We’ll start off with Narduzzi’s presser yesterday – more calm, cool and collected on his part.
That’s a good press conference and when he stands up there and talks about actual football stuff he’s very informative and engaging. Here is the full text of the presser as provided by Pitt.
It is interesting how he, at the 9:05 mark, he discussed that killer 17 play (!) drive NC had to come back for the win.
“Not in particular. When you look at that 17-play drive at the end of the game—we always chart plays and mark each as a win or a loss—12 of those 17 plays were wins for us. They were really good. It only takes five of the 17 to be really bad. We have to find a way to make a play. We have to find a way to knock an arm off us when we’re rushing the passer. We just need to find a way to make a play.
Not to make you sick at your lunch hour but take a close look at this play list in the drive he’s talking about:
1st and 10 at UNC 37
(3:18 – 4th) Mitch Trubisky pass complete to Austin Proehl for 5 yds to the NCaro 42
2nd and 5 at UNC 42
(3:16 – 4th) Mitch Trubisky pass incomplete to Austin Proehl
3rd and 5 at UNC 42
(3:05 – 4th) NORTH CAROLINA Penalty, Illegal Block (-11 Yards) to the NCaro 31
3rd and 16 at UNC 31
(2:50 – 4th) Mitch Trubisky pass complete to Austin Proehl for 10 yds to the NCaro 41
4th and 6 at UNC 41
(2:40 – 4th) Mitch Trubisky pass complete to Ryan Switzer for 15 yds to the Pitt 44 for a 1ST down
1st and 10 at PITT 44
(2:16 – 4th) Mitch Trubisky pass complete to Ryan Switzer for 4 yds to the Pitt 40
(2:16 – 4th) Timeout NORTH CAROLINA, clock 02:16
2nd and 6 at PITT 40
(2:11 – 4th) Mitch Trubisky pass incomplete to Bug Howard
3rd and 6 at PITT 40
(2:02 – 4th) Mitch Trubisky pass incomplete to Austin Proehl
4th and 6 at PITT 40
(1:56 – 4th) Mitch Trubisky pass complete to Austin Proehl for 13 yds to the Pitt 27 for a 1ST down
1st and 10 at PITT 27
(1:50 – 4th) Mitch Trubisky sacked by Saleem Brightwell for a loss of 11 yards to the Pitt 38
(1:50 – 4th) Timeout NORTH CAROLINA, clock 01:50
2nd and 21 at PITT 38
(1:32 – 4th) Mitch Trubisky pass complete to Ryan Switzer for 5 yds to the Pitt 33
3rd and 16 at PITT 33
(1:02 – 4th) Mitch Trubisky pass complete to Ryan Switzer for 7 yds to the Pitt 26
4th and 9 at PITT 26
(0:51 – 4th) Mitch Trubisky pass complete to Ryan Switzer for 9 yds to the Pitt 17 for a 1ST down
1st and 10 at PITT 17
(0:38 – 4th) Mitch Trubisky pass incomplete to Austin Proehl
2nd and 10 at PITT 17
(0:31 – 4th) Mitch Trubisky pass complete to Bug Howard for 13 yds to the Pitt 4 for a 1ST down
1st and Goal at PITT 4
(0:23 – 4th) Mitch Trubisky pass incomplete to Bug Howard
2nd and Goal at PITT 4
(0:10 – 4th) Elijah Hood run for 2 yds to the Pitt 2
3rd and Goal at PITT 2
(0:02 – 4th) Mitch Trubisky pass complete to Bug Howard for 2 yds for a TD, (Nick Weiler KICK)
I highlighted the most important plays made by NC in red. We dropped the ball on three different 4th down plays of 6, 6, & 9 yards, after we held them on the previous 3rd down plays. That is a hell of a lot to ask a defense to do with 3: 18 left in the game.
I’m going to add this next video as an instructive tool only. Skip it if you want but it highlights two things – we didn’t get any pass rush on NC’s QB Trubisky hardly at all on that drive and that our DBs and LBs were beaten like a tin drum on most completions. Of course the pass rush was working on fumes because they were out on the field almost the whole 2nd half.
I have to ask myself why anyone in their right football mind can say that after watching this, and remembering the way the two previous QBs racked up yards against us, can think things will get any better on this front. If this were the first game of the season then perhaps you could write it off – but we are 1/3 of the way through the season and it’s getting worse.
The offense didn’t help the defense one bit in that quarter with us holding the ball for only 6:19 in total with two straight 3 & outs as our last gasp efforts. Those two series used only 3:25 and gave NC more than enough time to cut down a tree, lop off a branch, fashion it into a stake then drive it straight through our collective hearts.
On a separate We had some very insightful comments on here after the game ended on Saturday evening. Of course the main topic of discussion was what went wrong so badly that we ended up losing a game we led in for 58 minutes.
My Monday Morning QB articles cover the broader points on the positive and negative sides of the game – mainly because I know you guys and gals will fill in the detailed instances of plays gone bad – and you always do.
Here is a very good look back at the game by Allan Saunders of Pittsburgh Sports Now that discusses the overall coaching issues and also individual plays – and plays that were mentioned on here; Henderson’s fumble, Officer’s bad snap and Malik Henderson’s penalty on a good return to name three.
They all contributed to the loss but the one that really got to me was Officer’s snap over the head of Peterman when we were driving to get another TD. It was like a bad instant replay GIF of what we saw him do earlier in the season (see below).
When you lost by one point on the last play of the game, the end of the game gets magnified. But Alex Officer’s snap on 2nd and 8 from the North Carolina 14 late in the first quarter was so far over Nate Peterman’s head that the Panthers lost 28 yard and Pitt had to scramble to get back into field goal position instead of two shots to get a 1st and goal.
Given the way Pitt ran the ball all day (5.1 yards per carry), I have no doubt that this play cost the Panthers four points.
Hard to say there is a bright spot on that play – but look at true FR Chawntez Moss’s reaction to the bad snap – he sees Peterman has a path to the ball so peels off to block the closest NC defender from getting to it. Wonder if he instinctively knew to do that or it was drummed into the RBs in film study after the first wave or crappy snaps by our Center. Either way – Heady play and good job!
The P-G this morning had a follow-up article addressing Narduzzi’s comment that we may see some changes in the secondary.
Narduzzi hinted at simplifying things in the secondary, but said improvement mostly will come down to cleaning up details in the back end.
“We’re going to get probably a little bit simpler as far as what we do and really hone in on the details of what we need to do to be perfect back there,” he said.
Perfect might be a stretch. Solid would go a long way to helping matters. (Edit: you go Jenn!)
Exactly what players could be inserted into the secondary, or shifted around is unclear. Narduzzi said making personnel changes for the sake of change can be valuable at the right time, as can changes from what he sees this week at practice.