This is the season which we all believe will start to show Narduzzi’s worth as a recruiter but there is something other than that being overlooked there – this is also the year we are going to see just how well Narduzzi’s position coaches and coordinators have done at teaching our young players they inherited to become full-time starters.

We fans tend to look back at recruit rankings and forget that they don’t mean squat unless there is a staff in place to take that raw talent and make it really work at the D1 & Power Five level.  This is especially true at the OL positions. 

Pitt’s history (and every other D1 program’s) is lettered with recruits that came onboard with high potential and great expectations only to become backups, bench warmers or kids that didn’t make it a full four year’s in the program. Some just didn’t have what it takes, some didn’t care to work hard and some may not have had good enough position coaches to teach them how to play at this level.

As far as Pitt 2017 playing time experience goes when you look at the two-deep on the chart below you’ll see that 15 of the starting 22 positions are still manned by Paul Chryst recruits, and I don’t care what this list says Wirginis will start the YSU game at MLB – how long he stays there is another question.  So we will see some of Narduzzi’s new recruits get playing time – mostly on defense where we need the most help.

HCPN’s position coaches have now had three years to work with those PC recruits to fit smoothly into his offensive and defensive philosophies and it will be interesting to see how well they will fair as full-time starters this season. Those now-starters would be MLB Wirginis, C Dintino, RT Jared Jones-Smith, DE Allen Edwards,  Money LB Ziese, S Briggs and CB Motley.

Pittsburgh Sports Now reported that Pitt has released the pre-Fall Camp depth chart. Hmmm, more like “These are the only viable players who can play this position” chart.  When you have only 10 of 22 starting positions returning there has to be a heavy dose of wishful think on fan’s (and the staff’s) parts to get back up to the level of play of the year before. We’ll see that writ large in trying to match the record breaking offense we had in 2016.

As a look-back here are the starters we are missing from last years 8-5 squad: Peterman, Conner, Orndoff, Bisnowaty, Johnson on offense.  On defense we’ll not have Jarrett, Soto / Taleni, Price, Caprara, Galambos, Webb and Lewis.  I highlighted those who I think are star quality losses, or potential star quality  in Taleni’s case, and who’s replacements will have the biggest shoes to fill.  I listed Soto because 10.5 tackles for loss isn’t to sneeze at.

Here is Pitt’s “This has to be a first draft” listing:

17

There are about 15 legit questions with this list starting with the most obvious in why list someone in Tre Tipton who you know for a fact can’t play the 2017 season?    Another is the listing 49 players for 44 two-deep positions.  

Another is who in Hell is “Maurcie” Ffrench?

I have some agreement with a lot on here too but other things really have me worried… and there were some comments on the last article about this list we should address also.

First off, I do believe we’ll see Ollison as the starting RB behind Aston come September.  It only makes sense to put the guy you know can achieve success as a starting D1 rusher out there as opposed to two other backs – Moss and Hall – who have 42 and 36 carries respectively.  To remind readers, the production Ollison had in his 2015 year was this:

QO.png

It is one thing for Moss to have a 5.4 ypc average on 46 carries but another to better that with Ollison’s 5.5 ypc over a whole season’s 212 rushes.  Ollison should get the ball early and often through the first three non-conference games to get his momentum set and should he falter then switch over to someone else.

Damn it though;  I see some real trouble spots in this list, mostly going back to what I have been saying since 2016 came to an end and that is Pitt is relying very heavily on transfers, and other existing roster players, who have never suited up for a real game in a Pitt uniform… or who did suit up but and then played very sparingly.

Here’s my list of potential problems and I know this is a pessimistic look.  I just think that Pitt fans do tend to look at every question mark we have and then are just sure things will turn out well there, but as we know that doesn’t always happen.  So – here are where I think we could run into headaches:

QB – We have a transfer player (Browne) who has already shown he hasn’t been a successful starter in D1 ball over three years in college.  Replacing: Peterman

TE – Another starter (Clark) is listed with one game under his belt at a different school. He started the opener then was quickly benched by the staff for the rest of the season.  He’s backed up by a rsSR (Devon Edwards) who has done nothing in his time at Pitt and was actually moved from TE to DE at mid-point of last season. Replacing: Orndoff

C – We have a starter who is a converted OL (Dintino) and who has one start in his three years at Pitt – and that was at Fullback (!). His only experience is at any position but the one he’ll be starting in I suppose. Backing him up is a walk-on rsFR (Morrissey) with no playing time at all.  Replacing: Officer

RT – a journeyman rsSR who hasn’t impressed in his time at Pitt at all (Jones-Smith) being backed up by a rsFR who was 0.1 point away from being ranked a two star recruit. (Morgan).  Replacing: Bisnowaty

DT – A rsFR (Camp) with no playing time backed up by a journeyman (Roy) who had a total of 4 tackles total in his career.  Replacing: Jarrett / Taleni

DT (Redux) – A SO (Watts) with 3 tackles total backed up by another journeyman (Herndon) with 2 tackles in his career.  Replacing: Soto  (Bottom line at DT is that we have four players with a total of 9 career tackles)

DE – We have a multiple year starter who has played worse each successive year (Blair) and is being demoted to 2nd string behind a guy who played only spot-starter relief duty last season (Allen Edwards).  Replacing: Price.

Money LB – Three players, the starter (Zeise) being an untested converted WR, backed up by a career back-up, with a total of 6 career tackles between them.   Replacing: Caprara

DBs – Don’t even get me started on these.  Hardly any second string experience all around and iffy players except for Whitehead and Maddox. Some will look at this list of DBs and assume that the younger kids are ‘more talented’ and will jump the starters listed.  But those young kids have no live game at all hardly. 

However, thee three players back there listed as starters – Briggs, Maddox and Motley, are the three guys Narduzzi and Conklin have been talking about returning as starters since the week of the Spring game.  Don’t be surprised if we see them out there against YSU, PSU and maybe OSU depending.

Now I do know that some of these vacant starting positions are going to be well filled and have success there… some may blossom into very productive players as I think Chris Clark may at TE.

But when you have legitimate questions – and there are legit unless you are a Pitt fan with blinders on – in 11 out of 22 starting positions… Hell, make it 12 because we have no real idea how Hendrix at the other DE position will play over the course of a full season (though I think he’ll do well)… then there is trouble in River City.

So many things have to click into place to make this year’s team a better team than we had last season – at least looking at the players on the field. And we know logically that just moving up and being average starters in all those positions won’t cut it – not when you look at who we lost in the spots those players listed above are replacing.

We have two players listed on the All-American pre-season two deep list – Henderson as ATH and O’Neil at LT. Those same players with Whitehead and Officer can be found on the list for All-ACC also.  But those are positions we know are well filled, although I’m wary of Officer but he’ll probably be fine – I’m glad he’s been moved from center though. We are going to be in a lot of very close games this season and errant snaps we can’t afford.

I’m a show-me type of person but that isn’t across the board.  If i feel that we are getting new starters that will produce at a high level – and the beauty of college football is that it happens every new season – then I’ll say so.  As mentioned I think Clark will do so, maybe Brightwell also if he does take over for Wirginis. 

Throw Amir Watts at DT in that group also as i like what he brings to the table.  but again – to honestly believe that is every open spot, or even the majority of them, will blossom with star play is just too much for me to believe.

This will be a great season to watch Pitt football for just that reason – seeing the untested or unknown young men busting their butts and giving their all to win the job then try to excel at it.

Let’s hope that happens more often of not for 2017 – we’ll need that after the departures of very good, and some great, ball players we had.

Other Notes:  The listing of the 2017’s Top 130 players as named by MSN came out yesterday and Jordan Whitehead was put in the 110th position:

110. Jordan Whitehead, S, Pittsburgh. The versatile Whitehead is such an enticing athlete that Pitt has used him on offense, too, but his main job is leading the secondary, where he’s been an All-ACC pick each of his first two seasons. Pitt’s secondary was a huge area of concern last season, but Whitehead is an excellent player to build around.

The power of the POV; Last week I received an email from an older Pitt fan who doesn’t comment but reads every word you all and I write on here.  He read the “Call Out to Veterans” piece I did last month and contacted me because he also has PTSD, his from his military service during the Vietnam war . 

He had never discussed it with anyone and so we got together yesterday afternoon and had a great, and much-needed on both sides, conversation.  Thanks so my friend….  Anyone else out there who feels the need to talk with a peer in this please just drop me a line.

This week’s roundtable call-In show was the best we have had so far.  Five Pitt fans talking about what we love – and no problems with the video recording or audio reverb as in the past.  Lesson learned: if you want to participate get a pair of ear bud speakers you can plug-in so your computers sound goes only into your ears and not broadcast out the unit’s speakers.  we’ll do it again on Wednesday, July 19th. 

I am driving up to Clariton tomorrow for Tyler boyd’s football Camp for Kids and have some good questions to ask him when i get an interview chance:

“It’s a special feeling to be able to come home to the community that molded me, and teach young athletes the necessary skills to be successful at a game I’m most passionate about,” said Boyd.  “Sharing my craft and talents to inspire the youth in Clairton and surrounding cities, and to excel at their dreams is what I want to do, like my mentors did for me.”

Boyd will bring along special NFL guests to assist as coaches for the day.”

Boyd’s camp will teach youth participants, important life lessons on becoming well-rounded individuals and giving back to the community.  All participants will receive a free t-shirt, lunch, and an autographed photo of Boyd.

I will be at The Porch in Oakland at 5:00 for a 6:00 pm get-together for all us POV’ers who can make it.  Again – 1st round is on me.

Coming soon to a blog near your… your very own POV Hoodie.  I have 10 on order and if you all like them I’ll get more.

POV Hoodie

 

From POV’s Politically Incorrect Vault (PIV):

d06c50c38772f40fa01e6e46779f78e8

 

 

 

 

86 thoughts on “Here’s Hoping for the Best…

  1. No worries.. I’ve been reading the POV since it’s inception and I have been ASSURED that Pitt will go 10-2 in the regular season and win it’s Bowl game. Oh wait… those folks predict that every year.

    I’m fairly certain we’ll beat YSU. With this much unknown, how can anyone be certain of any of the other games? Pitt history says we win a game we shouldn’t (likely on the road) and lose a “head shaker” we shouldn’t (often at home) and we finish 7-5. Until something plays out differently, that’s gotta be the prediction.

    If I could attend all the games in ’95 & ’96, I can sit through anything. At least my son and new Pitt Freshman will be at all the tailgates this season. H2P!

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    1. Fake News Jay91. Only the most optimistic Pitt POVerts have predicted such success since POV has been around. Most rational predictions from last preseason were in the 7-5 to 9-3 range and only TT was shouting about 10-2 that I can remember and that was a mantra to aspire to, not a prediction per se.

      For this year, 7-5 isn’t pessimistic but it’s evident to me that you haven’t been smittened by the roster upgrades that are now ready to begin making contributions. That’s OK, it takes some a lot longer to detox from the SOP poisons that permeate their bodies than others.

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  2. I disagree with saying Jones-Smith showed nothing over his career. He played some minutes as a FR I believe and then has battled injuries. He showed a lot of promise from what I recall. Granted his injury history is a concern. But I’m not too worried about his ability.

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  3. JJ took the words right off my computer when it comes to Jared J-S. He was a starter as a RS Frosh and showed real promise until injured. The other exception is DB where come October, I expect a major improvement. But overall, I am pretty much in agreement to what Reed wrote.

    While I’m not expecting a 10 win season, I don’t think another 8 win year is out of the question at all (barring a rash of OL injuries)

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  4. My only real concerns are the DL (lack of talent at the DE spot) and lack of games at the DT spot. The DT position i actually think has a ton of talent but it is just unproven and could spell for trouble especially early in the season against good rushing attacks (PSU, GT)

    The DB’s will be young but im of the how much worse can it really get category there. Hoping Whitehead to FS can help scare QBs off of some of those deep throws.

    I actually really like the LB core and think it will be an upgrade.

    On the offense i think the OL will be fine barring some injuries (depth a concern)

    Obviously a lot rides on how Browne does, hard to tell but the talent is obviously there. Has some good weapons around him and i think as long as the OL holds up he should be OK.

    Ollison to me has always been meh, straight ahead runner, OK speed, not as much power as you would think. If you watch highlights of his freshman year most of the time he was just running through giant holes the OL created for him. Hoping one of the other guys steps up and can be more explosive.

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    1. Totally agree re QO. And all you have to do is see the video highlights. QO is a good kid and I wish him well but that redshirt freshman season was built off a great OL.

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  5. with pugh and hendrix there is talent at the DE spot… just talent that has only played a combined like 10 snaps at the college level

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  6. Reed – this is a roster based on the future not the present. Narduzzi wants to win now but he won’t do it at the sacrifice of building a sustainable program. This season isn’t a peak season … the next two seasons will be. You get too worried about game experience. This is a system defense where talent trumps “smarts”. Plug and play. That’s the beauty of it. CFB has changed a lot the last decade. The old way of doing things won’t cut it.

    Starting all of these young players will play dividends the next couple of years, when Pitt can really challenge for the Coastal. This season is a transition season between the old regime and Narduzzi’s. There will be a learning curve … but it’s a good thing. I know it’s easy to get caught up season by season but Narduzzi is taking a long term approach to building a football program.

    Besides, this depth chart was also probably sent as a warning shot. If you practice this summer like you did in the spring, this is what will happen … and I’m guessing Narduzzi would be fine with it. Ollison is a good running back but he’s not fast and was a better fit for Chryst/Chaney’s offenses. Pitt’s offense will be built on speed. I’m guessing the pecking order is Moss, Hall then Ollison when the season opens. I’m hoping the two freshman redshirt but running back is one position where true freshman seem to play okay.

    I’m guessing this will be another 8-9 win season. Next year is the season Pitt can start taking that next step.

    Tre was listed because this was a published list in a program or something and obviously submitted pre-injury.

    Man, did Chryst recruit an unbalanced roster. I know many of you see him as a bright spot the last decade in stabilizing the program but I call BS. Mediocrity isn’t stability, it’s mediocrity.

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    1. Whoa I disagree????

      PREFACE: I wholly agree that with this current roster and future 2018 recruits coming in Pitt Football is heading full-speed, straight-on into ACC Coastal BEAST MODE now…..

      ????? But ????

      Pitt’s Defense get’s a massive-infustion of Straight-Up SPEED this year, after Pat Narduzzi’s full-on loyalty just to let the high-character guys get to play just because he appreciated how much they embraced him. Period.

      Pitt’s offense has TWO potential top round pick level talents in ‘Thunder’ 6’3”, 215 Jester Weah and ‘Lightining’ 5’9” , 190 Quadree Henderson —– what I feel is gonna be a Beastly + Formidable O-line and a strong running-back Stable — plus “Last-Go-Round Max Browne” and potential Joe Flacco 2.0 Thomas MacVittie at QB??

      Lol what the heck? Pitt shoulda had a better record last year if they woulda lost to pswho, OKie State and Clemson but just shoulda beat the mediocre ACC rivals they shoulda beat, while this year’s team is Buku-Faster across the board especially on Defense.

      Disagree with the kinda negative assessment on this year’s squad9-3 all the way baby.

      FAST—And Exciting with Max Browne playing his way into the 1st round QB draft discussion –latest a 2nd rounder and creating Pitt’s new rep as QB-Haven ‘U’.

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    2. We see eye to eye on most things here TT. Your last paragraph above however is way off base and unfair to HCPC. When you consider the cluster*@#! that Chryst walked in on after Fraud Graham snuck out of town on the Midnight Express, and take into account the guy’s endless energy, enthusiasm,magnetic personality and drive to recruit only the best, Pitt could easily have been STILL digging out of the cavernous hole dug by the $hitstorm that was the Wanny firing, subsequent bad hiring and poor oversite by Pederson while Chyrst came in with a mop and bucket to begin cleaning up the mess.

      From 2012 to 2014 mediocrity was the definition of stablizing the program. After the YSU loss in 2012’s home opener I was seeing 4-8 seasons looming in our team’s immediate future. How soon we forget how bad Pitt football can stink with just a little help.

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  7. ^^^ …. ” I have been ASSURED that Pitt will go 10-2 in the regular season and win it’s Bowl game. Oh wait… those folks predict that every year.”

    🙂 lol I was just having this conversation with another person (about politics in the other conversation) one specific other person saying something does not equate to “EVERYONE” saying something lol

    –> lol ONE SPECIFIC POSTER I remember quite-vividly kept incessantly-insisting about Pitt (I think while Chad Voytik was QB yikes!!!! 😦 ) going 10-2 (shoulda been in Western Psyche with me on twice my dosages!) —– and ALL OF US OTHER POSTERS said it ain’t gonna happen for a couple more years — but “a couple more years” is NOW. 🙂

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  8. Kam Carter hasn’t practiced with the team yet. He could make the D look a lot better quickly with the young guys gaining valuable experience at the same time.

    JJS and the whole O-Line is not as bad and inexperienced as some may think.

    Chryst made sure the team was built around his resume building strengths.

    Once again, to take too long of a look at that depth chart is a bad idea at this time.

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  9. I hear they discussed new rule about coaches that come onto the field to argue a call with the officials. It’s now going to be forbidden. No warning and a 15 yard penalty first time and second time a game, gonzo.

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  10. I sure hope James from state college reads this piece and gets over-confident in his teams ability to beat Pitt.

    Good read, even though heavily pessimistic in nature.

    Have fun in the Burgh this weekend at the Boyd camp.

    Jay91 – 10-2 would be nice – name one team on our schedule that you think Pitt can’t beat or has no chance at beating. Also, did you connect your nephew up with Pitt yet?

    HTP!

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  11. The fact that Wirginis isn’t listed as a starter is mind blowing. Dog house, upcoming suspension or injury?

    Jones-Smith is a good ball player.

    I have serious concerns about the D…again. My God, can Pitt please find a dominant LB for once.

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  12. When Reed solicited our opinions this past spring, I didn’t think we would have a RB > 1000 yards this year. This is because I believe that it will be RB by committee until late October when frosh AJ Davis takes over

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  13. BTW, if you go to Chris Peak Twitter page and scroll down his tweets from yesterday, you can click on the new Pitt 2017 media guide. I assume you probably can access it also via the Pitt web site.

    I saved it to my desktop.

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  14. A July depth chart isn’t worth the paper it is printed on. The one released the week of the YSU game will be the one that catches my eye. If Pitt goes 8-5 again I’ll be ready for the “Narduzzi should be on the hot seat” or “Fire Narduzzi” posts. He’s the perfect coach to have representing a school that hasn’t been too concerned about winning big in football for over 30 years.

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  15. DK – That was me with the 10-2 campaign. It wasn’t a prediction but what the expectations should be. Chryst had lowered the bar and it needed reset.

    Pitt could have won 10 games that first season. They could have won 10 games last season as well. I think 10 wins is completely doable this season.

    Expectations and predictions are two different things though. There was a lot more negativity around the program back then so I was more incessant about it. For the most part, there is more optimism with football right now. The Dr. Tom’s, you and myself are no longer this niche group of posters so I backed off exclaiming it … but it’s still the expectation I set.

    If they don’t win 10 games this season, I’ll email EJ for a 3rd time asking him to relay my disappoint that Pitt football didn’t win 10 games. As long as the program shows progress though, I’ll qualify my disappointment with my 100% enthusiasm for Duzz as well … just like I did after his first two seasons as HC. “I’m disappointed they didn’t win 10 games but I see progress and what Duzz’s vision for the program is.”

    When Duzz won 8 games and exceeded expectations, despite not reaching 10 wins, a lot of people saw that 10 wins isn’t this out of reach number. I no longer had to be a pest about it. There’s still some negativity but it’s the usual crowd and not nearly as strong an opposition as it used to be.

    deepelemblues – Any good coach would provide “stability” to the program. You avoid that issue by not hiring unstable coaches … see Coach Graham who jumped ship every two years before getting to Pitt.

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    1. So you’re saying Chryst is a good coach because he certainly brought stability back to the program after 2 of the most destabilizing coaching hires in Pitt football history, Fraudy Too Toddy and Freddy Krueger.

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  16. ACC FB is probably now more difficult to win than ever with the recent addition of head coaches Fuentes, Mendehall and Richt (all in Coastal) as well as Babers who we have to play every year. Also, Paul Johnson and David Cutliffe are proven.

    That’s not to say Pitt can’t win. it certainly can. But I believe some patience is in order, especially when the OOC is no cupcake. Fact is that my expectation is 8 wins (9 at the most).

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  17. You guys see a great player in Jones-Smith and I see someone who has done nothing for us. That is a fundamental difference of opinions.

    Just because someone gets injured doesn’t meanness he would have been a good player.

    Same with Ziese. We have no idea how he can actually play.

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    1. If JJ-S was great in the three games he started in 2014 would you even have remembered he was? I doubt it. Zeise hasn’t even finished a game at Pitt. People rightfully so should feel at least confident in JJ-S and not look at him as a player who has done nothing at Pitt. That is the category Zeise falls under for now.

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    2. And you have no idea if a great performance from a year ago can be duplicated the following season either. That knife has two sharp edges.

      Examples, our two ACC award winning freshman phenoms, Jordan Whitehead & Qadree Ollison.

      Drop the mike.

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  18. The now released depth chart tells me there is a he** of a lot of room available for those being added to the roster next month. The depth chart from yesterday suggests a 6 and 5 season at best IMO.

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  19. I see at least 4 losses unless our D is vastly improved and Browne plays like Nate. I’m not confident on either to happen. So a set-back. 6-6 and a bowl in Detroit.

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  20. I guess a whole entire coaching staff having enough faith to start a player is just all a bunch of conjecture?? I understand the “I need to see it to believe it” mentality but it’s not like these two haven’t started games before.

    If I remember correctly JJS was being touted as the next great PITT O-Lineman.

    ..and keep saying Zeise is a converted WR while true, is not completely accurate. At this point in his football career he’s played as much or defense than offense, including his time at NA.

    You guys are tough… ike

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    1. JJS was a 3-star Chryst recruit who played his one full season, starting 3 games, on the offensive line that helped to make James Conner an All American and ACC Player of the Year. I don’t have game tape, but it’s hard to believe JJS did nothing in that mix.

      Zeise played WR and CB for NA graduating in 2014. He was recruited as a WR to Pitt. He redshirted. He played WR the next season. It’s entirely accurate that he’s a converted WR.

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      1. Don’t disagree Barvo it’s factually true. I said not completely accurate as he’s played LB for two years now at PITT, same amount as WR, well at least as much as he could with the injury.

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  21. Reed – both players impressed the coaches enough to be listed there. Both have question marks, sure, but are the best Pitt has right now.

    Deep – I’m saying Chryst is an average head coach that did what is expected of a coach in his situation. He certainly didn’t do anything extraordinary.

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    1. Well the definition of a good coach and the definition of an extraordinary coach are two different things. An extraordinary coach might not even be a good coach – I think Fraudy Too Toddy certainly is an extraordinary coach, but certainly not a good one.

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  22. Ya know, I have a few “hopes” for this years team:
    1) I hope the team is healthy with no more major injuries, or it could go south quickly.

    2) I hope Carter is the second coming of .Gary Burley. If we do not have a big time run stopper in the middle it could get ugly, especially against the Dairy College. The lack of a strong d line is my biggest fear, yes, even bigger than the secondary.

    3) I hope Watson has a clue, and is as smart as his buddy Sherlock. Don’t get too cute, but use the tools in the box.

    4) I hope we never, ever see DiNucci take another snap. Not that he is a bad kid, he’s just a very bad QB.

    5) I hope the secondary will become cosmically aware, and believe it or not that does actually happen. In fact, I actually expect them to be markedly better.

    6) I hope I am wrong, but if we have a moderately successful year and MSU tanks again, HCPN will be gone. Yes, I get the “he’s not proven anything arguement ” but fan bases look at formed coaches thru green and white glasses, and we will not overpay.

    7) I hope someone will come up with the idea of replacing all yellow seats in the upper deck with black seats, and pay for it by auctioning off the yellow seats to fans, or selling them to another sports team. Or if that fills how about filling them with actual people!!

    8) I hope Emel returns, that Upitts marriage causes him to have a somewhat more positive outlook when it is deserved, and I hope .Reed continues the POV for a long time!

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  23. Here’s something OT for a second I read over on the Lair. psu will be holding a “Lasch Bash.” sometime in the future for recruits. This sounds like it may be a joke and I sure hope it is. Can you imagine the audacity of that school? Have they NO shame what so ever?

    This is after the Pa attorney general called out psu for still not properly vetting their teachers to be safe around students. What parent in their right mind says this sounds like a great idea? Seems like psu is mocking us all. Has this whole world gone batcrap crazy? … ike

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    1. Valid concerns yes. And I am serious about James from state college underestimating this Narduzzi-lead team, that so many Pitt fans do as well.

      I expect 10+ wins the same as TT.

      And I hate penn state…

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  24. Quick notes:

    -Dark Knight:
    “one specific other person saying something does not equate to “EVERYONE” saying something lol”..

    I don’t believe I used the word EVERYONE. I specifically said “those folks.” I stand by my assessment that “some folks” ALWAYS predict 9-11 wins each season. Check the archives.

    Erie Express:

    “name one team on our schedule that you think Pitt can’t beat or has no chance at beating.”..

    Not one. But that wasn’t my point. Name ONE team on LAST SEASON’s schedule we had “no chance to beat.” And yet, we lost FIVE times. We can beat anyone. We just rarely do it more than 7-8 times per season. Can we not all agree on that? It’s a statistic- not my opinion. only TWO seasons with less than FOUR losses in the past THIRTY-THREE YEARS! And only THREE seasons with NINE or more wins over that same time.

    And no luck on hooking my nephew up with Pitt. Thanks for asking. Here’s a link from last year, if anybody’s interested..

    http://highschoolsports.pennlive.com/news/article/1548559102844222346/lower-dauphins-sneaky-fast-standout-brendan-shaffer-leading-falcons-to-final-whistle/

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    1. Jay91 – with a little help from our D last season, Pitt wins 10 games. Expect it – my psu friends do every year – they just cry harder that Pitt fans do…

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    1. Yes I think next year is Pickett unless MacVittie gets some (okay, more than some) gamer in him… Pickett looks to have the tools and looks like he has that gamer quality Palko had.

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  25. not worried about macvittie yet, qb’s can take a little longer to develop, especially when he didnt play a ton of highschool ball at the position either.

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  26. deep nails it here. MSU is not going to fire Dantino next year and maybe long after that. Plus I still don’t understand why Narduzzi, who if he has a few great years ahead, why he would want to go back to MSU that has obviously stunk for a couple years in this scenario?

    He busts his butt at PITT to make them good and then turns tail to run back to an old employer he really doesn’t have that much of a connection with? Although I could see him going to ND one day

    Like

  27. One poster on the Lair is concerned Pugh isn’t on the two deep, now MacVittie has fallen out of favor. Can we please let these kids develop? One played less than a season in high school at a position that needs reps and the other is playing with his hand in the dirt for the first time in life.

    I understand what 30-plus year of mediocrity can do to a fan base but let’s not be the most miserable fan base on the planet, okay?

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  28. I think two points are certain in which we all agree on: A) Narduzzi is beloved; B) He’s the expert in evaluating talent. Let’s focus our energy elsewhere by holding the Pitt administration accountable.

    Have you guys written your letters yet???

    Like

  29. Reed’s description above of Jones-Smith is a journeyman who hasn’t exactly impressed in his time at Pitt. I would argue that anyone who starts on the OL is not a journeyman and is indeed impressive. He also saw actions as a back-up last year to two future NFL OL, not exactly a disgrace.

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  30. Narduzzi proved a few things to me but evaluating and recruiting talent isn’t either. Bad in game coaching and stinking up the joint on defense on the other hand are two I see.

    Losing Matt House and Peterman will have a terrible effect on the offense. We win 7 games.

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  31. This isn’t a rebuilding year, it’s a transition year. The team 2 years ago won 8 games. This is a better, faster and more athletic team but with a more difficult schedule.

    I love the MacVittie talk. LOLOLOL. You guys realize he’s a red shirt Freshman, right???? You realize Pickett will be a red shirt freshman next year, right? You realize both were 3 star recruits, right? You realize, ideally, neither is starting until their 3rd or 4th year in the program, right?

    Holy crap did Chryst leave Pitt in bad shape at QB depth.

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  32. Hey TT, for whatever reason people look at Narduzzi and say they are fine at what he’s done so far with two eight win seasons with a limited roster. Yet are only half happy and expected more at the same time. Now PITT should go 12-0 with “Narduzzi’s recruits” who are RS sophomores?

    So many applaud Chryst for his O-Line recruiting. Show me proof going into this season. According to some JJS has done nothing? Officer is a question mark, although an Outland Trophy candidate. Bookser will be a two year starter at some point TBD. but this is a weak unit?

    O’Neill, who may leave next year as a potential high rd draft pick, btw, way is a converted TE, we don’t hear that mentioned like we hear Zeise is a converted WR. Dintino the projected starter at center, is a converted TE and FB but we don’t hear that mentioned like we hear Zeise being a converted WR. Why is that?

    Where is the depth in that chart? Narduzzi’s recruits. Chryst was over-rated imo. He did a GREAT job stabilizing the program but little going forward.

    If Narduzzi left PITT tomorrow, he would leave PITT in far far better position than Paul did. imo! ike

    Like

  33. Some excerpts from Trib article today … all statements here by HCPN:

    “Saleem is a guy who can make tackles from sideline to sideline,” Narduzzi said. “He has good athletic ability.

    At quarterback, he acknowledged Browne didn’t play especially well in the spring game when the best players were split between two teams.
    “But there were 14 days before the spring game where he had the (first-team) receivers and offensive line. I thought they did a great job with the offense.”
    He also said there is plenty of time for the other three scholarship quarterbacks — Ben DiNucci, Thomas MacVittie and Kenny Pickett — to provide competition.

    On the status of incoming freshman safety Paris Ford of Steel Valley who is finishing up academics before he can join the team, Narduzzi said he expects him to be with the team this season.
    “I sure do. I sure do. He’s working on (the academics).”

    “My biggest concern are our young guys stepping up and filling those roles and the leadership roles. A year ago, we had 21 really good seniors who were impressive. To not have those guys with us is a void. So, we’re looking for those new seniors.”

    Like

  34. PITTSBURGH—Three Pitt football players were named to national award watch lists Thursday morning.

    Safety Jordan Whitehead was selected as a preseason candidate for the Bronko Nagurski Trophy, annually presented to the nation’s Defensive Player of the Year, while offensive linemen Brian O’Neill and Alex Officer were chosen for the watch list for the Outland Trophy, given each year to college football’s top interior lineman.

    Whitehead (Aliquippa, Pa./Central Valley) has tallied 174 total tackles, 10 passes defended, two interceptions, two forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries over the last two seasons with the Panthers.

    Twice an All-ACC selection at safety, Whitehead’s playmaking ability has resulted in defensive touchdowns on two occasions—first with a 22-yard fumble return against Navy in the 2015 Military Bowl and also on a 59-yard interception return in Pitt’s win at Virginia last fall.

    O’Neill (Wilmington, Del./Salesianum School) enters his junior campaign after a memorable sophomore season that included being named the 2016 Piesman Trophy winner and an All-ACC offensive tackle.

    O’Neill’s touchdown-scoring exploits against Georgia Tech and Virginia Tech on designed run plays last year earned him recognition from SB Nation’s Piesman committee, and his blocking abilities didn’t going unnoticed as the league’s coaches (second team) and media (third team) both voted him to the All-ACC squads.

    While O’Neill boasts a 25-game start streak on Pitt’s offensive line, Officer owns the team’s longest tally of consecutive starts made at 34 games heading into his final collegiate season.

    Capable of playing center or guard, Officer (Rochester, N.Y./Eastridge) is expected to be a senior stalwart on the Panthers’ offensive line again this fall. Officer started all 13 contests at center last season for Pitt, following a 2015 campaign in which he opened every game at guard. As a redshirt freshman in 2014, Officer also played in every game, starting the final 10 at center.

    Pitt is no stranger to the Nagurski Trophy and Outland Trophy, with defensive tackle Aaron Donald, now a perennial Pro Bowler with the Los Angeles Rams, having won both awards in 2013 following his stellar senior season for the Panthers. Panthers’ offensive line legend Mark May also received the Outland Trophy in 1980.

    Liked by 1 person

  35. I’m not sure what Narduzzi meant in the article linked above when he said that when he got here in 2014 there was only one scholarship quarterback on the roster when we had three with Chad Voytik, Adam Bertke and Trey Anderson.

    Highly selective memory?

    Like

    1. Reed – Trey started as a walk-on (I believe) and Toad Graham gambled and threw a scholarship his way.

      Bertke was a Chryst recruit who Duzz did not think deserved a scholarship.

      Chad was (in his mind) the only scholarship QB on the roster. I have to agree – and many have said Chryst did a poor job recruiting QB’s at Pitt. HCPC was always going to be a 6-6 coach at Pitt. In the B1G Joke conference he has many wins lined up – one of the easiest schedules in P5 football.

      Like

    2. Dude…….

      He meant, Trey Anderson was garbage, and should not have been wasting a scholly — and Narduzzi ran to UPMC to grab a scalpel and cut him out of the program immediately.

      And Narduzzi got Bertke out of the program as fast as he could. We fans never really got to see him at all — but Nard Dawg saw him face-to-face, and said, You got TO GO bud, sorry.

      That leaves Chad Voytik as the ONLY QUARTERBACK AT PITT Narduzzi could even fathom keeping around on the team and actually letting take any game snaps ever. THAT’S exactly what Narduzzi meant —- “There was only one dude at QB at Pitt when I arrived I would ever, ever even consider letting touch the ball in a real game.” —– But Nard Dawg doesn’t want to go full Todd Graham and say — “The Quarterbacks all were Hot, Steaming, Mid-Summer Garbage when I got to Pitt!”

      @Reed, gotta “Read Between the Lines” on these things lol.

      Like

  36. Actually — Think it is GREAT that Saleem Brightwell is listed as the #1 middle linebacker!

    He is a true Junior, and he’s fast — the ONLY issue whatsoever with his is size as he was playing at only 205 pounds last season.

    If True Junior Brightwell got himself up to 215-220 now for this year — oooh-weee, I’m excited if he earned the starting middle spot!

    Elijah Zeise, over 230 pounds and still with all his agility according to Nard-Dawg — I fully expect him to be a Stud at the outside linebacker spot. It would be exciting to see (I feel so proud of this saying lol), The Molasses Matts (Galambos and Caprara — SLOW AS MOLASSES!!) get massively upgraded at their spots by Lightning-Quick 215-220 pound Saleem Brightwell and a big, 6’1” 230 pound super-agile ex WR in Elijah Zeise. I am beyond excited to watch those two guys start at MLB and OLB and I hope they can stay healthy.

    But I do have one huge 😦 😦 😦 issue —– Why O’ Why O’ Why is Seun Idowu listed at ANY position on the depth chart t all besides, “Punt Team and Kickoff Gunner”???

    Last year Sean Idowu was a 200 pound lost-man who loooked like a chicken with his head cutt off. When I was especially angry at the defense I would zoom-in on Idowu, Just to see what the H-E-double hockey stick he was contributing on plays. And he looked totally helpless + overmatched + lost + never attacked and made anything happen.

    Idowu isn’t some physical specimen ex wide receiver with size and speed that makes the fans and coaching staff salivate over his “POTENTIAL or anything lol.

    He’s small (barely 200 pounds!!), he’s not very fast, —- but of course the size and speed limitations would be fine if he was some Rudy-Warrior out there playing his heart out — but he doesn’t! Looks like a lost child looking for his parents every defensive snap — and all of his tackles were 10 yards downfield after receivers had already caught a ball for another huge inopportune 1st down conversion, or the running back was in the second level and Idowu grabbed onto his legs desperately waiting for help.

    Barely 200 pounds, not fast, ZERO INSTINCTS, and not all that much guts….Idowu should only be ‘gunning’ on punts and kick offs, and playing Kick Return and Punt Return for the rest of his career.

    Idowu is a deadbeat linebacker, full-stop. Sounds Cruel, but the unvarnished-truth often comes off that way.

    Quintin Wirginis also just can’t seem to stay healthy. I’m sure it is LB coach Rob Harley’s and Pat Narduzzi’s dream that the Senior LB with all the tools you could hope for would step up. Keep in mind too —- I’m certain they also worked him and trained him like all the LB’s do, at the other spots. So it seems Wirginis did not get traction at either of the OLB spots either.

    I think Wirginis is hobbled, and wasn’t able to train in the off season while all the other guys were healthy —- and right now the Staff of course hopes he can contribute — but I think they are kinda planning-on assuming he’s gonna be hurt / not available.

    The saying they’ve beat-to-death in the NFL (is is LAW lol, and why NFL Warriors don’t get the full-guarantees like NBA ‘Foul if you get sneezed on’ players do) — is AVAILABILITY is the #1 quality a player can have. Wirginis even last year in limited PT got hurt 😦 😦 the staff nor the fans can rely that he will be able to stay healthy — some guys catch the ‘injury bug’ really easy.

    Hail To Pitt! 🙂

    Like

    1. Excuse me, even more exciting actually that Saleem Brightwell is actually only a RS Sophomore — so third year player I meant, so he is not some totally inexperienced young-pup.

      Like

  37. I have not had time to catch up yet on last three days as to posts so if I repeat someone else my apologies but as to the depth chart going into camp, if a player missed time in spring due to injury they likely wont be listed as a starter now. Along with this some of the lists may be motivational messages, good and bad to the players who didnt play through injuries, werent going all out, need to concentrate more etc etc. They dont mean much now IMO.

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    1. Good point rkb – I haven’t heard that theory yet. But, Zeise, Clark and Hendrix must be that good then to be crowned preseason starters after sitting out Spring practices entirely.

      Another theory not discussed is that our starters will be as good or better than last year AND our depth will be better. The only position I would throw caution to that theory would be our starter at RB.

      The QB, TE and DE positions would be the next three toughest positions to fill (IMO), and Duzz has three highly rated (two 5 stars and one 4 star) transfers.

      I’m loving it! And I’m expecting 10 wins. That probably eliminates me from the fan experience committee.

      Like

  38. It’s the time of year for optimism.
    Darkie, Dr Tom and the rest of the glass-is-full crowd, we are going to surprise people this year. Savage, Pederson and now Max Browne have chips on their shoulder.
    We gonna rock the world.
    To believe otherwise would be too painful

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  39. I look for the offense to take a step back initially and improve as the season goes along and the defense to improve dramatically this season.

    With the last few recruiting classes they have brought in athletic defensive lineman and linebackers and with a healthy Jordan Whitehead and hopefully Ford gets the academic issues resolved I believe they can win 8 to 10 games this season.

    No sarcasm regarding this post, they can accomplish this.

    I’m looking forward to this season and looking forward to Narduzzi pacing the sidelines and trolling the officials.

    Like

  40. I was supposed to retire today for good. My company asked me $$$ to stay till Labor Day. Trust me, football season cannot get here fast enough! And I had Pitt at 10-2 last year…and with a break or two, they might have made it. This year, I have us at 11-1 with our only loss to PSU in OT! Browne and McVitt go down early with injuries. Kenny Picket takes over and becomes a Superstar!

    H2P

    Like

  41. Congrats, Dan 72! I have about 9.5 years to retirement. Have a great time tonight at the Porch my POV brethren and toast one for me!

    Like

  42. Pretty sure we are all “Hoping for the Best” except a few that seem to relish the “Agony of defeat”

    Easy to understand why there is a wide range of predictions. There is an abundance of unknowns on this team. We really need the four transfers to exceed expectations and the young guys to grow up fast for the optimistic predictions to be realized. If Browne, Hendrix, Clark and Carter don’t produce we will struggle to win eight games. Browne is obviously the key guy. Harder still to predict which young guys will step up.

    This is the best part of college football. If these guys do come together as a team, and enough individuals make enough big plays, we could get that nine or ten win season.

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  43. Doe’s anybody else ever get the feeling that Reed is just a little sadistic. He comes on nice enough, he’ll buy you a drink then halfway through he’ll mention that he peed in it. Only kidding Reedie boy don’t get all defensive, but please lighten up a little bit. If you can’t be optimistic in the preseason, then when do you?

    Just giving you some comic perspective of the pretty reliable tone of your preseason analysis that you’ve developed a reputation for. The “I’m a show me kinda guy” is getting old as the rational of consistently tip toeing around the issue of almost never appearing enthusiastic about new players potentials.

    Just because you say that you have “legit questions” does not mean that we have “trouble in River City”. What it actually means is that this coaching staff has to find a whole lot of answers for those questions. That’s all. The problems only occur when there are no answers.

    In that regard, prior to Max Browne coming on board back in January this team had a question with NO ANSWER, the question? Where we going to find our starting EXPERIENCED QB? The answer was going to be we won’t have one until Mad Max showed up. That solved a very big problem IMO right there. Now he has to prove that his multiple years of experience really is the answer but let’s not be “worried” about that. We should be happy about this positive turn of events instead.

    This roster is full of answers. In fact, I think that we’d already have some of them if Coach Narduzzi didn’t play his most experienced guys last year in an attempt to win last season. I would have liked to see a couple more of our youngsters initiated into the fire of participation last year in replacing guys like Lewis and Webb. Nothing beats experience. And these new guys are going to get it this season. This team that starts the season in September against YSU will be a far cry from the team that we see in a bowl game come December or January. That’s because we are only going to get better this season, win or lose, we will be better with a whole bunch of better athletes gaining experience game by game.

    So you go ahead and worry about it, me I’m looking forward to watching the development of our Narduzzi led championship team of the future.

    Like

  44. Not to pile on here but that’s a good post Doc. Knowing Reed for as long as I have, I can see the seed of skepticism has taken a firm grip on him. I get all that in the past stuff, losing, coaching changes, AD’s meddling and all that and it was real but c’mon. I now see all kinds of positives coming out of Oakland.

    Projection is an art that we learn how to do when we have done something for a long time. I said it a hundred times or more Look past the past and their stats and facts and open up your peeper’s wide. You’ll be surprised at what you see. Forward not backward…

    Again, this season could be a step back in record but I’m 110% sure it will be a giant step forward for the PITT football program…. ike

    Like

  45. I think we should have a referendum on Reed’s preseason prognostications. Has anyone gone back through the years and checked actual reality against his gloom-and-doom predictions?

    Like

  46. Here is the thing about the depth chart. I can count on one hand the number of seniors on offense. One of them is a transfer, and the other is coming off of major knee surgury. (I disagree with Reed on the fact that Jones-Smith has done nothing. I think we saw him do some good things his sophomore year). One other is a bona-fide star, but he’s in a position that is highly dependent on other position groups for success. (Weah). And Officer I think will be solid if nothing else.

    Also, I can count on one hand the number of seniors on defense. And as Reed stated above, one of them are journeymen at best. (Edwards), and the other is an undersized corner. Now I think Maddox is very athletic make the most of his season this year, but I don’t care how good you are, if he goes up against some 6’5″ reciever he just isn’t going to be able to compete.

    The bottom line is that we have six, count ’em six seniors on this depth chart. THAT IS NOT A LOT.

    And as much as I’d like to be optimistic, I think that six senior on this year’s squad = learning year. (Which I think was the point Reed was trying to make). Sure it’s possible that Browne has a breakout year. Sure it’s possible that Weah catches 50 balls for 1200 yards and 10 touchdowns and opens up the running game. Sure it’s possible that the O Line gels early and stays healthy. Sure it’s possible that Ollison returns to form and we score 40 points a game again. And sure it’s possible that the defense matures just enough to limit opposing offenses to “just” 30 points per game, and our pass defense is two bits better. And Kam Carter (not listed on this chart) and Dewayne Hendrix are as good as advertised. That would be amazing. And if it all come together we do have a legit shot at 10-2 or maybe even 11-1. But the reality is, with just six seniors we’ve all got to be ready to accept a 6 or 7 win season, and expect a shot at greatness in 2018, when we’ve got a group of hungry seniors who have all been to combat.

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  47. Too early for predictions but Atlanta Panther states the obvious, this is a learning year. The steepness of the learning curve early determines whether this is a “that which don’t kill ya only makes you stronger mentality” or a SOP mentality. If we are 1-3 by the end of September then it could be a long 7-6 season. However 2-2 or better come October, then look out ACC because these youngins came to play!

    In any case, this team will be one in transition all season long. If we can just keep the injury bug somewhat at bay, these Panthers will be a solid team come bowl time.

    Like

  48. Many moons ago Reed wasn’t the perpetual skeptic. It would seem the closer he’s gotten to the PITT football program the more cynical he’s become. Is there some sort of statement mixed in there? !!!!

    Here’s what I think and I have heard on this blog. Yes we all know that steve was terrible BUT He did good things. OK, I would say that’s accurate because I know a broken clock is right twice a day. Which, to me, means a clock is smarter than steve. ….but that not my point.

    I think the damage done by the sabotage of PITT football by the previous administration was or is vastly under-rated. Look at how it has soured so many great PITT football fans and former athletes and alumni. It has actually blinded many to be able of being a real optimist. Seriously!

    The one million dollar offer to Canada was just a feigned attempt to fool PITT fans. WHAT? That’s really a very big stretch for educated PITT people, imo. Is it that hard to think something down in Oakland and the south-side has changed. MAYBE? but the needle nose and the damage has been done.

    I really don’t get all the hate for people only trying to do their jobs and the right thing in their minds. Not to say all is well but when we resort to bashing people who haven’t been given the proper opportunity to actually do their job is just not where I come from. I really need to take a break. ike

    Like

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