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Pitt Coach Pat Narduzzi Plays Up Rivalry, While James Franklin Focuses On Consistent Preparation

It feels like the never-ending hype heading through Penn State-Pitt week revolves around the idea of whether this series between the two Pennsylvania schools is a rivalry.

Going into this Saturday’s clash, Penn State head coach James Franklin and Pitt head coach Pat Narduzzi have endlessly been asked about their viewpoints on the outside noise of this upcoming game.

Following Monday’s Pitt press conference (which featured just Narduzzi because of the team’s media blackout forbidding media open practice sessions and player interviews requests) and Penn State’s Tuesday presser, we compared the approaches of the two head coaches:

Does This Game Deserve A Different Approach?

Narduzzi: “It’s a big game, it really is, and I want our guys locked in. It’s an in-state rivalry, at least for us, and we’re going to prepare for it that way.”

Franklin: “I guess what I don’t understand is are we supposed to prepare harder this week than we did last week? I mean, if we didn’t play well, and I said, well, yeah, we didn’t prepare as hard this week because we’ve got this game next week that’s a big game…It never makes sense to me, and people get frustrated with it and all that kind of stuff, but we are going to control the things that we can control.”

Is It A Rivalry?

Narduzzi: “Penn State game is a big game because it’s an in-state rivalry game. It’s important not only to the guys that sit in this room but the community out there, the state of Pennsylvania, to the city of Pittsburgh. It’s a pride thing, and that’s why it’s big.”

Franklin: “I don’t want people to take what I’m saying the wrong way. This is the Super Bowl for us because it’s the game that we play [this]  Saturday. Last week our Super Bowl was Akron.”

Media Blackout?

Narduzzi: “It has nothing to do with keeping [the media]  out. It’s just keeping our kids tight…”

“I’m saying there might be a real good chance of [another media blackout], yeah. You know, why not? I didn’t say it was — I didn’t give you a rule that we could only do it once a year. It’s not like one and done. But yeah.”

Franklin: “I’m not going to exclude the media. Whoever comes to the press conference will get to interact with me and the players. Whoever comes to practice will get a chance to interact with whoever we have assigned to interact with the media that day.”

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About the Author

Steve Connelly

Unfortunately, former editor Steve Connelly has graduated. Where is he now? He might be doing something related to that PR degree he got in 2019. Maybe he finally opened that sports bar named after one of his photos, the Blurry Zamboni. Or he might just be eating chicken tenders and couch surfing. Anything’s possible. If you really want to know, follow him on Twitter @slc2o.

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