“Coach – We’re at Bingo Fuel”

That’s the military term for an aircraft that has reached the fuel status to where they can safely return to base with just a small bit left over for emergency maneuvering.  Why did I use this as a title? It seems to me that our DC has just about run out of effective fuel range at this point.

I’m asking for help from the readers here.  I don’t want the following info to be or start a Chryst vs Narduzzi argument because that isn’t what I’m trying to do here.  At this point I feel that Pat Narduzzi has kept the football program in the good shape he inherited it (off the field) and has improved it’s quality of play on the field.  So that isn’t the point.

The point is that I want someone to tell me, in reasonable and understandable terms, why our passing defense is gone to Hell.

Because that’s what I see happening when I look at the comparisons between the 2014 and 2016 years below. I left off 2015 but it shows the mid-point of this slide.

“Is it the Jimmys and the Joes?”  Here is Pitt’s current roster of defensive backs:



(Narduzzi Recruits)

Damar Hamlin







7 Henry Miller 3* 6-3/205 FR
16 Therran Coleman 3* 6-0/190 FR
24 Phil Campbell 3* (ATH) 6-1/195 FR
27 Bricen Garner 3* 6-1/175 FR
11 Dane Jackson 2* 6-0/180 RS FR
21 Malik Henderson 3* 6-0/185 RS FR
43 Jay Stocker 3* 6-2/185 RS FR
46 Rimoni Dorsey WO 6-0/190 RS FR
9 Jordan Whitehead 4* 5-11/190 SO


(Chryst Recruits)

Dennis Briggs


2* (ATH)





32 Phillipie Motley 3* 5-10/175 RS SO
14 Avonte Maddox 3* (ATH) 5-9/175 JR
34 Mark Bernsdorff WO 5-11/185 JR
35 Rob Boatright WO 5-10/185 JR
2 Terrish Webb 2* (WR) 5-11/195 SR
15 Reggie Mitchell 2* (ATH) Wisky 6-0/200 RS SR
38 Ryan Lewis 3* (ATH) 6-0/200 RS SR

Here we see that the Narduzzi enticed scholarship DBs have an average of 3.1 stars and the Chryst scholarship players come in at 2.5 stars.  We all know that stars don’t portend exactly what will happen out on the field in the future years but overall it gives the fans a chance to feel good about the future of that position.

And on the face of it it looks like the future of the position is pretty well set.  But we are playing some of those more highly rated Narduzzi recruits and are getting our asses kicked out there.

When you look at where we are in our pass defense work at this mid-point of the season we see this:

Team Stats – Through games 10/09/2016 with Narduzzi/Conklin
Stat Rank Value
Passing Yards Allowed 124th 302.3
Team Passing Efficiency Defense 121st 154.57
Scoring Defense 91st 31.5
3rd Down Conversion Pct Defense 44th 0.354
4th Down Conversion Pct Defense T-90th 0.615
First Downs Defense 70th 117
Red Zone Defense 117th 0.947
Total Defense 67th 400.7

The saddest part of all this is that we are the tail-end end (I hope) of a two year slide downward to being almost the worst in the country in all facets of a passing defense. 

Some of that speaks to the personnel we have had out there – but look at what we did with Chryst and Matt House’s coaching of the players back in 2014 – using many of the same kids that we bitch about being out on the field now.. in other words Chryst’s recruits.

Here is who we are fielding in our defensive backfield for Saturday’s game against Virginia (right) as opposed to who we had two years ago before the slide started:









We lost Pitts, Vinopal and Amara and gained Whitehead, Webb and Motley.  What do you think – even trade off?  Less talent now?  Remember, fans have been complaining that Chryst left the ‘DB cupboard bare’.  Is that truly the case or is the coaching now so poor we aren’t getting the job done.

“Or is it the Xs and the Os?”  Was 2014’s DBs Coach Troy Douglas and his DC Matt House that much better and more effective at teaching the positions and creating in-game motivation than our current DB Coach Renaldo Hill and his DC Josh Conklin are?

Someone else has to tell me what the answer is other than firing Josh Conklin at the end of this year- unless we feels that our pass defense is going to improve over the rest of the season with either the same DC and personnel or the same DC with more inexperienced personnel if we start to see mid-season benchings.

Hate  to say it because we fans do like to crow about Narduzzi’s recruiting – and on paper it looks to be pretty good as far as DBs are concerned.  But why would Chryst and House do more with less when it came to pass defense?

Here is what we did back in 2014.  The red text shows how much better we did then than we’ve done in this season’s first six games.  After perusing that let me know your thoughts

Team Stats – Through games 01/12/2015 with Chryst/House
Stat Rank Value and  / 2016’s #s
Passing Yards Allowed 24th  (+100) 198.9 ypg  /   302 ypg (103.1)
Team Passing Efficiency Defense 43th  (+78) 121.59  /   154.57  (32.98)
Scoring Defense 58th  (+33) 26.3 ppg  /  31..5 ppg (5.2)
3rd Down Conversion Pct Defense 40th (+02) 38%  / (2%)
4th Down Conversion Pct Defense T-98th  (-8) Opp @ 61%  /  61% Even
First Downs Defense 37th   (+33) 70th
Red Zone Defense T-73th   (+44) 0.84  /  0.94
Total Defense 33th  (+34) 359.8 ypg  / 400.7 ypg (40.9)

73 thoughts on ““Coach – We’re at Bingo Fuel”

  1. I think the other factor is the quality of the QBs and receivers they have faced as well as the teams after six games. I admit it has been hard to watch but the teams we played are. Stronger than last years teams with particularly good passers.


  2. In order of relevance

    1) jimmies and joes — the DBs who have been playing are all the previous staff’s recruits, and all lack speed except for Maddox and Whitehead. It will take another year for Pitt to realize the advantages of the new staff’s recruits.

    2) Xs and Os — (like Fraud in 2011) Narduzzi is too stubborn to compromise his defensive strategies. His stop the run first mentality works well when (1) you have DBs who can cover one-on-one, and (2) you are playing vs B1G opponents who are mostly run-oriented,

    3) the schedule — we have played mostly pass-oriented teams, and some very good ones. We also grab the lead in these games, prompting teams to throw more than usual.

    Lastly, Reed … Conklin is as responsible for this defense under Narduzzi as Rudolph was for the offense under Chryst. In other words, don’t blame the coordinators … the HC is calling the shots.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Reasonable and understandable?

    That odds me doing that of that are like Maddox or Lewis out jumping a 6’3 receiver. 🙂

    I still maintain that JC was brought in to be mentored by Narduzzi so he is not on the hot seat – Hill may be and perhaps should be. The biggest difference IMO is that Narduzzi likes to press the QB with the DL/E and LB and let his CBs handle the WR one on one. That was not the prior philosophy which was more pure zone where CBs had more help and the WR could indeed be double covered on occasion, LBs rarely blitzing. The athletes recruited before Narduzzi are much shorter and they are probably not as fast. IMO dbs can be a tad shorter and slower in a zone oriented defense.

    In the man on the island defense it requires more height and speed for one on one – though simply being that doesn’t account for all – I’m not that dumb (maybe). The player ratings, for what they are worth are far less for the prior HC. We all knew the strength and weakness of the Nard defense and it requires much better DBs and ours are not experienced enough yet. With the Coastal still in play I don’t look for Nard to take the chance on true frosh.

    Although not perhaps as important I believe we are better in turnovers. This defense is a work in progress which should improve significantly next year – if not somebody is in trouble.



  4. I think there are several contributing factors:

    1). Emphasizing stopping the run has encouraged opposing offenses to go to the air and take what is being given
    2). We are playing better teams with more accomplished passing offenses/quarterbacks
    3). We have been more competitive in more games, often in the lead forcing opponents to play catch up. Hence more passing than running.
    4). The new recruits haven’t made it on the field yet, with the exception of JW.


  5. web’s point #2 says it all IMO. Narduzzi plays to stop the run first and leaves his CB’s on an island to defend one on one. The problem is that our undersized DB’s are facing many times much taller receivers and are unable to defend even when they have decent coverage. Many times they are just out muscled for the ball.—-Narduzzi needs NFL caliber CB’s and Safties to really be effective with this defense. Let’s hope he gets those type players sooner rather than later.


  6. I am in agreement on some of the points made above.

    Some of Narduzzi’s recruits have not seen the field yet so what we are seeing out there are Chryst’s recruits.
    College teams are becoming more pass oriented as the rules are becoming more lenient in favor of a passing offense.
    Last and perhaps most importantly, Narduzzi is being stubborn about not changing away from his stop the run at all cost philosophy. IMO he has to walk over to talk to the Steelers side of the facility and get schooled on the Cover 2 zone pass defense along with developing some fast linebackers to drop back into it. The use of four defensive backs to each cover a quarter of the field is clearly not working out too well.


  7. After Narduzzi was hired, Conklin flattered him to death in going after the DC job. “Oh, you are so great, so great, and I want to follow in your footsteps.” Everyone likes to be flattered and admired; Narduzzi bought it and hired an inexperienced DC (from a very low-level football team) instead of going after a proven P5 experienced DC. We all said House was over his head; Conklin is way over his head. Maybe Narduzzi thought he could mentor Conklin into being a really good DC at the same time as being a Head Coach. Can’t be done.


  8. Wrong personnel for the current scheme they are running.

    How many times have they been burned in press coverage?

    The kids on this defense especially in the secondary cannot cover one on one against better wide receivers ADJUST according to the talent you have.

    All of these points are made by the previous posters I’m just chiming in.

    They win this week in Charlottesville.

    Narduzzi and company might have won against OSU and UNC if they would have played maybe a bit more zone with 5 db’s, that’s what is so frustrating.


  9. As far as stopping the run goes(highest priority) if we were playing against old school Big ten teams it would be fantastic. Instead teams are abusing us with the pass. Were 1-1 in conference play, rest of the way teams are going to be throwing the ball big time. GT couldn’t do it because they suck throwing the ball.

    Make no mistake here, this is Narduzzi’s defense and he is calling the shots.


  10. The new kids need to get used to the increased speed of the game. I am not sure in looking at the opponents to see what year their receivers are but I am going to take a guess that they have been starting for a few years (like the UNC WR Switzer that kept burning us this year like he did last year). I also agree on the coverage scheme doesn’t lend its self to helping each other between the corners and the safety when the safety is used as a run stopper although it gets Whitehead a bunch of tackles!!!!!


  11. Wrong personnel for the scheme is absolutely correct. Maybe Narduzzi is saying he’s in this long term and his players will be the ones that have to adjust? The sun will come up tomorrow!


  12. In today’s game corners get beat all the time. Especially when the QB has ample time to throw.

    The thing that is more frustrating are blown coverages when guys are running wide open.

    I think we are more effective in the first half because our line is putting pressure on the QB.

    Our lack of D-line depth hurts in the second half.

    Add to that, our d-backs are average and our linebackers are slow.

    This is why we need to continue to score points throughout the game, while we hope for just enough defensive plays to win.

    Anyone that thinks that Hamlin and/or Colemen will dramatically change the dynamic are just wishful thinking.

    This will be our MO for the rest of the year and probably next year as well, while the young guys learn their trade.


  13. We did face some very accurate passing and excellent receivers for the three game stretch.

    Not many errant passes. Makes it even tougher on the D-Backs.


  14. So I’m with wwb on #1 and #2 points.
    I haven’t seen IMO badly coached kids out there and they play with a ton of heart and fight, but sometimes that’s just not enough against talent.
    The DB’s are just to small giving up 5 to 7 inches to the receivers. NC could throw that TD pass 5 times and we can’t stop it because that kid is 6’5. Some of the catches have been of the circus variety, especially against Lewis I feel for the kid.
    The LB’s seem to be headed to the right spot as coached but are way to slow so when your safety is the leading tackler, it shows to me that he is compensating for their inabilities. Also the LB’s seem to offer no help underneath or are trailing so far behind the coverage that they couldn’t make a play if they wanted to.
    The D won’t improve until the talent, in the form of what’s required for Narduzzi’s scheme, finally get on the field. So burn the red shirts


  15. Lack of the right talent for this defensive system. Maybe we can sneak an extra player onto the field…

    We will be facing some good offenses and experienced QBs in the near future (Miami and Clemson come to mind).

    One things for sure – every game so far has been exciting. I expect all but one (Clemson) of the last six games to come down to the wire. We sure do get our money’s worth…


  16. Our blitz packages have been few and infrequently used. LB’s Brightwell, Bradley and Wirginis have more speed to get to the QB than the starters.

    If that ONE change (LB blitzing) is made against the hoos on Saturday, Pitt wins.


  17. There’s no reason to think Conklin is running out of fuel with Narduzzi. And he’s the only whose opinion matters at the moment.

    Narduzzi was pretty high on him when he was hired, he’s definitely under Narduzzi’s wing and Narduzzi is going to stick by him for this season at least.


  18. Some of the future games will come down to the wire IF and only IF our offense continues to put up solid numbers week in and week out. If any of our coming opposition is able to clamp down on our offense Pitt may well be out of the game before the 1st half ends. That’s telling you about how much faith I have in the Narduzzi/Conklin defense doing any great turnabout anytime this season.


  19. A lot of people want to blame Narduzzi for the defensive struggles and his apparent blockheadedness, but I don’t see what other “system” there is to run. Regardless of the scheme, cornerbacks are asked to do a lot. You could play more cover 2 but that means you are relying on your safeties to defend the deep ball — from what I’ve seen this year, our safeties aren’t great, and certainly not noticeably better, than the corners at that. Our secondary could just give more cushions, but that opens you up to getting ran over, and also opens up the short and intermediate passing game which, in this day and age, most college quarterbacks are quite capable of excelling at.

    It would be really nice if we could find ways to get more pressure on the QB with only rushing 4 guys. That would help the pass coverage a ton. Also, Caprara seems to have a knack for getting to the QB, we could use him back.


  20. Question…is Wade being recruited as a RB or CB?? He is listed at 5’9″ if I saw that correctly… Same issue -short vs tall
    I am a little surprised Duzz won’t adjust system to meet players skills.. hard headed .. don’t think it has much to do with Conklin as he and Duzz communicate when we are on D and probably more so as this season progresses and the poor play of the DBs…
    Duzz needs to take a few Dick LeBeaux continuing ed classes… same defensive philosophy of an attacking the opponent … better results with the Black and Yellow
    Appreciate the numbers Reed… not much change in players skill level … most of the drop in DB production is on the coaches… how many ints in the season?? 2 or three.. how many career ints does Whitehead have ?? I saw one at the Duke game … zone defenses have strengths… why not mix it up a bit…


  21. It’s just purely a “Talent Deficiency” with Pitt’a defense, and that’s all there is to it.

    Great points here that offenses are just gonna score nowadays, and what matters is that Great defenses just force Enough Punts , and are hyper-opportunistic on forcing turnovers (jumping passes for interceptions + forcing fumbles) — anything they can do to help their team win in the end.

    Stodgy Arkansas scored 30+ on Alabama and had like 300 yards passing and 150+ yards rushing and drove and scored on Alabama all game —- but Alabama had like 500 yards of offense, and scored 1 defensive touchdown, to win the game . And that’s two SEC, pure Pro Style power running teams this past weekend. So Pitt needs to beat Virginia Tech , Miami, and Clemson this year with 42-39 , 49-45 , and scores like that because College Football is a “Track Meet” now anyways — the game has evolved and player are so insanely athletic now. Just enough stops — and hopefully opportunistic turnovers to keep helping Pitt by our defense is imperative this season with this current defensive squad .

    @Reed — defensively we are seeing Exactly what fans Knew would happen ‘come-to-roost. Just as we are all know predicting that in the near-future Pitt’a defense will be Lightning-Fast and Scary-Good — we are currently witnessing the Final gasp of the “MAC YEARS” of defensive recruiting.

    Pitt fans were Ferociously Frustrated with the horrendous defensive recruiting for a full 5 Year stretch (!!!) during the ‘Wanny Firing’ – Graham-Chryst-‘Pat Narduzzi Arrival’ window** , and so many clearly articulated that they didn’t know how our defense could be competitive being populated by all 2 star and low 3 star, No Power 5 Offer, MAC Recruits (short memories, SO MANY, most especially @Reed (!!!!) used to complain about this, c’mon! —- so many used to say, 😩 “Oh great, another MAC recruit for the defense😖!!! Lol*).

    😎😎 it’s a genuine and true-testament to Pat Narduzzi being a ‘King’ of Pitt Football — reigning over the South Side — that these kids play with 110% and Narduzzi makes zero-excuses whatsoever about not Winning Now the moment he arrived at Pitt.

    BUT….C’mon, Now!!! :
    Pat Narduzzi inherited all defensive backs and linebackers who would’ve been playing at Toledo, Akron, Central Michigan, and Miami of Ohio if Paul Chryst hadn’t offered them . And yet Narduzzi makes zero excuses which shows Great Character and Ambition in my-book.


  22. Reed… we need a POV film room so we can collectively break down game film and correct our pass D issues…I watch a game in person or on the tube I try to focus on the weak links but the eye follows the flow and soon I lose that focus … case in point .. I think the real weak link in pass D is Webb.. usually never close and a poor tackler to boot when I watch but that is only for a few plays so I could be rushing to judgement
    I haven’t focused on Whitehead on pass D but he a real good “linebacker”
    Maddox plays hard and always is close but no cigar.. he was improving but possibly out for the season..
    Mitchell is steady and I haven’t paid attention to Briggs
    Not much help from LBs in underneath routes .. Switzer and Co eat us up …
    If I could do it all over again I would love to come back as an NCAA Div 1 FB coach making 2-5 million a year and my own film room with a hotline to the pOVers… together we could make Pitt FB great again🏈🏈🏈🏈🏈


  23. I see HCPN in a bit of a pickle:
    If he gives Conklin the boot, the question should be – y didn’t the defensive guru himself step in during the season?
    If Conklin stays, the question should be – is this crap acceptable?


  24. Put our best athletes on the field regardless of class. This is an important game in The Pursuit.

    I mentioned earlier that Pitt needs to get more speed on the field at the LBer spots. On the D line, I think we have our best athletes on the field, except for the injured Hendrix. Next man up, R.Blair has done ok, but needs to get more consistent and play with an attitude.

    In the DB spots, this could be the week we see the reserves get more time on the field. The RS FR Henderson, true FR Hamlin and Coleman could be called on this week. Plus, the coaches were high on D.Jackson during Fall camp.

    HCPN knows how important this game is and he will let O’Canada run & pass freely against a D we should score 40+ points on. They will be asked to eat clock and punch the hoos in the mouth with everything they’ve got.

    Looking forward to hearing about how we improved to start the second half of The Pursuit. Meaning I won’t be able to watch the game live – helping my son and his family move this weekend. No golf or Pitt football…


    My bye week starts early – crush the cavs and make a statement that The Pursuit is ALIVE.



  25. I’m not a 100% sure about this, I’d have to go back and find some game video’s of the 2014 season. But I believe that defense of 2014 played a lot of Nickel defense against passing offenses.

    Conklin/Nard Dog, I don’t believe have used the Nickel defense once the whole season. I could have missed a play here and there with trips to the Kitchen and/or piss trough. (yea I live in an old Drive-In Movie Theatre)


  26. One lesson HCPN could learn from LeBeau …. the zone blitz. (somewhat of a misnomer) It’s when you blitz an LB or two and your DBs play zone. I’m not sure this team has played a zone all year … blitz or not


  27. Never did I think when we hired Nard, that we would have a worse defense than the OutHouse Defense.

    House lasted one season as DC at Fiu in that switch-a-roo with Conklin.

    He landed another job at a P5 school with Kentucky as LB coach. Which of course has a really bad defense. #95 in Total Defense. Worse than Pitt’s at #67. However their pass defense isn’t as bad at #79 as opposed to Pitt’s at #121. But LB’s (which House coaches) are more involved in run defense, and in that category Kentucky’s Rush defense is ranked a bad #90.

    Personally I think they both suck. And how House keeps getting jobs belies the fraternalism ingrained in college and pro football.


  28. What’s truly amazing, is that Kentucky acted like it was some sort of a ‘coup’ to get Matt House. lol

    After Paulie said ‘Nyet’ to OutHouse joining him in Madison. But he did take Inoke Breckterfield,John Settle and several others.


  29. “I’m very excited to bring Matt into the program,” Stoops said. “He brings a wealth of experiences from the NFL and college football. I’ve spoken before about how I like having coaches with defensive coordinator experience in the staff room and Matt has that as well.”

    Yea he was a great coffee gopher for the Carolina Panthers. And oh yea he was the movie projector operator as well.


  30. Ryan Lewis leads the team in tackles and Seun Idowu is 3rd on the team in tackles. Obviously these two players are getting picked on severely. I would say the loss of Lafayette Pitts was borderline huge. Pitt was 23rd in the country in total defense last year, and Pitts is currently on the Miami Dolphins roster. Pitts also was a 4 year starter at Pitt.

    There has also been a lot of player losses on defense. Hendrix, Hamlin, Zeise, Caprara, etc.. and Pitt is thin at lb and the secondary. I dont think Conklin is the problem since Pitt had a decent Top 25 defense last year. I think Pitt is really lacking in talent and speed and depth at lb and the secondary. Losing Pitts and starting Lewis has been a killer. Pitt needs Wade badly.


  31. Yea you’re right wwb….it’s damn ironic. ha

    In his first season as head coach at his alma mater, Chryst led Wisconsin to a 10-3 record in 2015 — a run that concluded with a victory over USC in the Holiday Bowl. The Badgers boasted the nation’s stingiest defense, allowing just 13.7 points per game, with first-team All-American and Big Ten Linebacker of the Year Joe Schobert leading the way with his 19.5 tackles for loss and 9.5 sacks. UW also ranked No. 2 nationally in total defense, allowing only 268.5 yards per game, and was one of four FBS teams to give up less than 100 rushing yards per game.


  32. Nice EE

    They should have had a pic of Ejuan in the Pitt Blue and Yellow uni. Since we just won that big ESPN uni poll.

    Only thing that might stop him from getting national awards is the defense is so bad. Although I do think the defense could improve with Syracuse and Duke in the mix. However Clemson & Miami is too. And Va Tech and UVA have much improved offenses from prior years. We shall see how it plays out.

    I guess if we won 4 of the last 6 and WIN a BOWL, it would be a successful season.


  33. The uni Price is wearing in that pic has some rather mustard-colored yellow and the blue is kinda washed out. The yellow is pretty spot-on to some of the old mustard years. Pick a more vibrant blue and that’d be a hell of a “throwback” uni too.


  34. Reminds me so much of Jamie refusing to go zone for so many years. It is a tool to be used, and worked well at times. Maybe HCPN will learn, but I think he is more stubborn than Jamie.


  35. Reed you are still not adjusting for the competition faced. Big miss as far as this article goes.

    I bet if we had this exact same D vs the exact same schedule in 2014 we’d be equal or better statistics-wise.

    ‘Lanta – see my comment about schedule at the end…


  36. Good point Atlanta. I only looked at 2015 non-con compared to 2016.

    2014 on-con is even worse as far as far worse opponents. And far worse passing teams.

    Florida International

    Penn State
    Oklahoma State


  37. http://www.espn.com/college-football/statistics/team/_/stat/total/position/defense/sort/yardsPerGame/year/2015

    Total defense says 27th in the country. Regardless, Pitt was was only giving up 24 points per game last year. And last years defense improved throughout the season after the Youngstown State game. This years defense isnt improving. And is also giving up 32 points per game. That is a huge difference in points given up. And that is troubling when the defense has 3 NFL players starting with Price, Whitehead, and Jarrett. The secondary is terrible minus Whitehead.


  38. Comparing 2014 non-conference games with 2016, I notice two glaring differences –

    Our record in 2016 is 3-1 vs 2-2 in 2014
    There are 2 P5 teams in 2016 vs 1 in 2014

    Wins matter to me – better stats produced a 6-6 record in 2014 – stronger schedule in 2016.

    2016 has much better potential, with gradual improvement starting this weekend vs the hoos.

    JUST WIN!!!


  39. Sorry that link I posted didn’t go to right page.

    This one should work. (who knows for sure)


    And I agree Anon, this defense this year isn’t improving as of yet. It looked like it did against GT, since they don’t pass the ball very well. But they still scored 34 points and had almost 400 total yards. Again a slight improvement from earlier, but mainly do to the fact GT only threw the ball 10 times, still got 130 yards on only 10 passes. 7 completions into 130 yards = 18.6 yards per completion which is horrid.


  40. We have played some pretty good offensive teams and the defense has been good enough to win all of our games. The offense crapped out badly in the fourth qtr in three straight games. We lost two that we could have won. Pretty much what you hope for is to still be in the game with a chance to win.

    There have also been some really spectacular plays by our opponents to go along with our missed coverages and other blunders. Great throws and catches.

    If our offense stays strong for four quarters we will have a chance in every game. Doubtful against Clemson because they have strong offense and defense, but every other team has flaws, just like us.

    It is too bad that are three toughest games will be on the road making this week a must win.

    Our offense has the ability to get stronger every week, with lots of weapons and new wrinkles.

    The line should continue to gel, Peterman should get more confidence as will the receivers. The running backs are deep and multi-talented.

    The thin defense continues to suffer injuries, Hendrix, Zeise, Caprara, and now Maddox, those were four starters. Whitehead missed a game, another starter. I’d say when you consider all that, we are doing pretty well. Especially since Jarrett and Soto are playing better than most expected. Other than those two plus Price, no one has really stood out. Even Whitehead seems to be having a sophomore slump, although not a really bad one, but few splash plays.

    The UNC game hurt badly because we should have put them away and had four or five chances to do it.

    Hopefully our coaches won’t let that happen again.

    The Coastal really is up for grabs with UNC, Miami, VT and yes we still have a chance.

    But it will be won or lost by our offense, with our defense hanging on for dear life.


  41. Lot of good comments but to make it simple…Vinopals first five steps were backwards on passing downs and Whiteheads are always forward even on 3rd and 20.


  42. I’m not adding anything new but here’s my 3 points:
    a. With our lighter blue unis last Saturday our D backs look like Smurfs! PC’s recruits are mostly tiny. Can’t possibly defend WR’s who are 6’3″ to 6’5″.
    b. OKS and NC are big time passing teams. Hence, much harder schedule for the DBs.
    c. Duzz’s D scheme of the corners going one on one is ludicrous! Watching a Smurf trying to defend someone from “The land of GIANTS” is quite painful! It’s amazing we’re not all alcoholics by now!!!


  43. ……for one more analogy………..it’s like having your point guard defend the other teams Center in basketball. How smart is that?????


  44. What was it Woody said? “When you pass, three things can happen and two of them are bad.” So far our opponents haven’t had the two bad things happen very much (Lewis interception, a notable exception). Things will even out.


  45. We gave up 1,600 yards of offense and 150 points in back-to-back-to-back games in 2014 to UNC, Duke and GA Tech under House and lost all three games. Is our defense really that much worse?

    If Naduzzi has to change his scheme for the DBs, he has to change it for the LBs and DLs, meaning that NO ONE WOULD EVER LEARN HIS SCHEME.

    Chryst & Co won 19 games in 3 seasons plus three bowl games, Narduzzi’s already won 12 halfway through his second season and could have 15 or 16.

    If we want anything resembling what he had a MSU, we would stupid to expect him to change his scheme. If he’s not capable of bringing in the quality players to run his scheme, we would be stupid to keep him as coach through to the end of his contract.


  46. I can’t answer your question about the defense… But what Ido know is…

    I jog the boardwalk along the San Diego coastline a couple times a week in my PITT navy and Vegas gold sweatshirt… and no one bats an eye…

    Today I wore my new Pitt script royal blue and yellow one … And I had people tipping their cap and waving to me the entire time…

    I felt like a rock star!

    We need to go back to those colors full time. They feel good.


  47. I don’t know which uniform combination our team “Eagles” will pick for this weekend, but I do know our Canadian offense can be a big help to our struggling DB’s by eating clock, chewing up yardage and scoring a lot.

    Here are some stats that jump out at me –

    Sacks allowed ranking – uva 95th vs Pitt 8 (The Pitt Oline is protecting NP)
    Rushing D ranking – uva 71st vs Pitt 10th
    Total D ranking – uva 112th vs Pitt 67th
    Passing D ranking – uva 126th vs Pitt 124th (uva’s opponents – Richmond, Oregon, UConn, directional Michigan, Duke) – NOT even close to our schedule to date
    Passing YPG – uva 310 vs Pitt 302

    Pitt’s Canadian offense can run AND pass all over the field, putting up BIG numbers – 40, maybe 50+ points. In doing so, they will keep the uva passing attack on the sidelines. Our D should be well rested during the game, therefore allowing our fresh legged DE’s to pressure the QB along with numerous blitz packages thrown in.

    If I’m HCPN, I let my coordinators throw their entire playbook at uva and look for the opportunity to put my (Duzz) boot on the throats of the cavs. No let up – 4 qtrs of fierce, relentless Pursuit of victory.

    No need for conservative play calling, because no lead is safe. Just look at the last 2 minutes of the 1st half vs GT – Pitt gave up 10 points due to an offensive 3 and out series. Also, NEVER FORGET HOUSTON.



  48. EE good point on pass protection, NP also knows how to get rid of the ball when pressured. IMO Chubbs was the worst OC at Pitt since Ken Karcher roamed the sidelines. O’Canada is light years better than Chubbs. In fact IMO the reason Pitt has taken so long to open up is that last year offense was give it to Boyd and JC/QO as much as possible. The players are just learning the intricacies of a more complex offensive scheme.


  49. It is simple:

    Whitehead is the only DB playing that has talent. Miller, Coleman, Hamlin aren’t ready.

    The teams we are playing are better.

    End of story.


  50. wwb – funny stuff!

    notrocket – much tougher schedule this year – some complainers lose sight of the fact that we have a winning record this year vs tougher non-conference opponents and the 2-2 record in 2014 was against much weaker opponents WHO’S STRENGTH WERE NOT THROWING THE BALL.

    Hammer the hoos!


  51. Re: the difference in schedules between 2014 and 2016.

    Let’s then just look at what we did in passing yards allowed per game in 2014 against ACC competition…

    BC – 134

    VA – 121

    GT – 147

    Duke – 266

    NC – 276

    SYR – 149

    Miami – 296

    This is a 198.4 yards per game average.

    Does anyone on here truly believe we are going to get anywhere close to that for the rest of our ACC schedule? I don’t.

    Against NC we gave up 453 yards guys – against GT we gave up 130 – so in two ACC games we have averaged 291 yards per game – and GT is not by any means a passing team.

    We are going to get chewed up in the defensive backfield for the rest of our schedule. Here is what our future opponents have done so far in passing ypg:

    SYR – 336 ypg

    Clemson – 292

    VA – 291

    Duke – 249

    Miami – 236

    VT – 217

    And that is in playing teams with far better pass defenses than ours. This season we are giving opposing QBs career games.

    I get your comparisons but the gist of the article was that our pass defense is horrid compared to the 2014 one… and even compared to 2015 team when we also had Narduzzi, Conklin and all the current DBs save Pitts and Amara.

    I do think our talent level is low – but I also think you can’t point the finger only at our players for the terribly poor play we have shown. Honestly our talent level wasn’t all that much higher in the last two years either.

    BTW – Pitts was a 3*coming out of HS (even though the link says Unranked):


    And Amara was exactly the “Chryst Type” recruit with crap offers that we are all pointing fingers at now…


    so what gives? Again, it isn’t like the talent level was so much higher in the last two years…

    I certainly think that DC Conklin will last out the season. But if our defense keeps going south the way it is I also think Narduzzi better take a long and hard look at his staff coaches, including first at Conklin) because we aren’t guaranteed to have this type of offense next season. With a new QB and possibly two of our three best running backs gone (I think Ollison will transfer and Conner might declare) our scoring will most probably go down.

    College football loves trends and right now our passing and scoring defenses are on a two year death spiral – one way to stop that is by changing coaching.


  52. For one thing… there is more to pass defense than the DB’s. How about the LB’s?? They are the ones who have been abused the most.

    Narduzzi played some cover-2 against Marshall. They promptly ran the ball w/ ease. There is more to it than “recruit DB’s!!!”.

    Reed – look at espn3 replay of the GT game. There was a clock-malfunction where the clock was stuck at 8 secs. It turned the normal time-out to nearly double the usual time – hence the extra icing of Blewitt.


  53. VA is a must win. After the bye we play VT, Miami, and Clemson in a row.

    Reed, maybe we are giving up so many passing yards because it is much harder to run on us this year.

    When a team can run all over you, there is no need to pass.

    I don’t think our defense is worse or better than last year, but our offense is significantly better.

    Plus, we have a much more difficult schedule. PSU, OKST and UNC in a row, and soon, VT, Miami, and Clemson in a row. Villanova was our only cupcake.


  54. UVa and VT which has been offensive duds the past 2 or 3 years are now much better on that side of the ball with new coaches .. and we haven’t even played them yet. I thought 8 wins was reasonable expectation for this year but now, I’m not even sure about UVa, especially with them having extra time to prepare.


  55. We’ve already seen it doesn’t really even matter if Pitt holds the ball for 2/3’s of the game as we did against the Pedo’s, Okie State and UNC. Those teams still put up HUGE passing numbers and we lost 2 of those 3 games we have MASSIVE time of possession advantage.

    For sure…..NO LEAD is safe with this pass defense. I think they did forget Houston, These kids don’t have memories today, must be all the Dumb Phone ELF waves. ha


  56. After perusing Reed’s list of upcoming opponents passing stats, they have to come up with several new blitz packages. (maybe several dozen) 🙂


  57. I forgot to list Marshall in my little….how Pitt opponents fared thingie I did the other day.

    Marshall Lost to North Texas State 21-38

    I know that made everyone feel better ! (marshall would also qualify as a cupcake, oy vey)


  58. What’s truly amazing even with the horrendous pass defense numbers, horrid scoring defense (#91) and horrible RedZone defense (#117), as teams have entered the Redzone against Pitt 19 times and gotten points 18 times, with 15 of those being TD’s.

    If you threw out the Villanova D2 game we’d be at #111 in Scoring defense at 36.4 ppg.

    What’s truly amazing is if we made 1 play on defense on that last UNC drive, we’d be 5-1. CRAZY Man


  59. What’s truly amazing even with the horrendous pass defense numbers(#121), horrid scoring defense (#91) and horrible RedZone defense (#117), as teams have entered the Redzone against Pitt 19 times and gotten points 18 times, with 15 of those being TD’s.

    If you threw out the Villanova D2 game we’d be at #111 in Scoring defense at 36.4 ppg.

    What’s truly amazing is if we made 1 play on defense on that last UNC drive, we’d be 5-1. CRAZY Man


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