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.
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…
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.
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! 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.
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:
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!!