Friday FB Bits & Pieces; July 15th

Twenty three days until the start of the 2016 season’s fall camp to be held at the beautiful Southside football facilities we share with the PGH Steelers – and that the recruits love to go to for that reason.450px-upmcsportsperformancecomplex4

We need to start getting serious about football now.  Three weeks and a few wake ups and things start getting nervous-making and here’s one reason why.

Yesterday Chris Peak of Rivals/Trib-Review had another of his good and detailed podcasts.  He starts of by talking about a poll he put up on Rivals regarding “Who is the Best QB in Post-Walt Harris Era” (which I can’t find on his message boards).

Peak then discussed the biggest problem facing Pitt’s 2016 season bar none IMO; QB depth.  I have been harping on this since the day Chad Voytik went public with the news of his decision to transfer. Now with 23 days left until camp starts the staff hasn’t done anything to rectify it but move a player, rsSR now-QB Manny Stocker, over to the QB2 spot.

There should be no need to keep saying it over but I will…  This staff needed a transfer QB with eligibility in the worst way and didn’t (yet) do it.. stay tuned but I think we are stuck with Stocker or burning Tom MacVitte’s redshirt.

He has ex-Pitt QB Pat Bostick Jr as a guest which is always fun to listen to.  If you don’t know by now he has been kicked upstairs and  is the major fundraiser for Pitt athletics now as the Director of Development.  Pitt has figured out that he’s more valuable getting with donors and future donors during the games than up in the booth where ex-Pitt WR Billy Osborn will take his place.

As anyone who has been in the position to influence their employee’s career recognizes AD Scott Barnes is building Bostick’s resume with Bostick’s move out of the booth.  Fundraising is a major requirement for hire as an Athletic Director anywhere and this is Pat Jr getting his professional feet wet in that part of the business.

(BTW – Bostick thinks Stull’s 2009 year was the best, mainly due to the wins column).

Take some time to sit down and listen to Pat Bostick’s take on the QB and the passing game going into 2016. It starts at the 18:30 mark or so and goes on for quite a bit. Here are some re-capped points to Pat made: (Italics are my thoughts)

  • Bostick thinks Peterman is as talented as any QB we have had and has “as much arm talent as Tom Savage” less some of the pure strength Savage has (which no one really matches IMO).
    • We’ll see more downfield passing this year.  Even though not Savage’s strength he’s strong enough and accurate enough to hit the big plays – which just weren’t called by Chaney much last season.
  • He’ll (Peterman) be better this year – the fans don’t factor in that Peterman had to ‘knock the rust off’ from being idle those years and only had four weeks to learn a new offense and perform.
    • Big difference between that and 2016 where he’s the starter and will take all the snaps.
  • The two biggest issue with the QB is 1) his health and 20 his production.
    • That saying “his health” vice performance underscores the important problem about the back-up QB problem.
  • He thinks our passing game will be better because it will be different – instead of Boyd being the #1 receiver even when not really open.  NP will be able to play instinctively vice  being “programmed” to go to Boyd all the time even if he was just a ‘smidgen’ open.  He thinks well see more yards and more TDs from Peterman because of this.
    • This is what I have been emphasizing all along and rather strongly.  His using the word ‘programmed’ is Pat’s nice way of saying Chaney insisted it be Boyd, Boyd, and Boyd with his playcalling.
  • Ford will be the leading receiver and he’s big on rsJR WR Jester Weah (as is the staff BTW). He also see us spreading the ball out a lot more and using the “small feet” guys like rsSO WR Rafael Araujo-Lopes (!) and SO WR Quadree Henderson will be put in the position to get the ball fast and get yards downfield.
    • Interesting that Pat mentioned Lopes who didn’t catch a ball last season.  Henderson we know already due to his very good play on special teams.  ‘Small feet guys’ cracks me up but we’ll see them in the slot a bunch this year

I have said I think Ford is the next ‘star’ receiver we have at Pitt and even though Pat calls him a possession receiver I believe we’ll see some great yards after the catch with Ford… mainly because he’ll have other WRs actually coming over to block for him.  That was a shortcoming on Boyd’s part last year.

It is a good, and I think honest, take on Peterman and the passing game we’ll see -and I say honest because he also talks about Peterman’s faltering in the bigger games, most notably NC, Miami and Navy which he certainly did.  But Pat’s take dovetails with my opinions of the passing game we’ll see and is also why  am willing to make that wager I posted yesterday – that Peterman will beat Palko’s 2004 production of 27 TDs and 3,067 yards.

Here is an interesting bit of news: JR (?)* RB James Conner is on the Doak Walker award watchlist – after not playing for a full season.  That is something to note and I wonder if the feel good story factored into that a bit.  but then again the last season he did play was so damned productive he certainly should be included.  (I put the * behind Conner’s year because he was awarded an extra year by the NCAA because of last year’s injury.)

And speaking of awards he, rsSR LB Mike Caprara (see below) and SR OL Adam Bisnowaty were also placed on the list for the Danny Wuerfful Award. And, Yeah Us!! ,that number, three, is the most of any team nationally.

The Pitt Panthers had three players selected to the Wuerffel Trophy watch list Wednesday, the most representatives of any school in the country.

Junior running back James Conner, senior offensive lineman Adam Bisnowaty and senior linebacker Mike Caprara were all named preseason candidates for the Wuerffel Trophy, named after 1996 Heisman Trophy winning quarterback Danny Wuerffel.

The Wuerffel Trophy is given annually to the FBS player that best combines exemplary community service with athletic and academic achievement.

But Wait!  There’s More!  Our young phenom, SO S Jordan Whitehead is also racking up listings having just been placed for the Jim Thorpe Award .  Thorpe, if you have done your sports homework, was the Native American “best athlete of the 20th century”who got screwed out of his Olympic medals back in the 1912 games.

Thorpe almost had a Pitt connection in that he was coached by Pop Warner at Carlisle – he of later Pitt championship fame.

In 1904 the sixteen-year-old Thorpe returned to his father and decided to attend Carlisle Indian Industrial School in Carlisle, Pennsylvania. There his athletic ability was recognized and he was coached by Glenn Scobey “Pop” Warner, one of the most influential coaches of early American football history.[14] Later that year he became orphaned after Hiram Thorpe died from gangrene poisoning after being wounded in a hunting accident,[13] and Jim again dropped out of school. He resumed farm work for a few years and then returned to Carlisle Indian Industrial School.[12]

Pittsburgh Sports Now has an interview with AD Scott Barnes.  Here it is you can read it but I didn’t see anything worth nothing here in it.  Nice to read though.

The Pitt Media Dept just posted the latest update roster that includes all the class of 2016 recruits.

To recruiting:  Pat Narduzzi looked outside of the Tri-State area and lands a recruit from The Land Down Under.

jp3kkemm
Q: Guess which  is the Pitt recruit! A:WTFK!

Upsidedown Pat signalWe just send up an upside down Pat signal  (it came from the other side of the equator ) and met a need in replacing our SR punter.  His name is Kirk Christodoulou but I’m just going to call him K-Christ.  Too many vowels freak me out and that makes him sound like a white rapper.

dingo_puppiesWelcome aboard, I think. He was rated 3 Dingos by Aussie Rivals.com.

The existing Pitt players are at their good works again, and this has been a recurring theme over the off season.  It seems like between charity works and being named to Award watch lists there is something in the news every morning.

Yesterday it was participation in Pittsburgh’s Orange Arrow program that serves young men in preparing them for what lies ahead in their lives.

The venture was just one part of Orange Arrow’s mentoring program, started three years ago by former Pitt football player Shawn Robinson. Its goal: Teach young student-athletes how to act off the field.

Or, as 12-year-old Tyvon Johnson of McKees Rocks responded when asked what he learns from Orange Arrow: “Respect.”  “There are so many coaches showing a young kid how to catch a football, hit a baseball, get off the starting blocks,” Robinson said. “Who is showing them how to be successful in life?”

Robinson said the lessons range from “leadership to their decorum.”“We expose them to arts and cultures and build cross-cultural relationships,” he said.

Mike Caprara, Matt Galambos, Ryan Lewis, Dontez Ford, Kellen McAlone and Avonte Maddox are the Panther volunteers this time.  What especially caught my eye was this and it is something that I hold in high importance.

Being able to share a meal and conduct a strong conversation is so important in my mind.  To eat and to communicate are the two biggest needs in a human being and when you can do both in a way that allows exchanging ideas while enjoying yourselves if a bedrock to a full and varied life.

Forget about that smaller salad fork or what that finger bowl is for – that doesn’t matter.  But when you are a teen or young man and can hold your own in that situation with adults who have already made a mark in life then world opens up for you.

Here is a bit of advice… When you are alone and no one is watching eat with your mouth open as that allows you nose to use its sense of smell to complement your tongue’s taste buds.

As humans, our taste senses only recognize 5 flavors- sweet, sour, salty, bitter, and umami, but it is the nose that senses thousands of odor molecules that help create the true flavor experience. Truthfully, every sense has a role in how you enjoy the food; seeing the caramelization on the roasted sweet potato, hearing the fresh crack of an artisan crust, but the sense of smell really triumphs all. <!– [if lt IE 9]>//html5shiv.googlecode.com/svn/trunk/html5.js<![endif]–>

In public or with others – never.  That is why you should take small bites when you are eating with others and there is conversation going.  So that if someone asks you something you can swallow quickly and engage in talking with them.

Just saying’…  “Look Back Saturday” is being drafted for tomorrow.

51 thoughts on “Friday FB Bits & Pieces; July 15th

  1. We have luck with kiwi’s. I did watch some film on him and he looks slow from catch to boot. Between catching the snap and punting the ball, punter has only 1.15 to 1.3 seconds. Total execution time including the snap is around 2.1 seconds in Division 1. I am just being picky today, sorry. Maybe Doc can deliver some koolaid elixir shortly.

    I like Peterman as our qb right now. If I had to be picky, I will still say that his delivery is too slow (stiff arm) which may cause balls to be tipped at the line of scrimmage or balls thrown slightly behind receivers. I do like the yards he gets off the scrambles, but with that comes a potential for taking hits. We can’t afford to see his backup just yet.

    Perhaps Dontavius Butler gives a verbal today or tomorrow.

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  2. I’ll only worry about the quarterback depth if Peterman gets injured. This team needs to run the ball 65 percent of the time behind this O-line and the array of running backs.

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  3. In reality, I think the backup QB situation, though very important, is more of an issue for sports writers and more importantly, for coaches. The average fan is thinking: Slim chance Peterman gets hurt, so not gonna worry about it too much. Again, not to say it shouldn’t be a focus, especially for the staff, but like most fans, I just can’t get too worked up about it. I do wonder though, if Peterman does go down, will the backup selection be at least somewhat dependent on when Peterman is hurt? In other words, if Peterman goes down early in the season, would we tend to work in Stocker first due to his experience and the lack of prep time for MacVittie, or if its mid season maybe we go with MacVittie since he’ll have more prep time at that point and obviously be far more important player for our future? Do we just bite the bullet and start preparing for the future of our program, versus being a little more short-sighted and playing for today (presuming there’s not a big skill difference)?

    I have a hunch that Lopes will be a good player for us too, so I tend to agree with Pat.

    I think the biggest single factor this year with regard to our offense, is the new OC, especially when considering our WR position. I am hopeful in this regard, given last year’s disappointment with regard to play calling.

    Also, looks like our new punter is promising, but those look like 3 dingo PUPS, so is that equivalent to a low 3 star rating here? If he were a high 3 star, I’d expect 3 pictures of grown dingos, then again I’m not too familiar with those Aussie rating sites.

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  4. MacVitte is not ready, he needs a redshirt year to develop. If Mr Peterman gets hurt it will make things interesting but Pitt does have a stable of RB’s, don’t forget about those guys.

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  5. we can only pray not to repeat 2007 … when we lost 4 games in the final couple of minutes. You would think if Stull was healthy, we win those (Certainly not a rap on Bostick who was a natural frosh)

    I agree that Stull 09 was the best year but he had a heck of a supporting staff including a good and healthy OL, not to mention 2 good frosh RBs, 2 good TEs and a future 1st round WR (with a good attitude at the time). This year can be similar … real good OL and stable of good RBs, a real good TE, with a lot of WR potential.

    Just stay healthy Nate

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  6. I wouldn’t mind seeing Stocker as the short yardage and goal line QB .. just to give the defense something more to think about

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  7. wwb – Bostick did make mention of the good surrounding cast that Mr. David McGillicutty Wannstedt had personally recruited to win a lot of football games. With his excellent motivational tools and kind, yet sad eyes, he ensured that those in his pastoral care could run and catch the ball well enough for Stull to thrive.

    On second thought Stull wasn’t really all that good – it was the benign and oh so humble Head Coach who, through his own sheer willpower, molded wins out of what would have surely been losses.

    You know who I’m talking about… Rev. Dave Wannstedt. I personally thank God that he was our HC and my personal mentor.. even if it was from afar.

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  8. Apparently, the fact that Steeler punter Jordan Berry is also an Aussie had a positive impact in the recruitment of K-Christ

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  9. Not having a backup QB reminds me of when Cavanaugh went down mid season and Yuesic(?) pronounced “you-sick” had to take over as the backup. If memory serves me…..ND knew Pitt had no backup and they broke Matt C. wrist as he went out of bounce! Hope history doesn’t repeat itself!!!!

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  10. won’t argue with Sherill … but he also coached in an era where Western PA was probably the best recruiting area around. This is why I’ve lowered my expectations of Pitt FB a long time ago. Right now, I’m perfectly happy with competing for ACC Coastal every year.

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  11. Wow! Football commentary with a side of Emily Post. You won’t find another sports blog with that kind of subject range.

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    1. When I was in the USCG my wife, kids and I would have the younger enlisted shipmates, who were away from home and out on their own for the first time, over for monthly dinners. We’d have a true cocktail hour with a bar set up and I’d teach them how to mix drinks or tell the difference in basic wines…, then we’d go in and sit down for dinner – no shop talk allowed – then have more drinks & dessert afterward. Usually lots of drinks afterward. We started that when I was in the enlisted ranks then kept it going through my Officer years when we were shore based.

      Anyway, it gave them a taste of home and the ones with little brothers and sisters they were missing had a blast – but we also taught them the basics of what I mentioned in the article. How to hold your own with basic social protocols, feel at ease in a more formalized dinner setting, converse at table and then conversation (with asking the right questions of others!) afterward.

      It started off with two or three kids then almost got too big to do at our base housing. Did the same thing at Holidays – one day over Thanksgiving and Christmas liberties was set aside for the single guys and girls to get out of the bars and off the roads. It wasn’t super heavy on Emily Post, my parents slapped me over the head with that, but we made sure these shipmates could go anywhere and be with anyone and hold their own…. especially girlfriend’s families.

      It was fun as hell and the kids started bring food they cooked themselves and their own booze (thank God $$$$). Basically it was being surrogate parents for a few hours a month. Every so often we’ll still get a knock on the door and one of those kids – now salty sailors or retired themselves, will be a blast from the past with a bottle and a smile just stopping in when driving down I95 southbound.

      That’s why my eyes lit up when I saw the Pitt players do that for others albeit on a younger years scale- and btw Pitt used to have, and still does I hope, the same type basic social intro thing for their athletes.

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  12. Best coaches since Majors 1 are Sherrill then Gottfried. Wanny and Walt are tied for third.

    Boy did the administration screw up firing Gottfried. The front four in 1990 could have been Pitt’s best ever with Mark Gunn, Marc Spindler, Sean Gilbert and Keith Hamilton. All played in the NFL and three of them had long careers by NFL standards. And don’t think Spindler was a lock to leave after his junior season. He had a knee issue that dropped him to the third round and he risked the fall because he wanted no part with Hackett. He was a Gottfried guy through and through.

    The linebackers would have been Ricardo McDonald, Craig Gob and Nelson Walker. A shame what happened to Walker in that Oklahoma game in 1990. Amazing all the what-ifs I have as a fan and all the administration had to do was just let it happen instead of thinking athletics is evil.

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    1. Thanks Wayne – get your commenting thoughts ready because when Fall camp starts we’ll be burning up the keyboards on here. Then during the season I do a Monday Morning Quarterback and just sit back and read the very insightful comments. It truly is a lot of fun – win or lose.

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  13. Glad we spent a schollie on a punter, release time can be improved. I remember a few years we decided to save a schollie in that position – 34 yard punts with no hang time are killers. Majors and Sherrill preached special teams. I’d go with Sherill and It’s Not My Fault Walt over Wanny. Walt revived a moribund program.
    WVU soup spoon – a hand on the side of the bowl slurping loudly.

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    1. And it was the wrong move though fighting with the administration over academics did Mike in. See the won-loss record in the decade of the 1990s for proof it was the wrong move.

      When will Pitt ever learn to let an incident blow over and press on? Sad.

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  14. I still don’t get why Voytek transferred.
    He was one play away from starting
    but also could have had a chance at playing
    time in different game situations.
    Also could have stared Grad school credits at
    The Greatest University. PITT

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  15. Hugh – Glad you asked that!!!!! (just kidding Emel)

    I’ve done many articles about Chad Voytik on The Pitt Blather but the last one I did was, I think, well balanced and well received – it got 256 comments and was about 3,000 words in length.

    Here is the link to the article “The Other Side of the Coin” – read it and I think you’ll have a good background on Voytik’s time at Pitt and why he transferred.

    I have pretty strong opinions on his leaving but that article is what I knew and felt…

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  16. I hope Peterman has a good season since QB play can be the difference of going 6-6 and 9-3. And there is reason, to believe he can, if he can manage to connect with some WR’s on some long routes. That wasn’t the case last year as Boyd’s YPC was significantly lower than the previous year. And Peterman didn’t seem to progress much during the year, as it ended with a thud. A measly 137 yards passing against Navy along with 3 costly interceptions. That followed a dreadful performance against Miami of only 142 yards passing and a woeful 4.3 YPA. So I hope he doesn’t leave off where he ended, cause that was not good.

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  17. If we had just recruited a QB last season. He could have had a season of indoctrination with the team and a year in the weight room to get beefed up for D1 competition.

    Oops, we did, what is Ben DiNucci, chopped liver? I fully realize that he has some flaws in his technique but seriously how awful can a QB be that crushed the PAstate passing record with a 4,250 yd passing/ 47 TDs while taking his HS team to a 15-1 record as a senior.

    Canada would be foolish to burn MacVittie’s RS this season if Perterman goes down without giving both Stocker & DiNucci a good long look, over a couple games for each at least to give them their opportunities to perform. By then Peterman could be back in action if his injury was just a ding like a concussion or sprained ankle.

    MacVittie is Pitts future and is just too valuable to throw into the fray before he is ready, IMO. Bring him along correctly. 2017 will be his time to shine.

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    1. We’ve had a couple highly successful HS QB’s that just didn’t pan out Doc. Bostick’s team was really good, Mannheim or something, Anthony Gonzalez at Bethlehem Liberty won the PA state title and the little guy from Texas Pearland won the 5A Texas State title. So apparently success in HS and even winning state titles doesn’t mean much in whether the QB will be any good as a D1 QB.

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      1. I get your point, but don’t you have to give the kid the opportunity to prove himself under fire before passing judgement on him, especially when it involves such a huge implication of putting your future star (hopefully) QB in a game way before he is ready, plus losing a year of eligibility concurrently?

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  18. Those were 2 games btw, that if they wanted to insure Voytik coming back(or at least make it a lot more likely) and him thinking he would get a legit shot of regaining the starting job, they would have inserted Voytik to perhaps spark a Pitt comeback. If I’m standing on the sidelines and I’m not even asked to warmup, while my team is getting it’s brains beat out, I’m thinking I have no future on this team.

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  19. Okay so your saying that he no longer fit the program.
    Change in coaches (3 counting Graham) left no obligation to honor whatever was promised in his recruitment.
    Loss in faith by the new coaches that he could play better.
    He graduated and was free from Pitt and ready to move on
    Playing time anywhere else, where he was wanted, would be better than
    a year at a place where they would rather have his scholarship freed up.
    Some battles aren’t worth the fight
    It was a no win situation for this kid.
    Well then he should move on
    Okay I get it.
    That leaves no backup but I guess the coaches don’t care who it is as long as it’s not Voytek.
    I don’t get that.

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    1. Coaches have egos and ways of thinking that don’t always revolve around only winning football games. Perhaps they feel the kid would do better elsewhere so don’t try to stop him or perhaps they feel the team would be better off all-around with a player gone.

      They are human also and make their own decisions. Personally I think the staff felt that it would be easy to get another QB to transfer in before the start of the 2016 fall camp. We saw that happen twice at Pitt in three years.

      I don’t know how hard they pushed for that to happen though – there were some on the market (as they say) but chose elsewhere.

      The true fact is that you are 100% correct that Voytik and the coaches left us in a tough position at QB going into the season.

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  20. Had PN let CV play in the Miami or Navy games he might still be on our roster. The message was clear: There was no level of bad that NP could play at that would result in playing time for CV. Only an injury to NP was going to result in playing time for CV. So he left.

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  21. I think Voytik felt that because Chaney personally brought Nate P into the program he had no chance to see the field. Sadly Voytik transfers because of Chaney and Chaney ends up leaving anyway! The whole thing is a bummer with the exception that we do have a solid starter in Nate P.

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  22. I noticed that Bo Schneider QB is listed on the updated Pitt roster. I’m guessing that transfers unable to play in the current season are still considered roster players.

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  23. Pittman4ever – Chad left after Chaney. The Miami game was the start of Chad knowing he was not wanted when Chaney stuck with NP who was having a horrendous day.

    Then Chaney bolts for Georgia and Salem steps in for the Navy game as the OC. Another bad game by NP, but Chad is not even asked to warm up on the sidelines.

    The common denominator is HCPN. He could have overruled both OC’s and played Chad. By not playing him in those two losses, Chad had to feel he had to move on if he ever wanted to play FB again.

    Heck, the coaches may have even helped him pack his bags for all we know.

    I’ll wait for the book. In the mean time, Pitt has one nice team coming back and I’ll cross my fingers that NP stays healthy and HCPN learns from this QB sub mistake like he did with Iowa game – the famous 4th and 1 play call.

    HTP!

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  24. Those theories are all possible but I think some off the mark.

    First off the fact is that Chaney did not reach out to Peterman – Peterman decided to leave Tennessee and then went visiting other schools before he visited Pitt – one of the reasons he looked hard at Pitt was because his father was from this area…but Peterman made the first contact with Pitt, not the other way around.

    http://www.post-gazette.com/sports/Pitt/2015/07/01/Nathan-Peterman-settles-in-quickly-after-transfering-to-Pitt/stories/201507010099

    So they visit in May and decided on Pitt in June. That Chaney was here was surely a factor in his final decision though.

    In fall camp Voytik suddenly has real competition, Bertke and DiNucci were never D1 caliber QBs, and his fall camp does not go that well at all. Peterman on the other hand does do well and impresses the coaches. The reality is that Peterman played better than Voytik in latter part of August – plain and simple. Still, the coaches gave Voytik a shot to be a “gamer” as they say and he didn’t play well enough (at all) to keep hold.

    Remember, Narduzzi was adamant that he wasn’t going to rely on game film or past performances – he was going into fall camp with every position being a ‘blank slate” which he really did do.

    I don’t think anyone can argue that Voytik didn’t play well enough to hold the starting job – so they put Peterman in and the rest is history.

    Now – Here’s what I said in that article and what I know from conversations even though some refuse to believe it – Voytik did not handle the benching well, was vocal later on about it and the HC made his mind up on who was going to finish out the season. Obviously that was Peterman whether his play was up or down.

    I wrote many times on the other blog that Narduzzi in essence ‘held the door open’ for Voytik’s transfer. Narduzzi is a tough SOB and didn’t like what was going on what he was hearing from staff coaches, so he made a decision to stick with Peterman and roll the dice at the next season.

    Note though that Narduzzi didn’t ask Voytik to leave, but once Voytik made it known he wasn’t happy at Pitt and would leave… that was it for the HC.

    Here is what some fans can’t accept – college football is played by young men who have emotions and flaws… every single one of them. They get hurt feelings and with that we know college football is also populated by coaches who are hard-0nosed and one-way about things they feel strongly about. Again Narduzzi doesn’t want kids who don’t want to be at Pitt.

    Ask Chris James about that – same thing happened with him. Voytik isn’t the only player to leave the program lately.

    Voytik didn’t get screwed and he didn’t get shafted by poor play calling by Chaney. The ‘fix’ wasn’t in.

    He played his way out of keeping the starting job beginning in early August and that is what happens in real-life sports. Voytik chose his own course – when he saw the handwriting on the wall – and the staff did nothing to stop him.

    Note: It is very interesting that almost exactly the same scenario played out at TN with Peterman as it did with Voytik at Pitt. Peterman was named the starter, played a bit and not very well, then didn’t get put in to play again all season…then he transferred.

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  25. July 15, 2016

    PITTSBURGH – Pitt’s Jordan Whitehead earned his fourth watch-list selection of the 2016 preseason on Friday morning when the dynamic sophomore safety was named a candidate for the Paul Hornung Award, which is annually presented to college football’s most versatile player by the Louisville Sports Commission.

    Whitehead’s explosiveness in various different roles could make him the ideal candidate for this season’s Paul Hornung Award presented by Texas Roadhouse, whose recent winners include first round NFL Draft picks Tavon Austin of West Virginia (2012), Odell Beckham Jr. of LSU (2013) and Shaq Thompson of Washington (2014), as well as 2015 honoree Christian McCaffrey of Stanford.

    Featuring primarily as a safety for the Panthers in his true freshman season, Whitehead was named ACC Rookie of the Year by the media after leading Pitt with 109 total tackles – a true freshman school record – and compiling six tackles for loss, a sack assist, six pass breakups, one interception and a 22-yard fumble return for a touchdown against Navy in the Military Bowl.

    The Aliquippa, Pa., native also excelled offensively towards the end of his debut season, averaging 10.2 yards per carry as a running back with 122 rushing yards on 12 carries. Whitehead’s breakout offensive performance came in November against Notre Dame when he rushed for two touchdowns (10 and three yards) on just four carries – all while making a team-high 11 tackles in his defensive duties.

    Whitehead was previously placed on the preseason watch lists for the Chuck Bednarik Award and Bronko Nagurski Trophy for national Defensive Player of the Year, and the Jim Thorpe Award for college football’s top defensive back ahead of the upcoming 2016 campaign.

    Led by the four watch-list honors for the local Central Valley High School product Whitehead, the Pitt football team has now amassed a total of 14 selections to the watch lists of 10 of college football’s most coveted awards.

    Updated 2016 Pitt watch-list selections (14 total):
    Maxwell Award: RB James Conner
    Chuck Bednarik Award: DE Ejuan Price, S Jordan Whitehead
    Rimington Trophy: C Alex Officer
    Ray Guy Award: P Ryan Winslow
    Bronko Nagurski Trophy: S Jordan Whitehead
    Outland Trophy: OL Adam Bisnowaty, OL Dorian Johnson
    Jim Thorpe Award: S Jordan Whitehead
    Wuerffel Trophy: RB James Conner, OL Adam Bisnowaty, LB Mike Caprara
    Doak Walker Award: RB James Conner
    Paul Hornung Award: S Jordan Whitehead

    Season tickets and mini-plans for the 2016 Pitt football season are now on sale. Call the Pitt Ticket Office at (800) 643-PITT (7488) or log on to PittsburghPanthers.com.

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  26. The improvement of this team overall in 2016 will be palpable even in light of the more difficult schedule. Yes, we have no seasoned back up QB, OK, we have to replace Boyd’s production, true, the defense was suspect last season, obviously Conner’s potential is in question coming back from cancer chemo & his knee injury. That’s the bad news.

    The good news is the quantum leap that the entire organization will take after being together for a whole year now. Of course the Chaney to Canada transition remains to be seen but from the initial observations, Canada seems to be the guy that Narduzzi would have initially preferred as his OC, in the 1st. place, if you believe the Narduzzi press interviews.

    The challenges that Narduzzi had to deal with as a brand new HC, putting together his staff, getting a handle on his players skill sets, picking up the recruiting responsibilities, rallying the fan base, etc. is a daunting task, even for an experienced veteran HC taking on a new job. This was Narduzzi’s first time around doing all of that. PLUS, Coach Duzz & OC Chaney create the QB controversy discussed hear by bringing in a graduate transfer QB during the summer.

    That worked out well for Peterman but he had his own gauntlet to run through to grasp his opportunity as the Panther’s starting QB. No history with his team mates displacing a kid like Chad who was a leader in the team and was well liked by his buddies was no easy task for Nate to take in. I will guarantee you that there was a lot of closed door drama behind the scene during that transition period in the early season as that QB transition transpired.

    In light of all of that, we end up with an 8-5 record. Not too shabby. Now one season later,,,,,,

    We have a year under our belt with the entire organization working together. All of that “getting to know you” drama over. The defensive troops now fully indoctrinated to Narduzzi’s defensive style of playing with substantial reinforcements poised to fill the gaps that are in need of help. Hendrix being a key cog in that process not even considered a newbie, since he’s been with the team for a full season already as he awaited his eligibility to play.

    Other guys like Brightwell, McKee and Edwards also waiting in the wings for their time to fill in on the two deep. Then the true newbies show up in fall camp.

    Make no mistake about it, out of the guys like Watts, Camp, Wheeler & Hamlin at least a couple of these guys are going to see their RSs go up in flames as they force their way into the two deep to plug up the obvious weak spots in our roster. This resulting defense will be substantially better because of all of the above.

    Whitehead will show up big time this season both with even better performance on the field as well as emerging as the newly minted fresh leader of the Panthers of the future. Damar Hamlin will end up following in his footsteps as he steals the open CB position from one of our upperclassman veterans by season’s end vacated by Pitts, and that will be an upgrade because Hamlin IS that good!

    Then you look at the offense. You just can’t write a better script than the Conner story. He is already stamped a winner by defeating his cancer diagnosis. And I fully believe that his presence alone wins us a game or two this year, whether he is in the game or not, simply by the influence of the Conner Factor in the mentality of this team.

    Peterman is a key, for sure. He could put this team on his back and carry them to an ACC Coastal Crown with a solid performance this year. With the awesome running game waiting to be unleashed on our opponents this year, if Peterman can just complement that running attack with an efficient passing game, then this offense will be a difficult squad to keep off the scoreboard.

    As I’ve professed before, the confidence and momentum factors can’t be over emphasized. Those younger Pitt fans, under the age of say 30, can’t really appreciate the vibe that will be experienced as the animosity ramps up in anticipation of our renewed rivalry come September 10th with those cult members from creepy valley! A win on 9/10/2016 launches the Panthers into this season on the crest of a momentum wave that could carry them deep into the season with a “can do” feeling of self confidence.

    There are plenty of potential pitfalls for sure, potential injuries to key players, losing key early game debacles, Conner fizzling when higher expectations are anticipated, first year jitters with Canada as our new OC, etc. I’m seeing the potential of this organization overcoming these issues however with just a little luck going Pitt’s way this year.

    And the thing about luck is that those who have fully prepared themselves for success seem more often to have Lady Luck bless them with good fortune. This team is doing just that under Narduzzi. A close game, like the early season loss against the Hawkeyes, flips over to a win in a flash for the Panthers when Lady Luck shows up on your team this season. It will be a fun season watching how it all plays out. H2P!

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    1. Thanks!! great insight.

      May I make an editorial suggestion Doc?

      Split your posts up to shorter paragraphs – four lines to a para is about right for a viewer. You’ll notice I edited yours a bit.

      Keeping huge paragraphs like you had leads the readers to skip completely over it and that is a waste of your good writing.

      Notice my articles has a lot of short paragraphs each one (hopefully) a complete thought.

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  27. Someone can correct me if I’m wrong, maybe it’s my computer, but you can’t even comment on the Blather anymore. Not that there are any new articles, but if you wanted to make a comment on the last article, such as “Chas, where are you?”, which some of us did, you can’t make a comment on any articles, at all.
    Again, maybe it’s my computer. But, very strange.

    Like

  28. It isn’t your computer. I believe Chas Rich has closed down that Blog. I hope he does some BB stuff during the season but I have a suspicion he’s just backed out completely to concentrate on family, business/profession (he’s a lawyer).

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  29. Well thank goodness you started this site.
    Some of us non Twitter and Facebook guys have this place to get all the Pitt News.
    I have follewed the Blather for a long time. Hope Chas the best!!!!!!

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  30. so to summarize a segment of the discussion above, the 3 best coaches we had since Sherill were all shown the door due to off the field incidents (but to my knowledge none ever committed an NCAA violation)

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  31. good stuff Reed, as an aside I saw the New roster for 2016 and was wondering if you have any idea if Bo Schneider and Chris Clark count towards the scholly count this year?

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