Pitt coach Pat Narduzzi will look to put friendships aside when the Panthers host Wofford in the season opener for both teams on Saturday.
Narduzzi will be pitted against longtime friend Shawn Watson, who served as the Terriers' interim head coach for six games last season before landing the full-time position on Dec. 1, 2022. Watson worked under Narduzzi as Pitt's offensive coordinator from 2017-18.
"They didn't win a game before (Watson) took over," Narduzzi said. "They were 3-3 (with him) as the interim head coach, that's how he got the job."
Although Narduzzi is proud of what Watson has accomplished so far, come Saturday, it's all business.
"You never want to see anybody lose, especially your friends," Narduzzi said. "But you never want to get beat by your friends."
Watson's familiarity with the Panthers certainly should come in handy, but he knows it won't be easy to break through against a Pitt team that surrendered 24.3 points per game last season en route to a 9-4 record.
"It's going to be tight coverage. They can cause all kinds of havoc," Watson told TribLIVE.com when speaking about the Panthers. "They can play out of their base look, and their havoc package out of it is one of the things you have to be prepared for as an opponent."
Quarterback Bryce Corriston will be tasked with trying to carve up the Pitt defense. He saw limited action in 2022, attempting just two passes across nine games. One of those pass attempts resulted in an interception.
After spending the past three seasons at Boston College, Phil Jurkovec will be starting under center for the Panthers. He threw for 1,711 yards with 11 touchdowns and eight interceptions in his final season with the Eagles.
Saturday marks the first meeting between Pitt and Wofford. The Terriers haven't had a winning season since 2019 after going 3-8 last year.
—Field Level Media