Expectations For the Run

Welcome back to Chas Rich of The Pitt Blather!   He just posted a nice article about Pitt’s WR corps status going into the season opener which is a main topic of conversation given that the only bona fide offensive star on the Pitt team who played last season departed from that unit.

I say don’t take the time to worry about that part of Pitt’s football team this year.  We have old and new talent there that by the force of circumstances had been hidden by Tyler Boyd’s long shadow.

In a sense we fans are in the same spot with that as we were going into last season’s second game with us wondering about what would occur with the run game after James Conner tore up his knee and looked to be lost for the season.

What happened then is what will we will experience now, and what is also the beauty of college football, there are players waiting in the wings for the chance to shine and they will.  We saw that last season with Quadree Ollison filling in at the RB1 position and doing a bang-up job.

So that part of the offense is what I want to talk about today.  It is easy for the eye to be drawn to the passing game’s questions because of Boyd’s departure, but I think we may just have as big a question mark in the running game this year.

First off let’s talk about expectations.  We Pitt fans love them to death – expectations that is.  Every single year we expect grand things then are genuinely surprised with what Reality has on the plate when it comes out of Hell’s kitchen.

“Hello, My name is Reality and I’ll be your waiter today.  What can I start you out with… perhaps a key injury to dash your hopes for the season?”

We had that as a first course last season when Conner went down late in the 1st half in the opener, yet pulled it together enough to work on to an eight win season.  But as happens we had another RB who stepped up and produced in Quadree Ollison – to the tune of 1121 yards and a 5.3 ypc average on the year.

I find it interesting that over this offseason fans seem to downplay what Ollison did in relief when tasked.  I think that was because his track record over the course of the 13 games was as spiky as the Rockies.

He kicked out an initial 207 yards in that first game (12.9 ypc!!) then followed that with 81 yards (3.9 ypc), 17 yards (4.3 ypc on only four touches) then bounced up again with 122 yards and 6.4 ypc.  It went that way all season.  When the bell rang at the end of the bowl game Ollison had five games with over 100 yards yet he also had four games with under 50 yards rushing.

It is that inconsistency that has led the coaching staff to keep floating out the idea that Ollison may not be either the 1st or 2nd string RB coming out of fall camp.  Which on the face of it is a shock given that good statistical production he had.

And is also a strong argument for the old saying that stats sometimes lie.

As it stands right now it looks like the two deep for the running backs might be James Conner (it’s hard to think it won’t be him as the true starter given the emotion surrounding his illness and recovery) then SO Darrin Hall up next.  Following him would be Ollison and the much discussed true Freshman Chawntez Moss.

Darrin Hall is an interesting story.  He came onto the roster as 4* recruit and the 22nd ranked RB in the nation out of Ohio.  He had offers from 13 Power Five schools including Nebraska, MSU, Arkansas and WVU.  So he’s not one of these flying under the radar kids but has an established track record of success – including a 107 yard game against Miami last season as a true FR.

But it was iffy that Hall would have stuck with Pitt after Paul Chryst and RB Coach John Settle left after the 2014 season.  But he’s here now.

Now – who I think is an interesting wildcard in the RB’s meeting room is FR Chawntez Moss.  The staff has been throwing his name around with more regularity than you’d think given his FR status and the quality of the other RBs we have.  The fact that Moss graduated HS early to be able to report to Pitt in January and attend Spring Practices must have made a big impression.

He’s 5’11” and 202 lbs and can fly.  As a 3* recruit he had only had a few FBS offers but he tore up the field in HS, especially in his JR year when he ran for over 2,000 yards (9.4 ypc) with 28 TDs.  These are his HS totals and notice the good average gains he had receiving out of the backfield also:

moss

Here are some of his HS highlights and I have to say his running style reminds me a bit of Dion Lewis as he’s got the ability to make the first would-be tackler miss then take proper running angles to open up distances between the next wave.

So – we have a full complement of quality RBs who, I believe, all could go in and produce if needed.  But which ones will we actually see get the loins share of carries?

The first name in that conversation has to be James Conner.  His history is well know but for the sake of clarity let me remind you of his 2014 season, his first as a featured back.  In his SO year he ran for 1765 yards on 298 carries (5.9 ypc) for 26 TDs.  That is the 3rd best season in yards gained of any Pitt RB and a record-setting TD total.

Here – maybe it is best to see just what impact he had on the running game that year with this:

2014 Carries Yards YPC TDs National Rank
Team Total 610 3532 5.3 35 15th
James Conner 298 1765 5.9 26 7th
Percentage Of 49% 50% 74%

So, are we expecting a repeat by Mr. Conner this season.  I’m not and here is why.  First we truly don’t know what shape he is in and if he’ll be able to carry the load as he did two years ago.  All reports from every angle, the staff, his doctors, the media – they are all glowing and positive.  I’ll not say here that isn’t the case because I want it to be true.  My point is that things change in the heat of battle.  My belief though is that he’ll be fine and contribute well this season.

But I don’t think we’ll see those crazy 2014 numbers out of him because we won’t have to.

In 2014 his fellow running backs contributed this to our rushing totals (less QB Chad Voytik as we are discussing RBs now):

2014 Carries Yards YPC TDs
Chris James 87 437 5.0 4
Isaac Bennett 51 272 5.3 2
Rachid Ibrahim 33 263 8.0 0

Very well done across the board especially Ibrahim’s YPC.  Usually when you see a number like that above 6.0 it means the RB didn’t have many carries but 8.0 on 33 carries is a good thing.

Last season with Ollison in as a reliever our RBs; James and Hall,  didn’t break the  300 yards or 5.0 YPC benchmarks thus we dropped from 15th nationally in rushing with 249 ypg  to 44th with 186 ypg.  That is 63 ypg less and the equivalent of six 1st downs at least… which translates into points left on the field.

As to expectations of the ground game for this year I’ll say this.  I don’t hold the same thoughts other fans do that we will run the ball at every opportunity and then only pass as necessary.  I have heard some say that we’ll see a 65/35 or even a 70/30 split toward the run in play calling for 2016.

Never in the last 11 years have we run the ball a full 65% of the time (see end chart below).  The most we have done with the run is 64% and that was with 1st year starting QB Chad Voytik and Conner’s monster year in ’14.

That huge run first and run a lot assumption they hold that isn’t based so much on who we have running the ball but who we don’t have catching the ball – namely Tyler Boyd.  Well, I beg to differ.  We’ll be fine in the passing game and it is semi-ridiculous to think we’d abandon something that gives us more yards per play on average than the opposite number does.

Last season we had 5.3 yards per carry and 7.8 yards per pass play.  Granted some of those pass plays fell short and gave us nothing – but you don’t every minimize the opportunity to get years in any way possible.

In 2014 with Conner we had 918 total plays (6.2 ypp) with 610 runs and 308 passes – a 64/36 split. Heavy, heavy on the run and 12th nationally in that aspect.

Last year we had 852 total plays (5.8 ypp) with 509 runs and 343 passes – a 59/41 split…. which put us about 35th nationally.

Now we have a new OC and a 2nd year HC who has seen what his starting QB could do last season.   Narduzzi will have more faith in Nate Peterman than the fans seem to have so I think we’ll see something closer to the same  60/40 split which is a bit above par for the course for Pitt football as we average a 55%/45% split historically.

I do think Conner gets over 1,000 yards but will not produce the killer year he had in ’14.  A couple of reasons come to mind – first is what I said above, we don’t need to run him 23 times a game like we did two years ago.  Hell, he had four games where he carried over 30 times.

There is no way this staff should do that unless we have major injuries to three other RBs.

I also feel that we’ll see a big increase in our running productivity overall.  I don’t know what is going on between Ollison and the staff because we are hearing nothing but bland reports coming out of camp about him.  That, and some allusions to his being dropped down the depth chart… which is surprising given his production last season.

So maybe we see Hall or Moss have a breakout year like Ollison did last season.  Regardless of who it is they will be running behind a strong and experienced OL this year and will produce well over what we saw in ’15.

BTW – as will the passing game also…

Fun with Stats – here is our recent history Run/Pass Ratio numbers:

Year

Nt’l Rank

Run %

Pass %

HC

QB

RBs

2005 76th 51 49 DW Palko LSH, Jennings
2006 66th 51 49 DW Palko LSH, Brooks
2007 41st 57 43 DW Bostick McCoy, LSH
2008 40th 55 45 DW Stull McCoy, LSH
2009 27th 58 42 DW Stull Lewis, Graham
2010 33rd 56 44 DW Sunseri Lewis, Graham
2011 58th 52 48 TG Sunseri Graham, Brown
2012 55th 53 47 PC Sunseri Graham, Shell
2013 93rd 49 51 PC Savage Conner, Bennett
2014 12th 64 36 PC Voytik Conner, James
2015 34th 59 41 PN Peterman Ollison, Hall
Averages 49th 55% 45%

 

65 thoughts on “Expectations For the Run

  1. Pitt-Penn State Series Tagged as the Keystone Classic

    Peoples Gas to Serve as Presenting Sponsor

    PITTSBURGH – The Pitt vs. Penn State football series will be tagged as the Keystone Classic presented by Peoples Gas as announced Friday by both institutions. The first meeting in the newly dubbed series will occur Saturday, Sept. 10 in front of a capacity crowd at Heinz Field (12 p.m. – ABC or ESPN). The Panthers are also scheduled to play at Penn State Sept. 9, 2017 in the second meeting of the four-game series that will continue in 2018 and 2019.

    “We are extremely excited about renewing this great series and grateful to have Peoples Gas on board as a presenting sponsor,” said Pitt Athletic Director Scott Barnes. “The Pitt-Penn State matchup will serve as a marquee game of the early football season and I know our fan base will be out in full force for the matchup. This has been a great collaboration by the two institutions both in scheduling the game and securing a corporate partner.”

    Pitt media rights holder IMG worked closely with Penn State media rights holder Learfield to secure Peoples Gas as the presenting sponsor of the series. The partnership includes Peoples Gas’ corporate mark embedded in the series logo as well as various branding, social media, activation and community assets. In addition, both schools are working with their licensing partner CLC on creating a line of merchandise featuring the Keystone Classic logo.

    “Peoples is proud to support this event that celebrates two universities that add so much to Pennsylvania,” said Morgan O’Brien, CEO of Peoples Natural Gas. “The Keystone Classic will attract tens of thousands of visitors to our area to patronize restaurants, shops and hotels. And, it recognizes the proud traditions of Pitt and Penn State, whose alumni contribute greatly to our region’s workforce. So, I gladly welcome back and look forward to this annual football game!”

    Pitt and Penn State last clashed on September 16, 2000, when the Panthers blanked the Nittany Lions, 12-0, at Three Rivers Stadium. Freshman Rod Rutherford scored the game’s lone touchdown when he took a short pass from John Turman and raced for a 62-yard TD. A smothering Pitt defense limited Penn State to just 64 yards rushing and 225 yards overall.

    Penn State holds a 50-42-4 advantage in the all-time series that began in 1893. The schools played every season from 1900-31 and 1935-92. Following a four-year break, the series resumed for four games from 1997-2000 before its current hiatus. The rivalry gained national stature during the 1970s and `80s when the teams regularly met with both eastern supremacy and national title implications at stake.

    Pitt-Penn State Series in Brief
    Began: 1893
    Series Record: Penn State leads, 50-42-4
    At Pittsburgh: Pitt leads, 34-28-4
    At Penn State: Penn State leads, 17-6
    Neutral: Penn State leads, 5-2
    Last Game: Pitt won, 12-0 (played at Three Rivers Stadium Sept. 16, 2000)

    Pitt opens the 2016 campaign Saturday, Sept. 3 at Heinz Field against Villanova (1:30 p.m. – ACC Network Extra).

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  2. Important enough to get a sponsor and make it a “kick off classic”?? Sounds important enough to be played every year?? But, we all know should, and it always should have. There are still openings on both teams schedules for all years after the 2019 season, i.e. even with WVU coming up on ours. There are spots open. Let’s hope the games, excitement and rivalry are good enough to make everyone make it an every year game.

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  3. You hit this one perfectly, Reed! Our 2nd & 3rd string RBs spell Conner all season long IMO. Can you imagine having to defend against a prolonged Pitt drive on the ground trying to stop the likes of Hall & Ollison, only to deal with a fresh and rested Conner coming off the bench in the Red Zone, while you have your hands on your knees after a 5 minute Pitt drive down the field?

    I see Conner’s total yardage way down, maybe not even breaking the 1,000 yard mark this year, but I would not be the least surprised if he still gets over 20 TDs for the season. On short yardage, he is the best back on the team by far! Even when the box is stacked against him, Conner has the ability to take on that initial hit and still get positive yardage by extending forward even when the first guy ends up credited with the tackle. James Conner will be a TD machine for us this season.

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  4. BTW Reed, could you please initiate a couple threads soon about our most important opponent of the season ASAP!? It is a must win game, IMO and the lack of any info on the key players for this team up to this point ahs been deafening! Camp is over, now it gets real.

    So who are these guys, the Villanova Wildcats and how do we beat them? It’s the most important game of the season, because it is our next one! Focus. Hail to Pitt!

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  5. Pitt fans also can remember that Darren Hall was coming Right-Back from a torn ACL he suffered in high school last year as well!

    I believe he missed his entire Senior year of High School football and really, for his recovery timeframe, Darren Hall coming into Pitt was a really quick and successful recovery. In fact, I was utterly shocked. I thought with 110% certainty that Darren Hall would redshirt, and learn, eat, lift, and train while being given a another year to acclimate to college while getting his knee-back —- but lo-and-behold, Hall showed enough to Narduzzi and Powell that he played as a freshman!

    Just hoping that if Darren Hall could be as “serviceable” as he was last year as a puppy true-freshman, coming right-back off of a fully torn ACL and playing Power 5 ball after only a year recovery —- maybe he can be dynamite as he gains his full health and confidence as he matures mentally + physically.

    I just want to see Rachid Ibrahim in action so badly. He’s undercover-tall and really long (6′ +) and he was so wonderfully shifty. I’ve seen pictures of him from this summer and he looks svelte and muscular, which is so cool to see as I remember clearly he was a super-skinny, maybe 170lb. 3-star true freshman from Maryland getting Playing time.

    Quadree Ollision —- question is: How has he upped his strength, athleticism, and his body-composition over this long hiatus??? People sleep on Ollison so hard. But if this young man really did bang-out in the weight room, stop eating so much junk food and bad drinks and hone-in his diet, and evolve himself physically, then well Quadree Ollison is a 1st-2nd round NFL talent after this season. Last year he looked like a chubby-kid who didn’t eat right and was out of shape, but he was just so God-Blessed with great size and talent that he just succeeded as a RS freshman.

    🙂 🙂 James Conner!!! + ????? —> I just dunno. I think he’s just-swell lol and I hope he has an amazing life and so much health and longevity and he stays close and proud to The University of Pittsburgh forever……but not only with his force-of-will win over Hodgkin lymphoma, I also remember his getting injured in the Youngstown State game last year in that non-contact injury where he hurt his knee. I just dunno how James Conner is gonna do this year…..we’ll see in a week though!!

    🙂 🙂

    Penn State fans are So Delusional it’s almost horrifying!!! They honestly have this mental-impasse where they cannot bear not beating Pitt. They think it’s still 2004 and Pitt is in the Big East after Virginia Tech, Miami, and Boston College all left and Temple was still in the conference lol. Penn State fans are crazy!!!!! We are gonna Whup that A$$ on 9/10, I hope Heinz is filled with those $crubs!!! Hahaha Pat Narduzzi has been Whupping PSU=Tush for the last 5-6 years he was in the Big Ten, just embarrassing those crappy Nittany Lions at Beaver and in East Lansing….Now Narduzzi is gonna undress then tar-and-feather James motormouth Franklin at Heinz in about TWO WEEKS!!!

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  6. –As long as PSU doesn’t come out running the triple option – we got a good shot.

    –Ibrahim’s situation is interesting. Seems like he could be a great weapon coming out of the backfield – like on a wheel route. Plus he’s no slouch carrying the ball.

    –An obvious key to Pitt’s season, and anyone’s season, is to win the turnover battle. Remember that game where JC busted off about a 60 yard run only to be caught from behind and have the ball stripped at the 2 yard line? Ouch. High and tight!

    Go Pitt.

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  7. FWIW … new Pitt TE commit, Carrigan, looks great so far ….. at DT! In the first series, he had a blocked pass, and 3 tackles, 1 for a loss on 3rd and 2. Apparently, Carrigan who is wearing #71 will play OT this year as PR doesn’t use a TE. Carrigan is 6’7 and has the frame for gaining weight.

    BTW, Jurkovec looks fantastic at QB .. 2 drives, 2 TD passes. The announcer said that Jurkovec grew up a ND fan and always wanted to play there …. sigh!

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  8. My shirt has the hear,speak, and see no evil monkeys in Joes likeness with JOEKNEW underneath! He was a piece of shit. Imagine, all those PSU folks thinking those SHIRTS are in poor taste!?!?! I’m amazed at peoples thought process!

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  9. We have an outstanding stable of horses, with a talented, experienced line, I’m predicting a special season for the ground attack. Not just one individual with amazing statistics, but the group as a whole.

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  10. Two Miami FB starters were removed from the team because of NCAA rules violations – hmm…transfer candidates to Bama?

    Any news out of today’s scrimmage?

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  11. I don’t know about you, but it’s always struck me funny…………..people’s natural gas. Really????
    Personally, I think it really STINKS, at least mine does!

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  12. I have faith that Hall improved a good. But, it’s always surprising to see Ollison listed as 3rd or 4th on the depth chart. He was only a RS FR and was far more impressive than Conner was in his FR year.

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  13. johnny – they were both hurt in the Spring – Challingsworth is not currently mentioned on any depth chart discussions during Fall camp. Ford is considered a lock to start, from the reports out of Fall camp.

    Thin mints…without T.Boyd.

    Run the ball with our fresh legged horses behind the road graders on the O-line. Throw when needed.

    HTP!

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  14. I wonder the severity of Challingsworth’s injury? Must be rotten. I’d wondered when he didn’t show up on the depth charts and the coaches failed to mention him several times.

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  15. Erie – I think you hit the nail on the head about running behind the road graders. Check out the Trigger article on O’Neil where he talks about turning last year’s 3,4, and 5 yard runs into 10, 12, and 15 yard runs this year, by “2nd level blocking g and getting to the edge quicker”. I think he unwittingly gave us a glimpse of an emphasis of camp this year! Music to my ears!

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  16. Upitt have faith in Carrigan. He dominated the DL as was mentioned earlier. He is not a Left Tackle and was just put there. He is a TE and seems quite coordinated for being 6’7″ in high school. If he wants to play TE in high school, they transferred to the wrong team. Pine Rich has no use for a TE.You could tell he was just thrown in there because of how he tried so hard to drop back in pass protect and drop his foot into the ground for support.

    Call me crazy here but the QB was good but not great. He had a good first quarter and disappeared after taking a couple of hits. Defending a spread in high school is difficult, so I am giving some credit to the offensive scheme. He won’t outrun people in college at all. I liked his game though.

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  17. Perhaps someone can explain the uproar over the JOE KNEW shirts.
    I fail to understand how that is offensive, particularly when victims and an assistant coach claim that he did.
    “With the benefit of hindsight, I should have done more.”
    What galls me is not a Joe Knew shirt, but the 409 and JVP decals, worship for the demigod.

    Now, I have not seen anything to make me believe Darrin Hall is anything special. I hope I am wrong.
    As for Ollison, he will be the featured back, should JC have issues.

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  18. I’ve said it before on here. Narduzzi has let Canada know, this season it’s run heavy. Canada will call these run heavy plays….Big 10 smash mouth football. Expect 60-65% run plays this year.

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  19. Lol: “Joe Knew”.

    My opinion: Sigh, I know I’m not the only one who knows / works with / is family with / even kindaaa likes a Penn State Football Fan / alum whatever lol.

    In the end, if the joke goes to the point that Penn State Nitters are really that Butt-Hurt (pardon the language) and upset then I can see their point of view. It’s just so volatile of a thing, the Sandusky horrific abuse, and I do understand it $ucks as a PS-“Who’er” to always have that B$ thrown at you, even if your a good person who would never have condoned the absolute GARBAGE Joe Paterno, Graham Spanier, and whatever that AD Curry did —- They were $cum, and….although it’s hard, really hard, to admit this…..sigh…..many, many —- (coughs, chokes, Powers-Through) MOST, PSU fans and alums are actually good, quality people. But I mean, it’s a free country —– wear the “Joe Knew” shirt with pride if that’s your prerogative as well….it’s literally true.

    And with that said on 9/10 Pat Narduzzi is gonna pick-up right where he Left-Off at MSU and embarrass $crub-A$$ James Franklin and get his seat HOT, and send all you poor, sad PS-Who football fans home with tears streamin’ down your cheeks!!!

    🙂 🙂 🙂 Hahaha Pat Narduzzi’s last-crack at the ‘Nitters at PSU AT cheap-a$$ Beaver-Bleacher stadium, also vs Franklin.

    Do the Poor PS ‘Who’ fans not understand that Pitt has been in the ACC that last couple years (including awesome basketball financial gains too), gone 6-2 in conference last year, and has been getting Primo-Finances and income??? I think they’re so crazy obsessed with their lil’ bubble that they really think Pitt is the AAC right now not the ACC haha.

    PITT IS IT!! HAIL TO PITT 🙂

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  20. 😦 😦 😦 😦

    —- On Dontez Ford and Zach Challingsworth being hurt, it’s sad, and most Pitt fans wish them the absolute best……

    …..But as the tide wins over all ships (Lol @ Reed is probably like, wtf are you talking about???) —– and we’ve established that the “Age of WEEEEE-AHHHHHH has finally arrived. Narduzzi and Canada have basically force-fed him a starting role, and now, essentially, he’s fully-become Pitt’s #1 wide-out, with Quadree Henderson #2, Tre Tipton #3, and Scott Orndoff and Jamar Parrish (expect a breakout season from Pitt’s stocky—–yes—–tight end) playing on the line and going out for passes.

    Jester Weah —- yes, as of now —- has become Pitt’s #1 receiver. @ Dr. Tom, just watch sir, and grab a cold beverage, some fresh popcorn, and pull-up a veggie tray just to balance-out the nutrition. Jester Weah is gonna show you what it’s all about 🙂 .

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  21. I think replacing Boyd is gonna be a huge problem. The kid was the best WR at Pitt not named Larry Fitzgerald and possibly Antonio Bryant. After Fitz left you had Greg Lee waiting in the wings, and he produced the following year with 68 catches and a phenomenal 19.1 ypc and 10 TD’s and almost 1300 yards.

    We did not see the ability last year on connecting with longer passes from Peterman. So hopefully he improves on that and Pitt comes up with someone who can get open on longer passes, or we are going to see a lot of 8 men in the box on the opposing defense.

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  22. @ Emel —- I mean Nathan Peterman did complete Some long-passes —– but I agree, and although Reed disagrees, Nathan Peterman’s delivery makes his deep-balls turn into floating-duckies a little bit.

    That said, and the hope is which many Pitt fans aren’t really accounting for is, has Nathan Peterman IMPROVED not just mentally but physically as a player since last season????

    Myself included, not really always having empathy, I kinda just project the literal Nathan Peterman of 2015-very early 2016 vs North Carolina, Miami and Navy directly-onto the player who will start for Pitt in about a week at Heinz.

    But, I’m sure Nathan Peterman has studied and learned from all of his Positives as well as the things he wants to learn from and improve?? Has he trained, Lifted-Hard, Improved his athleticism+stamina, and just become a Stronger + Bigger + Faster athlete??? Has he become smarter, and tighter and more emotionally-connected with all of his awesome Pitt teammates??? Has Nathan Peterman become a true Pitt leader, and has he improved his internal mental strength and fortitude??

    —– I dunno lol, and I’ve made it clear that frankly I want to see Thomas MacVittie asap. I honestly think —- I don’t care if you call me crazy because it’s not conjecture / delusion / speculation / or whimsy —- Thomas MacVittie is Pitt’s future, and is a future NCAA star (yes–> Marcus Mariota level except MacVittie will get much bigger and more Jacked).

    But, alas, Nathan Peterman is the guy this year, PERIOD. I sure hope he’s improved because Thomas MacVittie ain’t playin’ unless EVERYBODY gets hurt. And Nathan Peterman of the last two games on 2015-2016 was basically (infinitely more-lovable though!) Tino Sunseri, so, we shall see how 2016-2017 Pitt plays-out.

    We’re gonna $mash PS Who though —- embarrass them, make their fans question their lives, lol.

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  23. Agree that NP completed a few deep balls DK, that L-ville vid proves it. That was his best game er half of the year.

    I hope he plays well since I would prefer to redshirt the McVittie kid. Looks like Hamlin could be redshirted as well unless the DB’s are just hideous.

    Crush the Pedo’s ! (and the Wildcats) !

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  24. -Looking at the graph above. All of Pitt’s offense’s that ran the ball the most times had the best performance and National Rank. The 2014 team ran the ball 64%, was the best offense in the last 10 years, and was ranked 12th in the country with James Conner. All the Pitt teams that tried to pass more and be more balanced had the worst offensive performance and worst National Rank.

    -I think we run the ball 65-70% of the time with this information.

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  25. Rewatched the L-ville video. The 1st half was the ‘High-Water Mark’ of Pitt’s offense last year.

    We scored only a FG in the 2nd half to hang on against the Cards. And in the first half of both the Miami and Navy games, we failed to score a offensive TD. Getting blown out for all intents in purposes in the first half of those games.

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  26. Emel – Love you but Boyd was terrible last year. Hell RJ English was better. Ever since Houston he never had his head in a game.

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  27. @ Emel —- curious, do you have any “instinct” / “intuition” / “gut-feeling” about frankly whether or not Nathan Peterman has improved as a Quarterback from last year?

    I just can’t get any vibe on Nathan Peterman. I just dunno, as he’s just a mysterious-dude and an enigma and who-knows if / what he may have improved on this off-season. I just can’t quite rally-around Nathan Peterman 😦 😦 to be an “elite” QB at all.

    Conversely I go on-and-on about Jester Weah because I feel he is a Star who finally bloomed and is ready to break out (WEEEEEE-AHHHHHHH —– the poster who first wrote that it is yours and you are a genius please take credit when it’s used in Heinz just like: “HEEEAAAATTTTTHHHHHH” hahaha).

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  28. That Pitt L-ville video was exhilarating. Thanks for sharing.
    The second half of that game does showcase just how important it is to keep the pedal on the metal in this sport.

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  29. DK,
    At least one of Psu’s players told Joe he saw Sandusky raping a boy in the showers. Joe did nothing to stop it. Heck, Sandusky would kids to PSU bowl games and they’d stay in his room with him all the while Joe knew it and did nothing. And when it all hit the fan and the fans and news went to Joe’s house the FIRST words out of his mouth were: “pray for the kids”. Why would he say that? Because Joe Knew!!!
    I have NO respect for people that put a football coach on a pedi stool when the man is protecting a serial child molester.

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  30. ——> Literally, a player who is considered one of the top-3 or 4 absolute Quarterbacks in the history on the NFL —— Dan Marino is a Pitt Alum and Pitt Supporter….

    —–> Lol we are all as important, and I am so thankful to be a part of this board, and I’m so appreciative to hear the opinions of ya’ll great posters! 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂

    —-> Pat Narduzzi, get Dan Marino + Tony Dorsett + Larry Fitzgerald + Aaron (THE FACE OF LA NOW DANG!) Donald + Tyler Boyd, etc. to make some Pitt-recruiting phone calls if it’s allowed (urgh lol — per-NCAA) because they are absolutely more than willing to!!! 🙂 ) lol

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  31. @Pittman4ever —— Well that’s why Pat Narduzzi, Chancellor Gallagher, and Scott Barnes led University of Pittsburgh, now THRIVING in the ACC, with Elite & Top-Tier Finances, Exposure (not to mention the ability to continuously evolve as an academic institution), and ability to reach championships in any sport female or male now —–> need to set an example of how to be a LEADER and ELITE institution.

    ———— Forget “Class” lol: What the heck do you think Pat Narduzzi would do if he heard about that Sandusky Bull$hit???? Pat Narduzzi would be there as fast as he could move with a freakin’ aluminum base ball bat.

    THAT’S WHY HE’S THE COACH FOR PITT And he has a ridiculously high ceiling at Pitt. The question is when the NFL teams come calling……No joke, we may have to pay Pat Narduzzi like a Saban or Meyer to retire here lol.

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  32. *** No Joke *** —- for me-myself that’s a huge “Hard Lesson Learned” as a Pitt Fan + Supporter from the horrific Penn State Sandusky cover-up!!!!!

    If Pat Narduzzi ever, ever, ever….I Mean, EVER caught wind of some frankly “$andusky Bull$hit” EVER going down at Pitt I think he’d show up with Fuc*kin brass knuckles and an aluminum baseball bat and Beat the Living $hit out of whoever that was. I straight-up think Pat Narduzzi would beat that effin’ dude to a pulp and not think freakin’ twice. Sorry if that’s rude, but this stuff actually happened only a few hours away, no joke.

    And I think if some freakin’ Wu$$y-A$$ “Admins” tried to cover it up I think Pat Narduzzi would fuckin *DESTROY THEM TOO.

    That’s a big reason why I love OUR COACH.

    HAIL TO PITT!!!

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  33. Conner wants a chance to enter the NFL draft next spring. Thus IMO Narduzzi will give him as much opportunity as he can handle to show case that talent. He well may get many more carries than most poster on this blog expects for that very reason.

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  34. jrnpitt – If Conner is hot from the start (nova), then this staff will feed him the ball. I’d say by the end of the 1st half vs nova, Conner has 3 TD’s and 150 yards on 15 carries. Hall will have 5 carries for 10 yards.

    Conner will start the 2nd half with 5 more carries for 40 yards and HCPN will shut him down for nova, resting him for the pedo battle. Hall will get the next 5 carries for another 10 yards. In comes QO to rattle off 50 yards on only 5 carries and thus you have your answer to who the 1st and 2nd string RB’s will be. Moss will sit baring any injuries and take a redshirt unless he get’s bumped ahead of Hall. (IKR, the coaches are high on this guy…)

    R.Ibrahim makes his return splitting time in the backfield and as a wide out. He’ll make a few catches and work his way onto the field in multiple spots, including special teams.

    Hall’s performance in practice does not translate to game day. The same seems to be the case for QO, except the exact opposite – he struggles at practice and performs on game day.

    All speculation before sipping my morning coffee – but one thing we know is what we’ve seen from 4 of our 5 RB’s in the resent past – and one was the ACC POY and the other was the ACC Rookie of the Year.

    Feed them both the ball with fresh legs behind our #4 ranked O-line.

    HTP!

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  35. IN the first 5 games this season, 4 of those team’s D have trouble stopping the run. Including our ACC nemice, UNC. We’ll need to establish what we do best, early and often. BUT, we need to be able to pass, as was proven out last year by LSU. Their run dominate O crushed the early opponents, but the SEC coaches eventually made them pass the ball, which turned out bad for LSU.

    NP must play well this year for Pitt to have a better season than last year – that is a no brainer. Who will be his receiving targets? S.Orndoff, R.Ibrahim, J.Conner, D.Ford and ???. I’d like to see one more – A.Mathews is intriguing to me. Throw to each of those playmakers 4 to 5 times a game, mixed with two 1,000 yard rushing backs and I can see a 10 win season.

    HTP!

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  36. Challingsworth had off season shoulder surgery this spring and I still haven’t had my question answered about if Dontez Ford even IS injured let alone the type of set back it is, if so. Rumor mill at this point stirring the pot on Ford unless I read something to the contrary.

    Dark Knight, you have succeeded in making me appear as the pessimist around here! Go on ya! I enjoy reading your positive rants! Then you have the contrasting writing style of a guy like Upitt that slips in the bitter pill of negatively with somebody sucks a$$ and is pathetic to help tone down the optimism. LOL!

    Seriously though, I get the Weah, hype from Narduzzi & Co., yeah Jester has been catching a zillion balls a day spit out of the machine. He’s flashed brilliance in the practice field with some highlight reel catches but that is all BS. Worst of all, Jester Weah KNOWS IT! In one of his own interviews he openly admits to battling a mental block IN REAL GAMES as the reason for having ZERO completions on his stat sheet.

    The guy is physically impressive and can sprint like The Flash but until he pulls in his first over the shoulder in stride 40 yard pass for a TD the guy is nothing more than a track star dressed up like a football player. If I was Upitt the short answer on this subject, “Weah, is a disaster and should only be allowed on the field if he’s carrying water for the other players, and he’d drop those on the way out to the huddle, he sucks” but since I’m not Upitt, I’ll keep it positive and request that he proves my opinion wrong by bringing home 3 or 4 nice receptions to break the very low glass ceiling that he has built himself. Until then,,,,,,,,,,

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  37. Just read that the Villanova Wildcats are listed at #23 in the STATS FCS preseason poll. So we get to knock off a ranked team in six days!
    I’m really hoping that Coach Duzz is grabbing this team by the face mask this week and staring them straight in the eyes while he admonishes his troops to focus their preparations for their home opener. This Villanova game is a perfect springboard for preparing for penn state IF this team is NOT already looking past Villanova in the process.

    We’ll know by the end of the first quarter whether this team has matured to the point of being a true contender for a conference crown, since a team with discipline and focus and the amount of superior talent over Villanova should be up by 14 by the quarter’s conclusion. If not, well then we got a team that is not yet ready to take care of business like true championship caliber squads do. We’ll see in six days.

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  38. Hall ran for over 100 yards against Miami at the end of last season. He was a true freshman returning from knee surgery. He should be much improved this year as a second year player. Don’t count him out.

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  39. While being up by 14 @ the end of the first quarter would be a good indicator and should be expected the best laid plans don’t always work out that way. However the entire game taken as a whole should tell the whole story. This first game I am expecting a win but more importantly a well played game but fluky plays do happen. I don’t want to see dumb off sides too many or too few players on the field or plays like that. All in all PITT should be fine if the players and coaches are ready to play, which they weren’t all the time last year.

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  40. @DK Thanks for the video with Danny Boy. The man with the Golden Arm. Very surprised Pitt has never used him in recruiting. No wonder why we’ve had 1 pro QB play(more than 1 game) in the NFL (Van Pelt) in 35 years. Almost unbelievable nobody at Pitt has ever asked Danny to make a phone call to someone. Pitt should have been cleaning up on high school kids in South Florida for all those years Marino starred for the Dolphins. I believe Hugh Green also played for them late in his career.

    On the Peterman evaluation, kind of hard to get a handle on that, like you say. Without anyone pushing him, I have no clue how he will react. He didn’t play to well, later in the season, after the 1st half of the L-Ville game, when it was clear, that no matter how poorly he played, Voytik would not be called upon to even give the impression, he might be an option. As in warming up along the sidelines. So that is a concern.

    The biggest surprise last year, was Peterman showed an ability to make plays with his feet, so hopefully that continues when the pocket breaks down and nobody is open. However with limited experience behind him at QB, will he be given the ‘green light’ to run if needed. As that opens up more injury possibilities.

    So that whole dynamic will be interesting to watch this year as well.

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  41. @ Upitt…..buddy were you hitting the bottle bigtime last nite. RJ English better than Tyler Boyd ? ha Boyd had more catches by far in just 1 year (91) than English did in 4 years (68).

    Which is why Boyd is playing in the NFL and English sold mutual funds.

    Hopefully that was some high proofage stuff ! lol

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  42. Tyler Boyd
    There is little doubt now that Tyler Boyd will be the Bengals’ best rookie in 2016. As long as the second-round pick out of Pitt stays healthy, Boyd looks bound for a big year in an offense in desperate need of a No. 2 pass-catcher.

    With Tyler Eifert, Tyler Kroft and Brandon LaFell sidelined, Boyd has been getting a lot of targets in training camp and the preseason, and he’s converting a high percentage of them.

    After hauling in a 40-yard bomb vs the Vikings, Boyd finished with two grabs on three targets for 36 yards and his first NFL touchdown. While the score was nice, Boyd’s 26-yard diving snag was easily one of the best catches we’ve seen in this preseason.

    Can’t believe the Steelers let Boyd get drafted by a Division opponent. He is going to come back and haunt them many times over for that blunder.

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