Football

Scott Shafer relives days of coaching with Pitt head coach Pat Narduzzi

Courtesy of Jim Damaske | The Tampa Bay Times

Scott Shafer and Pat Narduzzi are old colleagues and friends from when they coached together at URI and NIU. Now they will face off against each other on Saturday.

Scott Shafer and Pat Narduzzi are accustomed to putting defenses together with one another, but when Pittsburgh plays Syracuse on Saturday, they’ll each be trying to dismantle each other’s.

Narduzzi, No. 25 Pittsburgh’s (5-1, 3-0 Atlantic Coast) head coach, will face SU (3-3, 1-1) head coach Scott Shafer after coaching together at Rhode Island and Northern Illinois together in the 1990s. Shafer served as the defensive back coach for Rhode Island while Narduzzi was in charge of the linebackers.

“We were learning on the run,” Shafer said. “We started putting together some defensive thought and stole some ideas from some really good coaches.”

At Rhode Island, Shafer said he and Narduzzi met coaches like Bob Stoops, the head coach at Oklahoma, and Jim Leavitt, the head coach at South Florida from 1996 until 2009.

Every year Indiana head coach Bill Mallory would get Narduzzi and Shafer free tickets to an invitation-only 4-3 defense clinic. Once Shafer and Narduzzi coached at NIU, the two started putting together packages with three down lineman.

“Back in that time we did some things that were kind of neat, kind of creative,” Shafer said. “Not only were we good friends, we also pressed the envelope on some of the things we wanted to do defensively.”

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