Staff Writer

Luke Campbell has been handling a multitude of tasks since joining the Observer-Reporter in 2015, following his graduation from Waynesburg University. He graduated from Waynesburg with a bachelor’s degree in sports broadcasting and information.

Timing is everything.

Somebody might want to remind, or teach, Pat Narduzzi about that.

The Pitt football coach set local Twitter ablaze Friday night with a subtweet – the internet equivalent of talking about somebody behind their back – that wasn’t so subtle.

Subtweeting is an insidious digital trend for teenagers, yet Narduzzi was the one doing it to a local teen.

It didn’t have the cachet of his typical “PITT IS IT” tweets that follows with the hashtag “#H2P” for Hail to Pitt when a recruit commits to the school.

It was calculated.

It was aimed.

And oh it was so humiliating and embarrassing.

Highly recruited Peters Township safety Donovan McMillon released his list of top 10 schools Friday night on social media, a list of finalists that didn’t include the hometown Panthers. Exactly an hour and six minutes later, Narduzzi tweeted “Who’s next? Pittsburgh tough required.” Included in the tweet was a picture of current Pitt defensive backs.

The schools listed in McMillon’s top 10 are – in no particular order – Georgia, Texas A&M, Florida, Michigan, LSU, Oregon, Penn State, Oklahoma, Arizona State and Virginia Tech.

He was an Observer-Reporter Fab 15 selection this past season after leading Peters Township with 84 tackles, including seven for loss, forcing four fumbles and intercepting a pair of passes. The Indians made their first WPIAL title appearance, losing 21-20 in a nailbiter to Gateway in the Class 5A Championship.

He also was on the 2019 Pennsylvania Writers’ Class 5A All-State team.

Since the season has ended, McMillon has turned into one of the most recruited football players to come out of Washington County, accumulating more than 50 Division I offers.

And don’t be so naive to think that Narduzzi’s tweet wasn’t directed to the teenager, a kid trying to set himself up for his future, whether it be with football or not past his collegiate years.

What was Narduzzi thinking?

Is this like in professional sports where fans want players to take a hometown discount? Because McMillon goes to high school less than a half hour away, then Pitt should automatically be in the running?

McMillon’s proximity sure gave him a good view of some things, like the glare from the empty yellow seats at Heinz Field on Saturday afternoons. Or a program where eight wins a season is a landmark, not a benchmark.

Of the teams in McMillon’s top 10, each has finished with multiple nine-win seasons in the past 10 years. Georgia, Florida, Michigan, LSU, Oregon, Penn State and Oklahoma have won at least nine games no fewer than five times in those 10 years.

Pitt hasn’t won nine games in a single season in its last 10 seasons.

Let the mediocrity set in.

Another thing that doesn’t add up is the lack of awareness of the fluidity of college football, where transferring seems to have become the new norm. Who is to say two years from now McMillon would want to transfer for whatever the reason? My guess is Narduzzi won’t – or at least shouldn’t be – on speed dial if that situation were to ever arise.

Pitt has frequently dipped into the transfer portal and looked to graduate transfers to improve its team.

What message does it send to other possible recruits considering Pitt?

It wasn’t just a bad look, it was an awful one.

Narduzzi isn’t hiding behind the infamous Twitter egg profile picture. He isn’t some die-hard troll of a college football program with nothing else better to do than to bash a teenager, one who mind you he was quite interested in by being the second program to offer McMillon a scholarship.

If you still fall under the category of the tweet meaning nothing, let me remind you it was almost an hour after Pitt wasn’t it this time.

That’s because timing is everything, whether it’s having too much of it on your hands like Narduzzi must have had that Friday night, or deciding to attempt a field goal against your cross-state rival from the one-yard line when trailing by seven points in the waning minutes of the fourth quarter.

That element of time is something that Narduzzi seems to forget.

Staff writer Luke Campbell can be reached at lcampbell@observer-reporter.com.

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