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).
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.