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?
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
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:
|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|
|?||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:
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.
🙂 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.
🙂 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…