Now that Conner No Long Stalks the Field…

As part of a series looking at individual units we will try to patch-up, rebuild  or strengthen in time for the 2017 opener against Youngstown State I’ve switch between offense and defense articles taking closer looks.

We’ve talked about the Tight Ends, the Defensive Line and the Linebackers and the QBs and offense in general.

But I have some real concerns about our running game and would like to take a closer look at the Running Backs – maybe researching this piece will make me feel better. 

2016-rushing

To recap last season’s rushing production here are the final stats for our run game in total and the reason we were #28th in the nation at 225.1 ypg with a nice 5.4 ypc average.

That was a pretty big jump from our 2015 production that saw us at #44th with only 186.6 and a 4.77 ypc… and a jump up of almost a yard adds up over the season.

For our leading ball carriers we see these players as our main rushers:

top-10-run

Those guys were our Top 10 yardage producers in ball carrying.  There are some interesting things to point out with this. First is that two of our three yardage leaders have departed.  RB James Conner (1092 yards) and QB Nate Peterman were very effective in taking the ball downfield.

After coming back from a year out of football to take care of his illness James Conner had a very respectable 5.1 yards per carry and of course lead the team in TDs again with 16. Peterman was sneakily much more productive in tucking the ball and taking off downfield then at first glance.

One statistic I feel is both hidden and not appreciated as much as it should be is a QB’s rushing yardage with the sack yardage removed.  In other words it is how effective the QB was when his intent was to carry the ball forward (including pulling the pass down and scrambling across the LOS obviously).

Readers comment sometimes the “stats lie” and in this case I do agree. With that here is what Peterman’s numbers look like with sacks taken out (remember “intent to move ball forward“). 

If you factor in that Pitt was 3rd in the nation with the lowest “Sacks Allowed” with only 10 for (-)75 yards Peterman had 62 carries for 456 yards with a 7.4 yards per carry average (!) with 3 TDs.  Fun with numbers maybe but it goes to a point.

We all watched him take off and get big chunks of yardage in tight spots but that 7.4 ypc is pretty surprising and, as stated, hidden. To keep on Peterman’s skill for a moment his two-year rushing production was (this is ballpark) 119 carries for 882 yards with a 7.4 ypc and 4 TDs.

What is pretty amazing is that our sacks allowed went from 29 for (-) 193 yards in ’15 to only 10 for (-) 75 yards last year.  Well done OL!

So when discussing the running game I think you have to look at the QB position and factor that loss of personnel and production in.  I’m not sure what Max Browne will do under Shawn Watson as the OC but his past rushing record at USC was 13 carries for 10 yards on no TDs which means, I think, we won’t be seeing him tuck and run on purpose much if at all.

So much for the QBs.  The meat of the any school’s running game is almost always the running backs on the roster but we did that with a twist last season.  Looking back at that table above we see that departed OC Matt Canada made much use of our non-traditional runners with his reliance on WRs and DBs to carry the ball:

wr-rushing

WRs, DBs and the FB had 987 yards out of our total 2926 is 33.8% of our total rushing production. 

But wait!! There’s more!

Add in Peterman’s 72 carries for 381 yards and 3 TDs and you have the ‘other than’ runners doing this: 186 for 1368 for a 7.4 ypc and 15 TDs  which turns out to be 47% of our rushing total That is pretty amazing to me.

(BTW – I think my math is correct this time but who knows?)

I’d venture to say that hasn’t been seen at Pitt before and the nice thing is every one of those ‘different’ ball carriers, save Peterman, are returning for 2017 – now the question is how well will Watson learn to use them now that he doesn’t have a Heisman-worthy QB behind Center?

He’ll have some traditional backs returning for action of course.  JR Rachid Ibrahim transferred out after seeing the handwriting on the wall.  He just never fit in to either Chaney or Canada’s offenses and with that  serious injury was left on the outside looking in.moss-ollie

We’ll have rsJR Quadree Ollison, SO Chawntez Moss and JR Darrin Hall as the primary running backs and they did OK last year. You can see they were pretty effective but nothing like the ‘surprise I got the ball’ runners we deployed.  Ollison’s production  dropped pretty drastically from his superb 2015 year when Conner was hurt and Ollison had to carry the load.

Chawntez Moss stepped in and did well with a 5.4 ypc on only 42 attempts and showed flashes of what he could do if featured. Billed as a break-away threat with the ball he didn’t live up to that with a long run of 41 yards against Marshall.  In his other games he had long runs of 4, 13, 13, 16, 2 and 3 in the bowl game.

I’ve little faith in Darrin Hall being anything but a reliever in the backfield this year. His 4.17 ypc over 100 rushes in his two years of play is unimpressive and he has only two TDs to show.  I think he’s been recruited over already.

Pat Narduzzi apparently loves small RBs and it has shown in his recruiting.  Ollison is the only big back at 6’2″ / 230.  Hall and Moss are both 5’11” /225 & 210 respectively.

Our incoming RBs, very highly rated and recruited 4* Anthony Davis; 5’10” / 198 and 3* Todd Sibley at 5’10” / 211 are of the same mold.  I don’t necessarily like that much because I don’t think these RBs on pour roster are going to see anything like the holes created for them on the left side of the LOS by Dorian Johnson and Adam Bisnowaty – both All-Americans and future NFL players.

That is a big deal to me and thus I think it would be a good thing to get the ball to Ollison early and often and get him in a groove.  We’ll have WR Quadree Henderson for the lightning, he struck big home runs last season, but I think we’ll need also need a back in the mold of Conner for the thunder and Ollison is the only one on roster big enough to do that.

syr-olThis is a real position of concern for me because so much of a running game’s success depends on the offensive line – which I don’t think is going to be anywhere near as effective as it was in 2016.

Here is who we had on the front line at the end of 2016 .  With Reese and  Baker gone how will we match the departed Left Guard and Left Tackle?  We ran the ball down the left side a ton last season and that is the QB’s blind side.

We may get lucky with Sibley and/or Davis for a big year and that would be nice especially because we’ve seen that in the recent past with RBs hitting the scene hard like McCoy, Graham, Lewis, etc. 

But our existing running backs don’t thrill me all that much and without a strong passing game to take some heat off – and we don’t know anything about Browne and that yet at all really – the run game will have to produce early on and it most likely take some time to get really rolling. 

Hopefully that will take place after YSU and before the Sept 9th at PSU game but I’m worried about that.

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94 thoughts on “Now that Conner No Long Stalks the Field…

  1. Reed, I’m guessing you double checked and found Baker and Reese are still on the team. I’ve heard they graduated and moved on.

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    1. we should have a pretty good starting OL with 3 starters back plus Jones-Smith and Dintino .. but depth may be an issue if we have more than one or two injuries.

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  2. Moss, Hall, Ollison, Sibley, Davis .. in no apparent order
    Henderson, Ffrench … in apparent order

    I believe there is enough talent here especially since RB is one of the few positions where a natural freshman can come in and make an immediate impact (Dorsett, Shady, Lewis, Conner, etc). Whether someone takes charge or it is RB by committee, I agree with notrocket that RB is the least of the worries.

    Before last season, we were worried about our passing attack, but by midseason, it became a strength. This year, I expect there will be a bit more reliance on passing with the experienced, strong-armed Brown, Clarke, Weah, Henderson, French, Matthews, etc

    While we cannot expect this year’s offense matching last year’s, the offense will still be a strength.

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  3. two off-topic items of note:

    Bisnowaty just ran a 5.23, 7th best of all of the OTs at the Combine

    apparently, Justice Kithcart just got dismissed from the team.

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    1. Freshman guard Justice Kithcart has been dismissed from Pitt for what has been termed as ‘conduct detrimental to the team.

      with 6 or 7 freshmen coming in, at least one or two of the underclassmen has to be shown the door anyway.

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    1. Upitt, love your comments but Le’Veon, although a diff. style of running, ran a 4.6 in the combine. Connor is not a shifty back so the fact they can draw some parallel leads me to believe he can be successful in the NFL, even if your a scout who is secretly working for the team up North which we all know you are. I mean, who wouldn’t want Conner as an un-drafted free agent.

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  4. Did Kithcart call someone a cracker or honky or whitey? Did he use drugs? Did he assault someone? Did he fail in his grades?. Did he fail to be a good guard and is being forced out? When you don’t know what someone did it is difficult to be sincerely snarky. Keep writing those letters on OJ’s behalf maybe you can get him a second chance. i know the right to a Second Chance is in the Constitution somewhere but am having trouble finding it.
    RB is a question mark. IMO Ollison is the best but has the lowest ypg average. Sibley was recruited to tOSU. Who knows, I dont look for the WR to be as big a part of the offense but who knows.

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  5. Hey rkb, let us not forget that OJ was found NOT GUILTY for murder…. He got a second chance after killing people. Then he blew his 99th chance…

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  6. Ollie reminds me of Franco with his running style capable but at times went down easy just like Franco on those Chaney toss sweeps… would love to see the big kid gets a 2nd chance, with a little James Conner beast mode and Franco’s hand incorporated into his game.

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  7. If Kithcart comes to TCU, I’ll buy anyone some brisket who wants to go watch him here in Ft. Worth. I already know Upitt would love to see his homeboy Jamie again!

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  8. RB’s are the least of our concerns. There is/will be PLENTY of talent there.

    The questions? Will we give up 35 ppg on defense? Can Max Browne move enough in/out of the pocket to make up for losses on O-Line?

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  9. I’m concerned about any of our returning RB’s Moss, Hall and Ollison being able to replace Conner to any great degree. Thus I’m hoping for a pleasant surprise from one of the two freshman recruited at the position.

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  10. Conner has better vision. Vision and quickness trump speed. Will wait to hear about Kithcart.

    Posted opinion on MSU LB on other thread. It’s 5 oclock somewhere!

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  11. I also remember JC saying during the summer before he got hurt, that he logged a 4.5 in practice. I believe he was carrying about 240 at the time. I would think we’ll see a sub 4.5 from him – 4.47-4.48.

    We all know how he sets a goal, and works till he reaches it.

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  12. UPitt- hate we had a birthday (sister-in-law’s 70th) in Greenville, SC. Would love to be in a dinner conversation with you and The Doc – assuming, of course, I could get a word in once in a while!!

    I told Doc over the weekend, that if I had been in Savannah this weekend, I’d take you down to JC Penny’s, and buy you a pair of Script Rockports!! You could wear them around The Ranch!

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  13. I think the O line is likely to still be effective, even if isn’t quite as good as it was the last couple seasons. The bigger issue, I think, which Reed mentioned, is whether they’ll have a credible passing attack to keep defenses from packing the line of scrimmage. No way to tell on that one just yet unless you want to go back and watch Max Brown’s game tape from USC.

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  14. Conner still has a shot to improve his 40 time at the pro-day. 4.66 alone puts him in the later rounds. I, personally, still think he he should play a little lighter … in the 225 lb range.

    The most important event for Conner, however, is the 3 cone drill. With his running style anything sub 7 seconds would improve his stock and he’d be back in play for rounds 3 thru 5. He was never going to be a home run threat.

    The two backs he’s most closely aligned to in style are Blount (4.74 40 yard dash) and Bell (4.6 40 yard dash).

    Bell weighed in at 230 LBS and did the 3 cone drill in 6.75 seconds. Blount weighed in at 241 LBS and did the cone drill in 6.85 seconds.

    Taking into consideration that Conner is still only about 9 months removed from his last chemo treatment it’s pretty impressive he’s gotten back to this point. Conner had the biggest hill to climb out of this group of RB’s and someone will take a late round flyer on him just for character he brings to a team.

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  15. a minor detail but worth noting: when Peterman transferred 2 years ago, it wasn’t until after the spring term, thus,he didn’t participate in spring drills. Instead,he began any real scrimmaging in August and had to share snaps with the incumbent Voytik. This is not the case with Brown, thus, he will have a much better headstart that NP didn’t have

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    1. wwb – From all reports and interviews I’ve read or heard, QB Brown is a leader and this team will be in need of leadership, besides what Duzz provides.

      Pitt lost some good players to graduation, but also their best leaders. Besides Brown, list the potential leaders we know who might step up? On offense, O’Neil, Bookser, Henderson? On defense, Whitehead, Wirginis, Maddox?

      I know there are guys on the team who were leaders in HS – we as fans have not seen them lead at Pitt yet.

      This will be an interesting season. I’m pulling for QO to show the coaches that he wants the rock and will pick-up from his 2015 performance and be the next great RB we cheer for.

      HTP!

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  16. wwb – that is a good point, plus Browne is coming into a situation where he is almost guaranteed to be a starter. Which can be positive and negative – it eases stress of competition but can lead to laxity if a player feels he can slide and get the starting job anyway.

    A real fact though is that we have very little to go on in trying to predict how Browne will do for us especially with a new OC at Pitt.

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    1. Browne has a very narrow window to prove he has NFL potential. I doubt very much that he is going to take a lay back attitude at any time this coming year. Peterman’s rise in NFL eyes this past year should give him all the incentive he needs going forward. All Narduzzi would have to do is have MacVittie play with the starters for Browne to get the message.

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  17. Connor was not his 2014 self in 2016. He was visually slower in 2016. There is a reason why his statistics were so much better in 2014 and the reason is that he was so much better. I think NFL teams know this and at least several will draft him on what he will do in 2018.

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  18. Steelers need a RB, love for it to be Conner. Peterman would be a good pick-up too.

    Reed, interesting that the Steelers see the Great Hall as a priority for a major upgrade.

    The amenities outside of the stadium have improved recently, more bars and restaurants.

    Since we are there for the next 10-20 years, Pitt ought to be looking for ways to improve the game day experience and making Heinz into “Pitt Stadium” on Saturdays.

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    1. both L Bell and J Conner are 6’1 1/2 and about 233 lbs. Not saying that Conner is Bell, especially speedwise, but I know that Tomlin is a big fan. Conner is not likely go high in the draft but a mid-round pickup for the Stillers may not be out of the question. Feel the same about Peterman if he is available in like the 4th or 5th round.

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      1. I believe Peterman will be taken before the 2nd round ends. Most NFL teams are lacking any depth(or for that matter a decent starter) at the QB position.

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  19. Browne was voted team captain by his peers and the coaches loved him. He gotten beaten out by an all world talent in Darnold, who may have passed Rosen as the number 1 pick next year. That is all. He just gotten beaten out by a better player. He didn’t get to play much before that because Cody Kessler was ahead of him. It was just a numbers game. That happens sometimes at these super schools like USC, Alabama, Ohio St., etc. etc.

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  20. I like Heinz Field. But now that i have to think about tailgating I see there are real problems there – one being I can’t buy a parking lot spot for this season – they are all sold out.

    But until Pitt can have true all-encompassing tailgate facilities the full college football experience isn’t there. We’ll have to live with that for a long time I think.

    I really think Pitt missed out on that Hazelwood site for a new stadium but I know that a new stadium isn’t even on the horizon for decades. Pitt spends its University facilities money on academic and student buildings.

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  21. I know many people like Heinz but I’m not one of them. Especially for college games. The Great Hall, to me, is not so great. This Pittsburgh and we have Pittsburgh weather. The main reason I have bought season tickets in the club is for comfort. A place to go to cool off and mainly a place to go to get warm. The Not so Great Hall is like an ice box on cold days. I’ll stick to my club.

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  22. unlike many here, about the only thing I like about Heinz is its location. It is very accessible for most of the fans who attend.

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  23. Tossing – I agree and I think we got a good one in Browne. But the nature of college ball is to expect the unexpected.

    This time two years ago we all were thinking about how much better Voytik was going to be as a 2nd year starter. We saw what happened there.

    Sooner or later this staff is going to have to pick a Pitt “QB of the future” and get him playing time. But with Narduzzi, and as with Chryst and DW before, our HCs tend not to put in the 2nd string guys to get playing time for experience.

    Most Pitt fans think it will Be MacVitte but i wonder – if he gets mop up time (if we have some of those games hopefully) then maybe that’s a sign.

    But I’ve heard good things about Pickett also… and since Pitt fans love offer sheets Pickett’s surpasses MacVitte’s by a lot. That will be fun to watch next spring practices.

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  24. BTW guys – as Ike alluded to we have lost some good talent over the off season which I had forgotten about –

    “Narduzzi said there are several players leaving the program with eligibility remaining, including offensive linemen Mike Grimm of Bethel Park (hip surgery), Alex Paulina of Canon-McMillan, Carson Baker and Aaron Reese, running back Rachid Ibrahim, wide receiver Zach Challingsworth of South Fayette and tight end Zach Poker.”

    I’m drafting a ‘look at the OL’ today (for Monday) and we are going to be scrambling there.

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  25. Reed, when looking into the O-Line article. I’m hearing that PITT likes another young man from Brooklyn, Justin Morgan. 6’6″ 365lbs. Reynolds (ILB) and Martin (OL) and (both from NY) will both be RS freshman next year I believe.

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  26. PITT recently offered a QB from Jacksonville Fla. Carter Bradley 6’3″ 195 lbs. This interesting for a couple of reasons. His other offers are from Wisconsin and Louisville. Lumpy must like the kid and Louisville is in the ACC. He was also offered by Indiana? Looks like Watson has been on this kid for awhile.

    More news today. Artis and Young did not start today. HMMMM?

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    1. UPitt: I hated the Stallings hire, and still do. But in some way I feel bad for him. Jamie left him very little talent, no depth, no center and no point guard. No rebounder and nobody to protect the rim. And remember, this is the same group of players who quit last year on Jamie. Once you hire a guy, most schools will give him a chance to win with his own players. I’m afraid that we’re stuck with him for a while.

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  27. Isn’t that something? Here’s a rumor and I don’t know if it’s true or not. but….. (heard from a couple of sources)….. Artis is a constant frequent flier at the casino’s

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    1. I have no evidence either way … but that just seems a little far fetched to me for a number of reasons. Again, I have no proof either way

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      1. It may not be true and is the reason I’ve sat on this info for awhile. You’re not suggesting that he would be recognized I hope?

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          1. Right wwb, who in the heck would know Artis in Steubenville? I don’t hate on the young man but I’m glad there is going to be a huge turnover on PITT’s roster next year. Those two being late for a team meeting this morning further validates Stalling’s dilemma with this years team.

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  28. Watching the combine and watched all TE’s catch the sideline pass except one – you guessed it – Pitt’s S.Orndoff dropped his –

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  29. Just sent a mass email out with the POV Golf Outing invitation attached to it.

    if you didn’t get one let me know in the comments or email me and I’ll send it to you, but I’m going to post it up tomorrow on my Sunday podcast article also.

    Rick Caldwell has busted his ass for this and it looks like it’s going to be a great day… we’re going to have it on the 14th of April starting at noon and I think we’ll just have a good time. We understand if you can’t be there due to family concerns over Easter, but if you do make it we’ll will take great care of you.

    I really hope you make it so that can we put faces to names and start to argue right away and in person! Don’t even have to get drunk first… Just bust right in with the jawing! I’ll start it off with a small speech entitled ‘DW and Me – a trip down memory lane”

    Thanks all and a special thanks to Rick Caldwell aka Erie Express for all the very hard work he’s put into this.

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  30. The casino life is never a good place for a college football or basketball player. Brings in a whole different conversation if that can be confirmed. I hope not. That would not look good for the player or the university, despite education from the university, the ncaa and nba against this type of activity. Just sayin.

    I gave up on the hoops team early. As soon as they mailed in their effort, I mailed in my fandome. This is why I like the fighting Narduzzi’s. They play hard. I root hard. Simple equation!

    We do lose a lot of talent on offense this year, but we should be encouraged by those stepping into their shoes. As an example, we lose a 4 star qb, but have a 5 star stepping in. We have a 2 star rb leaving, replaced by a couple 4 star rb’s. We have a 3 star TE leaving, being replaced by a 5 star and a 4 star. On the OL, we lose two 4 stars and replace them with two massive 3 stars. Using the star scoring method, we should be okay if they all perform as their stars suggest. That said, I am not concerned offensively until we see the spring game. Morgan is a man. Burger Jones Smith is a man. Bookser and Oneill are proven commodities.

    Would love to see Foster show up to compliment Weah and Henderson. Speed, speed and more speed if that comes together!!!

    The big question for me is whether Watson will be as innovative and operate as freely as our last OC.

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  31. On RB stats. Ollison got more of the tough yardage situations than the other backs last year posssibly contributing to low YPC.H2P

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  32. Hope Pitt uses the saga of a down-and-out quarterback welcomed into a new program and now ascending the draft charts.
    Looking like Nate is due a sizeable payday.
    Good for him.
    Good for us.
    H2P

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    1. actually, it was way before that. Paris Ford committed during his junior season, followed by a DB from Johnstown (forgot his name) who later flipped to WVU. I believe Ford is the 1st ‘first-commit’ in the past 3 years who didn’t flip. 2 years ago DB Tony Butler from Cleveland committed first but flipped …as did TE Bowers from Kittanning the year before who ended up at PSU.

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  33. Ike @ 7:51, actually I’d rather Artis stay and Stallings leave I am so goddammed tired of KS blaming the players after every game, I think they have turned on him. This $2M coach better start coaching his players up, instead of knocking them down. I would like to remind you that Vanderbilt had two #1 NBA draft picks but just had 19 wins last year …. losing in the play-in game, and Vandy finally had enough.

    He can recruit but can’t coach as far as I’m concerned.

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  34. wwb: If Stallings leaves tonight like Graham? I’ll be just fine but believe me, PITT has a good recruiting class i think is even going to get better.

    The kid from Johnstown name is something like Xree Low or something like that. Hope he stinks for WVU but I think he’s a good one.

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    1. but the point is … what good is the recruiting class if the coach can’t coach? He had 8 NBA draft picks and 52 all-section selectees while at Vandy in the SEC, yet he had an overall losing SEC record. That’s the SEC … not the BE or ACC

      He can recruit …. but we will see if he can coach. Thus far, he gets an F in my book. Losing is one thing, but constantly whining to the media abut his player is just being a c_nt in my book.

      How many times in his years here has Dixon ever said a bad word about any of his players? You can count them on one hand with 4 fingers and a thumb missing.

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      1. Those two seniors being late for a meeting the last regular season game tells me more about the problems than the poor coaching does. I have no particular love for Stallings at all.

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  35. ike – HCKS has a short fuse and uses the “F” bomb when talking & yelling at players.

    This coach has to be frustrated with more than players showing up late for breakfast – his poor coaching is making national college BB talk shows and he is getting blasted for it.

    That doesn’t count Pitt fans either – multiply that by 10,000. I don’t know one Pitt fan that wants to keep HCKS – I believe if a campaign drive to raise the buyout money was organized by fans, we could exceed the $ amount needed and make a down payment on the OCS (ikr).

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  36. J Artis and M young are (1) 4-year starters, (2) past ACC scholar athletes and (3) spokespersons for the BB team at various functions …. and now all of the sudden, they are bad apples? I contend that they have been turned off by this coach … in large part due to is incessant whining in post game pressers that its the players fault, and not the coaching.

    Offensive genius? If so, why is Pitt constantly not in position for an offensive rebound after a missed shot? When the opponent goes on its 10 and 12 point runs, does the coach even care enough to call a TO to try to stop the momentum? OK, you can accuse JD of overcoaching …. but is that better than undercoaching? Apparently not!

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  37. Dixon couldn’t wait to get the hell out of here. I can think of two reason why. I don’t give these kids a pass. They are only hurting themselves and look selfish, foolish and immature.

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    1. Dixon couldn’t wait to get out because his recruiting sucked in the last few years. Luther and Johnson are the only two thus far that has provided any value. And he couldn’t recruit a decent 5 if his life depended on it. He was able to hire a great recruiter as soon as he was hired at TCU, which has paid off handsomely so far. I believe he starts 2 frosh now, something he didn’t do much here.

      Remember, Dixon never wanted to ,leave BE, his recruiting base was in NYC/NJ … and he knew it.

      But having said that, he was still able to get > 20 wins every year

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  38. Artis and Young have been cancers to this program for several years. They refused to play defense for their team mates or coach. Only wwb could post that they deserve a 20th chance and they are actually great leaders. My man you and your logic are delusional.

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    1. I repeat …. both have been past ACC scholar athletes and have served as spokesman at ACC and other events. Just because they can’t play defense doesn’t make them bad people …. and certainly not cancers.

      But I suppose it’s ok for a guy making $2M + to bellyache to the press every time his team looks bad. Oh no, it can’t be me!!! Kind of sounds like a previous FB coach we had a few years back.

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      1. and as far as not playing defense …. Young had to play against guys 2 or 3 inches taller than him for much of his career.

        If these guys were such cancers, why were both 4 year starters under 2 different coaches

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  39. Young and Artis will finish very high in Pitt career scoring. To blame them for this hot mess is just wrong. They have been the only reason to watch Pitt basketball for the last three years. They have every right to be completely frustrated by the incompetence of Jamie’s recruiting and Knucklehead’s coaching.They were let down by Pitt and not the reverse.

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  40. @ gc – It is a two way street. Defense is pride and heart. That is on the player. There is no such thing as “CAN’T” play defense. If you have heart and desire you can do it. It just takes effort. Part of a larger societal problem of just getting a participation trophy.Many players for iconic coaches hated them while playing, only to find out later that the tough love and the requirement to play defense was the key to the players development on and off the court. Kids will either embrace discipline or run from it. We have a few that ran from it.

    That said, I don’t care that Artis and Young ran away from defensive discipline. No skin off my back. Great parents and great teachers challenge their kids. My dad and mom constantly challenged us. Sometimes I ran from the challenge but other times I ran towards it. I now embrace challenges wherever I can find them.

    Hey rkb, did I run from challenges as a squirt?

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  41. So where did these so-called facts come from that they didn’t want to play defense?

    Maybe they weren’t that great at it, but saying they refused to play defense doesn’t make it so.

    I’ll give you that they weren’t great defensive players, but Young was playing against bigger guys for the last four years and this year Artis was supposed to cover guards who were way faster and more athletic than him. Maybe they were asked to do too much and they weren’t that good. But I get tired of hearing them called a cancer when guys like Jeter and Jones were totally soft and constantly disappeared, and never improved from day 1.

    They all frustrated the hell out of me too, with poor shooting, bad passing and lack of concentration and killer instinct.

    I blame more of the demise of Pitt Basketball on coaching and recruiting than I ever will on the kids. Look at the absolute worthless players that came and went over the past three years and ask yourself if you wouldn’t have gotten frustrated as a player. I would say that both Young and Artis are much better players now than four years ago. They worked hard and improved dramatically over that time. What other Pitt players can you say have done that during that time period? Cam Johnson is getting better, but he is the only one. JR was pretty much the same player when he left that he was when he got here. Everyone else pretty much stunk. That is on the coaches not Artis and not Young, they didn’t recruit the inferior talent. It wasn’t their fault that we haven’t had a legit Center and only one decent guard (JR) in four years.

    Glad you had good parents although I am not sure what it has to do with the discussion. Maybe that Young and Artis had difficult childhoods, but I have faith they they will both earn a decent living playing basketball, and that has a lot more to do with their character than what Pitt did for them.

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  42. As of today Young is in 7th place and Artis in 10th place all-time Pitt scoring.

    Those are accomplishments that are pretty strong, all things considered.

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  43. The guy takes a beating for you vs Louisville, plays with a broken orbital bone, can’t see out of one eye, but he is the bad guy.

    What kind of coach takes away his team’s chance to win, because guys are late for their last game breakfast?

    Really surprising that this team never quit on him, even after the 8 game losing streak. When he never called a timeout when they were getting pummelled.

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    1. A coach that doesn’t want his whole team showing up for late team meetings the rest of their careers. C’mon, that was a total lack of respect. That is one of my biggest themes in life, RESPECT!

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  44. These seniors and the coach are really not leaders. Young and Artis are top 10 in points but what have they won? KS was an offensive genius and so called good coach about 10 years ago. What is he now? A washed up buffoon. I dont understand how anyone could defend the indefensible. Seniors: make sure the door doesnt hit you on the way out. KS – you are the worst coach in Pitt basketball history after only 1 short year. How he manages the game, treats his plays, throws them under the bus in public, doesnt engage the fans or respect the game anymore. He’s milking Pitt for MILLIONs. Thank you idiot BoT. Idiot Barnes. Idiot Gallagher. And any Idiot fan wanting to give KS the benefit of doubt.

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  45. Missouri has a similar story to Pitt’s men’s BB hiring. The fans knew it was the wrong hire three years ago. Today, Kim Anderson was fired after three miserable years.

    link to pittsburgh.rivals.com

    Now, Missouri’s AD must “search” for his replacement. An SEC cellar dweller looking for a coach who can bring them up from the bottom.

    Things that make you go hmmm…

    I’d welcome the chance to help the Missouri AD connect the dots.

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  46. PITT BB news:

    Artis voted as honorable mention all ACC

    Young voted to third team all ACC.

    Boy, not much respect for the second leading scorer (Young) who finished so close behind the leader and Artis, who averaged high teens. Maybe the other ACC coaches know more than we do??

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