WR Coach Search

WR Coach Search

It’s an in-between period for Pitt football right now.  We are over the euphoria of the Mark Whipple hire.  The schedule has been released and we’ve made our initial win-loss predictions and travel plans.  There are a couple of weeks until signing day.

Besides some recruiting and transfer cleanup, the biggest question is who will be our next Wide Receivers coach?

It’s an important role.  Whipple loves to throw the ball, and one could argue that our roster is chock full of talented-yet-underdeveloped Wide Receivers.

Or course there has been no news, and really no solid rumors in the public blogoshphere.  The most tangible conversation around the Pitt WR Coach is “Will Whipple hire Leonard Hankerson?”  For those that don’t know Hankerson, he’s the former Miami Hurricane / Former NFL WR / Current WR Coach for the Umass Minutemen (who of course were coached by Whipple).

As far as qualifications, Hankerson did have lights-out senior year at Miami (72 rec / 1156 yds / 13 TD), and he did manage to stick around for five years in the NFL, but his coaching experience is a bit light.  Per Wikipedia:  “Leonard Hankerson joined Mark Whipple’s UMass football staff as an offensive graduate assistant in July 2017 and earned a promotion into the role of wide receivers coach for the 2018-19 school year.[28]

So yeah.  I’m guessing they will be looking for someone a little more senior.

Continue reading “WR Coach Search”

2019 Football Schedule Announced

2019 Football Schedule Announced

Pitt formally published the 2019 football schedule today, and it won’t be an easy one.  11 of the 12 teams we play qualified for a bowl in 2018.

The good news is that the Panthers will host seven games at Heinz Field, including four ACC games.  Here is the full 2019 Schedule as released by the Sports Information Department, as well as some extra commentary by Yours Truly, meant to be taken with a grain of salt of course.

 

Aug. 31                                 Virginia*            

Pitt is 5-0 all-time against the Cavaliers in Pittsburgh.

Which means the Cavs are due…

 

Sept. 7                                  Ohio     

Coach Frank Solich has led the Bobcats to 10 bowl games in 14 seasons.

Oh great, another triple-option team.

 

Sept. 14                                at Penn State    

The 2019 meeting between Pitt and Penn State will mark the 100th all-time.

The good thing is that we will be beat up as hell after playing that triple-option team.

 

Sept. 21                                UCF       

The Knights’ 25-game winning streak was snapped by LSU, 40-32, in the Fiesta Bowl.

At least we will only be win #4 on their new win streak.

 

Sept. 28                                Delaware           

In the lone prior meeting, James Conner scored four TDs in a 62-0 win to open the 2014 season.

This is really the only game we should feel good about

 

Oct. 5                                    at Duke*            

Kenny Pickett’s 25-yard pass to Maurice Ffrench with :05 left lifted Pitt past Duke last season.

And it’s a good thing it did or 2018 would have been a dis-aster.

 

Oct. 18 (Fri.)                      at Syracuse*     

The Panthers have won 14 of the past 17 games against the Orange.

Thanks for the Kiss of Death…

 

Oct. 26                                  Miami*

Pitt toppled No. 2 Miami, 24-14, the last time the Hurricanes visited Heinz Field in 2017.

We win about 1 out of every 3 games against the ‘Canes so don’t get your hopes up

 

Nov. 2                                   at Georgia Tech*            

The Panthers travel to Atlanta to face new-look Georgia Tech under coach Geoff Collins.

Finally a winnable game!

 

Nov. 14 (Thurs.)               North Carolina*              

The last time Mack Brown faced Pitt? The 1984 season as Oklahoma’s offensive coordinator.

The last time Pat Narduzzi beat North Carolina:  Never

 

Nov. 23                                 at Virginia Tech*             

The Panthers piled up a school-record 654 yards in last season’s 52-22 win over the Hokies.

We used it all up in 2018, so expect about 150 yards of offense for a two year average of 400 yards per game.

 

Nov. 30                                 Boston College*             

Pitt has won five of the last six against the Eagles, who visit Heinz for the first time since 2004.

Two teams that love to play smash-mouth football meet in Pittsburgh in November…Whiplash vs Smashmouth.  Better hope we can stop the run.

 

In all seriousness folks, this is a pretty tough schedule.  An early uneducated read says 6-6, because Duzz always loses a couple that you think he should win and wins a couple you’d think he would lose.  Here’s to hoping the Defense is as good as we think it is and Whipple gets the offense humming.

Hail to Pitt

Michaelangelo

You can’t say WPIAL without “Whipple”

You can’t say WPIAL without “Whipple”

What a great 24 hours it’s been for Pitt.  Last night’s win at the Pete electrified the fan base, and the icing on the cake was the hire of what is considered to be a very solid Offensive Coordinator.

Here is the article I wrote last night regarding Whipple:

….

Pitt has an Offensive Coordinator.  In the space of ten days Pitt Head Coach Pat Narduzzi fired and replaced Shawn Watson.  The new coach, Mark Whipple is widely regarded by the fanbase as a solid hire.  Certainly not a splash, but certainly better than Shawn Watson.  According to one survey, a full two-thirds of Pitt fans approve.  Another one-quarter had no idea who he is.

screen shot 2019-01-14 at 9.48.34 pm

Whipple, who was the head coach at the University of Massachusetts until recently is widely regarded as a quartback guru.  He should be near and dear to most Pittsburghers’ hearts because he was the first NFL coach to tutor Ben Roethlisberger.  He’s also coached for the Browns (boo) and the Eagles (personal favorite of mine), and did a stint at Miami as their OC back in 2009-2010.

While Whipple has received mixed reviews from the Miami fanbase the conventional wisdom was that his quarterback talent was marginal (Jacory Harris anyone?), and Whipple still managed to coax 5000 yards per season out of the team.  It should be pointed out that Miami’s 2010 yardage was outstanding at 5493 but scoring was lackluster at 26.3 points per game.  Still, both figures would be an improvement at Pitt.  For comparison’s sake, Pitt put up just about 3600 yards last season and 25.6 PPG.

The bottom line is that wherever Whipple has gone in the NCAA, yards and for the most part points have followed.  Apparently it’s because he understands how to scheme receivers open.

Continue reading “You can’t say WPIAL without “Whipple””

Football Bits and Pieces

Football Bits and Pieces

It’s quiet out there.  Very quiet.  The OC search has gone dark for the weekend, and it’s been talked dead anyway.  It’s an offical visit weekend, and there have been no leaks.  Pitt Basketball played their hearts out yesterday, and that has dominated the Pitt-o-shpere.  And the divisional round of the NFL playoffs is underway.

Regarding the OC search, a couple of new names have surfaced since my last article:  Joe Rudolph and Mark Whipple.  Based on casual observation of this board and Twitter, neither of them appears to be considered a splash hire.  We know what Rudolph brings to the table (and it’s not bad, but not what a lot of people profess to want).   Whipple looks like an also-ran (which, sadly, probably means he has the inside track).

In recruiting news, Aliquippa four-star DB MJ Devonshire is on an offical visit this weekend.  The biggest update to come out of this so far, is that Penn State called Devonshire while he was in Oakland and apparently the call was “great”.  There has been no mention of the Pitt visit on Devonshire’s Twitter (as of yet), but you would assume that since it’s Sunday, the visit is still going on…  Continue reading “Football Bits and Pieces”