4 things of interest Pittsburgh’s coach said about Georgia Tech

September 17, 2016 Atlanta - Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets running back Dedrick Mills (26) runs against Vanderbilt Commodores defensive lineman Adam Butler (69) in the second half at Bobby Dodd Stadium on Saturday, September 17, 2016. Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets won 38-7 over the Vanderbilt Commodores. HYOSUB SHIN / HSHIN@AJC.COM

September 17, 2016 Atlanta – Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets running back Dedrick Mills (26) runs against Vanderbilt Commodores defensive lineman Adam Butler (69) in the second half at Bobby Dodd Stadium on Saturday, September 17, 2016. Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets won 38-7 over the Vanderbilt Commodores. HYOSUB SHIN / HSHIN@AJC.COM

Each week, the ACC will send transcripts from the football coaches’ weekly press conferences.

Pittsburgh’s Pat Narduzzi had some interesting things to say ahead of Saturday’s game against Georgia Tech (3-2, 1-2 ACC).

Notably, like Clemson, the Panthers would spend a period in summer camp working on defending Georgia Tech.

Plus, the Panthers played Navy last year, which runs the same offense as the Yellow Jackets.

Here’s what he said:

“Going into this week, our focus is on a good Georgia Tech football team. They’ve had two tough losses recently, kind of like where we were a week ago. They are coming off losses to Miami and Clemson — two really good football teams. They started 3-0 and now they are 3-2.

“I think this game will be two evenly matched teams, two very good defenses against the run. They are really good in the red zone. They are strong and sound defensively. Ted Roof is an excellent defensive coordinator. I’ve known him through the years and have a lot of respect for him.

“I think he was up here in the state of Pennsylvania at one time. On offense, Coach [Paul] Johnson is going on his 20th year. He does a tremendous job with the triple option. He’s a great coach and obviously heavily involved in what they do offensively. We’ve got a little extra tape from two games [against the option] that we had last year, Georgia Tech and Navy. We’ve done a good job preparing for this in the summer with our ‘Panther Period.’ Preparing for this type of offense is something that we focused on and needed to get good at. I feel much more comfortable coming into this game than we did a year ago. I think that will help as we move forward defending the option. Both teams will have some changes and there will be things we need to react to as the game goes on. Our guys have a good idea of what changes we made during the summer and how we will work on defending the option.”

On if facing Georgia Tech and Navy last year will help in preparation this week:

“Yeah, I think so. When you face this type of offense twice, it helps. Is that going to lead to success? I don’t know. We need to stop it. It does help that we’ve seen it. We have an idea of what we like going against it. There are no guarantees. They are over there drawing stuff on the board, too, saying ‘If they do this, we’re going to do that.’ Paul [Johnson] does a good job scheming the offense.”

On what he took from the Navy game last season that will help this week:

“I’m not going to get into any X’s and O’s because I’ll just be blabbering on, but we didn’t play very well. I also did a bad job getting them prepared for the game. We did a better job preparing for Georgia Tech  last year and we still didn’t stop it. We didn’t defend the spread like I’d like to. Against Navy, you have  seniors departing thinking about their next move. It didn’t seem like they were fired up at first but then we got them fired up and thought we had them ready. It was a tough three weeks of defending the option and I don’t think they enjoyed it. So I did a bad job.”

On what was accomplished during his “Panther Period” sessions in practice:

“Defensively it was to plan for Georgia Tech. That’s what it was. We spent a lot of minutes on Georgia Tech going from individual to team situations and working on little things we need to do fundamentally.

“For example, we need to stop the run. Whether it’s a spread offense or a triple offense, we need to make the plays necessary to stop them. We looked at it during the summer just so we could get our kids further along. Offensively, we worked on a three-man front. They see a four-man front every day, so it was important to get them to focus on stuff that we normally don’t see in a team period when we play our offense against our defense.”


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