OT-Narduzzi HC Potential

Submitted by Ziff72 on September 30th, 2013 at 10:28 AM

With his name surfacing again as some coaches got the quick axe I was wondering if he is overrated or not?  I don't have any inside info but I've wondered about this the last few years as the MSU defense has emerged.  Dantonio was a defensive guru.  He lead some of Tressel's best defenses.  Is Narduzzi just benefitting from his mentor?   He may be great but if I was a big time program I would have that doubt in the back of my mind.   I'm not sure how much Dantonio is involved with the D but I would think he's very involved.   It reminds me a little of the Rich Rod/Calvin Mcgee dynamic.  I'm not trusting Calvin until he proves it by himself.   what do you guys think and does anyone have a more intimate knowlege of how much of this is Narduzzi's defense. 



October 1st, 2013 at 6:51 AM ^

As much as most peope don't like Ron English, his career trajectory could have lead to a better HC gig than Eastern Michigan, which is an auto dead end.

I don't know if it's an auto dead end. I'd argue that the standard for success at a program like Eastern is lower than other places. If you can take over at EMU and get them bowl eligible and even have them in competition for the MAC title, biggers programs are going to take notice. The Ron English tenure at Eastern only confirms what most of us probably suspected when he was a marginal part of the coaching succession conversation in 2008; that he wasn't big time college HC material.

Zone Left

September 30th, 2013 at 10:50 AM ^

He runs a very different defense than Tressel ever ran at OSU, so I think Narduzzi is relatively independent.

Some coordinators don't do well as head coaches, but all the evidence to date says Narduzzi should get a shot. This year is shaping up to be an epic coaching transition year, so he may be able to get an okay program in a major conference once USC and Texas are sorted out.

Space Coyote

September 30th, 2013 at 10:53 AM ^

I think it's still Dantonio's brain-child to the extent that he knew he was going to get a different level of player at MSU than he did at OSU, so he's going to maximize them by using a smaller playbook but make them very good at that thing. Dantonio was also a DBs guy, which is a big reason MSU is so successful at those positions.

Now, in game play calls, adjustments, and gameplans, I think it's Narduzzi with strong input from Dantonio. But I do think it's ultimately Narduzzi calling the shots.


September 30th, 2013 at 11:02 AM ^

From our experience, and we have now seen what seems to be two different examples, it seems a good head coach lets his DC do his thing. 

But I dont agree with your assumption that physical prowess indicates cognitive prowess. As we have seen in Kovacs, less-physically gifted, lower-starred players come with the football smarts it takes to learn complicated playbooks (not that Kovacs did this, but we can assume smarts elevated him, and use this as a proxy), just as higher-starred players do. 


September 30th, 2013 at 11:04 AM ^

I don't care if Narduzzi has head coaching potential.  I just want him gone.  Even though Dantonio is a defensive guy, Narduzzi has to have some value.  I can't imagine MSU's defense being coached any better than it already is.  If he leaves, it either would be neutral or bad for Sparty.


September 30th, 2013 at 12:33 PM ^

I think Narduzzi could probably be a successful coach at the right program, but the man doesn't scream "head coach material" to me.  He seems very knowledgable about defense but doesn't seem very well-suited to the figurehead responsibilities a HC has to deal with.  I wouldn't be surprised to see Narduzzi take a HC spot someplace, fail, and then return to a high-profile coordinator career path.


September 30th, 2013 at 11:06 AM ^

I'm either going lower ( MAC type school) to get some head coaching experience or I am staying in place. I doubt he's in a position to go USC, and I think that mid-tier jobs are vaccums. I suppose he could end up somewhere like Texas and it could work out for him, but I'd rather go lower to go higher than move laterally. One exception: Lets say Kirby Smart was to move on, and he was able to become Saban's new protege...  not likely, but that's what I'd be looking for. 


September 30th, 2013 at 11:12 AM ^

I agree here. He's not at the level USC is looking to maintain/get back to with whomever they hire. All other coaching jobs right now are uncertain. He could take something on the table right now, or wait for....nothing. UConn seems like a good fit and a smart move if he were offered the job. 


September 30th, 2013 at 11:13 AM ^

I think he's a good DC, but I'm not totally sure I'd want that guy as my school's head coach. Him bragging about "60 minutes of unnecessary roughness" after Gholston's multiple incidents didn't speak that well of him.  Also, I'm not sure what he brings to the table as far as recruiting goes.  



September 30th, 2013 at 11:23 AM ^

Duzzi's best bet is to wait for Charlie Strong to bolt and take over at Louisville; that should happen this year. Program has a solid footing so then you just have to prove your chops for an offer from big time program in 2-4 years.

UConn is trash.


September 30th, 2013 at 11:50 AM ^

Nothing I said has anything to do with whether UConn almost beat us on their merits, or we almost lost to UConn due to our mistakes. The point was that performance on the field should have an influence on whether we trash another program. Our performance was abyssmal facing the same program you call 'trash.' Period. In the last few years, UM has performed better than UConn, but not enough for UM fans to, with any maturity, call UConn 'trash.' Statements such as that make us look bad as a fanbase much more than threads such as this do (a worry another post had above). 

As to your last question, I dont know, um, perhaps start with beating a team handily before calling the team and larger program 'trash'? 



September 30th, 2013 at 12:53 PM ^

You're cracking me up. You talk about viewing things "with maturity" while at the same time acting as if you're part of the team. I'll remind you that fans dont beat football teams, football teams do. Fans dont 'earn the right' to formulate opinions, we just do.

Yep, there is conflicting information when you look at UConn's track record not just this year but in previous years as well. If you have trouble resolving those conflicts, then deal with it however you see fit. I look at that record and conclude that the program is not one an A-list candidate should be lunging for. Or more succinctly: it's trash.

Feel free to disagree and I'd like to discuss it with you, but if all you've got is "we need to win pretty against a team before we assess the relative merits of that opportunity for an aspiring head coach" then I don't know what to tell you except for "no we don't." That's not actually what you said but I'm trying here...really really hard.

You act as if I made my comment in a vacuum.


September 30th, 2013 at 11:36 AM ^

We have a family friend who is close with MSU's AD and I asked him last year about Narduzzi and why he hasn't moved on to a head coaching job. Caveat: this guy never says a negative thing about MSU, ever, so this isn't a full picture of Narduzzi.

He said Pat is a very good defensive coach who is very bad around people he is not coaching. He will do coaching clinics (I've gotten to see one) and does fine addressing other coaches, but as for being the face of the program he's got the same problem as Rodriguez except more pronounced. He's just not the kind of guy who likes the spotlight.

He does like working with Dantonio, whom my dad's friend credits as the real brains behind that defense--it's not like without Narduzzi MSU's D wouldn't be good anymore--just like Saban's D hasn't struggled to deal with turnover in his staff. They've worked together a long time and probably will continue to do so until the money gets stupid--if Narduzzi goes to a smaller school that doesn't expect so much he'll do fine but the Pittsburgh job (which is what was on the table when we talked about it) was given as an example of the wrong kind of fit for him.


September 30th, 2013 at 11:50 AM ^

Interesting, although I'm not sure I see the RR comparison.  Some guys, like Mattison, just prefer to be cordinators and controll one side of the ball instead of overseeing the whole program.   If Dantonio is the brains behind the defense, that doesn't necessarily mean Narduzzi can't be successful running the same style somewhere else.  I think that's how coaching trees get started.


October 1st, 2013 at 4:48 AM ^

Charisma. That's the RR comparison. RR had very little charisma and that damaged him at Michigan when things didn't go well. Think complete opposite of Jim Harbaugh or Lane Kiffen, or Bo or Brady for that matter. Social graces don't matter until you're the head coach, and then they matter a great deal. 


October 1st, 2013 at 6:51 AM ^

Well, Dantonio and Narduzzi were only at Cincy for 3 seasons before MSU came calling.  They didn't have time to build a defensive unit the way they did in East Lansing.  As some of the posters noted earlier, Dantonio's initial defensive units at MSU weren't all that good either, it took time for them to get to where they are now.


September 30th, 2013 at 12:29 PM ^

Even if you believe MD is the brains of the operation (which....good Lord), Narduzzi has been with him for a long time.  He probably absorbed everything he needs to be a good defensive mind for the rest of his coaching career.   I don't know if he's HC material, but he's as good a bet as any other Coordinator being considered as a head coach.

I would think the UConn job would be a perfect opportunity to cut his teeth as an HC.  SC supporters probably wouldn't allow Pat Haden to take a flyer on a virtual no-name to people on the west coast.  Although, I think whoever they hire would do themselves right by offering Narduzzi the DC job.


September 30th, 2013 at 12:49 PM ^

Narduzzi should get a shot somewhere given the success that he's had at MSU.  My guess is his ceiling for a HC position is a mid-level job at a AQ conference.   He's done well enough for an Illinois/ NC State/ Texas Tech sort of a job.   He definitely shouldn't leave State for a dead end job like EMU.

I don't think that he has the national recognition to get a USC-type job right off the bat.  I don't think that's a slam against Narduzzi, I just don't think those jobs go to coordinators very often.   Not counting where a coordinator was internally promoted, the only recent example I can think of is Muschamp going from UT to Florida.


September 30th, 2013 at 1:04 PM ^

I post a question about the relative upsides of UM and MSU on the same day the Bob Wojohowski posits the same question in his column and the sycophantic mods can't take it down quick enough.  Yet this stays up.  NIce work mods.  Whatevs.  Free chitownblu!

Eye of the Tiger

September 30th, 2013 at 1:45 PM ^

I like the guy about as much as I liked my appendix after it burst, but dude can coach a defense.

That said, I'm not sure UCONN is the best spot for him. I'd think that, after his success with MSU, he'd be better off at a midwestern school--where he can recruit the same high schools he's currently recruiting for Dantonio.  


October 1st, 2013 at 10:06 AM ^

and in the form of a face-to-face interview.  Motivation will make up for lack of many of the Xs and Os associated with those that really don't understand how to win football games. If you can inspire an AD to hire you, you probably have the basics for nutruring that often overlooked quality.  Something about Sparty's defense allows them to play far better than the collection of their personell. Whoever is responsible for this is definitely HC material. I'm guessing it's narduccis because the truly great ones motivate both sides of the los, not merely one.


October 1st, 2013 at 10:43 AM ^

I'd get out while I can, if I'm Narduzzi.  This defense is solid but also looks to take a step down given the drop in recruiting, and if that offense continues to stumble people will start to forget about what he's done there while the team is going 7-6 or 8-5.  He probably won't get a high-profile gig, but I could definitely see him winding up at a UConn and turning that program into a defensive juggernaut.


October 1st, 2013 at 10:57 AM ^

Not sure I follow - there has been a drop in recruiting at MSU? I thought they always got a few decent recruits, and many lower-teir recruits. Also, if the level of recruiting would impact his success, how would he be able to turn UConn into a defensive juggernaut? I agree with the underlying logic in the last prediction (in terms of UConn), in that he can do a lot with a little. But I'm not sure why this logic doesnt also apply to the ensuing future at MSU.