Sunday Morning QB and Podcast

I invited readers to send in their impressions of the Spring Game and Eric Wassel took advantage.  This is his take…

RMonday-Morning-QBeed is a stats guy. Regular readers of the Pitt POV know this. I sometimes think that statistics do not lie, while at other times I believe that they can be misleading.

For example, one of the most statistically successful QBs in Pitt football history is TS (it pains me to say the name). Yet I am not alone in my belief that he was nothing more than a mediocre QB who was a Wanny favorite. We all know that he NEVER in three years led us to a come from behind victory. So in his case, the stats are both misleading and deceiving.

I happen to believe that statistics from a spring game, (particularly one where the first, second and third team players are spread out evenly across the two teams) are mostly meaningless. I mean, when your purported first string QB (Browne) is being protected by third string linemen and throwing to second string receivers (no disrespect meant to Tre Tipton, who is going to contribute this year), it’s dangerous to take too much from a game like this. So yes, stats can be misleading.

But the eye test does not lie. I’ll be passing along what my eyes saw today from the 40 yard line. I’ll be interested to hear the comments of others in attendance that share or disagree with the views which I express. Here’s what I saw…..

Arriving before kickoff, I wanted to watch warm-ups to see the QBs. Let’s face it; much focus has been paid to the quarterbacks this spring, by the POV as well as the mainstream media. After watching warm-ups, I came away with one primary thought: we are well positioned at QB and have better depth behind center than we have in awhile. Specifically, I’d say that all of our QBs appear have the arm strength to make the throws necessary to move the ball down the field.

One thing did stick out to me in warm-ups. While all four QBs had good zip on their passes, one guy stood out as the strongest and sharpest: Kenny Pickett.

As I mentioned, kind of hard to grade the QBs given the nature of the way the game was organized. But for fun, let’s say that I had never seen a Pitt football game before in my life and did not know the names or pedigree of any of the QBs. And let’s also say that Pitt was playing another game next week and I was the sole decision maker on who would be the starter for that game. 

Looking at the stats, one would likely lean towards DiNucci. And arguably he would be my choice. He looked poised, threw several nice passes and appears to have smoothed out his delivery.

But I wouldn’t sleep on Kenny Pickett either. He did not look like a freshman. His pocket awareness was exceptional. He made some excellent throws AND some quick decisions under pressure. He made several first downs with his legs.

I don’t know how else to say it, but Max Browne did not look good today. Setting aside that he was not playing with a full deck so to speak, he nonetheless made a lot of poor throws. He could have easily thrown one or two picks. Underthrown, overthrew, you name it. He had a couple of nice throws on the last possession, but for me I was hoping for more from him. That said it was one performance in the spring game, so I don’t put too much stock in it.

As for Thomas MacVittie, it’s really not fair to grade him at all. He wasn’t afforded the same opportunities as the other quarterbacks. While DiNucci and Pickett essentially split time equally for the Gold squad, the same was not true for the Blue team. As you can see from the stat sheet, Browne threw far more passes than anyone else.

Reed pointed out that MacVittie was sacked twice, but I did not see either as being his fault. He did lead the Blue on a TD drive and scored himself on a 12 yard run. But because he threw only one pass, we really learned nothing about his passing ability today.

Regarding the running backs, by far the best day was had by Chawntez Moss. He had a couple of nice runs on the Blue’s first TD drive to set up the MacVittie score. One was a 15 yard sweep and the other a 20 plus yard fake reverse. Qadree Ollison did not have very good blocking in front of him today, so I’m reluctant to be too negative about his performance. But his stats tell you that he didn’t do much. I think that his longest run was about 5 yards.

We have a very nice group of receivers. I thought that despite a few dropped passes, this looks like a team strength. Weah, Henderson, Mathews and Tipton are going to give whoever plays QB lots of options. Plus Ffrench, Lopes and Flowers each had moments today also. Flowers had a drop and a fumble (his fault, wasn’t protecting the ball).

“Q” Henderson was the best player on the field today by the way. He had a couple of pretty electric plays, including the first touchdown where he faked Jay Stocker out of his jock. He almost scored a second time on a play where he weaved himself through traffic for 54 yards and was hauled down just short of the goal line by Dane Jackson.

I thought that the secondary played a pretty sound game. No blown coverages, solid tackling for the most part. There were a few hard hits. If I had to point out anyone in particular, I’d say that Avonte Maddox played the best back there. He had tight coverage most of the day and put a big hit on Tre Tipton. Jay Stocker made several good tackles.

A few other observations of mine….

  1. George Aston did not touch the ball once all day. That was disappointing.
  2. Kam Carter (JUCO transfer who previously kicked out of the Dairy College) was not listed on either roster and may be in some sort of hot water. Edit: I didn’t see anything about Carter being injured so we are wondering why he wasn’t on a roster.
  3. We are fine at Punter and Kicker as long as the starters don’t get hurt. Winslow boomed a few punts, while Kessman has plenty of leg and connected on three field goals. The backups did not look good.
  4. We have a lot of quality depth on the defensive line. I think we will be good there. Four sacks on the day, two from Rori Blair.
  5. None of the linebackers did anything to distinguish themselves. Not that they did anything poorly either, but it’s still unclear to me who will emerge.
  6. Tough to tell for sure, but the crowd seemed to be decent. The whole one side of the lower bowl was pretty full. Note: attendance was listed at 7,076
  7. Pitt had a lot of prominent football alumni at the game. They should have figured out a way to do some sort of autograph session for the fans in attendance with the likes of Larry Fitzgerald, Tyler Palko, Tyler Boyd, etc. That’s how you get people to connect with the program. Fans relate to those former players. It was good to see that these players clearly care about the program.
  8. No major injuries from the game are apparent, although Brian O’Neill may have suffered an injury to his wrist, arm or shoulder in the second half.

I’m interested in knowing the thoughts of other POVers who were in attendance.

(Folks – that is a solid 1,266 word article by one of our readers… which is what is great about this blog – reader participation in both comments and main article writing. Thanks Eric!)

Here is a senior highlights film of Kenny Pickett – you fans who want a dual-threat QB?  You have one now…

Here is another more professionally done video on Pickett found on HUDL.com.

 

130 thoughts on “Sunday Morning QB and Podcast

  1. Very nice article Eric—If I were coach, I’d have a hard time Redshirting Pickett this year. His legs make him a very exciting and as a result a very dangerous man to defend behind center. I almost hate to say it but in viewing his highlights he reminds me a little like a taller version of Doug Flutie.

    Like

  2. Thanks MissingWlat for your article. I hope you got Walt Harris’ autograph since you have missed him for so long.

    BTW, not sure, but is Damonte Carter even on campus yet? Pretty sure that that JC transfer is coming in during the Summer with the rest of his recruiting class.

    I also agree about the defense, they played competently and Avonte Maddox was flying around all over the field. Wish he was six feet tall!

    Like

  3. Very good write up. HCPN is getting better and better in putting together his team. Nw if he could find another QH, we would get 10+ wins. An NFL career is his next stop.

    Like

  4. That was a fine article Eric. I’m not sure how I feel about the spring game format. I like the draft and the players really seem to get into it, while it gets them totally involved. Another point I like is, that it keeps the actual meaning of a spring game in perspective. It’s football practice in the spring. It’s for the players as much as the coaches.

    Narduzzi has made it ultra clear that he is just not letting any of his top secret espionage/CIA/FBI leak out to the enemy. He’s a little kooky about all that. Translation = we can take very little from the QB’s warming up on the sidelines and what happened on the field yesterday. Although I still love to break it down.

    Watched the film on Pickett. I’m impressed with his speed and quick decision making. Like I’ve been saying. If he can beat out the other QB’s, Gaad bless him and PITT. Although that depends on how he would win the job. By default will not be a good thing at all. If he blows the competition out of the water, hooray. PITT has a QB for years to come.

    So happy to hear that BigB’s (not sure if its his mom or gram) is feeling better and ditto to Mrs Kholberger. Pretty sure that’s his wife? I also want to thank the Mrs Reed for saying my voice is not bad at all. I hate it my voice.

    Again about the spring game. Glad to see as many people show up as they did. Really like the spirit of the players and moving forward how this will translate over to the off season workouts.

    We All We Got
    We All We Need
    H2P! ………..ike

    Like

    1. I thought that the Blue D line was pretty stout. The two starting QBs were untouchable with red jerseys, so it’s hard to tell how many sacks truly would have occurred. Overall, the Defensive line was stronger than the offensive line. Candidly, not knowing all of the uniform numbers of the younger players, it made it difficult to evaluate the line play. I will say that we have some talent and size there.

      Like

  5. Thanks WLAT… good article! Find the comment about Cam the man Carter intriguing…

    Gram as we her (my mom is back home) Thanks for all your thoughts and prayers..You POVerts rock…

    Like

  6. good article indeed. i like the eye test myself and how players respond to the player. stats can lie like in tinos case…except for the number of sacks per attempt. a pitt record.

    Like

  7. Sorry for the false alarm fellow POVerts…. Cam Carter won’t arrive on campus until the summer. I could swear I read a report that he was participating in spring drills.

    Like

  8. Nice article Eric! Enjoyed your perspective. Getting pumped for summer. Pickett sounds like a real good prospect. Feeling like there is more and more capable depth on the team, perhaps not like the big programs yet but more than our recent history.

    HTP!

    Like

  9. I’m starting to get the Pickett hype and all but again, his stats read 6-13 for 36 yards and a QB rating of 69.4 I do get that the players were not put into their best position to excel but those numbers are nothing to get excited about.

    My question is, beside him warming up before the game spinning the ball and making some nice runs when the pocket broke down. What did he really do in the game that inspires all the confidence?

    Like I said previously, I was very impressed with his highlight video.

    Like

  10. Stats for a game, especially a pick-up game, can indeed be very misleading. They do have credence, however, when measured over an extended period.

    The most important stat yesterday was 0 …. as in injuries

    Like

    1. Absolutely wwb. I wasn’t at the game and I do take Eric’s and everyone’s word that were there. Just playing the devil’s advocate here. What if another backup PITT QB had those same numbers? I get the feeling someone would have a field day with those stats?? Which proves my point about statistics. The liar’s.

      Like

  11. Not to put a damper on anything/one but QH had better solve his ball security issue. He looks incredible and will be a YUGE game momentum changer often….just need it to be in our direction every time.

    Like

  12. Ike: Like I said at the outset of the article, it’s what my eyes saw. Forget the stats. In Pickett, I saw a guy who threw several real nice passes. Threaded the needle on one. Weah dropped one, and I believe at least one other was dropped. One great completion was negated by penalty. I recall him throwing one poor pass. Several times he “made something out of nothing”‘ escaping pressure and either throwing a completion or running for a first down. He anticipated the pressure several times and got away from it. Can he throw the ball 40 yards downfield on the money? I don’t know. He only attempted one deep pass that I can recall, and it was incomplete.

    Like

  13. Very nice writeup on the game IMO by Jim Hammett at CardiacHill.—Since Pickett has been mentioned quite a bit I thought I’d post Hammett’s comment here “I came away impressed with Pickett. He’s much faster than i anticipated and actually has some running skills, and looks comfortable extending plays and throwing on the run. Just didn’t expect that from a true freshman, that he impressed.”—–Extending the plays is what I saw also in his highlight films. And IMO may be more impressive on broken plays than on the play call in the huddle. Getting Q Henderson the ball on broken passing plays may be much more practical and effective than trying to get him the ball on called plays. And getting him the ball anyway they can should always be on Narduzzi’s and Watson minds.

    Like

  14. with the likes of Henderson, Weah and Ffrench (offensively), Pitt may be destined again to be a Big12-like team especially if the OL plays up to its potential. This means that, once again, our scoring drives will not be that time-consuming … and putting our defense on the field more than normal. This is not a bad thing; scoring TDs never is. It just provides more opportunities for the opposing offense.

    Like

  15. Ike – I factor some conversations (and overheard conversations, interviews with staff, etc… into what I think about the QBs.

    Just like when everyone but me seemed to 100% believe Peterman was brought in only for depth to support the starter Voytik.

    But I had watched Voytik in many Chryst practices, talked with Pat Bostick about Peterman and have even talked to some offensive players on the sidelines, informally at media day, etc…, asking about who threw the ball better, etc…

    All that went into 1) my belief back in 2014 that Voytik was going to not be the star QB everyone thought he was and then 2) Peterman was brought in to be the starter. The readers on the Blather gave me continued hell for that.

    Now – you seem to think all I do is throw out stats and maybe watch 25 minutes of the QB/WR drills and that’s it. But I still read everything I can get my eyes on. I call up past bloggers in the HS area sometimes, I talk with guys who attended way more practices and interviews that I do – some of them associated with Pitt.

    THAT is what goes into my opinions on here. Not just 6-13 for 39 yards – but also taking Eric’s word, and others’ also, that Pickett didn’t look “like a freshman out there” and that he has the makings of a fine starter due to his pocket awareness (the hardest thing for a transiting HS-College QB has to handle), his inherent knowledge when to tuck and run and his quick & accurate arm.

    Just the pocket awareness issue alone makes me sit up and take notice – that usually takes a full season or more for these young QBs to master – Pickett has seemingly done it in 14 practices…

    He also has great size for a college QB at 6’2 / 210 – and he’s a true 6’2″ (I stood next to him at practice) not a midget out there like Voytik who couldn’t have cracked 6′ if he was wearing high heels. I stood next to him on Walnut Street in civvies and had to look almost straight down at him to make eye contact.

    I think Pickett’s a true dual threat QB and one who can do very good things for us in the future. Just as I think MacVitte is going to keep being recruited over by this staff.

    Fans have to remember this is a business to these coaches – just because MacVitte might have been the 1st Narduzzi 3* QB recruited out of HS doesn’t make him the favorite son or anything – that’s why every staff keeps recruiting QBs every year.

    Like

  16. Here’s the deal with Pickett for me. I’m getting ready to jump on his bandwagon. I took a good look at his highlight video and was really impressed with his speed #1, quickness #2, his arm looks alive and he could bring a new and different type of offense for PITT that would fit into the ACC style very nicely.

    If you take a closer look at my comments, you’ll notice I say “playing the devils advocate” when mentioning his stat’s. I also mentioned that we couldn’t really take much out of the spring game do to format and a dumb-ed down game-plan.

    Reed, I know the work you put into your thoughts and they certainly are not willy-nilly. More to my point though. You are a stat guy 99% of the time. If another QB put up those same numbers they could used against the player. Am I right? I’m also a fan, who more than not, uses the eye test. We all know how that works. How many times I’ve watch a game with other fans and by games end, we didn’t see the same things. The eye test is just as subjective as stats can be at times.

    I do think it’s highly unlikely we will see KP duty this coming season. If he’s playing, PITT has not played very well leading up to that scenario.

    One last point and don’t crucify me on it. You did come clean on (maybe) missing out of Dinucci’s ability a little. Now BD being the second team QB could be for lots of different reasons. Other players not stepping up like the coaches were hoping etc… These are the questions that inquiring minds want to know. You don’t get answers if you don’t ask questions. That’s where I’m coming from…

    We All We Got
    We All We Need

    H2P! .ike

    Like

  17. So to summarize my last comment.

    If we want to use statistics to prove our points, that fine by me. Pickett’s stats were very bad.

    If you want to use the eye test? Some of us missed out on Dinucci. I thought he played ok in the bowl game but never thought he would be #2 QB this spring.

    In no way was I challenging anyone’s opinions. Imagine if Pickett lights up fall camp and PITT see’s no way to keep him off the field. Wouldn’t that be great.

    Like

  18. Ike – I’m starting to wonder if it is a 50/50 type thing where DiNucci is playing OK and MacVitte is dropping down.

    But who really knows because Shawn Watson has his own ides in mind. But I’ll admit when I make a mistake. I might be off base with think Ollison is the featured back this season also.

    But even when he’s not doing well they gave him a bunch of carries for testing him… MacVitte made a short showing, threw and that was it.

    Like

  19. To All – The Dark Night has just joined the list of ultra-generous donors with a PayPal gift to the POV. He is truly a guy who puts his money where his mouth is (under the hood he wears that is).

    Thanks Dark One…

    Like

  20. Definitely on the side of Thomas MacVitte dropping as of this moment. Yet again, that spring game format was just one more way Narduzzi’s tries to disguise what’s going on down on the south-side.

    Narduzzi’s way of thinking “Just because you’re paranoid doesn’t mean they aren’t after you.” Joe Heller

    Like

  21. I stand by my earlier position that Pickett will redshirt, Duzz is not going to waste a redshirt year. Browne will start because Duzz won’t admit he made a mistake with him. If he burns Pickett’s redshirt mid-year, then we are already in big trouble. DiNucci appears to be a career backup type, and MacVittie may end up changing positions. They need to bring in a QB to build behind Pickett for the future.

    Like

  22. Question Reed, is the idea of an edit button completely off the table? I’m the world’s worst proof reader, for the simple fact. I just don’t do it.

    Like

  23. Didn’t see the game but would agree with WLAT eye test of Kenny our version of ” the snake.” Watched his tape – he is going to be a really good QB or at least has potential.. good arm and wheels- hopefully with a computer/ gray matter to match..
    Hoping for and expecting a big improve this in our “D” this year… they need to keep us in games til the “gels” lots of new moving pieces on both sides.. Duzz’s year to show his Defensive genius ..
    Regarding our QB Brown, a friend of Dr Tom’s, who lives in California told me Brown is ” stationary. We shall see..should be an exciting year!

    Like

  24. Darkie.. thanks.. been missing your posts… hope to unmask you at a POV event this year.. then that could ruin the fun… nothing better than “anticipation!!!”

    Like

  25. Browne was beaten out by a Highschool True Freshman while Browne was 22 years old. That should never happen.He is 4 years older folks. Browne isn’t an answer and is no Peterman. Play the QB you will play in 2018 in 2017.

    Like

  26. Up to this point I have been confident that Max Browne would replace Nate P. and step right in and do a good job.
    But now, after reading everyone’s observations from the spring game (and THANK YOU all for your input) I fear that MAYBE Max is another 5* recruit much like Chad was – OVERRATED, which is not good!!!
    I really hope this is not the case, but time will tell, a nervous time for us Pitt fans indeed!

    Like

  27. I didn’t see the spring game and I’ve never seen Pickett play ball. But if he’s as good behind center as he is behind a mic then we’ve got a keeper. Just watched his post game interview and I was impressed with his poise and his communication skills. Seems very mature and confident for a true freshman.

    Like

  28. Not true upitt.

    Browne won the starting job, was underwhelming but not terrible and then Darnold was tried out and never looked back.

    Lets also not act like that “Highschool True Freshman” is just anyone. The kid would probably be the number one pick if he could come out this year and is a heisman frontrunner for this year.

    Like

  29. Good points Rhyno. I think some could be jumping the gun a little here. Browne did beat out the freshman initially and then rewarded by playing Alabama first game, then Stanford third game. In between Browne looked good against Utah State. In fact his stats were ok last year. Over-all his stats were not totally abysmal. Not sure if he played against Utah in their loss 31-27?

    Like

  30. Ike, the only way to put an edit button in is to also make everyone register and keep their info in WordPress.

    I don’t want to do that as no one could post as anonymous and that’s not what we want here.

    All are welcome… as long as they agree with me.

    If a post is really screwed up I’ll edit it for clarity.

    Like

  31. Pittman, I wouldn’t say Browne is “overrated ” as much as the Pitt fans’ expectations might be too high based on recruit ratings from 4 years ago.

    I am very wary of 5 star recruits in the first place because Pitt has a sketchy history with them.

    Bostick, Shell,Dickerson and others didn’t play up to that.

    Granted some others did but I think 4 stars is less pressure and more realistic.

    Like

  32. Ike all we know is that Browne started for USC last year and that may be the same reason he starts for Pitt this year. It’s hard to not start the QB that waited his turn over a QB just coming back from his Senior prom. Even when your eyes tell you otherwise the coach often goes with any competent QB over the freshman. Pickett coming to Pitt in January instead of August is not going to make the decision to not start him any easier for Narduzzi and Watson. The real question is do they have the guts to not play Browne even if they feel Pickett is the best option.—-It’s also hard for me to believe that DiNucci has expanded his game way above the level he showed in the bowl game. But anything is possible and my guess we will have to witness at least 3 losses in the first 4 games this year before Narduzzi and Watson hit the QB panic button.

    Like

  33. I agree totally with jrnpitt. Depending on how bad Browne is, and what the W-L is mid-year, we could see DiNucci in a play-out-the-season role, or the beginning of the Pickett era. But Duzz won’t burn his redshirt easily.

    Like

  34. I believe that’s how it’s going to work jrn. If Browne isn’t starting by the fourth or fifth game, bad news all the way around. =Browne is hurt or the PITT football season is in the crapper.

    Again, the one exception. If KP can blow everyone away with his fall performance and snatch the starting job away on merit not default. Well, then PITT will be in a great place for a few years.

    Like

    1. Like I said Ike it’s going to take “guts” for Narduzzi to throw Browne to the dogs even if Pickett blows away everyone prior to the season starting. And frankly I can’t see that scenario taking place. If Browne ends up being the stature back there that PSU tees off on in game 2, I can here here the crys of anguish now from the Pitt faithful come this September.

      Like

  35. Geez guys, even I don’t see Pickett being a true FR starter.

    I think Brown will be an average QB for us along the lines of Voytik’s 2014 season.

    2,230 yards, 16TDs and 7 INTs
    something along those lines.

    You know Narduzzi’s going heavy with the run again… because as much as he won’t admit it that is the Big 10 ball he loves.

    Like

  36. It’s amazing how everyone yesterday decides to take the spring game with a grain of salt … then all of a sudden Browne is no good and Pickett may be the answer

    Like

  37. I wasn’t intending to start a QB controversy….but maybe I have…. at least amongst readers of the POV. I’m pretty sure though that Pat Narduzzi is locked in to Max Browne as his starter and Ben DiNucci as the backup. I don’t think that a couple of quarters of a spring scrimmage will change that. What was encouraging to me is that I saw a commodity previously unknown to me (Pickett), show me 1) a strong arm, which was for the most part accurate, 2) great pocket awareness, 3) elusiveness, and 4) speed.. Also encouraging to me was that DiNucci looked like he can play at this level, even though it was a very small sample size. Am I down on Browne? Not at all. He just didn’t play well Saturday, although he did have a better second half and a nice final drive. The final TD pass to Tipton was a sweet throw. But that didn’t change what I saw throughout the first half. Little things too, like throwing behind the a running back in the flat, instead of leading him so that his momentum is heading up field. Will Max Brown play in the fall like a five star or like a two star? Who knows. I don’t think that 6 or 8 possessions in the spring game comes anywhere close to answering that question for us. It’s just nice to see that we may have some developing depth at the QB position, which we did not appear to have last year. I’m glad that we never had to find out.

    Like

  38. Wbb, you know that speculation is the currency Pitt fans trade in.

    I do think the Spring game is good for one thing and that is to see how players handle themselves. Not so much for stats but as we say …”the eye test”.

    When you have an 18 year old QB with 14 practices being as apparently cool under fire as KP was then tongues will begin to wag.

    Like

  39. Some good perspective on the game and the lack of a “control” which helps to determine probability. I am not going to look at a lack of results at a spring game to prove my point but rather a lack of production during the 16 practices.

    Good: secondary, receivers, special teams, o line , dline

    Bad: linebackers, running backs, TEs

    Ugly: QB, offensive coordinator,

    TEs, linebackers, and running backs will improve this fall.

    Like

    1. CP – taking from your last line, I’d say through additions –

      Clark, Reeves and Flanagan at TE
      FR C.Bright and two grad transfers at LB
      Sibling and Davis at RB

      Like

  40. I’ll tell you what, I think there is way more agreeing going on here than the opposite. It’s occurring to me that my thoughts taken to paper get lost in translation.

    I believe in eye tests.
    Picketts stats in the spring game were terrible
    Browne will be the starter barring catastrophe
    The spring game was in no way a barometer of individuals considering the format
    Reed takes it out on me no matter what.
    Now, does everyone realize why I need an edit button?
    Is my satirical humor coming across in any way which or form???
    Is this thing on. 🙂

    Like

  41. Rhyno – Sorry not buying it. He is 4 years younger. 4 years less mature, 4 years less strong and 4 years of no NCAA Ball Experience. That doesnt happen. Look at a grown 22 and a 18 Freshman. Shouldnt happen. That tells you all you need to know about Browne. He will be a step up from Voytik. PSU D will eat him up if he isn’t mobile and throws darts. 18 to 22 is a huge difference and losing your job to a true freshman is embarrassing. And Darnard wouldnt be a top 10 pick this year. Maybe not even first round.

    Like

  42. 6 for 13 for 39 isn’t ‘terrible‘ for an 18 year old kid going up against college kids for the first time. Not all that good but certainly it isn’t terrible.

    You want terrible?

    How about 3/9 for 16 yards (33% completion rate, 1.7 yards per attempt) with 1 TD and two INTs… That was from the favorite son who fans seem to want to make every excuse in the book for in our bowl loss.

    Those two INTs were the game killers for Pitt. The first happened with 2:49 left in the game and when we down by 7 and were on the NW 18.

    The second one he threw after only three plays with 1:22 left in the game. Score a TD on either of those drives and its overtime… or we go for the win and it works (or doesn’t).

    Hell Ike, DiNucci was NW’s best defensive player in that 4th quarter.

    DiNucci had been on the team two full years and does all that and its a just tough break somehow…

    Yet Pickett, in his first time in front of fans, throws no INTs, has about a 50% completion rate, doubled DiNucci’s bowl YPA and also runs for 8.8 yards per carry.

    DiNucci stunk out the joint and somehow that’s OK… but Pickett was terrible?

    Pickett did just fine for a true FR after only 14 practices.

    Like

    1. Reed, I disagree on DiNucci at the bowl game. If Orndoff caught that pass right in his hands in the end zone, it would have changed how his game was viewed completely !

      Like

    2. DiNucci’s first pick in the bowl game was a desperation fourth down throw because a perfectly thrown touchdown pass was dropped the play before. The second pick was a horrible play call….they were pinching at line and pressing receivers. Canada did him no favors there by playing it conservative. Not making excuses just stating facts. The D was balls to the wall knowing that a pass was coming and the kid did well executing what they gave him throughout the game.

      Also he was a red-shirt freshman and not on the team for TWO FULL YEARS. He took hardly any snaps in spring game and practices his redshirt year and only got backup snaps in practice in second half of this past season. Not much time to develop before getting his first game experience. Your inane desire to suppport your negative rhetoric of DiNucci from Blather to POV is tiresome.

      Like

      1. So is your refusal to put a name to your insults.

        I do not think DiNucci is a good QB or is starter material. I have been consistent with that… But I’m sick of people blaming Orndoff for DiNucci’s poor play. Yes, he dropped a ball… A mistake.

        DiNucci throws those two picks and completes 3 of 9 passes yet fans point the finger at our TE. Perfect…

        Like

        1. No insults above just the facts, Reed. I come on once in a blue moon….figured there might be something of interest on the Spring game but instead just reinforcement on why I don’t come often. I don’t have a screen name here as I’ve probably posted twice.

          Nobody is blaming Orndoff for anything….great kid and gamer. Where did I say that? I’m only saying the dropped pass was the reason for the fourth down throw and pick. Fact. Stat line looks much better without that drop (4-8 with two TDs) and changes next series as well. Fact.

          DiNucci did not play poor…..forced one throw for the second pick (that one be a “mistake” in your rationale above) on a crummy play call by Canada. DiNucci did not play poorly nor did he play well. He was average. For his first ever game experience in tough situation…..that’s pretty darn good. But it doesn’t support Reed’s “he is not good or is not starter material” agenda. Heaven forbid the kid ever starts…he’ll never get a fair shake.

          Like

      2. Completely agree that Orndoff has to catch the ball. Really disappointed. Orndoff was spectacular all season. But…. If he catches the right on the money ball that hit him right in the hands, the game changes. Look, Pitt has not had the level of good QBs since we had Tino. Kidding, of course. Really, Watson will sort it out. The cream will rise. Pitt will be OK in terms of QB. Also, I expect the D-line to surprise some folks. Lots of talent. Hoping to catch some of Cam’s ‘Last Chance U’ on Netflix.

        Like

  43. Dinnuci woulndt start at Chatham. Good Lord. McVirttie is bad. Browne is servicable but wont win 8 games so play the best qb on the roster for 2018. If it is pickett then have balls and play him.

    Like

    1. Can’t understand why you clowns crush student athletes and make such idiotic statements about these kids when you have zero sample size. You’ve seen next to nothing of either of these QBs.

      Like

  44. Yet Again Reed and I are tracking. Dinucci and McVittie shiuld both transfer to CCAC. Terrible. Someone better recruit some QB talent. I also think our OC will
    Suck while Canada balls in BR. To bad Pumpkin Head waited to pay him 1M while he had a 1.8M in his hand from LSU. Cant make up how inept Herman is/was.

    Like

  45. I’ll give Brown the benefit as a starer until he either play to keep the job or gets benched – as I said earlier I think he won’t have even Peterman’s 1st year production at Pitt;

    Year 2015 193 / 314; 2287 yards 61.5% 7.28 YPA 20 TDs 8 INTs 138.6 Rating

    Like

  46. Once again Reed you take umbrage in what I say. Yes Dinucci’s numbers were terrible for the the bowl game. My mother taught me that two wrongs don’t make a right. If anyone besides Pickett puts up those spring game numbers, you would call them out on it.

    Again and for the last time. I hope like heaven and hell that Pickett blows away all competition and wins the job going away. That doesn’t change a less then 3 yards an attempt performance by KP. Which I know darn well you realize is terrible.

    Like

  47. I favor eye tests over stats. My eyes were very impressed with Kenny Pickett both in the Spring game and in his highlight reel at The Letter of Intent signing day event . I don’t know if he’ll play this year but he’s the best looking QB prospect I’ve seen in a long time…

    Like

  48. Browne has games under his belt against Alabama and Stanford. Pickett has about a half dozen throws in a Spring game. I mean, really? He is not Dan Moreno, but could be a very good QB given time. Reed has it about right with the yards, TDs and interceptions, and you can win with those numbers if you are a run first team.

    Like

  49. I agree PittPT, that is when I get the chance to see with my own eyes. I really am a big eye test guy…. but when there is a consensus like there is about Pickett, I lean strongly towards their opinions.

    Now, I never said Pickett played terrible but I know his stat line wasn’t very good at all. Dropped passes, penalties and all the other parts of the game considered. Statistics are what they are. By themselves they are factual. Otherwise they confess to the torturer’s and ticklers.

    Like

  50. –My .02. You put Browne with the first team we might have a totally different impression. Early in his play he had two good throws that were dropped. I do like that he’s been under fire; I don’t like that he’s not very mobile, but I’m hoping that Pitt’s offensive line can continue to provide good protection.

    –My guess is that either Pickett or MacVittie transfers out after they see who leads after next spring.

    –I like the physical tools of both Pickett and MacVittie, but suspect they both need another year of learning the college game. It even occurred to me that perhaps a package of plays for MacVittie down near the goal line would be good because of his running ability. He scored easily in the spring game – evaded the first guy and then coasted into the endzone from maybe 10 yards out. Could be a nice weapon near the goal line by adding another speedy guy in the backfield.

    –I wasn’t impressed with DiNucci up until I saw him at this spring game. He seemed like a different player – like he knew what he was doing. I only remember him throwing one pass of any distance, but it seemed to have decent zip on it. And he didn’t look like some kid who was way to skinny to be a college QB, which is what he looked like before to me.

    –I hope Pickett red-shirts because DiNucci and MacVittie show that they can handle the backup roles.

    –One last thought on Pickett. I didn’t see this mentioned but he opened some eyes and got some ohs and ahs from the crowd on one of this scrambles. He ran to his left toward the sideline and picked up nice yardage and a couple of defenders were coming up on him. Pickett looked like he would just run out of bounds, but instead, just before the sideline, he made a sharp cut up the field to pick up a few more yards. Seemed to surprise the defenders. So anyway, wise or not, the kid seems to give it all he’s got.

    Go Pitt.

    Like

  51. Good post MM. Pickett has legs to be a better dual threat than MacVittie imo.

    Speaking of which and I’m not the first to say this but T-Mac could possibly consider a position change? I see a little Shanahan in the young man as well. PITT is now blessed with two really good athletes at the QB spot. Hate to either one of them leave.

    Like

  52. Dinucci and McVittie have been around long enough that if they have talent for D1 football it would show. Playing Browne unless he is a Homerun is a bad move. What real talent at QB would want to come to Pitt when all they do is bring in 1 and dones. If Dinucci and or MacVittie care about playing I’d bet they transfer to D1AA or local D2.

    Browne at 22/23 needs to be lights ahead of anyone or else.

    Liked by 1 person

  53. His spirit is alive and waiting to pick a fight. Who was it that he challenged to a fight on Blather. That was classic. He didnt say much if anything afterwards. Might have caused a fatal Aneurysm.

    Like

    1. Ike – if you are giving away free money, let me know where to sign up? Max Browne will be Pitt’s starting QB in 2017 baring an injury. The good news is Pitt finally has some serviceable depth at QB.

      The weak spot (as I see it) on this team is at LB. Wirginis and Brightwell are good, with some game experience. Zeise is getting a lot of press, but he has no game experience. I count nine LB-ers on the current roster with four being walk-ones (if you count Idowu in that 4). And, we only have one tFR at LB coming in the Fall with Cam Bright. This position is thin, slim and feeling like when Chryst was the HC.

      Here’s hoping for a healthy summer and a few LB grad transfers.

      HTP!

      Like

  54. I don’t see HCPN wasting a scholarship on a 5th yr SR transfer with the intention of having him be the backup. He brought Browne in because he considers him to be an upgrade over what we already had on our roster at QB for this season…As for what the spring game tells about how a player will perform this fall, I can answer that with one word: Zero!

    Like

  55. Just wait until the fall. Ideally, we’ll have Browne starting and DiNucci backing him with Pickett redshirting. Next year, hopefully it’s MacVittie starting with DiNucci backing him up and Pickett moving to QB2 MacVittie’s Sr. season. Pickett then starts as a Redshirt Jr.

    In a perfect world, that’s how we all should hope this plays out. It sets the QB’s up for the best success as well as ensuring that Pitt has a stable QB situation for the foreseeable future.

    It’s really a pointless exercise to try and guess with nothing to go off of. The spring game doesn’t count. It’s a make believe game under absurd rules and circumstances. Not only is it a mishmash of talent, the play calling is as vanilla as you get. That doesn’t even factor in it’s a new offense.

    MacVittie is not your traditional drop back QB. If he wins the starting gig after Browne leaves, the offense will most likely look a lot different than it does under Peterman or Browne or Pickett.

    Remarkably, QB is a strength for Pitt. It’s way too early to start pining for the backups. Let it play out.

    Like

  56. Tossing may be on to something here. Way too early to tell on quarterbacks. Way too early to talk about db’s. Way too early to make prognostications on season records when we have no clue who will be starting and those that will be injured for not just our guys, but our opponents team.

    I would not call our qb situation a strength at this point however. Bring in Doyle and we get stronger.

    The Browne will start. Funny that some are indicating that he may not last past the 5th game. That is the toughest part of the schedule and would be similar to what happened to him last year at usc. Narduzzi must play him or risk his reputation for 5th year transfers which are big for PItt. Mislead a scholly player in his final year and there may be reputational problems going forward.

    Pitt relies on 5th year transfers for key deployments.

    Like

  57. Huff, I agree with you completely on Narduzzi not taking the risk of not playing Browne and the resulting consequences of that move. That’s why I said it will take a dismal opening 3 to 4 game performance before any decision is made on pulling Browne from the starting roll. But if Browne turns out to be an ineffective runner and he is unable to move the team with much success then all the ingredients are in place for that dismal start for next season. Hoping for the best from Browne but being very realistic about what MAY take place.

    Like

  58. DiNuuci: 6 for 6 Spring Game; 3 for 9 in real game. I rest my case about the the pick-up spring game.

    Also, isn’t it something how much better the Gold team QBs looked with O’Neil, Bookser and Officer?

    Like

  59. There is no QB controversy, Brownie will start, Dinucci will backup and Pickett will redshirt.

    Narduzzi will give Dinucci time to mature and possibly become a starter, see how Connor Cook and Kirk Cousins careers panned out at MSU..

    Like

    1. Grizzly1, please let us all know how you feel about the QB’s if Pitt starts the season 1 and 4 with both Browne and DiNucci turning in some very lackluster performances.

      Like

  60. Spring games are good for seeing new kids in action for the first time, much like the eye test we talk about.
    After that not much..

    The best thing to remember is that in April of 2015 Voytik and Bertke both had over 175 yards passing and at least one TD each in the spring game? At the end of the next season both had transferred.

    We’ll see Browne and DiNucci go into (and out of) fall camp as QB1 & QB2.

    I’m still way more concerned about the pass defense than any other units.

    Like

  61. Belated best wishes to Reed and BigB that their family members recover soon.

    The good news is that we appear to have some depth at QB which we have not had for a long while.

    The bad news is that Browne did not look like a champion last Saturday. My biggest fear is that he may be prone to throw interceptions, which we cannot afford with our defense.Turnovers are killers. Luckily it is a small sample size so far, and we have not seen him behind the full O-line and with all our weapons.

    Pickett’s play does bode well for the future though, but really risky to put a young guy out there against PSU and OKST, so we really need Browne to shape up.

    Not worried about the running game. Will be much better with the first string O-line.

    Still have major concerns for the defense. Way to many unknowns right now. Key guys need to get healthy, and first time starters need to be much better than the guys they replace. Coaching also needs to be better.

    Young guys can really change their physique over the summer, we need some of these fast guys to get stronger, to hit harder and sustain their play for 60 minutes and for full seasons. Especially our linebackers and D-backs and guys like Tipton on offense.

    Like

  62. I think we all agree what the plan should be moving towards this coming season. Browne starts and Dinucci backs up. If PITT can win 3 or 4 games of the first 5 games they should be set for the season barring injury. Of course there is always the chance PITT can win in spite of the QB play. There’s that eye test again.

    Then there’s that chance of a disappointing start. I count the psu game as a loss but I think we win vs Oak State and Georgia Tech. If PITT loses one or both of those games, who knows what will happen? but again, the eye test. What if the QB’s play well in all these potential losses??

    As Reed pointed out, going into Narduzzi’s 3rd season, he needs to start winning games that are considered winnable. He’s going to play the players that give him the best chance to do that. imo

    On another note, it was good to see that PITT hasn’t had any serious health issues so far into the process. Knock on wood.

    PITT needs a few commitments to help keep the positive flow during this off part of the season.

    Like

  63. BTW, PITT didn’t a touchdown last year against Oklahoma State and North Carolina, all they needed was a first down. It’s not that hard to understand. It’s a fact PITT would have won both games if they just held the ball on offense for a few more seconds in both instances. This isn’t fake news.

    Like

    1. I’ll give you that Pitt probably would have beaten UNC by holding onto the ball for one more first down.

      However Pitt played from behind for most of the OSU game and tied it with 5:28 left in the 3rd. After that the two teams traded a bunch of short series and punts around a lightening delay. OSU scored the winning touchdown after an 88 yard completion with 90 seconds left in the game. It’s not as if Pitt spent the game imposing their will on OSU. Pitt hit on a bunch of big plays for their scores.

      Pitt probably stood a better chance of winning those two games by not surrendering nearly 1000 passing yards and 7 passing touchdowns and no picks. I’ll toss out something really conservative like 700 yards and 5 TDs.

      Like

      1. There is no argument there Barvo about the crappy pass defense. but prior to that long TD by Oakie PITT had the ball with a first down and the lead.

        No disputing the PITT defense was worse than abysmal but there were two chances by the vaunted PITT offense to put the games away.

        Like

    2. Ike – you know me – I’m not going to jump up and down about the DBs being better until I actually see them play better, a whole lot better, than they did last season.

      And please – enough of the ‘if we hold the ball for one 1st down”

      As Barvo said we gave up so many yards and points to the opponents offense any two stops there would have won both games also.

      The defense isn’t supposed to give up 30+ points EVER and to expect an offense to outscore giving up 35.5 PPG is asking too much to have a great season.

      You have to go back to 1998 (2-9) to find a Pitt team that gave up more than 30 ppg and 1996 (4-7) to find one that was worse than us this year.

      Like

      1. I do know you Reed, and I agreed profusely about how horrific the pass defense was last year. The fact remains. Two games in a row, one first down melds the game away for PITT. Just the facts mam.

        Like

  64. Two big-time local recruits PITT would like to have, Kwantel Raines from Aliquippa and Blake Zubovic from Belle Vernon will be at psu for their spring game this weekend. Narduzzi needs to start winning more local battles for these types of recruits.

    If you guys think PITT football loses out to too many local kids, check out the wrestling program. You could build a national program with all the WPA grapplers that go elsewhere.

    Like

  65. Dont agree pitt is getting killed by psu in WPA at all in recruiting.

    2015 top ten (24/7)

    PJ Fulmore 5’8 185 – ATH – North Catholic
    Jordan Whitehead 6’0 175 – CB – Central Valley pitt
    Tre Tipton 6’1 165 – WR – Apollo Ridge pitt
    Tony Pilato 6’7 300 – OT – Hempfield pitt
    Johnny Petrishen 6’3 190 – S – Central Catholic psu
    Tyler Hudanick – OT – Seneca Valley
    Sterling Jenkins 6’8 305 – OT – Baldwin psu
    Kevin Givens 6’3 230 – LB – Altoona psu
    Art Thompkins 5’9 175 – RB – Woodland Hills
    Nick Bowers 6’4 242 – TE – Kittanning psu

    2016 top ten (trib)

    Sanders PSU
    Hamlin PITT
    Hudson Mich
    Pugh Pitt
    Wheeler PITT
    Mathews PITT
    Ford PITT

    2017 top ten trib

    wade psu
    ford PITT
    Thorpe PSU
    Houy PITT

    Like

  66. @gc and all…….we have depth at every position! Unfortunately, it all ain’t good depth.

    Browne has a great role here. He comes in and starts against a difficult schedule. He will not get all big eyed when the team goes to the Dairy College. He will navigate us through the first 3-4 games. If we end up 3-1, he stays the starter. If we go 2-2, it’s 50-50 on who starts game 5. Go 1-3 and you will have a new qb. At that point it will not be Dinucci. Narduzzi didn’t recruit Dinucci did he? If not, he is the sacrificial lamb.

    If Browne gets hurt any time before game 5, it appears dinucci comes in from what we have seen/heard. If we go 1-3 I can see that either Picket or MAcVittie with a lean towards Macvittie. Why? Because the chances of glory when you start 0-3 is difficult, If you bring in Picket, that shows Doyle or any other verbal commit that there is a good chance that Picket beats you out next year and your next three years will be a redshirt and two boardclip years. At that point Doyle or any other qb verbal is more flippable.

    I am sure that Reed isn’t pounding his chest with excitement about our defensive back depth. Oh, we have it alright. It is just whether it is capable depth. I think we get better all around on defense. A skoach faster and a skoach stronger.

    Like

    1. I’m pretty sure DeNucci was a last minute recruit by Narduzzi’s then OC Chaney. Personally, I think the offer was made to groom upcoming QB Jurkovik to attend Pitt also.

      Like

  67. Ike,
    I think you are spot on with your wrestling observation.
    Hopefully this new head coach and former Pitt champion wrestler will be able to grab some of the local grapplers.

    Like

  68. Concerning the defense, I don’t recall seeing any WRs running open in the spring game. The coverage seemed to be good. Avonte seemed to have more energy and speed than anyone he covered.

    There was one deep ball where we had coverage but the ball got through to – I think it was Lopes – but he didn’t catch it. The kind of pass our opponents have been killing us with…

    Jackson looked good, I thought. I thought the secondary overall played very aggressively and closed well on the ball…

    Go Pitt

    Like

  69. You all do realize that you will not see the real offense until the Penn State game. Narduzzi hiding the jet sweep offense until the PSU game last year won us the game. PSU’s D was in shock. Call him paranoid or crazy, but it worked for a huge win. Expect the same this year.

    I would go as far as to say that there is going to be a package for Picket (the only mobile QB) based on Watson’s time with Indiana’s offense. If it ends up being successful he slowly gains more playing time if Browne and DiNucci can’t move the ball.

    Part of this is wishful thinking. Always hoped Pitt would get a true dual threat QB.

    Like

  70. Reed,
    How is the round table looking for this evening? I’m planning on taping the pens game to participate on the round table. Let us know – thanks!

    Like

  71. actually, Max Browne is a native of the state of Washington .. not California. The only Wash native I recall that played for Pitt is DB Ryan Lewis (also Seattle area like Browne) who made the big INT vs PSU, but otherwise played about as good as the other DBs.

    Like

  72. Mr Anonymous wrote “I just hope Max Browne is not the next Sal Genilla…there was a California stinker”

    That’s from all the lettuce, tofu and fiber he ingested.

    Like

  73. FOR TONIGHT’S ROUNDTABLE CALL-IN…

    Alright guys – we’ll take the first 3 or 4 callers starting at 8:00 pm (make it about 5 minutes early to login.)
    Here is the info to get into the Bluejeans Roundtable meeting for 4/18/17; 07:45 pm – 09:00 pm…

    Meeting URL
    https://bluejeans.com/377080111

    Meeting ID
    377080111

    Phone Call-in:
    +1.408.740.7256

    Enter audio code on your phone
    XXXXXXX – (this changes for each meeting – I’ll have the real one in a comment around 7:45 tonight.)

    SEE YOU AT AROUND 7:45 OR SO….

    Like

  74. I like Browne. Been watching him since he arrived at SC (where my wife is a prof…). Character guy. I was hoping he’d wind up a Panther. I sense he was a victim of the coaching and AD carrousel at USC–too many changes in philosophy, and too many coaches covering their own rears to bother developing him as the pro style pocket passer he was meant to be… Kiffen, always the classless Ass, ran it up on SC, in the ‘Bama game, which hurt MB, as well. I should add that he was also unlucky in that Darnold is the second coming. A young Big Ben, not so much arm, but more aggression and flat out joy for the contact of the game.

    My take is Browne will give Pitt a solid year of pro-style power football and character building leadership with enough good wins to get the young guys some real snaps in the second half. Not much of a resume, but I’d look for his 2016 Stanford game to be the norm and for Pitt to win most of those because we have better overall offensive weapons than USC had last year. All of this should set the table for a more open offense in 18. I want 10+ wins and a real shots at national championships. But I’ll settle, this year, for high character play and a shot at the ACC title.

    Like

Leave a Comment Please and Keep It Civil...

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s