hitting people?
Narduzzi: Well George, he’s the energy. He’s the energy bus. Besides being a good football player, those things, and being tough, I think he brings guys together. Having him in that huddle, there’s a lot of things we can do offensively. He’s a difference maker.

I saw on Twitter you had Maurice Clarett in to speak to the guys.
Narduzzi: Yes we did. Yes we did.

What was that like?
We got a thing called Developing Pitt Men, it’s a series of bringing in different speakers every week just to talk to them. He’s a guy that went through some struggles. It’s just part of life. One major thing he talked about was, that the kids could take, was trust the people around you. When he was at Ohio State and won a national championship, he really didn’t embrace the people that were trying to help him and point him in the right direction. So that was really the biggest message was trust the people around you. They’re there to help you.

With you and Heather, Youngstown, Ohio guys are always welcome, right?
Narduzzi: No doubt about it. But we had a guy last year from Texas, the Coffee Bean. We’re always bringing guys in here. He was incredible.