Pitt’s Pre-Pinstripe Conference Call

I’m taking part in this morning’s conference call with two Pitt staff coaches and two players.  It was organized by the Pinstripe Bowl media reps from the Yankee organization.  I’ll try to recap it ASAP so you get it and can comment as fit.

About the New Era Pinstripe Bowl

Established in 2010, the New Era Pinstripe Bowl has featured some of the most memorable moments in recent college football history. Known as “New York’s Bowl Game,” it is played at the world-renowned Yankee Stadium, which is home to the New York Yankees, New York City Football Club and many other sporting, cultural and business events. The 2016 New Era Pinstripe Bowl will take place on Wednesday, December 28, at 2:00 p.m. on ESPN, featuring the No. 23-ranked University of Pittsburgh and Northwestern University.

Participants from Pitt: EJ Borghetti, OC Matt Canada, DC Conklin, QB Nate Peterman, MLB Matt Galambos.

It was the first time I did one of these sports conference calls and I enjoyed it.  I asked three things; here are my questions to the panel and I’m paraphrasing the answers:

I asked DC Conklin about Austin Carr, the Northwestern WR who has 84 catches for 1,196 yards and 12 TD and his being a quick receiver against our suspect passing defense.  Carr is a lot like Steve Largent or other crisp route runners who rely on timing throws from the QB.

Conklin took some time on this answer and while a lot was basic coach-talk about preparation and using the 10 extra bowl practices to get ready.

He did specifically mentioned that they were concerned because Carr is a slot receiver and ‘we’ve had breakdowns with that this season’. 

Conklin also talked about different coverage looks and using more individual attention (man coverage?) will be paid to Carr specifically. He said that because Carr was a great route runner they had to practice especially for that sharpness.

I asked QB Nate Peterman about his season so far, ran through his 26 TDs to 6 INTs and his great QB efficiency rating of 161.2 and told him that was one of the best in Pitt’s history… and then asked if he’ll go deep with some younger receivers to close his career out with a bang.

Nate is not a very good interview and I say that with great respect for what he’s done at Pitt.  But Peterman basically answers two ways to every question – his teammates are great and we want a win.  He goes into no details at all and is emotionless.  He was like that at Media Day during spring practice also.  I should have know that was a wasted question.

“Looking for a win”  “Playing a good team”  “Looking for a win”

I asked MLB Matt Galambos what it was like playing with DT Jeremiah Taleni in front of him for the latter part of the season and what he thought of Taleni’s quickness.  I mentioned I was stationed in Hawaii and my wife was from there so I’ve followed Taleni’s career pretty closely.

He stated that it was fun playing with Taleni and that he had a great 1st step and good feet.  He said that Taleni has phenomenal hands and easily takes two lineman away.  He mentioned the 4th down plays against Clemson and how those two big stops were made by Taleni.

He also said Taleni was a “great guy especially in the locker room” meaning a good teammate.

That was the basics from the Pitt POV’s input on questions and I’ll post the transcript if and when available.

It was lots of fun though and now that I’ve done one I’ll jump in when they have others.  I did leave my phone on speaker and it screwed up the audio stuff at their end – had to apologize for that.  Maybe they will ban me from the next three calls…

I’ll do another article when Scott Barnes actually tells us he’s leaving.


47 thoughts on “Pitt’s Pre-Pinstripe Conference Call

  1. Thanks, Reed. Did you get any sense of whether Canada is happy to be there—or wishing that he was in Baton Rouge already? I hope that he is looking to go out with a bang.

    If Barnes is leaving, he is certainly taking his time to do it. Interesting that EJ represented the AD on the call.



  2. It was hard to tell given this wasn’t a video call but a phone conference.

    I’ll say this – I spent the last two days talking with Pitt fans and some ex-players and no one seems concerned all that much about Barnes possible departure. As a matter of fact I think he’s best served to leave sooner quicker than later since he’s already interviewed with them.

    Turning that job down now- if he does – won’t really endear him to Pitt fans at this point. He’ll go sooner or later; this is what happens and once you show your true colors it is best for both parties to move on.


  3. BTW – the kids won’t be bored in The Big Apple…


    Northwestern and Pittsburgh to Showcase their Respective Universities to NYC

    The two participants in the 2016 New Era Pinstripe Bowl, Northwestern University and the No. 23-ranked University of Pittsburgh, will hit the streets of New York City over the next several days to take part in New Era Pinstripe Bowl Week activities. Special events, promotions and community outreach will take place throughout the week to once again create an unforgettable experience for fans, families, students and staff.

    Scheduled visits to noteworthy New York City landmarks will include One World Observatory, the 9/11 Memorial and Museum, the New York Stock Exchange, Radio City Music Hall, and more.

    On Christmas morning, Northwestern and Pittsburgh will take in the unique sights of One World Observatory and visit the 9/11 Memorial and Museum. Later that evening, each institution and their traveling parties will enjoy the acclaimed Radio City Christmas Spectacular at Radio City Music Hall.

    One day later on Monday, December 26, each school’s traveling party will take part in a variety of activities including ice skating at Central Park and brunch at Tavern on the Green, before concluding the day with a welcome reception at the New York Yankees Steakhouse in Manhattan.

    On Tuesday, December 27, representatives from the New Era Pinstripe Bowl and each institution will ring the opening bell at the New York Stock Exchange. Later that day, Northwestern will visit the Pediatric Cancer Center at Memorial Sloan Kettering, while Pittsburgh meets and conducts a football clinic with local Bronx youth at Yankee Stadium.

    James Conner will be conducting his brutal stiff-arm technique drills to the 6-8 year old boys. Three local ambulances will remain on-scene for the duration of Conner’s visit. Just kidding!

    The night will conclude with the celebratory lighting of the Empire State Building in Northwestern purple and white and Pittsburgh gold and navy.


  4. I think the lesson is that West Coasters have a tough time living anywhere other that the West Coast. Don’t let the door hit you in the butt on your way to OSU, Scott. And. Chancellor Gallagher, let’s hire someone who gets Pittsburgh next time.

    Reed, you know EJ. Can he get the money Pitt needs from the guys with deep pockets? Or, will he be “too familiar” to be taken seriously? Remember the old adage about hiring an out-of-town consultant to tell you what to do.



  5. PmdH2P … saw you consultant comment which reminded me O the definition of a consultant” A consultant is someone who knows 101 ways to make love but doesn’t know any women!”


  6. Absolutely loved the embedded highlight video of this season!!!!
    So many big games & big plays this season.

    Time for the hat big business trip to NYC to bring home one more win and send off the seniors & Conner off in the right way.

    This team just may be blossoming into a true contender next season. So many young talented players were highlighted in that video.

    Whitehead, Henderson, Ffrench, Aston, Jackson, O’Neill, Taleni, Brightwell, etc., etc., etc. anybody that doesn’t recognize what Pitt is quickly building here under Narduzzi is going to get a big surprise next season now that we have Mad Max competing for time behind the wheel!

    Heinz Field’s new nickname for Pitt’s home games next season, ThunderDome!


  7. Dr. Tom – I like the new stadium name – ThunderDome – the place that Mad Max carves up opposing defenses.

    This year’s team was truly senior laden, but there still is a strong nucleus coming back for next season – the names Doc mentioned in the previous post + A.Officer, Bookser, Tipton, Moss, QO, Hall & J.Weah on offense – Wirginis, Briggs, Maddox, Hendrix, Edwards, Blair, A.Watts, Idowu and Zeise, to name a few with game experience. And we now have added an experienced QB to this roster with USC grad transfer Max Browne.

    Now let’s focus on the task at hand, beating the NW Wildcats. My suggested game plan – continue to stop the run (B1G Joke team, ikr) and stop their one WR threat with double team coverage and relentless pressure on their QB. If we do that, Pitt wins.

    HTP and Merry Christmas!


  8. Scott Barnes has left Pitt for Oregon State; I say don’t let the door hit you on the way out. This guy and made zero impact on the athletic program except for a bunch of platitudes and long-range promises that he wasn’t going to be able to fulfill any way.


  9. Reed – PSN is reporting that Jim Tressel is interested in the Pitt AD position. He currently holds the same position at Youngstown State.


  10. BigB—-The other one is the definition of a consultant being “a person who you hire to tell you what time it is, who borrows your watch and then keeps it.”



  11. BTW, this new Florida recruit, Mathis, I just got done watching his HUDL highlight video, WOW. The only reason this kid is a consensus 3* is due to the wealth of talent in Florida at the highest level of HS play in that state.

    This kid’s first clip duplicates the slobber knocker hit that Hamlin put on that poor WR going across the middle into his zone that went viral last year. Plus the kid is a ball hawk who already realizes that you have to look back to make a play! What a novel idea!

    In the WPIAL this kid would be a 4 *, no questions asked. If he brings along his buddy at RB on his Lakeland HS team, named Davis a consensus 4*, then Chi Ching, Florida Jackpot hit!


  12. Doc T. I agree with the Mathis review. AJDavis looks awesome too. Recruiting momentum continues and with a couple more nice verbals, we may hit the high 20’s in the ranings. I am going to go out on a limb here. I think Donovan Jeter is going to flip….again. Hopefully, Narduzzi stayed on him. Here’s why. Michigan just received a verbal from a state of Michigan 4 star DE with bigger size than him. This makes 8, that’s right….8 verbals for Michigan on the DL so far. This is quickly turning into an Alabama scenario where you can get lost in the shuffle….quickly. It will depend on where he falls out on that equation.

    Michigan, OSU and Dairy are running the biggest scam in college football. What other schools have guaranteed five victories in conference play with another guaranteed 3 victories out of conference? At that point, they only need to play .500 ball against good teams to get 10 wins.

    But I digress. Keep going after those recruits Coach. Close out strong! I love Tressel as a candidate. He is a great fundraiser and will help recruiting. He doesn’t break the rules like many believe. Youngstown ties!! Go Gallagher! I think EJ not going to another program for a couple of years hurts his chances. He should leave while you get a Tressel for a couple years and then come back with new ideas from a different place. Just a suggestion. Not personal because I don’t know him or his work.


  13. Hey Dr Tom, who’s the oriental play by the name of Chi Ching and how many stars is he? 🙂

    Huff, Liking the Tressel option as well. May be it will help Narduzzi to feel even more at home in Pittsburgh?

    I heard that EJ may not have AD aspirations?? courtesy of old man Zeise


  14. I know the media obviously doesn’t like it (just like they don’t like closed practices), but I kinda like the fact that Peterman gives a bad interview. The last thing you want your players to do is blabbering so much and letting something slip that becomes bulletin board material for the other team, or gives hints to parts of the game plan.

    Frankly, I wish more athletes had an approach similar to Peterman instead of trying to turn real sports into studio wrestling.


  15. Newbk – no, it should be the opposite. I can’t get that recording but on the Pitt athletics website there are hundreds of videos with players’ interview and almost all of them give clear and insightful answers to questions.

    Matter of fact I can’t remember even one Pitt player who gave out public bulletin board material.

    Peterman is just extremely short and repetitive in his answers.


  16. I don’t think Pitt got pissed on, I think Pitt got lucky. In 18 months this guy showed nothing, not one ounce of creativity or change.
    Tressel is apparently reaching out to Pitt, nothing like Pitt begging for a Miller.

    All I remember about the scandal was guys (Pryor) trading gear for tattoos. Tressel is the President of YSU, so obviously some administrative and fund raising talent.

    This guy would be a home run, he has the rep and gravitas to really get things done. Make EJ an associate or assistant AD and give him more responsibility if you think he could do the job one day. Tressel would love to make the ACC and Pitt competitive with the B1G. If he really is willing to be an AD instead of a College President, I would say he still has some fire in the belly and a lot left to prove.

    Certainly a great mentor for Narduzzi, and used to playing with and beating the big boys.

    Comment by gc 12.23.16 @ 11:20 am

    link to en.wikipedia.org
    Maybe too good to be true.

    Comment by gc 12.23.16 @ 11:25 am


  17. Hah. At some schools (like the one in State College), we know that the AD is way more powerful than the President. Almost as powerful as the Football Coach.



  18. Hey ike, I realize who’s headed to the White House but please a little political correctness, it’s still “Asian” as the preferred identifier. Back on task, ChiChing is a high four start free safety from Miami’s ChinaTown that will do you harm, longtime,,, you come into his zone. “Easy $$$”! LOL


  19. gc – I understand from attorneys I work with that Mr. Tressel was found to have lied to a grand jury during the tattoo scandal. Thats not a minor matter. YSU embraced a prodigal son, for reasons that benefited both parties. I wonder how the Penguin faithful feel about the news.

    It would certainly be a bold move to hire him, but one has to wonder if the Pitt’s BOTs would be comfortable doing that.


  20. The scandal started small but in the end it stretched back to 2002 when Tressel first learned of it and covered it up. It was pretty big time by the time it was over. Getting tattoos and selling merchandise doesn’t seem like much but the tattoo parlor owner was a big time drug dealer.. Covering up illegal conduct ….hmm ….well at least it wasn’t a pedophile. IMO I don’t see Pitt willing to take on a 64 year old man who was suspended as a coach till 2017 which isn’t here yet. Lose the high ground there. You would think he could make more as an HC so is it in for a year and gone? Sometimes the sparkly shining gem turns out to be a blood diamond. Just don’t see them taking a chance but it wouldn’t be the first time I have been wrong. Wearing a sweater vest doesn’t make you Mr. Rogers; myself I wanna stay out of that neighborhood. 🙂
    HAIL TO PITT (not tosu)


  21. Trib’s Jerry DO REPORTING THAT retired Randy Jul is heading the search committee to replace Herman. Also, they are again using DHR search firm to assist. They will begin to appoint members of the search committee.

    I recommend UPITTBASEBALL to that committee. That way he’d have to blow smoke up our next AD’s butt for as long as he served. And it’ be fun to see what nickname he’d come up with for his appointee.


  22. I would think Pitt would be wise enough to stay clear of an old retread with a shady past. Jim Tressel, are you kidding me?, Jim Tressel?, are you kidding me? Jim Tressel?………………….


  23. Living in Columbus, I am very familiar with the Sweater Vest and Tattoo Gate. The pressure on a hc here is beyond comprehension. I don’t condone what he did but understand what motivated him. He won’t have that pressure at Pitt and I think he would do a great job…if he stays.

    BigB-As the once great comedian Emo Phillips said, “I learned about women the hard way. From books.”


  24. gc he wasn’t prosecuted because of his stature and it didn’t involve kids; only a drug dealer. Remember Johnny Football signing his shirts, footballs and the like – this is something the NCAA can and will discipline. They were out of their league on a crime as heinous as that at Ped State. He hid misconduct severe enough to have games taken away and get suspended from coaching for 5 years by the teethless NCAA. The law does not distinguish between perjury as to its importance but most head prosecutors – DAs AGs are politicians and susceptible to pressure immense in Ohio on this one. In this case they would have been burned at the stake. Heck the AD joked he couldn’t fire him because the University President would fire him. Then they both got fired and deservedly so. You sound like a Nitter and you have no horse in the game. 🙂 NIce to hear from you Ohhow but he covered up a crime for at least 10 years, lied to a grand jury and was suspended and the team forfeited wins. Pitt will not take on this radioactive mess; at least that’s one person’s opinion. gosh he is 64, 6 years older than Majors 2. With all due respect Tresselites it aint gonna happen – don’t marry the first girl you see.
    Pittman LMAO; maybe Mora will be on one of the many lists floating about. F*ck Fred Rogers.


  25. Clearing things up a bit from where I stand on a new AD. I think Tressel could be good from a fund raising standpoint but he’s far from what I would like to see in reality. I stand firm on a PITT man of some sorts and a tough manager to rise up and give his opinion concerning PITT’s best interests. That’s all……ike



  26. Look, Tressel just came out of his 5 year ncaa show cause freeze a week ago. He would be great for Pitt Football. He would be great for Coach Narduzzi for several important reasons. Number one as a Football Coach mentor. Second, as a fundraiser. Tressel and Dantonio are best of friends. They have golfed together in the off season many times in Michigan with Dantonio playing out of a MSU golfbag and Tressel with an OSU bag. Dantonio is probably pushing both Tressel and Narduzzi together and wanting it to work….for both of them.

    This is not a reputational nightmare fellas. He is a sitting college President. Ken Starr was a sitting college Prresident and look what he did and he had nothing to do with a prior life in sports. Tressel has one goal in mind and that is to fix any negatives that people have towards him. The negatives are not that bad, they just aren’t in todays terms. EJ can run the other sports as he works toward succeeding Tressel in 5 years. It’s a succession plan.

    Usually I am very conservative because in my line of work I get universities and athletic departments out of the crap they got into. But this seems really different to me. Can’t explain it.


  27. Reed – in case you missed Jerry D’s Trib article yesterday on NP –


    In the article he points out that The Jester was ranked 2nd in the nation for yards per CATCH (ikr) at over 24.

    This O has so many weapons this year – we lose three going into next season – NP replaced by Mad Max or MacPitt, S.Orndoff replaced by Chris Clark or Reeves and James “the beast” Conner’s replacement is hard to figure out. While the stable is full of horses, which one is primed to take the big stage.

    Moss – looks ready, but currently on the injured list.
    Hall – has yet to perform at a high level, but he is from Youngstown.
    QO – the fans have confidence in him and want to see more – not so much with the coaching staff.
    Whitehead – flashes of greatness, but needed on D?
    Ibrahim – since the Achilles injury, not the same player or needs more time?
    K.Pugh – worth a look if none of the above rise to the needed level? or is he needed on D?
    Sibley – new to the team, but he seems like a 4 star stud.

    Ffrench – does he ffit better at the RB position or is he a multiple position, 2-way player?

    George “the animal” Aston – is he really a FB? – only two FB’s on the current roster.

    I’m excited for the bowl game vs NW. Beat them and Pitt is 2-0 vs the B1G Joke conference.



  28. Tressel would be a great hire.. he has his worts like all of us, he made a mistake ( relatively minor comparatively speaking) and paid the price… he’s light years better than SPedeman and Would be more committed than Barnes


  29. While I agree that Pitt won’t hire Tressel because of the scandal. He certainly has the background, skills and experience to run the program. As far as his age we just hired a 70 year old to run the country.

    Plus the guy really wants the job, not a stepping stone.


  30. What a joke the NCAA is Tressel can’t coach for 5 years, but nothing on UNC where kids were not required to go to school, Pitino is still coaching where recruits and dads were given hookers, Boeheim is still coaching. Penn State got a reprieve after threatening law suits. Franklin gets out of Dodge after a rape scandal. Calipari still coaching and getting one and dones after his two previous schools vacated all of their wins.


  31. So, let’s see: Jim Tressel – horrible hire, lousy background, and we hate Ohio State.

    Great football background, b1g buddies, University president with mega Ohio contacts would be great for our recruiting in that fertile talent area, AND raising $$$.

    Sounds like this could be the Supreme POV selection – we could argue this AD choice ad infinitum!!

    AND, I can’t wait for UPitt’s nickname…..I’m sure it would be more original than something sweater vest oriented!


  32. Erie – I’m working on a piece now talking about the difference in the passing game between 2015 and this season. I had written 3 or 4 different articles before the saeson started stating that we’d be OK (actually better off) without Boyd because he was like the elephant in the room and Chaney called his number way too many times without spreading the ball around.

    Everyone – here and in the media thought I was crazy and one media outlet even linked to one of the articles and made fun of it… but I stood by that then and I think it was true as we saw.

    Well, Canada did just that – spread the ball around to the receivers on purpose and Peterman had a great year. Really – a very good one.I do believe, as good as Boyd was in ’13 and ’14 we didn’t miss his work from ’15 at all.

    As far as the rest of your list it’s good – but I put zero stock in recruits, no matter how many stars they have, until they actually get onto the field and play ball – so I’m not excited about Sibley that much. Looks good and Narduzzi plays his recruits ASAP over others (which is one reason we saw Moss and Hall rather than the better Ollison).


  33. FWIW – the CBS pundits are picking NW to beat Pitt (5 of 7 picked NW).

    The media in general has a high opinion of the B1G Joke conference – we need to pour on our potent offense early and never let up until the final gun sounds and we have pounded NW into the loss column.


  34. Big Joke gets too much respect. I like many others though Pitt’s passing would be better this year. More distribution and a more seasoned QB. Boyd was very good but made the ‘O’ one dimensional.


  35. I would be a fan of the Tressel hire. You want a sports program that is nationally relevant? Tressel is your pick. He’s paid for his sins and frankly they are minor compared to what schools are getting away with by the NCAA today.


  36. Schools need to separate from the NCAA. It serves no purpose but to enrich themselves. They are hypocrites putting it nicely. If schools truly value student athletes, the NCAA should be abolished. The NCAA is no different than a Southern plantation owner from the 1840’s. We need to burn down the House.


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