I try to get out but they keep dragging me back in…
Pitt Coach Pat Narduzzi Announces Disciplinary Actions
PITTSBURGH—Pitt head coach Pat Narduzzi announced disciplinary actions for four players prior to the Panthers’ opening of training camp on August 1.
Senior defensive end Rori Blair has been dismissed from the program for “conduct detrimental to the program.”
Junior offensive tackle Alex Bookser will be suspended for the season opener for his involvement in an offseason legal situation involving a motor vehicle.
Senior linebacker Quintin Wirginis and junior safety Jordan Whitehead will both be suspended for the opening three games of the season for violation of team policy.
“Our program’s foundation will always be built on discipline and personal responsibility,” Narduzzi said. “These are highly disappointing situations but I am hopeful that each of these young men will be better, stronger and wiser after taking accountability for their actions.
“Alex Bookser will sit out the season-opening game and has also been subject to internal disciplinary measures and accountability. I’m confident he will make better decisions moving forward.
“In addition to sitting out multiple games, Quintin and Jordan will continue to be held accountable to internal standards of conduct.”
The Panthers will open their 2017 season on Sept. 2 against Youngstown State at Heinz Field.
So – what exactly is there to say about this. Well, I can think of a few things with the first one being how bad must have Whitehead and Wirginis’ conduct been that their discipline eclipses Bookser’s, Boyd’s and Blair’s (1st) offenses?
This adds up to something but I’m not sure exactly what it is yet -but I have feelers out.
I will say that I like these moves from Narduzzi in the leadership arena. Not many head coaches would sit down three sure starters (and Wirginis would have started) and dismiss a fourth with two of the toughest games on the schedule being missed – even if they are out of conference games. Add to that out only returning DL starter Taleni’s earlier dismissal also.
Plus a bigger question in my mind at this point is if Bookser, Wirginis and Whitehead are going to be allowed to take part in fall camp. Remember that Tyler Boyd and Blair had to sit out some summer team drills and meetings, I believe a month or so two years ago – and that was even before their suspensions were made public. If they miss fall camp that is a huge setback going into 2017’s schedule.
When Narduzzi says the quote below only three days before camp starts it means something;
““In addition to sitting out multiple games, Quintin and Jordan will continue to be held accountable to internal standards of conduct,” Narduzzi said.”
I have been saying all along that YSU was going to be a handful opponent in the opener – it looks even more of a hurdle now. Perhaps the only silver lining here is that these personnel moves come before the actual games and not on the eve of the opener as was the case back when YSU beat us in Paul Chryst’s first game.
I can’t help but feel that because of the quick nature of theses disciplinary actions that this is the tip of the iceberg on some bigger issue(s). There are no arrest records for Wirginis or Whitehead posted yet except for a two-year old traffic warrant of Whitehead’s.
That is of 8:00 am this morning, but given this is Saturday morning and the discipline was announced on a Friday evening something may be posted on the Docket over the weekend or early next week.
Blair hasn’t been arrested lately nor has Bookser – so Bookser aside, something transpired in these last couple of days for Narduzzi to drop Thor’s hammer on those three guys like he did.
I say stay tuned as this might not be the end of this story… Fingers crossed but I wonder.
As far as football goes this means we are going into the opener with only two starters back from last year’s horrid defense. Given my lack of trust in Conklin’s ability to coach defense at any level I think we are in for a very rough ride.
No defensive line starters return – unless you want to call Hendricks a returning starter which I don’t. We will have an almost totally inexperienced linebacker corps for the first three games also which, given how much experience counts at that position, is a big red flag.
And the only consistently decent player in our defensive backfield will be watching the games from the sidelines… expect to see All three QBs we face in the beginning of the season to be able to sit back on their heels and pick us completely apart with the passing game.
I don’t see an offense that we will put out on the field in these games that will score enough points to overcome our defensive deficiencies, especially because I had my doubts about our offensive line anyway.
With Bookser gone for the opener and with Conner Dintino and Jared Jones-Smith huge question marks in my mind anyway I think we’ll see flat-footed Max Browne on his back way more than any of our QBs going back to Sunseri’s Days.
I do worry about what losing these integral players for games this year will do for the psyche of the rest of the team going into the game on Sept 2nd. Right now there is no betting line put out for that game. Expect that to change and perhaps drastically when camp breaks.
I don’t buy the common belief among Pitt fans that Narduzzi is always a great motivator on gameday. Yes, I watched the PSU and Clemson games and he did a great job there, but I also watched the Miami and Northwestern games. There is a lot of inconsistency there so I believe come Sept 2 and then the next two weeks afterward will be a real test of his motivational skills… then again one week later with the Rambling Wrecks RBs from Georgia Tech down in Atlanta.
I always make my formal predictions for the upcoming season after fall camp breaks but if I had to bet right now I’d say it isn’t a stretch to see Pitt at 1-3 going into the Rice game.
Guys – these personnel losses are major setbacks to an already inexperienced and untested team. It is a Big Deal no matter how much wishful think you throw at the situation.