How We’ve Played Ball So Far

We are going to be talking a lot about stats, numbers and trends in this article to try to get a handle on what this 2016 version of the Panther’s football team is all about.  That tells just some of the story – the other part is coaching and decision making and all the intangibles that go into wins and losses.

There are some positives and negative there also but one thing I’d like to point out from the onset is that I think HC Pat Narduzzi has done a good job of getting our kids ready to play, and to play a full 60 minutes.  That hadn’t been the case with some games last season but this year it is something I’m not too worried about.

So – I spent a good part of last evening perusing all the established Pitt football media outlets to try to get a flavor of how other writers and fans really felt about the loss to Oklahoma State last week.

I don’t usually do that but because there was such a wide swing of opinions in the comments on here it made me wonder what others thought also.  The answer is that it pretty much mirrors the POVer’s opinions with some outlying exceptions.  There are always fans who think everything is wonderful and other fans who think the Pitt football world is falling apart

Personally I thought we didn’t play all that well even with 38 points scored.  Wins in football isn’t determined only by your team’s scores but also hinges on how many points the other team puts up in the game.  Against PSU a high scoring game worked in our favor – last Saturday it did not.

We all know and have discussed at length the true Achilles’s Heel of our team which is our passing yards allowed defense that is resting comfortably in 124th place (out of 128 teams)  and our passing efficiency defense squatting at 90th nationally.  There isn’t a whole lot to dissect there – we plain suck at it.

But when I drill down to other aspects of how we played on Saturday I find other disturbing indicators of a team that has some real weaknesses.  Before we talk expressly about those I want to also state that we are doing exceptionally well in some areas also and I’ll list those later.  But read this chart below and try to figure out how our coaching staff is going to make these problems go away.

I listed these stats from our lowest ranking on top and only included categories where we reside in the lower half (64th and below) nationally:

Team Stats –                              Rank                                              Value
Passing Yards Allowed 124th 330.3
Passing Offense 106 167.7
3rd Down Conversion Pct 105 0.311
Red Zone Defense 105 1.000
Team Passing Efficiency Defense 90 137.30
Scoring Defense 89 30.3
Total Defense 85 406.0
First Downs Offense 80 57
Fewest Penalty Yards Per Game 80 64.00
Net Punting 76 36.59
Fewest Penalties Per Game 76 7.00
Total Offense 73 406.7
Team Passing Efficiency 73 130.84
First Downs Defense 72 59

That’s not easy to look at and even with a 2-1 record I have some real nervousness on how the rest of the season is going to play out.

What jumps out most dramatically is how very unevenly our team’s units have fared so far.  Our defense – which every pundit and Pitt fan believed was going to be better than last season’s, is just pretty horrid… but again lopsided.  Our passing defense and scoring defense are truly bad – but our rushing defense sits proudly at 10th nationally and has only given up 75.7 yards per game.

But even with that great rushing D we have given up a large amount of rushing TDs with  eight and five of those to PSU’s Barkley.  On the other hand with our good rushing numbers (239 ypg and 21st) we have only scored seven TDs on the ground ourselves.

Mirroring that, we know how very terrible our pass defense is at giving up 330 ypg in the air – yet opponents have only scored three passing TDs against us.  Pitt’s own passing game, which has pulled its head into its body like a threatened turtle, is only getting 168 ypg yet we have six TD passes – double the number our opponents have even with their massive yardage.

Strange isn’t it?  And I believe it is inconsistencies like these that make this year’s team so hard to get a firm handle on.

We have given up 41.5 ppg over the last two contests and have scored 40 per game ourselves to have an even 1-1 record against Power 5 schools.  Against PSU they were driving for the winning TD late in the game only to throw an INT and lose; Pitt was doing the same for a tie against OSU and threw an INT to lose.

Ying and Yang; Yang and Ying.  If the season goes on like this we fans will have a lot to talk about for sure – we’ll just be doing from the in-patient ward at Western Psych.

Let’s take an even closer look at some aspects of our offense.  As said we have been doing very well picking up yardage on the ground to a tune of 290 ypg.  But if we take a look at how we are doing that it gets interesting.

Going into fall camp we knew we had a strong stable of running backs in Conner, Ollison, Ibrahim, Hall and possibly true FR Chawntez Moss.

Now three games in we find that two of those RBs have been cut from the herd with Ollison and Ibrahim out of the RB picture apparently.  Ibrahim totally. So what have the other RBs done so far?  Aside from Conner pretty crappy all told.

Conner has not returned to his 2014 form but that has to have been expected.  I don’t think anyone save the most rabid Pitt fans thought that after his injury and his cancer battle Conner would run like he did in his SO great season or even in his FR year.  And he hasn’t… but he’s done OK anyway.

So far he has done this:  63 carries for 281 yards (4.5 ypc) with 3 TDs and 93.7 ypg.

Well below his previous production of 5.9 ypc and an average of two TDs per game as he did in ’14.  A (-) 1.4 yard per carry difference is huge actually.  He has made up for that in part as a receiver and has more catches so far this year than he did in any year previously.  Here that is graphically.


So Conner, while producing well, hasn’t been able to carry the load and the staff knows that and thus doesn’t ask him to.  Conner’s football shape isn’t what it was and he’s showing that in the 4th quarters of the games so far – that truly isn’t a criticism but just an observation.  Even his suiting up and going out to play is pretty damn amazing considering what he’s been through.

Behind him we drop off dramatically among true RBs.  Here is what we have gotten so far from them:

GP  Att  Gain  Loss  Net  Avg   TD  Long  Avg/G 
James Conner 3 63 301 20 281 4.5 3 32 93.7
Qadree Ollison 3 16 74 8 66 4.1 0 18 22.0
Darrin Hall 3 15 68 5 63 4.2 0 20 21.0
George Aston 2 5 17 4 13 2.6 2 13 6.5
C. Moss 2 2 8 0 8 4.0 0 4 4.0

They have 38 carries for 167 yards (4.4 ypc) with 2 TDs by the FB Aston… all four of the back-up RBs have combined for a total average of 55.6 ypg.  Pretty damn poor all told.

So why is our rushing game doing so well?  Because Matt Canada has relied on players other than RBs to get big chunks of yardage in spots.  I’d say it was trickeration but really it has become part of the normal offensive gameplan and that’s a worry to me.

We have seen WRs and a DB run Jet-Sweep Right and Jet-Sweep Left and End-Arounds galore and while they work sometimes I am wary of having to rely on them during our tougher ACC schedule when the opposing coaching staffs have lots of our game film to watch.  Here are the non-RBs’ actual numbers:

GP  Att  Gain  Loss  Net  Avg   TD  Long  Avg/G 
Quadree 3 11 157 4 153 13.9 2 50 51.0
Jordan W. 3 3 50 0 50 16.7 0 28 16.7
Rafael Lopes 3 3 7 0 7 2.3 0 4 2.3
Dontez Ford 2 1 6 0 6 6.0 0 6 3.0
Tre Tipton 3 1 0 2 -2 -2.0 0 0 -0.7

You can see that WRs Lopes, Ford and Tipton’s carries produced almost nothing, or less than nothing in Tipton’s case.  It is WR Henderson and DB Whitehead who have done the damage there.

I guess that is fine to do if it works and maybe I’m a traditionalist but when you have the type of RBs we have I think you need to round them into form in your first three games, all non-conference ones, to get them ready and able for the meat of your schedule and the games that actually matter.

Which brings us to the final point.

How in the world does a All-ACC player and ACC Offensive Rookie of the Year not get a lion’s share of carries?  To use RB Quadree Ollison so sparingly is not only stupid but smacks of something that runs counter to “putting our best players on the field” as Narduzzi keeps repeating publicly to convince us that’s how he coaches.

We have run the ball 144 times this season and Ollison has just 16 carries.  That is only 5.3 carries a game and in total only 11% of the teams rushing attempts.

If Conner was going gangbusters and the HC’s favorite son Darrin Hall was playing up to his fall camp hype I could kind of understand it, but that absolutely isn’t the case.  What is even more bothersome, and I think very weird, was that when Narduzzi was informed during his last press conference that Ollison didn’t get any carries against OSU he seemed to be either 1) dumbfounded and genuinely shocked or 2) an accomplished play actor.  I suspect the latter is the case.

Don’t let’s kid ourselves that Narduzzi doesn’t play favorites.  He does just like any other HC in college football.  And sometimes those favorites have to do with whether the player was recruited by him or by the previous regime.  Again – that happens across the land even if fans don’t want to believe it.

But when you have an established producer at RB like Ollison has been you use him.  A case in point is that his 5.3 yards per carry last season was better than some of our most productive RBs have had in their career.

His 5.3 ypc bettered Heyward, Lewis, McCoy, West, Martin, Barlow and Thomas in that area and those were some very good RBs for the Panthers.  Now that isn’t to say he’s better than those RBs – but that he sure had a very productive season last year.

top 10.png

Now he’s sucking hind tit and the sad part is that he has another two full years with us after Conner leaves… should Narduzzi and Canada want him to stay… and if he wants to stay with Pitt.  As it stands now I wouldn’t be surprised if Ollison isn’t putting other teams’ phone numbers in his little black book for future transfer reference.

And riddle me this Batman – where in hell is Rachid Ibrahim?  He’s not been talked about of being injured so why has he disappeared?  If we remember he did this in ’14 when healthy:

  GP  Att  Gain  Loss  Net  Avg   TD  Long  Avg/G 
Rachid Ibrahim 13 33 269 6 263 8.0 0 50 20.2

An 8.0 ypc is nothing to sneeze at and that wasn’t done on a handful of carries either – he had 33 attempts to produce that great average.  Even if you take away that 50 yarder he had his 32 for 219 yards which equals out to a fine 6.8 ypc.  That is also someone who shouldn’t be sitting on the bench IMO.

To date Ibrahim has no catches or rushes and as far as I can tell hasn’t played much at all with only a snap or two each game – so he’s suiting up and able to play . Canada just seems to have forgotten about him or is ignoring him completely – again, a recruit by another HC.

Let’s not forget that Narduzzi ran off another Chryst recruited RB in Chris James so he’s already set a precedent in that area.  It will be very interesting when James becomes eligible and starts carrying the ball up in Wisconsin.

We’ll see how things turn out this coming week against North Carolina but sometime down the road those jet sweeps are not going to be as effective as some have been – even they are very hit and miss – and opposing DCs are going to get the upper hand unless the staff turns there attention to what should be the bread and butter of the rushing game – our true running backs.

57 thoughts on “How We’ve Played Ball So Far

  1. I haven’t seen Ibrahim getting playing time on anything other than special teams. I thought he showed some real aptitude as a running and receiving threat (i.e. third down back) before being injured last year. Has Pitt really run many screens, swing passes or wheel routes this year? My recollection is that Ibrahim excelled at those types of plays. Canada seems to prefer jet sweeps and shovel passes instead of those.

    Couldn’t agree more on Ollison. I understand that folks like to think of him as “Conner light” but to me he shows more ability to get downhill fast. My recollection, which I have to rely on due to his lack of playing time, is that Ollison tends to run forward and more decisively than Conner has been doing consistently this year. The other oddity with Ollison this year is that he has been paired with Conner several times in the backfield but seems to be serving only as a decoy.


  2. Ollison had 7 carries vs Nova and 9 carries vs PSU. Is it possible that he has a nagging injury?

    When it comes to injuries, HCPN makes Belichick seem like Kim Kardashian. Remember when Ashton and a couple of others didn’t dress for the opener? We didn’t know that they had injuries … heck, some were even speculating suspension.

    It could well be that Ollison has been demoted, but I would wait another week or two before I make any firm judgments.


  3. I always go to the most important stat. 2Wins – 1 Loss. At that pace, we end up 8-4 and everyone is happy given the 5-7, 6-6 and 7-5 predictions around this joint. Here is another stat to consider. We have had serious injuries and medical conditions to contend with on the defensive side of the ball. These are not excuses, but realities. We are not deep in talent. We are getting closer however.

    Stats are funny right. They are what we want them to be.

    This weeks game will require one player to have a breakout game or we are in trouble. At worst, we are 2-2 heading into the part of the schedule where we should rip off at least 5 victories. Keep the faith. Narduzzi is a stud. Schedule gets easier next year. Players get older and healthier too.

    Remember that vision is so important. With great vision, we can execute the strategic plan.


  4. Gene Chizik at UNC is a pretty good DC and has speed in his DBs. Tarheels weakness is in the DL. That was there Achilles “tarheel” last year and remains their defensive weakness. Last year Chaney gave up on the run early when we were having success (remember that was the game Duzz ripped Chaney a new one on the side-lines)
    I agree with your observation on the use of backs but have a hard time making myself believe a coach would play a “his” recruit over a proven veteran recruited by another coach but then on the surface that is how I saw the NP-CV situation last year. Ollison can run and Ibrahim was special in the open field and could turn a swing pass into a nice gain.He has good hands. Maybe his injury has hampered him. w ithAchilles tendon repairs it’s tough to get back to pre-injury level of performance. So many games all of us have witnessed when a good running team worked the defense over and totally had their in the 4th quarter. Need the big back pounding and Ollison is capable of breaking one..

    Offensively, I feel our running game was at it’s best in 2014 when Joe Rudolph and company called the plays. More straight ahead smash mouth football utilizing a fullback. Haven’t seen the dominance this year when my expectation was PITT would rush for 350- 400 yards vs Villanova and control the LOS especially on the Left side. These jet sweeps have been fairly productive but is it at the expense of the a more conventional ground attack. I remember when W Harris was into the passing game that our run blocking seemed to deteriorate and become soft. We had no deep passing attack last year and same goes for this year. I can’t remember a long ball for a TD pass in the last 2 years. Nate hasn’t been on his ass too much so the OL is protecting. how far can he chuck it? Get Jester, Tre or Mathews one on one- those receivers have some speed and size. Maybe the oppositions defender slips, turns the wrong or doesn’t turn his head in time and we get a quick 6…McSorely did it to us with no NFL prospects on the receiving end…coaches must have no confidence in the passing game..Heck, we are not even seeing intermediate routs…until we establish some balance in the offense and are able to attack the whole field we will have issues..I see this jet sweep as more of a gimmick play which will be better defended going forward,

    Defensively, I have concerns regarding the secondary but they did tighten up in the 2nd half last weekend with more pressure being applied up front. I see us growing this week. What pisses me off the most is the on-going inability to get off the field on 3rd and long..and we always give up a 1st down after Duzz calls a time out…that keeps the defense, where we are undermanned, on the field too long…


  5. Time of possession doesnt mean jack$hit when you get burned for a quick 6..puts your tired offense back on the field too soon with no time to recover from their previous drive..Ha HA


  6. Coaches come to their senses this week and Ollison gets carries. JC’s conditioning is not the greatest right now. Need some hammers come 4th quarter. Hall has done next to nothing so far.

    Is McVittie now the number 2 on the depth chart? I don’t think he’s ready but neither Stocker or Dinucchi is very good.


  7. I guess the honeymoon is over after the LSU upset. Ga State is 0 and 3 yet Wisconsin really struggled.

    This proves the point I was trying to make last week. A team one week may be entirely different from the same team the week before. Sometimes they bring their A game; other times it’s their D game.


  8. BigB is absolutely correct in that our defense can surrender a touchdown to the opposition with less than 2 minutes run off the clock. We really have no answer IMO if the opposition continues to pass 4 to 5 times before slipping in a run play. Does anyone here have any confidence when Pitt faces a 3rd and 10 or more that we can defend the pass for a 1st down.—The formula to beat Pitt is well established, limit your run plays and pass us to death. Until Narduzzi and Conklin can figure out how to stop that formula from working we are in for many high scoring games by our opponents for the remainder of this season.


  9. So stats wise Outhouse was better with Chryst’s shitty Recruits Vs. Conklin and. narduzzi.

    By the way Conklin came from FIU. Nothing good comes from FIU other than tight spanish asses.


  10. Ollison should be getting his fair share of carries. In fact, I’d like to see Conner come in late game, subbing for our younger RBs after they have worn down the opposing defenses early. A fresh Conner in the 4th Q could be a game chancer that brings home some victories in future hard fought games.
    Also agree that we need better secondary play. I feel that the personnel not the schemes is that factor that spells success or failure. Bigger, taller more physical CBs are the answer, IMO.


  11. BJ – Not at major programs. We go cheap and still are for Assistsnts.

    UNC hired Chizik – Who won it all at Auburn.

    Think Top programs would bottom fish FIU for coaches?


  12. @Upiitt I don’t always agree but with you on this one. Our defense has one from YSU, FIU(2) and Wyoming. Not exactly a bunch of money tied up in those guys.


  13. Well maybe Pitt can hire Gus Malzahn to run their offense once he gets fired from Auburn too. I’m sorry but Pitt and a lot of Power 5 schools do not filch good coordinators away from major programs. They may go after position coaches or retreads that have been let go. UNC picked up Chizik on the ESPN scrap heap after he was fired and did announcing for a year.


  14. One advantage we may have over previous years coming into the unc game is that our OC has game planned against the Tar Heels.

    O’Canada, while at NC State the last three years has prepared to attack Fedora and his minions.

    Could this be the year we get revenge and beat the heels?

    I bet we see some interesting “stuff” that hasn’t been revealed yet – saving up to hammer the heels.



  15. Read Dokish’s latest blog (not twitter) Panther Prey about the hierarchy of college FB programs. We are not in the top level by any means.

    But just because of that doesn’t mean we are inferior in everything. Penn State pays twice as much for their head coach as Pitt does. Yes, they outrecruit us but Pitt doesn’t have 107,000 attendance or a helicopter. But I still prefer our HC to theirs


  16. wwb – I made reference to that same post the other day. Regardless of what some of our fellow POVer’s think of Dokish, I think he really summed it up well.


  17. Erie, despite having scored a fair amount of points we are still very limited in the plays we are calling. Hence as Big B said the opposition has time to adjust and thus limit the effectiveness of our offensive late in the game.


  18. Reed,

    Any idea how hard Pitt recruits players who have committed elsewhere?
    Realizing it depends upon the talent level, but how much effort does a college put into a player who snubbed them?
    There was a Florida kid, UCF recruit I believe, who wanted to visit during PSUcks weekend…HCPN said: “uh…no.”
    But Pitt supposedly hounded Miles Sanders until his mother said enough is enough, fellas.

    Just wondering how much effort, further effort, they will be willing to put into Jeter.


  19. Sorry to insert this here, but I forgot to put it in the other day. Pretty obvious that on the first play Maddox was expecting safety help. From HCPN s news conf and his comments I think the guilty party is Whitehead. Also blew at least one other assignment which led to big play. Listen again and read the tea leaves, I think I’m right hearing that?


  20. JoeKnew,
    I think you’re on to something. We all just assumed that Duzz was calling out the corners because they looked so stick’n bad! But after some thought the corners are locked down on their own receiver and don’t have much improvising available. On the other hand, the safety’s (i.e. Whitehead, etc) have more freedom to roam outside of the called play. It seems most likely Duzz was actually calling out the safety’s for not sticking with the defensive call.


  21. Well color me baffled. Baffled by HCPN and baffled by some of you folks that keep asking why Qudree Ollison is not getting more carries. I’m baffled because no one can get a straight answer out of all this. Is he hurt, is he incapable to learn the plays, did he treat the coaches daughter wrong? He’s not getting the carries for a reason guys, we don’t know if it’s a valid reason for us or not but I’m sure it’s very valid to coach Narduzzi.

    On the stat lines. PITT played Villanova and hinted that the playbook was limited. Next psu and we ran the ball down their throats, hardly any passes. Then the track meet in Stillwater. More importantly it’s only 3 games in and most stats are unreliable at this stage to put it bluntly. I’m just like the next guy though and do like to check them for tendencies but they are just not there yet.

    Last thought and just my opinion on the schedule. We all knew it was going to be tougher schedule this year and I think that it is already being proven out. psu doesn’t stink like some want to say and I would never admit that on a certain message board. Last two games were tough and I shake my head and say, They won one game and played a strong game on the road against a quality team. I’m a happy PITT football fan looking for another excited game this coming Saturday.



  22. Folks are bargaining with “we have a tough schedule” and I had “Osu” as a loss and “I figured we’d be 8-4”. The point of all this is that it seems that Pitt coaching suddenly seems suspect. Played a good second half against an FCS school. Nearly collapsed against PSU. Allowed OSU to pile up career yards and apparently may have mismanaged players.

    Could easily be 1 and 2 right now. Could also be 3 and 0.


  23. When you can neither pass or defend the pass…..that is going to be hard to overcome, regardless of how many yards you rush for. We rushed for almost 350 yds and had the ball 11 minutes more than the Pedo’s and come quite close to losing that game.

    And Okie State game, the time of possession was even greater. We rushed for 290 yards and possessed the ball an incredible 15 minutes and 40 seconds longer than Okie State. 37:50 to 22:10

    Same thing will happen Saturday, (barring turnovers) against UNC, if we don’t apply constant pressure to Trubisky and don’t have 5 DB’s in the game. The extra DB would also make a better blitzer perhaps than a slower LB, if you wanted to throw that wrinkle in.

    BRING THE PRESSURE……Asphalt a Tarheel !


  24. bj – regardless of the points NC State scored, O’Canada has an idea of what plays work and don’t – he also didn’t have the backfield he has at Pitt.

    I still think O’Canada has a few plays the public has not seen yet from Pitt in 2016 – HCPN wants to win every game he coaches, but some more than others. The pedo state and unc games are bigger than all the others except the ACC championship.

    The Pursuit of that championship starts on Saturday at 3:30pm in Chapel Hill.

    Hammer the Heels!


  25. The vast time of possession difference in both the Pedo State game and the OSU game, with Pitt’s offense being on the field so much (almost 2/3’s of the game against OSU), could possibly be a reason why the offense had been on ’empty’ in the 4th quarter of those two games.

    Sounds crazy right…..but it could most possibly be true.


  26. Those huge fat linemen are melting in the 4th.

    The possible cure for this, is more OL substitution during the game, as Cheesehead Paulie use to do.


  27. Emel – also, we need more substitution with our RB’s so JC is fresh in the 4th qtr to straight arm the soft unc D.

    Regarding the WR’s – use Orndoff and/or QH when Conner or Whitehead are in the backfield. Makes for multiple threats and the D will have to account for that instead of keying on one possible threat.

    If O’Canada would plan some plays for QO and Aaron Mathews, they both could develop into threats as well.

    We will see better play this week from our DB’s – how can it get any worst – right?

    The D needs multiple sacks in each half and JW should spy Switzer for PR’s and KR’s on Saturday to bring home the W.

    Hit the Heels hard and often!



  28. I pulled this from ESPN:

    Top two Coastal teams from 2015 square off

    “North Carolina’s road win at Pittsburgh was the decisive factor in the Tar Heels getting to the conference championship game last season. If the Panthers held serve at home, they would have won the division. They can repay the Tar Heels this weekend when they visit Chapel Hill. The winner will have what could be a critical tiebreaker come November. Carolina’s pass offense could light up a Pittsburgh defense that gave up 540 passing yards this Saturday against Oklahoma State, and the Panthers’ 21st-ranked rush offense could demoralize a defense allowing an average of 325 rushing yards over its last six games dating back to 2015.”

    Payback the cheaters with a “revenge” win in Chapel Hill…


  29. Emel, also the last 2 games were super hot out. I hate to see what will happen to this team if a passing opponent has the ball for 30 minutes. Pitt’s new logo will be burnt toast…

    As for safety help for Maddox, there’s still no excuse for him to be 7 yards behind the receiver on that play. We could have pulled a fat lady out of the stands for that play and she would be 10 yards behind.

    BTW…Price got clipped on that play and should have been a sack.


  30. Right EE

    Been asking where is Ollie….where is Ollie ???

    Kid is a very good RB, 2nd team ALL-ACC, ACC Rookie of the Year and he doesn’t get a single carry against
    Okie State. But Rafael Lopes gets 3. huh ! smh

    We’re going to lose this kid to transfer ala Chris James who wasn’t nearly as good. All because of
    Darrin Hall ? (nothing against Hall but really, instead of Redshirting Hall last year and play James instead in the relief of Ollie, you’ve already lost James and now you are a game or two from losing Ollie)

    This is insane. If Hall was Tony Dorsett, Ironhead, McCoy, Lewis or Graham, I might be able to justify it.
    But I don’t see that type of potential with Hall. Those backs I listed were good to great from Day 1.


  31. Reed and many on this site have better inside sources than I for info. But I have 1 very good one that I asked about Ollison as I am as baffled as all of you.

    He says Ollison cannot and will not block and it has the coaches so pissed off at him that they are trying to make a point by cutting his playing time to near 0!

    One of the best shooting guards I ever had could not dribble in traffic.
    A human turnover. What’s the point of being a great shooter if you can’t dribble?

    Evidently Ollison is simply not making the effort to learn how to block.

    I think at best Pitt has a ” punchers chance at NC”. No more than that.
    Nc has the better athletes, the better special teams and maybe even a better QB .. And I love Nate.
    Pitt is just not there yet…


  32. Weather for Chapel Hell for Saturday. Well we got a little break there, as the weather has just been dreadfully Hot and Humid since early June. Most days in the mid 90’s. However the weather did just break over just today and not quite as hot as it has been.

    Accuweather is calling for highs of 88 on Saturday, however mostly Sunny. So the Realfeel says 98. The Sun down here is extremely strong and draining. So hopefully that stadium provides some shade on the field as the game progress.

    Better liberally substitute on the O-Line and with Conner or we risk melting in the 4th quarter again.


  33. ~ Dan72

    Jubisky is ranked #14 in the nation in passing efficiency. Much higher than Mason Rudolph. Yea he’s better than NP. Who has a hitch in his motion, making it very easy for good DB’s to defend.


  34. Here’s a prediction – Trubisky will light us up. We will make him look like a Heisman winner. Our DBs have consistently been the worst unit for years. Even going back as far as 3-4 classes. Maybe even further.

    I’ve also been saying Whitehead is having a poor start to the year. Missing coverage, late to tackles, etc. they need to move home to WR or a hybrid back. He does most of his damage on offense.


  35. Jubisky…

    It’s also not just Whitehead missing assignments. Conner’s blocking especially outside rushers was pitiful. I think this team thinks they are a tad bit better than they are and at times their egos get in the way.


  36. Dan 72 – watch the last series vs OK State – QO is the RB in the game. He is blocking so well, that he pancakes his guy on one block.

    If you watch other series with Hall, he struggles to block the defender. Conner even had trouble.

    Again, watch the film…


  37. Agree with Erie express on RBs performance. Ollison is so much better than Hall and Ibrahim was super when he played. Remember how thrilled Ollison was when Pitt recruited him. I hope they start using him better before it is too late. Unfortunately Ibrahim is locked in as his last yr. I guess.


  38. Dan72.. your comment about Ollison not wanting to block helped me figure something out I think.

    I read that Ollison was in the okst game for 20 plays..

    After hearing what Nardog said about maybe not letting Whitehead play offense..

    Sounds like he did that to Ollie in that he put him in with no carries.

    Let’s hope that whatever coach wanted to teach this kid worked, and that moving forward he is now allowed to handle the rock when it matters.


  39. “When it comes to injuries, HCPN makes Belichick seem like Kim Kardashian.” Classic, wbb!

    I have to agree with ike on this: the stats at this stage are really unstable. Things will even out, although I can see Reed writing a piece that has the phrase, “Even if we leave out the 2016 PSU and OSU pass defense stats…”

    The strange thing is that I feel really good about this team. OK we’re 90th in pass defense efficiency–a little better than FSU and USC at 92 and 97 with all their blue chippers–but they looked like crap last week. USC twice in 3 weeks. Let’s see how all of this plays out…


  40. I pulled this from Jared Shanker of ESPN:

    North Carolina is allowing 325 rushing yards (per game) over their last six games, and the Heels will likely lose to Pitt and possibly the Coastal on Saturday if it can’t shore up the defense. So let’s check in with coordinator Gene Chizik to see how they fared in practice Wednesday. “I thought we were soft. I thought it was a very disappointing performance all the way around. Soft defense is a choice, and that’s the choice that we made,” he told reporters. “So, we have to improve a lot this week or this game could get ugly.” Well that’s not promising (for unc).

    I feel better that O’Canada will be calling the plays Saturday vs unc instead of Chubbs ordering from the menu for his halftime snack.

    Run, run, run, throw to Orndoff, run and run some more.

    Maybe this is the game Parrish gets a touch or two AND QO is re-introduced to the ACC.



  41. Those stats are truly depressing. I for one did not expect the defense to shine until year 3 or 4. Coaches play favorites and they want to win. That QC blocked in the game is not inconsistent with not blocking in practice which of course we will never know. I haven’t seen NP QB rating through 3 yet. Anyone know it?


  42. Trebisky was All-Ohio QB and a star at powerhouse public school MENTOR High School for three years. Played a spread offense that got the school deep into state Division 1 (large school in Ohio) playoffs each year he was there. Mentor coach likes to groom a kid QB from sophomore year on as he did with Trebisky who could could really run and pass (strong arm for high school). He played against Connor when Mentor beat Erie high school where Connor played. James has said he remembers Mitch. Mentor is struggling this year with a sophomore QB, but not on offense. Defense this year, with a lot of underclassmen, is giving up too many points. I live in Mentor.


  43. It’s scary going into the North Carolina game when your Pass D is as bad as ours.
    Heck, it looks like if The North Carolina WR’s were me, Emel, and Dr Tom – and Upitt was the QB we’d still light it up for 400 yards! 😀
    Drastic times call for drastic measures, Duzz and Conk better figure it out quickly!!! #H2P


  44. Us Pitt fans are just beginning to recognize the common dilemma that the elite programs in country have all the time, making room for the talent buried in their depth charts. For Pitt, it only is effecting a couple positions so far, like we are now discussing at running back. It is a nice problem to have.

    Myself, I find it kind of hilarious that all of us armchair coaches have the attitude of “informed criticism” of the coaching staff. If you can’t trust that the coaching staff knows best who to put on the field from week to week based on their daily assessment of the team & player’s preparation for that week’s opponent, then you will consistently be disenchanted because there will always be deficits that you can complain about with this team, even in their victories! It’s the nature of the sport. The name of the game is to minimize the impacts of your team’s inadequacies while exploiting to the maximum your opponent’s weaknesses.

    Right now, the obvious Panther weakness is in the defensive secondary. Our strengths, our running game/OL, our aggressive defensive schemes putting pressure on the QB and a big play returner in Henderson.

    So here is the current Pitt quandary, when we sellout to pressure the QB UNSUCCESSFULLY we pay a heavy price with getting torched by competent QBs. How does the staff scheme this defense to rectify those issues? As I’ve mentioned before, get more skilled players in positions that need help.

    Anybody notice the number of DBs that Narduzzi brought in, in this current recruiting class? Narduzzi is well aware of the problem. Right now he is dealing with implementing a known system designed for success when the talent level filling out the roster is adequate to implement it. It’s a work in progress.

    What will be interesting to see as the season progresses is what Conklin and Narduzzi can do to limit having this weakness exposed by opponents. Last week, 2nd half adjustments were made and, in fact, resulted in a defensive score when the D was able to get to the QB, that caused the fumble that led to the score. Still when we don’t get to the QB, we get burned badly when you have corners that are just not up to the task of surviving out on an island against really good WRs. Solving this problem spells the difference between a 6-6 season and a 8-4 season.

    Regarding Ollison. I trust the coaches decisions to play who they do. Why he didn’t get his carries on Saturday, I have no idea. What I do know though is that our running game will thrive behind our veteran OL with or without Ollison’s contributions. What a great problem to have!


  45. It’s one thing to rush for over 300 yards – but IF you can’t run the ball late in the 4th quarter to either wrap up the win or put yourself into position to win – does it really matter?


  46. Can anyone tell me what’s going on with Hamlin Island? This secondary obviously needs athletic help ASAP, so is it simply that he is not ready yet as a freshman or is he hurt or something? Just surprising I haven’t heard his name called yet considering how awful the pass D has been.


  47. Hope I’m wrong but I can’t imagine Hamlin being much help this year.

    Hasn’t practiced enough to even learn the defense, let alone cover D-1 receivers.

    I also think the d-backs problems are also due to the scheme and strategy.

    When they made the halftime adjustments things dramatically changed.

    The backs didn’t suddenly get better in the second half.

    They are not big or fast enough to cover one on one.

    If they can’t execute the scheme, it is ludicrous not to make a change.

    You have to adjust to the talent you have, it is called coaching.

    The best adjustment we can make with the talent on hand is to score more points.

    Especially in the fourth quarter.

    One or two sustained fourth quarter scoring drives in the last two games and we are in the top twenty.


Leave a Comment Please and Keep It Civil...

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s