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.