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Pitt coach sounds off on clap flap, calls it 'excuse'

Pittsburgh Tribune Review (TNS)
  • PSU coach James Franklin says clapping by Pitt's defense was illegal.
  • Pitt coach Pat Narduzzi called Franklin's complaint 'an excuse'
  • Narduzzi says clapping is a means of communication for his defense.

At first, Pat Narduzzi didn't want to talk about the clap flap between Pitt and Penn State.

Eventually, however, Pitt's coach couldn't contain himself.

Pitt head coach Pat Narduzzi.

Narduzzi spent several minutes Wednesday on the ACC coaches' conference call answering a reporter's question by explaining how and why his defensive players — now and in the past — clap their hands to call out signals.

The controversy arose Saturday after Pitt's 42-39 victory against Penn State when Nittany Lions coach James Franklin complained about the clapping in his postgame remarks, suggesting it disrupted his offense's play-calling cadence.

A few minutes later, when he was apprised of what Franklin said, Narduzzi shot back, “That's just another excuse.”

During the game, Franklin asked the Big Ten officials whether clapping by the defense is legal and was assured it is not against the rules. Contacted later, Big Ten coordinator of officials Bill Carollo agreed.

Nonetheless, Franklin said Tuesday during his weekly news conference, “You're not allowed to do that.”

Narduzzi said clapping is just one means of communication his defenses have used for years at Pitt and Michigan State. Video from Pitt's game against Villanova on Sept. 3 shows middle linebacker Matt Galambos clapping before the snap.

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“We clap,” Narduzzi said. “We raise the roof with our hands. We twist our arms. We do kind of like a cowboy lasso. We did it at Michigan State. But the offense has to do something to make us clap, and if they stand still most of the time, we don't do a whole lot of it.”

Penn State's offense used a clap cadence to deal with the noise from a Heinz Field-record crowd of 69,983.

“It was loud out there,” Narduzzi said. “I can't just yell things to guys and hope they hear them.”