On Sunday, Pitt sent out a press release indicating that players would again not be available to the media for this week in advance to the Penn State game. That, of course, was met with complaints by the media and as I said earlier, I get all of that. Ultimately, though, I don't think it impacts the everyday fan very much, as I outlined in depth here.
In Monday at his weekly press conference, Narduzzi addressed the issue.
"Understand this has nothing to do with you guys, either," the Pitt coach said. "I love you guys. It has nothing to do with keeping you out, it's just keeping our kids tight. It has nothing to do -- as a matter of fact, after the game we'll give you more guys, win or lose. That's what we'll do. So it's not a matter of anything you guys did. I respect you guys."
Narduzzi also indicated it wasn't based out of a fear of his players saying the wrong thing.
"EJ (Borghetti) does a good job just teaching them how to talk to the media, and I don't worry," he continued. "If there's a guy that I would worry about something they'd say, I wouldn't let you have them anyway, so we could control that and I could just give you all the guys that I wouldn't worry about, but no, it has nothing to do with that, either.
I believe that. Now, I do think that by shutting off access to players, you avoid that entirely, so I think it's an added benefit. And as I said before, even if you don't believe a player will say something foolish, there's always that chance. But I take Narduzzi at his word when he says it's not really about that aspect.
Overall, Narduzzi says he just wants to keep the guys focused and, whether or not cutting off media access does that, he's well within his right to take that approach.
Now, one thing Narduzzi added, which will draw some ire is that, this may not even be a one time deal. If Pitt finds itself up against a big ACC game, for example, Narduzzi says he may take the same approach.
"There might be a real good chance of that, yeah," said Narduzzi when asked if the media could be blocked out again. "You know, why not? I didn't say it was -- I didn't give you a rule that we could only do it once a year. It's not like one and done. But yeah."
Essentially, I'm fine with the approach. But what I wouldn't want to see is this happening with any sort of regularity. Narduzzi owes it to the media that cover the team relentlessly to have some access to players. If this is happening week after week, that's a problem. And even beyond that, you're cutting off players' ability to learn how to work with the media, which some of them will need if they play in the pros. But do I have an issue with this on an irregular basis for a big game or two a year? Not really.