As is the tradition here we’ll take a look, a quick look today, at three things we each think jumped out at us on the positive and the negative aspects of our play on Saturday.  I’ll start and you guys can chip in.

Because we won we’ll start with the happier part of the conversation.

POSITIVES:

Nate Peterman’s play at QB with the leash off.  I say with the leash off not because he was allowed to attempt more passes by our offensive coordinator Matt Canada but because of the type of passing game playcalling that was instituted from the start of the game.

So maybe I should include Canada in this one also.  But here is what Peterman’s box score looked like.  np1As you can see he was very effective with his passing with a very good 74% completion rate and a final QB rating for the game of 204.8.

But it was how Canada started of the game with being inclusive of our almost-forgotten passing attack that was impressive, and it produced a quick seven six points.

passing

Wow! 2/3 for 52 yards to get us to the Marshall 5 yard line and a TD scored on the next play.

That is how we needed to get the passing game established as an equal partner in the offense and to dispel the then-current thinking that Nate Peterman’s best QB play was behind him.

You can’t place the blame for Peterman’s missing those crucial 3rd and 4th down pass attempts in our previous losses on the OC of course, but you can see that when we go into a game without the coaching staff crowing long and loudly that we’ll ‘run the ball all day and all night‘ better things happen with the QB and his receivers because they feel like a real part of the offense going into gameday.

We tend to forget that for the most part Pitt players are still young men and as such are still effected by things that professional and older players aren’t.

Which brings us to our #2 point.

Jester Weah and his not-so-stone like any longer hands.  Weah had a breakout game on Saturday and became the go-to guy in the receiving corps.  He still drops some easy passes – we saw that against Marshall also.  But his drop:catch ratio is quickly moving over to the more beneficial ‘catch’ side of the equation.

“He’s an overnight sensation!!”  I actually read that from a message board poster describing Weah after our win.  That’s a bit, or actually a ton, off the mark as Weah has been at Pitt going on his 4th year now as he’s a rsJR.  I’ve written before that I watched Weah’s practice play two years ago when Paul Chryst was here and he was truly an amazing talent… in practice. Caught every ball thrown his way almost.

Tyler Boyd kept Weah firmly on the bench over Weah’s first three years but now he’s out on the field and blossoming and you can watch that happen in real-time as each week of this season rolls by.  Right now he has 14 catches for 313 yards (22.4 ypc !!) and has 3 TDs with  both 60 & 52 yard plays.  You can see what he’ll be like if this burst continues and I think it will in some form.

**** Breaking news on Weah****

From Twitter:   Wisconsin native Jester Weah has become a Pittsburgher. He said he loves pirogues and says “Yinz.”

Our Defensive Back’s play. Here’s the rub with this pick – it could easily have been listed under the three Negative points also.  But let’s give credit where it’s due even if it is just a little credit.

We still gave up a lot of yardage and on paper you’d wonder why anyone would think this is a positive.  litton-passThat’s on paper and here is the damage:

Not overly impressive but he did well as a 63% completion rate, two TDs and a QB efficiency rating of 139.8 are nothing to sneeze at.  But stacked up against what our previous defensive work against the passing game was it looks rather low.

Up to the Marshall game that was 340 yards per game with an average yards per completion of 14.3.  Add to that our Passing Efficiency defense which was very poor at 153.9 and you can see that our train wreck of a passing defense got a bit back on track.

NEGATIVES:

Not being able to play a complete game…again.  Pitt football isn’t like the major leagues in baseball where it is perfectly acceptable for a starting pitcher to throw for 4-5 innings then get yanked for a fresher arm.  The goal of a football team is to play as well, or better, in the 2nd half of games as we do in the 1st half.

That hasn’t happened in the last four games and is, to me,m one of the more disturbing things that we have been doing this season.  Although we have flipped the script from our 2015 play where we seemed to come out bumbling then find a freshening wind in our sails for the second half – only to find our progress luffed into irons and losing the games.

For you non-sailors out there that mean we sucked at first then played better but still lost. 

Saturday we came out built a 27-0 lead using both the run, the pass and a stout defense only to rest on those laurels after the halftime break.  In the second half we were outscored by 16 points, (27 them-16 us) on big pass plays mostly – and eked out the win. 

It was a much closer game then it should have been.

The OC’s and the HC’s use of RB James Conner.  Look, we all want the storybook ending for Conner this season.  That is natural after what he’s been through and quite honestly after what we Pitt fans have been through alongside him… and we were that.

But the bald truth is that he’s not the running back he was back in 2015 and we shouldn’t have expected him to be.  I didn’t and wrote about that but hype and wishful thinking ruled the day.  It is hard enough to come back from any injury where a player who gets hit so often as a RB does sits out for a full year. 

It is even harder when the circumstances involve a serious illness and recovery that Conner has gone through.  We want to see The Beast back out there and so do the coaches.  But let’s be truthful and separate fact from fiction here.  The romantic stance is that he should be rewarded for what he’s been through and I can understand that sentiment.  He’s a Pitt Man through and through.

But at this point in the season that chance has come and gone.  He isn’t the best all-around back we have any longer; that much is evident and he’s been given a lot of playing time to show what he has.  Against a team who was giving up pretty big rushing yardage before facing Pitt he carried the ball 11 times for only 32 yards and one TD – that’s a 3.1 yards per carry average with a long run of 12 yards. 

On his other 10 rushes he averaged 2.0 yards per carry and was dropped behind the line at least twice.  He’s been stopped for no gain or lost yards on more than a few carries this season and that never happened – or very rarely if I recall correctly – when he was 100% ready to play football.

It pains to write this but the time has come to make him a situational ball carrier; he’s great within the opponent’s five yard line and he’s been very effective as a receiver out of the backfield averaging 13 ypc.

HCPN and OCMC aren’t doing him any favors with the NFL at this point and we have other strong running backs that can carry the load. I cringe when I watch him still dancing around back there and that is a recipe for an injury. It’s time keep him healthy and ready to be at Pitt for his 4th year of eligibility next season.

I’ll single out Josh Conklin for his less than impressive work not only in this game but on the season.  I posted an article the other week that showed the disintegration of our passing defense from 2014 under Matt House to 2015 and the 2016 under Josh Conklin.

The fact that House’s pass defense was so much better than is mind-boggling but it is true.  The fact that we are sucking so badly at pass defense with the same players back there except for L. Pitts is mind-blowing also.  Below is a graph showing our decline in team defense over the past three years.  Hate to say it but it makes me wonder if Matt House wouldn’t have been the one staff coach to keep on the roster by Narduzzi.

Bold black is House’s baseline numbers; regular red is decline in Conklin’s 1st year and the bold red is the decline, again, in hid 2nd year. Green are the improvements.  He needs to go my friends, as I don’t see this getting any better when we play stronger teams than Marshall.

defense-decline-2

 

 

 

 

 

 

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67 thoughts on “Monday Morning QB: Marshall

  1. Nothing angers me more than seeing free runners in our defensive backfield.

    Therefore I have been angry a lot!!

    For the life of me I don’t get it. On one play in the second half Marshal ran a ” hitch and go” with 2 receivers lined up next to each other. Both backs were in “man” coverage …maybe Webb and Lewis. Both bit on the fake and each receiver was open 10 yds beyond coverage. QB picked out one and thus a 57 yd TD. I don’t care what the reasons are or who F’d up. Fix it or be gone Conklin. This defense passed embarrassment 3 games ago.!

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  2. re: Defense…I thought Maddox played well in this game and seems to be on the up-swing..Lewis is down-trending and Webb looks like the proverbial “chicken running around with it’s head cut-off.”
    The run defense wasn’t there in the third and part of the 4th quarter with Marshall controllng the clock a la Pitt..D should have rested as the O controlled the field during the 1st half..linebacker play was sub-par at stopping the run but 2 young guys were manning the OLB positions with Capara out.
    My biggest question that I would ask Canada “What ere you waiting for???” Why haven’t you been trying to throw downfield for the past 3 games..WTF it’s football and why is the passing game kept in the garage or left back in the Burgh when we play worthy opponents such as UNC and OSU?? We play to win and throwing the ball is a necessary part of the game..You need to to win to recruit these kids..I would love to see us hit on all cylinders at least offensively- the talent is there and that has been proven..When do we use the tight-end more effectively..got to go back to work….

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  3. Was at the game and would have to say 3 positives:

    1) Nathan Peterman–finally proved to Canada that his right arm works
    2) Jester Weah–looked like a man among boys out there, big and physical with great speed.
    3) Reggie Mitchell–finally someone in the defensive backfield that has a clue!

    3 Negatives–

    1) The rest of the db’s—just flat out putrid, especially Webb.
    2) Blewitt–missing an extra point and then the worst fake fg I have ever seen.
    3) Students–mass exodus after the 3rd in a kinda close game that WE WERE WINNING. Not sure where the party was but it clearly wasn’t at Heinz Field. Really pathetic.

    Honorable Mention positive–Shawntez Moss–great future at RB

    Honorable Mention negative–where was the pass rush????

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  4. Reed, I agree except for your exclusion of the LBs. I read that Galambos only had 4 tackles .. way too low for a MLB, and don’t remember Caprara’s name being called that much either.

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  5. Reading the positives first sentence I immediately jotted down on my notes that it was Canada that was the positive. Then up popped his name. Good call. We know that NP is a good QB but we were all getting frustrated with the OC.

    Weah is also a good call and obvious. Again Canada.

    The third positive is the best one. PITT’s defensive backfield played well enough that Marshall came out second half and ran the ball. OK, I know it’s schematics and all but there was a big jump in improvement here. Mitchell all over the field led the team in tackles and Maddox was around the ball making plays. He was giving up something like 8 inches to the Marshall receiver. 6’5″ to 5’9″?? Big upgrade by the coaches.

    Negatives?

    PITT fans are my number 1 pick here. I’ve heard that they fault the Marshall coaches for not winning the game by not passing earlier. You just can’t please some people. Well at least not the ones that can only find fault. Maybe Marshall didn’t pass because of PITT’s coaching trying to stop the pass and also the reason why they ran the ball more second half?

    PITT special teams coach. How can Marshall pull of that perfect on-sides kick sooo easily? Crazy. PITT had ONE player on that side of the field. This play is so under-rated it’s not funny. If PITT just takes the kickoff there maybe the whole tide of the game doesn’t changed so drastically. It’s these small plays that have haunted PITT so far this season.

    Fake field goal? C’mon, I watched on TV and saw Doc Holliday motioning with his two fingers to his eyes about to be aware of a fake field goal. It’s ridiculous to attempt the fake when the other teams is not trying to defend the kick rather defend a fake.

    Last point is James Conner, it’s a shame but a fact that when you go through the treatments he endure there will be residual and rebound effects. Good on PITT to finally recognize this and moving forward use good judgment considering he’s likely to be easily fatigued.

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  6. Whitehead is a bluechipper but I couldn’t see much of a difference with him being on the side-line vs being in pass coverage even though he is good coming up in run support to make tackles that in the good ole days the linebacker would make..maybe the game is passing me by or maybe the defensive coaching scheme doesn’t work very well against these ACC offenses..Emel might have hit it on the head a couple of threads ago when backed up by stats demonstrated Duzz’s defense works well vs Big 10 style but not-so-much against spread offenses-just think back to Duzz’s last game vs Baylor who torched the Spartan’s through the air for many many yard and points… (Michigan and Wisconsin play an ole fashioned defensive battle…that score could only happen in the Big 10 these days) Is coach Duzz malleable???

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  7. Reed how would you rate the strength of schedule in 2014 and 2015 through 5 games. Ok State and NC are legit P5 teams and each will probably win ten games. They can also really sling it around. Marshall and PSU aren’t in the same class but they are no slouch.

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  8. Speaking of the fake field goal, anybody else surprised that HCPN decided to fake a 49 yarder at the closed end of the field against Marshall but decided to go for a 50 yarder at the “open” end of the field against Penn State?

    Pitt was up 10 on Marshall early in the fourth quarter and up 14 on PSU late in the third quarter at the time of those decisions. Temperate, fairly dry, breezy evening with Marshall. Hot, humid, windy day against Penn State.

    Clearly neither decision ended well. I am just curious of the decision making process there….

    Agree that Mitchell seemed to play a solid game in place of Whitehead.

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  9. Hopefully there is nothing more seriously wrong with James Conner. He seems to be going downhill since the start of the season. May need to rest him totally for one entire game and reevaluate the situation.

    Will be interesting to see Georgia Tech passing out of their option offense this week. I would hope we can shutdown the run early and take our chances with their passing attack. DBs will have to be disciplined this game on count on the front seven to stop the run!

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  10. Iowa was the only common non-con opponent for Pitt in 2014 and 2015. Iowa threw for 258 yards last year and 178 in 2014. Beatherd in relief in 2014 and starting last year.

    AP it’s only right that you answer your own question since you were leading there anyway.;-)

    We need to play 2016 out, but so far the Narduzzi/Conklin era does not appear to be the dramatic defensive improvement on the Chryst/House era that I had hoped for.

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  11. Correct about the difference in opposition over five games.

    But you play who is on the field in front of you. Also, does anyone think OSU & B.C. were that great in passing before playing Pitt?

    Last week I posted before and after passing stats for them plus PSU and our DBs helped them tremendously.

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  12. Was it Tyler Boyd who kept Jester on the bench, or Dontez Ford ?

    Hopefully these guys can keep it up when they play better teams, as Marshall’s pass defense is worse than Pitt’s and Arizona State’s.

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  13. BigB,

    Against OSU & UNC, I think they went run-heavy on offense to try to play ball-control, limiting the amount of times those offenses had chances to score. Both OSU and UNC use that up-tempo pace to overwhelm defenses. One way to keep them off the board is to keep them off the field as much as you can.

    Plus, UNC’s run defense heading into the Pitt game was cautionary-tale levels of bad. They were giving up something around 6 yards per carry heading into that game.

    Unfortunately for Pitt, had the passing game executed even just a little bit better down the stretch in each of those games – especially UNC – Pitt likely comes out of one or both games with wins.

    Marshall presented a good opportunity to finally open the playbook and see if the passing game can work.

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  14. Too bad Jester couldn’t catch in previous years, he and Boyd as a duo would have been that much harder to defend.

    Such is our luck. 😦

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  15. I believe (a lot of websites seem to be down today, anyone else having this problem ?) GT played the speed of Miami this past weekend.

    Which means Pitt’s players will seem like they’re running in mud against the Yellow Jackets.

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  16. Maybe we’ll look faster in the Alternates ! The blazing vibrant colors will be a blur to the Rambling Wreck.

    Oy vey they played Miami and Clemson the last 2 weeks. ^^

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  17. The Techsters have a pretty good defense, 28th overall according to CBS Sports.

    FBS RANKING OFFENSE DEFENSE
    Rushing 226.8 (28th) 119.6 (33rd)
    Passing 108.8 (126th) 222.8 (61st)
    Overall 113th 28th

    They don’t pass very well. As we know Paul Johnson teams run the Wishbone variant. Like his previous job at Navy. Hopefully the Nard Dog learned something from the trashing at Annapolis last Bowl season.

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  18. Lol:

    Pat Narduzzi’s Defenses are build to stop Stodgy Big 10 Offenses not the Spread 🙂 …. Oy Vey

    Alabama won the National Championship vs. Clemson last year 45-40, where each team had over 500 yards of offense.

    It’s about which team finds a way — any way — to have more points at the end of the game, Period.

    Look at all the Big 12 scores every week between the upper-tier, EVERYBODY SCORES HIGH — you just do the absolute best you can to put 11 Uber-Athletic, great football players out on Defense to try their best to get Stops, and Get Turnovers. Get enough stops, and get turnovers, to help make sure your team ends up with more points at the end.

    The entire game of Football has been changed — in both the Literal Rulebook, as well as schematically, to cater to offense. This is the ERA of Barn-Burners.

    The problem now with Pitt is the Wide Open (!!) guys, —> Josh Conklin after ONE GAME — the penn state defensive-debacle where Trace McSorley (who we know all know now is an absolutely mediocre passer at best) Torched Pitt’s secondary and even had a wide-open look for a game winning touchdown. That should have been DEFCON 5 right away for any Defensive Coordinator worth very-much salt. Instead Conklin just Did Nothing, and Pitt got exposed 10-times worse vs. Far Better Oklahoma State and North Carolina with quality Quarterbacks and quality receivers.

    Any defensive Coordinator with these horrific breakdowns Over-And-Over-And-Over, who also is horrendously under-utilizing (ie. Wasting) Jordan Whitehead’s talent to this degree in his Sophomore year, also needs to really get questioned strongly by Pat Narduzzi on what his “PLAN” is.

    ** And Pitt Needs to be playing in big-time ACC games like this.** Big-time National Games, on Television screens all-across America. National, “College Gameday” level Games like this are with no-doubt in the near-future between The Pitt Panthers and The Miami Hurricanes (with Mark Richt), and even maybe with Virginia Tech and North Carolina. ACC Coastal is gonna be insanely-tough within the next couple of years.

    Lol, Louisville’s Wide Receiver ran out of bounds and avoided a hit instead of getting the first on that last 4th and 12. Shame.

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  19. Texas got rid of their DC after all the points they’ve given up this season.

    47 to ND, (got a fortunate win)
    50 to Cal (loss)
    49 to Ok State (loss)

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  20. Er I guess they kept the DC on staff, but Strong is going to call the Def. signals, etc.

    What is the Nard Dog doing with Conklin, something similar ?

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  21. Narduzzi was/is way more involved on D than Strong was. Texas is getting their ducks in a row for Herman. The days of the 5 year plan are over.

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  22. What in the F—k is going on with Whitehead and Hamlin? Narduzzi is rapidly getting on my shit list and his lack of coming forth again today on this subject is scaring me. Reed…Zeiss seems to know but not letting on……what do you know ????

    If either of these two leaves Pitt I will be pissed!

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  23. What is going on ? I haven’t heard. With Whitehead and Hamlin, aren’t they the leaders of the 412 thing.
    Which seems to be rapidly falling apart.

    Ollison will be leaving too since everyone and his brother is getting touches but him.

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  24. Nard Dog has burned red shirts a bunch of times, so the comment about not wanting to burn Hamlin’s now with 7-8 games still left on the schedule + another possible crappy bowl game is perplexing to say the least.

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  25. Here are the questions posed to Narduzzi Monday on the subject, and his subsequent answers:

    Question: Any update on Jordan with the depth chart change?

    Narduzzi: “No. It’s nothing more than what I told you [Saturday]. We hope it’ll be soon.”

    Question: “You said hope, you hope what?

    Narduzzi: “You guys…”

    Question: “Is he practicing with you guys this week?

    Narduzzi: “You’ll see tomorrow morning. You guys know I’m not going to talk about it. I’m not talking about the injuries or anything else, about anybody.”

    Question: “I respect your position on that Pat, but just wondering is whatever kept him out of the lineup Saturday…”

    Narduzzi interrupts: “This seems like a hot topic?”

    Question, again: “Has whatever kept him out of the lineup Saturday night been resolved?

    Narduzzi: “It’s never resolved is it? It’s never resolved. We’re still working on it. Next.””

    And that was it. There has been no information to indicate Whitehead is injured.

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  26. Emel – I meant Boyd kept him on the bench in a ‘trickle-down’ meaning – but you are right it was Dontez Ford last year.

    However, we could have used this year’s version of Weah in 2014 as our next-best to Boyd was Garner with only 17 catches for 201 yards…. of course that was Boyd’s big year with 78 catches for 12 & 8 TDs.

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  27. Whitehead is not injured and he did not have the flu. Again, WTF is going on!!! Zeise and Gorman know but are not saying.

    Ditto Hamlin. Narduzzi has burned red shirts like they were toilet paper. Get Hamlin in the damn
    lineup!!

    I have to come watch this crap in person this weekend. Please fix the D and start acting like a real Head F ing Coach!!

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  28. GT did not look good vs UM, but the Miami linebackers are much faster than Pitt’s.. Time of possession will be important. Our db’s might be good enough against their passing game, but the triple option may be a killer.

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  29. ~ Reed….you now won’t have to worry about how to fill your day in Charlottesville.

    Gametime is 12:30 I believe. Maybe you can go to a UVA Frat Party at nite ! 🙂

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  30. Wow, the mystery regarding Whitehead ‘s absence is very troubling.
    Here are my 3 👍and 3 👎….
    1👍: Jester WEAH’s coming out party
    2👍: Pitt’s Four minute 4TH quarter offense .
    3👍: Pitt winning without its best player on Defense.
    (I think Marshall made successful 2nd half adjustments on offense after realizing Whitehead was a no go)

    1👎…3 consecutive QB keepers called inside the 10 yard line at the end of the first half..??? WTF ? ??
    2👎…The fake field debacle.
    3👎…Lack of pressure on Marshall’s QB all game, until the last minute.
    Finally, I think you all know I am a rabid Pitt fan, but I have to say, the Marshall onside kick was one of the most beautiful things I’ve ever seen…perfect execution .

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  31. ALL RIGHT, I admit it. I was wrong. Narduzzi is crazy for not coming for front with the media enough. What the hell is wrong with him? Does he have Trumps campaign manger for an agent?

    Get with it PAT, it’s not smart to keep the very few people that support what you’re doing in the dark.

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  32. The Belichek-ian approach that Duzz is taking with Whitehead is troubling and is starting to lead to more attention and rumor than it probably needs.

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  33. Jester had anvil hands last year. How people forget that drop in the end zone that a peewee could have caught. That said, he has responded incredibly well, snatching the ball like our very own Larry F, newly minted University of Phoenix grad that he is.

    As for Whitehead, I can only surmise it was punishment. Maybe he shagged a coach’s daughter. I dunno. But Daughter-shagger or not, I would start him and Mitchell and leave TWebb home at the O.
    And as for Hamlin, has anyone considered that at this point he may not be worthy of starting?
    I thought that cornerback from Florida (Miller?) was the real deal, and yet he is buried deep on the depth chart.

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  34. My positives:

    Winning the game – whoa!

    HCPN’s silence about not playing J.Whitehead, for whatever reason. IKR – Marshall’s halftime adjustments exposed the fact that JW is key to our D stopping the run – stopping the pass, not so much.

    The play of J.Price (Mr. Consistency) and J.Weah (The Jester)

    Honorable Mention – The fireworks – really good after a win. Play calling of O’Canada. Play of NP & Moss.

    My negatives:

    The LBers

    Not scoring on 1st and goal inside the 7 yard line WITH THE PRESEASON 4TH RANK OLINE IN P5 FB.

    Blowing a 27-0 halftime lead.

    Honorable Mention – Kicking game with Blewitt, KR team not ready for the on-side kick and the failed fake FG.

    Time to focus on the next game – wreck GTech!

    HTP!

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  35. Emel LMAO!!!! Reed could go to Charlotte and end up on “The Cover of the Rolling Stone”

    Nard does not tolerate anything from his player short of total obedience, hence Whitehead and Ollison – off field issues, practice, not listening to corrections? Who knows

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  36. Pittman4ever’s 3 & 3:

    POSITIVES:
    a) We were about to once again fold like a cheap tent in the 4th when all of a sudden and out of nowhere the Duzz “GREW SOME” and went for the “W” (50+ yard TD pass to Weah) instead of the standard run up the middle and “lets play to not lose.” I can almost guarantee you that if Duzz had gone “ball less” again against Marshall we lose again!!! Higher risk – higher reward: it paid off big time for us this game.

    b) Canada, for finally realizing that a QB is actually SUPPOSED to THROW the ball during the entire game.

    c) The passing game and how it opened up the running game for the panthers.

    NEGATIVES:

    a) For Duzz not allowing QO to run with the ball – no, not even once! And now that it was QO who had the ugly hold on the 1 yard line (which caused us to get no points when it was first and goal at the 1) Duzz has his excuse to send QO packing – which is pathetic!!! QO is the perfect replacement for James as he also compliments Moss.

    b) and c) THE DEFENSIVE BACKFIELD!!!! They look like the Keystone Cops except the cops were “Comedy” but the DB’s are “Tragedy.”

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  37. Tired of watching Narduzzi try to learn how to be a head coach on our dime. If it’s a punishment thing with Whitehead, you made your point!

    Whatever mistake he made, you’ve made 10x as a rookie HC. To stone a press conference like (Trumps campaign manager) is idiotic. Be a man. Tell us the truth. It’s nothing I’ll bet we haven’t heard before.

    Coach Narduzzi, much like the AD Barnes, the good will is running out on you from the Pitt Alumni and fans.

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  38. I want to stop myself here right now and just say……HCPN is still a very new head coach at PITT and as we all know as a head coach period. If and I have no idea what is going in Narduzzi’s head, this is some of an kind of attempt to show how he is planning to control the team with discipline? Then I have zero problems. DW waited too long keep his players in a proper line. Otherwise PITT would be sitting in a very good place right now.

    Now………this could all be nothing. Then I look foolish.

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  39. I would continue to start Connor out of respect, but I would see that Moss gets the lion’s share of the carries. I can see why he has moved up so fast. He hits the hole like lightning. No dancing, picking holes, etc. Bigger ceiling than Ollison and Hall. He has the potential to be a star.

    Like others, don’t know what’s up with Whitehead. He was dressed and on the sideline, but had no helmet. It’s been said when one gets in HCPN’s doghouse, you are in there for a long while, tough to get out. Don’t know if it is a disciplinary thing or had bad practices last week. I guess we’ll see this Saturday.

    A lot of attention has been directed toward Weah and deservedly so, but the entire WR corps is starting to come of age. Which raises the question, what has happened to Challingsworth? RS freshmen and true freshmen passing him up.

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  40. …..Forgot to mention that I thought the unis looked great last Saturday. Also looking forward to the throwback unis this Saturday.
    #H2P

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  41. Well they benched the other co-ACC Rookie of the Year, so that is in keeping with this coaching staff.

    And I find it hard to believe that somebody on the Roster is not better than Ryan Lewis at DB. Avonte Maddox as well.

    One or both will get sucked in this Saturday against GT and get torched for a long bomb TD where no one is within 10-15 yards of the GT WR.

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  42. Well he got to play (Ollie that is) and didn’t carry the rock. Which might be even worse for a RB than not playing at all. Especially when you give carries to players like Muy Pequena Lopes.

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  43. Pitt’s defense is still #114 in Redzone Defense. You can be bad between the 30’s, but you have to develop a spine from the 30 in. Opponents have entered the Redzone 17 times and scored points 16 times.

    Contrasting that is GT’s Redzone Defense with is ranked #2. Opponents have entered the Redzone 13 times and only managed to score points 7 times. They bend but they don’t break.

    This is going to be a tough game, as GT’s Run defense is #33 which is Pitt’s strength. Their passing is #61, so we might have to move the ball that way.

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  44. @Jackagain – JW will not be transferring. He is a sophomore. After next year he will be able to determine whether to turn pro or not. Being dressed without a helmet in hand, sounds like a medical issue. Narduzzi needs a tackling machine this coming week, so it is best to rest your dinged up best tackler.

    @ Dan- I always appreciate your enthusiasm but I for one, am not one of the alum that is growing tired of our head coach. Actually, quite the opposite. I am enjoying this season and what he is doing. He didn’t inherit 9-3 teams. We were on life support when he and Gallagher got here.

    Positives outweighed negatives this game.

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  45. Huff – thanks for the positive reasoning. I went back and listened to the presser regarding the JW questioning. I’m no expert (nor are any of you), but it seems like JW may have had a concussion (or similar) and HAD to be held out.

    HCPN is “old school”. The concussion protocol probably irritates him a little and then you add to that the reporters trying to beat him down to get answers – the resulting response then makes sense to me.

    I can tell you that Conner and other starters were constantly talking with JW on the sidelines and he seemed in good spirits with an occasional smile.

    Further, if JW is not practicing today, my theory makes even more sense (to me). You others may be ready to jump off the Libery Bridge (which does have a weight limit right now).

    With this week being an ACC game, HCPN will have to report all injuries (maybe not specifics). We will know about JW’s status when the HC has to tell the media. His secrecy with this stuff IS somewhat of an advantage – see the Marshall game, when they had -3 yards rushing in the 1st half, as they did not game plan for JW being out. With halftime adjustments, Marshall rushed for 104 yards – BIG difference.

    I’m in it for the entertainment value – HCPN is in it to win it. Don’t get me wrong, I want to win as well…

    It’s part of “The Pursuit” fellas. The loss to unc and coupled their win over FL State make it more of an “uphill” pursuit. Get on the incline and enjoy the ride (or not).

    HTP!

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  46. How come everyone on this site has not ruled out the possibility that Chawntez Moss has just flat beat out Ollison for 2nd team RB, and may end up, sooner than later, as startet?

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  47. Like Dion Lewis, Moss enrolled in January and participated in spring practices and allegedly open eyes ASAP. And, unlike all the other promise frosh, (Damlin, Watts, French Coleman, Mathews), he had the advantage of not having only 3 weeks practice. Also, the RB is the one position where natural instincts are as important as experience … except for blocking schemes.

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  48. We complained about all coaches and their “personalities” with regards to how they do pressers , coach and so on.. that is what we do. but you can’t change people and Duzz will be Duzz .. sit back and enjoy the ride and keep on with what we do best-armchair QBing!!
    Was planning to come to the Ga Tech homecoming but probsly going to be riding out Hurricane Matthew

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  49. This is wild-a$$ conjecture, but if Nard was thinking of moving JW to corner wouldn’t he want to see how Mitchell responded with a full game at strong safety?

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  50. Positives:
    1. Peterman
    2. Jester’s breakout game (he still had a couple balls that should have been caught but he caught the one that matter’d)
    3. Moss hits the hole with the best burst on the team
    Negatives:
    1. Secondary Play sucked! (at least they are consistent)
    2. Linebackers sucked in the second half (Brightwell is young but seems to be best of the bunch)
    3. Connner looks to be playing at about 50% (what a great kid that still has a lot of success in his future….As delicate of a situation it is Moss is the best back on team right now.

    This game could very well be a springboard to a much better team going forward.

    I have a couple of lineup shakeup ideas as well.

    Move Whitehead to Linebacker at least on passing down and distance.
    Reduce James Connner’s workload carrying the ball and let him come in with Whitehead on passing situations with Price on the opposite side of the field of the two.
    Let the two D freshman tackles play. At least spell Ty Jarret once and a while. Although I think the refs held him the entire second half which helped Marshall get back into the game.

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  51. At the time Chryst’s recruiting was ignoring the defense while favoring OL/RB – everyone acknowledged it and realized the issues would manifest at some point. Guess what? We’ve reached that point. Not only talent but depth. I truly believe these 4th quarter meltdowns will be the norm due to depth issues. The offense is so run-heavy so as to try to make up for these shortcomings. It will probably work half the time.

    If Whitehead wasn’t a yinzer… would anyone really care?

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  52. Some of you guys are something else. You’d be the same ones ripping coach up and down and wanting him fired if he did come out and say Whitehead was suspended because of “whatever”. Then you’d be bashing him for embarrassing the kid and making an example out of him and would have said this all should have been handled behind closed doors, etc. Some of you find fault in EVERYTHING.

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  53. Moss has the burst, but I prefer vision. The two best recent Pitt runners with great vision over speed were Shady and Dion. Quickness, Vision and Speed in that order for my preferences for running back attributes.

    Wins, recruiting and strategy are the three best attributes for a coach.

    @Erie – I do consulting work for a few big10 schools regarding concussion protocols and developing standards in that space for the big10 conference. I didn’t watch the game so I was operating from what was being reported here regarding JW. If it is academics, it will be FERPA protected information and never disclosable by the coach. If its medical, that is a grey area around disclosure (i.e. HIPAA). If it is student conduct related, much of that occurs behind the scenes…ask urban about that! Eventually the reality will be shared.

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