Stealing a Topic for Today…

…. but it’s a good one.

Every so often I go on the Pitt football message boards and take a look at what the posters on there are talking about.  Actually, that is how Ike and I got to know each other so long ago.

When I started writing for The Pitt Blather I cut down on the boards until I wasn’t visiting them at all.  However as I said I still go on maybe twice a month to see what’s up.

Yesterday I did this and ran across a post that really caught my eye and one I think you all will enjoy talking about.

On’s Panther-Lair’s pay site (subscription) message board Between Fifth and Forbes” (the best board by far) a poster calling himself Swervin27 posted this topic:

Favorite under the radar player at Pitt and why??

In essence he is asking the other posters who they consider an unheralded Pitt player who contributed more than the media talked about.  Swervin27 also asked that the superstars be left out as they obviously were not “under the radar”.

Some of the answers were spot on and I’m sure you can think of a bunch yourselves… tell us who and then please explain why you feel that player meets this criteria.

I’ll start. Back when I was on campus in 1973 Pitt had a bruising fullback named Dave Janasek who was built low to the ground and had some surprising speed.  Of course he was the FB in front of Tony Dorsett for two years before Elliott Walker came on the scene.


Dorsett soaring over teammate Dave Janasek

Janasek’s numbers were pretty good considering the stable of RB’s we had on the team back then also.



For a FB to get 65 carries in a season  was pretty much as active as they could get – but we also have to remember that the college game truly was different back then. It was much more lower scoring and the FB was used on offense by almost every school.

I remember watching Janasek- it was truly hard to take your eyes off Dorsett when he had the ball – and thinking that Dorsett had better remain friends with him because Janasek was saving Dorsett’s life out there with his great blocking.

Here is an excerpt from a book by Sam Scullio; Tales From the Pitt Panthers, regarding Janasek and Dorsett’s relationship:


OK readers – who, what and when are your Under the Radar players…




49 thoughts on “Stealing a Topic for Today…

  1. Off the top of my head and because he’s one of my all time favorites. Ramon D Walker. Many might say he was a heralded player at the time and he could have been but he still flew under the radar so to speak. Yes he finished 7th with 307 tackles and was drafted by Houston in the 5th rd. Still his vicious hitting was a lot more than just a mere tackle they were game changer’s. Like the ND game when he flew up to make a tackle so hard, that Walker just kept running for a few yards with the ball in his hands. I never hear his name being mentioned in the discussions about this guy or that guy. Which I guess is OK because he never seem to me to be a player who wanted showered with attention. Sadly his career ended too soon because his shoulders were just blown out. I know it’s stretching the topic a little but I wanted his name mentioned for once..


  2. Steve Sarkisian, who a month ago replaced Lane Kiffin as Bama OC. just took the Falcons’ OC job. Saban will have to hire another one … looks like HCPN will be looking for his 4th OC in the last 2 years.

    (Reed, where’s the sarcasm font?)


  3. Torrie Cox, DB from the early 00’s. He was a little overshadowed because most of the talent on those teams was on offense (Antonio Bryant, Kevan Barlow, Tyler Palko, etc.), but he did play a few years in the NFL.


  4. I am sticking with a couple from the last 10 to 15 years.

    My offensive/special teams vote goes to ‘The Johnstown Jet’

    Larod Stephins Howlings. He did everything the way it is supposed to be done. He ran hard, he had great 4.3 speed, could catch it out of the backfield and although undersized was the best blocking tailback on the team in 2008 (yeah Shady and Hyno were on that team). If Matt Cavanaugh weren’t the o coordinator during his years he very well could have been considered one of the best backs every at Pitt.

    He also was a monster on special teams (surprisingly I always though he was a little underutilized as a KR and PR). But he was a great tackler on special teams.

    He went on to have four or five years in the NFL (Much success with Arizona) and finished with the Steelers where he blew his knee and never regained his speed. He reminded me a lot of Darren Sprouls (A 5’7 or less type guy). I think he is a volunteer on the current coaching staff.


    Mic Williams had a great first step very similar to AD. I think his problem was (at least there were rumors) that he raised just as much hell off the field as he did on it.

    I think these characters issue prevented him from ever getting a shot in the NFL and I also think he may have been a little smaller than Donald. But I would take Mic on any P5 D-Line and especially any of the Pitt teams that have come after him.


    1. too very good picks …. I believe Williams actually came out of nowhere to be All-BE, and LaRod was very underultilized .. as his pretty decent NFL career proved. Cavanaugh never had the imagination to get Shady and LaRod on the field at the same time


  5. Here are some details and conjecture about Pitt’s defense next year which mirrors many of our thoughts. I’m posting this because there is some stuff about Maddox who was a discussion item in the last thread. I assure there is no political rhetoric here


    1. Hard to get too excited about “an inexperienced and young” defense this coming season. We may need to see a repeat of couple “Whiteheadlike freshman performances” from some of these youngsters to upgrade this group from last year.


  6. Andrew Taglianetti would be my choice.

    Pulled this from an ESPN article today – notice the B1G Joke conference reference –

    List of the 10 Toughest P5 Non-conference Schedules

    Every Power 5 conference but the Big Ten is represented in our list, and Florida State, Pittsburgh and USC make the list for a second consecutive year. In fact, the Trojans were ranked first a year ago, although part of the reason they were ranked so highly was because of their season-ending clash with Notre Dame, which started the season in the top 10 and limped to a 4-8 finish.

    Again, schedules always look a little different come November.

    Here’s what we came up with. All rankings referenced are from Mark Schlabach’s Way-Too-Early Top 25.

    #1. Pitt Panthers

    Sept. 2: Youngstown State
    Sept. 9: at Penn State
    Sept. 16: Oklahoma State
    Sept. 30: Rice

    The Panthers get the nod for the No. 1 spot because they’re the only Power 5 school that has to play two top-10 teams in Mark Schlabach’s updated Way-Too-Early Top 25. Not only that, but good luck in finding a more challenging nonconference swing in back-to-back weeks than on the road at No. 5 Penn State and then coming back home and tangling with No. 10 Oklahoma State. Each team has one of the top returning quarterbacks in college football — Trace McSorley at Penn State and Mason Rudolph at Oklahoma State — and the Nittany Lions will be especially motivated after losing to the Panthers a year ago.



  7. If you are a Heavy Civil Sr. Estimator and know Heavy Bid and are a bad ass I need you in Fort Lauderdale ASAP. Big Bucks.

    Sorry Reed – If I find someone on blather I will throw you commission.


  8. My pick is so far under the radar that you need a shovel to dig down deep enough into the 1976 Pitt Football roster to find a nonscholarship player that saved Pitt’s bacon in route to our last national championship.

    The name, Tom Yewcic. Pitt’s 3rd string QB. He just managed the game for the Panthers after Matt Cavanaugh went down mid season with a broken leg against Louisville but he never faltered in so doing. The rest as they say,,,,,,,,,is history.


  9. Rod Rutherford.
    After Johnny 2, Rod was the first big name to tell Joepa to pound sand.
    He paved the way for other heralded recruits to come to the shithole that was Pitt football at the time.


  10. Tom Yewcic, was certainly a much much better option than the next years backup QB. I know his name but out of respect I won’t print it. WA


  11. MY favorite was Dixon’s best recruiter. Not sure what his name is but I heard he was in witness protection in N. Dakota. Last heard still trying to recruit a big man to Pitt.

    Update: They found him frozen to death 4 miles from the Canadian border trying to track Bigfoot….never got the text that he was fired last year. Sniff…


  12. Torrie Cox is the first name that came to my mind, Jeff R already mentioned him but he was a difference maker for Pitt.

    @ Dan72… Good call on Phil Scrignoli. I work with the man himself. I’ll let him know his name was mentioned. I’m sure he’ll be thrilled.


  13. @EE
    Even more impressive is that OK state cracks the top 10 just because they play us. That’s gettin’ some respect.

    Btw, the other night, when I went on a bit of a rant about the Patriots, I meant that I watched 0 NFL football this year. I love college football.


  14. Jeff, one of my frat brothers and best man in both weddings was a Scriger fanatic. He got me watching him and the amazing hard work he did when he played! He will be thrilled to know Phil is still with us and works with you!


  15. I posted a lineman from the early 90s, Gary Gorajewski. He was solid, but since 2000 I’d go with RJ English. He and Antonio Bryant were a terrific duo in 2001 but Walt Harris made one of the worst coaching decisions ever and went to the no-huddle spread to start that season, which the players hated and was totally ineffective.

    A 9-2 team finished 7-5 and it almost cost Walt his job. English and Bryant were unstoppable once Harris went back to the regular offense and the team won the final six games of the season. What could have been and just another example of Pitt pulling the rug out from under itself.

    Not even Wanny would have been that dumb to change the offense. Bad move Mr. Harris. Bad, bad move.


    1. Ah 2001 … remember it well. Walt goes to the Spread Offense which was in vogue then. After winning the opener against Directional U, Pitt loses 5 straight .. most of them blowouts. Offense goes back to pro set, and Pitt wins 6 straight … including 38-3 over Va Tech and bowl win vs NC State and Philip Rivers, 34-19.


      1. Beat VTech and NC State by a combined score of 72-26.

        Just shows how good that team really was. Also beat Temple (33-7), Rutgers (42-0), WVU (23-17) and UAB (24-6). UAB had three D-linemen drafted into the NFL.


  16. @PantherInCt..Thanks for sharing the ESPN article in the last thread…”Pitt Panthers have the most difficult non-con schedule in the country”…I love it when announcers and writers call us PITT….remember when SP tried do ban that from our culture…RIP SP…


  17. Gary McGhee comes to mind…. Did just enough to be a rim protector and was good for an oop or putback dunk to get the crowd going.. Outside of a more-than-raw Steven Adams who was only here one year, the Pitt basketball center position has been a black hole since McGhee departed.


  18. Mike Farrell, Rivals Head Scout rates the ACC best fits of the new class for Pitt as follows:

    RB Sibley has the vision and sneaky power to fit perfectly in Pitt’s offense.
    TE Pitt loves big tight ends and Reeves is a good one
    DT Twyman is a sleeper, but watch out for him with Pat Narduzzi’s success with linemen.
    S Ford is a hitter who covers a ton of ground and is very athletic, so he will be a leader at Pitt and the hard-nosed kind of kid Narduzzi loves.


  19. A day late and a dollar short -Todd Toerper – possession receiver extraordinaire for Majors and heck I was in the boy scouts with him, great guy.


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