Understudies To The Wings!!

Here we go – the smell of football is really in the air now.  The team has broken regular camp practices and and is working on the game plans for the opener.  The optimists are figuring a nine win season and the not-so-optimistic figures a seven or eight win deal is about right.

No one thinks sub-.500 though so that’s a good thing.

Best line in this?  “Maybe he misses a class and doesn’t play at all.”  I love this stance folks, truly.  BTW – missing a class for a valid reason isn’t what he’s talking about – he means cutting class.

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The Pitt media Dept put out the Villanova-Pitt Game Notes publication today.  it is, as always, chock full of info for the media and the fans ti get ready for the upcoming match.  What I turn to first is the official two-deep listing.  So here that is and we’ll discuss after you’ve looked at it…

 

2-deep Villa

OK, put down your pencils.  Now, what did we see?

Well, for one we saw a player who has been in the program a full three years and has never caught a pass thrown in anger being named a starter.  That ‘s interesting.  If Weah pans out and does what we have been told he can do then watch out DBs because he can get deep in a hurry.

Second we see a running back who gained 1121 yards with a 5.3 ypc average and 11 TDs on the ground somehow find himself dropped on that depth chart.  Curious!  When asked to lose weight for the upcoming season Ollison was all in and it showed in his lean and mean body in camp.

But when the depth chart was made public Ollison was quoted as saying

Why the f*ck did I eat all that f*cking kale for if I’m not going to start anyway.  Damn!!”

Then we see a linebacker who’s has been inserted into the starting lineup just so that Bill Hillgrove with have an apoplectic fit trying to pronounce his name.  Funny!  That would be Oluwaseaun “eye-dough-wu” Bill…. here, have another drink – it will be OK.

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We also see, if we look hard enough, The Man stepping on Zach Challingsworth’s neck in an attempt to keep him down.  Please Fool – it is no coincidence that the only Pale Brother in a squad of 10 WRs is listed 5th out of five wide receivers going into a game against a school that has nothing but white students.  I thought those days were over.

Actually in the press conference conference video Narduzzi sounds like Challingsworth will be 2nd string.

But wait!  We have a Black QB!!  Albeit in a 2nd string position. That’s the safe pick in Manny Stocker.  Those two things cross each other out and we are back on an even racial keel.  We haven’t had that since Rod Rutherford.  Forget about Greg Cross.  Anyone who literally can’t hit a receiver in stride over the course of two full years of practices is not a quarterback.

Hold on again! 11210350 I found that other White WR I thought that we had hanging around somewhere.  I had to look at the Brooks Brothers shop at the mall to find him.  When Kellen McAlone turns 17 he’s going to be a player to be reckoned with.

We also jettisoned the only Pacific Islander on the roster by shunning Taleni.

We are not very inclusive in this two-deep save the African kid at LB.  And I wonder about him.  The kid has no accent whatsoever and went to North Allegheny for goodness sake. I think he’s a plant in case the NCAA starts issuing Diversity regulations in the near future.

At defensive tackle we have two true FR kids – Watts and Camp backing up Soto.  That is a hige area of concern.  Jerry DiPaola of the Trib has a piece on Narduzzi’s being able to choose some of his own players this season:

• Coach Pat Narduzzi won’t commit to a definite number of freshmen who will play. His first depth chart lists a total of four freshmen on offense and defense. There were 24 high school seniors who signed letters of intent in February. The freshmen who won’t be redshirted are: wide receiver Aaron Mathews of Clairton, defensive tackles Amir Watts and Keyshon Camp and running back Chawntez Moss.

None are starters. “I tell them, ‘You’re never redshirted until the end of the year,’ ” Narduzzi said. “You can go into the 11th game of the season and all of a sudden you need a guy.”

As far as those RBs go – Jerry D has a piece on that situation also.

But if Pat Narduzzi was forced to design a defense to stop the Panthers offense — in other words, if he hypothetically were thrust into the role Villanova will assume Saturday at Heinz Field — he knows what he would do.

“I would try to stop the run and load the box up (with an extra defender or two),” he said. “Make us beat you with the pass.”  But he amended that statement slightly, adding, “That’s scary, too, because you have Nathan Peterman sitting there. Pick your poison.”

That is what we’ll see in the beginning of the season and it looks more and more like it will be a thunder and lightning type backfield if Conner comes out pre-2015 form.  Moss has that ‘makes-you-miss’ quality which would play havoc with LBs trying to get a handle on how the pace of the Pitt running game is going to be.

Moss really impressed the staff this fall obviously.  You can say that when a two-deep chart lists players with an “or” between their names they are all equal but that really isn’t the case.  I looked back over a few years of selected two-deep charts from early season games (games #1 and #2) and it appeared to me that the listing sequence they were shown in was the order the players got into the games.  BTW – Narduzzi didn’t use the “or” designation for 2nd string guys but did for starters last season as shown here. with Blair and Soto.

or

Neither did other coaches… or only sometimes.  Strange.  Anyway, all that leads me to believe we’ll see Mathews, Moss, Roy, Watts and Folston come off the bench first when Narduzzi and staff dip into the 2nd string players.

Interesting to note that DiNucci isn’t listed as an “or” player in the chart.  That probably happens for a couple of reasons but the fact that at that particular position – QB – only two guys get any practice snaps with the 1st and 2nd team offense in-between games.  There is not enough practice time to rotate a 3rd QB into those timed practice sessions and it would just confused the other 10 guys on offense anyway.

QB’s have distinct voices, cadences, ways of calling plays – two is enough.

Here is another thing I saw earlier and wanted to share with you.  In my podcast I talked about the staff’s game week preparations and what the team’s practice schedule is like.  Well, here is what the media availability is like in a typical week between matches:

practice

So – are the juices flowing for the opener?  I know mine are starting to move around the closer we get to reality vs theory.

Note: Just a reminder on what the Pitt POV’s blog schedule will be like on a normal game week…

Saturday – Gameday open thread.  I might have a small article that night but I’m either driving back to Maryland or staying with friends and socializing so mostly not.  I will try to keep a running audio recording of my impressions of the game in the opener and we’ll try to do a ‘after-action’ podcast as it where… we’ll give it a shot.

Sunday – I’ll do my first post-game article  and that will be a Podcast regarding what happened.

Monday – It will be the traditional “Monday Morning QB” article where we take a closer look at stats and trends of the last game and list three each of pros and cons.

Tuesday and Wednesday: regular articles

Thursday – Opponent Preview

Friday – Predictions and last minute pregame observations.

HTP and beat Villanova!!

 

48 thoughts on “Understudies To The Wings!!

  1. Hamlin is injured and IMO not likely to see much action for quite some time if at all. Bringing in an outside doctor to treat Hamlin suggests no quick fix.

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  2. Never got my season predictions in.
    6 wins – meh
    7 wins – OK
    8 wins – good
    9 wins – great
    10 wins – ooh la la!!!
    Pittman4ever’s prediction is 9-3 (losses to OKST, Clemson, and ???(not PSU)

    #H2P, Let’s go Pitt, Pitt is IT!!!!!

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  3. Not to labor on Reed’s favorite subject but it is difficult to parse through a two deep and get any major insight when we don’t have a lot of information from camp as a base for our discussion. Glad it will be a moot point as we get to look at the team ourselves come this Saturday. Fired up for the game not fired up that I will have to watch from an airport on my iPad. I am not hoping for Delaware of a few years ago but a nice comfortable win would set the tone. The SOP attitude began to be buried last season…until the last few games. Let’s get the shovels out and get to work this week!

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  4. I expect a straight forward rushing attack in this game very similar to what we did against Delaware in 2014. Expect the same type of result. Lots of Power and starters to be sitting by the 3rd quarter. I have even more confidence in this prediction as well after listening to The Nova Coach’s interview who still thinks KK Mosley-Smith and Darryl Render are on the team….

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  5. 7-5 is a pretty safe prediction given the schedule.

    We have 9 different starters from the guys who were out on the field for the Miami game last year, 6 are on defense, and I think only a few are up grades – Hendrix at DE for one and maybe Jarrett over Render at DT.

    I suppose Conner v Ollison is an upgrade but we’ll have to wait and see given the circumstances on that one.

    Idowu in for Grigsby is suspect at Star LB. I’d take Pitts over Lewis at CB also. Soto at NT for KK Mosley-Smith is a downgrade.

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  6. I can’t see any upgrade on the defense looking at the 2 deep. However I do believe the offense will be more explosive absent the Chaney play calling. Our wide receivers will get plenty of chances to excel given the stacked line of scrimmage Pitt is likely to face throughout this season.

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  7. The first thing I noticed was the average size and weight of our offensive line. I remember in the late 80s when notre Dame would arrive with men that big. Can not wait for the season to start.

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  8. Don’t know if this little tidbit was posted but in the trib today, Narduzzi says he knows to ensure his players aren’t spending too much time thinking about the first psu game in 16 years. “Try to make sure they ignore you guys (reporters) he said “That’s the first step”

    So the big secret game plan for Villanova is to keep the players away from Reed and the other media types. It’s no wonder. 🙂 You’re your own worst enemy Reed.

    Jus kidding, I know how you can get.

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  9. The projected three wide receivers absent the full back suggests Pitt wants to use some speed to counteract the opposition stacked defenses. I’m expecting that Moss will turn out to be our “surprise freshman” star on this team. Surprising not because he hasn’t showcased his potential. Surprising because most don’t see him getting many carries given the number of talented backs on the roster.—-My other surprise to watch for is having Conner show up on the defense in the Penn State game and making a big play. That would make for some interesting TV highlights wouldn’t it?

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  10. So does experience improve this team because there sure isn’t an influx of talent. I think it does where the player was a first time starter last year.

    These players will improve this year…
    Offense: Peterman, O’Neil, Ford, Ollison, Hall, Henderson
    Defense: Price, Whitehead

    Better talent at a position this year as compared to last…
    Offense: Officer, Connor(if he stays healthy), Orndoff,
    Defense: Jarrett, Hendrix, maybe Lewis or Dane Jackson.

    Not enough improvement on D for me and D is the weakness of the team.

    I say 7-8 wins.

    Really really concerned that none of the young LBs stepped up, especially Brightwell and McKee. I didn’t expect the true freshman to step up. I can see Idowu beating them out because he played safety last year and said because of that he knew how to read the offensive alignments already. They should not have been beat out by a former receiver in his first year switching positions.

    At least Dane Jackson and Motley moved up the charts.

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  11. Wild guess but like I’ve said before. I expect a great sr season out of Galambos. Could make the PITT defense fairly tough.

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  12. Free wins this year for Pitt

    Villanova
    Syracuse
    Duke
    Marshall
    Virginia
    Miami

    That leaves 6 other games to be determined. Hard time seeing Pitt going 0-6 or 1-5 against the other 6. Schedule looks pretty easy now. Schedule is a lot easier than last year now.

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  13. I agree with you guys above: very disappointing that none of the supposedly talented young LB’s (Mckee, Brightwell, Wirginis) stepped up considering how little talent there is ahead of them. And then they get beat out by a walk on and a converted wideout? Yeesh. Maybe those guys need to switch positions, too.

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  14. How does anyone know how good Idowu is? He beat out to 4 star lb’s and 2 more 3 star lb’s that had good offer sheets. Maybe he’s good? How many of you watched him? At least he is really fast and athletic unlike last year.

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  15. You never know who will beat the odds and be great.

    Donnie Shell was an undrafted free agent, back when they had many rounds in the draft.

    He is probably the best Steeler ever not to be in the HOF.

    There is something to be said for experience and time in the weight room.

    None of the highly touted d-backs made the 2-deep either.

    There is still time for some to break through this year. But guys like Galambos, a four year starter and Maddox, have played a lot of football and have held on to their jobs for a reason.

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  16. —- Since this game, in the Fall of 2007, Pitt Football has gone at least .500 and been to a Bowl game each season. With Wanny’s “Lunatics Running the Asylum” lol, with Todd Graham in his lone season after getting 2 mil a year from Pitt after the Mike Haywood fiaso, and even with “Aw Shucks” Paul Chryst —- who lost at HOME to Youngstown State by two-TD’s and at home to 5-7 Akron….Since this final game in the 2007 season Pitt — with a Chancellor who didn’t know the difference between a touchdown and a Home Run or a Slam Dunk, a POISON athletic director, and being stuck in the Big Least — Pitt Football somehow, bravely and valiantly just kept it’s head above-water and made a bowl game at the very least.

    The Future is Bright! In Chancellor Gallagher we trust! Hail to Pitt!!!

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  17. I would rather have Dewayne Hendrix than Render, Smith, and Pitts combined. A future NFL player from the SEC country vs 3 below average starters from last season. A playmaker and sack machine vs 3 below average players. If this is about replacements from a year ago, it doesn’t get any bigger than this one.

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  18. ^^^^^^^^

    First “Big Boy” future NFL D-End Pitt has had since Jabaal Sheard and Greg Romeus. I.e., not offense to Ejuan Price but Dewayne Hendrix is what a Power 5 Defensive end on a real contender looks like.

    Pat Narduzzi’s already recruited 3 more 6’4” +, already 230+ sleek, athletic Defensive Ends who are in the weightroom and on Pitt’s campus for him to mold for the future.

    A couple years ago a 2 star ex fullback named David Durham started 2 full years at Defensive end, and not-shockingly he might as well have just set up a folding chair on the line each snap — and Pitt still managed to win 6 games.

    Feelin’ Great about this season, and more importantly the bright future. Looking forward to annihilating poor Villanova. Others want to get a glimpse of the hopefully new-and-improved Nate Peterman and the passing attack, but I just want to see James Conner play the full game, be healthy, and be a Monster. Really, this game is James Conner’s day.

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  19. I will not be sitting for the Nationl Anthem. I expect a blowout win verse the wildcats. 48-3

    Conner will be the hot hand at RB and rush for 150 yards and three TD’s in the 1st three series on Saturday. Hall will spell him on the 4th series with QO taking the rock on the 5th series with a TD.

    Conner starts the 3rd qtr and gets another TD and then retires to the bench to rest for pedo state.

    NP has a very average day, but the D is stellar. Hendrix and Price get a few sacks and J.Whitehead gets a pick six. Blewit hits his only FG attempt and Winslow booms two nice punts, one after Hall’s 1st qtr series and one in the 4th qtr.

    HCPN has fun winning the first of his ten victories in 2016.

    HTP!

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  20. Did I actually type through instead of throw. Wondering if it’s possible to get an edit button for the hard of proofreading folk?

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  21. 🙂 🙂 🙂 ACC + ACC Network (Elite Conference, exposure, and revenue) + Passionate-Bra$$ at the top of the Pyramid + Pitt Ascension!!! lol.

    I see a really, really Tough, Valiant, and Full-On Effort team this year who will fight with all they-got and also only be “Out-Talented” by Deshaun Watson

    (*cough, I mean, “The Clemson Tigers” lol). Deshuan Watson is so ridiculous. I recommend that Pitt fans just go into the Clemson game with full comprehension that’s Pitt is facing once-in-a-lifetime greatness. But that’s a loooong way away anyway.

    Okalhoma State went 10-2 but they got Shallacked by Mississippi (Ole Miss) in their bowl game. — It will be Tough — But make no mistakes about it, Pitt overall will be only the slightest bit “inferior” in overall talent, and that will all be on the Defensive side where Pitt still lacks explosiveness + speed besides Whitehead and hopefully Dewayne Hendrix.

    This Pitt Football team is a pretty darn good team — yes across the board actually not just solely at O-line and running-back.

    Even analyzing all the Question Marks of this team (lol or in other words all the last of the Chryst-guys who still makeup the majority of the starters for the season) —> no one will argue that these guys are all at the minimum “serviceable” ACC, Power 5 level players.

    It would be nice to have those salivated-after clear NFL talent guys at every position, but a Senior Matt Galambos, Matt Caprara, Tyrique Jarret, Ejuan Price, Junior Avonte Maddox — and Seniors Tarish Webb and Reggie Mitchell at safety (4 years hitting the weights + training and playing in Power 5 ball for all of these Tuff’ Seniors) are all pretty decent players. No, none are them may be the Studs we Pitt fans all want to stack the roster (which we will have soon) but they’re all experienced, athletic-enough, tough and seasoned players.

    Hail to Pitt!! Pat Narduzzi: the *** “Anti-Chryst” *** ….. lol gonna annihilate the poor Wild-Kitties on Saturday.

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  22. WOOO-WEEE!!! — @ Upitt you like betting right? You can BET that they’re gonna be glued to their seats for the PITT V PSU BATTLE over-there in Stillwater, Oklahoma!

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  23. In all seriousness. Do not take this Wildcat team for granted.

    Respect every opponent, else you get served for trying to just mail it in.

    Dominate every facet of the game to prove “The Pursuit” is more than just this season’s catch phrase.

    It gets real, real soon. Do these Panthers believe? We’ll see.

    Hail to Pitt!

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  24. Erie – I like your predictions…..except fpr Winslow. I say he doesn’t see the field Saturday. Our O won’t have trouble getting into V Territory every time we get the ball!!

    Good Dr. Tom – Yes, “The Jester” will catch the ball – and then you can just Weahve (wave) goodbye!! (And, yes, I think that the Southern Dictionary spells “Wave” —– “W-e-a-h-v-e”

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  25. Welp, the picture of our 13 graduates on the roster is now 12 with Wuester departing. The linebacking corp may be problematic against speed offenses unless we run blitz often and stop the momentum before daylight appears. Hopefully McKee and Brightwell’s light goes on soon. We need speed.

    The very good news about developing depth is competition. The backups should be ready to go on a moments notice, so we should no longer see losses to teams we should beat by a lot. If the spread is 10 or greater, we should win. Anything under a touchdown can go either way based off of an untimely turnover. My sense is that the majority of the games will be right about 6. All of our respective hair should turn grey and fall out during the season.

    I predict 1-0 come Sunday morning. I don’t care if we win by one or fifty although it should be closer to fifty.

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  26. I will not annoy anyone with this one more time, until after the season starts in 5-odd days, and everyone just sees it first-hand and accepts it.

    No offense to the other Pitt – Players grinding away at wide receiver but……

    This season’s biggest-story for Pitt may very well end up. Bigger, Stronger & Faster, “Antonio Bryant only-with a Great Head on his shoulders”, Jester Weeee-aaaaaah.

    — I’m talking the level of Aaron Donald blowing-up on the National Scene level year for Jester Weah this season.

    Matt Canada came to Pitt, saw the light, and will not let Jester Weah hide-away his immense talents in the shadows anymore.

    …..This dude has Pure Star Power. I could barely stay awake watching interviews with other Pitt receivers, no offense. But Jester Weah just has that It Factor —- just a Star who looks totally ready to finally be The Man.

    Although many may not be able to tell the difference between solid players / good-guys / quality people ‘n all /etc, vs a STAR (it’s a Sixth-Sense thang, lol), thankfully Pat Narduzzi, Matt Canada, Nathan Peterman, and >>>>Yours Truly<<<<, lol, all know that Jester Weah is about to Break Out. Just look at the 6’2” – 6’3” Weah in his interview– he’s ridiculously Yoked-Up along with being a Track-Star!

    @ Dr. Tom, lol, can he catch a ball??? Watch against Villanova when Weah looks like a Grown Man among poor, weak, FCS / D1-AA Children.

    Then, watch as Jester Weah rips-off huge plays against Penn State all-game, and further-explodes on the National Scene when he just starts shrugging-off defenders like fruit flies against the Black n’ Orange in Stillwater, OK —– on Prime-Time National Television on a Saturday evening seen across the USA.

    All the National Pundits blow-up on Sportscenter and ‘College Football Live’ (Most especially Pitt-Great Mark May on ESPN 🙂 ) and such, shouting-out: “WHO IS THIS GUY FOR PITT, JESTER WEAH, AND WHERE HAS HE BEEN HIDING ALL THIS TIME?!!!”

    —– You don’t have to believe it / whatever right now, before actual Live-Football begins, and I don’t want or desire any credit when it all ‘comes to pass’ as I’ve stated.

    (with a sly-wink + Two thumbs up 🙂 But all I ask, @ Dr. Tom most especially, is that you don’t act the slightest-bit surprised when everything I’ve stated comes fully-to-fruition 🙂 🙂 :).

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  27. Bright Knight, it would be a bonus if the kid makes it. I think we are all hoping for that. I know that I am. I think the gester is faster than Antonio Bryant. That said, Bryant made many a circus catch and caught balls in traffic. A bigger Dietrich Jells maybe? Hoping. A Robert Foster without the hands…as of now.

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  28. @ Dark Knight, & I thought I was the one wearing the Blue & Gold glasses. I’m pretty sure by now you have one Blue eyeball & one Gold eyeball, no glass s required. I’ve seen the “manic” just wondering what the “depressive” side will look like after our 1st loss?😩😰😭

    BTW, congrats to both Stocker and Idowu on their new scholarships being awarded this week. That is the student athlete story personified.

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  29. If the depth chart plays out, our one CB spot is going to be a big weakness. Lewis and his backup Motley, they will get lit up against p5 schools that have any kind of passing game.

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  30. Walts – there is an “Edit” button directly to the right of the date under the poster’s name. Plus… i would be the only media type he’d allow in as I have been saying that exact thing about the PSU game all week.

    I have seen just bits of Idowu in actual practice two years ago – he’s fast for sure and a nice sized kid at 6′ 0″ and 215 – and that is after a 30 pound weight gain since he arrived so you know that is weight room muscle.

    HIGH SCHOOL: Contributed in diverse ways for WPIAL Class AAAA power North Allegheny, playing running back, receiver, linebacker and defensive back during his career…as a senior, carried 68 times for 337 yards (4.9 avg.) and six touchdowns…also had 10 receptions for 156 yards (15.6 avg.) and a TD…as a junior for North Allegheny’s 16-0 state championship team, Idowu rushed for 405 yards and four TDs on 53 carries (7.6 avg.)…played under Coach Art Walker…also a track and field letterman…Scholar-Athlete honoree.

    He also just got a scholarship – along with back-up QB Manny Stocker.

    http://triblive.com/sports/college/pitt/11058197-74/idowu-pitt-coach

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  31. I love reading the game day notes.

    Sad stats under career highs

    Most tackles in a game

    Galambos 19

    Bradley 9

    Wirginis 5

    All vs NAVY in that awful smackdown.

    Shows how stats are not always representative of success.

    Hopefully for the players that game is a distant memory.

    It will take 3 wins in the next 4 games to get the bad taste out of my mouth.

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  32. Huff,
    I think the rebranding for the former Dark Knight, who now is Bright Knight is quite appropriate!
    Bright Knight, thanks for your posts and all the links, appreciate it along with your brightness! Pitt sunglasses are in order!😎

    Like

  33. Please don’t overlook Villanova, Nard Dog and company. Since we’ve had so many coaching changes in the last 20 years, some aren’t here long enough to know the trouble we’ve seen losing to inferior opponents.
    We on this board do.
    Remember Villanova is looking forward to playing Pitt as much as Pitt is to playing Pedo State.

    That said I still expect us to win. This Villanova team is probably better than the YSU team from last year’s opener.

    Duke’s starting QB (Thomas Sirk) has been lost for the season. And we didn’t get him last year either as he was injured for that win.

    Defense has to be much better than last year if we want to win more than 7 or 8 games.
    And someone will have to replace 75% of Tyler Boyd’s worth to the team, which besides his 1000 yards receiving, he ran for 350 yards from the WR position with a almost 9 ypc avg. So who will be that guy
    that runs the WR reverses. Lots to anticipate this year.

    Let’s Go Pitt !!

    Like

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