POV’s Monday Morning QB

As I said in the podcast yesterday – it was a strange game to watch.  It is also a strange game to try to dissect for MMQB.  Let’s start with the positives first:


* Nate Peterman’s efficiency in passing.   For only throwing 18 passes he had one of the best days I can remember from a Pitt QB.  Here is his box score:


Notice that his yards per completion were an astounding 27.8 ypc.  That is better than anything I could find in Pitt’s historical records for a QB who threw more than 10  passes in a game.  As always there were some overthrows and some drops Saturday but he has become a real weapon for us over this last half of the regular season.  Here’s those numbers:


In our last three wins he was 41/73 (56.1%) for 796 yards and 12 TDs to 2 INTs… which is a QB rating of 196.1 and is truly exceptional.

* Our receiving corps  – three players; Jester Weah (4 for 99 & 2 TDs), Dontez Ford ( 2 for 89 & 1 TD) and James Conner (2 for 45 & 1 TD) all made the most of their yards after catch abilities.   Weah had a long reception of 59 yards; Ford 79 and Conner 35.

Right there are only seven receptions but they accounted for 233 yards and four TDs… and that is awesome.

* Our defensive penetration accounted for three sacks and six tackles for loss on the day.  Of course when the opposing QB is still slinging the ball for 43 completions, 440 yards and five TDs that positive stats gets a bit lost in the shuffle.

Which leads us to the three negatives…


* Our defense.  Usually in these MMQB segments we’ve pointed fingers at the Passing Defense as culprits to be chastised but today we get to include the run defense also. Oh Joy!

45 carries for 228 yards, four TDs and a 5.1 ypc average isn’t outrageously bad; some teams would consider that an average day at the ball park, but Pitt has prided itself on our run defense up until this game that is.

As can be seen by the total offense and points Syracuse put up, 668 yards in just rushing and passing alone,  you can see why we gave up a dreadful 62 points.

* Our defense again.Half of me jumped for joy with what our offense did [Saturday] and half of it makes me sick,” Narduzzi said. “We didn’t make enough plays on defense. We have to go back to ground zero.”

* You guessed it – our defense. But there is a silver lining to this decripid showing.  It just may be the straw that broke Josh Conklin’s back at Pitt. There is a real, and I hope a strong, sentiment for replacing him at the defensive coordinator position.

It isn’t just Conklin’s work this season that has been poor at best. Five weeks to prepare for the Navy team in the bowl game last year and utterly flopping on the field of play  was an omen of what was to come this year.  Navy averaged 330 yards rushing per game in the regular season and we spotted them an extra hundred to ensure their victory.

Now we ‘ll shift into the Pre-Bowl Game mode for the next five weeks and you can be sure that our almost-nonexistent defense will be talked about, criticized and in case of at least one bowl-bound team who is to be our opponent, slobbered over.

I suppose as Pitt fans we are used to taking the bad with the good; we’ve lots of practice at  that.  But it is a damned shame that an utter collapse of our passing and scoring defenses (343 ypg and 35.6 ppg respectively) had to happen in a year when our offense was certainly solid and good enough to win at least 11 games – maybe even 12.

I mean Holy Hell! Would any Pitt fan have thought that in scoring 42.2 ppg it would only be 6.7 points better than our opponent’s scoring?  That is less than one TD per game difference.  Unbelieveable.

Folks – that has to change and do so before next season or we may be in a world of hurt.  Wishful thinking isn’t enough when you have an average at best defense one year then an absolutely terrible one the next.

84 thoughts on “POV’s Monday Morning QB

  1. I watched Michigan State run Narduzzi’s defense vs PSU and just like Pitt, they got utterly torched… 4 long bombshell for TDs. Any time the Peds needed a first down they threw to open receivers. So how much of Pitt’s defensive problems are simply the scheme???


  2. I am not smart enough to be able to say what part of our defensive problems are attributable to Conklin. I do know that we have a lot of guys who are out with injuries. And, we do not have much depth. So, I see better things next year simply based on having more players (depth) who are healthy, I hope.

    In your list of positives, I think there should be room for Quadree Henderson. That kid is amazing every time he touches the ball.



  3. Positives:

    We had more speed on O then they did on D and it showed.
    Peterman for playing big when it counted the most, 3rd down. He accounted for at least 3 TD if not more (rushing and passing) on 3rd and long.
    Dane Jackson pick six. Outside of the three sacks, it’s about the only thing good that happened on defense all day. DJ is just a couple inches away from being consistently very good. And he could get there as soon as next year.

    Honorable Mention – Seniors going out with a W, finishing 8-4 and cracking the top 25. As a Fan I want to say that I appreciate all the hard work they’ve put in. Even with our swiss-cheese defense this might be the best all-around squad we’ve seen since 2009. They were just a couple of plays away from finishing at 10-2 against the 19th toughest schedule in the country.



    Piss-poor Tackling. Just watched the ACC highlight reel Just about all of those rushing TD’s and at least one bubble screen were on broken tackles. Completely unacceptable.
    Missed XP. Records were made to be broken but not if you’re not strong in the kicking game.
    Did I mention the piss-poor tackling?


  4. Positives 1) offense in general. NP was effective but the best QB performance you’ve seen for Pitt?
    2) agree on WR
    3) gotta agree with Atl Panther – Dane Jackson played well considering how the defense played. In fact Allen Edwards displayed some nastiness which Rori Blair could use a bit more of . Wirginis continued to show there should not be a drop off here next year. Telani continued to show he can anchor the line next year. Very good contributions by the FR and rsFR.
    Negative – defense of course. IMO it is more the defensive scheme than the coaches but I wont be crying if Conk and Hill are gone. The problem I see is that Nard loves his man on the island, stop the run first defense which makes him a ‘defensive genius’. Anybody he brings in will have to coach the same defense – it is Narduzzi’s Achilles heal and he seems too stubborn to change. In two years should he continue recruiting and developing players every year will be a chance to be 8-4 to 12-0. A crap shoot and it isn’t gonna change unless someone makes him.


  5. Conklin likely isn’t going anywhere. Narduzzi has already basically said everyone will be back unless they move on their own accord. If the defense doesn’t improve drastically next year, when a majority of the players will this coaching staff’s … then he’ll be on the hot seat. Everyone gets one more year. Fan sentiment is different than coaching or Pitt admin sentiment …. unless Reed has some inside information he’s not divulging out of respect to those feeding it to him (which he’s admitted happens from time to time), I doubt Conklin leaves.


  6. Seems like Narduzzi has finally been forced to confront what most had acknowledged weeks ago because his offense scored 10 TDs. No credible way to claim the offense needed to do more as he did with the OSU and UNC losses.

    @rkb I agree with you regarding Blair. He needs to be tenacious/aggressive on his pass rush and he doesn’t seem to have done that the last two seasons. He showed more of it as a freshman. In fairness though, I do think Blair has been battling an injury the past few games. Also agree with you regarding Wirginis. Galambos has had some good games for Pitt but Wirginis just seems so much more athletic that I can’t understand why he can’t unseat Galambos.

    Syracuse must have run WR screens twenty times in this game and I don’t know that Pitt ever stopped it for no gain or a loss. In fact Dane Jackson had an opportunity to stop a screen for a loss but missed the tackle and it went for a TD. I see potential in Jackson.

    Anybody notice Ffrench played almost the entire fourth quarter at CB and was only targeted once (I believe) by Syracuse?

    I can’t see how Conklin can survive all this. As Reed noted, there is carryover from last year. The defense this year started poorly in the second half against PSU and only played competently in spurts other than the Duke game. I don’t buy injuries as the reason. Zeise and Hendrix were injured in game 1, but Zeise had never played a down of college defense and Hendrix hadn’t played in two years. Besides that I believe that Zeise and Hendrix won their jobs the last week of camp. I therefore can’t see those particular injuries as being terribly significant to this defensive unit. Caprara was injured in UNC game but returned against VT. Jarrett, Soto and Whitehead were injured in the Clemson game but Soto has played since.

    Watts’ and Hamlin’s red shirts burned but they really didn’t play all that much.


  7. At this point Conklin adds nothing to the program going forward. I can’t imagine what he’s telling any potential recruit about the Pitt defense beyond you may start for me next year.


  8. Is Hamlin’s redshirt actually burned? I thought that I saw someone say that he can still (possibly) qualify for a medical redshirt.



  9. Condolences to those attacked on Ohio State’s campus today. This is nuts.

    ‘Somali refugee student’ mowed down classmates with his car and slashed them with a butcher’s knife at Ohio State University before he was shot dead by cops in horror morning rampage


  10. Thinking Hamlin’s redshirt can not be saved. He played to many quarters too late in the season.

    (Edited as per known policy) I am serious about the no politics on here.

    PITT’s defense had a bigger melt down this past week than usual but I’m wondering about Narduzzi’s timing in finally calling them out. Could it be that he’s been pissed to the max all year but didn’t want to disrupt the continuity of the team? I think that is the case.

    Blair is a known pot puffer, He’s just mellowed out. Although he did get pissed off and whack the QB for a roughing call.

    Tommy MacVittie will be real good……

    ….if PITT can keep Canada around for a few more seasons


    Peterman and Canada, hell the entire offense.. Man are they great!

    A Lopes gets a special shout out. Played well on ST.

    The O-Line. Great protection and run blocking and keeping their poise with all the shifting is truly amazing to watch.


    All defense 1 2 and 3. Tackling was terrible and they were tired. That should be on the coaches but who else to you play?………….ike/waltspappy



  11. I don’t see Conklin going anywhere.

    Unless the scheme is altered (which if they haven’t by now…), I don’t see the defense improving much next year. Not enough talent, depth, or experience yet..

    Looking forward – a lot of arrows point to NYC and Northwestern for the bowl game. I would think Vegas would have Pitt as a heavy favorite in that match-up…. 9 wins in year 2.

    …and just taking a peak at next year’s schedule – OSU, UNC, and Miami all at home… swapping out Clemson for NCST… and after winning in Death Valley vs #2, trips to Beaver Stadium and Lane Stadium don’t seem quite as daunting.

    I still see the big jump in year 4 – but I’ll be optimistic going into 2017, for sure.


  12. I don’t think Conklin is going anywhere until he shows what he can do – or can’t do – with a defensive two-deep that is mostly Narduzzi’s and his own players instead of mostly Chryst and House’s players.

    Next year the defense should be majority guys recruited under the current staff, if you count the 2015 class. In 2018 it should be nearly all Narduzzi players. If the defense still stinks next year good chance Conklin is gone. If he’s still around in 2018 and the defense still stinks in 2018 he’s definitely gonna be future endeavored.


  13. Positives—1) O Canada!!! Are you kidding me?!?!? 76 points against a P5 team is unreal. It was watching a video game.
    2) Quadree Henderson is quickly becoming the next Devin Hester or Deshaun Jackson-every time he touches the ball big things happen.
    3) Honesty–Narduzzi is a stand up guy and saying the defense makes him sick is honesty that should fire up the players, especially the underclassmen to make amends this month and during the bowl game.

    1) Tackling–what an absolute joke the concept of tackling became on Saturday. The defense gods were spinning in their graves.
    2) Fans—lots of yellow at Heinz and it wasn’t folks in throwback gear either. Sad that Pitt can’t get at least 40k for a 8 win team.
    3) The new found love affair with PSU—all of a sudden James Franklin is a genius, Happy Valley is the football capital of America, and the game on Sept 10 never happened. Can Chryst save us from this by whooping them Saturday???


  14. Narduzzi may be trying to go after the elusive medical redshirt with Hamlin if he stays 5 years. Missed first half with pulled groin surgery recovery and missed last few games b/c of current undisclosed injury. Smart move if it works.

    Unless Reed knows something we don’t, I doubt Conklin goes anywhere. He’s out recruiting in FL right now. Conklin is the FL recruiting pipeline.


    UPDATE (11:05 AM)-

    **While at Lakeland HS today, Josh Conklin will talk with a very highly recruited running back. 247 Sports 4-star back AJ Davis who holds an offer from Pitt will meet with Conklin. Davis has 30+ offers including ones from Florida, Georgia, Clemson, Michigan, Michigan State, Louisville, Ohio State, LSU, Florida State, Oklahoma, etc. We’ll attempt to speak with Davis later today.

    UPDATE (9:29 AM)-

    **Pitt’s quest to improve their secondary continues today as DC Josh Conklin will be in Florida talking with a cornerback prospect. I’m told that Conklin I’ll be at Lakeland HS (Florida) to visit cornerback Damarri Mathis, who holds an offer from 20+ schools but is currently committed to South Carolina. 247 Sports rates Mathis as a 3-star prospect.


  15. What is upsetting on defense is that there was no sign of improvement. The technique of backs was awful,and scheme never seemed to change. Add overall lack of speed, you see what we get. With a mediocre defense this team would have been fabulous. The defensive genius let us down!


  16. Has anyone seen a still photo of Peterman flying thru the air and touching the pylon with the ball to score that touchdown? That would have to be a cool looking pic.


  17. Rewatched the game this afternoon. CONCLUSIONS:

    – O Canada game plan
    – The entire Pitt O, remarkable scoring machine
    – The larger logo at the 50 without the lame miniature circle


    Our D. As remarkably good as the O was, the D was remarkably that bad!!! At the least, Conklin has to go, especially with so many proven DC’s available right now from Power 5 programs (unlike Conklin).
    Barnes, for not doing enough to get people in the seats. Why not have adult “dollar day” and kids under 12 “free” for the upper deck???? You lose nothing and gain fans.
    For my fellow POVers who after the game had their heads up their butts trying to ignore how atrocious our D played. It was inexcusable!!!!!!


  18. I would hope that if there were someone available at defensive coordinator or Secondary coach who was interested in joining the staff, Narduzzi and Barnes would do their due diligence to pursue them. I can see not wanting to change anything on Offense, but the D…come on, if there is a proven upgrade , you’d have to make it. Look at the impact of Coach Canada!


  19. Someone has to pay for this D. Conklin for sure. Some players…yes. It was inexcusable. My head was never up my butt. I speak the truth and sometimes it hurts. Lest us not forget, we don’t drink the Kool-Aid here. We are not a cult and can all think for ourselves. It doesn’t crush our self worth when we criticize dear ole alma mater.


  20. Its not SOP for criticizing our D. Its actually not SOP for having a D this bad. And it IS bad. But help is on the way. Very good season by Pitt. Lets hope we all get rewarded by playing a quality team whose ass we can kick. I’d love me some rump roast of Stanford or even Iowa.


  21. Seasonal positives-
    * Tackle lateral .. score!
    * Turtle sweep .. score!
    * Tackle flea flicker .. damn!
    * JC rounding back to form .. yes!
    * Little Q’s returns for TDs .. yes!
    * Motion ’till ‘yer sea sick .. nothing up my sleeve!
    * Clemscum in Death Valley .. double yes!
    Seasonal negatives-
    * 50 – 50 balls .. why is it always 95 – 5?
    * Lack of Big Q when we needed him in some early games (losses) .. why?
    * The total injury bug on D .. we have a good WR playing CB for lack of warm bodies!
    Questions to ponder-
    * Did our D digress because everyone has seen it last year? .. That WILL NOT bode well!
    * Did our HC learn anything this season? .. We all hope so.
    * Will Reed get the pix back from NP? .. We all hope so.
    * Will the Dark Night return? .. We all hope so.



  22. @Tossing Thabeets:

    The CB Mathis from Florida that you mentioned seems to have de-committed from South Carolina. Could be good news for Pitt.


  23. 2016 FBS (I-A) Leaders
    1 Baker Mayfield, OKLA 91.1
    2 Sam Darnold, USC 86.8
    3 Lamar Jackson, LOU 86.7
    4 Quinton Flowers, USF 85.9
    5 Jake Browning, WASH 85.6
    6 Mitch Trubisky, UNC 84.7
    7 Zach Terrell, WMU 84.5
    8 Patrick Mahomes II, TTU 83.7
    9 Nathan Peterman, PITT 82.1
    10 Deshaun Watson, CLEM 82.0

    NP making Pitt proud with a 9th place ranking for D1 QB’s – #7 among P5 QB’s – 4 ACC QB’s in the top 10 with NONE from the B1G Joke conference – 2 of the top ten QB’s faced Pitt, with one a last second winner and the other a loser.



  24. Random thoughts:

    Wonder what Jim Chaney thinks about PITT scoring all these points and setting records? You know he couldn’t have done this.

    Never ever have I believed or subscribe to the theory that a team can score too quick. Until maybe this year. PITT down many players to injuries and the up-tempo game that teams plays these days sure looked like it took it’s toll on PITT a few times this years and none like last Saturday.

    I really don’t think anyone poo pooed the PITT’s defense accountability at all. Yes it was the worst but some like to accentuate the positives as long as PITT wins. Now if they went 4-8 I would be as disgusted as some of you guys. (yes I was being dramatic) Some look at things differently than others though.

    Not sure if next years schedule looks all that much easier? UNC, VT and Miami have their QB’s coming back and they are the teams PITT will have to get by for the Costal division.

    The PITT POV has been a hoot this year and hoping it continues strong through the off season. Use to be a big big PITT hoops fan but Jamie kinda of wore me down. Regardless of who they hired to replace him, he needed replaced already.

    Still didn’t get a chance to meet any of you guys this year and I hope I get the chance next year. I guess there is still the bowl game though. Hope it’s not too far away, the again I hope it’s a quality opponent.

    Recruiting, Narduzzi brought in a very good and under-rated class last year so I wouldn’t be to hard on him until the final letters are in, jus saying.

          till next time........ike/waltspappy



  25. Interesting NFL QB draft rankings

    WalterFootball 2017 NFL draft QB Rankings

    DeShone Kizer, QB, Notre Dame. Height: 6-4. …
    Mitch Trubisky*, QB, North Carolina. Height: 6-3. …
    Deshaun Watson*, QB, Clemson. Height: 6-2. …
    Davis Webb, QB, California. Height: 6-5. …
    Pat Mahomes*, QB, Texas Tech. Height: 6-3. …
    Luke Falk*, QB, Washington State. Height: 6-4. …
    Brad Kaaya*, QB, Miami. …
    Mason Rudolph*, QB, Oklahoma State.

    Peteman number 15 in this list below.



  26. Positives:

    A. Conner’s performance, adding to his ACC TD records.
    B. Winning two onside kicks. Never forget Houston…
    C. Bold, blue script logo at midfield, trimmed with gold. Much improved.

    Honorable mentioned – E.Price, NP, QH and the Jester. The HC finally admitting his D made him sick.


    A. NP missing several wide open receivers.
    B. 62 points scored by cuse.
    C. Carrick 5th grade art class filling in for the Pitt secondary.

    Honorable mentioned – Michigan AND Michigan State losing B1G Joke games.


  27. We are 8-4 and ranked. We beat two top 5 teams. We have the best offense since 1977 and I was in the Vet watching Pitt’s 76-0 whipping on Temple.

    Lighten up. Enjoy this season!


  28. Pitt goes to College Park Md as a 4 pt underdog to play Marylang tonight. Reed we know you live in Terpland, should we “fear the turtle”?


  29. I don’t think the defense has that far to go. (Hold the laughter). They shut out Clemson in Q4, played well the next week vs Duke and played well for almost 2-1/2 qtrs vs ‘cuse … including starting the 2nd half with a pick 6 and a 5 and out. Great performance over those 7-1/2 qtrs. The issue is what happened after that (6 TDs surrendered in the final 1-1/2 qtrs). Lost focus? DC lost his head? I can’t explain it but if it is simply a matter of focus and always playing like the score is 0-0 (even when it’s 49-21 as was the case) then maybe the situation isn’t as dire as it seems?

    Regardless, really enjoyed the year and the time with all of you here. I know I don’t post much but I never miss catching all of your comments


  30. Very interested to see if the Panthers are in the CFP Top 25 tonight. They seem to be squarely on the bubble, with the AP ranking on the high end of results:

    AP: T-24
    ESPN FPI: 25
    Massey Rating: 26
    Colley Matrix: 27
    Coaches Poll: 28
    Sagarin Rating: 28
    Billingsley Report: 28
    TeamRankings: 28
    CBS Sports 128: 30

    To me, this is important. Being ranked increases program visibility and credibility. It gives coaches a bit more to brag about when out on the recruiting trail over the next month.


  31. Lee71, you win the prize for the most optimistic poster on The POV. A hard thing to accomplish with Dr. Tom on the site also.

    Unfortunately you also win as the craziest. SYR scored 34 points points over the first 3 quarters… where in the world can you find any time at all in that game where our defense “played well”?

    This is what having a horrendous defense does… when you don’t play like unmitigated crap all of a sudden anything looks sort of good.

    Anon… I don’t follow BB at all, sorry.


  32. Thanks, Reed, for keeping politics out. Poor tackling after catches. Very poor. On the other hand, what do you think about this take? Syracuse quit playing defense and gave up quick scores in the hope that their offense could take advantage of the tiring and poor tackling and inexperienced Pitt defensive backs to maybe catch up if the Pitt offense faltered once or twice. I was worried just as I was for that Houston bowl game. And what about Pitt losing that point spread differential of 23-24 points. WTF (why the frown).


  33. One thing I’d like to say about the defense. Wasn’t Conklin’s claim to fame at FIU his defense’s ability to force turnovers? We don’t win the Clemson game without the 3 interceptions. Brightwell almost housed his interception that game, and Whitehead nearly had the 100 yard fumble recovery. In the Syracuse game, Dane Jackson had the pick 6, and the Maddox pick 6 at the end of the Marshall game also comes to mind.

    Yes, nobody likes giving up record yards to every QB we play, including Conklin and Narduzzi, but I feel like their ultimate #1 goal (or at the very least, one of their top goals) is to generate these big defensive plays. And not just takeaways that get returned for TDs, but taking the ball away in general — you win the turnover battle (especially by +2 or more) and your chances of winning the game go up a lot.

    When you fail at that, you lose (e.g., the Miami game). Of course, this doesn’t mean our defense needs some serious help. Let’s hope our 2017 defense is much improved. You can’t give up those types of yards and expect to compete for championships.


  34. Reed: ” where in the world can you find any time at all in that game where our defense “played well”?”

    The answer: through the first 37:01 of the game. At that point Pitt lead by 28, the defense had surrendered 3 TD’s but got one back with the pick 6. It’s what happened after that point that was truly dismal.

    So for me the issue is what caused a D that was responsible for a “net” of 2
    TDs (3 surrendered and 1 taken back with the pick 6) and which had played so well in Q4 at Clemson and 4 qtrs against Duke to collapse so epically in the final 24 min of the game.

    I watched the game live and haven’t gone back to see it again but my recollection was a lot of celebrating (particularly by defensive players) on the sideline after Pitt went up by 28 at that 9:00 min mark in the 3rd. I think they completely lost focus and were ready to go party.

    That’s on them and the coaching staff … but it’s a very fixable problem (I hope).

    Anyway, thanks for the compliment. Always happy to be in the company of optimists!


  35. There is no excuse for giving up 4 TDs in a single quarter like we did in the 4th against Syracuse. Giving up that many touchdowns in a single half is bad, let alone a single quarter.


  36. Year three will be a better indicator of the Pitt defense and coaching staff. Pitt looked bad on defense and no question the secondary and speed was below the line. But still giving up 61 to a pedestrian Syracuse is very poor. Narduzzi needs to be clear in his review of all things defense. His “system” was not good enough nor was the talent. But as lebeau knows when you have great players any scheme works. Next year is the year Narduzzi is out of excuses as to his system.


  37. Anon…. I kind of help Reed on the BBall side. Pitt matches up well on the perimeter w MD size wise but will have to play a ton of zone to stop Trimble, the MD pt guard who averages 23 per game. MD is very young under the basket but has 2 freshman centers, both 6 11+ that will give Pitt fits underneath. But…
    MD has no answer for Artis and Young. So… you should fear the Turtle but I think Pitt wins 75-73 in OT.


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