Charlie Partridge & the 2017 DL Unit

The legalized bits are from Pittsbu

Lets talk a bit more about this recent hire and what it could mean for Pitt… and I’ll tie it in with the continuing series of looking forward at the different units for 2017. 

Here are some details about Partridge’s tenure at Pitt earlier on in his career:

Partridge’s initial Pitt tenure was from 2003-07. He had a positional focus on the defensive line for four seasons and the linebackers in his final campaign. Partridge also served as the Panthers’ special teams coordinator in 2006-07.

 In 2007, Pitt ranked fifth in the nation in total defense, yielding just 297.7 yards per game. The Panthers closed that season with one of the most celebrated victories—and defensive performances—in school history: a 13-9 upset of West Virginia that shattered the Mountaineers’ national title hopes. Pitt limited the high-powered WVU offense to just one touchdown and 183 total yards.

Well, I remember that game pretty well. Do you?

02westvirginia-600-1
Sad Pat…

Our DL and especially our linebackers got after Pat White like they were fireman and he was a house on fire.  Chased him all over WVU’s field and into the stands almost. There was continued heavy pressure  on him and here were the results.

Here is what White had done that season; in passing he had 1,724 yards (68%) and 14 TDs – not too shabby for a wishbone QB.  As a runner he excelled with 1,335 yards at a 6.8 ypc clip and also 14 TDs. That was awesome .

But we held him to 5/10 passing for 50 yards and 14 carries for 41 yards which was only 2.9 ypc.  No only season’s lows but embarrassingly poor. Yeah Us!  The Good Guys prevail!

That my friends comes from being rattled all day long by our defensive line and especially the quick DEs.  Here is who we threw up against that high-powered offense that evening 2007-dl

DE Joe Clermond,  DL Mick Williams, NT Rashaad Duncan and DE Chris McKillop.

Out of those 10 DLs listed in the WVU Game Notes five were from Florida although we could add the  injured Gus Mustakas: Clermond, Duhart, Sheard, Duncan, Romeus and Mustakas… all from FL and all with Partridge’s recruitment help to get to Pitt.

By my count we had 19 Florida players on our roster back then.  It sure looks like we are planning to replicate that in the near future.

Under the guidance of Partridge and defensive coordinator Paul Rhoads in 2007, a first-year starting middle linebacker named Scott McKillop led the nation in tackles (12.6 per game), earning All-America status and unanimous first-team All-Big East honors. Another Partridge protégé, defensive end Joe Clermond, led the Big East in tackles for loss (16.5) in 2006.

Pitt’s special teams were highly productive under Partridge’s guidance. In 2006, the Panthers led the Big East in net punting (37.5 avg.) and kickoff returns (24.1 yards avg.). During the 2007 campaign, Pitt topped the conference in field goal percentage (81.8%, 18-22) and PAT kicking (100%, 28-28), while ranking second in kickoff returns (22.9 avg.).

OK – that’s the past.  Who does Partridge have to work with in his 2nd go-round with the Panthers?  As of now our DL consists of these young men:

 #  NAME  HT/ WT  POSITION  YEAR
8 Dewayne Hendrix 6-4/260 DL RS JR
10 Keyshon Camp 6-4/ 275 DL RSFR
17 Rashad Weaver 6-5/ 255 DL SO
34 Amir Watts 6-3/ 270 DL SO
40 James Folston 6-3/ 245 DE RS JR
45 Devon Edwards 6-4/ 255 DL RS SR
66 Mike Herndon 6-4/ 315 NT RS JR
70 CalvinHamilton 6-0/ 315 NT RS SO
90 Rashad Wheeler 6-3/ 290 DL RSFR
91 Patrick Jones II 6-5/ 250 DL RSFR
92 Rori Blair 6-4/ 245 DE SR
93 Shane Roy 6-4/ 280 DL RS JR
94 Jeremiah Taleni 6-2/ 290 NT RS JR
95 Zack Gilbert 6-1/ 240 DL RSFR
96 Allen Edwards 6-4/ 245 DE RS SR
2017 RECRUITS FOR THE DL
? Deslin Alexandre 6-3/ 229 DE FR
? Jaylen Twyman 6-2/ 300 NT FR
? Kam Carter 6-5/ 310 DL FR

 I look at that list and shutter a bit.  We have had pretty good defensive line play but almost every one of the lineman who populated those lines are gone.

Here is who I think we have returning as possible starters and their two-deep back ups  and for reference here is who we had as a two-deep at the end of last season – and to the left are my guesses (really – guesses) as to what we’ll see in September:syr-16-game-notes

DE  -Rori Blair  (Allen Edwards)Blair is going to be looking over his shoulder at Edwards unless Edwards comes out of August with the starter’s position already his.  But Blair had a surprisingly productive season without much fan fare in 2016… 

Reviewing Blair’s work last season we see he played in 12 games and had 22 tackles which  included 5.0 TFLs (-36 yards) and 3.5 sacks (-32 yards).  That was a comeback from a 2nd year slump that had him at 3.5 TFL and only 1.5 sacks.  He may have a big showing this year if he plays to potential. Toss up there I think.

NT – Jeremiah Taleni  (Keyshon Camp);   I believe we’ll see a really breakout year with Taleni once he starts getting regular playing time.  That Clemson game wasn’t a fluke and he reminds me of Aaron Donald in a sense with his fast initial burst off the snap. Total guess on my part as to the back-up but Camp may be good enough to be in the two-deep somewhere.

DL – Amir Watts  (Shane Roy);  I really have no take on this position but if Partridge is the DL guru we believe him to be then I think he’ll develop both Watts and Camp as possible starters.  They are talented and big guys.. even though they were listed at 27o lbs and 275 respectively that year in the strength and condition program is going to have put an extra 20-30 pounds on them each.

Shane Roy is an enigma to me and he may drop out of the two-deep pretty quickly in fall camp (if he’s even in it to begin with).

DE – Dewayne Hendrix  (James Folston);  This is the position where I think we are going to see huge production.  Hendrix has had a ton of hype since transferring in but in my conversations it sounds like he’s actually the real deal and would have started over Blair or Edwards last season had he been healthy.

But Folston is one of my unsung favorites – he’s quick as hell and even though we didn’t hear his name a lot he put a lot of pressure on opposing QBs but didn’t get many sacks or TFLs.  He’s a kid I’m pulling for to get playing time early and often.

The bottom line with our front four this season is that it is still going to have to carry the defensive load in the opponent’s passing game.  That is what Narduzzi insists they do and without a huge change in the quality of play by the DBs – and personally while I think it will be better it will still be our Achilles Heel- those big ones up front have to be the key.

That’s why Partridge is here and he has to start earning his salary ASAP for us to field a semi-decent defense in 2017.

Notes:

🙂 Here is a .pdf of the Game Notes for that 2007 Backyard Brawl.  Interesting trip down memory lane.

🙂 Here is an interesting Q&A on ESPN that I thought you’d like.  It is a question about grad transfer QBs.  I expected to see Pitt in the answer somewhere but the writer is a left coast guy.

😦 Something to consider regarding the Spring Game is that the Pirates play at PNC Park at 4:00 on Saturday the 22nd of April.  I fear that may shift the brass to choose the earlier Easter weekend for the Spring Game.

I hope that on either weekend we’ll still get participants in our golf out – details of which are being hammered out now.  Stay tuned.

Big News: 

🙂 My daughter tells me that we could hold teleconferences on Skype without the visual stuff involved.  I’m looking into this today because I think we all would like to have a regular weekly evening round-table discussion as we get closer to being able to talk about actual football games.

I’m looking at myself as moderator and two reader-participants to start off with until we get the kinks worked out… after that maybe three participants would be reasonable… or more depending how well behaved we all are.

Stay tuned for that also…

 

40 thoughts on “Charlie Partridge & the 2017 DL Unit

  1. for the defense to be good this year, it is essential that some of redshirts from this past year step up. People like Camp, Jones, Weaver, Pugh, Pine, Coleman, Miller and Campbell … plus Hamlin. All have potential but you never know if and when the lights go on for them.

    I have been reading for some time now that Pugh may be shifted to DE. He is very athletic (great RB at Aliquippa) and may be groomed for a speed rusher a la E Price.

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  2. Pat White missing almost an entire half with a dislocated right thumb helped make the DL look good. Pitt also, out of character, blitzed the snot out of them.

    From McKillop …

    Pitt played a risky blitzing scheme with a single high safety. West Virginia never adjusted.

    “We ran one and only one defense the whole second half,” McKillop says. “I don’t know if that fact is out there. I guess I’ll spill the beans. We had one adjustment based on where the running back lined up. I was thinking, ‘Are they ever going to pick up on this?’

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  3. I hope Pugh doesn’t get lost in the shuffle. There are a lot of young talented LBs on the squad. I heard about him possibly moving to DE, but I’d have to see it to believe it. That would be a heck of a move for him seeing as he’s listed at 210 lbs.

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  4. Good article Reed and good post Tossing. White hurting his hand early certainly helped PITT. They brought him back in second half and the PITT defense did step up again. CP is imo a bigger upgrade for this defense than can be realized right now. His coaching skill is being overshadowed by his recruiting. He has some young athletic talent to work with, which is interesting considering the rumor is he called Narduuzi first inquiring. hmmm…

    About a article Reed wrote a few days ago, The name Rashard Duncan came up. He may be a decent candidate for unsung hero? He had a real nice senior year and wasn’t all that talked about.

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  5. Reed – you left out Kam Carter from the 2-deep DT/NT. At 6’5″ and 310lbs, Kam will be playing with a “can of WA” against YSU in his warm-up against his old team in creepy valley.

    Mark my words – Kam may not start, but he’ll play. I expect Kam could be Charlie’s “bird” in a Pear Tree.

    HTP!

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  6. NC State and Debbie Yow has more balls than anyone at Pitt.
    Today Mark Gottfried was fired after his team gave up last nite in their beatdown by the Tarholes.

    Pitt has never fired anyone I can remember during the season.

    Oh…they did fire a Pitt man who had given Pitt football it’s best 3 year run in over 30 years, I guess during the season, before the Bowl game of 2010.

    Anybody else, nope…crickets. Players can quit, teams can quit, teams can set records(both University and Conference records) for losing by outrageous amounts of points and nothing happens.

    http://www.newsobserver.com/sports/college/acc/nc-state/state-now/article133145359.html

    Gottfried, 53, is owed about $2.5 million as a buyout for the remainder of his contract. The sixth-year coach had a 122-82 record at N.C. State and led the Wolfpack to the NCAA tournament in each of his first four seasons but the bottom has fallen out on the program the last two years.

    The Wolfpack has lost five ACC games by at least 20 points this season, including a 51-point “disaster,” as Gottfried called it, 107-56 at UNC on Jan. 8. Wednesday’s game was closer but not enough to save Gottfried’s job.

    Sounds very similar to another program that is at the bottom of the ACC

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  7. Emel – good to hear from you my friend.

    To add to your NC State news release – Pitt lost by 5 to them in mid-January.

    Hahahaha

    It’s not really funny / but keeping HCKS is…

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  8. The upgrade in the defensive recruiting since Narduzzi has been HC will be self evident this season. By the end of 2017 we will be very happy with the performance of about a half dozen players that have yet to contribute.

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    1. And those half dozen contributors on D that have yet to contribute will have an equal number on the offensive side – QB, TE, maybe RB, WR and OL x 2.

      The special teams will have a few new contributors “to boot”…

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    1. My bad – the hoopies had 5 players invited and Shell was one of them.

      Long day yesterday and I’m up early today to drive to meetings in NJ.

      I guess I was the dizzy one there.

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  9. Thanks Erie……my schedule is a little different these days. So less commenting.

    I did see Pitt had the most players of the local colleges invited to the NFL combine. 6

    The Hoopies were next with 5.

    And the big bad Pedo’s of Creepy Valley only had 2 players invited. For all the huffing and puffing of
    the cult and their media cultists creeps in da Burgh.

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  10. It would be interesting to determine who Tom Sims closed on the recruiting trail in the last two years. It would also be good to know who he was responsible for recruiting for 2018. This may all be about the lifeblood of college athletics and that is…….recruiting.

    Many clamored about Jamie Dixon not hiring recruiters as our program declined. Many mocked Paul Chryst and his recruiting tactics. Narduzzi gets it. Recruit, recruit, recruit. 8-4 with a bowl win would be awesome next year. Keep the momentum guys!

    Erie – if we can get a spring game date, I may be able to golf. Golfed there many times back in the day. Last time there a few usc guys were running the show (Jim Salera and Sean something or other (golf pro)). Great dudes! I am terrible at it, but would love to meet you guys, break some bread and have a few beverages amongst friends. No houses on a course is always a welcomed sight.

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  11. Here’s an an article that may please many of you ..
    http://247sports.com/Article/Sources-wonder-if-Todd-Grahams-running-out-of-time-in-Tempe-51328053

    also, here is an excerpt from the article ..

    One big-picture stat seems particularly damning: In Graham’s five seasons, Arizona State has allowed an average of 40 sacks a season. It has been ranked in the 110s in each of the five years. There’s been no measure of improvement in a clear area of concern.

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  12. @WWB

    Nice find, his antics are wearing thin at ASU and this should be his last season unless they win the PAC 12 south.

    Their noncon is soft but they are probably looking at a 5/7 year.

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  13. PSU would have had another player or 2 invited if some of them had not decided to return to school — their expectations are going to be high, playoff aspirations certainly. How sweet it would be if Narduzzi can find a way to beat them again.

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    1. PSU has something like 17 or 18 starters returning, and will be heavily favored. If Pitt could somehow pull off an upset in front of the 107k white-out … it you would be Yuuuuge!

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  14. When we asked PITT for tickets to the psu game we were told that they only received 1,000 tickets and they will be given first to the top 600 point holders. Hardly sounds right?

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  15. An email to me from the Pitt Ticket Office…

    Dear Reed,

    We’re reaching out to you today to make you aware of all the road opponents for the upcoming Pitt football season. Additionally, we have details regarding our game against Penn State and what it takes to qualify for and request tickets.

    Pitt vs. Penn State
    Due to the very limited number of tickets available through the Panthers allotment, only those Panther Club members ranked 1-600 on December 31, 2016 will be eligible to submit a request for tickets. At this time, you are not on record as having contributed to the Panther Club during the previous fiscal year (July 2015 – June 2016), which is why you are currently unranked.

    What if we don’t sell out our allotment of tickets to the Top 600 donors?
    If tickets remain following March 31, Panther Club members ranked 601 and beyond will be notified, in stages, via email with instructions on how to request.

    Pitt vs. ACC Opponents
    All season ticket holders and Panther Club members are eligible to purchase away game tickets to any of the remaining four destinations this season. All fans purchasing through the Panthers Ticket Office will help to create a great atmosphere for our team and will be sat with other Panthers fans.

    Please Note
    Seat locations for Pitt football games played on the road are often times in undesirable locations. Those individuals purchasing tickets through the Panthers Ticket Office should expect seats in the end zones and upper levels of the host schools stadium.

    To make your request please contact the Panthers Ticket Office at 1-800-643-PITT (7488) or email us at tickets@athletics.pitt.edu. We hope to see you on the road this season!

    Hail to Pitt!

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  16. Hate to say it and will take the risk of being called a Nitter, but it must be great to be able to keep an opponents fans out of your house. Hope we do a better job next year, but almost as nice to have 35,000 of the enemy leaving with their tails between their legs.

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  17. Someone mentioned the Pirates, way off topic but refreshing to see Cutch moved to right field, for a lot of reasons. How rare is it to have an absolute superstar, completely collapse for a season, without injury or extenuating circumstance. I hope he has an amazing comeback year.really surprised he is still here. Gives me hope that the Pirates really do want to win.

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    1. you may remember that Bonds moved from center to left and Van Slyke moved from right to center circa 1990. Bonds was a rising star then, but not yet a superstar .. and while Bonds, back then, was a pretty good fielder, Van Slyke was even better and had a much better arm

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  18. Concerning PSU tickets, I received an email a couple of weeks ago from Pitt with a link to buy PSU tickets. The cost was around $250 per ticket. I did not purchase as health problems prevent long term plans. My prior trips to PSU were always fun especially when we won. Some PSU fans were really nasty but that is rivalry FB. If we are big underdogs, there may be more tickets available.

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  19. I’m pretty confident in the D-line heading into 2017, especially at tackle. Lots of bodies to rotate there. My worry is the end positions. A healthy Hendrix is crucial. Sims did a terrific job considering Hendrix missed most of the season and Jarrett was banged up. Now, someone else has to emerge at the other end spot. Maybe Blair does ala Soto in 2016. Both should have been redshirted but couldn’t because of low numbers traced all the way back to Smiley’s decision to fire Wannstedt.

    Speaking of Dave, what a great job he did turning around the D-line when looking at the depth chart from the 2007 WVU game. I think five of those guys he recruited and Duncan should count as the sixth since Wannstedt kept him in the fold after Walt left. The problem was come 2009 the position lacked depth due recruiting whiffs on the Bernardo Nunez’s of the world. Duncan was terrific in 2007 as a backup tackle but he was ultimately dismissed (and no, not for being a woman beater or a thug like many think Wannstedt littered the roster with). By 2009, the D-line should have gone eight deep and the back seven should have been better, too. Fields, Campbell, Nix, Greg Webster and Buddy Jackson all not panning out hurt.

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  20. 35000? There werent 25000 psu fans at heinz last september, much less 35000. I was there as were many of the rest of us… it was 20000 psu fans at the most. The end zone upper deck was all psu except one corner, the visitors side upper deck was like 60% psu, the home side upper and lower was more than 95% pitt and the visitors side lower deck was at least 75% pitt. Pitt had a minimum of 50k out of 69.99k. Psu had nowhere near half the crowd.

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