Pat Narduzzi knows all about Michigan State.
After all, he was the Spartans defensive coordinator from 2007 to 2014 before departing to become the head coach at Pittsburgh. He has also been well aware of the calls to move on from head coach Mark Dantonio.
Safe to say, Narduzzi does not agree with those voices.
“Dantonio will feed off that (criticism),” Narduzzi said. “That’s what he does. He’s been the underdog for years. I think what people fail to realize is in the game of football, it’s hard to do it year after year. Think about all the bowl games he’s been to, the Big Ten championships. He’s been in the playoffs, and you have a bad year and everybody wants to get after you.
“I mean, be careful what you wish for. He’s a heck of a football coach and Michigan State Spartans should be glad they got him.”
Calls for Dantonio’s departure have ramped up in the wake of a 6-6 season and his unwillingness to make any meaningful changes to his coaching staff, despite having an extremely sub-par offense. However, the school has no plans to fire him, and he has no plans to retire.
And according to Narduzzi, those critical of Michigan State’s head coach are only making his resolve that much stronger.
“When everybody’s talking bad about you or saying you guys can’t win, to me it just feeds my fire,” Narduzzi said. “And Dantonio’s no different. You get fired up. You want to be the underdog. It’s nice to be the underdog. Michigan State’s been on top for years, and again, it’s nice to be the underdog and have that chip on your shoulder and play with a chip.