Pat Narduzzi loves his roster, loves the two-deep competition and can't wait to play a real game after more than a month of battling each other in fall camp.
That doesn't mean he or any other coach in college football knows exactly what they have.
Pittsburgh had five players selected in the 2017 NFL Draft, by far the most of the three drafts in the Narduzzi era and tied for the second-most since 2004. They return just 37 percent of their offensive yards from 2017 (111th in the FBS) and 42 percent of their tackles (119th) and lost offensive coordinator Matt Canada to the same position at LSU.
"Obviously we lost a lot of great players," Narduzzi told HERO Sports via phone this week. ". . .You play against each other for four weeks, thanks to the NCAA they've extended . . . preseason camp. Who knows what you have. When you see your offense score a touchdown, was it because they're really good or is it because your defense wasn't so good and vice versa? When you sack the quarterback, what's wrong with the O-line? Is it good, maybe the pressure in our D-line is really good."
Those great players include James Conner, Nathan Peterman, Ejuan Price and Dorian Johnson, who will be replaced by Qadree Wilson, Max Browne, Rashad Weaver, Brandon Hodges and others.
"I think you could poll every coach around the country, nobody has a ton of confidence going into that opener or that second game, third game, fourth game, all the way to the 12th game," Narduzzi added. We play each day for what it is."