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:

9. Pat Narduzzi, Pitt

After cycling through three full-time coaches (Paul Chryst, Todd Graham and Dave Wannstedt) from 2010-14, Pitt has found stability behind Narduzzi. The Panthers are 16-10 under Narduzzi’s direction and have recorded back-to-back winning marks in ACC play. Additionally, Pitt has finished outright or shared second place in the Coastal Division in both of Narduzzi’s seasons.

While Narduzzi was one of the nation’s top assistant coaches (and defensive coordinators) at Michigan State, he’s still looking to find the right mix on that side of the ball in the Steel City. Pitt finished 10th in the ACC in scoring defense in 2015 and 13th in 2016.

That’s not accurate in my mind as I’d put him up at either #6 or #7 based on his first two years as a HC. A two-year span with 16 wins is nothing to sneeze at especially given the talent (or lack of talent on defense) he inherited from his predecessor.

I think that those bowl game losses factored into that lower ranking.  As much as fans want to think they really don’t mean all that much they certainly do.  Wins or losses there has a large part to do with how the post-season rankings are figured. 

As we have discussed on here before a win in the Pinstripe bowl, and combined with those high-visibility wins over PSU and Clemson, would have helped put us right around #15 with a 9-4 record. If you remember we were ranked #24 on 11/27/16 and then went up to #22 to end the regular season and going into the Northwestern game.  So, #15 isn’t far-fetched at all had we won that bowl game.

That would have pushed Narduzzi up in this ranking and perhaps into the ACC’s Top Five.

We need a to have a Narduzzi bowl win – it is as simple as that.  This year may well be the season he does it – let’s hope so anyway and that will get that particular monkey off his back.  Either way… his #9 is too low as we Pitt fans know.

Still in keeping with the rankings game; newly minted Pitt QB Max Browne has been picked as the #54 starting QB of all 128 teams going into Spring Drills (obviously an older list).  This is a true showing of ‘pin the tail on the QB’ given the fact that Browne has a very short tenure as a D1 QB to draw inferences on so it seems they just threw his name in somewhere:

54. Max Browne, Pitt

Browne is one of the nation’s most intriguing quarterbacks for 2017. The Washington native was a five-star recruit out of high school and saw limited work in 2014-15 for USC before taking over the starting job in 2016. However, Browne’s stay at the top of the depth chart was limited to just three games, as Sam Darnold emerged as the Trojans’ No. 1 quarterback. The talent is there for Browne to keep Pitt’s offense performing at a high level, and he enrolled in time to participate in spring ball.

Which begs the question where would he have been ranked after the Spring Game with this decent effort:

browne spring

Intriguing is exactly the correct word to use for Browne’s future at Pitt as who really knows what we’ll see when the whistle blows to start the YSU game?

Pitt also pulls in the 24th (out of 128 schools) hardest schedule for 2017…

24. Pitt

A Week 2 date with Penn State looms large, but Pitt cannot overlook 2016 FCS runner-up Youngstown State Week 1. The Penguins stunned Pitt to open the 2012 season, and head coach Bo Pelini has a much more talented roster now. Those two games lead into a Week 3 home date with Oklahoma State. All told, the Panthers may play the most intriguing first three weeks of any team in college football.

I agree 100% with this writer regarding the YSU game. As we all have the dagger scars on our hearts from Pitt being upset by ‘lesser’ teams… like the referenced YSU beat down we received in 2012; or the infamous loss to Ohio in 2005 by a score of 16-10

But maybe the hardest to take was the loss in the opening game of 2008 when in coming off 2007’s wonderful 13-9 beating of rival WVU we dropped a supposedly easy game to MAC’s Bowling Green 27-17.

I list those upsets for one reason; Pat Narduzzi hasn’t, and I think won’t, let his guard down long enough for a lesser talented team to win a game against us they shouldn’t have a chance to win. Now, that said, Youngstown State has an excellent HC in Pelini, did very well last season and upsets do occur… just not this year to Pitt I think.

Narduzzi had to do two things for me to fully embrace his hire.  Be consistent and firm in his discipline regarding off-field incidents and he’s do that so far.  The second issue was that he be able to out and best a team we went into the game as a huge underdog to.

Well, we saw that writ large last November against Clemson, didn’t we?

Have a safe and happy Memorial Day holiday.  Nothing is more important than family and friends and this is a great day for both of those.

 

79 thoughts on “With Gratitude To All…

  1. as the song goes “All gave some … some gave all.” Eternal gratitude to my high school friend George (Viet Nam) and a friend’s son, Dave (Iraq)

    The 9th best coach rating makes sense. 4 are well known (Dabo, Fisher, Petrillo and Richt). The next 4 have more HC experience with some measure of success (Mendedhall, Duren, Fuentes and Cutliffe).

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  2. apparently the writer has not seen Officer try to snap the ball and the other named has let himself and his team down, Only 1 defensive player named; no DL or LB which are crucial to this defensive scheme which I am nowhere near sold on. Only WW I trenches looked worse than ours. In fact it was after WW I that Decoration Day was established (now Memorial Day). God bless all those who gave the greatest sacrifice and to those who served. Have a Good Holiday.

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  3. Here is the twist rkb. Officer is named to the 2nd team O-Line and Bookser is 3rd team center. Trust me on this one friend. Officer is a well above average guard as indicated by Athlon’s. The O-Line will not be PITT’s problem this coming season.

    Frankly, I don’t see big problems for PITT other then the competition. Yet PITT will persevere!

    Oh and Officer’s day of throwing wild pitches are over for now. He is now in charge of steam rolling linebackers, D-Backs and other stand byer’s.. < I made that word up…….. ike

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  4. For all the men and women and all the families, friends and everyone who gave their lives up literally or in any way that have served our wonderful country. THANK YOU!! 100 TIME’S OVER!

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  5. Millennials support using group troops against ISIS; they just don’t want to fight themselves.
    Millennials love other peoples’ service. To deny otherwise is to deny both recent polling and common observation. When terrorists attack our country or our allies, millennials are in line with every other demographic group in America in supporting increased security measures, use of force, and military service.

    They just don’t want to be the ones to do it.

    Some things never change. The vast majority expects the (mostly) lower economic status to risk it all to keep us safe.

    Looks like the only difference is now those of us who served are thanked for their service. When I returned from Nam I was spit on.

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  6. My oldest brother was there in Nam. It is memorial day so I don’t know Reed’s policy today but this is a no politics blog/article.

    I’ll just say I tried to talk to my brother about preserving his service history but I just don’t think he’s interested in reliving Nam, a dear John letter and a note to tell him his house had burnt down while overseas. He came home to practically nothing but horrific memories.

    This about all the correspondence he received while defending this country and doing his best to stay alive..

    When the four Vietnam vets with the drum and USA flag parade down the street during a fourth of July parade, everyone stands up and gives a standing ovation. Then everyone sits back down and goes back to sleep.. Don’t tell me about Vietnam…. ike

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  7. Reed and fellow POVerts who served our great Country: Thank You!!! Reed: Have a great vacation. Everyone: Enjoy the remainder of the holiday today, and LETS GO PENS!!!

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  8. May Memorial Day end on a high note with a Pens win
    Serving ones country is one of the greatest honors.
    And dying for it one of life’s greatest sacrifices.

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  9. Special heartfelt THANK YOU to all the vets who died to keep us free!
    To my dad, Nick, a bleeding blue and gold Pitt fan who made FIVE FIRST WAVE beach landings in the return of the Phillipines during WW2 and lived to tell about it (from the 40th Army division). Few returned, he did so winning a silver star (which btw meant very little to him).

    Thank you Dad –

    I love you and look forward to being with you for eternity in heaven.
    You were the greatest dad any kid could hope for.

    Your son, Jim

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  10. Everyday is Memorial Day for my gold star sister! Miss my nephew every day! KIA in Afghanistan with a 6 month old at the time and a new bride. Pat was a great kid and a Special Force soldier. So humble, yet so talented. Spoke fluent arabic. Thanks again to all that have served so that we can make fools of ourselves on a blog. I appreciate that opportunity. All lives equally important. Thank you!

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  11. Nothing but admiration for the men and women in uniform. They are the backbone of our democracy. Football pales in comparison to what they do to protect us and keep us free.

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  12. Very disappointing to read that anti-Millennial tirade. As a 28 year old, let me say I’m sorry you were spit on and I do thank you for your service to your country. However, your anger toward this terrible young generation is misplaced. Let’s please keep in mind that nearly 4,500 American fighters died in this most recent War in Iraq. David Hickman, age 23, was the last of those war casualties. (I note that in part because most the average age of the 58,148 killed in Vietnam was 23.11 years.)

    Please don’t throw my entire generation under the bus like that, “Anonymous” There are a lot of damn fine young Americans. There are a lot of lazy, idiotic young Americans too. That’s life. That’s America. Deal with it.

    “Love it or Leave it” as they say.

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  13. I love what Nard Dog’s been able to do in his first two years but let’s be real about the supposed “lack of talent.” Last year’s team was one of, if not the most talented in a generation at Pitt.

    13 dudes from last year’s class are getting NFL paychecks now. The year before Boyd, Holtz, Pitts and Grigsby earned roster spots as well. The cupboard was much fuller than when Chryst arrived than when he left.

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  14. Dear Victory. I understand you being upset by the small attack on millennial’s and all but I can see where Anonymous was coming from a tiny bit. Vietnam was a terrible war that the USA actually lost.

    Everyone who has served our country in anyway shape or form should be applauded and appreciated. There in lies the rub with Vietnam vets, they are not. I just wished Anonymous would not post as anonymous. That really saddens me………..

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  15. I assume Athlon has his rating factors to show this player and that player as well as this schedule is hardest.

    The after season ratings are the real ones but one cannot predict the future or we would all be betting like crazy.

    Right now its go Pens.

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  16. Big tackle from Lackawanna College visiting Pitt on Thursday reports PSN. He would have 2 years eligibility left if he decided to commit to Pitt. Being very thin on any experience on the offensive line might be just what’s needed to get him to sign on the dotted line.

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  17. Out of respect didn’t want to soil any Memorial Weekend threads with my unique blend of madness but cracked-the-knuckles and back at it here—–

    @Reed no more videos!!You shoulda told me it could cost you / really slow down the site!! See—- obviously I can post videos to my heart’s-delight, and obviously I do not have to sweat any charges, nor do they slow down my personal experience with the site whatsoever, which = Me posting mucho videos.

    It really slows down the site / slash costs you $ or whatever?? Oh, no wonder it agitated you, why didn’t you say so the First Time??!! haha

    Anyways — On the Millenial Rantohhh, I got a response to that —- (Big Lebowski voice) ….. That’s just like…you’re opinion, Dude. lol

    On Pitt last being the most talented team in years —- 13 NFL players (oy-vey)…. Not how that works. Who was drafted in the 1st round, and 2nd round, and 3rd round?? That is what is indicative of the ELITE talent on a Power 5 team.

    James Conner was Pitt’s first pick at past the 100th overall pick. Pitt’s first draft pick was in “Compensatory picks” of the 3rd round, after the “real” 3rd round.

    Dorian Johnson was picked all the way in the 4th round.

    Nathan Peterman was picked in the alte 5th round of the draft — that is very late.

    So —- That is 3 draft picks actually picked at spots where they usually get at least the 1st year guaranteed on the team — usually.

    Adam Bisnowaty was a late 6th round pick by the Giants, and Ejuan Price was a very late 7th round pick by the LA Rams —- guys picked that late actually are considered total dice-rolls who are cut-outright 50/50 before even their first year.

    No, Pitt does not have 13 players who are fully now in the NFL — if you think like that, then have the MAC teams right now have 10 guys who made it to the NFL (Very late round picks and undrafted free agents signed off the street.)

    This is why I gotta be on here, no one refuted the “Pitt had it’s most talented team in Decades” Misunderstanding lol

    That poster might have just gone on thinking, “Pitt has 13 guys from this team in the NFL, it’s gotta be the most talented team since the early 80’s!!

    Pitt had one pick (James Conner at pick 102 or something?) in the late 3rd and Dorian Johnson in the 4th —- Nathan Peterman has a really good shot to beat out Cardale Jones in Buffalo for the #2 backup spot but he just does not have anywhere near the talent to be a Real NFL week-to-week starter (Peterman *Ain’t ever gonna beat out Tyrod Taylor as the #1 unless Taylor goes Color-blind and all the uniforms look the same).

    Adam Bisnowaty and Ejuan Price are gonna have to put-forth Herculean Efforts and impress the Giants and Rams respectively to have any chance of making their active rosters this first year. NFL is a different beast — and Elite Power 5 teams have great depth, and 1st, 2nd, and 3rd round talents all over their starting lineups by the time they’re really competing. Pitt had one LATE 3rd rounder in James Conner, then a mid 4th rounder in Dorain Johnson.

    Lots of room to grow for Pitt Football.

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    1. ^^^ James Conner is Pitt’s first player off the board to go to the Pros at pick — #105 Overall.

      No Pitt player being drafted by the League in the first 100 picks, and then factor in that 3 of Pitt’s 5 overall draft picks being picked at 171 overall (Nate P in the late 5th round) and later is what shows Pitt’s talent this past year.

      —– Otherwise — Scott Orndoff got plenty of chances to try and get to the Show — but at the NFL Combine he ran a Glacially-Slow forty yard dash, then proceeded to drop a ton of throws in his drills. He is going to have to fight extremely hard for an NFL chance.

      Matt Galambos and Terrish Webb basically got good-will, Hey bud, put this in your pocket – Money (couple ten grand maybe? Graduation Presents) from the Steelers and Mike Tomlin + GM Kevin Colbert just to come hang around the complex for a couple of weeks during “Organized Team (goofing around in T-Shirts and Shorts) Activities”.

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      1. In addition to the departing class, there are players like O’Neill, Aston, Henderson, Weah, Bookser. Whitehead, RB’s, etc all left over after committing to Chryst

        I’m not saying its 1982 Pitt team but to say this team has a relative lack of “talent” is absurd.

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  18. Well, there is so much advice out there that we all should keep our eyes and ears down to the ground while we live and learn. If someone would ever tell me that they didn’t learn something in a particular day, I know their mind is closed….. and that would be a shame.

    Here’s a thought for the day. When one door closes another door will surely open. Just make sure you keep your head, eyes and ears down to the ground so as you don’t miss the opportunity to walk through a gift!

    Words by ike……… we all we got PITT fans…..

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  19. I agree on the talent left to Narduzzi’s staff to coach. And in beating a dead horse I’ll say that we saw that in the secondary in a big way in 2015.

    Almost exactly the same DBs and a real drop in passing defense from ’14 to ’15.

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  20. Kradel, a very talented player to fill a position of need.
    I feel very confident that we will have a solid recruiting class.
    H2P !!

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  21. http://www.hudl.com/video/3/4966053/57c63ab1688ec4337410b785

    ^^^ Just a link ( 😉 @Reed only links I *message got-through 😉 ) Kradel is listed at 6’4” , already 275 (!) only going into his Senior year. As a foundation along with good size, he’s pretty athletic so the building-blocks are all there.

    http://247sports.com/Player/Jake-Kradel-46035489

    3 Star Overall ranked, but offered by: Ohio State, Wisconsin, Iowa, UCLA, Iowa, Virginia Tech, WV-boo, awesome he picked PITT 🙂 .

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  22. I agree with Darkie on this one. Pitt does have talent but does not have elites. They are taken in rounds 1 and 2. Those schools win championships. We have a long way to go.

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  23. @rkb- Thank you. Debbie’s youngest, Pat. He left behind a wife and 6 month old at the time. He was a Special Forces fast tracker that achieved Staff Sargeant at age 24. You know i type a lot but I could not describe the emptiness even if Reed gave me carte blanche for a day! What I would describe would be the special force team (family) that to this day, stops in to visit my sister, his dad, his two brothers, his son and his wife whenever their travels bring them through Pittsburgh. It will be 10 years on November 10th. As you know, We didn’t grow up military per se’ unless you count my mom’s wooden spoon and stern look that according to Pat “prepared him well for Special Forces”,,,. She needed that with8 kids. It is now the village that is trying hard to fill a void that just can’t be filled. His boy is doing okay and so is his wife. They struggle daily, but they are winners. His mother struggles the hardest. If you all would be so kind to raise her up in thoughts and prayers (if so inclined), I would be forever grateful.

    Every day is Memorial Day in our family as is every night. I get it now. I think of your dad rkb and his years of service and thank him and your family as I do all Veterans and their families. I now think of all families that are shaped by the military life. Ours is just shaped differently. No harder or no easier than anyone else’s. It’s just different. I love that man. Thanks for asking again rkb, and allowing me a chance to give you all a glimpse of a great man. Peace.

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  24. Ohio State pumped the breaks on Kradel after he struggled at pass blocking at the Nike camp. Great for Pitt to jump in and snag him. Palmer, Kradel and hopefully Danielson to replenish the defensive line talent down the road.

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  25. Huff, may God bless you and your family. May you find peace and strength, and may you remember to live happy and full lives as he would want you to.
    Life goes on, and those who have left this life desire us to live full and happy lives. And to never be sad because of them.
    God bless you all here.

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  26. Misspelled…should be L1TS8URGH. I guess that is LITSBURGH? If so, that’s really stupid, but I might be missing something.

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  27. I will take my boys and 19 points.

    Would even consider Upitts bet that hoops won’t get 12 wins…of course, provided we have enough players to field a team

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  28. Hey Gas, I’ve been thinking hard on that Upitt proposed bet. I need to check the schedule as KS doesn’t have the Jamie automatic 12 straight home games against the soup can gang wins schedule.

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  29. Home field for PSU usually meant 2 touchdowns or more before instant replay. Now there is a somewhat balance. 19 points is a good incentive for us. H2P

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    1. We don’t need no stinking points. Pitt continues to twist the knife in the Nitters heart with a season destroying victory over PSU in their own house. It will be a glorious day to be a Panther fan.

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  30. Hate to say this but I don’t think enough has been made of the Kradel commitment. This young man had his eyes set westward.

    He’s a good get with a couple more coming.

    Welcome Jake.

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  31. All, thanks for the kind words and prayers. Always appreciated.

    I think the L1TS8URGH highlights the number one and the number eighteen, which is their recruiting class. The one looks like an “i” and the 8 looks like a “B”. That’s my analysis of the spelling and meaning.

    I do think Kradel will fit in nicely and he is a quality get. We need kids that want to be here and have a nasty streak.

    Kids get hot and cold during different performances and I think that may have happened in Columbus recently. Fear not grasshoppers. I think I remember Antonio Bryant being clocked at a 4.84 forty that scared many away. It was either him or Latief Grimm if I recall. I remember thinking that I hoped nobody else timed them until signing day. I would take either any day!

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