FB Post-Bowl Bits and Pieces

Remember that photo?  Good times yes?

From the comments on the last article I think you guys are substituting our fans’ disappointment in the bowl loss as some sort of referendum on the whole season. In that article I made it a point to congratulate  Narduzzi for beating PSU and Clemson and winning eight games – that was all well done. 

Being ranked, if only for a short time, is a job well done also.  But we can and should have done better.  When we don’t we shouldn’t make excuses but look for explanations.

Because the bottom line is that really good teams withstand injuries to win games anyway, especially big games. That happened to us and we didn’t overcome them. The lack of depth at QB wasn’t Narduzzi’s problem only, but his substitution at the position was questionable.

OK – that’s obviously a pet peeve of mine and others disagree but I’ll say this.  That personnel move was a shock and a big topic of conversation in the press box when it happened and has been one since the game.  It is a head-scratcher at the very least.  But it went down that way and we saw the results.

However, and I’ll ask this as I have after every game, where was RB Quadree Ollison all year? And why the hell wasn’t he used enough during the regular season to be in prime shape and readiness just in case James Connor went down with injury?

Ollison had only 11 carries over the last ten games of the regular season. Get that? 11 carries total.  This for a guy who compiled a 5.3 yards per carry good for 1,121 yards and 11 TDs last season.  Instead this year untried and untested Darrin Hall and Chawntez Moss got 78 carries combined for 378 yards (4.8 ypc) and one TD (1).  I have to repeat that folks – one TD between the two of them.

If I’m to point to a singular decision that cost us that game it might be that Ollison hadn’t been the steady #2 RB and been made ready to step up when Conner went down.  Instead he was put into the bowl game after having a total average of about two carries per game in the regular season.  That is correct, we gave a returning 1,121 yard rusher with a 5.3 ypc average in the previous year just two carries per game this season.

Again in the bowl game Ollison still shared carries with the favorite son Moss (why so favored I have no idea) and Moss then averaged a grand total of 1.5 ypc.

Ollison had a 30 yard pitch and catch in the bowl game also. He produces when given steady chances to and why he was sat down all season made absolutely no sense to me.  I get that Henderson was grabbing big rushing yardage on those end-around plays.  With his speed and moves I wouldn’t take any carries from him this year, but I would have sat down both Hall and Moss and stuck with the proven tandem of Conner and Ollison.

In the first six games of the season we were giving Conner the ball 17 times per game. Coming out of his year off and his illness that was about what he could handle.  I believe Ollison should have been getting the other 10-12 per game to supplement that and stay productive.

Oh – and spare me the “He was overweight in camp” crap,  he weighted just about the same this year as last when he won the ACC offensive Rookie of the Year award.

I sure hope that Ollison sticks around here to play his eligibility out but if that is the handwriting on the Pitt locker room wall then I suggest he take the year off and go somewhere he’s appreciated for what his skill set is.

Part of a team being able to overcome adversity when injuries strike is having the best possible backup players in the best readiness to step in and produce.  We didn’t do that at all on offense last year.

If DiNucci was indeed a better QB than Manny Stocker then he should have been QB2 all season and taking those all-important practice snaps with the actual offense that would play in the actual games.  Instead he ran the opponent scout team… until something changed and he didn’t any longer and then had what? He had a couple of weeks (according to the HC) to get ready to play on a big national stage in a vitally important game. 

And that was a kid who never took a snap in a real game yet in his career. Hell, at least young QB Chad Voytik had played in three games before he had to come in for the injured Tom Savage in that 2013 bowl game (win).

game-notes-pin

BTW and to clarify something even the Pitt staff had publicly listed Manny Stocker as the 2nd string QB all year-long.  At left  is a clip from the Official Game Notes Pitt released right before the bowl game. Note the back-up QB and he was listed as such for every single game this season (I went back and re-checked).

Sorry Pitt fans, but I  truly think those two personnel issues combined to lead us to the loss in New York.  We assumed that we’d be able to put the same number of big points on NW as we had on other teams and we were unprepared when 1) the opponent turned out to be a lot tougher than we felt they would be and 2) we weren’t ready at all if our key starters went down.

That my friends are cause and effect problems that weren’t anticipated or resolved and so rest firmly on the shoulders of the coaching staff. 

 

86 thoughts on “FB Post-Bowl Bits and Pieces

  1. Reed, I agree on Ollison, misused all year.

    But am lukewarm on Stocker vs DiNucci.

    How do you know that DiNucci didn’t beat out Stocker for the position in the last month? Or during the course of the year. The depth chart means very little and has been inaccurate for games.

    I just don’t see it as that big of a deal. I think forcing Voytek out was a much poorer decision. He should have played the second half of the Navy game and a few others and been encouraged to stay.

    Luckily Peterman made it all the way through till the bowl game.

    By the way DiNucci did make a nice TD drive. Who knows whether Stocker would have even done that well?

    In any case it was Canada’s decision, and I would say he did pretty well by Pitt all year.

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  2. If Orndoff doesn’t drop the easy TD pass at the end of the bowl game and Pitt wins, would we still be discussing the #2 QB situation?

    Trigger is dead.

    Fwiw – Quicksilver is a difficult course and very hilly as some have said in previous threads. I’ve never played another course that has uphill approaches to the green on almost every hole. I live rather close to Quicksilver, but normally play Fort Cherry or Village Green as they are more suited to my 20+ handicap game.

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  3. Here is an excerpt from a ‘neutral’ source — an ESPN article published just now on ESPN.com which ranked the 40 bowl games:

    New Era Pinstripe Bowl: Northwestern 31, No. 23 Pittsburgh 24
    Northwestern RB Justin Jackson rushed for 224 yards on 32 carries and scored three touchdowns in a thrilling victory over shorthanded Pittsburgh, which played the second half without running back James Connor and lost QB Nathan Peterman in the third quarter.

    Reed, So you think Pitt should have overcome the loss of arguably its 3 most important players on offense … (not 1 or 2 … but 3)? Did the banning of the media from practices turn you against Narduzzi that much that you write blog article after blog article trying to discredit this staff?

    I honestly don’t understand, and certainly don’t appreciate, all this negativity towards the FB program right now. It mystifies me .. it really does!

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  4. Someone out there who watched the game on TV … PLEASE confirm this. When DiNucci came in, did the game announcers mention that even though DiNucci was not on the depth chart, they were told by the Pitt staff that he was practicing as the No. 2 QB?

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  5. Reed,
    Excellent article and agree with your observations and conclusions.
    Also, I certainly don’t see any Pitt bashing from our fearful leader at all here. We lost an important game in which we were favored to win.

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  6. Pghfred

    I worked in Weirton WVa for 16 years and stopped every Friday on my way home weather permitting to play that course.

    Agreed it is tough, fwiw Hootie and the Blowfish filmed part of a video on the course the band was made up of a few good and avid golfers.

    Narduzzi does it his way, I don’t see the practice performances of the players. I’m assuming he is playing the best player in the coaches evaluation to give them the best chance to win. At the end of the day coaches are evaluated on wins and losses.

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  7. Jimmy – I used to play about once a week when I was younger and probably could have shot in the 90s at Quicksilver then. It is a very nice, challenging course. But since I only play a few rounds per year now, I rather not ruin one of them there. 

    Never knew that about Hootie. Was it the video that Marino appeared in? I think it was ‘Only want to be with you’.

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  8. Reed..I can’t explain the back-up QB situation in the PinStripe Bowl but maybe a good question to ask MC if I run into him at the local Topsail Island watering hole this year…IMO Ben D did OK- it’s a shame the TD pass was dropped..that set the stage where we played more “desperate” ,for lack of a better word, leading to the last INT.Maybe Stocker was demoted and being punished, maybe Duzz thought about CV leaving last year and realized if he had given him some playing time in the Miami and Navy games his seasoned back-up would have stuck around for 2016.

    The Ollie situation still troubles me and probably most of the POVerts…He was the back-up when James got hurt vs NW but has literally nothing from the running back position through the year. Last year Ollie ran better as the game progressed and he was given more caries which seems to be a trait of most good big running backs..that would be another question to ask MC if I see him …Hopefully, Ollie sticks around as a new day is coming with a new OC…As it is now these remain mysteries begging to be solved.

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  9. Reed, you are right. Great teams win with the “next guy up” plugged into the lineup when a starter goes down. With that being said, we had that game won without the errors/lack of execution by guys like Aston, Henderson & Orndoff, all front line players who failed to get it done. Not throwing them under the bus but that’s the facts. No excuses.

    Making lemon aid out of that loss however, now a 9-4 season in 2017 looks like improvement next season. LOL.

    Last but not least, I’ve stepped back from posting because I just don’t desire to get into a pissing contest with the guys around here who enjoy seeing the glass as half empty. They are entitled to their more negative POV.

    What I would suggest to all posters however is to resist the temptation to initiate personal attacks against those long term contributors to POV that simply may not see things from your own perspective. Other than for the occasional troll looking to make trouble, all on here see themselves as Pitt fans, no matter how misguided we ourselves may view their opinions. Myself, although I’m disenchanted when reading dark, pessimistic views consistently from some individuals, I’ve come to the realization that at least they care enough about Pitt and it’s athletic programs to spend the time & effort to voice their opinions, no matter how negative they may be.

    IMO, that’s still tons better than the scores of apathetic alumni out there that could give two shits about Pitt in the first place. That apathy is really the basis for a lot of the issues raised by some of these critics. So let’s keep that in the back of your mind before burning bridges between our fellow Pitt fans on POV before starting with the personal attacks.

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  10. Pghfred

    That was the video, they filmed a small portion at quicksilver of them golfing.

    I haven’t played there since 99, I moved south to Texas, now Georgia and play year round, look me up if you are down this way a lot of nice courses.

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  11. Kansas: TCU co-offensive coordinator / inside receivers coach Doug Meacham has been named offensive coordinator / wide receivers coach at Kansas. Fox Sports reports Meacham will have a 3-year deal. Meacham spent three years at TCU and previously coached at Houston. TCU averaged more than 42 points per game in Meacham’s first two years, and he received interest for head coaching jobs, but TCU’s offense fell to 31 points per game this year.

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  12. Reed, Holy cow you have to get off this topic (just my opinion). You keep harping on the personnel decisions as the reason for the loss in the bowl. What about when we had all starters in, we had something like 4-5 trips to red-zone and put up 3 points?! We can’t score from the 1 (pathetic in my eyes), we fumble (lazy ball skills at this point), dropped passes, penalties. All with our starters. Is this coaching? I don’t believe so.

    Stocker vs DiNucci? We will never know the real reason, but I’m sure the coaches did what they did for A REASON. Season over. Done. Won 8 games again. Two significant wins. We’ve talked ad-nauseum about this topic. How about looking forward? Recruiting, Scholarships avail, who’s moving on, etc.? Potential last minute flips…

    Come on, enough already.

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  13. Yea this bowl stuff has gotten to the point of a possible no return for some. It almost seems to me that a few might have lost their life savings on that game? I just don’t get it?

    I’m not trying to a jagoff or make you mad Reed but I have agreed with wwb that it seems like you have carried this grudge with HCPN from the time he closed the practices. I know you say you don’t but I’m saying is it sure sounds like you do.

    The complete meltdown and negativity surrounding that bowl game boggles my mind??…….ike

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  14. I too wish Ollison had been used more during the regular season, but that thought began to fade as the season progressed the thre running game was humming along. I hope he sticks it out, I think he can earn a #1 spot or at worst a #2 spot in ’17. Not sure who had the beef with him Nard or Canada, I just hope its a clean slate for the new year.
    As for the QB call (WBB I did hear the TV announcer say that Ben D wasn’t even listed on the game roster)
    I think Reed answered his question in his previous article. Stocker isnt going to be around next year, this game wasnt going to make or break PITT or Narduzzi, so he looks ahead to next year. You play Ben and you get 2 positives : He gets a carrott – some playing time on a big stage, and you see what the kid has when the lights are on and the world is watching. I think it was a good call.

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  15. Taking a step back and looking at the season in its entirety…Pitt beat Clemson a/k/a Clemscum, the national champion, on its home field and beat the dreaded team/evil empire/Big 10 champion from the cow pasture. 9-4 would have been awesome but 8-5 is very good and if I remember correctly, the record that many prognosticators on this website predicted back in August. . Mad Max or MacVittie will continue the offensive surge and the D will be improved. A key will be to stay healthy, which did not happen on the defensive side this year. The glass is half full my friends

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  16. Here Reed, I read your entire post without any emotion (.i.e. blinders).

    “At left is a clip from the Official Game Notes Pitt released right before the bowl game. Note the back-up QB and he was listed as such for every single game this season (I went back and re-checked).”

    “Ollison had only 11 carries over the last ten games of the regular season. Get that? 11 carries total. This for a guy who compiled a 5.3 yards per carry good for 1,121 yards and 11 TDs last season”.

    You forgot to mention that Ollison was the co-ACC Rookie of the Year (with Whitehead) and 2nd team All ACC last year. In so doing he compiled more rushing yards on fewer carries last season than James Conner did this past season. The point is that Ollison isn’t a stiff and Pitt was left with a proven player when Conner went down in the bowl game. Running back was considered to be Pitt’s deepest position entering the season.

    I don’t see Dorian Johnson identified in the ESPN excerpt. I don’t recall when Dorian Johnson went down. Was he in the game on the DiNucci led drive from the Pitt 32 on which Orndoff dropped a sure TD pass that would have tied the game? Was he in the game on the DiNucci led drive when Pitt went up 24-21 driving from the NW 22 after a blocked punt? Was he in on the drive when Peterman was injured?

    I thought DiNucci played okay in his first real game experience in this bowl game. I am with Reed though, did that last 3 weeks of practice make all the difference in his development?

    I don’t think Peterman, Johnson or Conner would have had any bearing on the 15 play drive to put NW up 28-24 on which NW converted two third and longs and two fourth downs.

    Seriously, if folks don’t like what Reed posts, don’t attack him for it. Either post a cogent counter, ignore it, or start your own blog.

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  17. WWB, they did not but they praised him being the highschool Gatorade POY and being a very late addition to that years incoming class. While Ollison wasn’t being used, over the course of the year Moss did have great success and was hampered by injuries. Ollison also couldn’t block a pillow last year if he tried so I wouldn’t discount that factored into the decision. Moving forward, I would much rather have Ollison and Moss than Moss and Hall. Hall just hasn’t lived up to the expectations and has quickly fallen down the depth chart. His skill set matches Moss where Ollison could provide the LeGarrette Blount to counter the Leveon Bell (avoiding the legal trouble hopefully).

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  18. The conspiracy theorist in me finds it very suspect that Pitt’s two best offensive players were knocked out of the game by blows to the head.

    Also find it suspect that within the first five minutes of the NC game, Both of Clemson’s top offensive stars took blows to the head.

    In the case of both games and all four incidents, there were no penalties issued….things that make you go hmmmm!

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  19. Barvo, IMO we have supplied plenty of support that Pitt would have won had it not been been for the key injuries. And Johnson went down at the same time as did Nate P. .. yet we still took the lead with DiNucci and could have retaken the lead had our usual reliable QB held on to a sure TD pass.

    But what is certainly unproven is the implication that HCPN and staff purposely derailed the team from winning the bowl by playing DiNucci instead of Stocker, who incidentally has as many pass completions as you , me and Reed. This entire assertion is asinine. Why would the staff want to lose the game?

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  20. Regarding Ollison, I still find it dumbfounding that he was relegated to fourth string.

    The only sense I could make of it was that he was the most like Conner and Moss and Hall were more nifty.

    Moss and Hall certainly got more chances to show their stuff, showed some potential, but neither looked like stars. I have never seen a guy go from Rookie of the year and 1100+ yards to a minor role player.

    Just hard to fathom. What does it mean for next year?

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  21. BTW, Pitt lost their starting and second string QBs (Haygood and Cavanaugh) in 1976 and still somehow ran the table. Of course they did have some guy named Dorsett around to pitch in.;-)

    Imagine what Dorsett might have accomplished in 1976 with Haygood or Cavanaugh around for the entire season!

    The next season Pitt lost its starting QB (Cavanaugh) early in the first game of the season for three games and still finished 9-2-1 and #8. Pitt lost to ND in the game in which Cavanaugh went down and tied Florida in Gainesville in his return game. Cavanaugh played with a cast in the Florida game. The other loss was a close one to PSU in Oakland.

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  22. Different approach alert coming! Reed is 1/2 right in my opinion. The rightness is that we didn’t have enough quality backups to play. The majority of that reason is because we don’t have quality depth…..yet! Time, place and circumstance fellas. Narduzzi has been here two years. We are slowly moving non-contributors out and building quality depth. Quality depth means increased competition for playing time. Increased competition equals the cream rises to the top. The cream rises to the top and the best players play…and the backups push them!

    As far as QB, Voytik was not going to be the guy, period. It is a question that we will never be able to answer. Would he have been better against Navy? Who knows and who cares. We will never have those questions answered.

    Same with the running backs. I stated this years ago and repeated it when Narduzzi got hired. Coaches are loyal to the kids they recruit if the talent is close. That is how it works. That is why there is such great turnover when a new HC comes in. In the RB department, Narduzzi recruited Hall from his hometown and Moss. He did not recruit Ollison. Again, when the talent is close, coaches go with their guys. May not be fair, but life isn’t fair and I am surely not going to go out and buy Ollison a comfort animal. I agree that from what I have seen (in games only), Ollison is our best all around back, but Hall beats him for speed and quickness, while Moss beats him for vision and quickness. May the most talented kid separate themselves and play!

    The DL and LB crew couldn’t stop the run in the NW game. That was a lack of talent/injury/depth issue and we were exploited by a team that likes to run. No burning of redhirts needed for LB’s or DL’s. Help is on the way.

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  23. Barvo or anyone remember who the QB was that came into that ND game? I think he was run off campus after that. or that could have been later.

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  24. I mentioned this last article concerning all the fuss about DiNucci. Two articles ago we discussed and debated the former QB’s that became impatient and left, leaving the PITT football program in a lurch. Flacco being the biggest imo. I don’t know the exact reason the kid played but I can think of many reasons it could have been. #1 being is that no one knows just how effective Stocker would have been to as a way of trying to keep Ben DiNucci on the football team and all points and thoughts in between. (Stockers stock may have dropped) Like I said, we just don’t know what was in Narduzzi’s head and second guessing is what blogs and message boards are all about….ike

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  25. Reed,

    Stocker playing in the bowl game gives us a win? That is kind of funny. Since you seem determined to pin something on Narduzzi, how about the fact the the team just did not play well. Didn’t stop the run as he preaches, didn’t come out like they did in big games this year.

    Agree on Ollison.

    Erie,

    Just give everyone the damn link instead of regurgitating the info on it every 5 minutes. We get it, there are 1000 open OC jobs. Same as ever year. It isn’t unique to Pitt.

    http://coachingsearch.com/coaching-search-ticker

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  26. Did Connor do anything before his head injury? To me it looked like he wasn’t interested in the game and out of it.

    Losing him wasn’t a major loss.

    Peterman yes.

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  27. Ike – The freshman QB in 77 ND game was Wayne Adams. Far as I can remember he was never heard from again, at least on the football field.

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  28. Wbb, we have a head coach who will not under any circumstances share any information whatsoever with the public, he is the most closed-off person I’ve seen in sports in my lifetime. Now that is his right to do so but when he doesn’t explain his decisions or talk about what happens during the actual games themselves he is open for comments from the fans, be it positive or negative in nature.

    I find it rather interesting that you continually defend this coach when there are issues that should be discussed and need to be discussed with the fans who pay his salary. Now, if that bothers you then I suggest you write your own articles praising this program.

    I happen to think that Pitt can do better than an eight win season and when they blow a ninth win like they did, in my opinion, I am going to talk about it. I think you have to realize that I don’t write for only 20 people on this blog that comment only; we have thousands of readers to every single article and feedback comes to me in many different ways. The overall tone of the comments that I’ve read about this article and my stance on the substitutions has been in agreement with me.

    As I said earlier good teams win when adversity happens. What we have seen from Pitt time over time over time, and what was the basis of my article 2 days ago, was that Pitt folds every time something out of the norm seems to happen.

    We had an offense that we won’t see again on the field in our lifetimes this season and it outscored a horrible, horrible defense and it put us in the position to win football games. But as soon as that offense took a hit, and two injuries should not decimate a decent offense, not one that has been well planned and well trained and well conditioned. When that does happen then there is a real problem on the staffs part.

    Any leader knows that your second team has to be as ready as your first team and has to have practiced and trained exactly the same way to be ready to step in and succeed. That did not happen and I think it’s silly to think that losing because of circumstances is just the norm and that any school would lose because of those instances.

    My God. Could it be that I actually am holding this program to a higher standard than you are? Heaven forbid that would be the case because that would blow your premises of my dislike for Pitt and Pat Narduzzi completely.

    I wouldn’t have thought it could be that we might win against a 6-6 Northwestern team unless we were coached well enough to do so. I fully expected that win because I expected not only our talent to be better than Northwestern’s but our coaching staff to be better than Northwestern’s, so there was obviously a disconnect there. But I feel this coaching staff certainly CAN get us to nine wins and that’s why I think they SHOULD have gotten us to nine wins.

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  29. Right Wayne Adams, he was berated so viciously and unrelenting he left school after only a week or so after that game…Thank You Dino…..ike

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  30. Yes Jack and I believe some good defensive players coming in.

    Tyjaun Garbutt —–Va
    Kofi Wardlow——-DC
    Christian Wilson—Fla
    Victor Diemukeje–Md

    A bunch more on the 20th

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  31. In retrospect / Bottom line …. maybe we had no business losing to NW … but we also had no business beating PSU and Clemson (and should have finished with 7 wins.) This is what happens in sports, it is why we play the game. But if you choose to continue to lament the loss …. feel free, it’s your blog

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  32. Clemson almost lost to like 4 teams. They were due but still
    an awesome achievement.

    PSU got better as year went on. If we played them late who knows because a rivalry is a rivalry.

    I think Reed’s angst is we finally got close to the panties and we choked. Just when the program had you excited and thinking SOP is gone it comes back.

    I’m troubled that in 2 years his defense is as bad as it is and all is status quo. It was a good season hands down. But it could of been great.

    Be happy you aren’t dizzy. Drinks and cigars here in SFLA and I can’t have either. Ugh.

    As a side note, I’m going to be more positive all things Pitt. I hope the AD and OC or lack of don’t make me regret that.

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  33. True freshman Lindsay Delaney, a USC grad and brother of Jeff (safety) also came into that game as I recall….. Didn’t do so well either. What a defense we had in ’77. Could have been back-to-back champion’s with that team going in.

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  34. Narduzzi was outcoached in the bowl.

    Players get hurt and Connor wasn’t even halfway in that game mentally.

    QB was a loss.

    Our offense should of hung 45 on a mid of the pack Big 10 team.

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  35. I’m with the pack on this one….agreeing that Ollison should have been used more but “Meh” regarding the DiNucci v Stocker debate. Much ado about nothing.

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  36. While I agree that we should have beat NW, when you turn the ball over and get stopped at the goal line and then lose players to injury a loss is to be expected. I blame very little of this on coaching. Perhaps the underlying fact that Canada was a lame duck, but even then, I thought he called a good game, that was poorly executed. With everything that went wrong, we were still in it at the end. With Peterman leading that last drive who knows, but saying Stocker gave us a better chance is pure conjecture.

    Face it, our senior offensive players did not come through, They carried us all year but failed in their last chance for glory. It is too bad, but not the end of the world.

    Blaming the coaches for possible poor decisions regarding back-up players seems more than a bit nitpicky to me.

    We are all frustrated by the loss, some more than others. This one does not hurt me as much as Navy where we just didn’t show up. It is tough because it is the last game till September.

    A strong finish to recruiting will right the ship for me.

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  37. notrocket – here is one more for you – UPitt mentioned Arkansas’ OC earlier today –

    Arkansas: according to Bart Pohlman, offensive coordinator Dan Enos is expected to remain on staff after interest from other teams.

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  38. Reed – I have the information needed to plan the POV Spring golf outing – how do you want me to communicate to the interested parties?

    You have my contact info –

    We currently have 16 players and several others interested.

    Quicksilver currently has two dates secured for us –

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  39. gc, my recollection is that one of the announcers said that DiNucci had said he was told that he would be the replacement for NP if he was taken out if the game.

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  40. Well, I think one thing is for sure…great discussion on this topic. Thanks Reed.

    My thoughts:

    I don’t get the Ollison thing at all. I could see if it was Narduzzi’s first year and going with your guy but he played Ollison last year, right from the start, so why not in a shared capacity this year.
    DeNucci. – I think he passed Stocker on depth chart and honestly, not surprised. I also think if we were winning and were going to ground and pound with Conner in the back field that Stocker plays, but I think DeNucci is a better passer and that is why he played. Don’t think Stocker makes the Orndoff throw.
    We lost the game and we played poorly. Not the first time for PITT to get ranked and then play horribly, but that may have been the first WTF moment in the Narduzzi era and it came against a Power 5 program and not Bowling Green or Youngstown State. The expectations have increased in the two years that Narduzzi has been here.
    The injuries were substantial to a team that has no depth due to factors out of Narduzzis control. We lost two recruiting years. The years where we would have upper classman. Then you lose your QB, star running back, star safety, senior DT, backup running backs and a top senior lineman and you can’t really expect to win. I was as disappointed as anyone, but even with all the injuries and some questionable calls by the refs we still lost that game more than Northwestern won. Aston doesn’t trip or Orndoff makes a routine catch and we win.
    I also think that Conner and maybe Peterman could have played if it was a ACC Championship or a game that was leading to some a ACC Championship game. I think it was a Bowl game and those guys were benched. Not saying that was the right or wrong decision but Conner looked like he could have played. before anyone says it, no I don’t think I am a doctor.
    I like almost everything about Narduzzi so far. I question the Ollison thing and I think he should have took the safety and double covered the top receivers we faced but I like the way he does things and I like his recruiting. I think his recruiting is better than we have seen since the 80’s. Wanny seemed to get a lot of 4* players that never looked like they should have been rated highly. I seem to remember a lot of people saying that guys like Rippy, Bostick and Hale had no business being ranked highly. I don’t see that with the guys that Narduzzi is bringing in and in fact many have offer sheets as 3* players better than those guys had as 4 and 5* players.

    My $0.02. H2P

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  41. Matt House could get a 2nd chance at a P5 DC job –

    Cal: The school is in contract negotiations with Wisconsin defensive coordinator Justin Wilcox to become Cal’s next head coach, according to Fox Sports’ Bruce Feldman. Wilcox spent last year at Wisconsin. He has West Coast ties.

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  42. Head shots have no place in the game and in both NC and Pinstripe the stars were targeted. While I dont go as conspiracy I do wonder if it is the players doing this as a trend or is it coaches ordering. Either way the refs have to start calling them,
    Pinstripe Bowl – PItt did not come to play, NW did. Sad

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  43. RB Shai McKenzie scheduled to graduate from VATech this summer and then enroll at another D1 school to pursue a masters degree and play FB – as reported by PSN (tweet link).

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  44. Not a fan of Ollison so I didn’t have a problem with Moss getting more of a look throughout the season. He actually showed some flashes of talent.

    Also, I thought playing DiNucci was the obvious choice and didn’t consider playing Stocker until I started reading message boards and blogs after the game.

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  45. Two of the three Alabama starting WR’s will leave this year – one to graduation and A.Stewart leaving early for the NFL.

    Ro Foster chances of starting begin to rise.

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  46. Reed, perhaps you can confirm this, but my understanding from a member of the Pgh media is that most don’t care for HCPN. Not just the closed practices and lack of information, but I’m told he’s been rather condescending with a couple of the guys whose primary job is to cover Pitt. Jerry DiPaola for instance.

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  47. JoeL – I can see it.

    Most are but he looks like a I am always right guy and it is the players fault they were in position. Maybe he will grow into a leader but not there yet.

    Not being shitty just reading his body language.

    Erie – Yes Enos said no to Pitt’s offer.

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  48. Nothing against JC obviously, great kid… but imo had Ollison been the feature back he would have rushed for more yards than 1.092 yards.

    And Nard Dog lived life on the Edge the whole season, by chasing CV out of town. For if NP goes down at any point in the season, that would have been the end of the season.

    So ND is living a charmed life.

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  49. Last Football Rankings of the Season came out the other day. And of course Pitt fell out of the Top 25.
    Finishing the season, not being ranked is so SOP. Sorry to say.

    When and if that ever happens again, it better end with a bang, like Top 10. Not just squeezing in at the Tail End. This program needs to make a stmt by finishing in the Top 10.

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  50. And let’s change though shitty numbers on the uniforms.

    I’m sure they paid some firm hundreds of thousands of dollars for that bullshit

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  51. Erie Express, love the updates, keep them coming.

    Have to say, I don’t get the delay in hiring an OC at this point. Frankly, a HC should have a short list of replacement candidates for every coach on their staff.

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  52. 69 yard NU run from scrimmage after our offense being stopped at the goal line. That was one of the key play in the game IMHO. Failure to close a simple gap in the D-Line. Hold them and Pitt gets great field position and still leads the game. This and other miscues on both sides of the ball showed to me the team was just not ready to play. And I will not speculate why – just will say that 20 or so professional adults get paid damn good salary’s to prevent a thing like that from happening…

    Once that play happened you could see the body language of the players on Pitt’s sideline deflate compared to NU’s…and NU translated it into a big day running the ball. Pitt’s players’ attitudes never seemed to get it fully together until the 4th quarter – they kept getting tighter and tighter with every 3rd or 4th down conversion on D or bad snap or missed block or movement penalty on offense.

    H2P

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  53. Yipes…hard to follow a Sybil post. Erie, are the dates for the outing the Friday before the spring game? Just need to clear my schedule if possible. ANY course is fine by me…Meeting some POVerts is more important to me. Thanks for taking the time to start the ball rolling. Let me know how I can assist.

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  54. wwb @ 5:50pm – interesting comment you make, “we had no business beating psu and Clemson”.

    Jerry D of the Trib commented before and after the September game at Heinz Field, that Pitt should beat psu because the dairy school (my words not Jerry’s) was not very good AND that neither school was a top 25 team.

    Let that sink in for a minute…

    Sorry if I’m late with my comment – no reason to cuss me out.

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  55. Lastrow – yes, the Friday before the Spring Game – waiting to hear what Saturday the game will be played in April to solidify a date.

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  56. Auburn: Art Briles won’t be considered for the Auburn offensive coordinator job, according to ESPN’s Brett McMurphy, who adds that the job is wide open, and the new coordinator will run the offense. 247Sports reports Kendal Briles also won’t be in the mix.

    Pittsburgh: It appears Pitt will enter this big recruiting weekend without an offensive coordinator. The search for departed Matt Canada’s replacement continues…

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  57. Erie, Pitt was favored in that game vs PSU … but in my post above, I wrote “in retrospect” PSU should have won the game for as we know PSU turned out to be pretty darn good (and ues, they did miss their MLB for that game, but Pitt lost defensive starters Hendrix and Zeise the week before.). And BTW, despite what DiPaola wrote, he picked PSU by 3 points in that game which was posted on Pennive

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  58. what I posted @ 5:50 was that if you are going to continue to moan and groan about a loss we should have won, then why not cite the games we won that should have been lost. It works both ways.

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  59. Funny how even on an issue like this the debate is divided . Some feel that it’s no big deal an OC isn’t is place yet, while others are quite troubled by it. I don’t like it. Any top notch recruit or his parents are going to want to know who the coach will be. So we will end up getting those players rejected by their 1st and 2nd choices. Even if it’s AVP, can’t you release a statement that an OC has been hired and will be announced after the end of the NFL playoffs. If it’s not AVP or someone still in the playoffs then WTF is the hold up???Let’s get this done, Pitt and move forward ! !!

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  60. I deleted the Sybil post. We can do better than that guys. I’m going to start doing that more often if we keep putting up stupid ass videos or making personal insults toward each other. I’ve said all along this was going to be a civil blog and I’m going to keep it that way.

    We can agree to disagree but if it gets worse than that then I’m going to step in and I hate to do that… I truly hate to do that.

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  61. Tommymac, after that 98 yard NW drive … our offense went right down the field on the ensuing drive … only to have senior Orndoff commit a false start with the ball on their 5 yard line, followed immediately by the senior QB throwing an interception near the goal line.

    Much of the game was a comedy of unforced errors committed by experienced players who had produced all year (Henderson (2), Ashton, Orndoff(2), Peterman, Officer, Blewitt). But despite all of this and key injuries, Pitt could have tied the game with a few minutes left. I don’t see how the coaching staff can be blamed at all.

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  62. I believe Pitt should have beat psu, Pitt is better than psu and BEST if all, Pitt did beat psu to prove to me and others that my first two beliefs stated are in fact true.

    HTP!

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  63. Pitt should have an OC in place today. No reason for any longer delay. If they have offered and the guy has accepted, just say so if they cant release his name yet.

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  64. A couple thoughts on why no OC so far. 1. Until Randy Juhl appointed Interim AD, there was no one there to negotiate a contract. Gallagher wouldn’t/couldn’t do it and he sure wasn’t going to let HCPN give away the house just to get someone. 2. HCPN, after two OCs in two years is snake-bit and very wary. 3. Because of #2, Pitt could be seeking a term-of-contract and buy-out clause that would be unacceptable.

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  65. OK – time to put this topic to bed and I’m drafting another article now. But a few things.

    I’m past the point of caring about the closed practices Ike, regardless of what you think. It is what it is and while I think it is a huge mistake – especially for a Pitt football program that is fighting for every fan and begging for donations that don’t come true, and every bit of publicity it can get (in other words we ain’t Alabama or PSU who have 20 year waiting lists on tickets) is needed. But it is a done deal so I accept it.

    My opinions form over many issues and believe it or not I don’t dislike or hate Narduzzi – I write what I do because of opinions formed by input of many sources.

    But an interesting thing is this – JoeL mentioned something above that rings true. The fans have been enamored with Narduzzi from the start – and 99% of them have never done more than have seen him on the sidelines or on video. Maybe had a photo taken with him.

    The people who interact with him on a daily basis have much more input to form opinions of the guy and all aren’t as glowing as most fans are. But the beat writers and the other writers and radio types all have sponsors or bosses who have to remain in best graces with the hand that feeds the dog.

    Guys like Chas, myself and some other independent bloggers don’t have those constrictions and can write not only what we feel but also things we know or have heard from reliable sources that aren’t the party line.

    Now make sure you understand this – Narduzzi is a human being just like you or me. The fact that he runs a football team doesn’t make him one iota smarter or more polished that you or I either… except maybe in football issues. But he has been a coordinator all his career up until 2015 and those guys don’t get real heat on them and don’t have to be accountable to fans and media really – not anything near like what a HC has to do.

    Narduzzi is who he is and he’s not the best at handling any type of questions that have to do with any real substance at all. He’ll talk in detail about football plays – but any questions that demand hard answers or seem like second-guessing at all are ignored or treated with disdain. He doesn’t realize yet that as the HC he is open for questioning and should embrace that as the great ones do.

    For instance – and this is an example so don’t go crazy – if DiNucci really did move above Stocker on the depth chart at some point in the season that would have been something of interest and a positive thing to talk about publicly because it impacts not just this season but Pitt’s future seasons also. It would have helped the moves in the bowl game make sense and isn’t something that had to be kept back.

    But either he never thought about sharing that info with the media and fans… or he just never wants to share anything of substance with others – I tend to think it is the latter case though.

    All that said – remember what I wrote above. He is a human being who is good at one thing and is paid highly for it – paid for by our tax money, seat licenses and season tickets purchases and fan and alumni donations. While he doesn’t have to be an open book he also doesn’t have to think everything is a state secret and that anyone who questions even the smallest of his decisions is an enemy.

    You guys have to understand that people who are in the media take this stuff very seriously and truly want to get some real solid info and give that to the public. There is nothing more frustrating then listing out good and important questions to ask at an interview and be blown off like the subject matter isn’t worthy of an answer – I know for a fact that happens with some regularity because at almost every interview session I have sat in you can hear a question being asked and know right off the bat whether it will be taken seriously or not – and they are almost 100% good questions.

    Questions we all know that the informed fan would love to read and discuss with other fans. Pitt fans know football as well as anyone in the US and that is why it is so frustrating to not be able to give them real substantial stuff to chew on.

    Dave Wannstedt didn’t hesitate to speak out and share – sometimes it was funny but a lot of times it was very informative. He was loved by the media for that reason. You don’t have to be on lock-down as a HC to win and do your job well.

    And boy does that sort of thing make others’ jobs that much harder – like the Pitt Media Department whose mission it is to give the media and fans as much as they can about Pitt football so that the fans’ numbers grow and donations rise.

    Wonder why the money doesn’t flow into the program’s bank account like it does at other schools? It isn’t the number of wins the team has. A prospective donor feeling that they aren’t included in the football program’s business and interests is part of that and a big component of that is how the HC interacts with the public side of the equation. Now Pitt’s always had problems in that $$$ area – but the ebbs and flows. Open up and share more with Joe Q Public and see what happens.

    So it isn’t hard to understand why Narduzzi isn’t exactly a media darling in PGH even though people respect him for the job he has done. As I do also.

    Look – I’m a blogger with full and complete media access. I can and do write what I see and what I think and have way more freedom than guys with sponsors and bosses overseeing their work. I do it for free and I do it for you guys. But the media who are paid to report on the football program and on the coaching staff? They are having a tough time of it because they want to do as much as they can for their readers – it just isn’t available for them to get to.

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  66. PITT still has Salem there to talk with recruits and others and we don’t know what is being said to reassure the young lads. I wouldn’t worry too much right now. Although I do wish PITT would get one in place real soon.

    I posted last night and still believe an OC could be announced real soon. The name Briles was dropped as well.

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  67. One final thought: If ever a coach needs an AD it’s Narduzzi. He needs someone who can temper his attitude and help polish him as a head coach. The big time coaches answer to no one, but he is not there yet. Someone to work with him, guide him, and yes, get him to mature as a HC.

    Like

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