POV’s Roundtable Video; 10-19-17

POV’s Roundtable Video; 10-19-17

Here is last night’s Roundtable video. Mark (PittPT) and Matt (PittintheVille) joined me for a lively hour of Pitt football discussions.

Thanks for the great evening and the talk among friends.  Here are a few of the topics we discussed:

  • The loss to NCS 34-17… with a look back to the Syracuse game
  • The QB situation between Kenny Pickett and Ben NiDucci… (Matt’s name for Ben DiNucci)… and how they were handled in the last game.
  • The RB situation with Campbell’s inclusion after being switched from Safety…
  • Recruiting past, present and future

Those are a few issues – take a listen by yourself and then post up some comments for us all to talk about.

BITS AND PIECES:  Here are some email info sent out but EJ and friends from the Pitt AD’s office

Pat Narduzzi Press Conference 

Duke Week

PRESS CONFERENCE VIDEO: Narduzzi Duke Preview

PITT (2-5, 0-3 ACC) vs. DUKE (4-3, 1-3 ACC)

October 21, 2017 • 12:20 p.m., ET

Wallace Wade Stadium (40,004/Natural Grass) • Durham, N.C.

ACC Network • Pitt IMG Sports Radio Network

PittsburghPanthers.com • @Pitt_FB • #PITTvsDUKE

LINK (PDF): Pitt Game Notes (vs. Duke)  These are the best info dumps about Pitt football.

Pitt-Virginia to kick off at 12:30 p.m.

The Oct. 28 game at Heinz Field will be televised locally by AT&T SportsNet.

 PITTSBURGH—Pitt’s October 28 game against Virginia at Heinz Field will kick off at 12:30 p.m., and be televised locally by AT&T SportsNet, the Atlantic Coast Conference announced today.  The Panthers’ remaining 2017 schedule with announced television coverage and kickoff times:

Oct. 21: at Duke* (ACC Network/WTAE-TV in Pittsburgh), 12:20 p.m.

Oct. 28: Virginia* (AT&T SportsNet), 12:30 p.m.

Nov. 9 (Thurs.): North Carolina* (ESPN), 7:30 p.m.

Nov. 18: at Virginia Tech*, TBA

Nov. 24 (Fri.): Miami*, TBA

*ACC game                        

POV Wednesday Predictions Check and Roundtable Info:

POV Wednesday Predictions Check and Roundtable Info:

Usually at the midpoint of the season we like to look at where the team stands as opposed to what we thought the team would be and do during and after fall camp. We are a week late on that but who cares?

Suffice to say I think I can speak with certainty when writing that no one saw this first half (seven games actually) coming.  Two posters who I can remember were pretty adamant that we’d win four games at the most and they may be found to be right on the mark.

I thought that we would be 1-3 after four games but I figured we’d win enough to get up to my prediction of 7 wins (or no less than 6) that I stated back then.  I’m sure I’ll be wrong on that.

But most of us thought we’d see a dip from 2016 and not a nose dive. Every so often a poster would throw 8, 9 or 10 wins out there but we already knew they were crazy anyway.

But that said I did have some real reservations about this 2017 team that I wrote about and pretty much everything I predicted as far as play on the field has come true. I assigned red question marks to the negative predictions and green check marks to who I thought would do well.

Here are some of them, both things I got right (so far) and things I swung and missed on – and share your correct/incorrect thoughts you had earlier with us in the comments:

Max Browne was not going to play well for us.  I figured he’d have a poor outing and he did.  One key fact that jumps out at me when looking at his Pitt body of work is that, aside from the Rice game, he had no TDs in regulation play in his other five contests.  Not one.  He did have an overtime TD for the win against FCS Youngstown State but other than that he was almost totally ineffective.

The conversations I had with those SoCal sportswriters back in May were true as described – he was not going to be a successful D1 QB.

Our Offensive Line play was going to be poor.  I based this on two factors.  First being that we were replacing Bisnowaty and Johnson, both great college OLs, with untalented Jared Jones-Smith and Alex Officer, who I thought didn’t play all that well at Center and would not fare well with the switch to another line spot.

Second was that we have zero depth at the second string offensive line.  Both of those things have contributed to no running game whatsoever. Next year will be bad also I think.

Chris Clark was going to be a non-factor in our offense.  This partially because Watson doesn’t use TEs as much as Canada did and partially because I felt Clark’s history and his 5* recruit rating didn’t add up.  When Narduzzi got rsSR TE Mike Flanagan to transfer out of Rutgers I wrote that he was brought in to compete (and probably win) the starting job and not just add TE depth.

Quadree Henderson being given the starting WR2 job was a mistake.  I have felt for sometime that Henderson is not an adequate talent as a receiver to be taking this spot from another more consistent WR.  What we have seen transpire is that Rafael Araujo-Lopes has risen to the #2 spot and done very well there as our leading receiver to date as shown here:Pitt O 10-18

But since Watson will never use a double TE formation we will still see three WRs out there on almost every offensive formation we have.

The bottom line with Henderson is that the staff wants him on the field every play so they can use him as a receiver, running back or a decoy – and it is that latter role where he seems to be much of the time.  Last season at this time QH had 32 rushes for 349 yards and 17 catches for 174… way more used and productive last year than this.

Continue reading “POV Wednesday Predictions Check and Roundtable Info:”

POV MMQB: NC State Game Loss

Monday-Morning-QBAnother Monday morning and another loss to talk about.  This time we didn’t beat the point spread – which was I believe was +11.5 since we lost 35-17. Sad to say but the point spread and whether we beat it or not which has quickly become an indicator for Pitt fans to gauge if the team is good or bad.

But there are more games on the schedule and anything can happen, right?

If we are to win a few more games, and we just might, we’ll have to build on some of the things the team and coaching staff have done correctly in the past seven games this season.  While that may be slim pickings there are some nuggets there.  The problem is trying to find the “GOOD” when there is so much of the ‘BAD” and “UGLY” surrounding it.

But let’s give it a shot; I’ll go first then you all state how you saw the game.

I was relegated to watching Pitt play, again, in the local bar as the only way you can see the new ACC network down here in borderland MD is by Direct TV.  This time a $5 tip when I walked in the door got me a seat in front of my own 72″ TV up on the wall.

That way I could see how just how bad we sucked in even bigger  images then watching at home.  And I do think that overall we sucked again.  Here goes:

“GOOD”

I’ll go first with how our defensive backfield played.  Normally with any other team when they give up 198 yards and one TD passing that would be a so-so defense… but at Pitt the last two years it makes people sit up and take notice.

I will say that NCS’s QB Findley’s play really helped in this regard, especially in the 1st half of the game where he missed on almost every one of his passes.  But the results are the same; incomplete passes and no yards gained.

I think their first series of the game was indicative of what NCS’s staff leanings were – they went on a nine play drive but only gained 41 yards and Findley missed on a 4th and 3 pass to turn the ball over. he was 1 for 3 in that opening drive and badly missed on both incompletions.

But we kept the passing yardage down for the most part and had we countered that with a run defense we may have won the game (more on that later).

Ben DiNucci’s play deserves mention in this category also.  Look, I have held the opinion from the minute he signed his LOI with us that DiNucci wasn’t ever going to be anything but a substitute QB for us as long as we had any sort of other talent in the QB room. And that had been the case right up until Browne’s injury two weeks ago.

But for right now and on last Saturday he’s the starter until he isn’t. With that I didn’t expect fireworks from him but a rather steady passing game that would allow our run game to be effective.

The fact that our running game is worse than bad (more on that later also!) isn’t DiNucci’s fault at all but indeed put more stress and expectations on him to produce.  His stats line was average – 19/32 for 170 yards and 1 TD with 1 INT but his passing yards per attempt was poor at only 5.3 yards.

Still, he engineered the series where we broke the 0-0 score with this impressive drive:

  • 1st and 10 at NCST 42

    (7:37 – 1st) Jordan Whitehead run for 5 yds to the NCSt 37

  • 2nd and 5 at NCST 37

    (7:37 – 1st) Ben Dinucci pass complete to Quadree Henderson for a loss of 2 yards to the NCSt 39

  • 3rd and 7 at NCST 39

    (7:37 – 1st) Ben Dinucci pass complete to Rafael Araujo-Lopes for 7 yds to the NCSt 32 for a 1ST down

  • 1st and 10 at NCST 32

    (7:37 – 1st) Jordan Whitehead run for a loss of 1 yard to the NCSt 33

  • 2nd and 11 at NCST 33

    (5:05 – 1st) Ben Dinucci pass complete to Jester Weah for 33 yds for a TD, (Alex Kessman KICK)

He also was in for our next offensive score when we drove 69 yards in 10 plays for a RB Darrin Hall TD – even though he only threw the ball once in that series.  So you’d think that his having helped produce 14 points against a good ACC opponent in a 1st half would cement his role.

Continue reading “POV MMQB: NC State Game Loss”

A Note From Reed

Before anyone decides to leave the POV Blog I’ll ask you to fully read this and then make your decision…

The Pitt POV has been in existence since June 27th of 2016. Before that, as many of you know, I wrote extensively for Chas Rich over at the Pitt Blather.  But it came to a point where I wanted to have complete control over the venue in which I was pouring my time, energy and too much money into.  So I started The Pitt POV.

In doing that I realized a few things.

Mainly that I had an obligation to readers who took time out of their daily lives and not only read what I had to say, but also took the time to comment on the articles and other timely Pitt football issues and so engage in good and civil conversation with other commenters.

I purposely waited for a long time before I accepted any sort of donations; financial or in-kind, until I felt I was putting out a decent and high quality product and that what I envisioned for The POV was aligned with what my readers wanted.

I think that has worked out well and the reason it did was because I let everyone know right off the bat and in no uncertain terms that some things would not be acceptable to discuss on here. Those are mainly politics and religion, with the caveat held that if I felt comment threads were becoming insulting, offensive or too far away from our stated direction of Pitt football discussion I would issue course corrections.

If you think any of those things were easy decisions to make, or the stated rules simple to enforce, you are dead wrong.

This is one of the hardest things I have done – aside from my professional and family lives – and takes more effort and emotion that any of you know.  Let’s put it more simply… this would be so much easier if I just didn’t care about the blog the way I do and the way you all want me to.

But here is the deal with all that for me; if the POV wasn’t done well and was not valuable to each and every one of you I promised myself I’d stop doing it.  I am not forced into maintaining and writing this blog nor am I obligated in any way except for the obligations I have put upon myself.

All the above info is shared with you for one reason – to explain why the POV is different from other Pitt football media, blogs and websites. Because it sure as hell is different.

Just this afternoon Richard in South Carolina (Pitt-cocks Fan) shared the news of his wife’s death with us. A month or so ago Jim in Texas (PittMan4Ever) did the same on the passing of his mother. And we all responded with heartfelt expressions to them.

Since summer of last year many of us have talked on here about joyful and important life events and we have also shared personal pains and other issues which we normally would never in a hundred years talk about even with some people we knew, let alone semi-anonymous posters on a blog. But we do it on here on a regular basis…

Why do we do this? Why does each of you check in with the POV every day to see what I and others are saying about Pitt football and other issues?

It isn’t for the sweetness and light that I shine on Pitt football because I don’t do that.  It isn’t because you like me as a person because let’s be honest – 99.9% of the readers on here have never met me in person or conversed with me on the phone.  So why then?

Because you care. Because it is a respite from the world outside and it is a place to live in for bits at a time where we know we will have certain standards which are clearly delineated and upheld.  You all know what you are going to get with the POV, whether you like it or not is up to you.

And, again whether you like it or not, this is not a democracy on the POV.  I reach out to you all for advice and help on a regular basis and you respond in turn and I thank you for that.

But I alone command this ship and know expressly and intimately what that entails.

I get the praise when things go well and I take the heat when it doesn’t.  Not one thing I have done over the past week or so should come as a surprise to anyone – I have said from the beginning “This is what the POV is going to be...” and I’m doing the hard work to keep it that way.

I’ll tell you now that I held off deleting any comments for about a full year. But  I get emails daily from WordPress regarding comments that are ‘held in moderation’ and I have always stopped what I was doing and edited them into compliance so that your thoughts and opinions could still be expressed in the comments as soon as possible.

What that does is make me drag the blog around with me wherever I go and makes me put more time and effort into it than I want… so now, and from now on, I hit the trash button.

And I hate doing it – but the truth is you guys are trashing your own comments in a very real way.

I wrote a long comment the other day stating that if The POV has been, or is turning into, something you don’t want it to be a part of then you have options. I truly don’t want anyone to leave and I have never banned anyone, but if you feel you need to do so then that is a choice you yourself will make. I just want you to understand that no one person is ever singled out on here.

It is very simple guys – when I say no politics, religion, etc.. I mean it. When I write in the comments section that the discussion is trending the wrong way and to get back on track or  I’ll stop future comments – trust me to do so.

Reed

POV NCS Game Thread and Guest Author

POV NCS Game Thread and Guest Author

Pitt’s Problems

Byline by Lee Pickens

While watching a recent documentary about 100 years of Pitt football that Bob Jeffery had posted on his “Real Pitt Football Talk” Facebook site – something came to me in a flash like Curtis Martin running wild against Texas in ’94.

I realized something very simple.  We have a real disconnect between the coaching staff and the players.

While watching a game the other day our opponent kept scoring against us, and my Dad, a rabid Pitt fan, kept asking me “How do we stop these guys? Should we blitz the gaps? ” or “why did we run a jet sweep on 3rd and 1?”.

Thinking I knew the answers I explained the sets Pitt’s defense were in and plays we were calling and how these players just couldn’t execute.   I wondered if that was the case over the last five years also… that was until I watched that documentary from 1990.

If it is really apparent that the players aren’t bad or not good enough to compete, then I’ll agree that recruiting is all-important.  But if you are only going to get only  three star or a sprinkled few four star talents like Pitt has done over the last few years then COACHING is the key…

Now this doesn’t mean Pitt’s coordinators have run complex defenses or trick plays on offense. It comes down to the Coordinators ensuring that the position coaches teach fundamentals such as efficient running, blocking, tackling; coming back to the football to make the catch and how to lead the receiver by the QB.  Throw in other basic football talents like knowing when to call for a fair catch or to throw the ball away to avoid a sack.

These are all things that can be coached up, but many times aren’t, at least not well enough to show a consistent high quality of play on the field.  This is a real part of Pitt’s problems in this ongoing 2017 season.

Continue reading “POV NCS Game Thread and Guest Author”

POV Know The Enemy & Predictions

POV Know The Enemy & Predictions

Byline: Chris Logue chris Logue headshot

 

#20 NC State at a Glance

Record: (5-1, 2nd in Atlantic)

PPG F/A: 35.5/23.7

Leading Passer: Ryan Finley (1770 yards, 10 touchdowns, 0 interceptions)

Leading Rusher: Nyheim Hines (100 carries, 513 yards, 5 touchdowns)

Leading Receiver: Kelvin Harmon (33 receptions, 434 yards, 2 touchdowns)

Jaylen Samuels (50 receptions, 425 yards, 3 touchdowns)

Jumping right into it, it’s a tough week to want the Panthers to make strides towards the future.  Sure, we beat Clemson in the middle of feeling like it’ll be a scrimmage for the Tigers, but this Wolfpack team is a blend of good, really good and watch out before we run you over good on offense.  I am actually more concerned about this game than I was leading up to Clemson on the road.

NC State is being guided by one of the very best quarterbacks in the entire country for 2017.  Ryan Finley quite simply does not turn the ball over, instead, he chucks it downfield to a myriad of talented receivers.  The kryptonite for the Pitt defense this season has been stopping the most athletic players on the field and in this game, they will have to stop one of the most dynamic players in the ACC and quite possibly the country.

Jaylen Samuels is as dynamic as they come, much like Steve Ishmael last week.  Samuels, in conjunction with his three touchdowns as a receiver has five on the ground on just 25 carries.  Samuels averages nine catches and four rushes per game, all being calculated attempts.

Throughout the week, Pat Narduzzi mentioned that safety Jordan Whitehead may have played too many snaps on offense, while seeing his production decline on the defensive side of the ball in the fourth quarter.  Keeping that in mind, I think we see less of Whitehead on offense, keeping him as fresh as possible to be a flex-linebacker for the entirety of the game.

NC State on defense is almost smack-dab where Pitt was a season ago in terms of strengths and weaknesses.  Dave Doeren has his rush defense ranked eighth nationally, only surrendering 90.7 yards/game and 3.06 yards/carry.  Not a pleasant sight considering the circumstances of our rushing game.

Qadree Ollison and crew walk into the week 107th nationally in total rushing.  Averaging a measly 116 yards/game and a woeful 3.32 yards on each carry.  Is this the week we finally see AJ Davis make a push for more carries?  Probably not, but let’s hope there’s a shift in ideology to get the young ball-carrier some hits.

What could be fun, however, is to see which pass defense that is actually worse.  For Pitt, you like the fact that NC State is ranked 121st, giving up just shy of 300 yards/game.  Also for Pitt, you wish that Max Browne wasn’t out for the season to take advantage of that, well, advantage.

Remember that time Mason Rudolph came to town and literally did whatever he wanted to this defense through the air?  Well, enter Ryan Finley who could potentially replicate that production.  As we know, Pitt generally stinks on defense in the third year of the Narduzzi era.  Josh Conklin possesses the 115th overall defense against the pass, at 280.3/game.

Who knows, maybe Narduzzi and Conklin have something up their sleeve with the secondary.  After all, Narduzzi came with the praise for Therran Coleman this week, calling him the teams clear third best corner.  Still, I just don’t see a way that Pitt is able to make enough of a difference on defense to force this into being a close game, at least through the air.

Continue reading “POV Know The Enemy & Predictions”