When Oklahoma State takes the field against Pittsburgh this Saturday morning, they’ll face a team familiar with competing against top-10 competition. The Panthers return home after taking on Penn State on the road last weekend, a game they lost 33-14.
While the Panthers aren’t like to be intimidated by the Cowboys, Head Coach Pat Narduzzi knows slowing down OSU’s potent offense won’t be an easy task.
“It doesn’t get any easier, as you guys know,” said Narduzzi “No. 8, No. 9 top ranked team in Oklahoma State that we went out and battled a year ago that we know has talent across the board from the D-line back and O-line to James Washington and Mason Rudolph. I mean, they’re very, very talented. ”
Narduzzi addressed the media Monday morning, discussing the upcoming game against Oklahoma State. The Panthers are fairly familiar with OSU after the two teams faced off in a weather-delayed contest a year ago in Stillwater which OSU won 45-38. Narduzzi says he’s hoping his secondary has a little added motivation this year after OSU scored on multiple long passing plays against them.
“Redemption? Yeah, I sure hope. I do.”
Pitt did a good job against Penn State not giving up a lot of big plays. The longest pass was for 46 yards to running back Saquon Barkley, while the longest run was a 36 yarder by quarterback Trace McSorley. Despite that, Narduzzi says he’s still worried about the “big-play” potential of Oklahoma State
“I don’t feel good when I look at James Washington out there and Mason Rudolph,”Narduzzi said. “You don’t feel any better because I don’t care who they play, just go put on Oklahoma State; big explosive passes and runs for that matter because as soon as you start playing cover two and trying to put two over that guy, it’s out the gate going 98, and that’s not good, either.”
If you remember, Pitt was the only team last year to beat Clemson on their run to a National Championship. Narduzzi had an interesting answer when asked to compare that Tiger team to this team of Cowboys.
“To compare Oklahoma State to Clemson, it’s hard. The one comparison I can make is it’ll be orange, so they’re going to bring orange in, okay. That’s my only comparison. And they’re fast. They’re big and they’re fast and they wear orange, so pretty good comparison.”
Though, he did go on to say that OSU is as fast as Clemson was, especially Justice Hill.
“I think Justice Hill is going to be the fastest tailback we face this year, I’ll tell you that. He’s fast, No. 5, you watch him, he’s fast.”
The run game isn’t the only thing Narduzzi knows will be a difficult challenge to defend on Saturday.
“James Washington is a different animal. He’s a first-round draft choice next year…. That’s the one that scares me the most, but I’m scared of all of them. They’ve got Washington on one side, and then they’ve got the big guys on the other side, the Lacy kid and then Ateman, a transfer from LSU (Johnson)… So they’ve got them over place.”
You can watch Narduzzi’s full press conference below, including his thoughts on Mason Rudolph’s passing style starting at about 19:39.