April 18, 2015

PITTSBURGH (AP) Pittsburgh's first-year head coach Pat Narduzzi stressed knowledge as a key tenet to the success of the football program he looks to build.

The Panthers concluded their spring practice period with the team's Blue-Gold spring game on Saturday. As the new coaching staff installed its systems on offense, defense and special teams, the players began gaining the knowledge Narduzzi hopes allows them to play well in the fall.

After 15 practices, the players also know a little bit more about their new coach.

''I think we all know his expectations now and the energy he expects and that he's not kidding when he says he wants to win a championship,'' quarterback Chad Voytik said. ''A lot of guys may say that as a energizer. He means it. He wants to win a championship and he thinks that we can.''

The Panthers have some way to go before they can realize their head coach's lofty expectations.

''I hope they learned that I'm with them,'' Narduzzi said. ''It's not the players against coaches. We're not just going to sit out on the field and watch them run. We want to run with them.''

Voytik, wide receiver Tyler Boyd and defending ACC Player of the Year James Conner led the Blue team to a 17-10 victory. Voytik completed 11 of 24 passes for 177 yards and a touchdown. Boyd caught six passes for 112 yards and had the game's longest play with a 46-yard catch.

Boyd enters his junior season as arguably the ACC's top receiver and describes his new coach as honest after the last month's work.

''He's a pretty straight, up-front guy,'' Boyd said. ''He will never mislead you. ... He's going to tell you what he wants out of a player and he's going to let you know what he wants as a coach.''

Conner scored on the game's first drive with a 3-yard dive. He played sparingly, carrying it five times for 11 yards.

Adam Bertke led the Gold with 162 passing yards and a touchdown. He was intercepted in the end zone with 1:30 remaining in the game.

The defense prevented any of the Panthers running backs from breaking big gains. The teams combined to rush 54 times for only 103 yards. Qadree Ollison led all rushers with 20 carries for 54 yards which included the day's longest carry of 12 yards.

Narduzzi remarked that the Panthers emerged from their spring period with no major injuries.

''You come into the spring game and you've had 14 good days, you want to make sure that 15th day, you just pray you come out of it healthy,'' Narduzzi said.

Between now and the Panthers first regular-season opponent, Youngstown State on Sept. 5, the coaching staff will continue to build off the foundation it laid in March and April.

''It's still early but they mean business,'' Conner said. ''They'll bring the best out of us and I'm excited to work with those guys in the coming season.''

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