With Gratitude To All…

… our service members past present and those who will serve in the future.  Thank You, stay safe and come home soon.

As to football let’s remember that while we all use words like “war“, “battle” and “campaign” to describe it and the games played, and that’s fine in my eyes, but those same words hold a world of different meaning for those in our Armed Forces uniforms.

POV Reading List for today and let’s remember only 70 more days until the ‘real’ physical parts of Pitt football starts.  That is kind of depressing actually because we are all champing at the bit to see the new faces on the team wearing Pitt Script and showing us just how good they really are.

Here are some interesting bits that my friend Chris Lotz found and posted on his Facebook page. First off is Athlon magazine’s All-ACC conference pre-season picks for 2017.

On offense they  placed these Pitt players in 1st to 3rd string honors (they had a 4th string but that is sort of ridiculous):

1st string:  O’Neil at OL

2nd string:  Henderson at All Purpose and Officer at OL

3rd string: Ollison at RB; Weah at WR and Bookser at OL.

I’m sure Pitt fans will disagree with some of these choices – or rather which lineup they are in.  I’d have to Have Henderson at 1st string for sure even if no one can figure out what position he plays .

On defense Athlon  placed these Panthers in the 1st-3rd string honors:

2nd string: Whitehead at Safety

That’s it for defense and as hard as I try I can’t see any other Pitt players who would break in to these lineups save perhaps Avonte’ Maddox at the 3rd string level.  Now Special Teams is another matter:

1st string:  Henderson as a KR

2nd string:  Henderson as a PR

3rd string: Winslow as the Punter.

Still staying with Athlon’s rankings we see Pat Narduzzi listed at #9 out of 16 ACC head coaches:

Continue reading “With Gratitude To All…”

Recruiting (and Keeping) Prospective All-Americans

Much is talked about with the “star” rankings given high school recruits by the for-profit recruiting sites, like Rivals.com and Scouts, and what that means later on in college. I don’t believe anyone in their right mind wouldn’t want a roster full of 4* and 5* players… but then we’d be Alabama and that wouldn’t be any fun.  All they do is win all the time.

Well, we ain’t Alabama, OSU or even Penn State when it comes to recruiting. So Pitt has a lot less of the blue-chip recruits then some schools do.  I have written in the past that it isn’t recruiting those highly ranked players as it is to keep them on the roster for a full four years of eligibility.  Pitt has a real problem with that.

Just the other day Chris Peak of Rivals posted up a great article as he re-ranked Pitt’s 2013 recruiting class.  That was Paul Chryst’s first class and those kid are, or would be, rsJR or SRs this upcoming season.  What jumps out is 10 some of the best talent Pitt has seen in years and 2) the fact that almost half the class didn’t make it onto the field or finish a four-year stint.

Pitt has a poor track record of getting highly ranked kids and then getting the most out of them.  It is much like the chicken and the egg conundrum; are the recruits too highly ranked or were their coaching staffs not up to getting the best out of them?

Then of course there is the attitudinal side of things with recruits where for various reasons a player just can’t cut the mustard at this level and that doesn’t happen only on the athletics side.  Many can’t adjust to the harder academics or being away from home and some just can’t adjust to a lifestyle they weren’t accustom to prior to arriving at Pitt.

Some recruits come from a place where they were put on a pedestal and their younger transgressions were either overlooked or even allowed based on their status as football players. Those kids have the hardest times re-adjusting to the fact that they are now one of many and actually do have to do what others tell them to do.

Let’s take a look at some of the past recruiting classes and see what the Top 10 ranked kids did while here at Pitt.  First lets look at two Dave Wannstedt classes with  the 2007 and 2008 classes as ranked by Rivals.com:

Continue reading “Recruiting (and Keeping) Prospective All-Americans”

2017’s OL; Upgrade, Downgrade or Draw

This is the fourth of a longer POV series looking at the individual positions which need to be re-filled in 2017 and whether we will meet the PRODUCTION we had in those positions. We will not factor in true freshman at this point.

Football people talk about an offense revolving around the quarterback because he’s the first player to get the ball and decides what to do with it; that it is his talents with the ball that will make the play successful or not.

My thoughts are that if the offensive line isn’t doing its job correctly the QB is screwed any way you look at it.  This year in particular that may be true and we’ll discuss that in more detail later in this article.

When we look at any college football team in its transition from year to year we first have to recognize what the unit was like the previous year and what players we lost from it.  Aside from the singular person at QB our OL is, in my opinion, having to rebuild more than another unit.

You might say that the linebackers over on defense would be the unit doing that and that would be a valid point – but they had more in-game substitutions at those three positions than the OL did in it’s five so the LBs are re-loading with rather experienced players whereas the OL has to replace two positions completely.

That isn’t to say that we’ll have to have football virgins walk up and start playing for the first time – but we’ll see a big drop in how many starting games the OL has under its belt as compared to last season. 

That in itself is worrying and opens up a lot of questions about the 2017 unit as a whole.OL 16.png

Here is who we saw on the OL at the beginning of last season.  The two personnel losses that jump out at us right away are the departing left side tandem of All-American Dorian Johnson at Left Guard and All-ACC Adam Bisnowaty at the all important Left Tackle position.

Bisnowaty racked up awards during his career at Pitt:
2016 First Team All-ACC (Coaches)
2016 Second Team All-ACC (Media)
2015 First Team All-ACC (Coaches)
2015 Second Team All-ACC (Media)
Four-time All-ACC Academic Team

and in doing so was a stalwart on the line for four years.  His 45 starts and his superb play will be hard to replace.

Continue reading “2017’s OL; Upgrade, Downgrade or Draw”

POV Lunchtime Reading Library; 5/26/17

Happy Friday – here are some articles written about our favorite subjects for your reading pleasureduring your lunch hour.

My favorite coach of all-time, Dave Wannstedt, decides to finally say yes to Pitt:

“I don’t think a national championship is anything to be unrealistic about,” Wannstedt said. “You win the Big East and you have a chance, if things fall right, to compete for the championship.”

Wannstedt is replacing Walt Harris, who will leave for Stanford after coaching the Panthers (8-3) against Utah (11-0) in the Fiesta Bowl on Jan. 1. Harris had a 53-42 record in eight seasons, but his job was tenuous. Pitt lost to Connecticut and needed late comebacks to defeat Temple and Furman.

Early this season, Harris’s agent, Bob LaMonte, chastised the university’s administration for not extending Harris’s contract.

Ahhh, the good old days.  Back When Dave W. could mention winning the Big East without everyone around him falling out with laughter.

As to Coach Harris; well, Mr. LaMonte – if you could have convinced ol’ Walt to keep zipped up that wouldn’t have been a problem.

Continue reading “POV Lunchtime Reading Library; 5/26/17”