Day 12 Notes; Bits & Pieces

Here is the P-G’s coverage of the LSH hire:

Stephens-Howling played for the Arizona Cardinals from 2009 to 2013 as a running back and kick returner. He signed with the Steelers in April of 2013 but injured his knee and missed the rest of the season because of ACL surgery.

He played for Pitt from 2005-2008.

Here are LaRod’s stats from his time at Pitt.  For those  fans with short memories look at his 2006 year where he had almost 900 yards with a very good 5.0 yards per carry average and nine TDs.

Plus he did well catching the ball out of the backfield also with a 12.2 ypc average.  He was the featured back that 6-6 season… remember those five straight losses after a  6-1 start?) LSH did all that then took a back seat to LeSean McCoy at the beginning of the next year.

Good for us that he’s with the team again – I always liked his loyalty and attitude when he lost his starting job.  He never bitched once.

LSH

According to P-G’s Redshirt Diaries Narduzzi like what Mathews has done so far:

**Narduzzi singled out freshman WR Aaron Matthews (Clairton) as one of his young receivers that “might be the guy” that is ahead of the pack right now.

**He said the team will scrimmage at Heinz Field tomorrow, but likely wait until next week’s final scrimmage of fall camp to really hammer home all of the game day details.

2016 Pitt Football Training Camp, Day 12 Coverage

Head Coach Pat Narduzzi

Opening statement:

“Today will be practice No. 14. We had a great practice yesterday. I was really happy with the intensity and the competition. It got heated out there. The guys were cranked up. Today we’re in what we call spider pads. It will be a light, almost typical Friday before a big game. We try to teach our guys what we have to do on a Friday before a big game. We try to get them in that mood.

We hired a new graduate assistant yesterday—he’s obviously a former player—for recruiting and operations. LaRod Stephens-Howling will be our new graduate assistant. As you guys know, he’s a former great [Pitt] tailback and a NFL tailback. We’re happy to have him in the program as well. I’ll give you that little announcement.”

On how the LaRod Stephens-Howling hire came to be:

“He applied. I actually met LaRod [Stephens-Howling] last year. I told him that his first interview was after one of our summer camps. I don’t know if you were there or not, but after one of our summer camps, he had stopped by. He was volunteering over at Robert Morris. He came out and I met him, and then I came out and said, ‘Hey, do you want to say a few words to all of the campers?’ He impressed me right there. He’s a guy that we wanted to bring back to the Pitt family and a guy that has done a lot for this program. We’re happy to have him back.”

On if they will be at Heinz Field for the scrimmage on Saturday:

“Yes, sir. We will be.”

On how much he tries to simulate an actual game when they scrimmage at Heinz Field:

“We’ll wait until the rehearsal scrimmage the following Friday. Next Friday, we’ll kind of hit all of the details then, but just like we do out here when we scrimmage, we try to work as many situations as possible. Even when we’re out here we’ve got the coaches up in the tower with the headphones on, working the communication between the coaches because someone is going to be up and someone is going to be down. In our scrimmage it’s more of the football part of it.

We’re working two-and-a-half minute sideline adjustments. So when the one defense comes off against the one offense, they go to the sideline, and we work and talk about the communication. We do a great job with sideline adjustments. It’s something that we teach and coach. We don’t want to get to game day and they’re watching the scoreboard to see what’s going on. No, they better be locked into that next series, and we try to coach that throughout camp.”

On if Offensive Coordinator Matt Canada will be in the booth during games this season:

“Yeah, Matt [Canada] will be upstairs, correct.”

On if having defensive depth will help against up-tempo offenses:

“It really does help. We just talked about competing and guys competing for positions, and competition is good because we’ve got more guys. So we obviously have the depth to be able to do that. It really will help us.”

On if they are actively preparing to face the triple-option for the Georgia Tech game:

“Yeah. We’ve had probably eight to 10 minutes every day when we’ve worked on the triple-option out here. No doubt. We didn’t do it in the spring because we felt like we had enough of it during the December month of practicing for Navy. We purposely installed it from day one.”

On if moving Brian O’Neill to Offensive Line was the right move:

“There’s no question about it. Brian O’Neill is going to be a great offensive tackle at the next level, and he’s going to be a great one for us. He’s all in, and it’s a great move. I’m not a genius though; we had to do that. It didn’t take a genius to figure that one out.”

On how the freshman defensive tackles have looked so far in camp:

“They’re like yo-yos right now. They’re up and down, but they have a ton of talent. You see great spurts out of them every day. They have the ability to cause havoc in the backfield. [Amir] Watts will get off the ball. Yesterday he caused some major havoc on the inside.

But sometimes he’ll be on the same side as the other guy, and it becomes a problem. That’s the same thing for the other guys. Keyshon Camp looked explosive yesterday, and Rashad Wheeler has looked good. All three of them I anticipate getting ready to go as the season starts.”

On how the freshmen wide receivers have looked so far in camp:

“They’re doing well. They’ve made some big catches on some deep throws. Aaron Mathews might be the guy that’s ahead right now. We’ll continue to keep giving him more and more as we move forward.”

Wide Receiver Dontez Ford:

On Pitt’s Wide Receiver depth: 

“Coach [Matt] Canada already has an idea on the guys he wants out there. He’s been mixing up the personnel a lot and giving everybody an opportunity. Right now Jester [Weah], Quadree [Henderson], and I have been taking a lot of reps, but other guys have stepped up and have made plays too. You can see other guys getting into the mix here as well.”

On Aaron Mathews during camp:

“He looks good. All of our freshman are playing well right now. It’s just learning the offense, and they have to catch up to the rest of us. They are all talented, they are all athletic and they can all go out there and make plays.”

On trying to learn a new offense:

“Once you get use to the language and the terminology it’s not too bad. You can see that all three new guys are making progress in the meeting rooms. They are figuring out how to take the language that we use in the meeting room and to use that to understand the concept going out into the field.”

On how much studying goes on during camp:

“We are only on the field for a few hours. The rest of it is us in the meeting rooms studying and learning things. It can take a toll if you are not prepared for it. But our guys have done a good job spending a lot of time in the meeting rooms preparing for everything.”

On the potential of being a starter for the upcoming season:

“I’m looking forward to it. I want to go out there and win games. That is the most important part. It is going to be fun seeing what we do this year. We have a variety of guys that you can put the ball in their hands and they can do something with it.”

Linebacker Bam Bradley

On moving around in linebacker positions:

“I prepare for everything. I played Money all last year, so it makes it easy to go back and forth. I have to train my mind to when I’m playing each position, but I wouldn’t say I didn’t expect it because I was prepared for anything.”

On what it will take to solidify a starting job in either linebacker position:

“This is my last year and there isn’t much that I haven’t done to prepare myself for this. I just put all my faith in God so that when that day comes and it’s time for me to have that job, it’s going to happen for me. I really believe that so I’m not really pressing the issue or bugging coach, I just come out here every day and do my job the best I can and make plays.”

On talking to his brother about the Star linebacker position:

“I didn’t really talk to him that much. I paid attention in meetings when he talked and what coach was saying to everybody and tried to remember little things so if I ever got put in that position it wasn’t brand new.”

On if his previous shoulder injury is affecting him at all:

“I’m not held back at all. I do preventative stuff just because coming into the first couple days of hitting I didn’t know how it was going to be. It’s not really bothering me at all. I just get treatment on it every day to make sure nothing does go wrong. It’s my senior year. I can’t afford to be playing 50 or 60 percent; I need to be 100 percent for every game. I do the preventative maintenance to make sure everything is okay.”

19 thoughts on “Day 12 Notes; Bits & Pieces

  1. At least if there is a “headphone problem” it will be legit with MC upstairs.
    LSH was indeed a class player.
    Every time a new Coordinator is hired the players say they have to get used to the new terminology. How many terminologies exist in football? One for each school? (sarcasm)
    Cant wait to see if WeeAaah catches one in a game – might have to eat some humble.
    That all 3 interior DL are raved about and nary a word about the others the veteran interior DL may be worse than I thought.

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  2. I remember the 6-1 start when the injuries starting taking its toll then the schedule became much more difficult. The Rutgers loss at home was tough as there were so many plays left on the field, and the UConn loss in OT was atrocious after leading by 14. Pitt just needed to stop UConn’s two-point play and a 7-5 record would have meant much more.

    That season when there was an injury a true freshmen had to fill in and when the kid should have been redshirting. Doug Fulmer hurt insert McKenzie Matthews, John Simonitis hurt insert Joe Thomas. There were some more that I can’t remember.

    Flash forward to now and it looks like three true freshmen defensive tackles will play this season due to there being nothing else available. That’s what happens when a coach hires a poor defensive staff like Chryst did. I guess I should’t get my hopes up for Shane Roy or Mike Herndon making an impact in the interior.

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  3. Yes!!! 🙂 🙂 Love LaRod Stephens Howling — what a class act and even though injuries cut his NFL career short it’s still amazing that he had some great success in the ‘League’.

    Love him, so glad he’s back Home!! No one wants Pitt to rise to the top more than him, for sure.

    —- Anyways, @ Reed I understand completely your affinity and love for College Football and Your Panthers over the NFL. I mostly appreciate the NFL because it’s truly a place where the utter Cream of all players (even in the world — international phenoms get a chance to break-out in the league too) compete against each other. The best of the best of the best of fully developed players. And it’s great to see current Pitt players showing just how great they are, but it’s also so exciting to see players at Pitt pushing themselves all-out to maybe have a shot to become fast enough, strong enough, and explosive enough to play against the best as a professional.

    It’s actually totally Directly-correlated to how successful an NCAA, Division One football program is with talent and quality of wins and how many players from these teams are transitioning into NFL careers.

    And the reason it is vital for a Power 5 Football program to be creating at least 3-5 solid NFL draft picks per season (including a healthy amount of early declarers) @ Reed is because this displays the head coaches’ ability to discover and analyze talent, then guiding these young men into matriculating and evolving into players physically and mentally good enough to then play Pro-Ball. And coincidentally, players this talented are exciting as heck to watch, and win ball games, exciting all of us fans + supporters, etc.

    Winning Power-5 football games and then doing so year-in, year-out, again requires consistently at minimum producing 3-5 NFL draft picks per year. Last year there was Boyd, this year, the NFL is going to come calling for Matt Galambos, Tyrique Jarret, Terrish Webb, Reggie Mitchell, Matt Caprara……lol I was being sarcastic and also pointing out Pitt still has to play with a lot of “previous-regime recruits” unfortunately. I cannot wait for Team ALL NARDUZZI. Lol: #NarduzziHitmen come 2017 and a trip up to Erector Set Beaver, and their ghetto-trashy bleachers.

    Pitt “Cool Aid” Comment: If Stanford can do what they’ve done, Pitt can most definitely be IT. If Boise State can consistently be a top 25 (even top 20) and continuously develop 2 star, no offer players into the NFL each year, then Pitt outta be IT. If Baylor and TCU can become “Football Powers”, then Pitt has no more excuses not to be IT.

    2 weeks til real football. Narduzzi-blackout for about 12 more days before things get REAL.

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  4. Obviously whatever you were smokin last night, Dark Knight, you had some left over for today’s TGIF. Good on Ya.

    I hereby officially abdicate the eternally optimist banner of me ne to you, until further notice. (at least until that that baggie you’re rollin from is empty, anyhow)!

    Hail to Pitt!

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  5. We shouldn’t compare Boise St. to Pitt. Boise St. had been the heavily favored team in all of it’s games except perhaps 1 or 2 per year. In essence they spent all year preparing for their two big games. In seasons where they were successful in those games, they garnered national attention.

    I may have mentioned in the last two weeks that Chally seems to struggle getting space and that may lead to Pitt using a smaller wr corp of Henderson, RAL and Tipton….something like that. We have possession receivers. We also have a jumbo package of Weah, Flowers and Mathews. I like the flexibility to go after the db’s based on the opponent weaknesses.

    I like Sear’s skill set versus Carrigan. I really like Reeves and Paulsen as tight end superstars. And of course, I like our TE that just had surgery. I hope he recovers completely and understands this is his last chance to make it big. Clark will be huge in my opinion. Would love to double down with Clark and Reeves or Paulsen, followed by Sear.

    @upitt, thanks for the almost skunky hair quote. I knew you were in Dallas but I thought you spent a lot of time in Louisiana and Flurrrrrida.

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  6. Men,
    We are at the threshold of a breakout season! The O is very good and the D is good enough.
    We play a hard schedule but I believe this team is up to the challenge! I believe this team is good for a 9 win season (and no I’m not smoking anything).
    P-I-T-T Let’s Go Pitt!!!

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  7. I’m never confident when the interior defensive line is a BIG question mark. And unless one or two of our freshman DT’s turn into Aaron Donald over the next two weeks I’m afraid that will be Pitt’s achilles heal throughout this season.

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  8. jrnpitt – I’ll take a half of Aaron Donald and I think HCPN will motivate a bunch of rotating Dlinemen to rise to the occasion to be good enough this season. The cast around them will be better than last year and with fresh legs, this group will contribute. They need to eat up blocks, stuff the run in the middle and keep blockers off the LB’s. Not asking them to cure Polio…

    I’m ready for the “cat” fights in early September. Tame the wildcats of nova and knock down the nittany lions of pedo state.

    HTP!

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  9. @Erie – But what exactly is “good enough”? Narduzzi’s passing defense is predicated on pressure on the QB and we had that last season… we were 16th nationally in sacks with 2.85 per game which looks great.

    However that came from the DEs mostly as our interior DL had only 3.5 sacks and 11 total TFLs.

    But we still allowed the QBs enough time to sit back and basically pick us apart as we were 66th in Pass Efficiency defense and gave up 215 ypg in the air.

    Sorry to say I don’t see any of the true FR DL guys waltzing in and playing at Render’s or KK Smith’s level in their first year.

    Now Conklin might want the interior DL to take up blocks and hold their OL opponents to allow LB blitzes which we saw a lot of last season. Our LBs had 35 TFLs and 14.5 sacks which is pretty good. I think we’ll see a replica of that but what happens then is a lot of times the RB runs straight past our charging LBs.

    We have a lot of questions to be answered in the first few weeks of the season. I really wish we had two creampuffs surrounding the PSU game but we go directly from that game to Stillwater to play OK State then over to Chapel Hill to play NC.

    If we don’t get things like the interior DL, and the DBs, straightened out in a hurry we may have a crap September.

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  10. I concur with Double E, the DL will be acceptable. I think that Soto has found his spot, our big Hawaiian Taleni needs to rise to the occasion and Jarrett will remain Jarrett. The DL future rests with the newcomers however.

    It’s far from the ideal situation but our three freshmen will be forced onto the field just due to lack of bodies at the position. Watts, Camp & Wheeler are all getting serious looks in camp to fill the spots in the two deep. From the sounds of it Rashad Wheeler has impressed beyond expectations.

    Let us not forget also that Mike Herndon has been moved over to the DL to reinforce the troops this season too. He is a big body!

    If we can find just one “good” player out of this group of four newbies we will be OK as long as the injury bug stays away.

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  11. If the interior DL can just hold the LOS the pressure on the QB will be coming from the outside. Our DEs will be a better tandem this year and with a full year of familiarity with this defense now the safety blitzes will hopefully be more successful getting to the QB.

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  12. We have one experienced DT and a bunch of question marks.Only Taleni has taken an actual snap at the position after Jarrett. (maybe Roy)

    We will find out in the second game if they are “Good Enough”

    I think what that means is will they be able to hold the opposition to fewer points than our offense will score?

    We were terrible in the redzone last year for a reason. The only major difference this year is that 3 DT’s have graduated and Hendrix has been added. Not sure where the optimism is coming from.

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  13. Where is the optimism coming from? Hey, so far on the season we are undefeated and unscored upon! 😎
    If you can’t be optimistic now, beginning a fresh new season with unlimited potential you’ll never be optimistic, for right now the glass is at least half full!
    #H2P

    full!!! #H2P

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  14. Come on gc, that doesn’t sound like you. The best reason for preseason optimism this year is that there are no “glaring” weaknesses on this team now.

    True, it does gets very scary if Peterman gets hurt but other than that, sure there are unanswered questions at WR, CB & DT but the troops are there for somebody who is opportunistic to grab some early playing time and make a name for themselves when they step out of the crowd.

    That’s the down side. On the upside, we’ve gotten the coaching staff fully gelled now after their first season of transition, we have a real solid OL that has depth as well with a stable of RBs just itching to run behind these big uglies! James Conner being the 800 lb gorilla in the room who is itchy all over!!!!! What effect his presence his return will have on the team remains to be seen but IMO, it’s all good.

    Waiting to see what other guys like Whitehead, Peterman, Hendrix & Ford can bring to the table now too, each with their own agenda to build on. That imparts a flavor of early season anticipation for sure! And we haven’t even mentioned the next “Whitehead in waiting”, Damar Hamlin, who I’m pretty sure makes the same splash playing this year as a true frosh that Jordan did last season.

    Throw in an early victory over the nitters come 9/10 and we are off and running with some MOJO! Why not be optimistic? The Pursuit is right there to strive for!

    Two weeks, it gets real, Conner back, dressed up in our new uniforms, RibFest weekend, beer for everybody, damn right I’m optimistic!

    Hail to Pitt!

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  15. Reed – I think the others helped answer your question directed at me earlier this morning regarding the DT’s – What is “good enough”?

    gc may have put it best at 8:59am – “We will find out in the second game if they are “Good Enough”

    I think what that means is will they be able to hold the opposition to fewer points than our offense will score?”

    Another important point I would add – if our O plays like I think they should – smash mouth, road grading, clock eating, ball protecting play calling – then the O may be our best D.

    Make sense?

    HTP!

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  16. Sorry guys, I am pretty optimistic about the team. I was referring to the D-Tackles. I think our far biggest weakness. Totally optimistic about the offense.

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