POV: A Winning Season; A Lost Opportunity

Our sports historian friend John Baranowski has submitted this opinion piece on Pitt’s 2016 regular season for our reading enjoyment…

Pitt football fans will tell you that the 2016 season was a successful one, and in many ways it was. An optimist will also tell you that Notre Dame is the best 4-8 team in the country. However, the 2016 season for Pitt football, despite its apparent success, was also one of lost opportunity.

Pitt had their most prolific scoring season ever, scoring a school record 508 points which averages out to be a record 42.3 points per game. That equates to the 10th highest nationally in 2016. Yet in a season where Pitt beat two current top five teams and never scored fewer than 28 points in a game, we somehow managed to still lose four games and give up 427 points, the third most in school history with the Pinstripe Bowl yet to be played.

The 427 points surrendered is third highest in Pitt history behind only 1992 when 429 points were given up in that 3-9 season, and in 1996 when 430 points were allowed in a 4-7 year.

Pitt held only three opponents to under 30 points this season (Villanova seven, Duke 14, and Marshall 27). Surrendering 39 points to Penn State and 43 points to Clemson is somewhat understandable but 61 to Syracuse? By comparison, in 2015, Pitt held eight of their opponents to under 30 points a game.

How bad was Pitt’s defense this year?  Pitt is currently ranked 98th in total defense. Rutgers is 96th… yes, lowly Rutgers. Pitt’s defense is 109th in scoring defense and 127th in passing yards allowed out of 128 teams. Only Arizona State with 357.4 yards per game surrendered more passing yardage than Pitt’s 343.1 ypg.

It’s hard to fathom Pitt’s defense being worse than teams in the Big 12 Conference where it seems defense is optional. If one didn’t know better one might think Pitt was auditioning to become a Big 12 member. 

Here are some of the negative numbers that Pitt’s defense allowed their opponents: 

Penn State 332 yards passing; Oklahoma State 540 yards passing and 640 yards of total offense; North Carolina 453 yards passing; Virginia Tech 406 yards passing and 556 yards of total offense.

But wait! There’s more.

Miami had 356 yards passing and 534 yards of total offense; Clemson 580 yards passing and 630 yards of total offense; Syracuse 440 yards passing and 668 yards of total offense.

Judging by those numbers it’s hard to believe that Narduzzi was a highly regarded defensive coordinator at Michigan State before becoming Pitt’s head coach. Last year in the Military Bowl, with a month to prepare for Navy’s offense and having faced a similar style Georgia Tech offense earlier in the year, Pitt’s defense surrendered 417 yards rushing and 590 yards of total offense while losing 44-28.

Only a year earlier with plenty of time to prepare, Narduzzi’s highly regarded Michigan State’s defense surrendered 603 yards passing to Baylor in the Cotton Bowl.

Editor’s Note: The above is John’s take on the situation and  I pretty much agree.  One point fans are making in reference to the subject of John’s last two paragraphs  is that Narduzzi “needs time” to get his own players on the field on defense.  But shown below are what Pitt’s last three HCs did with their inherited defenses in their first two years… using other coaches players:

 

xxxxxxx

Here are some links other articles John has written for Bleacher Report…Thanks John!

http://bleacherreport.com/articles/1443182-pitt-football-begin-plans-on-an-on-campus-stadium

http://bleacherreport.com/articles/1611967-pitt-footballs-spring-game-nine-ways-to-improve-it

http://bleacherreport.com/articles/1681440-pitt-band-should-dot-their-i-and-cross-their-ts

http://bleacherreport.com/articles/789636-announcing-the-pittsburgh-panthers-all-time-football-team

 

46 thoughts on “POV: A Winning Season; A Lost Opportunity

  1. Here we go, once again, we must as Pitt fans do the requisite article necessary to dissect the obvious soft under belly of this flawed football team. Why? Because Pitt fans love to focus on what makes us miserable!

    Just rewatch the final drive of the UNC game and right there is the Panthers Achilles Heal is on full display a microcosm of our sea son right there. Three 4th down conversions. Trubisky’s perfectly executing throws, picking apart a Pitt secondary that just couldn’t stop a game winning UNC drive, losing with a one handed grab by the UNC WR in the end zone with two ticks left on the clock.

    This was the closest I’ve ever come to going home and burning all of my Pitt gear in a SOP BONFIRE in a “never ever going to another Pitt game temper tantrum”, I was so frustrated watch that game in person!

    Thankfully, I was on a week long road trip that kept me from home for just enough time to get over my funk from that terrible loss. Thanks so much for reopening that wound and applying a nice layer of salt on that gash to make me feel all warm and fuzzy during the holidays.

    Please, please, please, promise to run this same opinion piece at the end of next season!

    Until then let me drop these names on you to watch for the next season. Jackson, Coleman, Miller, Campbell, Hamlin & maybe even Ford or Gardner. Yes, I’m in that contingent of, “wait until Narduzzi gets his guys in there”.

    Remember last year’s main worrying point? How in the world are we going to replace Tyler Boyd’s production? And we barely even considered the most Moncton of losing a very reliable TE with JP Holtz also graduating. Yep, get back to me next year on this one. Mark my words those names I mentioned, transform this Pitt secondary next season. We have hit bottom this year, we have to be better next year for sure. But we won’t just be better, there will b a metamorphosis next year. Like I said, Mark my words.

    Like

  2. What was the opportunity that was lost? Was it the opportunity to win the Coastal? Virginia Tech did that and they came in to Heinz Field and beat us. In that game, I saw our DBs in position and their receivers just make the plays. To paraphrase Alan Saunders from PSN after the game: “there is no defensive scheme in which you can put guys in places where they’re supposed to be, have them not make plays and that works out OK for you.” So, I’d be more inclined to agree with the argument that an upgrade to the secondary talent is the biggest key to improving the defense.

    You can’t look at things in isolation, you have to look at the whole. There is only part of the team on the field at a time, but it is a TEAM game. For instance, in the Syracuse game, the defense was absolutely gassed from how quickly the offense scored. And while Syracuse isn’t great, they aren’t Villanova either. The Baylor game doesn’t change the fact that MSU’s defense was ranked in the Top 8 nationally (and a nationally relevant team) the 4 years prior to Narduzzi coming here (or that MSU is now 3-9 only two years after he left), nor does pointing out the yards given up change the fact that we actually won 8 games (so far) this year.

    I guess I’m not sure why the continuing harping on defense stats. I haven’t seen anyone argue that the defense doesn’t need to get better. The optimists are looking at the big picture and see a fundamental change from what has come before and think this team is going to pretty successful in the near future (and point to already tasting some of that with two victories over two P5 conference champs). The optimism isn’t baseless.

    Finally, just want to say a big THANK YOU to Reed, the guest writers and all the commenters for an insightful and entertaining blog! Merry Christmas, Happy New Year, and H2P!

    Like

  3. Thanks John, very well researched and written article. Myself’ I have given Narduzzi leeway but after two years I have formed my own opinion on his vaunted defense. Two guys on an island wont work in todays world for NCAA football where the forward pass rules and holding (to protect QBs) is rarely called. There are several reasons that I believe will doom it to failure more often than not. First there are the players. While some hold hope that when he gets his players all will be well, this ignores his defenses at Cincy and MSU until he had a unique group of athletes. This was somewhat catching lightning in a bottle. Second, if you watch enough college football, the pass defense is called way too close on the defense – legitimate fights for the ball will draw a flag more often than not. That is assuming your DBs turn around to look for the ball. Fans want passing offense and they will get it. Under this one- on- one defense on wide-outs is an invitation for yards and points. To the extent this defense would have been more effective, that time has passed. Very good and great coaches adapt. Time to adapt.

    One thing I do agree with Narduzzi is that there should be constant pressure on the QB. Keith Patterson, Fraud’s DC and actually a nice guy, when I met him and in discussing defensive philosophies mentioned Wanny would go into a shell in the second half and not pressure the QB with blitzes and the like, told me that if you let a well-coached D1 QB sit back and go through his reads he will burn you all day. Getting better pass rushers at LB and DL is one area new recruits can help. I would like to see Nard at least modify his defense, even play to play, to use the safeties to go in and out of run support and zone. Keep the offense guessing. The second thing I observed is that while you wouldn’t notice from the Syracuse Score-o-Thon; there should be two corners listed as 1 and 1A on each side. One should not take more than 60% of the defensive snaps. One person cannot constantly and consistently perform with pass after pass coming their way. They need breathers and perspective.
    HAIL TO PITT and thanks again John.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Football is not played in a vacuum. High scoring teams invariably give up more points to the opposition.

    Since this was our highest scoring offense, the defense naturally had more letdowns.

    Not saying the D was good, but good enough to win eight games, and I still say it was the offense that let us down vs. OKST and UNC. Once our O got in high gear, we finished very well.

    Like

  5. The reason for still much disapproval over our pathetic D is because THIS Is A PITTSBURGH football team. If you grew up in the Burg, Pittsburgh football is dominate D football. BOTH Pitt and the Steelers historically have shut down D’s.
    Hence, this sad excuse of a defense unnerves us Pittsburghers. It’s that plain and simple!
    Now, if you didn’t grow up in the Steel City you don’t know what I’m talking about. Reed gets it – it’s not who we are.

    Like

  6. Hopefully next years redshirts can step it up to what is expected of this defense. A side note I just read interesting article on Penn Live on 2018 recruits in pa and how or whom they are leaning with or committed to. The top 20 recruits had no commits to Pitt and about seven to psu.with another eight leaning toward psu. A llack of interest towards Pitt. Assistant coach Smith recruiting Raines and he is one who stand Wade to them. He also stated last year they don’t recruit against Pitt for same kids as they are after stronger higher ranked recruits. It looks like he’s right so far unfortunately. Hope you all have great family holiday and enjoy winning in Pinstrip bowl. H2P merry xmas

    Like

  7. Given the points scored by the opposition, I think that it is a remarkable feat for his team to have a chance to win 9 games. H2P always!!

    Like

  8. John, thanks for the article. Only way for the D to is up but his scheme requires a lot of pressure on the QB..which we didn’t have on a consistent basis that should continue to develop next year. I think DBs do get better especially the young ones who got called up for the Clemson game til the end of the season and hopefully, Whitehead becomes more of a ball-hawk. If the offense can continue to produce 4-5 scores a game and the D gets back to giving up 3-4 scores a game then we are set for 9-10 win season in 2017 and recruits will start to come..they are taking notice..and they will see at least 3-4 Panthers get drafted this year. Can’t wait until we own our backyard for WPA’s top-ranked recruits..if Wanny could do it in the Big Easy so can Duzz in the ACC…Growing the fan-base who put their asses in yellow seats would go a long ways in helping recruiting but that we are our own nemesis in that matter

    Like

  9. I appreciate those reading the article and taking the time to comment.

    For those who say wait till Narduzzi gets his players on defense. Did he not have that at Michigan State against Baylor? That defense had All-Americans and future NFL players on it and with a month to prepare they got torched by Baylor. Michigan State’s offense was a balanced attack so their defense wasn’t dog tired.

    Pitt’s defense played fairly well against Georgia Tech’s offense in 2015 and with a month to prepare for Navy’s similar style offense, one would expect improvement defensively. Navy ran up and down the field on them, literally.

    I think if you look at this year, Pitt had it’s most productive scoring offense EVER and there have been some high powered offenses throughout Pitt history. Virginia Tech and Miami had new head coaches after both had down years in 2015 so they have to adjust to a new coaching staff, scheme and philosophy to mesh with players they didn’t recruit. North Carolina regressed.

    Pitt beats the giant of the ACC on the road and despite all of the above, still didn’t win the ACC Coastal. It won’t be as ripe for the picking in the near future not with Miami and VT going to get better and Pitt’s losses on offense due to graduation, JC going pro,and Matt Canada’s departure. This was Pitt’s best chance to win the Coastal since they’ve been in the ACC and for the next few years at least. If that defense had been merely mediocre, they would have. Opportunity lost.

    Like

  10. John..it’s not to far fetched to believe that if MC had been in place for the 2015 season we would have taken the Coastal this year with no defense to speak of..(doesn’t matter how the run defense stacks up when your surrendering over 30 pts/game.) somewhere I read an article where the writer called us a “bipolar” football team …I would agree and at the same time what an entertaining team we had..they had us on the edge of our seats nearly the full year..and that Clemson game will be replayed in my head over and over ands over..WOW what a year for PITT football !!!

    Like

  11. The best opportunity to win the Coastal was last year when all Pitt had to was to beat UNC at home … and to beat UNC, all they had to do was to run the freakin ball against the 110th ranked run defense!! (You may recall UNC’s bowl game last year when Baylor gained about 600 yards ON THE GROUND)

    Unlike his predecessor, new OC Canada proper utilized his resources this year … a fantastic OL, real good RBs and very good speed at slot back. Supplement that with a senior QB and and speedy junior WR who both came into their own with a very good TE. These were mostly gifts handed down from the previous coaching staff (PC) which recruited really well offensively, but but left no team speed at LB and DB.

    That chart above merely shows what the new coaching staffs were left with … PC still had good defenders from Wanny … and for that matter, PC has won his first 2 years as Wisconsin HC with defense … look it up. (Ironically, the DC at Wisconsin when PC returned is now DC at LSU and making $1.8M per)

    Like

  12. We talk about all aspects of Pitt football on here guys – we have 365 days of the year and only 13 games so there will be repetition in a bunch of issues. I think we all have to admit that we’d have a few more wins in the good side of the ledger if we had even a half-decent passing defense.

    The offense was wonderful and what I love about college ball and Pitt football in particular is that the cast and the situation changes, sometimes dramatically, year after year. We’ll see that on offense especially in ’17.

    To clarify my note above- I do understand that a new HC has to work with what he is given to work with – Paul Chryst’s first year was with a lot of good DW recruited players and it showed. Narduzzi didn’t inherit a ton of talent on defense but lets all admit this – that wasn’t the sole reason we gave up 35 ppg.

    In that VT game referenced above our starting DBs were Whitehead, Webb, Lewis and Maddox… the same players as last season against VT except for Pitts. In 2015 we gave up 91 passing yards to VT; this year 406… with one different player in the defensive backfield. Different QB for VT but still… 406.

    I wrote that article earlier that showed how many more yards and TDs opposing QBs had against us compared to their average against the rest of their schedule – it was ridiculous. It was that way with all almost our ACC opponents this season – way more yards and TDs allowed now then last year.

    Things will level out next year I hope. I’m sure we won’t give up the same yardage and points per game. If we do then we have serious problems ahead.

    But can we Pitt fans really look at the defensive situation as a whole and say that we expected this poor level of play – both last year which was mediocre and this year which was terrible – when we announced Narduzzi as the new HC? No, we didn’t.

    He has said that he’s keeping hands off the coordinators and that must be true – I can’t imagine how hard it was for him to see what was happening out on the field and not take over the DC duties himself, or at least weigh in heavily.

    Like

  13. Even when Narduzzi gets his guys and his system in place, and even assuming that it clicks and works as it is designed to (there is no guarantee it will), there are still going to be outlier games where the defense plays poor. So saying that Michigan State’s defense played bad against Baylor doesn’t sway me at all. Those games happen. I mean look at 2016 … Clemson had the best scoring defense in the ACC (at about 18 points/game), and second best defense in terms of total yards (at about 314 yards per game), and their D coordinator beat out Matt Canada as assistant coach of the year. But that Clemson defense gave up 43 points and 464 yards to a 4 loss Pitt team.

    Like

  14. Guys – I am getting a ton of Press and logistical details mailed to me from the Yankee Stadium people regarding game day. I will cut and paste info you may find helpful as it comes in.

    Because I want the ‘pinned’ tread to be our travel and meeting plans I am going to delete all other comments on that tread that don’t pertain to the original intent of the thread – they were good comments and we all read them so they are expendable at this point.

    Thanks – and check the top thread periodically.

    Plus I have one ticket for sale – Sec 233B. Row 10 Seat 15 right on the aisle. It cost $95 but I’ll take what you can afford especially if you are a poor student (seriously).

    Like

  15. wwb, good to hear from you again. Our offense should have beat UNC two years in a row. Last year Chaney passed instead of running Ollison. This year Canada wouldn’t let Peterman throw for the victory.

    If we would have beat UNC this year, who knows, people might have shown up for the VT game.

    Like

  16. I also think the negative defensive stats are inflated by the PSU and Syracuse games where are offense dominated in the first half. Also as has been pointed out, we went up against a pretty tough group of QB’s and receivers.

    Like

    1. Go. If his heart is out west, go. If it was here he wouldn’t even be thinking about it.

      I understand that sometimes circumstances dictate change but you want someone totally committed to Pitt.

      Like

  17. SB can go as far as I’m concerned. He lost my respect when he looked down his nose and insulted Pitt BB fans during that Stallings press conference.

    That showed a lack of leadership, maturity and professionalism in a position that demands all three.

    Like

  18. My vote would go directly to Borghetti. Media Chief is a great platform to spring into AD. Between him and his father they know all the people you need to know at Pitt.

    I’m not saying that as a friend but as someone who used to hire GS-15s on a regular basis… And a SES at one point late in my career.

    Like

  19. He is a west coast guy i expect him to go and yes he is an arrogant ass.

    I have been to a few functions with him in attendance and he is really nothing special.

    IMO Pitt hasn’t had a dedicated and special AD since Cas Mylinski.

    Like

  20. I’m all on board with EJ, his time has come. I ask again though. Can he stand up to the ACC good old boys? He seems a little meek for the lack of a better word.

    Like

  21. I have to say that this was one of my favorite article of my time on the POV. Man, what insight from a very well written piece to all the response posts. I really enjoyed reading all of it.

    I do agree with some that it strikes me funny about the negativism here at the end of a season I view as remarkable.

    About that Syracuse game? That game was completely off the rails. From the back-up QB to the quick scoring and the complete lack of defensive effort it was a bitter disappointment. Maybe it’s not the starting qb at Syracuse (Dungey) it might be they have a great offense?

    About Narduzzi against Baylor. Unlike this year and giving up all those passing yards. Baylor threw at will all year against all opponents. Plus MSU won the game, that’s how Narduzzi operates.

    John, again thanks for the article.

    Reed, you got me all in on EJ as he is a true PITT man by now. I’ll ask again, is he hard headed enough to stand his ground? I have no doubt he knows the X’s and O’s inside out. He’s my man if he can cut the mustard Colonel.

    Liked by 1 person

  22. Agree with Reed and Ike about EJ. I think he has the talent and the interest in Pitt long term which Barnes did not. Barnes lost me as well with his ‘above the noise’ nonsense. He all but promised a Roy Williams stature coach and brought in UPitt’s vacuum salesman. He is a west coast man. Interestingly Stallings in discussing the situation when it originally broke spoke in general about family considerations in some decisions. My guess would be that his wife (wives) didn’t like it here and her family is from the great NW.(sarcasm)
    Nice to hear from you again wwb – pulling the APB I had out on you. 🙂

    Like

  23. Ike, this isn’t necessarily negativism but a recapping and detailed look at some of the problems the Pitt team had over the last year. Nobody is bitching about an 8 win regular season, I’m very happy with it.

    I’ll be even happier when we win the bowl game and get 9 wins. but sports is all about opportunities and plays that capitalize on lucky breaks well.

    Having a defense that was about the worst in the nation, maybe not dead bottom but damn close to it, hurt us and killed what could have been a very special year.

    I firmly believe we could have been looking at 11 win regular season and at 12 wins overall had we had even the mediocre defense we had last year. To me it is inexcusable to think that our defense went from average at best to terrible in one year with basically the same personnel on the field and on the staff that we had the year before.

    I suppose I wonder why more fans aren’t concerned because when you see a downward trend like this it can go two ways in the future; it’s a 50-50 shot whether we’re going to go up or down next year but the deal is we’ll have the same defensive coordinator who has had two defenses in a row that were really are not up to par. Add to that the multiple changes on offense and there are a ton of real questions for 2017.

    Eight wins is very nice but it should have been more.

    Liked by 1 person

  24. BTW folks, this blog is averaging 100+ comments per article… Congrats and thank you!

    Also, I’ll be on a conference call with the Pitt & Northwestern media personnel and coaching staffs along with the Pinstripe Bowl administrators today at 10 o’clock so I’ll let you guys know how that went…

    Like

  25. EJ is the next man up for AD. My question is who replaces him at his present position?

    Also, although both the MSU bowl game against Baylor & our record breaking game with Syracuse both resulted in victories, I liked the way Coach Narduzzi approached the blatant Pitt defensive breakdowns in his post game pressor. No doubt about it winning is NOT everything in his opinion. He calls it as he sees it. He doesn’t throw players under the bus exactly but he isn’t the least bit shy about publicly challenging guys to make a play or simply to get better. When they’re dogging it Duzz will call them on it, just like he did after the Syracuse game.

    What gets lost in this defensive analysis is that the prime directive of, “stop the run” was accomplished by this squad. And this occurred with Hendrix, Jarrett, Soto & Blair all out of action at some point during the season. In fact, two replacements on the DL were the ones directly responsible for stopping that last Clemson drive. It was an epic stop! You go Edwards & Taleni!

    Problem is, that commitment resulted in that “CB on an island” situation that this team is just not prepared to run successfully yet with the current starter personnel.

    I agree that Narduzzi is stubborn. He stubbornly persisted in teaching a defensive system that exposed our secondary all season long. Next year, it will be the same stubborn defensive system in place. Plug in the right players to run the system though and the results are different. Guys like Damar Hamlin & Paris Ford have a ceiling that is far higher than guys like Maddox simply because of their physical attributes. Then when you consider guys like Miller who is 6’3″ right out of HS and this secondary takes on a completely different look next season.

    True, there are a lot of questions to be answered next season but I’m confident that Narduzzi has those answers already in the Pitt pipeline. This 2016 recruiting class is going to prove out to be a really under rated one.

    Like

  26. Dr. Tom – I don’t quite have the confidence that better players will make our system a shutdown defense as you do but I agree it will improve. I just think there needs to be a few tweaks as I listed way above. We all have to adapt in our professions – as junior high student my classmates dad was my dentist and didn’t believe in Novocain. Didn’t go to a dentist for 10 years till I trusted former Ped State OL Dr. Vic Surma ((PItt dental grad) who cared about being as painless as possible – adapt and overcome. (Vic’s brother John, former CEO at USX and VP Ped trustees was the one who fired Joe – boy did they go after that family, both of them).
    Can’t make the bowl game but can’t wait to run into you at a game. Happy Holidays!

    Like

    1. I read a theory, forgive me for not remembering where exactly, but it stated that Narduzzi’s defenses at Michigan State worked because the Big 1o was not a pass happy conference but rather still a run-first offense and the Big 10 has produced very few NFL-caliber passing quarterbacks. This enabled Narduzzi to leave his cornerbacks in single coverage alone on an island without safety help and get away with it especially when he had good cornerbacks. That defensive philosophy doesn’t work against quality passers who have time to throw.

      I’m beginning to subscribe to that line of thinking.

      Like

  27. Reed, agree that we would have won more games with a better defense. In fact if our defense was as good as our offense, with a little luck we would be in the playoff. But you seem to want to blame Narduzzi. I think it is the lack of defensive starting talent and depth. Narduzzi sold out to stop the run which they did pretty effectively. Unfortunately opposition QB’s and receivers made too many good and great plays and too few mistakes. We did not benefit from many unforced errors. We had very few defensive splash plays. this is more on the talent level than on coaching.

    Great receivers will beat great defenders a high percentage of the time. What happens when you have average defenders? Pretty obvious. They get beat like a rented mule.

    While Chryst recruited some great offensive talent, the defensive talent is way below the line.

    I prefer to enjoy the fantastic offensive production we had this year. It really was special, made even moreso because they had to be great enough to overcome a very weak defense, and they did eight times.

    I think they could have if given more rope against OKST and UNC where they went all conservative in the fourth quarter, which also almost cost us the PSU game as well.

    The defense rose to the occasion vs Clemson, against all odds, why not give them great credit for that, instead of bemoaning their weaknesses.

    Like

  28. I’m guessing the Offense may take a small step back, the defense take a step forward with a net effect of a better season if the schedule is a bit more favorable . Gotta get the Miami and NC monkeys off our back!

    Like

  29. John – that that was the basis for a question I asked Pat Narduzzi in the Spring Media Day and he got snappy at me for asking it. Basically what I asked was now that he’s had a year against ACC offenses what kind of a difference did he see between the Big Ten run-first offenses and the ACC throw-first offenses and he told me it didn’t matter, “offense was offense and they had to line up and defend against it”.

    What is very clear at this point over two years now is that our HC &DC head aren’t prepared to handle a opponent who is coming out and throwing the ball almost at every opportunity. They just aren’t.

    Like

  30. The opportunities lost were four games. The opportunities gained were 7 games. The opportunity neutral was Villanova with a slight slant towards gained due to victory. It’s nice to slice and dice a season, but you cannot look back at a game and say it was an opportunity lost. One play doesn’t win you or lose you a game. I am sorry. It just doesn’t work that way.

    Every play dictates the next call. An opening kick-off fumbled and returned to the 5 yard line puts an offense in trouble out of the gate. The play call becomes more reserved. Conversely, the defense plays more for the run, knowing that the field position dictates a more safe offensive play call. That scenario gets played out 75 times a game on each side. Fans tend to remember the big exciting plays and not the time place and circumstance for every play.

    Every play is an opportunity to win, lose or draw. Each play dictates the next until the game is over. We can complain about the 4th down makes by UNC on the last drive, but the offense can say we never should have been in that position had we done this on play 10 of the game etc. Every play is an opportunity. Every Game is not! The game is a result of every play and who won each play, not the other way around. I think we won more plays than we lost this year. It’s just that in the games we lost, we also lost some really big plays that were set up from prior plays that we may have won or lost.

    Alrighty then. Time for some more egg nog!

    Like

  31. What happened to the illegal formation on UNC’s last second TD pass? How’s that a lost opportunity? Lots of stuff goes on during these games, some good and some not so good.

    Like

  32. Okay, everybody eat some mushrooms before reading this.

    ike, it doesn’t even get to that point if we made a play before that, or the play before that, etc.Each play is its own opportunity and changes the decisioning on the next play. There were half a gazillion points scored over 160 plays. Every play matters and effects the next choice/outcome.

    In baseball, if you make two errors and give a team two extra outs in the 8th inning, it might cause your starter to have to throw 18 more pitches. As such, he gets pulled in the 9th and the reliever gives up a walk off homer after striking out the first two guys he faced in the 9th. He never would have faced the homerun hitter in the 9th if his defense didn’t make 2 errors in the 8th which caused his pitcher to throw 18 more pitches in the 8th to get pulled….. every play is the opportunity! It is what it is! All that stuff that you suggest is correct. Each piece of stuff effects the next…it’s the psychology of sport at its best. We won 8. We lost 4. Solid season.

    Like

Leave a Comment Please and Keep It Civil...

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s