Getting to the Top…

NOTE: this is an article I wrote back in the beginning of September of 2016 and never posted it but it’s something to read that it might be a bit timely now also

I like Chris Dokish’s work on The Panther’s Prey blog he writes. Aside from the fact that he’s pretty much an unmitigated homer it is enjoyable to read and I learn something every time I visit.

He puts a ton of research into what he does and because I don’t follow recruiting much I tend to use his info (attributed). Because of the ‘defection’ of DT Donovan Jeter, a HS star player who Pat Narduzzi had slobbered over for a year, and who spurned Pitt for a quick verbal to Notre Dame, Dokish felt it was time to post an article he had been working on for some time.

It is titled Why Pitt football recruits at the level they do and is very well written.  He mirrors what I have been saying for over five years now in that Pitt is not an “elite” football program.  That isn’t rocket science as anyone with half a football brain can see that we are presently a bit above average program at best. Notice we are talking about the football program here and not a specific team for any year.

We haven’t been in the upper echelons of college ball in over 44 years – since Dan Marino and his 1982 teammates played their way to #10 in the AP poll.

But looking at the future is where Dokish and I differ in our opinions.  Here is something he has been saying for a long time and I’m just not buying that with the right coach Pitt could be an annual Top 10 program. Sorry, but that’s like saying if I pick the exact six numbers the Lotto pulls out of the computer I’ll be a multi-millionaire.  It’s true but the odds of it happening are crazy long.

“In the second group we have very good programs that could flirt with top 10 status with the right coach. That group includes Louisville, Virginia Tech, Miami, North Carolina, Pittsburgh, West Virginia, Oklahoma State, Michigan State, Wisconsin, Iowa, Stanford, Washington, Oregon, UCLA, Arizona State, Utah, and Texas A&M. None of these programs are always excellent, but they’ve proven that they are good enough programs that with an excellent coach they can be among the elite.

Again using Rivals, here are last year’s recruiting rankings for these seventeen programs- Louisville (36), Virginia Tech (42), Miami (21), North Carolina (24), Pittsburgh (26), ( West Virginia (38), Oklahoma State (48), Michigan State (18), Wisconsin (35), Iowa (42), Stanford (19), Washington (37), Oregon (28), UCLA (10), Arizona State (30), Utah (34), and Texas A&M (17).

Am I saying that Pat Narduzzi will definitely do that? No, I’m not. But it’s certainly possible. The level of Pitt’s program is such that a great coach could make Pitt a National Championship contender, if they have an excellent coach. Not every program can say that. The Panthers definitely have that possibility. And if Narduzzi turns into that coach, and if they want to keep the program at it’s newly elevated status, they will need to pay him. All of the coaches in the above programs got raises for their accomplishment. But we will worry about that when/if the time comes.

I have some problems with these thoughts above.  First off – Just WTH does he mean by “a great coach“. There have been two very good – you can call them great – coaches at Pitt in the modern era and they were here for nine years from 1973 to 1981.  As good as Majors, with his national championship team of 1976 and Jackie Sherrill’s three straight 11-1 teams were, in those nine years we ended up in the Top 10 five times.

I’ll say that part again – in the modern era since WWII, in essence the past 61 years,  we have been in the AP Top 5 at season’s end only six times… when you add Johnny Michelosen’s 9-1  1963 squad.

Forgive me if I remain skeptical that we are going to snag a “Great Coach” to take us to the promised land anytime soon – at least take us there and leave us there as perennial top 10 team.  Hell – let’s lower the bar a bit and make it even a constant Top 20 team.

We have a bit better past track record with that having made the Top 20 15 times in the last 61 years.  But really, does anyone really think that 1) we are getting to the Top 10 any time soon and 2) If Narduzzi does accomplish that he will stick around when bigger programs start throwing many millions per year to get him to leave.  Because that will happen.  If anything the one thing we can say about Pitt Head Coaches is that they either get itchy feet or get fired for cause after not too many years.

Here’s what we have in the longevity category as far as Pitt head coaches go:

Michelosen was here for 11 years but he sucked.  At 56-49 -7 he was finally fired.

Walt Harris stayed a full eight years, won a shared Big East Title and was pushed out (fired) to Stanford as soon as they showed any interest in him what so ever – he wasn’t a valued commodity at the end of his tenure here even though he was winning games.

Other than those two no other Pitt HCs stayed for more than six years and only one stayed for a full six; that was homeboy Dave Wannstedt who couldn’t get us into the Top 10 either.  His summit reached was in 2009 when we ended up #15 with a 10 win season.

So how sure we are that things are going to be different in the future? Pat Narduzzi is off to a good start having a record of 16-10 so far.  But I don’t see us getting into the Top 10 with him unless his recruiting, and his football coaching, take great leaps forward soon.  I’ll give us getting to the Top 25 a few times and maybe he’ll replicate DW and get up to #15 once or twice. Hey, at Pitt that is successful as hell and if it happens I’ll be the first to congratulate him!

But where and when is the “Great Coach” going to get here and why would he come here to this particular program? Or is he here and hasn’t hit his full stride yet? Is Narduzzi the coach to get us to the higher levels year-in and year-out?

Let’s hear our readers’ views on this…

 

 

160 thoughts on “Getting to the Top…

  1. Reed – that was a very good breakfast article for me on what will be a busy Wednesday. I was in school when Marino was QB at Pitt. The program had a very good national reputation, what 34 years ago. Expectations were high and Pitt was beginning to “slide” as a FB program, but we fans did not really know it at that time.

    I am from the camp that HCPN is going to be very good, but hasn’t hit his stride yet. He has a lot of things going against him that he needs to break through to win BIG.

    First is a media that is not very friendly to Pitt FB. Coverage is lacking (QH’s season was one of the best, mostly emphasizing negative Pitt news, flagship radio station talking Penguins regular season stuff the morning after a nice Pitt win, to name a few). Pittsburgh area HS players grew up on that media spin and that doesn’t help recruiting.

    Second is that he has never been a HC until Pitt and he is learning on the job. Mistakes are happening, mainly with game management.

    Third is recruiting. His first “real” full year class was last year and ranked #26, but it didn’t get that high until the very end. This year is ok – can he and his staff finish with a flurry and equal or better #26? I think they can…the media scenario has caused this staff to focus outside of the WPa area and that may not be bad in the long run.

    Fourth is money. Losing Canada seemed like a step back, but HCPN said he would find a “better” candidate – only time will tell. The nitters pay Franklinstein $4.25 million per year (that was his first contract – there was talk of a pay bump and extension before the USC loss) and their key staff members are paid well, as psu has DEEP pockets.

    Fifth is a strong leader as the AD – Barnes was interviewing (and looking down at Pitt fans) when he should have been bumping Canada’s salary and rewarding our OC for one of the best performances in Pitt’s history. Instead, he was self-centered and not focused on Pitt’s future success. NOTE: offering $1 million after LSU gave Canada the moon was way too late.

    I could go on, but I need to get on with my work day.

    Thanks for this forum…

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  2. Give Wanny his due. He had Pitt as high as 8 for two weeks in early November, 2009. This may not be a big deal except for the fact that the 1,000th AP Poll ranking came out that week, thus, the answer to the trivia question “What is the only school to be ranked in the Top 10 in the 1st AP Poll (October 1936) and the 1,0000th poll” is of course ‘Univ of Pgh’

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  3. But seriously …. when Majors came to Pitt in 1973, Western Pa was the Mecca of college FB recruiting. And in his first class of 85, most were from this area. This is no longer the case as not only have we been surpassed by southern schools like Florida, Georgia, Louisiana and Texas as well as California … heck, for the states north of the Mason-Dixon line, we (PA) are 4th in the number of college FB recruits behind Ohio, New Jersey and even Illinois.

    Further, as the recent losses of Jeter and Wade showed (as well as all the Central Catholic guys who verballed to ND), we are not even getting most of the quality W Pa recruits. It certainly wasn’t for lack of trying ….. for Christ’s sake, the Pitt equipment semi with all the markings on its side was parked outside of Clairton field during its first playoff game in early November!!

    Lastly, like it or not, Wanny did better recruiting than anyone since the 80s … and how was he rewarded? By having his recruiting budget cut by an AD and Pres who really didn’t care that much about on-the-field results.

    Now, we once again have a re-commitment of improving our FB program brought about by the new Pres, and the exposure and $$ of being an ACC member provides. This will get us to the level where we can compete for the Coastal Division title … but don’t expect a national title soon. (hope I’m wrong)

    As far as coaching longetivity, this is why I was so freaking pissed (edit) when DW was fired … if you go back to the Blather archives, you will see that my big beef was STABILITY. I said at the time, Pitt needed a ‘Don Nehlen’ (WVU) or Frank Beamer (VT) .. they took their lumps but in the end, they were most responsible for the success of the two programs today. Yes, 2010 was a terrible off-the-field mess, but firing a coach who broke no NCAA rules was a bit premature IMO without given the chance to clean things up.

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  4. I want to be optimistic and agree with Reed on top 25s or some years in the teens. I do believe we Pitt has a lot of skill players but what will take the program to those levels is what HCPN brings in on both the O and D lines.

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  5. here is a Trib story by DiPaola on outgoing AD Barnes http://triblive.com/sports/college/pitt/11726470-74/barnes-pitt-state

    Here is how the article ends:

    On the matter of Heinz Field attendance, Barnes admitted to being “puzzled” by the crowds of fewer than 40,000 after Pitt’s upset of Clemson, considering the record sale of season tickets.

    “One of things I learned coming in here is they love champions,” he said, noting Pitt is on the right track but hasn’t yet arrived at that level.

    “It’s a program that had been mediocre for a while. People are still wait-and-see on can we sustain.”

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  6. Top 25 every year, occasionally hitting the top ten with a conference title game here and there.

    That is reasonable expectations for Pitt. Wining the F-ing bowl game would have started the top 25 finish this year, Narduzzi failed miserably on that one. It would have been a huge building block.

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  7. Barnes better count his blessings. Everyone goes through family issues and rarely does the average Joe get to switch jobs and freaking move with such ease. So easy for him it is f-ing ridiculous.

    More power to him, he picked a profession where jumping job to job is the norm and loyalty is nonexistent.

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  8. I’m taking a small break for coffee and I found this on an AD search –

    Texas: The Austin American-Statesman reports Texas’ AD search won’t begin until spring, but the school has “started to kick the tires” on potential candidates including former West Virginia AD Oliver Luck, Kansas State’s John Currie, Arizona’s Greg Byrne, Oklahoma’s Joe Castiglione and Virginia Tech’s Whit Babcock. The paper adds Texas is exploring consolidating the AD positions into one role and moving women’s AD Chris Plonsky to a marketing position.

    Everything is BIG in Texas…

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  9. The only people who can control out of control college FB are the college Presidents. They love the attention and money. Hopefully the cash cows of attendance and TV money dry up. The kids need to unionize and stop their schools from using them as advertizing assets. In the meantime we need keep our coach and win.

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  10. Texas Yuge.

    Also drinking coffee and wwb’s link caught my eye for another reason. Who does Barnes think he is? ” Barnes has fielded inquiries about the job, and he said he will pass along the best fits to the university search committee and DHR International, a firm that helped recruit him to Pitt in 2015.” Who is he to sort out the inquiries based on what he thinks are “Best fits”? Add onto that he will refer his “best fits” to the search firm that hired him. Cronyism lives.

    Barnes you left, hasta la vista. You should pass on every inquiry to Juhle period, including Upitt’s. This is such a huge conflict of interest to use the firm that picked him and forward only those he thinks are “best fits” ie cronies. Remember the stink about using the firm to hire Stallings that created all the ‘noise.’. This stinks. Cronyism must die and die now.

    Go to Oregon State now you big headed baboon, you can fly back to see your son play on senior night. Good riddance from the ‘noise’ below.
    PITT GROW A PAIR.

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  11. Top 25 finishes are exactly what propels recruiting. A coach can say to a potential recruit, “look, we finished # 24 last year without you. When you sign and if you can help us sign Joe Shmo here, we should definitely be in the top 20 next year and battle for the coastal”….and so on and so on. Losing the bowl game was not terrible, so get over it. We had a lot of key injuries and the stars didn’t align. What it showed is that we are slow defensively. Help is on the way.

    Need to keep building up the OL and DL to control the trenches. Look at OSU and Alabama. They win big every year because they get the best OL and DL’s. Tell me the name of a NFL successful QB that has come from those schools in the last 20 years. The lines are where you win.

    As far as re-investing in the staff, that is a given. For the past 20 years, there is not one employee that ever came back and asked for more money. I made each a promise when I hired them. I will pay you the most I can, for the work you do. We should never have a discussion about money again. This is why I was ridiculed by everyone on here for wanting to bump Narduzzi’s salary after 7 games his first year and the same for Canada. If an employee is doing better than you expected when hired, you reward them, NOW! You snooze, you lose. That said, during evaluations, if you missed something and an employee points it out, that is on you and you need to give credit or it should be known that doing your job doesn’t mean more money. Clearly communicate money. Early and often.

    We should be top25 consistently and when lightning in a bottle strikes (a few good bounces, a few ref calls that go your way, and a nice schedule sets up for wins….and you capitalize), than it is easy to hope for an occasional top10. The Dairy College did just that. They were scheduled to compete for high rankings every 4-5 years, nothing more. That is setting up a brand. Ask Dabo! Hell, take my class on Brand Protection.

    Huff – Narduzzi got an extension on his contract in Dec of ’16.

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  12. @EE concur with much of your analysis although it seemed to me that media coverage improved for football this past season. Pitt football is in a tough media position with the Steelers and Penguins perennially contending for the playoffs, the Pirates having improved, and PSU and WVU having a significant local footprint with rabid fans.

    @notrocket Agree, it seems to me that a reasonable expectation is for Pitt football to appear in the Top 25 every year, attend a bowl every year, contend for a division championship every year, and reach the Top 10 and play in the conference championship every few years. I don’t see Pitt rising to the likes of Alabama, Ohio State or Florida State.

    HCPN needs to improve the defense to the point where it is consistently in the top third. He recruited some promising talent on that side of the ball last year. He needs to keep that up. If he doesn’t have Pitt there within 2 years it may be trouble for him and the program.

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  13. @rkb – why would we even let Barnes take an inquiry? Disconnect his phone. Pay what you owe and send him away before he Kiffin’s us.

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  14. Recruiting is the absolute key for success and consistency. A team may get lucky for a year, but it is the top twenty teams in recruiting that are generally the top twenty at the end of the year.

    I do agree with wbb that stability is a key, especially for a team like Pitt that can’t afford to go out and buy a Saban, Meyer or Harbaugh. Developing a program takes time and a team must fill its recruiting pipeline year after year, that is why all the coaching changes hurt so much.

    Narduzzi’s bad year in the WPIAL hurts for two reasons, Pitt has always done well in the WPIAL, with many recent examples, Bisno, DJ, Boyd, Donald etc. The guys we have missed certainly could have made a major difference, two up for the HOF this year Jason Taylor, Ty Law, plenty others Terrelle Pryor, Sean Lee, Lavar Arrington, and on and on. Maybe not as many greats as years gone by but still our base recruiting area. We need the Hamlin’s and Ford’s and unfortunately missed on some great kids this year.

    The second reason is that local recruiting is a barometer of the perception of PItt as a Football Institution.
    If Pitt is not highly thought of locally, we are in very bad shape. We are losing the marketing battle for hearts and minds which is crucial for success of the program. We want local kids to want to be heroes at their home town team, where their friends and families can come and see them play. It is also cost effective to recruit locally, no plane fares or hotel rooms, restaurant bills.

    Wanny made it job one to befriend all WPIAL coaches, to gain their support, we don’t need them badmouthing Pitt to their kids.

    Winning over Western PA and becoming the preferred college of the area is really important for long term success.

    Great to see that we had two kids in the Under Armour game, funny how they mentioned Sibley without mentioning he is going to Pitt at least once. But we need to have 4 or 5 kids in that game every year to get where we want to be.

    I think Narduzzi can do it. Hopefully he stays until he retires. One of the reasons I had hoped Rudolph would stay at Pitt, he has the local ties. Franklin has been smart to hire Terry Smith and Moorehead with WPA relationships. If the WPIAL isn’t so valuable, why is ND taking all these players when they can recruit anywhere they want?

    Recruiting nationally is important for overall success, but we also need to win more battles in our own backyard.

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  15. Barvo you forgot ND’s local footprint, which was evident at the last basketball game and certainly with this year’s football recruits.

    Pitt is unique in the amount of competition it has on so many levels. For media attention, Attendance, and Recruiting.

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  16. As far as Barnes “family problems” ….. that can cover a wide range of topics..and solutions. If his wife of kids have cancer, that’s one thing, but…if he’s been caught banging the cheerleader coach and wife is threatening divorce…that’s another. Either way, like most on here have expressed…what on earth is he still doing reporting to work at Pitt every day!! Every second he is still here is a moment we are not hiring a new AD.

    Pitt has NO chance vs UVA tonight! ND was a favorable matchup. UVA will pound us inside and use their disciplined defense to shut off our 3s. Could get ugly by halftime.

    Huff agree 100%. Would love to take your class on brand protection. One of my daily charges.

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  17. OK, Reed, so are you advocating that we step down and start competing with Carnegie Mellon and W&J? I am glad that we are not Ohio State or Alabama or Penn State. But, your conclusion that we cannot be in the Top 25 consistently strikes me as being based on a set of bad assumptions. Or, maybe you are just trying to jab us into reacting. In any case, I think that you are wrong.

    H2P

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  18. One thing I dislike about talking about in regards to recruiting is that people cherry pick between the four different recruiting sites and pick out the highest stars awarded that a singular recruit would have.

    A really good case in point of that was Mark Myers a few years back; he was rated as high as number 11 quarterback then he was listed by another site at number 33rd and by another site at 109th… at 4, 3, and 2 stars respectively. So you can see it can be all over the map.

    Just to remind you all when I talk about recruiting stars I always use rivals.com as a baseline. That way there’s a standard to the articles that I write or to those questions we have on here about the subject.

    So if Narduzzi’s class is ranked number 31 by Rivals that’s what I’ll put down. I won’t put down he’s ranked number 26 by Scouts or whatever because it skews arguments.

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  19. Note that Pitt is losing local recruiting battles to the likes of PSU, OSU, ND and Mich …. all heavyweights. There is only so much you can do when they visit these schools on gameday and they see all of the excitement and energy of a packed house of 90 to 110k.

    If we can keep some decent coaches around for awhile, maybe we can develop a program that will average 10 wins per year .. and hopefully draw in a few more attractive commits. But it may take some time

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  20. Perception is what is holding us back. Locally, Pitt is perceived as second-rate because it is when compared to the Steelers and Penguins and lately the Pirates. However, in Ohio and Florida and Virginia Pitt is seen as an up and coming ACC team with an enthusiastic players coach.
    Barnes even stated he was stunned at how horribly attended the Duke game was, do you think if GT had beaten #2 they would have that many empties for Duke? What about Louisville or even Syracuse?
    We need an AD that will fix the perception of Pitt in Western PA, until then big local recruits will leave.

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  21. Pitt fans will piss and moan about why we can’t compete with this school or that school and then when your team beats #2 on the road you reward them with 28,000 empty seats. Time to look in the mirror folks.

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  22. Really crucial to finish this year’s recruiting classes with some elite players. A very nice class last year, but needs to show improvement, at least on paper, year after year, to keep the momentum up. Also important to get a handful of kids that will contribute immediately.

    Even more crucial that Stallings lands a couple more kids if he doesn’t want to be a bottom feeder next year. Also to save ticket sales which will plummet if he doesn’t.

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  23. Htp, not at all. My opinion is, bottom line, that Pitt is not going to invest the financial resources needed to remain a top 20 (20 not 25) program year in and year out.

    It is one thing to get to the top 20 but once you are there and you’re there year in and year out then you’re starting to have to really pay your head coach and your staff coaches and coordinators a ton of money to be able to stay there.

    Pitt has never done that and I don’t believe they ever will because our ACC money is not enough, and our donor base has not come through enough, to allow Pitt to be able to pay competitive salaries equal to what other perennial top 20 teams lay out for their football programs.

    That doesn’t mean we have to drop in division or drop in the quality of conference or opponents we play, it just means that will be on a sine curve like almost every other hundred football programs that rise and fall. We will go up and we’ll go down and it’ll depend on who we have in our hire as the head coach and his staff coaches and the athletic director and the chancellor…

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  24. I flew in for the Duke game, was ‘amazed’ how small the crowd was…afterward – my cousin (and his son) went to Sonoma Grill for drinks and twice individuals stop by to ask about the game and said it was too cold to go!

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  25. @Dan – Will keep you posted! Technology challenged here. I still do my work in the university classroom to supplement my real job. I am working on a Distance Learning offering on “Branding, how you did it without knowing what it was at the time, how to understand it (both good and bad), how you do it now and how to protect it into the future”. Kids are fascinated when you explain what they have done for their entire life IS their personal brand. Pitt Athletics needs a complete root cause analysis of their brand for the last 40 years.

    Who knows, they may have executed the plan perfectly………or hubris got in the way. My guess is that it was hubris, the most dangerous risk to universities academic and athletic programs.

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  26. Reed, sad but true. I was told in the late 80’s by several Golden Panthers that Pitt could not sustain the program financially to compete with the Big Boys. And the Big Boys have gotten much bigger since then.

    Add this to the other structural disadvantages that we talk about all the time and your opinion is very sound.

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  27. Dokish just posed an article from Gridiron Now about how the ACC is catching up with the SEC. Here are the last 2 paragraphs:

    Yes, the South has more such programs, which equates to more raffle tickets in the basket. But Ohio State, Michigan, Oklahoma and Texas can go toe-to-toe with any of the Southern schools when it comes to resources. Penn State, Wisconsin and Stanford have good programs and nice stadiums. Notre Dame and USC have as much heritage, are as tradition-rich, as any of the Southern schools. Oregon has become an elite program in the past decade, even though the Ducks were down this season.

    So what is the reason the Southern schools have been so dominant? The South is where the players are. Period. It really is that simple — the region produces so many high-quality recruits. And it gets proven year after year after year. Big, fast, tough, athletic front sevens on defense. Really fast skill guys. Future NFL offensive linemen. That is the formula for winning titles in college. And no region in the country produces more of that than the Southeast.

    Pitt has its footprint in southeast, and it seems we are starting to re-emphasize our recruiting in FL. And our win at Clemson had to open some eyes. Just keep plugging away.

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  28. Recruiting, personally I like talking about it as it extends the season for me.

    Watching all the PCC boys and the other two leave town is discouraging only because of the perception view point, at least for me. I think got the best player from WPA by far in Ford. Here’s what I find interesting this year. One word…”Florida” Narduzzi has already figured out he should look ALL around and not rely on the local boys to stay home. Although many do find their way back here. Florida kids being 3 stars could possibly be 4 stars in WPA and a lot better because of the competition factor. I thought last years class was indicative of this. Another thing I firmly believe is that around these parts we have a ton of 3 stars that are all not equal at all. Last year Narduzzi had some very nice 3 stars (the better 3 stars) imo, that committed to PITT. Bottom line for me is that PITT is doing OK in recruiting and hoping it only gets a whole lot better.

    Wanny mentioned a lot in this article and it would be a smart move to get him back on campus and really concentrate on bringing all the former PITT guys back into the picture. This next AD is so important to the PITT football program and I really don’t thing Gallagher is going to muss this up again. Speaking of which, the chancellor has now become the very most important figure for the football program. If Gallagher were to leave I would probably find a new hobby for sure. PG, I believe, has convinced the BOT that money can be made and the higher visibility for the entire University could be through the roof since it’s practically an untapped resource at this point, it’s been dormant so long.

    I know I’m preaching to the choir here but in case a few still do not realize what a cancer to the PITT football program steve pederson was, there is no way to measure it. Other than to look at how low it was just a few short years ago. (until Gallagher got here) So the message to my fellow POVer’s, there is positive movement in a positive direction for the program and it may or may not take another year or two for us all to celebrate year in and year out. I think PITT can and will become a perennial threat to win the ACC conference championship……..ike/waltspappy

    btw, Gottfried could do some recruiting too. He put together some nice teams.

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  29. The south gets bigger and better because of the great population migration in this country to the south and the west. Pennsylvania will lose a couple of seats in the Congress come 2020. Fla, Ga, SC and NC will gain seats. The numbers are changing quickly and won’t stop any time soon.

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  30. Here in Texas Football is 365 days a week. 6am practice and amazing facilities. Kids start at 5-6 years old. The population growth here is amazing. Prople continue to move here in droves. Toyota just moved corporate here. Same in many Southern States. Sadly PA is losing population.

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  31. I walked out of this year’s VA Tech game and posted “Pitt will never again be Bigtime in NCAA Football”. The Duke “crowd” reinforced my thought and nothing anyone has written or done has changed my opinion. It seems often that there are only about 50 of us that actually care.

    Steve Pederson’s damage and the move to Heinz make the situation irreparable.

    The local rags post what they think Pittsburghers want to hear….in college sports that’s ND, PSU and a little Pitt. In that order. Someone else posted that other big time program graduates buy lifelong season tickets the moment they get their first job. Pitt grads and new Alums mostly could care less. That’s the way it is.

    I’ve spent my life as a company turnaround manager. Very few times have I taken a job and said “this is hopeless!” Even if the stars aligned and Pitt management hit the jackpot (Tressel?) with a big time AD (PT Barnum ability) and Pitt runs the table next year and vies for the NC….how many will come to Heinz…or really care? Not for PSU or ND but NC, Miami etc. You all know the truth in your hearts and souls!

    It’s hopeless! But…like all of you. I am addicted in the worst way! I will continue to support w my $$$ and time. Or….we could all go out and play golf on Saturdays!

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  32. Pitt needs its own T. Boone Pickens, too bad Henry Hillman didn’t go to Pitt.

    Maybe someday Pitt will merge with Carnegie Mellon and develop a robotic football team.

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  33. Conklin (& especially the DB coach) still drawing paychecks should say enough about the commitment to get back to the top!

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  34. I remember a few years back watching Wanny and Paterno on a televised program pushing for having spring high school football in the state of Pennsylvania as our Pa kids were not as ready as kids from Texas and Florida..reason we quit playing the Big 33 vs Texas…glad that didn’t work out for the kids sake
    I hate losing lots of locals to other programs but it ain’t the same environment that most of us grew up with..I hate having a team full of out of state kids, nothing personal against the kids and ya gotta do what ya gotta do to survive in this era, but I like to ” feel it’s our school, our team and our boys going against the other school and their boys..I am just a hopeless romantic that loves college football and it’s pagentry…and dammit I miss the bands..give me a break from 3 guys bullshitting non-stop at the half and show me the bands..We lost college football a long time ago but ya gotta do what you gotta do…Great to see Keith Jackson at the Rose Bowl..WHOA NELLIE !!!

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  35. here is the current 2017 commitment list. Everyone there from Florida was recruited by Conklin .. plus a few others. https://pittsburgh.rivals.com/commitments/football/2017

    Once again, I would think the bowl game should convince people of how slow and unathletic our DBs and LBs were. We were beaten by the run .. not the pass!! And we were beaten constantly on 3rd and long situations when they ran on the perimeter and our defenders could not get out to stop them.

    By the end of next season … if there is no improvement among our secondary … then you consider firing Conklin and company.

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  36. Web – Consider???? 99 out of 100 teams fires Conklin. You are expected to win with the players you have. Kicking the can down the road. That is SOP.

    Like

  37. BTW, the stud on the commitment list above is from Alabama … Cam Bright. (aside from Ford). Just hope he signs his Pitt LOI … he will raise some eyebrows … trust me!

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  38. GC – Yes he has done such a great job the last 2 years. A real Defensive Guru. Matt House and Conklin. Wow 2 winners. Narduzzi can tweet, talk the talk. Waiting for the substance. The Defense was atrocious 2 years straight.

    RKB +1

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  39. I wonder some times if some of you guys have so much information why aren’t you sharing it? So some know exactly how the coaches think and what they should or shouldn’t do? What are your backgrounds to have such high self-valued opinions of your opinions concerning PITT football?

    Apparently, Narduzzi isn’t quiet as upset with Conklin as our POVer experts.

    Like

  40. Mangino served as the head football coach at the University of Kansas from 2002 to 2009. In 2007, Mangino received several national coach of the year honors after leading the Jayhawks to their first 12-win season in school history and an Orange Bowl victory.

    Mangino graduated from Youngstown State University in 1987, serving as an assistant coach there in his last two years under then-head coach Jim Tressel.

    Tressel & Mangino connection.

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  41. Mangino’s defense was ranked 12th in the nation, and 4th in scoring defense. On the other side of the ball, the Jayhawks finished 2nd in scoring offense.

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  42. Since we don’t have the numbers of D1 players we once had coming out of Western Penna…..Pitt needs to own Eastern Ohio as well or snag a substantial number of players out of it.

    The Nard Dog re-created a beachhead in Eastern Ohio for Pitt, adding Tressel and Mangino would further strengthen and enlarge that beachhead. Which we really need to do, since those kids are not subject to the 24/7 anti-Pitt, pro-Pedo….. Pittsburgh media.

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  43. @gc There is certainly no doubt of ND’s media exposure at the national level. I just don’t see it that much locally. Likewise I just don’t see that much in the way of ND merchandise on people, homes or store racks where I live in the South Hills. I see PSU and WVU merchandise everywhere. I do remember attending the last two ND games at Heinz and the bball game at The Pete two years ago and there were quite a few fans there. It is certainly possible many of those fans were local.

    Agree with Reed that Dokish can be a real homer, but he has previously posted some analysis of how Pitt compares on attendance with other schools with NFL competition. Also considers city size. Pitt doesn’t do too badly. I think the other thing that challenges Pitt is the turnover in the area population in the nearly 35 years since it was a great program. It would be interesting to look at those shifting demographics.

    In the end people in general, and Pittsburghers are no exception, love winners. The Steelers in the mid to late eighties were generally a poor team and I remember people giving up their season tickets and a lot of fan apathy. How about the Pirates for nearly 20 years and Pens prior to Crosby’s arrival? If Pitt can place a consistent winner on the field the attendance issue will turn around.

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  44. Is Mangino still alive? Thought he had some serious health issues? You mentioned Beachhead? Mangino’s head makes Barnes head look like a peanut! It’s the size of a beach-ball.

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  45. Refering to our D:
    It doesn’t take an expert to conclude:
    1. If it looks like $h1t
    2. Smells like…..
    and
    3. Tastes like ……..
    ………IT’S $h1t

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  46. Maybe its just me, but IMO it’s taking a little too long for Narduzzi to get an OC hired. One would think getting him in place for the stretch run before signing day takes place might be a good idea.

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  47. So UPitt, you want to fire Narduzzi too, it is his defense?

    Again, the answer is recruiting better players, we had a lot on offense the last three years, very few on defense.

    Great players make great coaches, not the reverse. Canada is now a genius because he had a stellar O-line, a great running back, a speedster for jet sweeps, a deep threat in Weah, a solid tight end and full back, and a competent QB. A guy gets fired last year and a million dollar raise and a platform to become a head coach this year. Did he suddenly become a genius? No, he had the tools to make what he always did work.

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  48. Mangino is a fellow paisan he could fit nicely with Narduzzi, and yes he put Kansas on the map for awhile regarding football where a lot of coaches have failed miserably.

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  49. Ike – C’mon man. If there wasn’t 2nd guessing in sports as in all walks of life we’d be automatons and we saw in our neighbors toward the central part of the state how very dangerous that is.

    BTW – since when has it been determined that Narduzzi is happy, or even satisfied with Conklin’s work? We heard him publicly present his displeasure in the defense multiple times during the season.

    How do we know he wasn’t on the verge of firing Conklin when Canada got that job offer and it was apparent he’d leave. Maybe Narduzzi pulled back the pink slip because he didn’t want to lose two coordinators in the same off-season.

    Hmmmm…there were some interesting conversations at the bowl game festivus… Not saying that was the exact case but I will say he’s not happy with the defense at all, and he truly shouldn’t be.

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  50. ~ ike….lol. True enough, but he would be up in the coaches box, so a big head is a prerequisite to been seen on TV. The guy is a really good offensive mind.

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  51. The Youngstown Package Deal of Tressel and Mangino solves Pitt’s 2 pressing problems at the moment.

    Ohio Fake would hate it and so would Pedo State.

    And in my book, what those two hate….would be great for Pitt ! Pull the trigger Chancellor & BoT.

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  52. Attendance is an issue, and I just don’t see it getting fixed over the long term, especially with trends in technology and demographics. The size of the crowd for the Duke game this year was disappointing and sad. Even if we become a top 25 team consistently for 10 straight years, I don’t see us getting more than 50k for a game like the Duke game. Let’s face it, if you are a recruit, you would prefer to play in an exciting game day environment, and Heinz Field doesn’t deliver that (with the exception of maybe 1-2 games a year). And if you want your program to get to the top, you need to get good players. Plus a raucous crowd can create a home field advantage, a la the Pete for its first 10 years or so.

    I feel that Heinz is too big for the Pitt fan base and because of that, it leads to a poor atmosphere. We need a smaller stadium. The more and more I think about it, it probably doesn’t need to be bigger than 40k. But it needs to be unique and something the unique can take pride in. I’d love to see some type of retractable roofed, multipurpose athletic facility. I’ve been to a North Dakota State home game at the Fargodome (albeit an FCS playoff game), which I think holds about 19,000-20,000, and that atmosphere was every bit as good as PSU’s Beaver Stadium which has a capacity 5 times larger. Having a packed house seemed more important than sheer size of the venue.

    Unfortunately for Pitt, a new stadium is probably at least 30 years away, maybe longer.

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  53. One thing is a fact, the defense was good enough to win 8 games, and probably a couple more if the offense would have finished stronger. They certainly were good enough to beat NW if our offense would not have fallen on its face and finished with two concussed stars.

    Good question Reed, would Narduzzi have fired Chaney if he didn’t leave on his own. If Conklin is bringing in quality recruits that is the most important thing right now. Chaney brought us Peterman, as far as I know that was it.

    My guess would be if Narduzzi had someone lined up to replace Conklin he would have pulled the trigger. Regardless of the offensive changes.

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  54. gc – This defense was just down right embarrassing this season! We do need to recruit better players…100% agreed. You can’t tell me though, there were over 100 teams with better pass defenses than us because they had more talent. How many quarterbacks did they make look like Heisman finalists? The DBs weren’t even taught to turn & look for the damn ball! They were constantly out of position & getting burned. There is enough talent on this defense to be at least mediocre…something is very wrong! We could have won at least 3 more games with a mediocre defense IMO.

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  55. Well that will always be the debate, is it the players or is it the coaches? I am not arguing that the defense didn’t stink, a great deal of the time. Was it because the players aren’t good or because they are poorly coached? My opinion is mostly the players not making plays. I also think you can see that our depth is awful, we are usually better early in games and get worn down before the fourth quarter. Big time defenses go 8 or 9 deep on the line. The other thing is lack of linebacker speed and size. Which one of our linebackers can cover a decent tight end or back in the flat. Watch our safeties and corners get manhandled trying to cover a screen pass. There is a dearth of talent defensively. Great kids but not D-1 talent.

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  56. Right Pittman4ever. A good thing….no ?

    Big Hoops game tonite. #11 Virginia rolls into The Pete !

    The Cavaliers are also coming off a close loss.
    They lost to #20 FSU, on Saturday. 58-60.
    After beating #6 Louisville, a week ago tonite. 61-53

    So you can see by the scores, we’re gonna see a low scoring Slogball type of game, most likely.

    This Pitt team doesn’t exactly thrive in those type of games since we really don’t have much of a low post threat, other than Mike Young when he feels like it. Gonna need a big game from of course Young and Artis…but I think Jeter needs to score some points tonite inside.

    Young is #1 in the ACC in scoring.
    Artis is #3 in the ACC in scoring.

    It would be nice if Stallings can figure a way to uptempo the game. but with UVA that is extremely difficu

    Note of interest.
    UVA lost exactly the same way Pitt lost, last time out
    FSU hit a 3 pointer with about 2 seconds left to win the game. And it was at home as well.

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  57. How many times do you need to see the opposing receiver running 4 or five steps past the defender to realize it is the lack of speed and not coaching that lead to all those receptions? How many open field missed tackles, how many third and fourth down pick ups? How many bone crunching hits do we see from our guys? Very few because they just aren’t good enough. The last truly great Defensive player we had was AD. No future pro bowlers on this team.

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  58. Here’s another one of those small Pitt story’s that is a symptom of the larger problem. Go to any Dicks, Boscovs Kohls anywhere. You will see PennState and Notre Dame gear.
    We cannot even get our own merchandise in Pittsburgh stores!

    When the wife and I went back for the PSU game, we stayed in Cranberry and hit all the mall stores looking for Pitt zscript gear. Keep in mind now that script was used in 2015 for football helmets and then converted over last summer to all things Pitt. It’s early Sept and NO Pitt gear is anywhere but tons and tons of PSU latest fashions are everywhere! I spoke to the Dicks and Kohls managers as they are huge clients of my company and each went on his own rant about Pitt being called over and over to supply merch w little or no response.

    So Ok I say to myself, nothing at Pitt ever happens timely, I’ll try back in Oct and November and also Pitt probably wants max sales in their own stores. So Nada in October and nada in November.

    Eventually I talk to the VP Sports Merchandise at Kohls HQ in Milwaukee and he goes off on a rant about Pitt being the most difficult school in the USA (out of 128 D1 schools)to get any kind on communication on merch from!!! Out of 128 schools, he singled out Pitt!

    A little thing but exemplary of all things Pitt! My Aunt Helen was correct when she told me at age 10 s after taking me to my first Pitt game “don’t get too attached to that school honey, they could screw up a one car funeral!!”

    I, like many of you, am in an addictive abusive relationship!

    Please sir can I have another!!!!

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  59. I think we should keep Barnes on a full year even after he goes toOSU
    Just might as well double pay him like we do others!

    It’s the Pitt Way!

    Megan Kelly came to work at Fox yesterday after announcing she was leaving for NBC. They let her do her show and gave her20 minutes to pack her crap and had an armed escort walk her out.

    Yet Barnes is still here!

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  60. That’s very interesting Dan72. And almost incredulous that you can’t find Pitt Gear in Cranberry.

    Also might be indicative of the screwups who run Pitt.

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  61. Great comment Dan! I have some clients that own sports memorabilia stores here in the Altoona area, and they say the same thing…”Pitt stuff is hard to get”.

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  62. Mark Mangino was the OC at Iowa State (under Paul Rhoads) a couple years ago … and was let go because of philosophical difference. I believed he passed too much for Rhoads’ taste (must be common among overweight OCs)

    Mangino actually won the The Frank Broyles award in when he was OC at Oklahoma, and as stated above, was the most accomplished HC Kansas ever had …. certainly better than another ex overweight OC who was Kansas HC a few years back

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  63. Mangino was coaching as late as last season (2015) think he was a scapegoat for Rhoads, who was on the Hot Seat…and he himself was fired less than a month later.

    Mangino won every conceivable Head Coaching award that won year when Kansas was 12-1.

    Nice to see you posting again wwb !

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  64. Because of the YSU connection … Mangino may not be far-fetched. He certainly is qualified, and is a New Castle native. Of course, I have no idea who else is being considered

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  65. COL@Dan – Crying out Loud! We are always getting in our own way! I didn’t have the benefit of aunt helen, but she seemed quite wise. Sorry that you were oppositional Dan? lol.

    @ Reed – I think you put a note on my comment about Narduzzi being extended in December 2016. Pitt did that because there was talk of another offer that went his way. If you understand talent, you extend him at game 7 so the December conversation never happens. I think Gallagher is smart enough to know that he has a good thing and should have seen the momentum after 7 weeks and done it at that time. College coaches should always have 4 years left on a deal because it hurts recruiting if it is less than the amount of time an athlete student will be on a campus. Creates questions and negative recruiting. I think Narduzzi came in with a 4 year deal.

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  66. Emel .. thanks for the band video.. the person who took the video must have standing beside me at the alumni tailgate…I love the whole experience associated with college football.. the POV and the Blather really help complete the package and keep the spirits stoked year round ..

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  67. Yes and again, PITT’s defense really really sucked this past year. Conklin not being mentioned as on the hot seat at ll seems to me to be an off handed endorsement? I’ll defer to the head coach but I do reserve the rights of all of us to bring into questions about how the team looks week in and week out. It’s people who find fault constantly with every single aspect of PITT sports in general and PITT football in particular. It frustrates me…It’s like when I have gas

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  68. GC – No. I want Narduzzi to be a HC. Not a DC.

    The D sucks.

    The offense won 8 games. The Defense almost didn’t allow that and tried their best.

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  69. Dan72, I don’t understand your post??!!?? Dick’s, Kohl’s, Boscov’s, etc don’t get their merchandise from Pitt. At their volumes they get it from the suppliers (Nike this year). Just as they get their Penn State, ND merchandise from those schools’ supplier(s). Think about it. Pitt (and all colleges) are not in the merchandise warehousing business. The stores order the volume they think they can sell and want to sell from the manufacturer. I have direct experience in this retail business. Any retail manager that told you Pitt is the one preventing them selling their school merchandise is blowing smoke to point the blame for their stores’ decisions.

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  70. Mancini can wear Chubbs old sweats to save money since we are cheap.

    Oh we gave Canada a million to stay. Yes after he got 1.4M from LSU Herman. You give him that before he ever looked elsewhere you moron.

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  71. Emel, we knew Pitts had the size and speed, and could stay with the receiver. Also a pretty good hitter, maybe finally someone taught him how to look back for the ball.

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  72. Gabes has plenty of dinocat gear as it was such an awesome mascot it never sold. Sure a consultant was used to draw what a 7 year old could design with crayons.

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  73. Dan’s spot on and well respected on this blog. I remember the last time I was in da burgh and looked for Pitt gear at some mall, either Ross Park or Monroeville. It was hard to find, I ended up finding it and purchasing it, in of all places…..JC Penney’s. lol

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  74. That’s a great narrative Barnes is peddling. Something the traditional and non-traditional media can embrace and continue to tell us what a great guy he is.

    Corvallis is a nearly 7 hour drive or 3 hour flight from Spokane. Imagine driving from Pittsburgh to Charlotte and you have the picture. Imagine flying from Pittsburgh to Miami and you have the picture.

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  75. I think the point was that the merchandise isn’t hitting the shelves. Whether it’s Pitt or NIke’s fault doesn’t matter. I am not an expert in this area at all, but it seems that if Nike isn’t supplying the merchandise timely, it is a Pitt contractual problem. Either way, pointing fingers at vendors or internally doesn’t fix the issue. It’s management in general. If Nike is responsible and Pitt allows them not to stock shelves, it is Pitt’s complicent Management that needs to Kiffin.

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  76. Well if you can’t find Pitt gear in Cranberry I guess that explains why I can’t find one iota of Pitt gear in Youngstown. Unreal–Reed you might want to inquire about the lack of gear in area stores in your letter to the higher ups.

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  77. Barvo – Yes, Family was so important and the reason for the move. That snakeoil salesman has Gallagher bought in so his hire of a 15 month AD doesn’t make him look like a no testicle leader. I’d kick him and his pumpkin head out in 1 hour and I’d keep his laptop.

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  78. Pitt does not “allow” or prevent stores from stocking shelves. They are not in the equation at all. Merchandise stocked is based on what is selling. Store managers, District managers, etc are evaluated and rewarded based on how much total they sell, not whether they sell ND, PSU, or Pitt merchandise. They do extensive supply computer modeling to tell them what their particular store customers are buying. If you what to see more Pitt merchandise in stores and online, then we need to have more fans asking for it than they are apparently doing now. If you want to find something else to complain about Pitt management, there is plenty to choose from, but the availability of Pitt merchandise (other than at the various Pitt school stores and online) is not one of them.

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  79. ~ Upitt…think the very first credit card out of college, was a JC Penney’s card. Only thing I think I ever bought there (before the Pitt gear) was a Robe. Still have it, the sucker is indestructible and is warm as hell in the winter.

    I thought Stallings other job was Fuller Brush Man.

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  80. posted earlier today on PSN:

    Pat Narduzzi doesn’t come to me for advice but if he did I’d suggest to him to find a way to get Jeff Hafley on staff. The 37-year old was on Chip Kelly’s staff with the 49ers before being fired a couple days ago.

    If that name sounds familiar it should. Hafley was an assistant coach with Dave Wannstedt from 2006-2010 and is one of the top recruiters in the country. Hafley was a main reason why Wannstedt continually landed 4-star recruits, especially from New Jersey.

    Adding a guy like Hafley to Narduzzi’s current group of assistants like Josh Conklin, Tim Salem, Rob Harley, Andre Powell, etc and those are serious, serious recruiters.

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  81. Western Kentucky: Boise State passing game coordinator / WRs coach Junior Adams has now officially been announced as the new offensive coordinator / wide receivers coach at WKU.

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  82. off the top of my head .. Hafley was responsible for Dion Lewis, Kwuan Williams and TJ Clemmings coming to Pitt. But he has been in NFL (Bucs, Browns and 49ers) over the past 5 years

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  83. Dokish is ok.

    His weakness is his insecurity which makes him always feel he has to try to make himself look right even when he is wrong.

    And also the fact that he guaranteed a Hillary Clinton win.

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  84. Dokish bleeds Pitt. I may not agree with some things he says but we need more supporters out there. He’s one of the very best.

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  85. And will Pitt ever consistently be top 10 in football or basketball…NO. And you don’t want to be. It will mean selling your soul and having to raise vast sums of money. Can Pitt be top 25 each year in both…YES. And only about 4-5 schools each year are. That’s sayin something!!

    But, But, it will take the right AD and a BOT that gives a shit.

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  86. Being stuck in between two football cult like programs that are among the football programs that rake in the most money $$$. Only way in this day and age of boocoo million$ being spent in football, for Pitt to ‘be a player’ again…..is to spend money. And that is no guarantee.

    But we only need to look at our bball program and what it was and what it became (at least for a decade) after Pitt ponied up a couple Hundred Mil and built a first rate basketball arena. (unfortunately at the expense of our OCS) But nonetheless does anyone believe Pitt has a decade of sustained success in the best bball conference in America if Pitt doesn’t build the Pete and make the couple hundred mil investment.

    The last time Pitt was a Player in Football, was pre-cable TV, pre-ESPN, pre-the Gazillions of loot now in the college game. You want to win…..quit being cheap.

    We already failed the first big test with not ponying up for Canada. When was the last time Pitt avg’g over 42 ppg.

    Answer………….NEVER !

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  87. I’ve known a few vacuum salesmen that have gotten laid. They are not all stiffs. In fact the women like the stiffness if you know what I mean.

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  88. I could write a novel about this subject…..

    I suppose hypothetically we could return to top 10 or top 5 status every year if we threw millions of dollars at the program, hired Nick Saban, cheated, etc…. But the reality is that we aren’t going to do any of those things. I like Pat Narduzzi. I think he is a good fit for our program. But he has an uphill climb. He has strong support from the administration, but that support will only go so far financially. His biggest challenge will be convincing the 4 and 5 star recruits that playing in front of 40,000 fans in the mustard bowl is a better choice than playing in front of 100k in Columbus, State College, Ann Arbor, etc.

    Much the same way that Coach Dixon’s poor recruiting will handicap Coach Stallings for years to come, Coach Narduzzi was left with limited talent on the defensive side of the ball by Paul Chryst. I don’t care how good of a coach you are, you aren’t going to compete regularly for ACC or National Championships without better players. Until Pitt fans start showing up in greater numbers for games, this situation won’t change. It was an embarrassment that after beating Clemson and also having the opportunity to see James Conner (along with our large group of Seniors) play his final game, our fans pooped the bed in failing to fill the seats for the Duke and Syracuse games. It was embarrassing. Looked like less than 30k in the seats for each.

    By the time the Syracuse game ended, there were less than 15k left. The game set back defense 100 years, but it was truly historic. Why leave? Even in the years of Majors I and Sherrill, we would draw big for better opponents, but would get underwhelming crowds for the likes of Syracuse, BC, Army, etc. We have a nice combination of administrative support, facilities and coaches right now. But I’m afraid that the most that we can expect for now is 8 and 9 win seasons. Not bad, but not top 5 material. We need better recruits. Period.

    Liked by 2 people

  89. Better recruits, better coaches and yes better facilities. All that takes money. Pitt just doesn’t have the support from enough big time boosters or the BOT. And Gallagher is more window dressing about that front porch of his. It needs more than just touch-up painting.

    Attendance is impacted by wins and losses but also about the game day experience. How does Pitt improve the experience to draw fans in for fun and entertainment. No easy answer but I have a few ideas….

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  90. Just pay Pat Narduzzi top-$$$ (after next year it’s gonna take 4-5 Mil/Year) …. and let him keep growing into Pitt and bringing in 22-25 of ‘His Guys’ every year, and Pitt will become a Powerhouse.

    ^^^^ Pitt beat Clemson at-Clemson — dunno if most guys missed that game it seems-so based on some of the commentary lol.

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  91. Pitt’s facilities in the South Side are Top Class and Totally Equal with if not even more quality than the Steelers facilites —- which are considered elite quality in the NFL.

    Pitt just offered 1+ mil to retain an offensive coordinator, and just wait to see how much Chancellor Patrick Gallagher is gonna wrap-up Pat Narduzzi for (+ a Crazy-Buyout).

    —– Pitt has way, way more money available than Yokel-Schools and LSU, Alabama — it’s a matter of Priorities, Period. — It is basically ‘Selling-Out’ and making a new Mission / Perception Statement to start paying crazy money for Football.

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  92. Years ago I was sitting at PITT’s first game that year and sitting along side me was Mr and Mrs Jeff Hafley Sr. Dion Lewis had enrolled in January and had a leg up on the other recruits and got off to a fast start that game. Mr Hafley lean into to me and whispered, “wait until you see the other running back my son got from New Jersey” Ray Ray Graham. Dad told me how much his son loved coaching at PITT and really impressed me with his knowledge of his son’s work. Meantime behind me was Graham’s mother and sister. Man was she a wild one.

    I would love to see JH come on back to PITT. Seems as if he’s broadened his coaching skills over the years and could make a big impact in most phases of coaching…

    BTW Emel, looking back on Mangino, he really upset the apple-cart in a lot of places he’s gone in the past. My kind of guy.

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  93. ^^^ @Upittbaseball When Pat Narduzzi wins 9+ regular season games next year, plus the bowl game with a Ridiculously Faster and improved Defense and a Two-Headed Monster QB attack with Thomas MacVittie and “Silverback” Max Browne… —-> is he gonna be worth “James Franklin Money” then???

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  94. Ryan Luther is a waste of a scholarship. The great white joke. Kid is sloooow, worst lateral movement ever, awful d, but he does get garbage points. And does this coach EVER call time out??

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  95. How,how, could you let a kid get a three ?? I’m speechless. How could you not have him foul or be in his face. They deserve to lose this game. This coach will choke all year long.

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  96. Stallings was a bum and is a bum. UVA sucks this year. When he beats Duke wake me up. Loses only talent he has on roster next year.

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  97. Nice BB win last night. We almost let another one slip away, but instead we won in OT vs the #11 ranked team in the polls.

    Returning to FB – The best thing that will happen for next year’s D is that Miami QB Brad Kaaya, unc QB Mitch Trubisky, WR Bug Howard, WR Ryan Switzer and VATech QB Evans, WR Ford, TE Hodges left for the NFL. Those three teams beat Pitt in 2016 and were losses specifically tied to those players.

    OC Joe Moorehead from psu is a leading candidate for the HC job at Minnesota. PJ Fleck is probably the top choice, imo.

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  98. I agree about Stallings. The last 15 seconds of regulation was as bad as a coaching job that I ever seen. 2nd game in a row where they had an important shot but they didn’t see to run a play. Then not to advise the team to pick up on defense by half court was inexcusable.

    But on the plus side … this team seems to shoot much more in rhythm and with more confidence than any Pitt team in recent history. And of course, this was the by far the best offensive showing vs UVA we have seen. Pitt just has to play smarter/better at the end of close games … something they very rarely do (Dixon or Stallings.)

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  99. If Dixon were still the coach – Pitt wouldn’t have scored 50 points and would have lost! So Stallings takes the #24 team to OT and loses by a point – takes the #11 team to OT and spanks them all with recruits from the the previous HC. The bench is weak and not deep (thanks to JD). That was probably their best and most complete game so far…Louisville next – not an easy conference schedule.

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  100. If you read the write up on Pittsburgh Sports Now – Stallings took blame for not telling the team to foul earlier…the game also featured the 2nd largest attendance by the Zoo…but still didn’t sell out as the ‘fans’ didn’t attend.

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  101. This comment is for Emel, but some others may have interest:

    24 ND beat the Pitt BB team and moved up one spot in the polls to #23.

    22 psu beat a weak Purdue FB team and moved up ten spots in the polls to #12.

    Two different sports, but the poll madness is everywhere.

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  102. No question whatsoever of the B1G influence on the Selection Committee … and probably much of it has to do with how many people the B1G bring to the TV sets and games. They have the most lucrative TV deals and anyone who doesn’t think this matters is only fooling himself.

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  103. and …. despite the B1G once again looking bad when matched up with goods from other conferences, I will guarantee you that the pre-season Top 25 will have at least 5 B1G teams listed .. and probably more. It happens every year

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  104. Way to throw a wet blanket on Stallings’ 1st signature win at Pitt, Upitt. You did call this win but to discount it because of the quality of the opponent is so typical of your routine critical nature to be ludicrous. Are you ever happy about anything?

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  105. I don’t get the continuous bashing of Stallings. Why? I don’t want to hear about how he got hired and all of that because it has nothing to do with him as a coach. He has amassed more praise from his players and opposing coaches than Dixon ever did. The guy knows what he is doing. This whole ACC thing has to be a huge adaptation for him as this is way different than SEC basketball. Give him time. There’s going to be some major downs over the next year or so. But that’s because Dixon left a couple steaks in the fridge and nothing else when he left.

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  106. Like any coach, Stallings needs a few years before an honest evaluation. Overall, I really like this current team so far .. but will criticize specific strategic decisions, like the endings of the last 2 games in regulation time.

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  107. @rkb or any POVert with a law degree -a legal question …If The NCAA or conferences got together a decided to set limits on compensation for all coaches to control costs -are they breaking any laws

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  108. Not my area of expertise but it would probably violate the Commerce Clause of the US Constitution. It would probably go back to the Curt Flood Supreme Court case allowing free agency. I doubt, if they had any desire, that it would work. But a nice thought. Certainly the Bama, Pedders etc would have no interest but it is ridiculous with no end in sight and it does create unfair advantages. NCAA is pretty much a toothless tiger on many issue.

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  109. Stallings is a good solid coach. Will do fine here if he can recruit ACC quality players.

    Much more fun ball to watch, let’s his players play, don’t miss the micromanagement at all.

    If he can’t recruit her, not sure who can. He is a player’s coach.

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  110. Haters want to and will hate, alway’s. It’s their nature and they are happy that way.

    Stallings is the victim of bald discrimination. Where is the outcry? (no I’m not bald)

    Clemson D-End “CHRISTIAN” Wilkins apologizes for groping Ohio State WR Curtis Samuel. << what?

    Golf Digest names Oakmont Country Club the fifth best gold course in America for years 17/18

    J T Barrett coming back for his 12th year of eligibility. With Beck leaving maybe he’ll learn the art of the forward pass by now?

    Grayson Allen ends the indefinite suspension (1 game) comes back to score 15 pts but had zero tripping infractions. So he’s not quite back up to speed yet I take it?

    Jung Ho Kang kicked off his South Korean baseball team for not hiding the fact that he drinks too much. Shame on him.

    The AD and OC hires by PITT will make a few people very unhappy…..and this goes no matter who they hire!!

    You can book it Dano…….ike

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  111. As I stated over on the Pitt Blather, we should appreciate this win b cause with our ACC schedule this season, ACC wins need to be cherished. We get to see both UNC & Louisville twice, & Duke is also on the docket. If we don’t own our two games over Syracuse this season like we usually do, then I could easily imagine us no better than .500 in our ACC schedule by Conference tourney time. Not a good look.

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  112. I like the new look Panthers and their style of play. Two very exciting games in a row against ranked ACC teams. If Stallings can recruit we’ll be set….if he can’t we’ll be middle of the road in the ACC. But players like his style of play so I’m guess when he gets his feet set here the recruiting will open up. Making the Tournament this year would be huge….

    He has a couple 4* playing coming in…..and he’ll need them. Thanks God one’s a PG.

    http://www.scout.com/college/pittsburgh/2017-basketball-commits

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  113. —– 2017 Season —- 9-3 Regular Season, top-15 Finish, and a Major-Bowl Resounding Victory. 😉

    — The Young-Gun Defense is Blazingly fast and explosive and knocks Trace McSorley out of the game and totally neutralizes Saquan Barkley. Thomas MacVittie (Samurai Lightning) Slashes huge runs and Max (We All Deserve A Second Chance) Browne Crush It at the two headed monster QB attack all season.

    Pat Narduzzi gets a raise making him Higher-Paid than $chlub Franklin.

    Pitt’s next 10 win season commences in a few months in the 2017 season 🙂 (First of MANY ACC great seasons).

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  114. ^^ Everyone kept mentioning James Conner moving to defense for his NFL career….. imagine George Aston as a Linebacker (inside OR outside) for Pitt with his strength in Narduzzi’s defense???

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