Byline: Chris Logue

First, I want to extend a massive “thank you” to the entire Pitt POV family for the wonderful greeting, it was taken appreciatively. This isn’t an Adele song and I won’t get sappy, so back to the main point of congregating to this article.

I was scrambling trying to find a good follow-up to the introduction that Reed so kindly wrote – and correct me at the end if I am wrong, but I think I found it. With that being said, let’s look at some headlines from the media in 2016 that we want to avoid in the upcoming campaign. Here is the first:

Defense Leads Pitt Past Virginia, 45-31.

At first glance, it’s innocent. Pitt won and climbed to 5-2 on the season with their eyes set on double digit wins. Something, two to be specific, deep down bothers me about  this however. I look at “Defense Leads” as well as “…31.” It might be the most insufferable of all headlines written in 2016.

Talking with Reed earlier, we discussed how this defense is actually going to look in comparison to previous seasons; but especially the low-line set by the secondary last year.

It was a consensus hypothesis that the first two levels of the defense should be serviceable and maybe even sturdy enough to create havoc on opposing quarterbacks. That’s where the glee subsided. How about the secondary though?

I don’t see much area for improvement, at least not early in the season when they face some open offenses, even Georgia Tech when the safeties and corners must become hybrid linebackers and defend the many looks of Paul Johnson.

It’s a fine line for Narduzzi to tip-toe, and ever-so gingerly. With Ryan Lewis being the main asset lost in the defensive backfield, there’s not much turnover. Sure, Jordan Whitehead is making the slight adjustment to assist in tightening up the leaky faucet of a pass defense, but Dennis Briggs and Avonte Maddox will be the greatest shareholders of time with guest appearances by Therran Coleman, Damar Hamlin (if his body permits), Paris Ford (if eligible to enroll), and Dane Jackson.

Do we continue trotting out experience over raw talent?  I’m not so sure that fans will grant the longest leash to Narduzzi if that experience doesn’t greatly improve and do it very, very, quickly.  All of that being said, Pat Narduzzi is in line to put his signature not just on his cuff, but the entire defense entering his third season at the helm.

Another quick chip of a headline for the above mentioned secondary, and a lesson in Plain English writing for us all:

Pitt waited out a 2-hour delay in a 38-38 tie. Then lost to Oklahoma State with an 86-yard pass.

That right there was the theme of the season.

The next headline is courtesy of Pittsburgh’s friendly face and The Trib’s Pitt beat writer, Jerry DiPaola.

Pitt overcomes offensive inconsistencies to down Villanova in opener.”

Again, we take a look at a shadowy headline in the midst of a victory to begin the season. With the levels of hype incorporated because of Pittsburgh’s adopted son, James Conner, making his return to the field after his health crisis, the game underwhelmed, underwhelmed again…and once more.

Quite frankly, the short phrase of “overcomes offensive inconsistencies” needs to be thrown in the trash bin at Pitt, because if those same offensive consistencies we faced against Villanova re-emerge they will bury the Panthers against the Bo Pelini driven Youngstown State Penguins.

Being fair, there was an incredible emphasis on beating Penn State, and deservedly so, so I can partially understand why they didn’t shuffle the entire deck of cards for the Wildcats. With an offense introducing new members to the starting role, the luxury of paring back the playbook against YSU isn’t an option to preserve offensive potential against that other team in the commonwealth. No, not Temple.

I look at it this way, you need the real and numerous reps to be able to perform well and this is certainly the case with the new, and to a point, makeshift offense that we have no clue about going in.

Compared to last season when the only uncertainty was how Matt Canada was going to flare up the offense. Nathan Peterman returned, James Conner returned, Scott Orndoff returned and you see where I am going with this.

This year, it’s different. Not to forget, the offensive line has gaps and as close to zero depth as you will find anywhere; talent-wise, at least. If we trim back  the playbook and schemes for the opener in hopes of surprising PSU on the field then we should  be prepared to potentially start the season 0-4.

Break out your shovels to uncover this game, the one we all wish was cremated and dumped into a steamy toilet in the sweating sun of the Sahara:

Justin Jackson carries Northwestern to victory in the Pinstripe Bowl.”

This might have been the greatest atrocity from the past season. I am confident in making that claim because the strategy of making a team one-dimensional relies heavily on stopping one of the two dimensions. Duh, right?

Injury related or not, 224 yards on 32 carries by NW is unacceptable, especially by the standards set forth by the coaching staff and especially the head coach. Again, it comes back to the whole one-dimensional thing; the aspect which is the pride of the Pitt defense given the shortfalls of the secondary.

To elevate ourselves over that hump of eight wins, the lapses that titled that headline must be erased. This comes back to getting a healthy Dewayne Hendrix, and Rori Blair, Amir Watts, Keyshon Camp among others to provide the consistency necessary to bullying the opponent’s offensive line en route to reaching a new echelon. That being  not just first in the Coastal Division, but also the entire ACC.

All isn’t negative, despite the general feeling after reading the above thoughts. Will aspects of these headlines still peak their head from behind the door? Most likely, but how will we respond, especially the coaching staff, when the trouble looms?

If the relies again on  playing the experience card, we might find ourselves being a substitution or a depth chart move away from rising to the occasion in Charlotte.

Finally, here’s my homework for you, the faithful readers.

Dig into the schedule shown below, find 1) a game that Pitt should win, 2) a 50/50 game, and 3) one that they probably shouldn’t be on the winning side (limited selections, I know).

Next, construct a headline for each game that you think will best suit the overall result of the game. I am interested to see the games selected and the reasons for a victory and the reason for the loss, should that be the outcome you guys foresee.  

17 sked 2

 

205 thoughts on “All The POV News Fit to Print

  1. As Chris said above and what I have been saying all off season… with all the starting player losses we have (13 of 22) we absolutely cannot afford to look past Bo Pelini and YSU…

    http://www.post-gazette.com/sports/Pitt/2017/07/27/Pat-Narduzzi-Pitt-Penn-State-rivalry-PSU-James-Franklin-Pittsburgh-Panthers-Sept-9/stories/201707270103

    “Indeed, Narduzzi’s response: “It’s Youngstown, Youngstown, Youngstown, Youngstown,” and even through the radio, you could sense the grin it was delivered with, tongue firmly in cheek.:

    And if Brian Batko thinks Narduzzi is saying this tongue in cheek either he’s off-base or Narduzzi is an idiot. Since I don’t think Narduzzi is an idiot I’ll think Batko is wrong here. Let’s hope anyway.

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  2. I see only 2 teams we should beat YSU and Rice. I see 4 teams we have little chance to win PSU OSU Ga Tech and Miami. The rest are 50/50 toss up games.

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    1. Jrnpitt, be prepared to be amazed. That four game combo we have little chances to win. Pitt goes 2-2. Mark my words! I hope beating penn state is one of them.

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  3. Pitt beat PSU last year because Narduzzi successfully hid the offense Pitt was going to play for the season. PSU was baffled. Why the hell would you not do it again?

    Expect Pitt to hide the real offense from PSU and play vanilla against YSU and yes, expect closed practices so the media can’t talk about what offense Watson is going to run.

    Pitt will still beat YSU. No worries.

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    1. My point is I don’t think the offense will be successful enough to win the game if they limit their playbook to a significant degree. Too many areas of concern to have belief in team to compensate.

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  4. Saying PITT could lose to YSU and then saying but I don’t think they will is kind of cheating. You’ve put yourself in a non losing position. Is PITT going to beat Youngstown State or not?

    My game PITT will win. Youngstown State. The headline will read. “PITT SLEEP WALKS TO VICTORY IN SEASON OPENING WIN”

    “The Loss” psu of course The headline will read “Barkley TOO MUCH TO HANDLE FOR PITT IN LOSS TO RIVAL”

    The 50-50 game. Getting this homework assignment over early in the season… It’s Georgia Tech The headline will read “PITT FINALLY FIGURES OUT THE TRIPLE OPTION IN THIRD VICTORY OF THE SEASON”

    I guess that took care of the first four games. ike

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    1. The “could lose but won’t” is extremely circumstantial to how the playbook is made available for the game. No, I don’t think they will actually lose. It just won’t be as convincing as many hope.

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      1. Here is how I see the YSU game playing out for the Pitt O –

        Watson will use the plays Canada ran against psu last year and that should be enough to beat YSU handedly. The psu game is already on film and the nitters will focus only on that game plan.

        Meanwhile, Watson’s additions to the Canadian offense will be unwrapped in creepy valley with the element of surprise still in tact.

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        1. Erie, That’s just what I have been thinking. No need to hide the jet sweeps or shovel passes against YSU this season.

          Also, remember that for the first several games last season, the coaches really kept the wraps on Nate Peterman. They were very, very conservative on third downs. Took Oh Canada a while to trust him, it appeared.

          I think Pitt will need to take more risks with Browne, given the schedule.

          Go Pitt.

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  5. Chris, I like your question “Do we continue trotting out experience over raw talent?” To me, this is the most intriguing aspect of this coming season.

    Aside from Maddox and Whitehead, last year’s LBs and DBs pretty much consisted of players who received offers from MAC-like schools and could run a 4.25 thirty. I totally agree that September is going to be rough no matter who Pitt trots out on defense. I would expect that the raw talent will be seeing more and more PT as the season progresses, and hopefully by mid to late October, we should see a pretty decent defense.

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  6. ‘Do we continue trotting out experience over raw talent?’
    Aside for Whitehead, I haven’t seen much raw talent in the secondary.
    …well, Hamlin was injured and the rest are young…
    Time to put up or shut up.

    And what games should we win? All of them. Preseason optimism knows no bounds.

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    1. I like the way you think. When the score is zero zero on the 1st kickoff of the game, you better damn well be convinced that you’re going to win the game or else you’ve already lost it!

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  7. Headlines for first seven games:

    YSU – ‘Pitt holds on to defeat YSU’
    PSU – Barkley leads PSU to victory with 400 all purpose yards
    OSU – Pitt D sacks __ 7 times en-route to victory
    GT – GT fumbles late, Pitt wins
    Rice – Pitt mashes up Rice in easy win
    Syr – Mahoney torches Pitt D, but Pitt squeaks out win with special teams help
    NCS – Pitt wins low scoring slugfest

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  8. PSU and OK ST are the toughest games by far. Even if Pitt loses them both, it makes them better for the rest of the season. I don’t see a game after that they can’t win.

    Here’s to hoping the Miami game is for a chance to go to the conference title game.

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  9. Rice: “Pitt finally finds a pass offense they can keep up with and stuff the run against the Owls”
    NC State: “The Pitt defense is taken back a year by Wolfpack quarterback Ryan Finley”
    Oklahoma State: “Rudolph guided the OSU sleigh into contention but Hendrix comes up big with timely sack to seal the game for the Panthers in a shootout.”

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  10. Stating the obvious, the entire season rests on the shoulders of Max Browne. If he can’t get the job done, local recruit DiNucci is no Tyler Palko!! We will be screwed!!

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  11. Ike – YSU isn’t Villanova. They are 10 times a better team They were 9-3 last year and scored 21 points against WVU in one of those losses. They are projected to as good if not better this season..

    So I don’t think it is duplicity to look at all possible outcomes for each game and then try to predict what will happen. Can Pitt lose to YSU? We sure can. Will we lose? I don’t think so. But anyone who follows Pitt football knows that upsets can and will happen – both good and bad – in any game on the schedule.

    Two valid opinions. We can say the same with every game in 2017 also.

    Just to jump back to the bowl game for a second. if we would have handily won that game I think fans would feel much better about the beginning of this season… but when you finish off a prior season by going 3-3 and in one of those wins give up 61 points then have a bowl loss to a lesser team – that creates some questions in fan’s minds over the off season.

    Now, that said I think the only way we lose against YSU is by severely overlooking our opponent and by concentrating on PSU instead. We have staff coaches and staff workers who can afford to do that… but the HC, OC, DC and players themselves sure as hell better not.

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  12. A couple of notes on the POV tailgate. Firstly I have a hotel booked for every home game this coming season so at least I’m showing myself some optimism here of making all the games. I never miss the first game.

    Love being in the parking lots tailgating, I think that is the best experience. Lastrow has made a very nice offer as he has a red-lot spot. Which is pretty much ideal. Two POV flags will shine brightly for all the PITT fans to see as well. The one possible downside to the parking lot is the parking lot police thugs like to kick people out of there asap after games.

    The new tailgate guy’s thing is interesting and I’m sure we could stick around for a good amount of time after games. This could also shine a spotlight to Reed’s POV and all the guys and gals. In this scenario I worry about Mr Lastrow as he’s already entrenched in the red-lot. You guys put your heads together so I know where I will be before the upcoming PITT games.

    Then we need to take a head count and see where we are after that. I guess we are waiting on details of the “tailgate guys” thingie?

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    1. I’ve always wondered about the space taken up by tailgating. Do many people purchase 2 spaces to have one of them for tailgating .. or are there enough open spaces in these lots not to matter?

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  13. Headlines for last five games:
    Duke – Panthers pounce on the Blue Devils, win easily.
    Virginia – Mendenhall gets ejected over call, Pitt wins
    UNC – Panthers finally beat Cheatahlina
    VT – VT Defense too good for Pitt in loss
    Miami – Pitt bounces back, beats Canes.

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    1. LOL for UVa, UNC … and Miami (sadly). Every year, I look back and think the most talented team we have faced all year was Miami .. and this year will probably be no different. (OOC games notwithstanding)

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  14. wwb, a season ticket holder is assigned a parking lot by color according to points accumulated over the years. Problem is, the parking is going away by hotel and parking garage construction. Then when you arrive at your lot it’s first come first served. So your buddy better be right behind you to get two spaces in a row. That could mean rising early in the morning and getting to the north shore to wait in a line for the premo spots.

    Well at least that’s how we use to do it in the red lot before our group was bumped out. The one large red-lot use to be a pay lot. Now the Residence Inn.

    Lastrow could tell you more as he still has the spot.

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  15. No coach can take marginal talent and win. Great young men and certainly hustled their butts off. Effort was never an issue. That is a positive to me. But talent has to win out and Narduzzi has to get em ready for the ACC. By the GT games, Pitt will either be a team that can play D or not. PSU and Ok St will prepare Pitt for the ACC. That to me is the turn in Pitt football I am looking for. Inexperience becomes more experienced. The learning curve. A big year from Browne will help, but Pitt needs to coach em up to become the program we all hope it will become. GT is the swing game.

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  16. I’m not so sure YSU is supposed to be better than they were last year … they were in the FCS national championship game (hard to be much better than that at their level) and I heard they lost some key players to graduation. However, I do think they will be tougher than Nova last year. Pitt better show up for the first game.

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    1. Took the words right out my mouth Newbk. I’ve been looking for returning letter-man for that team but couldn’t find one. I know the QB is back but they lost a lot of grunts if I remember correctly. I do not believe they are expected to be nearly good as last year.

      Yes PITT could lose to YSU as we all really have no idea going into this season. As VOR mentioned yesterday, with so many unknowns yet so much expected from PITT this year makes it kind of different and very hard to look into our Crystal balls.. but I did get a peek and PITT beats YSU handily. ike

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  17. Look, YSU had two players drafted in the NFL so there was some talent there. For a program that size, getting two drafted (although they were transfers), is pretty good. There will be a drop-off defensively for them in my opinion, which will help Pitt score more, even if vanilla.

    As i sated last week, when talent is equal, it is the team that works the hardest and gives the better effort all year that should win. When talent is not equal, the team with the most talent should win if giving maximum effort. That is why it is so critical for coaches to get the players mindsets to the point where they know maximum effort is required on every play….or they sit. That is why you need quality depth.

    I am not sure why many believe that we can’t beat GT!! To steal from above paragraph, I believe we have more talented players. Talent should win if our guys max effort. I expect us to be 1-0 after the first weekend. That’s as far as I go because you can’t predict injury or team and coach chemistry when things get tough. “It’s tough to make predictions, especially about the future.”
    ― Yogi Berra

    Sport is so psychological!

    Headline for YSU : Penguins Can’t Fly Past Pitt’s DB’s

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    1. An inexperienced defense playing a triple option at their home makes for a very difficult game for Pitt. Can we win? yes Will we win? not very likely

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  18. One thing will be certain – at least through the first four games is that EVERY team, including YSU will be throwing against us. Not a good scenario unless something has magically happened to our DB ranks over the past 6 months. Here’s hoping so.

    HTP

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  19. Two somewhat off-topic items:

    — DB/WR prospect Marcus Hooker just received an offer from OSU, thus, Pitt will no longer be considered as the favorite.

    — the Bills just traded back-up QB Cardale Jones to Chargers for a draft pick. IMO this means that the Bills have confidence in Nate Peterman.

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  20. YSU was picked to be 3th in their division and ended up in the championship game. this year they are picked to finish 3rd… so we’ll see. again – Bo Pelini is a very good coach and we can’t overlook YSU at all. they scored 37 points against us last time we played.

    “The Youngstown State football team had four players tabbed preseason All-Missouri Valley Football Conference, the league announced on Monday. Offensive Tackle Justin Spencer, center Vitas Hrynkiewicz, linebacker Armand Dellovade and punter Mark Schuler all received preseason accolades.

    Spencer, Schuler and Dellovade all earned all-conference honors in 2016 while Hrynkiewicz was an all-newcomer team member – as was Schuler.

    Spencer has started all 39 games in his YSU career. He was a second-team All-MVFC selection in 2016 after earning an honorable-mention nod as a sophomore in 2015.

    Hrynkiewicz started all 16 games at center last season in his first year with the program.

    Last season, YSU’s offense averaged 242.7 yards rushing and 422.9 yards of total offense per game. The Penguins’ rushing average was the most in a season since 2001 and was the second-highest average in last 26 seasons. YSU caught fire in the playoffs scoring 30 points or more in four of the five postseason games.”*

    http://www.ysusports.com/sports/fball/2017-18/releases/preseason-mvfc-honors

    Huff – the fact that we have only one player in the front seven on defense who has been a regular starter leads one to believe GT might just run us into the ground. We can keep our fingers crossed all we want that GT won’t have the running game as in the past but i believe that is wishful thinking.

    ’16 – #9 – 258 ypg (against Pitt – 241 and 2 TDs)
    ’15 – #8 – 256 ypg (against Pitt – 376 and 3 TDs)
    ’14 – #1 – 342 ypg (against Pitt – 465 and 7 TDs) BTW – we had 5 yards rushing against them this game.
    ’13 – #6 – 299 ypg (against Pitt – 276 and 3 TDs)

    They averaged 339 yards and 4 TDs against us over the last four years… they are licking their chops looking at our makeshift defense.

    And in that front seven, excepting Blair, we have about four games started total (eight if Allen Edwards starts opposite Hendrix ) and that is minuscule.

    We Pitt fans are hoping for a quick learning curve for the team – but i also worry that if we get our asses handed to us by PSU and OSU, which may happen, then those younger kids may get their confidence shaken a bit. But GT is no slouch at all.

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  21. Chris, regarding that Virginia game Summary Headline, you need to remember that Jordan Whitehead’s pick six right at the end of the 1st half in that contest was a game changer for us. That was why the Pitt defense got the nod for winning that game for us, cause they kinda did. The second half of that ballgame had a different feel after that quick 7 Pitt put up with Whitehead’s play.

    Regarding our defense, you also (just like Reed has in the past) have ignored even mentioning Allen Edwards as one of our DE stalwarts. This guy is quick and he will prove this season to be a very serviceable player for us.

    Now regarding the defensive backfield??? Sure the pessimist could definitely lament that our awful secondary from last year just keeps on plodding along for 2017 by plugging in the “next guy up” who has been around for the longest, irrespective of if they’re just meh, mediocre or not. I just don’t see that happening. Guys like Briggs, Jackson and Hamlin have good players breathing down their necks for playing time behind them, come fall camp. And that is not even considering Paris Ford being in the foldcome August.

    Names like Campbell, Jackson, Miller, Coleman and my dark horse contributor, Malik Henderson aren’t going to be satisfied just dressing for games while riding the pine for yet another year waiting for their own turn. All of these guys are just too talented and with the exception of Whitehead, none of the obvious starters have a lock on their positions, not even Maddox.

    If you haven’t heard, I’m the naïve Pitt optimist around these parts. But with that being said, considering just how bad our pass defense was last season, how much better does this new crew have to be for us to be satisfied with the secondary’s improvement over our 2016 results!?!?

    But just to prove that I’m not an irrational optimist, I will give you that our offensive line could have a few hiccups this season with the gaps produced by the loses of Johnson, Biz & Orndoff at TE. Thank goodness this grad transfer from Texas is showing up. With Bookser’s DWI transgressions still not yet reprimanded, who knows how long he may be suspended??? And yes the depth behind the starters is shallow. The only diamond in the rough is Justin Morgan. A mountain of a man at 350 lbs. and he is going to be a good one for us, whether it be this year or later only time will tell. But this is where injuries could really, really hurt us this season. Guys like Bookser, O’Neill & Officer need to stay healthy else we be in deep do do with the replacements with no practical game experience real quick, (with the exception of Hodges the new guy from Texas.)

    I’ll come back with the answers to your homework assignment at some later point in time.

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  22. 1) a game that Pitt should win – Rice – “Panthers Devour Rice with a Meat & Potatoes Performance”
    2) a 50/50 game – GTech – “Pitt Stung by the Yellow Jacket’s Running Attack, but Browne Colors the Air with Multiple TD Passes for a Panther Win”
    3) one that they probably shouldn’t be on the winning side (limited selections, I know) – OK State – “Pitt Paddles the Pokies for a Sizable Upset to Start the Season 3-0”

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  23. Wow Chris, I started reading and was sure that Reed was still authoring articles!

    I find it a bit unsettling that even among the experienced guys that a few will be playing different positions. O’Neill to LT. Officer to LG. Whitehead to FS. Brightwell is currently listed as MLB. Not that he’s experienced, but Zeise was trained as a weak side LB at last year’s camp.

    The other concern is depth. About the only place that Pitt may be able to sustain a couple of injuries without risk of significant degradation is RB and DB (for different reasons).

    Really looking forward to the season to see how it comes together.

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  24. Let’s talk about Blair and Edwards for a second and about stats. Hope I make myself clear here. First off, how many games has Blair started? We can’t leave him out of the equation all together can we? Then we talk about Edwards not starting many games but he played in 11 games. What does starting a game really mean? It’s a senseless stat. Edwards played many snaps last year, maybe as many as Blair. < I look at that first.

    I could be wrong here (for the second time) but I believe GT lost their very good starting QB from the past few years. Paul Johnson’s offense is very precise and takes a QB with experience to execute it flawlessly imo. Lot’s of precision there.. Plus I look at Narduzzi as learning on the job and he’s now seen the option of varying degrees a few times now. PITT will be fine in the GT game. (that’s if I’m correct about them losing their starting QB) ?

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  25. First, addressing the issue of experience vs talent, I honestly don’t know why Narduzzi appears to favor experience so much over talent. Specifically, we have experienced guys who have proven that they aren’t very good. Guys like Briggs, Blair, Idowu, and Motley would never see the field on a good team. I’ll even throw Maddox in this group. The only thing I’ve seen from Maddox is that he can tightly cover a guy who then makes a catch over him. Trotting them out and expecting better results is wishful thinking at it’s finest. Furthermore, if the young guys we’ve recently recruited (eg Hamlin, Miller, Garner, Campbell etc, can’t beat these guys out, then our recruiting is nowhere close to where it needs to be.

    In terms of game headlines, I’ll go with:

    Game We Should win: Rice: “Pitt offense turns Rice to Porridge” – corny yes, but I think we crush these guys

    50/50 Game: GT: “Pitt Defense finally makes a stop to beat GT”

    Game We Should Lose: Miami: “Hurricanes Blow Pitt Away”

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    1. wwb – nice to see the Pete on that list. I hope I’m wrong but I expect that a couple more Stallings seasons will chase the Pete off the list for years to come.

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  26. I just wished some of you would get over your selective amnesia. 3-4 years ago it was generally accepted that Matt House wasn’t recruiting even marginal talent for his defense. A super-star like Aaron Donald tended to dampen those realities but nonetheless the lack of talent on the defense became painfully obvious after he graduated and culminated w/ last year’s tragedy.

    And given the talent-level of incoming recruits on defense one would expect a 2-3 year transition period. Therefore one could expect the defense to rise from dead-last in the conference to somewhere around 9-12 this year. So if the offense only drops to 5-6 in the league a winning record in ACC play is assured.

    I would envision a Coastal winning Narduzzi squad to be 1-4 in the conference defensively and 6-9 range on the offensive side – very similar to MSU. Be patient.

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  27. 2016/10/08 Georgia Tech 34 – Pittsburgh 37
    2015/10/17 Georgia Tech 28 – Pittsburgh 31
    2014/10/25 Georgia Tech 56 – Pittsburgh 28
    2013/11/02 Georgia Tech 21 – Pittsburgh 10

    We did beat them in 1918, 32-0 when Dr. Tom was a redshirt freshman.

    2014 was the 6(?) turnover in the first half game and Voytik had a 32 QBR and Anderson came in. Other than that, all games have been close and our recruiting according to the experts has been better than theirs over the past 3 years, so I am confident of a victory.

    GT plays UCF and Jacksonville St. the prior two weeks while we play OK St and Dairy College. Schedule advantage, GT, unless we beat either of our power5 opponents prior to that game.

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    1. a year ago we had two 3-game stretches that were very demanding

      PSU, at OSU, at UNC ….. Va Tech, at Miami, at Clemson

      this year: at PSU, OSU, at GT …… UNC, at VT, Miami

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  28. If a talented player doesn’t know where he is going or what he’s going to do when he gets there, than he’s merely a Christopher Columbus player and should stay on the sidelines and read the map. So he knows next time.

    BTW Huff, I get that reference. wasn’t that team all dentists and dentite’s?

    Not many were jumping up and down for joy when the monster Aaron Donald committed, except me and a few others. The coaching/recruiting talent level is light years above where it was just a few short years ago. I still can’t see how Paul was so great at O-Line recruiting sans a few players. and that is a trick statement. ike

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    1. Light years? Please Ike – that is totally unfounded at this point and you know it. Maybe after this year you can say that but so far we have seen almost nothing out of the recruits Narduzzi actually convinced to come to Pitt. Remember Whitehead committed under Paul Chryst.

      This year I’ll revisit that but until then they are just untested recruit who we have no idea will play well or not.

      That OL who just gave up 10 sacks on the season, allowed a record passing season and opened holes for 225 yards per game was almost all PC’s recruits. Two other PC recruits who would have started in ’17 – one lost by injury and the other transferred under Narduzzi. Let’s hold of on even trying to compare OL recruiting before Narduzzi’s kids actually do something.

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  29. Yet Chryst and House had way better defenses than Narduzzi’s so far –

    PN

    2016 – ranked 101 –

    2015 – ranked 37


    PC

    2014 – ranked 33

    2013 – ranked 34

    2016 – ranked 17

    I think we should quit making excuses for Narduzzi and Conklin’s crap defense last season – you guys want to blame everyone but the persons who actually have the responsibility to do well… and then failed.

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    1. 2 responses ….. PC came to a Wisconsin program that already had good defensive players (like the Steelers 1st round pick this year). He came to Pitt that already had Aaron Donald and others on it.

      Last year was the perfect storm …. Matt House’s recruits trying to defend at least 6 QBs and 10 WRs who will play in the NFL this year or the next

      For goodness sakes Reed …. back on the Blather in 2013 and 2014, it was pointed out left and right the disparity between the offensive recruits and offensive recruits. In 2013, there were 27 recruits with something 18 of them on the offense. And further.. the highest rated defensive recruit was aguy named James Conner

      Like

        1. Reed – note that Chryst’s D gave up 38 points to psu last season in a loss. What did Pitt’s D give up to psu in thei Panther win last season?

          Like

  30. Hold the fort. What is the difference? Chyrst was coaching another coaches players and Narduzzi has been forced to use Paul’s recruits. That’s pretty much the answer right there.

    Like

  31. here was the Pitt defensive staff in 2013 with years college experience

    J Palermo — many years (brought out of retirement)

    DL – Inoke Brectersfeld – 1 year

    LB – Chris Haering – 1 year

    CB – Hank Poteat, GA – 0 years

    DC – Matt House – 3 years college assistant, 1st year DC

    This should prove that it is much more the Jimmys and the Joes, than the X and Os.

    As I continue to say … I don’t see Saban or Meyer recruiting 2-stars and the coaching them up

    Like

  32. Speaking of Paul Chryst/Matt House…

    Based on the last two seasons, Chryst has the best record of the head coaches from the four schools that did the coach swap – Nebraska – Oregon St – Pitt – Wisconsin. Two seasons is a small data set… More time will tell.

    Chryst just hired a guy to be the D-coordinator that had a total of one year’s experience as a college coach (Matt House had 3-years of experience by comparison). Chryst lost his 2016 D coordinator to Cal (now the head coach at Cal). The new Wisky D coordinator had a ten year career as an NFL safety, so he knows defense. But, one year of experience? Seems like Wisky could have done better.

    Like

    1. note that Chryst’s D gave up 38 points to psu last season in a loss. What did Pitt’s D give up to psu in the Panther win last season?

      B1G Joke teams do not play a tough schedule – therefore their D stats look better than the other four P5 conferences who actually play decent non-conference games and have fewer cupcakes within their conference.

      Like

  33. I keep asking about the importance of the amount of plays a player is on the field for if we want to consider stats accumulated in a season. I can’t find the answers and I did look. AKA, how many snaps does a particular player partake in a game? < That’s a stat that counts the most. imo.

    Oh, and I know the recruits that Narduzzi is bringing in are way better than HCPC, some of you others just don’t know it yet. This is his third year and it hasn’t even been played yet. What is it that most of these players supposed to have done? Then there is Whitehead who’s an all American candidate. So I don’t get the skepticism at all.

    Still no answers with Paul’s excellent recruiting of O-Lineman and where are they? Apparently,Officer and JJS are a stiff’s in some eyes. So that leaves a nice tight-end Paul recruited that Narduzzi converted to right then left tackle and is an all American candidate as well.

    Let’s get ready for some PITT football…. ike

    We
    We
    H2P!

    Like

  34. OK Chris here goes:
    Game #1: Pitt gives YSU a double scoop of vanilla ice cream in 6 point victory over the Penguins!
    Game #2: Panthers give the Nittany Lions all they can handle in an epic cat fight but come up just short in lair loss to PSU!
    Game #3: Cowboys lasso Pitt’s helpless defensive backfield in easy victory!
    Game #4: Panthers rebound with offensive victory over Georgia Tech!
    Game #5: Panthers boil Rice with easy victory!
    Game #6: Pitt holds on for high scoring affair against the crushed Orange!
    Game #7: Panthers enjoy impressive W over hapless Wolfpack!
    Game #8: Pitt turns Duke into Puke with overwhelming win at Heinz!
    Game #9: Browne leads Pitt to impressive win over the Cavaliers!
    Game#10: Pitt clicks in close win against UNC
    Game #11: Panthers fall short against VT on the road!
    Game #12: Once again Pitt has no answer against the U, losing ‘U’gly again!

    Like

  35. Its both recruits and coaching. Chryst recruited smurfs. His assistants didnt have enough experience to coach them up a few inches. Dog came in and couldnt stretch the smurfs and harden the soft bellies up as well. But Dog is getting some less blue D-men with harder bellies. Time will tell but patience is running thin. Bringing back Charlie was a good thing. Getting pressure on the QB is key.

    I see a 6 win season as a disappointment
    7 wins is what Vegas says and Vegas knows best
    8 wins would be a small victory
    9 wins is a significant accomplishment
    10 wins would be lightening in a bottle

    And a good bowl against a good nationally known team with a Pitt win would be icing on the cake.

    So probably another 8 win season but that includes the Dog’s first bowl victory.

    Like

  36. 1) Game that Pitt should win – Rice;
    2) 50/50 Game – Syracuse;
    3) Game that Pitt shouldn’t win – Penn St.;

    Headlines…
    1) “Little Ben” Leads the Way: Dinucci Secures QB Role and Leads Pitt Past the Owls
    2) System Guy: Babers’ Veer and Shoot Proves too Much for Pitt Secondary
    3) Turn Back the Clock: Another “Keystone Classic” Channels the 1980’s

    Like

  37. DM – I sure hope you are not a predictor of the future –

    QB issues?
    Lose to the ‘cuse
    The psu game in the 80’s I remember is our blown 14-0 lead that turned into a nitter blow-out

    UGH!

    Like

  38. OK, Chris – you’ll be sorry you asked:
    I. Win:
    “Pitt Milks psux at ‘The Pasture’ 31-10 in Front of 100K (down to 29K by game’s end!)”. The Farmers got cowed by a BULLISH defense Saturday – 4 sacks, 12 QB hurries, and 4 ints, in what could only be described as an embarrassment to the entire B1G. Pitt’s lightning fast D left psux fans cryin’ in their milk!

    II. Loss:
    “#1 Pitt O ‘Sluggish’ in “Monsoon Over Miami” game, 14-13.” Weather washed out Pitt’s hope for an unprecedented undefeated season yesterday (fortunately, Pitt had already wrapped up the Coastal Division Title 2 weeks ago), in the Slip ‘N’ Slide Bowl in front of 29K diehard fans, 20K of whom came from Pittsburgh. 2nd year Hurricane coach Mark Richt said, “This was, by far, the ‘Biggest Win of My Life!”

    III 50-50:
    “Boone Pickens Withdraws ALL OSU Contributions As #4 Pitt Horses Around With CowPokes,42-7.” Cowboys could not get out of their own cow pies yesterday, as the Panther Offense unleashed total (and surprising) domination, surpassed only by the most one-sided defensive showing since the days of All-Everything Hugh Green. One would definitely have to consider the possibility of an UNDEFEATED season, if they can continue this “Blitz of the Top 10”!!!

    Hey – it’s the preseason, and I’m a “Glass Full” type o’ guy!

    Chris – be careful what you ask for!!!

    H2P psux

    Like

    1. Ok, since I skipped the psu game from a prediction standpoint, I’ll jump in now with this headline:

      “Pitt Does Creepy Valley By Pounding the Nits”

      Like

  39. I just shake my head and laugh sometimes.

    Untested, no experience, what have they shown us. Jesus please!? Don’t these people follow recruiting?

    This is college football not the NFL. The body of work is fleeting before those worthy, actually do get drafted and get on with their football careers.

    Pitt has been an outlier in that regard over the recent past simply because the recruiting has been mediocre in the past during the Graham/Chryst Era.

    Now we see the beginning of a trend with Pitt getting five guys drafted in 2017. This trend will continue with Narduzzi.

    But the flip side of that same coin is “poor us” who replaces guys like Peterman, Johnson, Price, Orndoff, Biz & Conner? The short answer, the next guys up behind them.

    It is time to have some faith in our Head Coach’s recruiting in his third year on the job. It is disheartening to listen to the constant chant of “yes we can’t”.
    Yes, the up coming troops do have something to prove. Unfortunately, the primary thing that
    they need to prove is that our trepidation at the beginning of every season of Pitt Football is unwarranted.

    We will handle YSU as we should handle a FCS program, even a very good one, we will dominate. From there, we’ll see. But the future is bright for Pitt Football as long as Narduzzi continues to hang around.

    Like

  40. Erie,

    I hope not either, but I am a realist because I bet college football. I hope Browne regains his high school form, but I have serious doubts. He had all the chances at USC and couldn’t get it done. Last year’s start was brutal, and the team thrived when they sat him down. Tons of playmakers on that Trojans team, and he did nothing in his time as starter. Furthermore, I don’t think it is an easy life transition to move from the west coast to Pittsburgh. Throw in a first year offensive coordinator and pressure to perform against PSU and OSU, the deck is stacked against him. Ton of pressure for a kid holding on to fleeting NFL dreams.

    I am a huge believer in Dino Babers. For those of us who play the numbers, Babers has delivered for me BIG TIME over the years. He was part of the staff that turned Baylor from doormat to BIg 12 offensive juggernaut. His 2nd years at Eastern Illinois and BGSU saw his teams take giant leaps forward. Impressive stuff in my opinion. Verdict is still out at Syracuse, but I see that game as more problematic than most; especially if Dungey is healthy. I could totally see a scenario where Pitt is 4-1 and ranked going into that game. Syracuse will be coming off road games at LSU and NC State desperate for a win, and Pitt will be favored by 5.5 points on the road. Everybody will prematurely judge Syracuse based on a terrible performance against LSU, but week 6 is when that veer and shoot will start finding its rhythm. I have seen it way too many times. I hope Pitt wins, but I will assure you that I will be taking the home dome dog in that game. If Pitt can escape NY with a win and solid defensive showing, I think I will start buying in.

    Like

  41. Well said Dr. Tom! But more than recruiting, I think it’s what is done ro/with these young men (boys) once they get into training. For being a traditionally mediocre to poor recruiting school, we sure deposit more than our fair share of kids at the doorstep of the NFL

    I have an insurmountable amount of faith in the transformational abilities of our staff. They take 17-18 year old kids, and create P5 players out of most of them. “Next man up”, as the good Dr. (they really are doctors, you know!) said.

    We lost a lot of talent from last year’s team, but most of those guys were unknown talents when their turn came. The pipeline is filling up, and will soon be a storehouse of interchangeable parts!!
    H2P. psux

    Like

  42. PittPT, yep right down the road but I like to make it a weekend when I can. I don’t go on vacations every year so I make PITT football my vaca.

    I want to mention that I really enjoy this time where Chris has posted up a couple good articles and Reed has a moment to give us all his input. Agree or not with him it reminds me of the good ole message board day’s.

    I’m sure or at least hoping Reed will see his way back to posting up article’s come fall camp BUT!! at a reasonable pace that suits him or you Reed if you are reading.

    We all seem to be all over the place concerning what the heck is going on with this upcoming PITT football season but I’m to the mind that everything is moving in a positive direction. Although I can see why some may not have the same attitude due to history. Friends, the times have changed for the better. Show a little faith… ike

    We Are moving On Up
    We Are moving On To Championships

    H2P!

    Like

  43. I still can’t get over my nightmare, 26-13 Penguins with under 2 min left, and we blocked 2 of their fgs.
    That said: YSU- w
    PSU bad,bad beat down. L
    OSU w. This will happen
    GT nope L
    Rest of season, who knows. If BDi sees the field in anything but mop up action we are doomed. That also is a fact! 7-6 is best I hope for.
    I just feel this will be a set back season. One step back, then 2 steps forward next year. I really do think we will get beat badly by the Dairy school. Oh well, I’m really bad at predicting, that’s why I quit betting years ago.

    Like

    1. The setting …. a church on September 23rd as the blushing bride to be walks down the aisle to an extremely nervous groom. Nervous, not because he is about to tie the knot, but because of his alma mater football team which is sporting a 2 and1 record just took a 2 TD 3rd Quarter lead against the Yellow Jackets. Over and over in his head, the groom is worried how he is going to pay for the honeymoon as well as 5 acres in Southlake. Moreover, how does he explain it to Mrs?

      Like

  44. Wishful thinking of course but if you can’t have fun on a Friday morning, then when can you…

    YSU comes close but Pitt Front 7 puts Penguins on Ice
    Johnson’s option game goes limp as Jackets fail to penetrate endzone in Pitt Win
    Browne a Weah-bit too good for Nits secondary as Pitt upsets PSU in Happy Valley

    Like

  45. Reed

    You are crrect. No excuses for the D last year.

    When one keeps tyring to put a square peg in a round hole over and over again and it never fits, you can’t blame the peg. Conklin/Narduzzi should have adjusted the D to the players they had.

    Random thoughts:

    Pitt better get a younger QB playing time this year so next year someone has exexperience.

    Will there be any suspensions announced before game one besides Bookser? I am betting yes.

    Like

    1. In order .. O’Neil and Whitehead (presuming both will declare) followed by Weah, Bookser and possibly Officer. Jones-Smith, Browne, Edwards and Maddox will be signed as free agents

      Also if Hendrix and Clarke have really good years, they both are possibilities since I believe they will be eligible to declare.

      Like

  46. Draft picks:

    Brian O’Neil will be a high draft pick.

    Jones-Smith if he has a good year.

    Alex Officer

    Weah for sure.

    Allen Edwards – just because I think he will have a big year.

    Whitehead

    Like

    1. Let’s hope Browne & Wirginis have a year that get’s them into the draft conversation.

      If that plays out, Pitt could catch lightning in a bottle.

      Like

      1. Very true. I have a feeling WIrginis is in the dog house or something else is going on since he isn’t listed as a starter on the depth chart.

        I was going to list Browne…like you said, if he has a good year. Wow, that will be great for Pitt.

        Like

  47. It pains me to say this, but I think the cow milkers will beat Pitt this year. They have experience at QB, a couple of good recruiting years behind them, and the absolute hatred that goes with losing to Pitt the last 2 games played. I don’t know if Pitt will be able to match their motivation this year. The farmers will take this game very personally, and Pitt MUST do the same if they are to keep it close, or else it could be a blow out.

    Like

    1. I don’t think there is any question about this. If the highly improbable happens, it will be every bit the upset that 13-9 was. Yes, vs WVU the line was 27 points and they were ranked 2nd, but that line was way out of line. This year, PSU is out for revenge plus they play the feared Georgia State the following week.

      There is a part of me that thinks Pitt will be competitive … but I am biased.

      Like

  48. Week 2 Headline:

    “Joe knew…this Would Happen if Pitt was Back on the Schedule”

    Subtitle:

    “Penn State 0-2 in Renewed Rivalry”

    HTP

    Like

  49. wwb, I would like to think so, that any game with PSU would bring out the emotional factor that will be needed for a win. But I see too many Pitt folks, the Pitt staff included, constantly pointing out that conference wins are more important, as though they are already conceding this game.

    Like

    1. One more thing to be considered is that PSU is much better at home. Home field advantage is big for them. For evidence, see what they have done versus Ohio St and Michigan the last few years … home and away.

      Even when they weren’t that good 2 and 3 years ago, the Nits gave them all they could handle. Back in 2014 when OSU won the NC, the had to win in OT at Happy Valley … and PSU wasn’t that good.

      Like

    2. I don’t see Narduzzi conceding anything let alone a rivalry game like psu.

      Heck, he is intense during a game of “cornhole” – which reminds me again, that Joe Knew.

      Like

  50. I have no clue what will happen this year. Last year we had an O-line that had been together for a long time, and turned out to be stellar. A QB in his second year, an all-time great running back, returning from illness, two physically gifted wide receivers who came into their own, a senior tight end and a stud second year fullback.

    Key parts of this offense are gone as is Canada who put it all together.

    There pretty much has to be a significant drop off,

    Statistically, the defense can’t be any worse than last year. However will it be good enough to make up for drop in offense? Not likely, with a young line and too many question marks overall.

    We are relying on four highly rated transfers that have never produced on the field since High School and a lot of young, inexperienced guys.

    There are too many unknowns and injuries always happen.

    This will be a real test of coaching.

    Like

  51. Washington may get 350 receiving yards. Maddox in NFL? Yes if we start Midget NFL.

    PSU will win by 17-24.

    No shame they are actually good.

    OSU can win the Big 12.

    The rest other than VT and Miami game is up in the air. Miami will start winning ACC soon. The talent is very strong.

    I see 4-5 loses.

    Hoops O/U on wins is 14. I take under with that Rockport Bum and no talent.

    Like

  52. I read something about a JC transfer coming to Pitt last minute for basketball. Is there anything more on this? Is he coming?

    Like

  53. A lousy PITT defensive back in the NFL? Didn’t I hear the same laughter from people concerning L Pitts? How about K’Waun Williams? Let’s see what other PITT DB’s whipping boys got a look in the NFL?

    Like

  54. Having many PSU family members, my hope is that we can hang with them and make it a game. But, I agree with UPitt and others that State Penn has a talented, experienced squad this year. We have a number of holes, some good new but inexperienced talent, and a new O coordinator. It’s college football, so anything can happen, but odds are we lose and possibly lose big. I think that our LBs will have a difficult time matching up with the PS running back and tight end and our DBs will need to get better fast to hang with their receivers… That game’s early in the season, and we will improve by year’s end.

    Like

  55. To be fair Ike, Pitts is a special teams ace and a dime defensive back which is where I would like to see Maddox this year (albeit a nickel back). Anything else and it shows that our recruiting is on par with past recruiting. If we are getting better at recruiting, the younger guys should supplant the older at some positions, not all.

    K’waun was a cb that did not get picked on when he was here. There were too many other soft targets. That’s just my honest evaluation. Since Reed put Briggs in as a starter from last year in the DB analysis, I change my replacement player this year for Briggs and Maddox, with Maddox being a nickel and Briggs, a dime.

    Like

    1. Until he got injured, Kwaun was pretty well thought of as the nickel corner for the Browns for about 3 years or so. I remember a sequence a few years ago when a rare Browns win was preserved when on 2nd down, Williams broke up a pass, 3rd down Sheard sacked the Qb, and on 4th down Williams tackled the WR about a yard short of the sticks.

      Pitts was never going to be a superstar but he, like Maddox, is very underappreciated. You guys continue to forget that next to QB, the CB is the most exposed player on the field. An OG can miss a block, a LB can take a wrong angle, a WR can run the wrong route and you never know it… but a CB may have a WR covered 3 plays in a row and nothing is thrown his way, but his man catches a pass on the 4th and that’s all you remember

      Like

  56. Bringing in a NFL paycheck is really quite an accomplishment and if these players stick around for awhile they will have a very nice pension waiting for them.

    There was the DB who played for a couple years for KC and another who I think played for Tennessee who were picked on by the fans unmercifully while at PITT. Only a very few college players have their dreams fulfilled by playing in the NFL. To me that’s nothing to scoff at. ike

    Like

  57. Oh and I’m not saying Maddox will play in the NFL just pointing out that we PITT fans sometimes don’t appreciate a good player when he plays for PITT. You know, like every other college football fan in the country.

    Like

  58. I think it was wwb who Mentioned that Marcus Hooker hurriedly grabbed and took the Ohio State off. I don’t know about that one.

    I just wonder if Louisville offered Hooker? That may not sound right in the paper? ike

    Like

      1. the caption for the image directly above is …..

        Jim Weber‏ @JimMWeber
        Flashback Friday: The greatest throwback helmet in college football. Come on @Pitt_FB, enough with the Vegas Gold already.

        Like

        1. Still need more mustard and a darker shade a blue, just like the uniform versus the Penguins in 2005. Funny how Wanny curb stomped YSU the two times he played them and everyone’s favorite Pitt coach lost in his first game versus them. Dave had to do it in his first year with weak lines on both sides of the ball.

          Like

  59. Maddox will get a shot in the NFL. My guess is that he will make some teams practice squad before the 2018 season begins. That is only if he doesn’t sustain a significant injury playing for Pitt this year.

    Like

  60. Both stink. Watch Washington smoke him again. Our DB’s are Gannon worthy. Glad Narduzzi is a Defensive Guru. Comical.

    Like

  61. I hope YSU is way more worried about Pitt’s skill talent and three players who’ve scored 10-plus TDs than some on here are about the Penguins. I don’t care what happened last year or in 2014. I hope Pitt doesn’t play vanilla either. Hide a fake punt or one trick play that will be thrown at the Nitters, but run the rest for the Penguins until you’re up big.

    Like

  62. Pat Narduzzi dad was fired by YSU. Pat Narduzzi played for YSU. Watson was fired by Bo Pellini. YSU was in championship game last season. I’m not worried about YSU being overlooked.

    Like

  63. Agree TT. It’s not SOP but it’s too many SOP FANS! What are you going to do? Looking out the front windshield takes a little faith but the rear-view mirror people make the world go around as well.

    Maddox starts for 4 years running now under two different major college head football coaches at a P-5 school but he’s only Gannon worthy? ike

    Like

  64. Yes and it tells you had embarrassingly bad the other 2 were. Whitehead the exception although last year he was average at best. Yes Maddox stinks. Name another program he would start?

    Like

  65. Upitt, well HCPC is a head coach on a top ten rated team going into this coming season and he started AM as a true freshman and I’m told his defense was fairly good. One thing for sure, Maddox would sure as hell be starting at the mighty, scarey and vaunted YSU!

    Like

  66. Listen, Pitt can and should run the same offense against YSU as they ran against PSU last year. That is not vanilla and PSU has already seen it. Beat them like a drum, and if they can stop the jet sweeps, shovel passes and slants then more power to them and they deserve to win.
    Save any wrinkles or adjustments, just run the same stuff, and that should be enough!!

    Like

  67. Joe I agree with you. If Narduzzi plas his cards the same way as last year would that really be a surprise?

    Don’t forget that last year HCPN had his defense clapping their hands (for signal calling) and it upset little jimmie. What will he do this year to throw off the we’re #1 “jimmie one finger”? The possibilities are endless.

    Like

  68. TX – what were you waving? Heinz was about 75-80% Pitt fans against PSU.

    Regarding or D last year, and in particular our Pass D, criticism of Conklin and Narduzzi is more than fair, but its obvious PN put his corners on an island and implemented his system even though he obviously didn’t have the personnel to do it. He not the bullet because he’s building a program. In my opinion this was the right thing to do. He still doesn’t have the personnel, but it should be improved an I’d expect better results this year. I think he should stick with his plan, not implement a short term strategy. House was in over his head, a bad hire, no need to keep beating a dead horse. That said, Conklin has a lot to prove, hopefully he does so.

    Like

  69. Huff is right, Maddox better be coaching the young’uns when he’s not playing the nickel unless injury forces him to be the starting corner.

    Like

  70. Blair and Wriggins were borderline starters. Pitt can survive them. Whitehead hurts. Bookser was expected. None are the end of the world. Need to get Paris Ford into camp though. Not ideal but everyone will be back for ACC play.

    Not meant to sugarcoat as all put their team in a real bad spot. Football is a next man up sport though. Have to move on. What is done is done. I’d rather know at the beginning of camp vs. the Chryst mass suspension before his first game.

    Like

    1. Wirginis is a loss. The defense needed a senior at middle linebacker for PSU and OSU.

      Blair … he could have had a big senior year like Soto had last season. Not having a redshirt year can kill a kid’s career and it sometimes doesn’t come together until their last. Oh well. Now Hendrix especially has to stay healthy and Ford needs to make the grades, which I expect to kicked again and he doesn’t make it.

      Like

  71. TT you must be kidding. Next man up on an already thin inexperienced defense. Some people never take off their rose colored glasses.

    Like

  72. What a mess Narduzzi inherited from Chryst. Bad talent on defense and apparently some kids who aren’t very bright for their age. What a forgettable career Wirginis is going to have despite all the promise I kept hearing regarding him. Way to go, Jordan and Quentin.

    Glad Blair took his opportunity and ran with it.

    Like

  73. Jrnpitt – Nope. You play with who you got and it really only affects two games. OKST and PSU.

    Upitt – Inmates running the system? LMAO. You must not know what that means. Narduzzi suspended them. That’s the opposite of inmates running the system.

    Like

  74. Upitt, nope, not this time. Not many coaches would have the balls to suspend his best db and starting MLB for three games. And two of them are prime time games. Might get an SEC team to do that since they might play one decent ooc game all year, but this should send a message. It could not have been easy for a coach to do that. These aren’t yum yums he’s disciplining. I will agree it must have been some serious &(^!

    Like

  75. Take that to the bank Mark. Browne isn’t going to have the cohesion w/ the wideouts so unless our Running game is out of this world it’s a steep hill to climb considering what they haven’t lost at PSU and OSU over the past year.

    Like

  76. Ike…you are correct about the Red lot being a good place to tailgate… Its next to the T and the Red Garage.
    Only get rushed out if a Pirate game follows. I will do whatever it takes and if the tailgate guys are a better choice I will pitch in. I plan to have email contact with Bernie while I am in the Outer Banks next week.

    Like

    1. Be Careful Outer Banks being evacuated bc PCL killed the main line for power. Might want to cancel or stay at Bernies.

      Like

  77. Wow, I am never correct speculating this stuff. Too bad I was correct this time.

    I expected something was up with Wirginis and a few others. Talk about screwing up your chances for the next level. Good Lord these guys are morons.

    Reeks of failed drug tests (no pun intended). I think they fell out of Booksers car in a cloud of smoke right before he got busted.

    Like

  78. Upitt, you are some roll today.

    Four players disciplined sounds like someone has control of the situation. Narduzzi is a head football coach not a babysitter.

    Like

  79. Ike – You love this guy. He is the HC. He is paid 3M. Buck stops with Narduzzi.

    He thinks his stuff doesn’t stink. When he is 1-3 he better be happy we have no AD and he is at a school that doesn’t put football as a priority.

    Like

    1. Pitt FB HC gets paid $1.8 million – similar to O’Canada at LSU as the OC.

      Pitt will be fine if Ford can make the team. Great opportunity to see how deep this team really is. The dismissal of Blair opens up a scholarship spot for an unnamed grad transfer LB-er.

      The sky is NOT falling. J.Whitehead must have really messed up – he is the one player I personally would have had a hard time sitting. Remember, these will be games # 2, 3 & 4 that JW will miss due to suspension.

      Like

  80. Anyone able to shed light on why two players got a three-game vacation, one got the Taleni, and the dufus who was arrested only got one game off?

    Like

  81. Conduct detrimental to the program was the reason given. They are probably lucky that Narduzzi didn’t throw them both out the door with Blair. Whitehead was probably one year from a possible NFL contract and he can’t stay out of trouble. If I was that close to a big NFL paycheck I’d spend the coming year hold up at the closest seminary with locked gates at night.

    Like

  82. Stepping back out of the drama, let’s look at this objectively.

    First Blair – What were the expectations for him this year? Most everyone here, me included, didn’t think he would maintain his starting position. This goes to my original thought regarding our DB’s. At some point, if you are touting the newer recruits as difference makers, they need to surpass the incumbents. I think the majority of us expected the new DL talent to surpass Blair, and early. Not an impactful loss.

    Second Bookser – Many on here thought he should receive multiple games to a season. I said at the time of the incident it would be 1 game only. Many fought me on this. Last week I reiterated the same thing and many softened on the idea of only a one game suspension. Time heals a lot of things and drama turns back into reality with the passage of time.

    Third Wirginis – This one puzzles me a bit just for the fact that for all intents and purposes, this was his last shot to have a big year and work himself into a draftable Linebacker. Awesome size and speed, but again, as many stated here, he was not reliable physically and we were discussing how many games he could make it until the injury bug took him out for an extended period of time. LEt’s treat this as a training camp injury and have him come back strong in game 4. He still has a chance, but realistically fellas, he hasn’t been good enough to unseat the linebackers in front of him during his entire career. Again, not a huge loss.

    Fourth Whitehead – He needed to FOCUS on his career and not himself. This was selfish no matter the cause. For someone who needs a full season under his belt, with no injuries and playing at max potential he took a big risk. He will be missed most in the Dairy College and OSU game because they will emphasize the pass, because our defense will concentrate on stopping the run. I am not sure having him on the field affects whether it was a win or a loss. He is the one to take a loss.

    Overall, this is not fatal. Only affects one starter. The others should have been passed by the beginning of the season if the newer recruits are truly better. It gives the young recruits a chance to show that they want it more than the ones who were selfish. Football is the ultimate team game both on and off the field. Being selfish gets rewarded by sitting or not making a team (i.e. Rushel Shell). He, was shellfish and it cost him more then he will ever understand.

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  83. There is no next man up at Pitt. We are now lucky to win 1 of our first 4 games. This was a rebuilding year anyway. Need to get to the point of just restocking.

    SOP

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  84. Shane Hale and Soto were recent examples of kids who came on as seniors after three underwhelming years. Blair could have been another. Three of these losses are big and Bookser is being replaced by Hodges for YSU.

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  85. 4 players suspended or kicked off tgeam means they are tuning out twitter duzzi Tossing. Play some ball and know what it means.. just bc he suspended them doesn’t mean his leadership is being followed. Tell him to go tweet something while his dogpoop defense ranks 130 this year.

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  86. These will also affect the Ga Tech game. They will still be shaking off the rust at that point.

    If Pitt is somehow 2-2 after that game, it will be a miracle.

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  87. If the recruiting has been as good as reported, we should only be missing out on whitehead. Step away from the ledge, this isn’t a huge loss…..or at least shouldn’t be if we are that good.

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  88. Austin_Texas_Panther and TX_Panther. The same, brothers or just coincidence?

    The recent problems do suck but what can anyone do about it? I think PITT misses Wirginis and Whitehead against psu but someone will play in their place. Which in my view is something PITT should be doing anyway. Playing younger players and getting them ready. ike

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  89. We play a hard schedule and injuries on the D are going to happen! Losing these players(boneheads) will, in the course of the season, hurt us deeply. Really pathetic!!

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  90. Narduzzi made his decision in concert with the University. Like he has a choice here. they broke the rules and are being punished. Will it affect things maybe. Blair is done. Bookser may be looking at Hodges at RG after YSU and maybe he is not the starter anymore. Wirginis at best now is a special teams guy. Whitehead is the issue. He is a NFL talent and the best DB. He will see his replacement playing and I suspect Narduzzi isn’t giving back anyone’s job here as a matter of course. Garner maybe Ford and others will play in his place.

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    1. Hamlin’s name has been thrown around for a Safety position. Ford should be in the mix if he makes the grade.

      JW might have to sit at the start of the 4th game if the “next man up” plays to their hype.

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      1. Now THAT is unbridled optimism.
        Anyway you look at this situation, it is bad.

        The pessimists will have their day with SOP comments while they enjoy lambasting Narduzzi for sticking it to the guys who violated team rules.

        The optimists will be busy adding whip cream topping to this pile of 💩.

        The real issue here is the lack of leadership now demonstrated on this team. We lost a ton of high character players from this team. Who was going to step up and fill the void left by guys like Peterman, Conner, Caprara, Galambos, Price, Johnson, Bis & Orndoff was a key question to get answered correctly.

        It is apparent now that Blair, Taleni, Wriginis, Whithead & Bookser have failed to pick up that leadership banner by their own irresponsible behavior.

        All bets are off in light of this revelation. Pitt this season will now have to find itself as a team going forward. Can guys like Henderson, O’Neill & Maddox provide that lacking leadership to focus this team for now? I don’t know. Browne is busy just trying to take care of his own business & is a newbie himself just getting to know the team. Big problem!

        Very disappointing that guys who should have acted unselfishly for the betterment of the team by stepping up their influence on the team by assuming leadership roles have decided instead to undermine it’s well being with actions that are detrimental to the focus & goals of the team.

        Bad Karma.

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        1. Wow – profound comments regarding leadership. You hit the bullseye.

          Unfortunately, I think your right – leadership from the coaches is very different than leadership amongst the players.

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  91. Austin – what you talkin about? We are the same. Brothers from the great Republic of Texas. Much like UPitt. Transplants or foreigners in a 103 degree place. That was DFW today. I’ve gotten used to it.

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  92. It’s been confirmed that Hamlin is healthy and ready to play and moved to safety. Which safety position, I do not know. This could have been in the works for a long while now??

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      1. JW quietly had 9 tackles before he got hurt in the Clemson game if my memory serves me correctly. That’s a lot of tackles so I don’t think it fair to put the win outside of his column.

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  93. 104 in Keller today. Hot!

    New OC Suspect

    New QB

    Suspensions

    TE unproven

    D Weak

    Jet Sweep everyone knows.

    I see 7 wins. Same old story here. SOP no displine. Basically Wanny without a stache.

    After PSU and OK smoke fests Heinz will get. 28k if lucky.

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  94. I think Maddox smoked something before most games. Especially OK St. that or he loved getting beat on 99% of the passing routes.

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  95. Ike, I’m sorry but Maddox is NOT a good DB. End of story. He hold on EVERY play because he can’t keep up with the initial WR burst off the line, then plays catch up, rarely turns to see the ball because he can’t afford to do so and is always scorched on the higher placed balls.

    Yessssss, he occasionally makes a play, but not enough to remotely be considered “good”.

    I hope he sits all season long. That means an underclassman has outplayed him – good for us.

    HTP

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    1. Pitt will be lucky to win one game this season now.

      Upitt should never ever be permitted to utter the phrase “Pitt is It”, even when drenched in sarcasm. 🚫 Forbidden.

      Reed, delete his post above. Only obvious ridicule permitted from him. Stick to what you excel at Upittbaseball. Now is your time, no veiled innuendos, blatant pessimistic lambasting is your forte, go for it!

      I’m with you all the way. Bo is going to enjoy kicking our ass in a month.

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  96. Here’s my bottom line on Maddox. Until the PITT coaches trot out another corner-back in his place, I’ll stand behind the young man. I can see with my own two eyes and yes he gave up lots of plays but he was in position most of the time.

    What’s that mean to me? PITT didn’t have a better player to trot out there and Avonte is a solid player and leader. Let’s wait and see this year how he does. No hard feeling’s on differences of opinions. ike

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    1. Ike, you’re no different than any half decent opposing WR we’v faced. They all also stood behind Maddox, while catching pass after pass lobbed over the midget’s head.

      I see a YSU upset, then it gets worse.

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  97. Pitt Is It – We didnt get it but got another 2 coming up there. I hear it is getting hot there. How are you man??

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  98. While we are talking DB’s, how’s this for a starting line-up? Coach Duzz starts his four Chryst recruits against YSU –

    Maddox, Motley, Briggs and Jackson (Maddox takes JW’s Safety spot)

    After the 1st qtr, Duzz starts to insert his recruits –

    Hamlin 6’1″ 190lbs
    Coleman 6′ 190
    Hank Miller 6’3″ 205
    P.Ford 6′ 175
    M.Henderson 6′ 190
    Phil Campbell 6’1″ 195
    B.Garner 6’1″ 180
    J.Stocker 6’2″ 190
    Mo Ffrench 5’11” 190

    In game four vs GT – JW returns from his suspension to rush for 200 yards on 20 carries, never to play DB at Pitt again.

    It’s late July – why not?

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  99. And now that we know Bookser’s punishment (for now) –

    Hodges LT (O’Neil gets another week to rest his shoulder)
    Officer LG
    Dantino C
    Morgan RG
    JJSmith RT

    If Hodges plays well, O’Neil may not return until the GT game.

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  100. @Tossing – that was my point before that article broke. Step back and relax as this isn’t as impactful as it would appear.

    If Pitt is recruiting better, we will see early and often. This just gives opportunity to players that perhaps were buried on a depth chart. Not any more. It’s a wide open competition and the best player will win. Maddox is a nickel back with the ability to blitz. That’s how I’d use him…if of course the other db’s play better and can turn their heads without holding.

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  101. At 9:03pm last night I gave my opinion on who will step into J.Whitehead’s spot – and there are many candidates. Thanks Duzz.

    As for Wirginis, I think Brightwell had already passed Quintin, but now Chase Pine steps up to the back-up role in game one vs YSU. Brightwell has already showed the coaches what he can do – go watch the Clemscum game again in case you missed it. Pine is going to play a lot in game one and I for one think he could be really good – send QW to Special Teams good. Chase may be starting the psu game along side Brightwell, who we are told can play all three LB positions.

    Bookser’s replacement comes in the form of the new Texas transfer, Hodges and the young stud Morgan. I believe they both play a lot vs YSU. Alex may have more to deal with than coach Duzz’s one game suspension with his court hearing set for late August.

    Then there is Blair’s dismissal. First, I hope he keeps to the books and graduates – I believe Duzz is surrounding him with good help, advise and direction. Rori needs to man up and accept it. His replacement on the roster is the first thing I will address – I’d fill it with a grad transfer at the LB spot. That seems to be the weak spot, depth-wise on D. At the DE spot, again I believe Edwards had already passed Blair for a starting spot – now Pugh, Alexander and P.Jones get to show us during game one vs YSU what they have. Coach Partridge has a plan and it involves numbers and fresh legs.

    While shocked at the suspensions at first, I now have come to grips with this action as being good for these young men (hopefully) and Pitt football.

    No more please!

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    1. The nice thing for Blair now, is he can now fully focus on his drag racing career using The Boulevard of the Allies as his training grounds.

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  102. Would love to see Chase Pine get on the field. Might help our recruiting efforts in SE Virginia( Chase is from Williamsburg) There are well over a million people living in the Williamsburg-Hampton Roads area. It is a hotbed for recruiting across all sports.
    Had a beer with QWs dad last year. Great guy- owns the Gateway Clipper fleet. I will be riding one of his boats to and from the Carolina game from the Sheraton. If Quinton doesn’t get his act together maybe one day he will be the “Captain” of the paddlewheeler who delivers me to Heinz.

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  103. Blair was the starter at DE. Edwards would have been behind him.

    Wirginis was the starter at MLB with Brightwell behind him at the start of the season.

    Guys – that “depth chart” put out earlier was in Narduzzi’s own words – cobbled together because EJ wanted to put something, anything out to get conversations going. The HC admitted that much in an interview afterward.

    New article up soon.

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  104. I think the major concern here is the numbers….4 players. Not 1 or 2, but 4. Football of course uses way more than 22 players on O and D. Heck we won Clemson with plenty of non-starters making key plays. Many above analyze this development one player at a time, and by doing so, sure it can be seen as not that bad. I would argue it hurts collectively…If each of those players make just 1 or 2 really important plays in a game, it very likely turns a W into a L without them. They don’t need to be superstars for this to hurt when we lose all 4 at once.

    Like

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