Brennan Armstrong passed for 487 yards and three TDs in UVA’s 48-38 loss at Pitt last season. You’d forgive Pitt coach Pitt coach Pat Narduzzi for not underestimating Armstrong despite his struggles in the new Tony Elliott offense.
“He’s talented. He can run. He’s their leading rusher. You talk about all the quarterbacks we’ve faced this year, again, another runner and another guy that — obviously a left-hander that can sling the football, and we saw he can make any throw,” Narduzzi told reporters at his weekly press conference on Monday.
The Armstrong that Narduzzi saw last year was the one who averaged 404.5 yards per game, passed for 31 TDs and had a 156.4 passer rating.
The one that he will see at noon Saturday in Scott Stadium is struggling in Elliott’s pro-style offense – averaging 228.7 yards per game, with just six TD passes and a 111.3 rating.
Asked what he thinks the difference is, Narduzzi pointed to a simple answer: “change.”
“I talked about Syracuse last week and what Coach Anae, how he was and what they did at Syracuse. Brennan is dealing with a new change, no different than what Kedon (Slovis, the Pitt QB) is — he’s got a new offensive coordinator, new quarterback coach from what he had a year ago, and there’s change. I think anytime there’s change, it’s hard. That’s why having a consistent coach being around you and having that, that is so critical. It doesn’t matter what position.
“There’s change all over that roster as far as just, the entire staff is new, I think. I’m not sure if the one guy got retained. That’s the biggest difference,” Narduzzi said. “He’s still a good quarterback, but it takes time, and it’s no different than a guy going from college to go to the NFL and adjusting to an NFL system. It takes time.
“Nothing is instant. We’d all like it to be instant. We talked about Kedon and being a grad transfer a week ago or two weeks ago, and it’s the same thing for him. It’s like he transferred in there and he’s got a whole new staff, so that’s what I think it is.”