POV Bits & Pieces; Oct 5th

Some personal thoughts on the Jordan Whitehead kerfuffle – when a HC states that something has been done for personal reasons and still allows the player to suit up it means that there was, most probably, a minor infraction committed (missing meetings unexcused, academic issues, etc…) that are not serious enough to actually suspend the player.

But how nice that Narduzzi put the injury / flu to rest – funny how so many fans on the message board wrote that they “heard from someone who knows his family and it was a case of the flu“. I read that more than once over the last few days.  Everyone wants to not believe a 19-year-old kid is actually a 19 year old kid and does 19 year old kid sort of stuff.

Here is HCPN’s official release (and you can bet E.J. had to twist an arm to get it.)

For IMMEDIATE Release

October 4, 2016                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     Statement from University of Pittsburgh head football coach Pat Narduzzi:

“As head football coach, I feel a tremendous amount of responsibility for the well-being of our players. That includes protecting their privacy when appropriate. Jordan Whitehead did not play in last week’s game for reasons that are personal in nature. I won’t comment further on the topic other than to say I fully anticipate that Jordan will be available to play this coming Saturday against Georgia Tech.”

I call these minor corrective actions “Western Union” decisions as they send a message to the other players on the team that it doesn’t matter who you are you can be sat down if necessary.

BTW – let’s clear some other points up as well.   There is a big difference between being ‘suspended‘ and being ‘benched‘ which it looks like what Whitehead was for the Marshall game.  He was still available if things went to hell in a hand-basket and even then Narduzzi may not have played him.

But when you take a kid out of uniform for a game when he isn’t injured it sends up a red flag that there was some serious action taken by the HC – and then the media and the scouts, etc. really want explanations… as we saw writ large. 

And don’t think there weren’t phone calls made by the staff to ensure others in the profession that the move was a benching and not a suspension if that is what it was (it was).  I sit in the press box and every game there are a lot of NFL scouts up there watching specific kids – and you know Whitehead is a prime concern for them as he can declare for the draft after next season.  So Pitt wants them to know that this was a minor occurrence that every team and, honestly probably every player at some point in his college time, deals with.

Which it pretty much is – if you look at a home game where the kids on the roster are there on the sideline and suited up (some marginal players may not travel to away games based on distance and $$$ costs) and then you see a player who isn’t in uniform and isn’t on the injury report there is a good chance that is a disciplinary move between the HC and the student/athlete.  Not always, but a lot of the time and that is never advertised.

From the Completely Ironic Department comes this about Avonte’ Maddox:

Maddox said he looks forward to the change of pace (against a run-heavy GT).

“Right now, with triple-option teams, you basically need 11 guys to stop the run,” Maddox said. “I’m ready to get in there like a linebacker.”

He also said he hopes he will not be lulled to sleep by the constant run plays.

“That’s what they do, lure you to sleep run, run, run, run, dink a little pass on you,” Maddox said. “Every play, we’ve got to be ready.”

OK Then, get at it!

In another P-G salvo from Ron Cook we see that he has a hard time making his mind up about things:

In July, I asked: What school has the better football program, Pitt or Penn State? My answer was Pitt. It turns out I was right, although to reiterate that point this morning would be merely damning Pitt with praise. Penn State is awful.

Today, as we seem headed to another frustrating college season, I ask: Which program has been the bigger disappointment, Pitt or Penn State? My answer is Pitt. The losses the past two weeks to North Carolina and Oklahoma State were so Pitt-like. Just when you think it is turning the corner, becoming relevant again and maybe even climbing into the Top 25, it finds ways to lose big games and break the hearts of its fans. I put the loss at North Carolina Saturday right there with the home loss to Cincinnati in 2009.

 

What the hell?  This is another example of Cook writing to be able to read his own words.  That Cincy loss was for a conference championship and came at the last game of a 9-2  and 5-1 in-conference season.  That was for all the BE marbles.

This season’s NC loss might be as important in six weeks depending on the ACC standings, but right now it is only one ACC loss out of  the eight conference matches we have this year.

He’s an idiot and he keeps reminding us of that fact.

If there is any word in sports I absolutely hate it is “Swagger”.  Especially when someone uses it within the context of Pitt football.  You want to know what “Swagger” does to the Panthers – just look at that link to the ’09 Cincy game or at those two losses we had in the latter part of last season.

All I heard about when we went on that 6-o run last year was that Pat Narduzzi had given Pitt back its swagger and then as soon as we came up against a good opponent we had our ass handed to us – two weeks in a row actually and then again over the last two weeks of the season.

This isn’t new – it has happened at Pitt for as long as I can remember starting way back when the Penn State players told our kids to STFU when we had a 14-0 lead on them in that game back in 1981.

We were 10-0 looking at the National Championship game and couldn’t keep our moths shut out on the field and just have the concentration and do the work to win that game. I remember reading quotes from the PSU players that they were pissed because the Pitt players kept bragging about their team’s record and how great we were.  Hmmm – what is that saying again?  Oh right; “…walk the walk”.

I say all this because I’ve been reading from fans that Pitt needs more ‘swagger’ now.

Heaven forbid – what we need right now is a crash course on how to actually go out and play a full 60 minute game.  Leave the swagger to Pee-Wee league football.  Pitt has had an infuriating habit of blowing 1st half leads and we have to address that if we want to win championships.

 

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51 thoughts on “POV Bits & Pieces; Oct 5th

  1. For the regulars on here. I have a single ticket to the Pitt-VA away game in VA that I won’t be able to use. If anyone of my long-time friends on here can use it I’d be glad to give it to you as a gift.

    You will be sitting in the middle of a bunch of Pitt fans from the “Pitt Panther Fanatics” group on Facebook (all great guys and rabid Pitt fans).

    Let me know and I’ll get it to you.

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  2. I assume that Cook equated the Cincy game to the UNC game because they were both games we had big leads but lost in final minute./ seconds. But I still agree with you.

    The issue with Cook is that he deals with his own expectations and not reality. He doesn’t take into account that Pitt was actually underdogs to both OSU and UNC .. and after seeing Ok St easily handle Texas and UNC winning at FSU, maybe these teams are little better than he expected.

    No doubt that Narduzzi handled the Whitehead situation poorly … but what really exasperated the situation was the ‘disturbing’ tweet from Pittsburgh Sports Now which seemed to indicate a serious injury or serious rules/legal violation. My suggestion to tweeters, and especially those who do it for a living, is to quit with the speculative tweets and wait until you are ready to actually publish before you tweet.

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  3. This upcoming game should really be interesting! It is the first team on our schedule that is run heavy. Will GT forgo their strength and instead throw like a major league pitcher against our bottom feeding pass defense?
    Will the run happy Panthers go to the forward pass themselves after all the air success against the Thundering Turds???
    Stay tuned to this same bat ( I mean Pitt) channel to find out!!!

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  4. @wwb I agree with your assessment of Cook. However Cincinnati was a two point favorite over Pitt in the 2009 game. Let us never forget the botched Pitt extra point in that game!

    Texas was overrated and unranked entering the 2016 season. Their ranking was based upon beating Notre Dame in the first game of the season when ND was a top 10 team. Turns out ND was also overrated. Now Charlie Strong is on the hot seat. It’s also entirely possible that FSU is also overrated as they may be 0-3 in conference after this weekend (Miami) and possibly finish the season with six losses with Clemson (home), Florida (home) and NC State (road) remaining on their schedule.

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  5. I don’t really think Narduzzi handled things poorly – he just should have issued that release on Sunday morning or even Sat night.

    He also has to understand he’s actual a HC and not a staff coach any more – as a MSU DC he didn’t have to deal with the press at all really. No press conferences, no media second guessing for the most part and didn’t have to give interviews unless he wanted to – but it is completely different now that he’s at Pitt.

    He’s poor at it so far and should take the advice of the professionals in the athletic dept. who are paid to teach him and help him in that aspect of being a HC. I’ll bet a dollar someone else wrote that release and Barnes said “Sign it !!”

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  6. 0-4 Arkansas St will be on national TV for the 5th time this year. This will be the 3rd time they will be on ESPNU, they were on SEC Network vs Auburn and they were on FSN another time. I can only surmise the chance of seeing Chad Voytik fueled the TV networks in scheduling all these telecasts

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  7. wwb LOL. Go Chad!!!
    Cook’s problem is that he is a PSU man through and through. When he recently wrote in supporting Joe Pa day that he refused to believe Paturdo knew anything as far back as the 70’s he showed what a homer his is and always will be. Blinders on the eyes. His favorite program has been mediocre for 20 years, hence a disappointment. When you watch your favorite team with stars in your eyes nothing is a disappointment. Cook I would call you a disappointment but you long ago ceased to be relevant. Ditto on the analysis above as to how important the Cincy game was – most fun I had during a loss. 😦

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  8. I think this Swagger is endemic in both football and bball, as it’s played today. For it’s part of the culture of ‘trash talking’ and most of these kids walking around with the proverbial ‘chip on their shoulder’.

    It’s got to be extremely difficult coaching these higher rated, catered too, sports punks I guess is a good term for them. And I like many others tend to overlook that little thing.

    Cause it was much much different back when most of us were at Pitt. Yes we had some primadonna’s on campus, but the society back then wasn’t poisoned with this idea, that the world owes you cause of this or that.

    I was playing basketball thru most of my life, until I got to the point at around age 42, while still enjoying the game itself. I just couldn’t stomach the culture, the trash talking, the chip on the shoulder attitude you were
    faced with at just about any gym where there was a 5 on 5 game. A lot of these were AAU punks. Talk about Swagger, but funny thing, when you pushed back….they stepped back and sulked.

    And I have a feeling that’s what happens on the football field today, they fold when pressured.

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  9. I think that Oct 1 verbal was an early and hopeful wish that Jeter was going to announce for us and cancel his planned press conference. This is why I think a HC using Twitter is a bit much- now Narduzzi has the Twitter bird’s egg on his face when nothing came to pass.

    Not a great big deal but it was unnecessary – best to get the verbal first then make it public.

    Here is something to watch if you are bored – Pitt – Marshall highlights from a Marshall fan’s POV (take a look at the NP – Weah pass at the 2:07 mark. The ball is perfectly thrown and hits Weah’s hand – even in good coverage. You know if Weah had caught all the easy drops he has had this year he’d probably be up over 500 yards on the season. Right now he has this:

    NAME REC YDS AVG LONG TD
    Jester Weah 14 313 22.4 60 (TD) 3

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  10. Emel… you said a mouthful and I could take and run with that thought…but for political correctness I won’t.. I watch less and less sports and just read somewhere where NFL viewership is way down… so it’s just not me.. there was a time I could identify with the players/ the game but not so much anymore

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  11. ~ BigB ……That’s exactly imo why it’s so important for colleges to keep as many of their traditions, which includes their uniforms as they can. There is nothing there to identify with, other than the school’s name and the uniforms.

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  12. Pulled this interesting piece from PSN on our beloved OC O’Canada –

    CANADA MAKING THE GRADE by Alan Saunders

    How good has Matt Canada been as Pitt’s offensive coordinator? Really good, according to one observer.

    Dave Bartoo of College Football Matrix ranked every FBS offensive coordinator through the first five weeks of the 2016 season, and he has Canada as the 10th-best in the nation, right behind Alabama’s Lane Kiffin.

    Bartoo gave Canada an “A” grade overall and said he is performing 33.32 percent above his career average. (uh-oh)

    The rankings take into account number of plays per game, yards per play and the talent level of each coordinator’s team and his opponents.

    Pitt is averaging 250 yards rushing per game, 16th in the FBS. They’re 59th in total yards per game, 38th in scoring offense and 29th in red zone efficiency.

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  13. Interesting EE….does he break it further down, into rating these OC’s in ‘crunch time’, that being in the 4th quarter, where you win or lose, most of the time ?

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  14. Emel – you would think wins & loses would weigh heavily on the rating – 1 spot behind Kiffin, whose team is undefeated and ranked #1 in the polls.

    Hmmm…maybe he’s from the land up north.

    This clown needs to be audited.

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  15. Completely agree on the swagger overdose in college and pro FB. Really tired of seeing defensive players “celebrate” after every tackle; or offensive players dramatically celebrating after every first down.

    Defensive players, celebrate when you force a punt or turnover. Offensive players, celebrate WITH your teammates when you get a first down late in a game that helps secure the win, or when you score. Thank you (now stepping off of my soapbox).

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  16. See right above are examples of why articles like this really don’t matter one hoot to me. It’s not so much PITT fans in general but the PITT fans that blog and frequent football message boards are just so myopic and have slanted views that fit their own agenda’s. Which makes perfect sense to me. Why would any of us have an opinion that we don’t agree with? Dumb huh?

    I would like to think I can break a game down without leaving out the many different ways the game actually played out. Some say PITT lost 2 games because they couldn’t get a few first downs. True true true. I watch the same two games and couldn’t believe my eyes either. Couldn’t believe the Panthers ere coached into a great position like that. It’s all in the eye of the beholder guys. No right or wrong. My glass is half full, you guys figure how much is in your glass

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  17. What’s with HCPN? If he just made an after-game statement similar to the eventual announcement regarding Whitehead, there would have been little interest. Swagger? Pitt football hasn’t done jack in 30 years! So far this year Mr Top Secret coach has 2 close wins against mediocre teams and 2 close losses to decent teams.

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  18. I’m not sure the alleged “Oct 1 commitment” ever tweeted or posted anything on the internet. It all started with a Pat sign “H2P” right after the PSU game. Then it was explained, not by Narduzzi but by PSN (I believe), that Pitt will not make the commitment public because the kid was going to do a commit announcement later on … and that’s it. The 10/1 date may be all speculation.

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  19. Oh how the mighty have fallen! Raise your hand if you thought a month ago that NC State would be the favorite this week vs Notre Dame.

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  20. I want Pitt to take the opening kickoff. IMO the game could be a shootout as the last four games have been. Last team with the ball could be the winner. Pitt hasn’t handled either the triple option or the spread offenses since those disastrous Houston and Mississippi bowl games, let along the last two GT games.

    I hate GT ever since those two mid-1950’s bowl games against GT when the race of Pitt’s star black player, Bobby Grier, was a terrible distraction and a disgrace to football in the south. How things have changed at GT now. For the better regarding race, thank goodness, but still hard for me to reconcile with the racist evil of the not so distant past. The attitudes regarding race in college football, in my lifetime, have changed from the 1950’s tor the better.

    BTW, I read in a Pitt athletic history that Pitt’s first black football player did not play until the 1940’s, when Pitt was down, and he ran a kickoff (or punt) against Notre Dame for a TD, the first black player for Pitt to do so and the first black player to do that against Notre Dame, which in the 1940’s was a juggernaut with the Army teams of that era. His name was Jimmy Joe Robinson, who later became a minister in the Pittsburgh area.

    Pitt did have some black athletes, including a track man who went to the Olympics in the 1930’s and ran and placed in Germany. Herb something or other, McClaren msybe. I;m getting old, but not demented. Go Pitt!

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  21. Like many schools … Pitt has yet to hire a black FB or BB HC. Not that I think it is mandatory; hire the best candidate available by all means. But who would have thought back in the late 50s that Texas would hire a black FB HC and Kentucky would hire a black BB HC before Pitt?

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  22. We almost had a Black HC and now he’s suing us. Maybe that’s been settled by now.

    Ike – Did you say that you think Narduzzi putting us in position to almost win against NC and OSU was a great thing? Huh.

    In Paul Chryst’s first year as a HC we beat – in his 3rd game – #13 VT but a large 35-17 margin. Then he beat #18 RU 27-6. So two ranked teams and he beat them by 18 and 21 points.

    He also almost beat #3 ND in three overtimes and barely lost 29-26 (on a missed FG by our kicker that would have won the game for us.

    It looks to me that we are kinda sliding backwards when it comes to big games. Narduzzi has lost to the ranked teams he’s faced and not beaten anyone where it would be considered an upset.

    That why I find his 11 wins over two years so far rather suspect. It’s a nice number but we’ve choked when it mattered. The OSU game was OOC but that NC game meant something.

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  23. I know the 2012 VT and Rutgers teams were ranked at the times we played them that year and sure they were nice wins, but neither of them were all that good – neither finished the season ranked.

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  24. I’m sorry but when I see #18 Rutgers I just can’t take that seriously. I know they had a few decent teams but it’s Rutgers. To me, that doesn’t count as a big win. I mean seriously, think about that for a second.

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  25. Reed, without knowing the outcome of the OSU and UNC but you knew PITT would be in the same position halfway through the forth quarter, would have you taken that scenario before the start of the season? but a better question is, would you have bet on PITT being in those positions and scores? I forget the scores and time they occur during the games now but I never thought PITT would play that well in those games.

    Now, no I’m not saying I’m happy about the outcomes just taking a closer look at the whole picture as opposed to just the negatives.

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  26. Reed,
    I tend to believe the “Flu” theory as to why Jordan Whitehead missed last week’s game. My reasoning is that he usually is one of the first players to exit the bus on the walk down to the stadium on Gen. Robinson Street, but on Saturday I noticed that he was one of the last ones who got off the bus and he looked ill. I told my son the JW didn’t look good, he looked sick, like he had been throwing up or something. This is just my casual observation. H2P!

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  27. The Haygood suit I am pretty sure settled. My understanding the problem was they might have fired him without doing due diligence in sending someone to the Golden Dome to check out the case before the firing. They would then been able to fire him with no suit. If so another Smiley mess up in spite of a campus full of lawyers.

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  28. Speaking of Haywood or Good, I still cringe at how bad his intro presser was. He showed his team his favorite film “Nightmare on Elm Street” before games and as a player slept in his locker before games.

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  29. wwb correct. My guess is that the crux of the suit is the NCAA not having a protocol. Not taking a shot at Wanny; no evidence he knew, just stirring the pot. At least Wanny never put a guy in a dark closet like Leech I believe, even that would have been too old school for Wanny.

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  30. Next thing you know you will see lawyers ads on the tube like the meselothelioma ads..but the will start with “If you or your child ever played Pop Warner or high school football..please call our office @ 1-800…..” Bull$hit…follow the money..covered FB games on the sidelines for many years as a 1st responder/physical therapist and volunteered my time..no more..State laws mandate a full time athletic trainer which big hospital corps has the school pay 1/2 the salary,,now the bumps and lumps get x-rayed, MRI’d..held out of games…an industry has been created and or expanded…….off my rant..

    QUESTION…Rainy and chilly forecast for the Yellowjacket..which team would sloppy conditions favor…All I can remember at last years Navy game is our over-weight and under-athletic defensive front ( reminded me of big Pillsbury dough-boys) being shredded by the Middies..Army, who practices against that type of offense on a daily basis controlled the Middies with much smaller, hardly recruited players .Do we go with the heavies or let a couple of the newbies have at it..thinking Watts…I have not followed the DL and other than Soto, Blair and Jarrett and don’t know who is getting significant playing. I was at the Carolina game and they shup the door on the Heels and did well the first half vs Marshall.

    Watched some of the Marshall game again..think it was Reeds video attachment..that’s the worst I have seen Galambos play..hopefully LBs step in up this week…Need disruption along the defensive LOS to “blow-up” the play before it gets going…We are a ;lot of help for Duzz in game planning..Right?

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  31. Reed you are right about Chryst winning some big games, but he also really laid some eggs. I’d rather have a coach that wins the games he’s supposed to win consistently. Yes the NC and OK State games were heartbreakers, but lets not forget what it feels like to lose to the likes of Akron and Virginia.

    Liked by 1 person

  32. Ike, If Wanny (or any coach) put a player on the field when he wasn’t medically cleared, he is wrong. He was allegedly a player’s coach but he was also old school …. and the thinking was that soon as a player is cleared, he should play …. concussion or any other injury. Now, less than decade later, I would think that coaches are much more cautious (I hope)

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  33. BigB, I could be wrong, but I seem to recall a news story within the last year covering the fact that the Pop Warner league had settled a concussion lawsuit.

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  34. Agree BigB

    The hunt for new litigants is a 24/7 thing now on TV and even radio. So many lawyers, not enough litigants.

    We all end up paying much more for goods & services to support their lifestyle. Only the law firms win in most of these huge class action suit. The members of the class receive peanuts.

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  35. Swagger never caught a pass…..swagger never mad a tackle…..swagger never kicked a field goal. Swagger is a false sense of omnipotence.

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