James Franklin addresses Pat Narduzzi’s comments about Christian Hackenburg
It has been a long time since Pittsburgh and Penn State met on the gridiron, 15 years to be exact. After playing most years during the 21st century, including four straight seasons from 1997-2000, the Panthers and Nittany Lions haven't met since Walt Harris, in his fourth season as Pitt head coach, watched his defense pitch a shutout at Three Rivers Stadium, 12-0, in 2000.
They suffocated PSU quarterback Rashard Casey, holding him to just 159 yards on 34 passing attempts. It was a poor performance by Casey that prompted criticism of him and offensive coordinator Fran Ganter. Fifteen years later, another Penn State quarterback, Christian Hackenberg, is facing intense heat from fans and the media, but it's the current Pitt coach, Pat Narduzzi, that is lofting criticism at the Penn State coaches instead of Hackenberg.
The first-year coach was asked about Hackenberg, whom he faced in 2013 and 2014 as defensive coordinator at Michigan State, and said, "You could have a talented quarterback with a bad play-caller and make him look bad. You see that around the country, some closer than others."
Unsurprisingly, the junior quarterback's head coach, James Franklin, was asked about Narduzzi's shot, and instead of dealing a blow back to their neighbors 150 miles to the west, he took the high road, per usual: