POV Sunday Podcast; Aug 20, 2017

It looks like Pitt has finally come out with a Barrack Obama bobble head doll for homecoming…

connerbobblehead

I confused SO DL Amir Watts, who played some last season, with rsFR Keyshon Camp who didn’t.

Here is that P-G article about the Southside hotel rental for the players.

DL Jim Medure’s Bio.

DB Damarri Mathis’ Bio.  And here is his Rivals.com info. Note that he had offers from some pretty good football schools in Louisville and South Carolina… so not all that far-fetched he’s in the mix in the DB two-deep… but still unsettling to me.

The Pitt Alumni Association is having away game pre-game events – here is the link with the info.

Here is the POV Hoodie I bought for distribution through donations – I’ll ask for $30 at least.

4DkjDYPQjElIXomGXTCaXba54WybhUApfRbTynUIE2hqVpd_ZH1Yu1kmyJBj_AVVj-ZOQsmnB0r1Z-GR7edRVI-OyocgQWLCjE-XV1OL2xn_cO93X1IvUc4DqcBqrLoaWb_MDMo=s0-d-e1-ft

Compare that to a Pitt script Hoodie at $70.00

Pitt Script Hoodie

How Was the Team Last Year at This Time?

How Was the Team Last Year at This Time?

Sometimes I like to go back a full year and see what Pitt fans were saying at that time – then look at it in relation to what transpired over the following season – in this case 2016.

So let’s do that and see if what we thought would happen – happened.  Here one from the Fall Camp days..

Reed wrote: I read that and all the other stuff Canada and Narduzzi have said about the QB2 position so far (meaning Manny Stocker) this month and don’t see Ben Dinucci getting anything but some off-hand and cursory discussion at all.  Sorry to all the ‘local boy does well’ fans but I think we have to put that hope about Dinucci breaking into some real playing time as a ‘wait until next year’ scenario.

Well, that looks pretty accurate as Dinucci is now the solid QB2 coming out of camp.  Let’s hope that he gets some playing time often and early, if we get big enough leads and that might only be the Youngstown State game.

And here is an exchange between myself and two commenters regarding the WR position:

NotRocket – IMO you can’t sacrifice talent for speed. Just because another WR may be faster – and remember Challingsworth ran another 4.5 just a couple of weeks ago – doesn’t necessarily mean they should start.

 You can have speed in the slot and as rotational resources also. But first you have to get open and catch the ball – which Challingsworth is good at. We’ll see – but in the passing game you go for route yards first then yards after the catch second.
Dr. Tom

Agree with Reed. Speed at WR means nothing, zero, big goose egg if you can’t catch the ball. (Think Jester Weah)

 

Well – obviously I was wrong about Challingsworth possibly starting – as a matter of fact he took off after last season.  But Dr. Tom’s point about ‘catching the ball’ rang true because as soon as Weah did that on a regular basis his speed was a major factor.

Here is a bit from an interview with Josh Conklin regarding his Defensive Backs going into 2016. Remember this is from Aug 17th…:

On what the cornerback position looks like opposite Avonte Maddox:

“Opposite of Avonte [Maddox], it’s Ryan Lewis right now. He had nice day again yesterday. He’s made some strides. You start to look at him and say, `Hey, we can rely on him.’ Phillipie Motley and Dane Jackson are in a heat right now, and I’m not sure that Dane Jackson isn’t ahead of him. Dane Jackson has really come on strong the last four or five days. Phillipie [Motley] is still there. Malik Henderson had maybe an average day yesterday, so he’s battling. They’re all battling out there.”

Reed: “It’s a mess and if Hamlin doesn’t pan out we are screwed.”

On if any of the freshman are battling for that second cornerback spot:

“A little bit. Damar [Hamlin] and Henry Miller are still going strong. Therran [Coleman] mentally is probably a little step behind them, but they’re all going to be great players.”

Reed: “If one on these kids doesn’t win the job and get some damn INTs Conklin’s ass will be on the unemployment line as fast as his head can spin. We sucked at Pass Defense last year and will again this year if someone doesn’t breakout chop-chop.  Conklin’s the one who wanted these little DB kids; I wanted some more decent defensive lineman,  so he’s going to live or die by them”

I think we can all say that whatever Conklin said or didn’t say our pass defense was absolutely horrid last season. I was serious then about Conklin being fired and I reiterate that again – if our defense holds the team back from double-digit wins Conklin should be out of the Southside before New Year’s day.

Here a bit from the same article that I’ll include because it makes me realize, again, how funny I am… this is an interview with Quadree Henderson:

On his chemistry with quarterback Nathan Peterman:

“Nate and I are like brothers. In the summer we would come out to the fields every day after workouts to make sure our timing was down perfectly. The chemistry with Nate is top-notch.”

Reed:  “He’s the man! Much better now that he has absolutely zero competition and doesn’t have to even think about losing the starting job.  We joke about that all the time.  Plus he can drink like a fish – I mean when we start putting a drunk on he goes right up until the beginning of practice the next day.  Wish I could do that.”

Hmmm – that ‘chemistry’ with Peterman didn’t really show up for QH last year as he only had 26 receptions for 286 yards (11.0 ypc).  However, he sure made up for that in other ways, didn’t he?  This season we need to see his ‘chemistry’ with Browne really kick in as he’s the solid #2 receiver behind Weah due to Tipton’s injury.

From an Aug 19th piece when I attended the fall camp Media Day – here I am discussing player discipline with Challingsworth…

But here is a great thing I learned from WR Zach Challingsworth (more on him later) and one I am proud Narduzzi instituted.  There is a prominent sign in a common player’s area (not sure just where) that lists the how many days since a player arrest.  Right now it is at 424 days and counting.

 

What a great thing to emphasize.  Challingsworth mentioned it to me when we were discussing the history of problems Pitt had in 2009-10 before he reported aboard.  He was very adamant that the teammates looked out for each other – and that this staff has a zero tolerance toward indiscretions.  Music to my ears.

Oops… spoke a little too soon on that one didn’t we? Pitt halved that with 221 days until Bookser’s arrest. Still – not too shabby especially compared to six years before that camp. We did have some in-house suspensions in that time period but no arrests until Bookser’s.

At the same meeting I sat with Dontez Ford and WR coach Kevin Sherman and discussed this:

One point Ford made to me was that while they learned a lot from Boyd… “Boyd learned a lot from us also.”  I won’t sit here and tell you that the players I talked with missed Boyd terribly because that wasn’t the sense I got at all – and it wasn’t shown in a catty or bitchy way either.

Here’s an example – at both table of receivers I talked with I mentioned ‘the elephant in the room‘ comparison to Boyd and his being gone and each one looked straight at me like that hit the nail exactly on the head and agreed.

Bottom line – after talking with Coach Sherman and those four receivers, and telling of my public beer bet to all that our passing game would beat the stats Palko put up in his ‘best’ year – which was his 2871 yards and 25 TDs,  they all smiled and agreed that could easily happen.  Except Sherman who said “That’s possible“.

You all may remember I was adamant in my belief that we’d be a better offense and have a better passing game without Tyler Boyd on the field – and boy, did those guys, and their position coach, agree on that.  Guys – Boyd wasn’t all that well liked and most felt pretty glad that he left early – at least that was the overwhelming impression I got last year and wrote about it.

Continue reading “How Was the Team Last Year at This Time?”

Pitt’s Recruit Class of 2012 – What Happened?

Pitt’s Recruit Class of 2012 – What Happened?

An article from my draft box…

Chis Peak of rivals.com put out an excellent article re-ranking Paul Chryst’s first full recruiting class of 2012. I wish I had though of that but Chis handles it superbly.  It is found here and I don’t believe it is behind the pay wall but it could be.

If you remember that class consisted of these recruits and they are listed by their rankings as shown:

6.1 = Five-star prospect

6.0-5.8 = Four-star prospect

5.7-5.5 = Three-star prospect

5.2-5.4 = Two-star prospect

 

2102 3.png

2102 4.png

Then Chris re-ranks them according to their worth to Pitt over their career and other schools (Shell and Voytik were the two big “transfers”).

As we had talked about in my in-depth recruiting article of a while back a lot of recruits don’t complete their four years of eligibility at Pitt and in this case it was 10 out of the original 16 who left early for various reasons.  As you can see out of our top seven recruits only one stuck it out at Pitt full term in Bisnowaty.

2102 reranked1.png

2102 2.png

This is why I never get excited about recruiting – in some ways it means almost nothing at all.  As you can see a bunch those guys didn’t stick with Pitt more than two or three years… and they would have been the backbone of the 2016 team.

That’s not saying I’d give up the starters or two-deep 2016 kids for the recruits who didn’t finish out their careers at Pitt – except maybe Voytik as he would have won that Pinstripe Bowl in relief I believe.

Please do read that article linked above -it is very informative, as is all of Peak’s work over on Rivals.com – 2nd best guy writing about Pitt football around!!  Just kidding – he’s the best by far IMO.

Fall Camp #15 in the Books

Fall Camp #15 in the Books

2017 Pitt Football Camp, Day 15 Recap

Narduzzi, Watson and Players Give Updates on Pitt Camp

 PITTSBURGH—A third consecutive hot and humid morning on the South Side of Pittsburgh saw the Pitt football team complete its 15th practice of training camp at the UPMC Sports Performance Complex.

Head coach Pat Narduzzi held his morning media session before practice. Following the workout, offensive coordinator Shawn Watson, quarterback Max Browne, tight ends Chris Clark and Matt Flanagan and wide receiver Ruben Flowers III also participated in interviews.

Coach Interview Videos: Narduzzi | Watson

 Player Interview Videos: Browne | Clark | Flanagan | Flowers

 Below are transcripts from all six media sessions.

Head Coach Pat Narduzzi

Opening statement:

“We have about seven more days of training camp. I think that we have a total of 16 days ‘til gameday, or something like that. We’re getting a lot of good work done. We’re getting some scout team work as well, which is good. It’s teaching our scout team guys how to service the offense, defense or special teams, which I think is critical to teach this time of year. We can’t wait ‘til week one to finally say, ‘hey, we need to get a look.’ Those are some of the things that we focused on the past three days; our scouts were a lot better than what we expected. Every guy out there is critical. It’s not just the starter or backup; it’s the entire team. That’s why they call it a team.”

On what he is looking for in the final week of training camp:

“We’re looking for the guys to get better every day. ‘Get three percent better’ has kind of been our motto, and you are looking for those guys that can hang. You get into that 15th day of fall camp, can they continue to progress or do they just hit the wall like, ‘I’m tired, I’m exhausted…’? Some guys will just be like, ‘I have no more for you, coach.’ It’s understood, but tough guys can push through it. So we’re looking for that toughness and that guy who is going to be with you every day.”

On if age is a factor in the players’ ability to handle being tired in camp:

“I don’t think that age has anything to do with it because I don’t get tired and I’m an old guy. You would be shocked that it doesn’t really come down to age. Sometimes, the young guys are so hungry that they don’t get tired and the older guys are like, ‘this is my fifth camp, I’m going to shut it down.’ So our guys have shown no sign of that. They have shown great resilience, and I’m happy with where they are. They just have to keep pushing, and that is our job as coaches.”

Continue reading “Fall Camp #15 in the Books”

POV Round Table Call-In; August 16th 2017

POV Round Table Call-In; August 16th 2017

It is that day of the week again folks – get your computers and phones fired up…  I’ll be in the Roundtable meeting room at around 7:50 or so. if you log on and I’m not there don’t leave – I may just be out of the room for a minute.

POV Roundtable Call-in
 07:45 pm09:15 pm or so
 
Meeting ID
303520973
 
 
Meeting URL

https://bluejeans.com/303520973

Phone Call-In number is:

408-740-7256   then  770439# – (don’t forget the pound sign!!)

Here are some topics:

QB competition?

Tailgating

Predictions on the season and individual player’s production.

…and I’ll update those with other ideas as they come to me – I’m busy until this evening.

See you then and any new comers – please don’t hesitate to jump in  we need to get some new blood going in these shows.

Here are the QBs at Kennywood – courtesy of a POV commenter.  You can see that Pickett (far right) is no small kid coming out of HS – When I saw him in gym clothes at the Pitt Pro Workout Day back in March I was impressed with his overall size – arms and chest also.  Bigger than all the other scholarship QBs that way (they were all watching the Seniors workout for the NFL scouts in on the Southside). 

Pickett is listed at 6’2″ and 215 in the roster – even though all the recruiting sites had him bigger at 6’3″ and around 225.  He’s definitely a legit 6’3″ .

I’d say now that he has been at Pitt over the last 8 months with an S&C coach he’s probably at about 230.  Big strong armed kid.

L to R: Jake Zilinskas, Tom MacVittie, Max Browne, OC Watson, Ben DiNucci and Wilson Pickett

A Few Quick Thoughts on the Pitt QBs

A Few Quick Thoughts on the Pitt QBs

Because this is a Blog and what I and Chris do on here is not journalism per se we can be personal and write our own opinions about Pitt football in more 1st person views and more positive and/or negative terms than can other Pitt football media sites. 

The papers won’t do that in any detail – they keep the writer’s personal opinions almost 100% away from the readers. The free sites that carry sponsorship rarely will do it and the recruiting sites, save Rivals.com sometimes, shy away from it also.

But we ain’t them so we can toot our horn a bit on here… and go out on a limb.

So the POV is different and with that here are my personal thoughts on our current and future QB situation based on the string of reader’s comments we have had on the subject lately… most specifically addressing the underclassmen rsFR Thomas MacVitte and FR Kenny Pickett on the roster.

First off – look folks,  when was the last time you heard rsFR Thomas MacVittie‘s name prominently and positively mentioned by anyone not named Ike?  You really haven’t, especially in discussions of the Pitt QBs in general.  For that matter when have we heard anything at all about MacVittie really after he signed his LOI back in Feb of 2016? 

Hardly a word actually except in passing mention and never in any real context to playing time.  That is understandable when MacVittie was a true freshman last season,  but this year, when fans would expect there to be just a little buzz about him?  Nothing at all.

I wrote after last season ended that MacVittie’s name was going to fade from hearing after Ben DiNucci played in the Pinstripe Bowl in front of proposed QB2 Manny Stocker and that’s what has happened.  As surprised as I was that DiNucci went in – I also figured that was the vote of confidence that head coach Pat Narduzzi was giving DiNucci for the future.

If you recall it was soon after the regular season ended, two weeks before that bowl game, when Max Browne announced his transfer to Pitt back in mid-December.  Between that news, and then DiNucci’s getting the call in the bowl game, it set the stage for the QB competition going into 2017’s spring practices.  That was also when we started wondering if Tom MacVittie was even in the narrowing picture any longer for lack of his being mentioned in the news or elsewhere.

But ever since class of ’17 recruit FR QB Kenny Pickett enrolled in early in January to get a jump on the QB work here it seems like his name has usually been the first (or second) word out of everyone’s mouth – staff’s and sportswriters’ – when they discuss how the QBs have been playing. There is a valid reason for that.

Continue reading “A Few Quick Thoughts on the Pitt QBs”

You May Want to Read This in Private

You May Want to Read This in Private

It isn’t often I open an email first thing in the morning then spend 20 minutes bawling like a baby… but it has happened just now.

Our POV family’s reader and commenter, Bob Landel (Old Pitt Grad), sent me an email and video about his  grandson, Ben Landel, who is 17 years old and battling cancer. Ben Landel is a high school track & field and soccer athlete from New Jersey and is toughening it out in a as-serious-as-it-gets battle for his health and future.

I don’t think I’m breaking a confidence in sharing Old Pitt Grad’s email to me with you all, even if so I want you to know how Old Pitt Grad feels. As a side note Mike Gallagher is James Conner’s surrogate father and helped raise James from childhood up in Erie, PA. .

I have had many conversations with Mike about his relationship with Conner, which led to some nice conversations with James himself, and I am just blown away by the long-term dedication that man had for a youngster who wasn’t even his kin.

Here’s that email:

A fellow named Mike Gallagher made this video at MetLife Stadium Friday evening.  I believe he is a close friend of the Conner family in Erie.  Obviously a big fan of James Conner, PITT and the Steelers.

This video is about my grandson and his fight against cancer.  By the way, Ben- my grandson, has had Brown, Yale, Navy, most importantly PITT, and a group of 15 smaller schools  interested in him for track as a Junior in high school.  He also played on the undefeated NJ State Championship soccer team last fall; # 11 nationally.

Pray for him.

What struck me, beyond the two principal subjects in Ben and James, is Ben’s strong support system he has surrounding him.  Obviously his family, but that’s not all.

It is easy, as a guy, to be impressed with Ben’s girlfriend – the strikingly attractive tall blonde by his side at all times – but as a Man I have to say she gets my utmost respect for sticking with a young man who just may not be in her future. A lot of boyfriends or girlfriends would have cut and run – she is sticking it out.

That my friends is a definition of young love that stands apart.

So watch the video, see what true strength and compassion is and how powerful it can be when passed on from one man to another… and how a 22-year-old and a 17-year-old can remind us what life is really all about.

I do not pray often; I believe in faith and good actions as the path for my life. But Bob, I’ll take a moment and send a prayer out for you, your family and especially for Ben right now.

Thank you for sharing this with me and to our POV family – thank you for reading it.

Reed