Bits & Pieces; Oct 11th

Folks – this will be very short as I have commitments all day today.  I’ll be back with a longer piece tomorrow.

For now though here are some of the more interesting things I ran across in the media lately:

Our new star interior Defensive Lineman had something to say after Saturday’s game.  Soto is having a career season this year and it has been a real pleasant surprise.  We kind of thought Jarrett would be OK – after all he went to WPIAL powerhouse Taylor-Allderdice, but Soto’s move from DE to inside left us wondering.

He’s answered those questions though:

Jerry DiPaola of the Trib writes on our ‘hobbled’ roster going into the UVA game this weekend.

Among the baggage Pitt will carry south of the Mason-Dixon Line is a starting lineup missing several important pieces. Cornerback Avonte Maddox, who hurt his arm before halftime Saturday against Georgia Tech and later was wearing a sling, likely won’t play.

That makes four defensive positions that have been manned by replacements through six games. Also out are defensive end Dewayne Hendrix (foot) and outside linebackers Mike Caprara (lower body) and Elijah Zeise (ankle). On offense, Dontez Ford, the team’s most experienced wide receiver, has missed the past four games with a broken collarbone.

So look for Jackson to resume his back-up play there but also note that both Coleman and Hamlin have been listed on this week’s two-deep:

UVA 2-deep.png

P-G’s Craig Meyer has an interesting piece up about Pitt’s next three games:

Their first-half opponents were accompanied by coaching stability, from Villanova’s Andy Talley (32nd season) to Oklahoma State’s Mike Gundy (12th) to Marshall’s Doc Holliday (seventh). Even Penn State, with a new offensive coordinator and quarterback, is in its third season under James Franklin.

What awaits Pitt in the next few weeks is an entirely different package. Each of the Panthers’ next three opponents — Virginia (Oct. 15), Virginia Tech (Oct. 27) and Miami (Nov. 5) — has a coach in his first season at the school, meaning the road game against the Cavaliers represents the beginning of a stretch that is perhaps trickier than it might have been otherwise.

“They’re a totally different offense and defense from what they were a year ago,” Pitt coach Pat Narduzzi said of Virginia at his weekly news conference Monday. “That will be a challenge.”

Have to run – more tomorrow….

55 thoughts on “Bits & Pieces; Oct 11th

  1. VA lost to Richmond, Oregon and UConn, and beat Central Michigan and Duke.

    It looks like if we score our average points they should not be able to keep up with us.

    They caught Duke after their big upset of ND, so an obvious letdown.

    Hopefully we don’t get trapped.


  2. One thing not mentioned here from Saturday’s game was the decision to center the ball before the final FG … and it apparently mattered! (Yes I know there was a penalty on GT but that’s besides the point.)

    PC didn’t center the ball vs ND in OT in 2012 and the kick was wide right by 2 yards. Then the Duke fiasco of 2 years ago where not centering the ball (mentally) created a tough angle.

    Yes, both kicks should have been made … and they weren’t (and it’s very possible that the kick Saturday would have been missed if the ball was not centered, since it clanged off of the upright.


  3. –One thing that has bothered me about the FG team is the timing of when they set up. On more than a couple of kicks this season, they have set up way too early, while the game is still in a timeout, so that Blewitt is standing out there for what seems like several minutes lining up the kick. This is not good and I doubt that it mirrors what they do in practice. It’s like we are icing our own kicker. They should run onto the field, setup and kick like they do in practice.

    Go Pitt.


  4. This is a trap game for Pitt! It’s homecoming for one. As one who knows the dads of a few UVA players, the team respects the new HC Mendenhall ( they loved Mike London but knew he was an awful game day coach) and love his new spread offense which is a throw first (uh oh?”!) run second system.

    He has shored up the Cavs defense and the team is sky high coming off the Duke upset. They’ve had 2 weeks to prepare for Pitts Swiss cheese secondary.

    I say burn Hamlin’s scholarship and get some new players in there.

    Pitt will be very fortunate to beat this UVA team.


  5. Good point wwb. When Pitt ran right on the play before the centering play my thought was why aren’t they running to center the ball. It was also interesting had the kick been straight down the middle the clock would not have expired with 5 seconds on it but hitting the upright allowed the clock to run down.


  6. Having 2 weeks to prepare is certainly a concern. Once again, the offense will have to carry the load but Mendenhall is known as a defensive coach. I’m sure UVa will be spending extra time on defending the jet sweep, etc. Pitt may have to pass more


  7. If we are ever going to get to the next level we gotta win the ones we are favored in and hopefully, ocassionally arise to beat some ranked teams. This is setting up to be that type of year and it starts this Saturday..I will be there rooting for our boys. The team stays in the Doubletree in Charlotteville..really great bar..we stayed there during our first trip to UVA and surprised to stay in the same hotel the the team and the cheerleaders..added to the pre-game spirit..Let’s Go PITT…

    Liked by 1 person

  8. We had a long TD pass last game that included at lot of yards running after the catch ..maybe NP throws a Kenny Stabler-like deep ball for a TD this week..been a while since we have seen a deep ball to a wide-out…taking baby steps in developing the passing component and think it’s on schedule..getting better every week..need to Matthews more involved if the game situation permits..wonder what O’ Canada has up his sleeve this week?? Hope Ollie get some tailback carries..he looks like he’s playing hard when he’s in there and he has a history..give him some more carries coach


  9. PITT’s special teams have been shaky since PN arrived sans Q Henderson.

    Not really sure exactly what Virginia could have been practicing for as far as PITT goes. They are kind of an enigma to me and if they sell out for those jet sweeps Canada will have something to take advantage of it. That’s a sucker play. I think the passing game is starting to take flight.

    I think we all feel like Hamlin should play but let’s not forget about Coleman. The kid is taller and can fly. Long arms and all. If Maddox had that size he never would have came to PITT.

    Don’t know much about Virginia’s offense but I hope they have a pocket passer that likes to survey the defense before throwing the ball. Price and co licking their chops?


  10. I agree that it is baffling as to why Ollison is not permitted to run the ball from the RB position for what, now 4 games? We all seem to think that Duzz is in love with Moss and that’s his prerogative, but why at the expense of the 2015 ACC Offensive Rookie of the Year who is a great RB? What even makes less sense is with James slowly working his way back into football condition QO should be getting MORE carries not LESS! I guess in Duzz’s mind “less is more”, or maybe “less is lesser” or maybe “…………..???????????????


  11. I also agree on Ollison but wasn’t it Hall that Narduzzi was favoring a short while ago? It’s Ollie not the other backs that is the problem with the coaches and it looks like he may be slowly emerging from the dog house. Tune in next week???


  12. Again, I would have to think that whatever RB looks the best in practice, plays the game. Moss certainly looks like he belongs … and there is no reason not to play Ollison, except that the staff thinks Moss is better.


  13. The reason we ran right on the play before centering the ball was because Canada was going for the jugular — I’m fairly certain he called the same sweep play that Ollison got the big gain on a couple plays earlier. I have no problem with them calling a play to try to get a TD (as opposed to playing for the field goal, which we nearly missed). That sort of agreesive attitude might have helped us during our 2 losses.


  14. One thing that continually goes unmentioned with the Blewitt game winning FG is that Tech was flagged for running into the kicker. Pitt declines of course. But, had he missed, he’d have attempted another FG from 5 yards closer.

    Johnny – we talked about that in Sunday’s podcast…


  15. I thought Pitt and/or GT called a timeout after Pitt centered the ball? And, again, even if it was missed, Blewitt would’ve gotten a second try due to a running into the kicker 5 yard penalty which, of course, was declined by Narduzzi given the kick was good.


  16. Pitt would have gotten an untimed play had Blewitt missed … but that had nothing to do with the fact that the FG may have been missed if the ball had not been centered on the previous play.


  17. I liked the jet to Ollison when I thought they were going to center the ball. Gotta think MC was looking to get QO’s second TD on the same play that he scored his first, with them(GT) thinking Pitt would go left and center it.

    Didn’t work obviously, but I liked the call. Only thing it really cost was a chance to kick on 3rd down where if a bad snap, ball could have been recovered for a FG attempt on 4th down.

    I’m OK with how it all worked out.


  18. UVA lost to Richmond and UConn.

    I am not going to join in on building them up to be some kind of formidable team.

    As long as Pitt continues to execute on offense and improve incrementally on defense – which it actually has the last two weeks, VERY small increments but it’s there – Pitt being 5-2 at the end of the day will be the result.


  19. deep, any team that plays Pitt and has a QB that can throw the ball 25 yards downfield is formidable in my book. I’m not sure how anyone here can ever be comfortable with a Pitt lead knowing how our defense has performed to this point.


  20. You folks have short term memory issues… don’t you remember the clock problem (stuck on 8 secs) before the kick? Stadium staff froze the Pitt kicker – not any timeout.

    UVA is not that good. Afternoon game… should be an easy win on the last play of the game. LOL


  21. Just read the Virginia Pilot at lunch … Bronco had the team go through physical workouts over the 2 week layoff then had the kids to his farm where they went horseback riding… few horses reported to have sore backs after carrying 300 lb lineman…


  22. Well, Pitt has only given up 1 lead that resulted in a loss this year (vs UNC).

    Gave up the lead vs GT but the offense tied it up and the defense stopped GT and Pitt won. GT had 3 minutes to do something which is not a lot of time but it’s plenty of time to go down the field and score. They didn’t, they were stopped.

    Didn’t give up a lead vs. Nova.

    Didn’t vs PSU. Almost did, but didn’t.

    Didn’t vs Marshall. Almost did, but didn’t.

    Pitt never had a lead to give up vs OK St.

    So the defense has been better at almost giving up leads but not than it has been at actually giving up leads. Which is playing with fire but that’s just the way Pitt is this year. As long as they keep avoiding getting actually burned I’m kinda sorta not really but it’s whatever OK with it. That’s the difference between Narduzzi and Chryst and Graham and Wanny. Narduzzi gets your blood pressure way up but then he pulls out the W more often than not. Those other 3 got your blood pressure way up and made sure it stayed up with an L.


  23. I completely agree with wanting Quadree Ollison to get more touches and opportunities —- and really it’s been a, “Cream Rises to the Too” year for Matt Canada and determining who gets to carry the ball. Chawntez Moss has proven that even as a True freshman he’s just got that 💥 “pop” that none of the other guys quite have.

    😬 Pat Narduzzi wanted Darren Hall to be “The Man” so bad and force-fed him opportunities all Early-Season ….. but Darren Hall joined the likes of Chris James in just showing he’s not really a Power 5 talent. Doubt he gets any more touches and probably transfers out.

    James Conner is still playing hard — but he’s just been going down on very-first contact on every run. Just doesn’t have any elusiveness at all right now.

    After 6 games it’s apparent that True Frosh Moss should be getting all the touches and carries he til he needs a break in any “traditional halfback runs”.

    🔥🔥 and I really like watching Nathan Peterman the last couple weeks —- Nate Peterman needs to keep stepping it up and Winning Pitt games. That deep pass to Orndoff — if you watch where Scott Orndoff was anticipating the pass to drop, would have arrived kind of at his belly-button if there was no defender so it wasn’t laid-out there Ideally by Peterman, true. But still the ball was thrown well-enough that the corner — running top level ‘full-sprint’ could only reach out and affect the ball with his finger tips as opposed to being able to smack it away. We’ll take that throw 👌—- it was most definitely NOT a Tino Sunseri-throw —- so big upgrade!!!

    Not gonna “trash” the Hoos as I respect Virginia and their players play hard. However, even any Cavaliers fan will honestly, objectively tell you the old-adage here: This is a game Pitt really should Win soundly at the current juncture.

    Respect to our ACC Coastal opponent, granted —> but ⤴️⤴️Nationally Ascending Pitt⤴️⤴️ Absolutely Needs to win this game resoundingly against rebuilding Virginia or (going there!): SAME OL’ “BIG LEAST”, Cincinnati-Loss, 6-6 Birmingham Bowl every year, hype to beat Bowling Green in Detroit in a cheap Pizza Bowl, Bull-Junk PITT 💩💩💩 ——— @PittFootball “JUST WIN BABY!!!

    Lol We even have Mark May right on College Gameday chomping at-the-bit each week hoping to hype-up his Wonderful Alma Mater!!! 😂

    @JoshConklin if Jordan Whitehead is gonna keep playing strong safety exclusively (which appears to be the case) —— we want to see that Explosive-Cat coming on QB and run blitzes all game from now on!!! Utilize his Elite Power-5 quality talents , as Pitt only has him til his Junior Year then he’a off to the Pros!!

    🇺🇸🇺🇸🇺🇸 USA!!! USA!!! haha

    #HailToPitt #PITTisIT

    @Reed I personally don’t approve of this, “I have a life stuff”…..This is your life now, we need you here!!!. 😂😂


  24. I wouldn’t try to read too much into UVA’s loss to Richmond, which was Bronco Mendenhall’s first game as head coach there. Although UVA was pretty much dominated by an FCS school, that loss sure sounds a lot like our loss to Youngstown State in Chryst’s debut. And despite getting embarrassed against YSU, and also being embarrassed the second game at Cinncy, we improved and went on to have a decent season and decent team that year.


  25. @Erie – the Dairy College has plenty of employer’s liability insurance coverage to pay any type of award by a court. It is not taxpayer money. The case gets bifurcated from the Sandusky issue (as it is a new claim) and would be considered a new occurrence in insurance speak. New claim, new policy limit. Defense costs are also picked up by the insurance carrier. The case is costly because they have already gone through plenty of depositions and settlement negotiations/mediations.

    The more interesting piece will be coming in the form of a real large fine (for higher education) with respect to TitleIX and Cleary reporting violations tied to Sandusky. The number will be big and will site a lack of institutional control and reporting compliance. It should be soon.

    James Franklin is on a hotter seat than originally thought. A big blowout from OSU could be problematic for him. Michigan State all of a sudden looks like a coin toss game.


  26. I think PSU will mostly get off the hook for the Title IX and Cleary violations. That report has been “should be soon” for a while now. Somebody is definitely slow-walking its release. Nobody is really interested in holding PSU accountable anymore.


  27. Turn on ESPN and Obama on there. What happened to the days on sports on Sportscenter. Woman announcers who know zero about sports. Not opposed to woman on Sportscenter but have a clue. ESPN has become garbage.


  28. “Not opposed to woman on Sportscenter but have a clue. ESPN has become garbage.”

    Yes it has. Nothing wrong with women sportscasters as long as they know what they’re talking about and sound/look like it. Too many of them sound and look like they’re just repeating what they’ve been told to say by their bosses because they know very little about whatever sport they’re covering. I’d feel the same way about a male sportscaster who knew jack shit about sport X covering sport X.


  29. TV as a whole has become utter garbage and just a mouthpiece for Big Brother bro….just like it was used in 1984. Just not that ‘in your face’……..yet.


  30. UpPitt .. my buddy was watching MNF this week when Len Berman reported that night was the one year anniversary of the church killings in Charleston SC .. IMO that something to be left to news channels as it has nothing to do with sports entertainment… but it is owned by ABC and all media is trying to shape society as their execs see fit.. I watch very little TV including most sports
    UPitt .. guys like you and might be forced into the closets that ” others” have been liberated from because of the way we think and in what we believe .

    Reed if this borders on too political let me know


  31. I watch ESPN for college FB and BB only, and when the Steelers play which is the only NFL I watch. Every once in a while, they have a decent documentary but I am usually not aware of them when they air.

    As far as other TV …. except for a couple sitcoms, I don’t watch network TV at all except local news and golf. Hate Reality shows. I like movies as much as much as I do sports .. so the bulk of my watching is premium movie channels and TCM


  32. I agree fellows. It is just nice to have a place to bury your head and watch sports without some forced nonsense. Again, man woman, doesnt matter as long as they know the game and there is very few. Hell Doris Burke and the Mendoza gal are ok but these mannequin UN ladies are just a forced ploy and it shows.


  33. wwb.. I here ya… the Western channel is a safe bet .. been watching Roy Rogers and Bonanza… nice to escape back to those ” Norman Rockwell” years that we were so privileged to be a part of… love to see college FB in person.. love the bands and the pageantry… Great band shows ( which could inspire some of our youth to participate) replaced by commentators bull$hitting… I get goosebumps and tears when a good college band goes marching by… and the only way to see um is to go there in person


  34. Huff is correct about insurance except one exception. In the rape payouts the insurance coverage sued the University claiming the University’s actions were not covered by insurance. That settled which means Ped State payed part. The tax money get intermingled with Ped States assest. Clear as mud?


  35. John Ramella – here is the last sequence of plays – Pitt did indeed call a TO while the clock was being re-set:

    3rd and 7 at GT 11

    (0:10 – 4th) Nathan Peterman run for a loss of 2 yards to the GTech 13

    (0:05 – 4th) Timeout PITTSBURGH, clock 00:05
    4th and 9 at GT 13

    (0:00 – 4th) Chris Blewitt 31 yd FG GOOD GEORGIA TECH Penalty, roughing passer ( Yards) declined


  36. BigB – that’s fine and sports related although I’ll disagree with your last statement :).

    I DVR almost everything so when I come to a point where I think crap is being said I just fast forward to where the actual content I want to watch starts up again. Very rarely do we watch something that is being broadcast on real time unless it’s PBS – only stuff like Masterpiece Theater or the BBC channel dramas and some news programming.

    Even with football games I don’t mind missing the first few minutes because I can then zap through the commercials.

    What bothers me most about programs today is the gratuitous use of seen violence when it isn’t necessary to drive the story forward. at all – but is there just for the shock value. But that is what Americans like so it keeps getting produced.

    I’ll spend the extra couple of dollars per month to be able to pick and choose.

    Although for those tired of paying for cable TV I have a friend who cancelled all his cable stuff and bought an electric antenna and he gets 53 channels of HD broadcasting all the time at no cost. Major non-cable broadcasts still have to be available to the public for free by FCC regulations.


  37. BigB – agree on what should be separated by types of issues broadcast. But even the mainstream “news” channels show bits about their parent company’s TV shows, etc… I love the Western Channel also plus TCM as I like classic movies.

    Honestly – I spend about 30-45 minutes at most in front of the TV on weekdays unless there is something I really want to watch… and I have all day free to watch if I wanted to. Other than that it is all talking heads – I do watch BBC news though because it is the only actual “fair and balanced” news out there.

    Al Jazeera was surprisingly a good news outlet but with that name people didn’t trust it – talk about a stupid marketing tool to use in the US after 9/11.

    But they had on the most knowledgeable reporters and was the most factual of all IMO. I was very hesitant to watch at first but then realized it was a decent outlet for all sorts of news – not just politics.

    I don’t watch sports ‘news’ (ESPN) at all any longer – the older I get the less bullshit I put up with.


  38. Reed, it is ironic that Al Jazeera was straight news with no opinion, unlike every other so-called news network. Unfortunately Americans only want to watch channels with their point of view.


  39. Great reads on this mornings comments. It appears our country has passed us by going in the wrong direction.
    Speaking of TV, I went on the ACC website and watched the GT game again last night. (Note: to get the replay you have to then go thru ESPN stream).
    Anyway, first major observation is that those unis really looked awesome ( even though it is the post Marino colors). It just looked like us, unlike the new stuff. I really hope they keep them on for the rest of the season! The empty seats looked bad. Interestingly we all got an email this morning
    from the ticket office for $10 off all remaining game seats. Mostly only the high up seats are available (which are the ones you see on TV) so why not sell them all for $5 and let groups like Boy Scouts get in for $2.50 or even free? You would generate excitement and gain hundreds of new young Pitt fans. PR Department – wake up and smell the coffee.


  40. Pittman4ever..the throwback unis blend so well with the empty yellow seats it almost gives the untrained eye the illusion of more people in seats wearing the canary yellow..


  41. PM4ever…doubt it..I am not a canary yellow fan but those colors made me feel like I was watching a Pitt game for the first time in many years..I don’t know why that Mustard is so important and cherished to me and others but it is… I saw them in 63 with the dark blue helmets with numerals on the sides then switching to a lighter blues and a yellow in the Dave Hart years then to the old gold and Navy under Carl Depasquale (I liked those unis and represented the schools real colors) then the Johnny Majors Mustard and Blue and I was in the stands during the me that color combo shouts “PITT” which remained consistent through Jackie Sherrill’s tenure with excetion of matching facemasks..and along came Gottfried and Haskett who kept making minor changes mainly to the canary yellow…Johnny II couldnt get the colors right and added white facemasks- uuuck..then SP with the vegas gold,navy and funky numbers/dino cat (beige/khaki pants not gold)…. All the comments I have read re: throwbacks from Saturday’s game have been all positive and we won the ESPN poll by a large Pitt ass kicking in a long time…Hope management gets it..look at the reception of the Script..but managers only look at money and sometimes forget to feel the heartbeat of the folks who walked the hallowed halls and represented our school/us in athletic competition-shame on them ..Hope players enjoyed representing our treasured past…but the Eagles will decide…QUESTION: did Nike make and away /white throwback jersey….I will guess blue pants with gold hats this game to contrast UVAs unis


  42. I made the comment on the live game thread that we passed our weekly stress test..Pitt foot takes us weekly to the literal edge..a disclaimer needs to be added prior to the game broadcast “Caution: watching Pitt Panther football can be dangerous to your health. It has been liked to stroke and sudden cardiac arrest with a higher occurence when viewing while consuming alcohol.”
    I want to see a real deep, long bombTD pass and and ass-whipping put on the Cavaliers this week-end !


  43. I do not watch the old sitcoms because I saw them all when I was a kid. I am a WW II baby. I do watch whenever Pitt is on and I watch the science shows as we are in the midst of great discoveries. News is important to me especially the mideast stuff because of its consequences to our grand children. The VA game is very important because it is our next game. H2P


  44. ~ BigB A few of us have been screaming for the pants of the uni’s to match the seats at Ketchup Bottle for more than few years now. Seems like a natural fit. I too prefer the mustard better, but the yellow matches the seats. And we don’t sellout every game, so it seems that’s they way to go, to blend in the empty yellows with the uni’s. The next step would be to start a massive sales campaign to sell Pitt shirts, sweaters, etc. in that Yellow, with the Blue Pitt Script on them. Sort of my little avatar inverted.

    We can then promote Gold Rushes which would be YellowOuts. And if we don’t fill up the place, then it doesn’t nearly look as bad on TV. It’s all about perceptions, Pitt doesn’t draw bad, in fact it’s higher than the national avg of NCAAF D1 teams. Eventually if we string together some 9-11 win seasons, then Ketchup Bottle will be filled up. Until then we need to use the Yellow to create the perception that it is.


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