Why We Write About Pitt Football

The thing about writing on timely subjects for public consumption is that you are never working in a vacuum.  Every interesting, and again, timely subject that floats to the front of your mind is also out there for others to contemplate and write about also.

I have seen that happen many times over the past five years.  I have pulled something quite out of thin air and written an article (or an essay as was the last Pitt/PSU rivalry article) only to find that 1) someone had written on the same subject in recent history and I hadn’t seen it or 2) Someone wrote about the same subject immediately after I posted mine.

As a writer and part of the media covering Pitt football I can tell you that if your public wants an article a day to read and discuss you have to really work hard to try to get them unique information and viewpoints to be able to do that.

How do I do that on a regular basis?  Well, to put it in bald terms sometimes I borrow subjects from other media outlets and use those as a nucleus of my articles – I expound on them as it were and take what others say or write, and then I inject my own views, opinions and some supporting or contesting facts, then bundle them up in an article and throw it out to Etherland for you all to read.

But I always take great pains to both reference the author and the media the articles are found on and then I link to the original source so that you all can read the source material as it was originally written.

I read almost everything that is published about Pitt football every day and have to say that I see instances of repetition by almost every writer covering the same subject…  But I rarely if ever see any attributions to other written work that you just know had to be the genesis of the subject matter for that writer.

I have said many times on here that I am a Blogger and not a Journalist and as such don’t have to abide by constricting rules of journalism.  Hell, if you every want to try to ‘get’ how reporters are handcuffed then there are hundreds of sites dedicated to telling a journalists what they can or cannot do.

Bloggers?  Not so much.  But that is the beauty of a Blog in that I can relay facts, stats, quotes, references, etc… to get you some ‘real’ info then mix in my opinions and impressions, viewpoints from others and also ask leading questions to start comment section discussions.

It is a completely different animal as it were and one that is as firmly ensconced in the public media world as any other sort of reporting or journalism.

But even without written rules or standards for blogs I do have my own. Those I just mentioned above and I truly try to stay within my own boundarys with every word I write.  The bottom line is I try to be correct in what I say and let the reader know when I am opinion-sharing or have editorialized – which in the case of The Pitt POV is blog  pretty often as you know.

Why am I telling you this?

Because less than 48 hours after I posted the article on the Pitt vs PSU rivalry the Pittsburgh City Paper, which I love and quote often on here, published an almost mirror article, albeit a lot shorter and more quick to the point of what constitutes a college football rivalry.

City Paper’s write Alex Gordon wrote this nice piece this morning on that subject.  I loved reading it because it is well written in the 1st person, witty and makes a good point.

But I have to wonder about the timing of it and I sorely hope he didn’t read my piece first without attributing it.  Honestly, the odds are that he didn’t read mine at all and that subject just floated into his mind just like some of mine do. As happens with me also.

It is the height of hubris to assume every writer reporting on Pitt football reads my stuff, yet I know that many do because we talk about each others’ work when I meet other Pitt beat reporters.

The reason I’m telling you this is because this type of thing – the repetition of narrow subjects – happens at this time of the ‘football year’ rather often with all the Pitt writers.

In other words there is only so many things to write about and we step on each others’ toes. Especially when…..  drum roll please…. the head coach insists on closed practices.

You knew I’d get around to that, didn’t you?

But there is a compound effect when that happens and we see it in the duplication of articles like mine and Mr. Gordon’s City Paper piece.

Look at the articles put out this week between myself, The Pittsburgh Sports Now site, Cardiac Hill, Chris Peak’s articles on Rivals.com, The Tribune Review and the Post-Gazette, etc…  you’ll see that we are tripping over each other to try to find something new and interesting to send out to the Pitt fans.  There are only so many ways to write about how many and who from the 2016 recruiting class will get playing time this season or who will fill out the rest of the OL past Bisnowaty and Johnson.

I have read four articles in the last 10 days about the need for Pitt to play true FR defensive linemen this season!

This is why I harp on the closed practices so much.  I think it does a disservice to the very people the football program is supposed to exist for – the interested and indeed vested parties such as fan, supporters, donors, alumni and students.  After that comes, or should come, entities like television outlets and national magazines.

Look at it this way.  Pitt squeezes every last cent it can get out of you to finance the football program by soliciting (or demanding) donations, selling apparel that fans and students buy, charging for season tickets and marked-up parking fees.  All those are burdens we fans and supporters gladly shoulder as long as Pitt gives us a football program we can enjoy following.

Then there is the real killer fee – the donation cum extortion (and that is exactly what it is) for the ‘right’ to buy certain the best seats and/or have clubhouse access… then charging big money for the actual seat tickets and access tickets themselves.

What is all that? All those costs to the fans?

It is the cost of having the right to as much information as is reasonable to flow from the program to you.  I say ‘reasonable’ because I do understand that some things the staff and the team work on is proprietary and needs to be held close to the vest or that there are privacy issues with the students.

In recent years Chryst , Graham and Wannstedt all had mostly open practices. They would close them only if they were installing new plays or new offensive or defensive sets, in other words to sequester things that needed to stay private for effect later. Otherwise they allowed the media to attend and report.

For instance thier camp schedule would specifically lists days when there was no media access, usually once or twice a week…. and that was fine and understood.  But here is the difference between then and now in how we writers can provide content to all of you.  And boy is it a big difference!

For example, here is my report from a 2014 fall camp practice I attended with Paul Chryst at the helm. Please review it and note the detail in which I recorded info and impressions I had over the course of a two-hour+ practice and then it passed along to you:

Part One: Full Pads Practice – Offense: (2,738 words)

http://www.pittblather.com/2014/08/09/full-pads-practice-1-offense/

Part Two: Full Pads Practice – Defense (1,1924 words)

http://www.pittblather.com/2014/08/10/full-pads-practice-2-defense/

From that one practice I provided you with 4,662 words of Pitt football reporting.  A national sports magazine article is typically 2000-2500 words in length so that was about two full professional articles. Note that a lot of that coverage was reporting on what the kids did on individual plays during the practice – info that you guys want and gobble up when it is able to be given to you.

Now – compare that to what Pitt released to the public after a typical fall camp closed practice just the other day:

http://www.pittsburghpanthers.com/sports/m-footbl/spec-rel/081216aac.html

That is 1,731 words of force-fed ambiguity and direct quotes which may or may not be construed as news.  It certainly isn’t satisfying to me and I’ll bet it isn’t for you either

Which would you rather read and which gives you more of a sense of being connected to the Pitt football program as a fan, alumni, supporter and donor?

It’s the two-part article of course.

Here is what happens on the Southside with the media present during an open practice…

We are allocated sideline access behind the players and coaches and have allowance to move up and down the sideline to follow the plays being run if that is what is happening… or to move around the perimeter of the field to see different units conduct drills and practices if that is what is happening.

The media knows the boundaries of what the coaching staff and the Pitt media department allow and in all my times of visiting open practices I haven’t seen one instance of the media ‘getting in the way’ or anything like that.  We don’t talk to or bother either the players or the staff while the practice is on-going as that would be disruptive.

In the first full practice I attended back when Wannstedt was coaching Chris Lasala, the Director of Football operations and the Sheriff in town on the Southside, recognized my name from the Pitt Blather and came over to let me know that there was an expectation of personal privacy in regards to the players and staff when they were out there conducting their business during practice.

I get that and emotions run high – you see and hear things that should and do remain private.  That would never be an issue with me and I believe all those other writers listed above feel the same way.

There are also some media guidelines – unwritten – that are in place.  For example that practice I attended and wrote about above was an informal scrimmage and I took verbal notes in my voice recorder on my phone.  When I got home and wrote the article I listed about 25 plays that listed the players involved, the play itself and the outcome – who did well and who made mistakes.

As soon as I published it (and yes, everyone at Pitt reads the Blogs) E. J. Borghetti called and asked me to remove those details and explained that while the staff didn’t mind us watching they didn’t want the particular details made public… which then made sense to me also and so I willingly removed them.

But that is the proper give and take that happens when you have a head coach who doesn’t give the impression that he feels the media is out to screw him and his players.  My take on Pat Narduzzi is that he might think that way – or I should say that is the sense I get from him as I don’t really know what he’s actually thinking.

I read from fans who sometimes comment about how closed practices are better for the W/L column because it shields from prying eyes of future opponents. Not only is that preety dramatic I believe it is a myth perpetrated by the staff so that they can justify closing practices.  The best winning seasons we have had in decades have been with open practices.

Also, stating having the media writing honestly about individual player’s skills, or lack of, and mistakes and/or good plays they make on the practice field contributes to their not doing well later on is also a load of bull.  The reporters have been following Pitt football for years and I can’t remember any reasonable media outlet, news, paper, blogs, etc… overly personally criticizing a current player.

If anything you can probably point to some things I have written in the past and say they were critical and that would be true – but they were critical in the true sense of the word and not meant to be harmful. Part of maturing in a real and honest way is hearing criticism of yourself and separating what is valid and what isn’t… and taking those valid constructive criticisms to heart and improving yourself.

If these coaching staffs can’t teach their players that 1) the players themselves are actually human beings who will make mistakes sometimes and 2) those mistakes, as well as the good play they show, will be discussed in the media and to be prepared for that… then the staff isn’t doing their charges any favors.

By completely shielding your players from that is more harmful than good in the long run I firmly believe.  Part of a kid’s going from high school at 18 then playing college ball and leaving that school at 22 or 23 is not only bettering his football skills and getting an academic degree.  The principle leaders involved in guidance to that young man also have to shepherd his maturation process and keeping them in a tightly controlled bubble works against that.

Now to be fair,  the Pitt Media Department works extremely hard to be able to provide us as much access to the practices, players and coaching staff as possible.  I appreciate that and understand the rigid constraints put on them by the head coach.  It makes their job almost impossible when they can’t do what they are built to do for the program and the athletic department.

And I also try my best to understand the head coach’s point of view with closing practices even if I disagree with it.  Pat Narduzzi’s first year here at Pitt was filled with time-consuming road shows and many, many interviews to publicize the ‘new’ football program and draw in the attention of the program’s supporters.  I went to two of them and was impressed… and wrote about them.

Looking at this issue as an outsider I also see two things that probably support Narduzzi’s decision in his mind – he had a winning season in his first year and then Pitt sold a record number of season tickets over this last offseason.  So maybe people may think that if good things happen with the way Narduzzi is running practices and it ain’t broke then why fix it?

Because this is the exact time where Pitt should be looking forward and not staying stuck in the present. This is the spot where the future looks the brightest for Pitt football than it has in a very long time.  We have a an administration who has a vested interest in really building the program for the future, a good HC who says he wants to be here for a long time, and a well populated team.

With all that we need to solidify the fan base and make it so season tickets are hard to come by every season- not have the fan’s interest fluctuate up and down based on if we win or lose one game more than the year before.  To do that the athletic department has to create a true “Pitt Family” and not just bandy that term about as a marketing tool.

You do that by giving the members of that Pitt Family as much access and information and thus enjoyment for what they love and even more importantly maybe, what they spend their hard-earned money on to support. Be inclusive in all ways possible and the first step is to let the media provide the people who the team is supposed to be playing for as much information as possible.

I think Pitt owes them that at the very least.

 

 

67 thoughts on “Why We Write About Pitt Football

  1. Reed, and you do this as a hobby. I wonder how the guys at Scout and Pantherlair are doing. My guess is that their sales are down since there is so little to report.

    I think Pitt Admin is happy with the season ticket sales, and are in denial about the impact of PSU.

    Tickets being available for $6 for Villanova and Marshall tells me that there is much work to do, and closed practices have really hurt the buzz around the program.

    Tonight is Fan fest, will it be well attended? In previous years people talked about attending and meeting up. So far this year, crickets.

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  2. All that being said, no mention at all about the biggest Pitt Panther fan event of fall camp being held today at Heinz Field?
    Isn’t today Fan Fest?

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  3. Hi Reed,
    Thank you for taking the time and effort to put out this blog. I look forward to reading each new installment. As long time Pitt fan I must admit I enjoyed the reports from the open practices in previous years. My recollection of those articles was they were mostly positive. The downside of those reports ,being largely complimentary and sometimes gushing, was they gave me the impression the team or certain players were going to be great! That impression rarely came true.
    I know that the teams being largely disappointing was not the sportswriter so fault.
    I’m now seeing a advantage to the lack of coverage in that we can all form our opinions when the season starts. I think it adds an element of suspense and greater anticipation.
    Anyway thanks again for your effort !

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  4. Aug. 24, 2016

    PITTSBURGH – The Pitt football program welcomes all fans, alumni and supporters of the Panthers to its annual Fan Fest event, which will be held this year on Thursday, Aug. 25 in the Great Hall at Heinz Field. Gates will open at 5:30 p.m. before Pitt players become available for autographs at 6:15 p.m.

    Admission is FREE and open to the public.

    As in previous years, the Pitt Football Fan Fest will feature autographs with the players, interactive games for all ages as well as appearances by ROC The Panther and the Pitt Cheerleaders, Dance Team and Band.

    Concessions will be available for purchase inside Heinz Field along with new Pitt Script merchandise at the Sideline Store.

    Fans should take note that the Heinz Field “Clear Bag Policy” will be in effect for Fan Fest.

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  5. Anon – that is the fun of college football – we speculate about everything and then see what actually happens… or not.

    I thought the same thing though as I read that linked report from Chryst’s camp. All of this is so hit and miss but that is why I like college ball so much more than the NFL. But this passage hit pretty true…

    “QBs – Voytik took the majority of the QB1 snaps and looked up and down to me. When he was standing in the pocket with no pressure he threw a nice catchable ball, but any sort of pressure in front of him and his accuracy suffered. I don’t know if the staff told him to stay in the pocket and make the play today but under a rush he either threw the ball over the receiver’s head or at their feet. That said, when he had time in the pocket and in the times he rolled out, mostly to his throwing side, he hit the receivers well. But least twice when he was rolling out he waited for a deep receiver to get open and ended up throwing the ball away while his outlet receiver Parrish was wide open 10 yards in front of him.

    It is apparent that there is still work for both Voytik and his coaches to do to get him ready as a starter in D1 football. Everyone I talked to was of the same mind along the lines of “It’ll be interesting to watch…” or “Well, once he gets some games under his belt…” and honestly, after seeing him yesterday in practice I was surprised that he looked much the same as he did in practices last season. He also needs to work on putting all the aspects of QB together meaning that he has to learn the playbook better and know where his primary, secondary and outlet receivers are. One camp regular told me ‘Voytik thinks way too much out there and it hurts him’ which makes sense given the type of play he’s exhibiting. He’s a cerebral kid and nothing is coming naturally for him out there at this point but it’s early days yet and that will change with getting him time under center leading up to the opener.”

    That type of info-passing to fans is appreciated… but then again might be exactly what Narduzzi hates about open practices.

    I don’t think that most fans feel the way you do though – everyone I talk to would rather have open practices and then even with the writer’s opinions and predictions stated formulate their own thoughts on what the team would do or which players will do well.

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  6. Reed,

    As a paying customer I do feel like they should release a little more information.

    However as the poster mentioned above, I think this is Nard Dog’s way of limiting expectations from fans and media and also surprising opponents.

    One thing I do know is once the season starts there will be plenty of information to talk about and all of it will be real.

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  7. MIA, Jeremiah Taleni, Anthony McKee & Zack Challingsworth.

    Three guys who I thought would all be making some waves in the anticipated two deep roster this Fall.

    Crickets from camp on all three.

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  8. Reed, if you want to ban me form this web site, go right ahead … it is your web site. But ENOUGH!!

    Enough about how you do not have access to these practices
    Enough about what a terrible QB CV was
    Enough about what a sh!tty head coach and person Wanny was.

    At this point, you’re not going to change anyone’s mind anyway. But above, you wrote a novella about closed practices …. a subject that has already been discussed ad infinitum!!

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  9. Is Taleni still on the team? He played some last year so I can’t imagine how he couldn’t be one of the first reserves this year. Doesn’t make sense. There is no mention of him anywhere.

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  10. As someone living an hour away from Pittsburgh it is hard to get to fanfest on a weeknight, really would get more folks there if held Saturday afternoon with a practice/scrimmage to view.

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  11. wbb – where did I write about how shitty DW was above? Also, I included that bit on CV as a point that the reporting from camp was more detailed back then, that was all.

    I’ll write what I like and you have a choice. You can read it or not read it – you can comment or not comment. You’re a big boy, deal with it or not.

    You are one of many on here and there are a lot of other outlets for you to get your Pitt football info from. I enjoy having you here… but until you actually take the time, effort and money to contribute writing articles about Pitt football for others to read then you don’t have a leg to stand on to tell me, or anyone else, what to write or not write.

    Honestly, it is easy as hell to sit there and read something someone put hours into writing and be indignant about it – with no effort on your own part other than to take 60 seconds to type something.

    Oh, and go screw yourself if you think so little of me that you’d believe I’d ban someone for being critical of what I write. Thanks a lot….

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  12. Reed

    Glad you didn’t say we were “entitled” today, LOL.

    I still side with the coach on this one. Also, as was said above, there will be plenty to write about in less than two weeks.

    Closed practices are not affecting the buzz about the program, that is funny. Most people only read one news source per day, so they aren’t seeing the repetition like us crazy fans.

    You want to fill seats to Villanova, win! Pitt basketball, the Pirates and Penguins have proven if you win in this town people will come out to watch you. I was a regular at Pens game before Mario, the blue uniform days. Attendance was bad.

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  13. Reed,

    Well said.
    As a former Columbia, MD, (Glenmont}, resident now living in Tampa, FL, I’m a die hard Pitt alumnus. Your blog is over the top in providing an almost daily, well balanced, overview of Pitt football activities; particularly to out of the area followers.

    My take on Pat Narduzzi is that he is making a big mistake in underestimating the disservice he is doing to the program with his spoon feeding of the local media regarding daily access to team practice and players. This is his first rodeo as a head coach. Let’s hope with a little more success he will loosen up and provide more openness.

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  14. I’d say excellent essay but that description is becoming redundant. We of course don’t know his reasons but it is counterproductive to getting the average football fan interested again in Pitt football. I was thinking myself the other day that perhaps the Pitt Athletic Department and Narduzzi are over-estimating general fan interest based on the season ticket sales. These are inflated by the Peds wanting to see their team. When you are where we are as a slightly above average program with average attendance at best you need all the publicity you can get and the excitement it generates. I read one person last year opine that Narduzzi didn’t want players distracted by the media hordes. Distracted by a bunch of out of shape reporters 🙂 talking into microphones? 🙂 The media has never abused the privilege of covering practices over my past 61 years. Come on the players will be playing to 60,000 plus fans. There is simply no logical reason for banning the media (except the new plays and defenses desire for secrecy and in season practices as you prepare for a specific team).

    That leaves us with Narduzzi’s ego. Grow up Narduzzi, you are a long way from being a polished, successful Division 1 coach (I like him so far but as Reed has said he hasn’t won the big one yet and his recruiting is eh ). Quit reading your press clippings and Narduzzi worshipping bloggers. Great coaches recognize and learn from mistakes and this is a Huuuge one.

    I can think of one famous coach who closed practices and severely limited access to the media – the pedophile protector Paterno – yeah that worked out well.
    HAIL TO PITT

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  15. Reed, I didn’t say you wrote anything negative above about DW …. but the the 3 items I mentioned in my post seem to be recurring themes here (the closed practices obviously only recent.)

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  16. I still want to know if other big time programs hold closed practices. Does Penn State? Ohio State? Notre Dame? Michigan State? Alabama? Etc. Is what Pitt is now doing the rule in college football or the exception? Second time I have asked this question? Does anyone know?

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  17. wwb you are plugged in to all media and provide fast breaking news and hats off to you for that. However, with all due respect, nobody holds a candle to you when it comes to whining about anybody who doesn’t agree with your kool aid approach to many of your own pets. Now unless you agree with me I’m gonna hold my breath…. 🙂

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  18. Not rocket, agree that winning is the most important thing, but so is marketing. All the Pro sports in this town spend plenty of money doing it. They send guys out to sign autographs etc. Even the Steelers spend money marketing and making sure their players are accessible.

    There are certainly ways to keep important stuff under wraps while marketing your program.

    Advertising absolutely works, otherwise business wouldn’t be spending billions on it.

    Pitt Football is struggling to be relevant in a town of sports fanatics.

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  19. wbb, wow! That was quite the outburst.

    Lighten up Francis! Like Reed said, no one is forcing you to read the articles. Skip over it until the next one.

    I don’t think I read the Blather for weeks after Stalling was hired, it got so redundant and childish.

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  20. –FanFest seems like it’s become an event for little kids – which is okay with me as they can grow up to be Pitt fans. But I don’t go to FanFest anymore because the team doesn’t practice or scrimmage, like they used to do…

    –I’m one of those fans who would feed off of the coaches’ post-practice interviews – listening for any hint of who is doing well, who needs to show up more, who is the surprise of camp, etc. Anything to give me “hope” of something good for Pitt. Now, I don’t pay so much attention – because there’s little, if any, of that information given out. Graham was the master of touting his players…

    –Appreciate your efforts, Reed.

    Go Pitt.

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  21. Had to lol at the above expecting he may be banned for his comments. If you were taking bets I would be perhaps the most likely to be banished first and I have high doubts that will ever happen.

    I look at Narduzzi’s decision to keep practices off limits without too many details given out the same as who he decides to be the back up QB and when to play him or not. It’s the same thing, a strategic coaching decision. Until I feel he doesn’t deserve such consideration I’ll defer to him.

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  22. Other than the Penn State game, this may be the worst home schedule ever.

    Pitt admin has to be ecstatic about ticket sales, because at least they have upfront cash.

    There will be a lot of yellow seats this year, especially if we crap the bed early.

    Va Tech on a Thursday night. Finish with Duke and Syracuse.

    UNC and Miami on the road.

    I think the guys that picked us to win the Coastal are out of their minds.

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  23. What happened to the ability to respond to someone’s specific post?

    Above, the comment “MIA, Jeremiah Taleni, Anthony McKee & Zack Challingsworth.”

    I think Taleni will be one of the top backups at defensive tackle. If he’s not, what more can we say about Chryst’s poor defensive staff and their recruiting considering Roy and Herndon are also nowhere to be found on the tackle depth chart. I think we got really lucky Moose was able to go home to Wisconsin.

    McKee needs some weight, it’s that simple. Let’s hope he is starting on special teams.

    Challingsworth, I’m assuming, will be the fourth receiver. That shoulder injury may have been worse than we anticipated.

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  24. To all, Let me get this straight? I am accused of whining …. yet the above article by Reed contains on the largest of the largest whines I’ve ever read. OVER 40 PARAGRAPHS FOR CHRIST’S SAKES!

    on the previous blog article, I posted an SI article with new info about James Conner that was printed yesterday, information about a high school TV game that includes Pitt’s most recent recruit, and what I thought was a hilarious sign by ASU concerning their paranoia about closed practices. These are all new to this web site.

    Yet, I get accused of whining! I appreciate the effort that Reed puts into this blog … I really do. That should be obvious, but web sites like these offer its readers to be contrarians whenever they feel to need to be.

    And further … we are advise to “Leave a Comment Please (and don’t hold back..)”

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  25. I give up …. scroll down Narduzzi’s twitter and find out that Pitt has 13 players on current roster that have already graduated …. 2nd most in CFB

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  26. Reed – the coaches and administration don’t care about fresh articles. They want to control the content. With blogs, they cannot control the content … but what they can do is limit your access. It’s why the PG and Trib have similar stories daily – Pitt feeds them the content to print.

    Pitt only cares about winning and they feel as few distractions as possible are necessary to accomplish their goal. The blogs are nice and fine but they don’t drive attendance. Winning does. Pitt knows this. When a school like Pitt is trying to re-brand itself, the negativity from blogs is a distraction from their mission.

    The blogs, if anything, are a nuisance. Blogs tend to capture the negative side of sports. Not just Pitt but all blogs. The ugly really comes out in the comments section. Having players called out by name. Speculation about players transgressions. Lot’s of pressure that you better believe the players read and see. They don’t live in a vacuum either. Pitt is protecting their brand and their players.

    I enjoy reading about Pitt but I cannot blame Pitt one bit for trying to manage the information that comes from the athletic department. It’s how Pitt is re-branding itself. Out with the old and in with the new. No more SOP – which the blogs tend to harp on. It’s a new era. Just enjoy the wins baby.

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  27. Reed to the closed practices. I know Michigan state is closed so you see where this comes from. You can close certain days but have coaches and players available. I think Notre Dame and Alabama close also. They all must. It’s not ego as much as what they want to accomplish and not have second guessers I also attended old fan fest with practices. Today is about young kids and autographs. As long as they don’t become one of 40,000 freshman allowed in psu yearly it’s great. Hail ti Pitt nine days to kickoff let’s strive for success.

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  28. A few things –

    Wbb – I stated from the very beginning of this website that I was going to take a different approach to writing about Pitt football and also that I wouldn’t be limiting my articles to just that subject. I think that after reading even just a few of my pieces you’d have to be blind not to realize I’m not mainstream in the least. Some people hate that and I get some blow back (mostly on Facebook) about it and that’s fine also. There are many other places to get Pitt fixes.

    I wouldn’t say you are whining – what I would say that you have been reading my stuff for five years now and can’t seem to realize that I will put out whatever I feel is appropriate on any given day. It’s like you feel that because you don’t like reading certain things then no one else does either.

    That my friend is called being self-centered.

    The bottom line is that the proof is in the pudding when it comes to my writing about Pitt football. I think it is safe to say that over the last two years especially I was the main football writer on the Pitt Blather and those articles, and The Blather as a whole, had so much traffic it was almost hard to believe… and I mean that literally. By multiples of hundreds over some competitors and even thousands of times over the most similar type blog… again literally.

    As has what happened on here also. What that tells me is that while you may be sick and tired of my stuff you are in the minority and in a big way.

    @ Friends of Pitt – As far as closed practices – I know some other SIDs and staffers from other football programs so I made phone calls and discussed this subject and will say that the general consensus is that there are way more open practices in D1 programs than not.

    But I also think you missed my main point of that novella above – It isn’t for me that I think practices should be opened… it is for you all because you are the ones who do more than just buy a ticket to a ball game. Pitt takes a lot from us fans, supporters, donors and alumni… and they ask for more every time you turn around. What do we get in return?

    A truncated press release at the end of a 2.5 hour practice and some pretty much canned interviews. Again – I think that if Pitt keeps throwing the phrase “Pitt Family” around like it does then they should own up to it.

    The belief that somehow closing every single practice will help win an extra ballgame is crap as I said. Narduzzi doesn’t have to have a completely open camp, but it wouldn’t hurt one bit to have one or two practices a week open so that Pitt fans could get something to actually sink their teeth into.

    But yes – this is a pet peeve of mine and probably will be until the next HC rolls in and opens the practices again.

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  29. Not sure if psu has closed practices but my bro in law was at one of their practices last week. He said Kevin Givins is working over that o-line…which he claims isn’t good. But Givins will be a good player. Too bad we lost him. They have 75 people working their practices

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  30. at least my alleged self-centeredness has never involved > 40 paragraphs

    On another topic … we had 2 consensus 4-stars freshman enrolling this summer … one will never play FB again, and the other has a nagging injury that has yet to be resolved despite the consultation of a specialist.

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  31. Redshirt senior Chris Wuestner will transfer from the team. Wuestner, a Carlisle, Pa. native, missed the entire 2015 season with an internal injury. He started one game at wide receiver in 2013 and made two career catches for the Panthers in addition to being a solid special teams contributor.

    “He wants to play more, which I totally understand,” Narduzzi said. “He’s a senior that’s been through a lot in five years. … I think it’s important for him to reach out and fulfill his dream of playing more wideout. It looked like he was going to play a lot of special teams for us. We wish him luck.”

    Wuestner has already graduated from Pitt and thus will be immediately eligible to play somewhere else. He was not on scholarship at Pitt.

    “We’ll help him wherever he wants to go,” Narduzzi said.

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  32. Last time I checked, there weren’t 3 pro teams competing to put butts in seats in East Lansing, South Bend or Tuscaloosa. Those teams have no problem staying on the front page of their local sports sections or filling their stadiums with adoring fans. Closed practices lower the opportunity for PR for a team that needs it badly.

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  33. You all are making a mountain out of a molehill.

    The impact of a closed practice is not hurting PR and excitement around the program. That is complete exaggeration…and it sure as shit is hurting attendance.

    I think if you asked anyone that does PR work for the Pitt program if closed practices hurt attendance they would laugh hysterically because that is the last thing related to attendance.

    Pit gets videos, interview scripts and photos out on a daily basis. That is all that is needed for fans.

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  34. we had empty upper decks during open practice years. Our season ticket sales just broke records despite closed practices last year and this year. In fairness, I believe we can thank PSU for part of it though

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  35. So far, I enjoy the increased anticipation that is fostered through closed practices. But it has definitely been getting more difficult as the season approaches. I suspect most of the offensive plays are new and that defensively there has been a lot more added to it. If we we only lose 1 regular season game this year, I will be okay with closed practices every year.

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  36. I have no problem with it. I could see how the media would. I still believe, and only a thought from me, is that HCPN is a work in process. In a couple of years, maybe he will have open practices?

    I believe he’s still getting his feet planted and working out how he is doing things. IMHO

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  37. So how many wins do we need to consider this a successful season?

    I say 8 or 9. Eight if one or more of them is vs one of the big 3.

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  38. I have no problem with closed practices. Sure I’d like more information forthcoming from the Press and Blogs on Pitt football. But if Narduzzi thinks that open practices will give the opposition a head’s up on some of Pitt’s upcoming tactics, then I’ll defer to what the head coach wants.

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  39. @wwb Quite honestly, I do not give a rats ass if we have 63 players that have already graduated. I want wins on the football field. Coaches get raises/new gigs based on how many games they win. Huge $$ at stake.

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