POV Podcast and a Quick Rebuttal

Wasn’t Dr T’s article great.  Thanks so much for that Tom. I disagree with 56.8 % of it though.

One thing a lot of Pitt aren’t really considering when discussing our problems with opponent’s passing games is that the defensive backfield talent level may go up this year … but the problem will still be the coaching.

Here’s the thing – Paul Chryst was as good a OC before coming to Pitt and Narduzzi was a DC and still our offense never came around to the level of his offenses at Wisconsin – they just didn’t.

For instance Chryst’s last three years as OC they scored: 31.8, 41.5 and 44.1 ppg.

Narduzzi’s defense gave up: 22.3, 18.3 and 16.3 ppg.

All very much Top 10 years in the NCAA respectively…

Now –Pitt fans point to Narduzzi’s first three years as the DC for a blueprint for what we’ll see at Pitt. He was giving up 26.6, 23.9 and 26.3 ppg for an average of 25.6 ppg.  A nice slim increase then back again but still pretty good…

Well, throw that positive creep out the window as we have gone from 26.1 ppg to 35.2 ppg with him as the HC and DC Josh Conklin.

His first two years at Pitt we are seeing much the same thing so far – even more so actually – with Narduzzi’s defenses at Pitt. They are nowhere near what he had when he was hands-on as the DC at MSU.  Not even close to his first two-year average when he was putting defenses on the field with other people’s recruits at MSU.

Now – we can cross our fingers and hope to heaven that it is not having the ‘personnel to fit his system‘ but honestly, I don’t buy that 100% at all.

First off we are going to be very inexperienced in the D backfield this year.  Last season we had guys with multiple years starting.. and before 2016 those years were seasons that we gave up a ton less yards in the air.

Year YPG TDs Rank Head Coach DC
2106 333.1 28 127 (128) PN JC
2105 214.7 18 54 PN JC
2104 198.9 17 24 PC MH
2103 218.5 20 44 PC MH

OK – why weren’t we bitching about a total lack of talent in the D  backfield last season.  honest to god – was Lafayette Pitts that good?  No – he was the focus of Pitt fan’s ire and he should have been.

The common denominator is the Josh Conklin at DC and Pat Narduzzi insistence to stop the run. Tom makes this point –

“Narduzzi’s defense is a “stop the run first” mentality. And in that regard we were pretty successful throughout the season, with the exception of the Miami game. So as I see it, stopping the run and forcing the opposition to throw the ball, actually was a fairly valid philosophy that kept Pitt in every game that they played. “

OK – that to me is pretty weird.  It wasn’t stopping the run that kept us in games – it was the most highly potent offense Pitt has ever had that did that.  In our losses we gave up this:

OSU – 540 yards and 2 TDs ; Lost by 7

NC – 435  yards and 5 TDs; Lost by 1

VT –  406 and 2 TDs; Lost by 3

Miami – 356 yards and 4 TDs; 23

NW – 216 yards and 1 TD; lost by 7

How in the world can anyone look at the OSU, NC and VT games and think that the ‘stop the run first’ helped us in a big way!!  I say “stop the pass first, second or third” would have easily won those games, given us a 11-2 record and possibly a playoff berth since we beat both Clemson and PSU.

Instead in those first three losses we gave up an average of 460 yards and 3.3 TDs per game.  Please allow me to repeat that for the hard of hearing…

460 yards and 3.3 (24 pts) TDs per game !!!

In each of those three losses even one less TD per game would have given us two wins and an overtime shot at a third win.  In other words one less TD in those games gives us at least a 10-3 record.

Have to stop the run…

Have to stop the run… 
Have to stop the run…
You are getting sleepy…

Hell, even in the bowl game we give up one less passing TD and we are in overtime. But that may be asking too much from a DC who is going up against a passing attacked 53rd in passing.  so I’ll give old Joshua a pass on that one. But only that one.

We have a fleet of ships full of Narduzzi/Conklin apologists when it comes to our defensive play over the last two years, especially last year. It isn’t even a matter of looking at the glass half full – you fans who defend this horrendous showing on the HC and DC’s parts don’t see that the glass has anything missing at all.

Guys – it is OK to honestly criticize someone for something when they truly screwed up – it doesn’t mean you hate them or aren’t a true Pitt fan.  It just means you ain’t Dr.Magoo… whoops…I mean Dr. Tom.

P/S: Can we get off the 8 wins is so great kick? I like 8 wins too but some fans act like we were the bottom of the NCAA barrel in the recent past. In 2103 we had 7 wins, beat ND and had a bowl win  – which is a win that has eluded Narduzzi so far in the worse ways.

I think our program is on an upswing but c’mon – give some credit where it is due to the past coach also.  As much as we want to point fingers at PC’s defensive recruits being the reason for our crap showing, then let’s give PC credit for the bulk of an offense, nine of 11 starters, who put 40.1 points up per game also.

61 thoughts on “POV Podcast and a Quick Rebuttal

  1. Reed

    I will agree with you 100% if we are still as bad two years from now. In the interim, I am placing my faith with the Duzz system. He just needed to get (and still needs to get more) the players with the talent to play within it.

    Great article, Dr Tom.



  2. Sad thing is that the one less touchdown per game could have been achieved if our defensive backs would have just turned around to look for the ball.


  3. Reed .. we did get an offensive uptick under Coach Chryst once he adapted to Chads strengths during HCPCs last year here…
    I see where both you and Dic are coming from..it’s a new year the slate is clean, the schedule is set, all players are onboard barring incoming freshmen and one thing for sure Duzz ain’t changing his philosophy not yet and maybe not even” come hell or high water”
    My biggest concern- an observation made by either Emel or UPitt backed by facts a couple of years ago was Duzz’s defense worked well in the Big10 but didn’t hold up as well against high powered spread attacks … we shall see what 2017 shall bring… I can’t wait!


  4. Reed, it’s not as simple as focus on stopping the pass as a priority. If you decide to do that, then you are vulnerable to the run game. Then we give up 400yds rushing a game and then what? Why don’t we stop the run?

    It doesn’t matter what your focus is going to be – if you focus on stopping one, teams will try and exploit the other. That’s common sense – proven by this past year. While I’ll agree that last year was awful pass D, I also think it was almost laughable at how almost every single possible bad bounce/bad luck scenario that could have gone against us in fact did.

    I’ve never seen that many ridiculous catches go against one team in one season – at the worst possible times. I don’t see it all playing out that way again this year. I just don’t. I’m not going to say we are going to go to being a top passing D, but I don’t think it will be anywhere as bad as last year. And while you can blame coaching all you want, players still have to make plays. That’s not to say coaches aren’t responsible – but the fact is the player still has to make it happen.


  5. Duzz’s system would work with safety help and a better pass rush.

    Why do you think they are putting Pugh at DE and will have Paris at safety this year? We will be a better secondary.


  6. Reed – The problem with your rebuttal is you don’t take into account the real Achilles heal, pass defense. Instead you look at scoring defense. This approach neglects the scoring offense of Pitt vs. those Michigan St. teams or even the previous year’s Pitt team.

    The anomaly of scoring defense this season is directly associated with the uptick in offense as well as the bad pass defense. Michigan St. never had the quick strike offense Pitt had this past season. Up tempo, quick scoring teams give up more points than ball control teams. Had Pitt played at the pace they played at in year one of Narduzzi, scoring defense would not have been as astronomical. Not saying the defense wasn’t bad … It most certainly was … even though it was on par with the learning curve the pass defense had at MSU … but it was inflated by the offense scoring so much and so quickly and teams responding in kind. Scoring defense is not a great tool to use. Delta between points scored and points given up is better.

    At Michigan St. his pass defense was …
    2007-2008: #43
    2008-2009: #68
    2009-2010: #116/120
    2010-2011: #68

    Look familiar? Pitt is actually one year ahead of the curve.

    Now to my point about scoring offense leading to more points given up …

    Pitt offense:

    2015: Points per game = 26.8 on 68.2 plays per game and ToP of 31:52
    2016: Points per game = 42 on 67.3 plays per game and ToP of 30:59

    Scoring more than 15.2/game on one less play and one less minute of ToP

    Pitt defense:

    2015: Points per game = 25.2
    2016: Points per game = 37.6

    Scoring defense gave up 12.4/game more with an offense that was scoring more than 15.2/game

    Delta offense:

    2015: 1.6 points per game more than opponent
    2016: 4.4 points per game more than opponent

    The facts are Pitt’s defense was bad. Historically bad from a Pitt perspective.

    The facts are also that Pitt’s offense was great. Historically great from a Pitt perspective. Both are not mutually exclusive. Pitt scoring lead to opponents having to keep pace.

    Even with that historically bad defense, Pitt still more than doubled how many points per game it outscored it’s opponents.


  7. Reed, I hope that I’m not the only one that appreciates your parched dry sense of humor in mentioning that you, “disagree with 56.8%” of my article. Being the statistician that you are. I’m sure that there must be a like minded insurance actuary or CPA out there in blogland that gets you too.

    Unfortunately, for you however, just like driving a car, you safely get some where by focusing on the road in front of you. You by comparison, love to focus on the rear view mirror however. Great technique to figure out where you’ve been but then you ignore the most obvious of facts that are right in front of you until you run right into them, completely unaware of them until impact due to your misguided driving technique.

    Well, the intangible of how Narduzzi has instilled a winning attitude into this ball club since his arrival has been pretty much ignored by you. This team is filled with guys who consider their teammates as family and in so doing have created a bond that permeates the team as a whole. When a synergistic environment such as this is created in an emotional caldron like a football program, then significant growth of it’s individual players can result because they now are involved with something that is bigger than themselves. You being a Coast Guard veteran, I would think that you would be the last one that I would have to explain this group dynamic phenomenum to.

    The trick is, getting that chemistry right in the 1st place. it takes the correct people in place to stoke those fires of emotion and commitment to the group. It takes the proper coaches with the right motivational techniques, the appropriate leaders at the helm of the team to provide direction by leading by example and a whole lot of like minded players who are bought into a common vision. IMO, that is what Narduzzi has created here, right now at Pitt.

    Throw in a whole bunch of higher end recruits, more than Pitt has assembled in one place for years, into that coldron then season the recipe with some significant successes and you can come up with quite a palatable entry. That’s the concoction that Narduzzi & Co. is stirring up right now, as we speak.

    The essential ingredient that had been missing in this coming season’s recipe was that of a solid, mature college experienced QB. Before Max Browne showed up, it was just empty optimism that I possessed. It was a glaring deficit that this team had going into 2017. No more. The only thing we have to really worry about presently is who steps up their commitment to the team and takes over the leadership reigns from guys like Bis, Johnson, Jarrett, Galambos, Caprara, Peterman, Price and especially our emotionally inspirational leader, James Conner. We get that question answered correctly and lookout.

    Nothing wrong with being a “show me 1st kind of guy” Reed. But you miss the big picture of anticipating the future when you just crunch the previous numbers 24-7. For a change, crunch the recruiting numbers and you’ll see that this team is poised for a breakout season soon. With the right breaks it could be in 6 months. Doe’s this mean it transpires? Hell no! Way to many variables, injuries, inexperienced troops that just don’t mature as we hope that they will, bad in game breaks for the good guys, opponents that themselves have a great team develop out of nowhere as the season progresses to thump us unexpectantly and yes, $hitty coaching!

    Going back the the defensive secondary. I hear you, it’s Conklin Stupid. Maybe it is, maybe it isn’t. Maybe it’s the Jimmys & the Joes. Maybe it’s a combination. Most likely that’s the case. You’re misguided though when you point out the lack of experience that will be in our secondary this season. Just not the case.

    Get Jordan Whitehead invested in the concept that this is his year to shine (maybe his last year) and have him raise that Pitt banner of leadership in the backfield and then all hell could break loose. And although I’m a constant critic of Avonte Maddox, it’s not because of his big man efforts that he put’s forth consistently, it’s because of his midget physical stature that places him at a distinct disadvantage on the field against any talented WR that goes more than 5″11″. That guy is the most veteran of the veterans on this 2017 ball club. We also have Dennis Briggs as a seasoned player and Dane Jackson who cut his teeth in the secondary this past season as well. I’ll even throw Damar Hamlin out there as a guy who is returning with experience, although that experience was mainly being put in situations where he got to waitness his opponent leave him in their dust routinely while they consumed his lunch in the process.

    That is experience in the defensive secondary my friend and it’s only going to get better as the season progresses, especially with the hot brteath of the competition that a half dozen other players stripped of their RS provide in 17. Let us not forget our wildcard either. Paris Ford, what you got boy? We’ll see come fall camp.

    So snap out of it, FOCUS! Take a good, long, hard look out the front window, stomp on the gas and let’s get this party started! Hail to Pitt!


    1. Doc I agree with you on some points but to call Browne an “experienced” college QB is taking it a bit too far IMHO.


      1. Any college QB From such a good Div. 1 program like USC, that has multiple games starting experience & four years time spent in the program is “experienced”. That is especially the case when the best you can compare him to on your current roster is a 3rd string QB that has accumulated all of a quarter + amount of actual game time minutes.


        1. Doc, I wasn’t comparing him to our other QB’s just versus the other QB’s that may have played a couple of years as to a couple of quarters. And just because you transferred from a big named school doesn’t mean you automatically come with an experienced label attached.


          1. Sorry to disagree with you so fervently but I predict that by the end of this season that Max Browne will be following in the footsteps of Nate Perterman, that being a ho hum QB that did transfer to Pitt from another P5 school after being benched, makes a name for himself with a last stitch effort for redemption & makes a Go of it in the NFL Draft come 2018.

            Meanwhile, Pickett & MacVittie get tutored along and get one more year of “experience” as the back ups.

            Browne will be a difference maker this year, that difference will be a 8-5 season (or better) rather than a 6-7 season while we break in our youngin QB in waiting previously on the roster.


    2. Great comment, Doc. Doc Greenwald would be impressed. But I hope I can avoid updating him for the time being. While he’s painless, I’ll always remember the cracking sounds emanating from my mouth while he’s extracting.


  8. I feel the best answer is “BOTH, AND”. Hence, both the x and o’s and Jimmy and Joe’s were to blame for the disaster we call our 2016 pass D.
    It is true that our D backs were not highly regarded recruits. Last year they did the best they could with how they were taught to play. But did Duzz adjust to take some heat off of our lacking D backs? NO. Did Duzz adjust to the strengths of his D backs? NO again. It is frustrating when we could of had a fantastic season, 10, 11 wins and a big bowl game.But we didn’t!!! What the official reason the coaches said as to why we lost winnable games? We just needed to make a play? Really, that’s it? Throw the players under the bus while we the coaches DO NOTHING to help with adjusting some x and o’s???? Give me a BREAK!


  9. Here is my rebuttal to a Reed, a Chryst apologist:

    Wisconsin Points per Game (BC – before Chryst): 2013 – 34.8; 2014 – 34.6
    with Chryst: 2015 – 26.8; 2016 – 28.4

    Wisconsin offensive production has fallen by a TD per game with Chryst’s arrival

    Source: CFB Stats


  10. Not time for a more thorough analysis today. Maybe later tonight.

    However, I will say this. The secondary HAS to be better in 2017. And the D Line should create more pressure. More depth there too. Plus better speed at LB. But the secondary is the key.

    Remember that we had a lot of injuries in the secondary last year. This forced Duzz to play some guys who just were not ready to compete against the likes of Trubitsky, Kaaya, etc.. It was pretty clear that Duzz really didn’t want to burn Hamlin’s redshirt, but lack of other options forced his hand.

    We will be better because… 1) we should have Jordan Whitehead for a whole season; 2) Avonte Maddox is a good corner, except when facing much taller receivers; 2) some of our younger guys got experience last year; 4) Paris Ford is a stud; 5) Damar Hamlin will be good if he can stay healthy; 6) better depth, and 7) Terrish Webb is gone (I hate to criticize individual kids, but he did not have a good year).


    1. Missing keep in mind we are very inexperienced on the defensive line as well as the linebackers. A great defensive player is one that recognizes the play called even before the opposition snaps the ball. We may have greater speed and athleticism on the field this year but will we have what it takes “Between The Ears”?


  11. Our pass defense was not just bad, it was horrible. This level of play is not on the players so much as the system and coaching. If you don’t improve the system and coaching, do you really think that we will see dramatic improvement in our pass defense simply by changing a few players? I am very worried about this season’s pass defense if nothing changes but the players.


  12. BTW there Reed, great to hear you and your son are getting away for a few days. Nothing like that.

    It’s also great to hear your son is well on the other side of his health ailments. Positive stuff all the way around.


  13. Reed,
    You are really prescient .. but how can you know what the defense’s stats will be like in 2106 etc? 😋


  14. Pitt’s rushing D was 15th which is actually impressive. If it wasn’t that good, Pitt’s record would have been much worse.


  15. Most of the time the db’s were in position to make a play (coaches responsibility) and just got beat (players responsibility). The jump ball SHOULD be the offenses least successful play, otherwise thats all every team would do to each other. I’d rather teams have to attempt lower percentage plays than to drive down the field in the run game or get picked apart over the middle because the safeties are deep and spread out (see Steelers vs. Patriots) Maybe with faster playing LB’s (I dont care about pro day 40 times, playing speed is different) the safeties can help out some.


  16. ^Panther Jim, that’s how I viewed it most of the times last year. but all the pushing off was to obvious at times.

    About the run versus the pass defense and the one fly in the ointment considering PITT’s losses last year. Northwestern was expected to pass all over PITT last year with their QB and all-star WR. Instead they ran all over PITT and only put up 216 yards passing.


  17. Not on topic but I keep reading about tarping off parts of Heinz field’s upper deck. Before we go on about this type of project, does anyone have an idea of cost? Who will pay for this? No one cares about the image of empty seats it gives PITT. I don’t hate the idea but until someone gives me the amount of money putting the tarp on and then taking it off before the next Steeler game would cost and who would pay for it, I refuse to entertain the idea. .. ike



  18. Ike,
    Not much can be done about officials.
    Definitely had a host of struggle against NW. Some days those things just happen. Pretty crazy game all around, I hate to put too much stock in one game that occurs a month after the season ends. There are a lot of anomalies in bowl games.


  19. Dr. T.

    You seem to think there is this amazing will to win and magical bonding going on.

    I’ll say what I have seen is on par with other Pitt HCs less Graham. About on the middle of DW’s tenure.

    That got worse and worse as the year went number Graham.

    The current team has had their share of less than great efforts IMO.

    Miami beat the hell out of us and in both bowls we were unprepared and less than mentally ready to play…and before anyone argues with that it was a topic of discussion again at pro day and those who were there agree there was a down atmosphere in Yankee stadium.

    I’ve talked about last year as those are facts we have at hand. I also look toward to 2017. .. but if you want a kick read some of the comments about what our pass defense would be.

    You can either laugh or cry as you do.

    I am someone who is more grounded in facts and what I know…but I’ll go out on a limb sometimes also as I did when Peterman arrived. I was optimistic as hell then but that was half about him and half of what I had seen from Voytik.

    Speculation based on reality as it were.

    This staff,the players and athletic. dept are like anywhere else – plus and minus…strength and weakness. We fans don’t like that but it is true.

    It seems you choose to overlook anything that doesn’t fit your optimistic view and that’s you.

    I try to weigh the good and bad as much as possible. So, until the pass defense gets a boatload better I’ll consider it a game losing unit.


    1. I’ll patiently await my vindication by analysis of past seasons that will occur over the next couple of years.

      I’ve been following Pitt Football for going on five decades. Haven’t been this stoked about the program since the 10 win season that Wanny put together right before the year that it all started to unravel for Wannestadt.

      I’m anxious to see Narduzzi continue to prove you as a misguided soul.

      First it was, no head coaching experience, show me he can win. Answer: 8-5 in season one.

      Then it was no signature wins, show me he can win the big one.
      Answer: PSU & Clemson

      Now it’s, “prove these Narduzzi recruits can do any better than Chryst’s guys”.
      Answer: Analysis of 2017 season in retrospect. Patience.

      In the land of blind even a one eyed man is crowned King. I’ll patiently await the results with my one eye, wide open while I enjoy witnessing the process.


  20. Well Reed, that’s Dr Tom’s point about you being ground in fact. Ground facts are not always the complete criteria that goes into wins and losses. I know you don’t follow college BB closely but if you are watching you will see some anomalies in many of the outcomes.

    The will to win is not a tangible asset, you can’t put your finger on the will to win and that my tall friend is why they play the game.

    After Lumpy, Narduzzi is a sweet smelling breath of fresh air. Of course he is a 100% upgrade in in motivation with this PITT team, not even a question.


  21. I certainly don’t see it as black and white. Coaches have to coach the players they have and to put their corners out there without help did not make much sense.

    But players have to make plays and our guys made way too few. Jump balls need to be batted down, and guys need to be wrapped up and taken down, at the line of scrimmage. We gave up way too many third and fourth down conversions. This is when a player has to make a play.

    Against Clemson we got those critical plays from Taleni and Brightwell. Those are the kind of plays that win games and the kind we have seen way to few of the last few years.

    I have no problem with Conklin coaching another year, but if we don’t see significant improvement this year, someone needs to pay the price.

    Thanks for the mail today Reed.


  22. 7 new starters on defense. It’s very hard to compare the two teams. Narduzzi tried his damnedest to redshirt Hamlin too … and may still get a medical redshirt if he plays 4 years. DL is the key. If Partidge can work wonders, the pass defense will be better by default.


  23. Here’s another two sided coin we always hear about. (example) The offensive line gave 298 sacks last year. The good news is that the entire O-Line will be back next year with experience. Is this really good news? Some look at returning starters as a positive and some, not so much.

    PITT loses many really good players next year but were they all the type of player that fits into Narduzzi’s scheme? Are the players replacing the outgoing players better at what Narduzzi is trying to implement?

    We don’t know but it sure is fun talking about it with friends… ike



    1. Ike – Alex Officer is a RL SR and O’Neill is a RS JR who probably moves to the NFL with another good season. That makes (2) starting OLman gone after this season.


      1. I guess I didn’t make myself clear in my comment. I wasn’t talking about PITT’s O-Line (it was an example) but trying to say (in a round about way) that having returning players OR losing players don’t tell the whole story. That depends on how good are the returning players or losing players like Galambos and Caprara who really were rendered useless in Narduzzi’s defensive scheme.

        As far as the future of PITT’s O-Line, yes PITT will lose a couple more players after this next season but Narduzzi is bringing in as many good O-Line prospects as Chryst. imo


  24. I don’t know why people think Damar Hamlin is going to be a factor. The guy is already injured, or still injured. Mark my words, he will be a bust. It pains me to say that, but he is going to be a bust so we should move on and just hope the other guys we brought in recently can help. If Paris Ford lives up to his billing and Whitehead just plays his normal game (which is all ACC) the secondary has to be better, just has to.


    1. Watch these highlights … He won’t be a bust. He had a hernia, missed all of the summer, and only played because of necessity. Give him a full spring and summer. He’ll be a difference maker.


  25. What bothered me was that just now they are talking about moving whitehead to provide more pass support – when that should have been done after the first four games of the year.

    It seemed like the staff was so stubborn that they were going to stick with what wasn’t working no matter what.

    They didn’t have to give up run defense to help the pass defense – they should have modified their approach.

    Ike – we gave up 10 sacks last year which was excellent – I don’t get your point about the entire O line being back as we lost two All-Americans in Johnson and Bisnowaty.

    Riggs – I’m wrong all the time as are most of us on here. We all have different ways of viewing the Pitt football program – some rosier than others.

    I get that the bottom line is wins and losses but if that was the be all end all we’d have very little to talk about on here. 8 wins was nice – but I will contend to my last breath that we blew what could have be a magical season with that crap pass defense and our bowl loss.

    But that was last year.

    I wait until the end of fall camp to make predictions but will say right now we could have had 10-11 wins last year. we won’t get close to it this year – we wasted a great offense with our porous defense.

    In everyone of our losses we gave up more than 30 points and averaged giving up 40.6 ppg in those five games.

    It that doesn’t smack you in the face then what does – and that was with eight defensive players returning. We lost Render, Pitts, Mosley-Smith and Grisby – not exactly irreplaceable kids yet were gave up almost 10 ppg more than the year before.

    It was on the staff folks – pure and simple.


    1. we could have had 10 wins but we also could have easily lost to GT, Clemson and PSU ….. that’s the way it goes. Every freakin year, we could have won another 2 games or so


      1. It’s like my golf game I could have broken 80 if I had just made 7 more pars!😂😂😂😂

        Should of would of could of.

        I’ll remember that quote above. “Won’t come close to that this year”, referring to Pitt’s potential for a 10 win season in 2017.


  26. Just as “the game is won in the trenches”, good pass defense also begins there.

    I wish there was a stat kept that shows the QB’s “time in the pocket”. Last year I got quite tired (read, “exasperated”) of watching QBs heads going back and forth as they had time to (“eat a sammich) proceed thru their progressions. I’ve come to call this “The Bobble Head Syndrome”. The only times they didn’t take a lot of time to throw was when they were killing us with jump balls.

    If our “new” defensive line can’t hurry the QBs any better than last year, I fear we are in for a similar pass defense. And we had no depth there, either – almost impossible for 4th Q stops when we needed them most.

    Reed – I’m sure Nard was well aware of the poor passing defense – he was privy to the same stats you are. And probably hundreds more. He didn’t fire his DC. He fired his DL coach! As Doc has stated, Nard was looking thru the windshield, not the rear view mirror.


  27. Reed, that was an “example” of teams that have returning players that weren’t very good the previous year. That doesn’t necessarily mean they will be improved. Although many expect that they will. < again, example.

    My point was, while PITT lost some players on defense and have to replace them with younger more inexperienced players this coming year, it may not be a bad thing. Just like it may not be a good thing all the time to have many returning starters if they weren’t very good in the first place.

    In other words. PITT’s defense may be improved by attrition with the loss of veteran players that were not a great fit for Narduzzi’s defensive system.


  28. Right-o Savannah-o,
    While we did get sacks last year, most of the time our defensive pass rush was anemic.
    Our blitz packages weren’t much better.


    1. Yeah, I don’t recall a lot of sacks from blitzing linebackers or safeties last year, and I don’t think it was entirely from lack of trying.


  29. Here’s the deal. Be optimistic. Be pessimistic. Be whatever you want to be. That said. A fact is a fact. An opinion is an opinion. Know the difference between the two. Some examples..

    Fact: (4) extremely productive players (QB,RB,OG,OT)were lost to graduation (expired eligibility);
    Opinion: our replacement DB’s are better than those who’ve left (we haven’t yet seen them play well at the collegiate level).

    Fact: Peterman was one of the most statistically productive Pitt quarterbacks of the last 20 seasons;
    Opinion: Browne might be even better (again, we haven’t seen him play one game at Pitt).

    Opinion: Narduzzi has this team closer than any in team history;
    Fact: None of us know anything of the sort. We’re not at practices. We’re not on the sidelines. The players seemed pretty tight under Wanstedt, too.

    I read Dr. Tom’s article and his rebuttal to Reed’s rebuttal. What I hear is “group dynamic” and “synergy” while noting ZERO statistical information. You want to be excited about a QB that was highly rated FOUR years ago and has played TWO games? Great! Be my guest. But to act as if the rest of us are idiots for not expecting greatness from him is absurd.

    Will Hamlin be better, now that he’s healthy? Let’s hope so. But since NONE of us have seen him play healthy in college, we have NO idea if that’s the case. Again, be excited. Be hopeful, if that’s your prerogative. But anticipating success based on a wish is foolhardy.

    As a wise man once said, “Wish in one hand. ______ in another. Let me know which one fills up faster!”


    1. Jay91, my “opinion” is that you’re a “show me first kind of guy” which really has no bearing on whether you in fact are an idiot or not.

      Now I f you end up being resentful if & when Pitt actually produces a surprisingly good season while utilizing many new players simply because it shows your own previous opinion of the program’s future to be mistaken. Well, some may feel then that the idiot label sticks.


  30. Jay, the one fact considering synergy. PITT was the only team in the country to beat Clemson. Did that happen with skill only? To further prove that fact, PITT was the only team in the country to beat two top five teams in the final poll. Those are example of synergy. 🙂 … ike



  31. Jay91 – if all you have are “facts” on your team, why do coached waste so much time – especially pre-game – coming up with ways to “Fire Up” the team?? What possible difference could it make if a guy is excited, and “Ready to Play”? If his :facts show he’said practiced well, lifted all he could, and ran as fast as he could, then I say leave him alone before a game, and let him think positive thoughts (a la that “Kelly’s Heroes” psycho, Oddball)

    Why do golfers spend millions on sports psychologists, if they’ve been putting “lights out” the past couple of years, but not the past 4 weeks? The facts show that they can putt great! Shouldn’t that be enough?

    Why would we even bother to spend the millions of $ on recruiting on the D side of the ball? The facts show that we suck?

    Inquiring minds want to know!


  32. Let’s say we produce an offense that’s 80% as good as last year and do not correct the D problems we are sh–. We had several D problems that I have read about and heard the coaches admit to . 1) Defensive backs skills and play 2) Giving the Opponents QB too much time too often.3)Not recognizing the same pass play used over and over by the opposition. 4) inadequate coaching adjustments to deal with these problems. It seems to me we just sucked on the defensive side of the ball. The head coach is the only one to change that. Let’s hope Partridge is the first step in accomplishing that. While I think Narduzzie is a good head coach, the problem can only be solved by him. I also do not think we were ready to play our last 2 bowl games.Every coach has a philosophy about pre bowl game prep. Maybe we need to rethink this a bit.


  33. Off topic – it is time for Lyke to close her first deal as the Pitt AD –


    Good coaching for all sports is needed at Pitt – Santoro is a Pitt grad, 2 time national champ and proven coach at a consistent top 25 D1 wrestling program. Listen to what Pat wants, assess the costs and draw up the plan to help the wrestling program succeed under Pat’s leadership.

    There are not many winning sports programs at Pitt – wrestling is one program that has a history of winning – Pat Santoro can build on that history and put Pitt in the top 10 for the next 20 years.

    Greatness has a price –



  34. This argument is so circular. We cannot predict what would have happened if we concentrated on the pass first. This is not even an argument worth pursuing. Time, place and circumstance dictates everything. If you give up 200 yards passing and 400 yards rushing, our offense isn’t on the field as much and doesn’t score as often. That is, if we would have run the wide open offense instead of a three tight end, pound the ground attack. You can never go back and you can’t predict going forward. Statistics are just that. They don’t mean anything.

    If Pitt starts the season and runs 40 times in a row because we are getting 6 yards a pop, I think they will keep running and then the pass statistics will suffer. Won’t mean we have a bad passing attack, does it?


  35. I swear… sometimes I think you never watched Pitt play. The Marshal game is a perfect example. They backed off run support and proceeded to get gashed by the run. The severe lack of talent on defense led them to pick their poison. There is a reason only 1 defensive player was at the NFL combine… there was no talent! Get over it.


  36. Ike and Savannah.

    You clearly missed my point. I never said synergy and attitude don’t matter.. I firmly believe they do.

    That said, getting fired up brought a 13-9 victory in 2007. Was that a good team? Did we have a good record? Did it lead to a championship or 10 win season the following year?

    Predictions and projections need to be based on more than, “Duzz has the boys fired up” and “we’ve got new players from high school that we’ve never seen play.” You disagree?


  37. this is encouraging to me:

    From Tre Tipton

    “We have Kenny Pickett, who is an early enrollee and is really good, Max Browne who is really good, DiNucci who is really good, and Thomas MacVitte is even better so they are all within the same group and competing really well. We are excited. ”

    Glad to hear Mcvittie looking good.


  38. It’s not stop the run or stop the pass but being able to chew gum and scratch your ass at the same time.Adjustments have to be made for each team played before and during the game . After that players must be able to see plays developing and know from practice whats happening. They can’t be behind the curve and yes this is a combination of defensive coaching and schemes as well as adequate talent.H2P


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