NOTE: I’m wondering if I got ‘punked’ at the LOI Day event. The guy I talked to there looked exactly like our old DL position coach Inoke Brecterfield… and when I asked him if he was Coach Brecterfield he said “yes” I introduced myself and we started talking about things we had in common (Pacific Islands) and about our current DL Jeremiah Taleni (who Brecterfield recruited and coached).
But the point was brought up on here that Brecterfield was almost sure to have been in Wisconsin on Wednesday for their LOI Day. gig. I have been researching to see if Brecterfield was indeed in Madison, WI and can’t verify it.
In the interest of accuracy and honesty I’ll say that now I’m not sure at all it actually was him – but if not it was a very strange thing for someone to do. And if it was that is strange in other ways also.
Watching the Super Bowl last night made me remember the best comeback I never saw. Back in 1970 my oldest brother and I went to all the Pitt home games like we had ever since we were born.
The year before in ’69 Pitt was 4-6 under Carl DePasqua and had lost to West Virginia 46-19. In ’70 we were sitting at a surprising 3-1 and had a three game winning streak against Baylor, Kent State and Navy when WVU came into Pitt stadium. They were 4-1 and nationally ranked at the time.
We old guys remember the Pitt rivalry games very well and back in those days it was really WVU who got the most hatred from Pitt fans. Penn State was Penn State but we could look down our collective noses at the “rabble from the Hollers“. One lasting joke was that a person we saw at the game couldn’t possibly be a WVU fan because he was actually wearing shoes.
So playing WVU that Saturday was a big deal especially because their team had been doing so much better than our Panthers back then – they had up just finished the 1969 season at 10-1 and their new head coach was the up and coming Bobby Bowden. And it was Pitt’s Homecoming Game so the fans packed the stadium.
We were firmly seated and ready to watch a great game on a gorgeous day that I remember very clearly because I was supposed to have gone hiking in the Laurel Highlands with my girlfriend at the time… and went to the game instead.
But something funny happened on the way to halftime – we had been getting our asses kicked up and down the field and when the whistle blew to end the 1st half we were down 35-8. It was ugly and unexpected and sucked.
Honestly I ask you, who wouldn’t leave that putrid game to try to make up with the prettiest girl in Western PA? Especially when your team is down by 27 points with only 30 minutes left to play? We weren’t the only ones to leave early that day either – there was an exodus of Pitt fans who thought the way we did.
Well, we did leave, and in the car the whole way home we were listening to our Panthers stage one of the great 2nd halfs of play in college football history.
“We had them 35-8 at the half and were killin’ them,” Bowden said many years later. “We were killin’ them. The second half, we couldn’t even make a first down.”
Curiously, Bowden made the shift in the second half to a more inside offense, relying on a power attack.
Such a decision proved disastrous. It also changed the way Bowden, who won 377 games before retiring last season, coached the remainder of his career.
“I sat on it when we were ahead 35-8 and I said ‘We are going to win this thing,’ ” he explained. “And we lost and I said, ‘We ain’t ever going to sit on this thing again.’ And we didn’t.”
Pitt scored every time they touched the ball in that comeback and didn’t give up a single point. 13-9 was one for the younger Pitt fans but I always think back to that 36-35 game and feel that was the best Pitt-WVU win I never watched.
The game in 1970, when Pitt trailed at halftime, 35-8, and stormed back to win is one of college football’s most astounding comebacks.
Pitt didn’t punt in the second half.
Pitt ran 67 plays in the second half.
Pitt scored two third-quarter and two fourth-quarter touchdowns, all while shutting down the Mountaineers’ offense over the final 30 minutes.
It was homecoming at the football cathedral on Cardiac Hill and, when Pitt scored a touchdown with 55 seconds remaining — then forced a fumble on the ensuing drive — it had pulled off what had seemed unattainable: Pitt 36, West Virginia 35.
Needless to say my brother and I blew it by leaving and now that time has passed I can laugh about it. But watching Brady pull that victory out last night; love him or hate him you have to acknowledge just what wonderful thing he did, made me wonder about all those Patriot fans who might have turned their TVs off when the score was 28-3.
For a kick here is an advertisement for The Band playing at the Syria Mosque (hurts to think about that place now) soon after that game. Look at those ticket prices!
I took that girlfriend of mine to this concert and broke up with her the next day. Too many other “prettiest girls in Western PA” were there and wanted to party at my place after the show but she was tired and went home early. Big mistake on her part…
“Catch a cannon ball now to take me down the line
My bag is sinkin’ low and I do believe it’s time
To get back to Miss Fanny, you know she’s the only one
Who sent me here with her regards for everyone…”
Back to football:
We just had a conversation in the comments section of the last article about Josh Conklin and our Defensive Backs. Posted was an article written in the Trib-Review on the same subject. Here it is – read it and then the following is what I have to say about the issue.
In PC’s last year we were # 24th in the nation in pass defense and that was with four guys – Vinopal, Mitchell, Maddox and Pitts who were all 6’0″ or under:
Ray Vinopal – 5’10”
Reggie Mitchell – 6’0″
Lafayette Pitts – 5′ 11″
Avonte Maddox – 5′ 9″
Here is what we were like on defense in Matt House’s last season (2014) compared to 2016:
Table 1 Pitt’s Decline on Defense
|Category||2014||2014||2016||2016||(+ or -)|
|Total Defense||33rd||359.8 ypg||101st (-78)
||452.8||+ 93 ypg|
|Rushing Defense||55th||160.8 ypg||16th (+31)
||119.6||+ 41.2 ypg|
|Passing Yards Allowed||24nd||198.9 ypg||127th (-103)
|Team Pass Effic. Defense||43rd||121.59
|Scoring Defense||58th||26.3 ppg||106th (+48)
Oh – and in 2015 we gave up 17 TDs in the air as opposed to 28 this last season.
That article above is a huge try at misdirection on Conklin’s part when being interviewed. He’s a great one for making excuses for that horrid defense last season.
BTW – here is the 2015 roster for MSU in Narduzzi’s last year as the DC there – almost every CB and DB is under 6’o”. You’ll see that only 3 of 13 players were over 6’0″:
And Pitt fans are buying into this also – that we have to have tall kids back there to be effective. it just isn’t true.
It is Pitt’s latest urban myth to cover for just plain crap coaching. I truly believe that Pitt fans feel that just because Narduzzi hand-picked Conklin then Conklin should get a free pass… but like I said yesterday OCs and DCs are utterly disposable and cutting out Conklin as soon as possible makes perfect sense because we almost literally couldn’t get any worse on defense with a new guy there.
Another showing in pass defense like this last season and we may backslide in the W column rather rapidly next season.