Let’s start off with this; we will resume Roundtable Call-in Show tomorrow night at 8 p.m. I’ll be on the air at 7:45 p.m. and you guys can call in at 8 p.m. and thanks in advance for participating.

OK – we lost Aston for the season it looks like – maybe Narduzzi will discuss it in an interview today, maybe not but from all indications Aston’s ankle injury is sever enought to, most possibly, keep him out of camp and  then the full season of play.

No matter how we want to spin this, “next man up” or changing the offense to accommodate this personnel loss – however you want to spin this I believe this is a huge deal for the 2017 offense.

Aston not only was a superb blocker,  some TV commentators in the bowl game labelled him the best blocking back in D1 – and I agree with that, but he was a real offensive force as well.

ast2.png

Last year he scored a TD in every 4.4 times he touched the ball. That is truly outstanding especially considering his 10 TDs were tied for 2nd best on the team with Jester Weah. He was a force in there on every play and I very much doubt we’ll be able to replace what he brought to our 2016 record breaking offense.  See the end of this article for more Aston video…

So – new starting QB, new starting FB, new starting RB, new starting TE, two new starting OL…?? Fingers crossed for those guys.

Here is a bunch of topics covered by Jerry DiPaola of the Tribune-Review. Note he mentions Mathews missing camp for two weeks.

Pitt sophomore wide receiver Aaron Mathews will be absent from practice until the end of next week while he takes care of “personal obligations,” coach Pat Narduzzi said.

Narduzzi did not label Mathews’ situation a punishment. But if the sophomore from Clairton misses the first two weeks of practice, he will fall behind others competing for playing time. Mathews recorded six receptions last season as a freshman.

Pitt is seeking depth at wide receiver behind starters Jester Weah and Quadree Henderson. There is an opening for the third spot, with sophomore Tre Tipton lost for the season after injuring his knee in a bicycle accident.

Freshman Dontavius Butler-Jenkins already has made an impact with his coaches.

I think it is kind of strange that everyone is talking about Henderson being the 2nd receiver out there. I wonder about that – I can see it as a part-time role depending on the play calling, but think that our regular two WR set will be Weah and Mathews (or another WR).  That will be an interesting thing to watch come September.

Well, here is another article in the Trib that discusses the above issue and how the team has to ‘grow up’ quickly.  Interesting that the beat writers and other media types are more concerned about the lack of experience in the two-deep than fans are.  It certainly concerns me and a lot.

But as good teams will do – the older players are pushing the underclassmen to get more involved… Then, there’s Brightwell, whose personality used to lean toward that of an introvert. But as the middle linebacker who must ensure everyone lines up correctly and hears the calls, he can’t afford to sit back.

“He was quiet at first,” junior linebacker Seun Idowu said. “Now, he’s a freakin’ crazy man, going all over the place. He’s getting more comfortable in that position.”

O’Neill said Brightwell is following a natural progression. “You kind of worry about yourself (at first), then it gets to the point where you kind of worry about the guy next to you,” he said. “Then you worry about the whole picture.”

Idowu said players have learned they’re not just along for the ride.

This is an excellent take on Pitt’s quarterback situation now and in the future. It is written by Nick Gordon of the Pittsburgh Sports Now staff. It is a comprehensive take on how Narduzzi has built up the QB roster since he’s been here.

I agree with a lot of his thoughts here – DiNucci has surprised me a bit grabbing the QB2 spot, but I’ve a strong feeling that is ascending by age rather than skill – and the fact that MacVitte isn’t progressing as well as some have hoped he would at this stage.

But I have said all along that in my mind Kenny Pickett is the one to watch a the real future of the QB position at Pitt.  When you watch him in practice, as I had a chance to with an extended viewing time in the spring thus seeing him in real practice action, and then again in the spring game something just jumps out to you.  The Pitt people are really happy to have this kid on the roster and Gordon echoes that:

Last but not least we have freshman Kenny Pickett.  Kenny will surely redshirt this season, which has little to do with his own talent and almost everything to do with learning the playbook and the guys in front of him.

Pickett is a mobile quarterback who throws beautiful ball. Of the quarterbacks on the roster, Pickett probably throws the best ball. Granted, there are a lot of factors that come into play when vying for the job of starting quarterback, but being able to spin it is a good way to start. Pickett is an athletic quarterback that extends plays and throws exceptionally well on the run. Accuracy is a major asset that Pickett possesses.

Here is a nice entry video of Pickett when he first came to Pitt.  BTW – he’s listed as 6’3″ inches in every site I can find but on Pitt’s roster they have him at 6’2″. Standing next to him at a spring practice I’d say he was 6’3″ easy.  Great arm on this kid. The fact that North Carolina offered him – and they know QBs with Mitch Trubisky and then Marquis Williams before him- makes it nice also.

It was good to get him on campus in January because I think with that his bit of an edge in learning Watson’s playbook, and with a full red-shirt year, he’ll be right in the mix for starting in 2018.

If you want a good idea of why I don’t drive up to PGH to see practices any longer with the closed sessions – Narduzzi allowing just a 20-25 minute “photography window”  – then read this chat by the P-G’s Brian Batko.  There is absolutely noting at all for the media to watch or see that can give fans any indication of what is going on in camp.  Here Batko tries to make light of it:

Brian: Which of the FR running backs has looked the best?
Brian Batko: Hi, Brian. Wow, it’s like chatting in a mirror. But honestly, I can’t really give you a good answer for that. At practice, we don’t see anything that sheds any light whatsoever on the backfield, let alone the freshmen. And position coach Andre Powell hasn’t tipped his hand one way or the other on AJ Davis and Todd Sibley, including whether or not either one will even play at all.

Or try this one…

Mike: How do the young players in the secondary look – Hamlin, Miller, Coleman, Garner etc.
Brian Batko: Hamlin is still limited, so not seeing too much for him, other than he appears to be moving around well in the exercises he does on the sideline. (Etc…)

It is so frustrating for everyone that if it wasn’t the local sportswriters actual jobs to go to the practices I’m sure they would skip a bunch of them or just show up for the staff and player interviews after all the actual closed practices are finished.  Here is a typical fall camp day:

Monday, August 14
Coach Narduzzi Briefing: 9:35 a.m.

Photography Window: 10-10:30 a.m.
Interviews: 12:10 p.m. (select players and assistants)

So you can see there  90 minutes out of a total 120 active practice closed to the media. That 30 minute photography window is just that – all exercises and basic unit drills so that the papers and websites can have new photos of the players and prove they actually went down to the Southside to cover the team, as it were.  Nothing of value to the fans at all.

I used to truly feel remiss if I didn’t get to two or three practices in each of the spring and fall camps, and I did the with regularity when the program was under DW and PC,  but now it just isn’t worthwhile to do so.

OK – there are some things to chomp on – keep up the great discussions in the comments section and remember that civility is the byword on here. It is what separates us from other Pitt sites – I believe that 100% . 

And see you tomorrow evening at 8:00 pm for the Roundtable Call-In show.

Here is the Pitt 2016 highlight video – watch #35 on almost every good offensive play – he’s everywhere with his blocking.

Here is Narduzzi’s presser from today’s Media Day:

Interesting point at the 4:50 mark in that the players have local Southside hotel rooms to nap in in between “double” practices (two-a-days).

And again at the 8:50 mark when Narduzzi talks about the academic strides the NCAA has made with their standards and thus kids are graduating more and earlier so to be able to transfer for the “Grad transfer” rule.

13:30 – We’ll have less “or”s on the depth chart due this season due to the lack of upperclassmen experience on the roster…

16:10 – Ollison is the front runner at RB – others have looked good also. (Bet on Ollison starting against YSU)

18:00 – Aston’s injury… “still too early… same with Motley“.. That is the first i have heard about an injury to Motley.

As I have said – I think Narduzzi is an excellent off the field head coach and a great leader for his players. He’s knowledgeable about the important issues and  recognizes what is really important is all this.

Note: Pitt will have a “Hail to Heroes” Day at the opener on Sept 2nd.  Good for them!

PITTSBURGH – Pitt Athletics will host active military members, Veterans and First Responders, as well as their family members, at Heinz Field on Saturday, September 2 for the annual “Hail to Heroes Day” for the Pitt football team’s 2017 season opener against Youngstown State. Kickoff is scheduled for 1 p.m. and the first 20,000 fans in attendance will receive a commemorative “Stars and Stripes” Pitt Script magnet decal.

106 thoughts on “POV Bit and Pieces; August 8, 2016

  1. So much for Rivals star ratings, because this ‘0 star’ walk-on is as good and tough as they come. Indeed we are going to miss him. And I agree, I don’t think there can be many (if any) better fullbacks in the country. I’d pump the brakes on the ‘out for the season’ speculation until we know more, but that’s just me. Best wishes to George for a speedy recovery.

    I listened to the press coverage and was surprised nobody asked about Ford

    Like

  2. Great point 1618 — OU812,I don’t buy into that star crap anymore. Just look at the PITT all fussed up over losing a walk-on fullback.. Throw the stats away and look out the window if you want to see if it’s raining or a player is worthy!

    Oh and BTW, is it August 8th again?

    Didn’t get a chance to read Reed’s article but I thought I would throw in my worthless two cents….. ike

    Like

  3. Isn’t that crazy a walk-on fullback red-shirting? Oh well, if he’s out all season I’m sue he will be eligible for a medical red-shirt.

    Like

  4. Best wishes for George Aston the dude is on good player. If the timeline (out 7-8 weeks is valid) he will be back around the last two weeks of September but then again really knows at this point.

    Like

  5. Anon @ 5:13PM – Glad you said that. The NCAA has banned two a days as we know them (practices). Makes sense to have all players together because I believe team meetings, daily reviews and just all around team building exercises are allowed.

    Like

  6. kiskiminetas posted: “Hey ike how you doing “MonPappyton”!
    ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    Oh that sounds so familiar. Help a feeble old mind out here. I’m embarrassed I can’t recall that refrain from the ITH!! I apologize I can’t place the name.. Although I’m sure I remember a really great poster…. Welcome to paradise!! …….. ike

    Like

  7. Kiskiminetas…. grew up along that river…well it was quite polluted in my youth but the mine acid took care of the raw sewage on its way to the Allegheny… thanks for joining our merry band…

    Savannah… check on Dr. Tom periodically…I am concerned for him overdosing on pessissicm…

    Like

  8. Good therapy for those who are down about the Aston injury –

    Watch the 2016 highlight video in Reed’s article – instant shot in the arm. Think back to camp last summer –

    Did you expect to get anything out of Ryan Lewis – psu victory?
    How about QH? Be honest…
    Odds on Jester Weah making his 1st career catch asa Panther?
    Soto moving from DE to DT? Or Jarrett at NT?
    Why was Aston ahead of Parrish at FB?

    Guys, there were a lot of questions last August and most of the answers were awesome responses from Pitt players th

    Like

  9. Guys, there were a lot of questions last August and most of the answers were awesome responses from Pitt players that we fans doubted.

    Why should 2017 be any different with Duzz as the HC?

    HTP!

    Like

  10. I really dont see more than 6-7 wins. Thats being realistic. Now if Pitt catches a few breaks and players step up, Pitt is back at 8. Anything more would be a miracle. But maybe Pitt finally wins a toilet bowl this year against another MAC team.

    Like

    1. The way I break it down Pitt must:

      Go 2-2 in these first four (most difficult portion of the schedule)
      Youngstown St
      Penn State
      Oklahoma St
      Georgia Tech

      Go 5-0 in this stretch. Not easy, but doable
      Rice
      Syracuse
      NC State
      Duke
      Virginia

      At least 1-2 here. Should win at home to Carolina. Must beat the Heels this season.
      UNC
      Virginia Tech
      Miami FL

      I’d be happy with another eight-win season. If Pitt starts 1-3, it must win the next five and can still close going 2-1 for eight wins.

      Like

  11. You hate to lose a weapon like Aston. Guys that can score in the redzone are huge.

    Lot’s of new guys going to get their chances this year.

    Feel better about the O-line with Hodges, now we have some depth.

    Sounds like the QB battle may be for real.

    The D-line is the key to a good season. If they don’t play well, it will be a long season.

    Like

  12. I have to agree when I hear some on this blog be concerned with our loss of team leadership – Conner, Peterman, Biz, Price, Galambos and Caprara.

    But the main leader and most important is back in HCPN –

    Let’s look at the slim list of seniors (Thanks Paulie):

    QB Max Browne – Duzz guy – leader
    DB Avonte Maddox – leader
    P Ryan Winslow – 6’6″ 225lbs – leader

    WR Mark Berndorff – non-scholarship player
    DB Rob Boatright from Clairton – non-scholarship player

    FB Colton Lively from Texas – how ’bout them Cowboys?
    TE Devon Edwards – athletic non-starter
    RT Jared Jones-Smith – actions on the sidelines tell me he is a leader
    OL Brandon Hodges – grad transfer from Texas – just getting to know him

    MLB Quintin Wirginis – not the leader we needed, but could be a darn good FB player if he gets his head on straight

    LG Alex Officer – quiet leader by example
    TE Nathan Bossory – 6’3″ 240lbs – former QB – leader
    WR Jester Weah – character guy – quiet leader
    TE Matt Flanagan – grad transfer – just getting to know him
    DE Allen Edwards – having a good camp – potential leader

    The list of rsJR’s is even more impressive. 12 of the 15 seniors have spent the last 2 to 3 years under HCPN and only 1 has been suspended that we know of. The other 3 are grad transfers that HCPN brought in to help build a winner at our school. Each of those 3 earned their college degrees.

    I choose to root for these guys and believe they can win the majority of their 2017 games.

    It’s a great country we live in that we can have choices and enjoy most anything that is legal.

    Don’t be included in Duzz’s “don’t respect” pre-game speech, like we heard before the psu game. He knows how to motivate his guys to win – lighten up…

    Like

  13. Great points guy’s. This season isn’t over by any means other then in some poster’s minds. However it has become a much bigger hill to climb. In Narduzzi I trust though.

    If the ball does not bounce PITT’s way 6 games into the schedule I would only hope to see the young guys get some quality playing time.

    PITT cannot waste this season if losing earlier on, on the older players. Yeah, it’s a fine line when this is to be decided but it will have to be decided in fact.

    All that said, PITT will still come out at 3-1 first four games imo. PITT will kick OSU in the rear (they won’t be watching) when it’s all said and done!! You watch.. … . ike

    Like

  14. O/U Football I think is 7 including bowl. I say under.

    O/U Basketball is 13 including playing in the Rockport Classic in Bismarck. I say under.

    Heather Lyke – Are you even employed because other than. 45 person committees you have done nothing. Oh you hired a never before wrestling coach. Yeah next to baseball know ones cares about wrestling. Do something to prove you aren’t a compliance puppet.

    Like

    1. She has partnered with a tailgating org. She has obviously approved expenses for upgrades to the practice facility, and having the players stay at the south side hotel.

      Next week she is going is going to hire Coach K from Duke, and in late January, she is going to hire Saban

      Like

      1. Wwb – I hope you are not wowed by that. A college intern could of done that. Our expectations for a true ad are sonlow it is gross. Me included.

        Pitt is where AD’s go to not be bothered challenged or expectated to donanything except maintain the usual BOT Garbage.

        Like

  15. Well, starting my morning off with a cup of coffee and a double shot of negativity. Makes me want to spit…

    Because there is hardly any news to gather on this team, I stumbled across the All ACC pre-season team. If you scroll down to the voting, you’ll see there is very little respect for this Pitt team. Sorry Dr. Tom – the positives will have to show up on game day.

    http://www.theacc.com/news/2017-all-acc-preseason-football-team-announced-07-19-2017

    Golf anyone? Dan72, Jay91, Duzz17?

    Like

    1. No need to apologize to me EE. I’m with Upittbaseball on O/U being 7 for Pitt Football right now. And I’m leaning to the under.
      Am I the only one that realizes that the loss of George Aston is equivalent to Q. Henderson or Jester Weah being lost for the season. Devastating! Loss of knowledge, experience, heart and leadership all in one guy.

      The “leadership” is what I see severely lacking right now on this team, considering the actions that resulted in dismissals and suspensions of those very individuals that should have been assuming those leadership roles, instead being dumb & selfish, hurting this team big time.

      Like

  16. I think George’s injury is really demoralizing to we fans especially those of the ” Geezer” generation. ( shout out to John Ramella) George is a good FB player but face it he has become a legend on our own minds. George ” that animal” epitomizes the hard nosed rugged football player.

    An underdog who would not take no for an answer and gave his all to earn his position as a quality D1 player and maybe the best in the USA at his position… He is a role model.. doesn’t get into trouble- too focused on his goals… no scholarship- non-issue when you have a work ethic… if George did have a scholarship he would honor it and not be in need of a made for TV grand announcement- no show- boating from George. He is one of the bright spots in “sports” and takes me back to the day when the sports world seemed more innocent. George ” the Animal” is a throwback… no matter which uniform he wears. We hurt because our hero went down. He will be back!

    Like

  17. Of all of the things I learned yesterday, I thought the fact that the players were staying at a hotel on the South Side to be the most fascinating.

    Like

    1. the most fascinating thing i’ve learned so far today is that the new OL transfer is now known as Brandon “Iceberg” Hodges

      Like

  18. Im rooting for a scenario where Dinucci wins the qb battle so we can call ourselves the ‘no-name offense’

    Dinucci – zero stars / emergency qb depth recruit

    Ollison – three star from the football hotbed of the finger lakes region

    Aston (when he returns) – zero star walk on

    Henderson – undersized three star from the football power state of Delaware

    Weah – two star recruit whose only other reasonably legit offer was Colorado State

    Like

  19. Will be great if indeed our man George can and will be back in 7 weeks as some are reporting, just as the ACC schedule heats up.

    Like

  20. @Erie…golf sounds good to me. Aston is a quality person. His family tailgates near me in the Red lot. I met him a few times post games. Unassuming nice person. He can’t return fast enough.

    Like

  21. Lastrow – I’ll let you know if and when I hear from Dan72 and Jay91. There is not really a central location to play at between the four of us though. So I may need to create a Burgh area foursome and and Central PA foursome (maybe James from state college will chime in?)

    For the pessimistic fans right now, there is “hope”. Hope that this coaching staff has developed players that we fans don’t see as impact contributors. We saw that last year with our own eyes (Weah, QH, Soto, Jarrett, Aston). But, hope is not a good plan and thus we must rely and trust that the coaching staff does in fact have a plan.

    I believe Duzz and his staff have a plan – I hope that plan equals 9+ wins this season.

    HTP!

    Like

  22. Some cool stuff this morning.

    Our resident Don Rickles” (pittman) with his infamous one liners.

    Yeah, I read where the PITT team is bunked at the SpringHill Suites for their afternoon naps. Interesting.

    The iceberg is in the house.

    The POVer’s could be tailgating neat the Aston family?

    Atlanta Panther proving to us all that star ratings CAN be meaningless.

    BTW, Narduzzi is still saying he can’t comment on Aston and Motley’s injuries because they don’t have a firm
    medical evaluation available yet. HUH?? HCPN really is a piece of work…. I mean seriously, he really does alienate the team from the media to a ridiculous point… Have a great day guys . . . .ike

    Like

  23. As I keep saying, we are going to find out if all the transfers and a bunch of the Narduzzi recruits have what it takes. That has been true from the beginning, even more so with all the bad news, dismissals, suspensions and injuries, following graduation of many starters. This is not optimistic or pessimistic, but reality.

    This is a transition year, when Narduzzi’s players will be in the majority. We also have a new OC.

    It looks like the most positive thing is that the O-line should be very good. That is a big deal on a team with so many new moving parts. QB’s are much better with time to pass and RB’s are much better with nice holes to run through.

    The two keys to having a good season are a brand new defensive line, and quarterback play. These are both pretty much unknowns, but we will find out fast in the first four games.

    Like

  24. I read where Kam got himself into a fight with a teammate, Narduzzi said he was surprised when Carter apologized afterwards, saying “sorry coach”

    Like

  25. Here are some Wednesday links for your reading pleasure:

    Huge puff piece on Weaver and Camp.

    http://pittsburghsportsnow.com/2017/08/09/camp-weaver-big-2017/

    Rivals on whether the defense is “playing for pride” this season. Honestly this author has to become a bit more grounded in his writing. Maybe lead off with “Do you think the defense can keep the other team under 35 points per game? That would be a good start to the questioning of the defense.

    https://pittsburgh.rivals.com/news/media-day-survey-pride-and-pitt-s-defense

    “SEUN IDOWU: “One of our biggest goals as a defense is to keep points off the board. We have other goals as well, but that’s the main one at the end of the day. Stop the run, keep points off the board. So that’s something we have to do a better job of this year, and I think we will…”

    Then there is the more realistic answer from DE Allen Edwards which makes more sense and is a must need for 2017:

    “ALLEN EDWARDS: “That was one of our biggest thing we worked on this offseason, limiting explosive plays, third downs, anything past 15-20 yards, the big plays downfield, getting to the quarterback so those type of things won’t happen.”

    Although I do feel that once this defensive line gets a few games under their belt they will be able to get to the quarterback better than the 2016 DL did.

    Like

    1. Agree Reed. It will take a few games for them to get going. Learning curve against tough teams at the beginning of the schedule. As long as they get going for ACC play.

      Like

    2. While he was at it Edwards probably should have mentioned limiting 4th down conversions as a goal. Pitt was horrendous last season finishing tied for 125th in the FBS. Teams were 21 of 28 on 4th down conversions against Pitt’s defense last season. It was probably the second biggest reason for the meaningless bowl loss after surrendering nearly 250 rushing yards. I also remember lots of fruitless cheering for the defense to get off the field last year.

      Also, what’s up with Erie Express? He is approaching DK heights with his optimism for the coming season.

      Like

  26. I hope Carter is like past Miami Hurricane defensive linemen from the 1980s: big, mean and quick.

    I know that probably frightens some of you Pitt fans to have any comparison to Miami, but I’ll take any comparison to a winner.

    Like

  27. The athletic department has rented hotel rooms so the players can take naps.
    Sounds like money well spent.
    What’s next? Stuffed animals?

    Like

    1. Ironic funny business comments about naps in hotels on the Southside from the anesthesiologist. Perhaps, all that’s needed is just a guy like you, available on site at the practice facility with a few vials of propopol to get their needed rest. Then the coaches could just stack em like cord wood in the corner of the weight room until their Diprivan nightynites are over and then they’ll all be ready to hit the film rooms in the afternoon.

      Like

  28. Talking about “real talk” I remember back in, I think 1973, Randy Holloway simply stated that this year will be the year “PITT wins the games we are suppose to win” and they did. The beginnings of a National Championship..

    Like

  29. I do find the blind faith in Narduzzi rather interesting and I think this year will be his first real test.

    Last year was great with the wins over PSU and Clemson, but he did it with an overwhelming offense largely put together by his predecessor with a creative OC who used all of his many weapons to perfection and when he left we lost to NW. Narduzzi’s defense has been pathetic so far, largely due to a lack of talent, They did show up vs Clemson, but finished dismally vs Syracuse and NW.

    So this is finally his team. This is the year when he has to show that he can coach defense. As long as we get good QB play the offense will be solid, although we need someone to score the TD’s now that Conner and Aston are gone.

    The defense is the real mystery with many new starters, none of the graduates were stars except for Price, but had lots of experience (mostly bad). There should be a whole lot more speed on the D, but can they shed blocks and make tackles? Has two years of Narduzzi and Conklin’s coaching got them where they need to be with the fundamentals? Will they be good enough to make the big plays when needed? Will they be able to make stops on 3rd and 4th downs? Will the d-backs break up any passes? Will the linebackers be the leading tacklers instead of the safeties and corners?

    Time will tell.

    Like

    1. gc – did you know or even think that O’Canada was capable of orchestrating the results he did in 2016, or that Weah could catch, or that QH would dominate like he did or that Peterman would be an NFL draft pick?

      That all happened under HCPN’s leadership.

      Be interested & amazed…

      What excuse will you offer when Pitt beats psu in 2017?

      Like

      1. Buddy, I’m a Pitt fan and would love to see another Pitt win over PSU. I am not saying it can’t happen but if you are predicting a win, I would take that bet. Agree that last years offense exceeded all expectations.

        Of course I would like to see Pitt exceed expectations again. Last year I said the over/under was seven, Narduzzi beat it by one game. I say it is seven again this year.

        You also fail to mention what a pathetic defense we had last year. It was rather amazing how bad it was.

        By the way, I am not predicting doom and gloom. I just think this team will have its ups and downs.

        Like

      2. Also, last year we were very healthy, had no dismissals, and fewer suspensions with little consequence, we had a seasoned O-line that had played together for some time and a QB that had won seven games the year before.

        We are already down important players unlike last year when we lost Hendrix and Zeise, but not till the first game.

        We have lots of new guys that have to exceed expectations for us to be amazed.

        Like

    2. gc, you got the “blind” part right but I’m not seeing the faith in Narduzzi being without reservations just yet. What I mean by “blind” being accurate is that so many fail to recognize the improved player,s both in physical attributes andalso in just pure athletic potential, over both Graham and Chryst recruiting classes. Key JC and grad school transfers especially included.

      Too early to hang this year on Narduzzi as the one where he’s playing “his players” since so many have absolutely zero experience. That will kill the record IMO early on. If we’re 2-2 after the GT game it will be an amazing accomplishment for this staff considering the injury loses and suspensions already known about.

      Now come December, yes, it will be ” Narduzzi’s team”, but it will be a team that has been beaten up quite a bit, especially early on in this season, to gain that experience, that is so essential to have in order to be proficient in the game. They will be lucky to have a post season bowl game to garner additional playing time, since I anticipate the Miami game being a make or break contest potentially, if things go really wrong early, just to become bowl eligible in 2017.

      Next year however, Narduzzi is on the hot seat to produce the wins he is yearning for and go after the ACC Coastal Crown with a can do attitude. If another 7-6 or worst campaign shows up in 2018, then the shine will be long gone from Narduzzi’s hire and a tarnished patina will replace it.

      Like

  30. It is nothing new for the bigger programs to stay at a local hotel during fall camp. This is done at many institutions and is seen as a benefit for the players in the ever changing “arms race”. Promotes team unity and keeps all the kids under one roof where they can be supervised more easily. That is probably the better reason for doing it from a coaching/behavior perspective. They also have meeting rooms on-site.

    Another key point that Narduzzi articulated was the waste of time traveling between Pitt and their off campus stadium. Our guys have wasted so much time over the years and it just adds to the grind. Time management is so critical for big time sports.

    Injuries and suspensions happen at every program, every year. The players need to button up their chin straps and play. No excuses and we don’t hear that from the players because….we don’t hear from the players. Well, just a little here and there.

    Like

  31. Gasman…LMAO–Teddy bears or big stuffed panthers…seems like the off-campus practice field is wasting 40 minutes a day in commuting time. Maybe we need an on-campus practice facility first………

    Like

  32. Kudos to EE and Huff on the great comments. I think all readers should go back to their posts above and re-read them. Free your minds and think more positive. The PITT football team sure is and don’t you they deserve a little positive feed-back from their fans?.. I think so… .. ike

    Like

  33. I understand that teams seek refuge in hotels to isolate players. But , to me, it is an unnecessary expense considering we go cheap hiring coaches and athletic directors.

    Like

  34. You guys sound like Penn State or Notre Dame Fans. Mohamed Ali was the only guy that could back up “I am the greatest of all time”

    I guess that is why Reed who tries to have great objectivity gets accused of pessimism.

    I appreciate the Rah Rah spirit and hope for the best, but there are many question marks on this team and they won’t all be answered positively.

    If you don’t think a team that lost a bunch of seniors including all-time greats, many to the pros, Taleni and Blair, Wirginis and Whitehead for PSU and OKST, Alston doesn’t make the season more challenging you are living in a dreamworld.

    New and young guys make mistakes, starting at QB. That is just a fact. Not pessimism.

    If Narduzzi gets to nine wins this year, he will deserve a big raise.

    Like

  35. Ah, this is only Narduzzi’s 3rd season here, as much as I’d like to believe we’re ready to take the next step, this year will not likely prove anything, way too young and inexperienced at too many positions. I’m more than ready to be surprised, but I think a dose of reality is in order

    Like

        1. Big Ten lost most of their bowl games after being highly ranked during the season so what do the pollsters do? Start the season off overrating Big Ten teams. I may be a fool but I’m not ready to concede anything to PSU. The game will not be played at night with sub-par lighting, high grass, and “white-out” students (aren’t they always?) so better than a 50/50 chance to win.

          Like

          1. B10 teams populating the pre-season polls is a decades-long phenomenon … as the coachs and writes who vote on their respective polls are very ethnocentric (for lack of better term.)

            Like

  36. A relative of mine who is close to the Pitt AD office tells me that Duzz likes NT Carter a lot for numerous reasons. One big factor is their common dislike for the nitters.

    Rivalry?

    Like

  37. ^^ I agree Gasman, could this be another check mark against not having an on campus stadium? Spending money on hotel rooms makes it seem that PITT is all in for the football program and money is no object? We’ll let the math nerds figure out how long that it would take to build their own stadium with beds equipped.

    gc, I understand every single thing you are saying and it’s all very true. All things being considered here, there was enough problems to worry about the PITT football team going forward without all the bad luck and dumb decisions made.

    I’m a fan that does NOT cry over spilled milk, I never do that. I am also a guy that will NOT cry over a milk jug in the ice box that could be spilled when used. We see reality the same but it’s how we look and view the possible outcomes as different.

    Personally? The day I don’t think PITT will win every single game they play in a single season will be the day I die… or quit caring about PITT football. (which will be the day I die) …..ike

    Like

  38. Yup, If they can beat us by 60 they will do so. PSU will run it up if they can. Make no mistake, last years game stung them to the core, and redemption for them is a big rout. Afraid we will have to have thick skins when among our Nitter friends, they love to rub it in. But then again, we have a tendency for self flagulation, so I doubt if they will give it to us more than some here do, lol.

    Like

    1. I’m going golfing right now with a bunch of nitters – I’m wearing my Pitt logos proudly. Boast while you still can…

      I hate penn state!

      Like

  39. pickett looked to me like an absolute gamer in the spring game

    peterman had a decent amount of that gamer quality in him that’s part of the reason for his success here

    but i think pickett has more, i think he has the most gamer in him that a pitt QB has had since tyler palko

    Like

  40. Nice to see Robert Foster starting and he seems like a mature Christian young man. I hope he has a great season and gets drafted making the City of Pittsburgh Proud.

    As far as Narduzzi – If he wins 8 games he deserves a raise. a Major raise. I see 6 and a lost bowl game to a good MAC Team.

    Like

  41. Right Upitt, good for Robert Foster.

    …. and psu will be very happy to kick the pants off the PITT football come Sept 9th. Which to me, sounds like they are in for another super duper disappointment.

    The looks on the faces of those delusional enabling fans after the game last year was?? PRICELESS!!

    Like

  42. At a quick first glance and I’m talking to everyone but Doctor Tom more specially (need you back on the positive team) Do we all agree that PITT was going to be up against it going into the psu game 6 months ago? Yeah we talked all big bravado smack but deep down it was always going to be tough this year playing up there.

    Could it be, in a very strange way of thinking, that all of this hullabaloo BS could help out PITT in some sort of way? Here’s psu gearing up to kick butts and take names and now PITT may look like a less formidable opponent in their eyes?

    Hate to say this as well, what if PITT keeps the game close??? Can PITT actually win this game without scoring the most points?? Hmmmm?? . . . . . . . …. ike

    Like

  43. For me the GT game is the weather vane match. If we can come out of the first three games and get a win there I’ll be optimistic about the rest of the season.

    If we lose that one, with all the suspended players back it could get bad.

    Like

  44. Dr Tom..please stay off steep ledges or the roofs of tall buildings down there on the island….planning on having a bourbon or 2 with you on Sept 23rd in Hotlanta….if we start 0-3, we will celebrate UPitt’s wedding to the beautiful Astonian/Estonian bride instead!

    Like

  45. I have a new nickname for one of the recent posters….”Doc Baseball”. LOL WITH, not at, doc t and upitt! You guys are awesome. Not piling on or anything, I promise. Just having a bit of jocularity at the end of a crapstorm!

    Like

  46. ^^ I agree Reed. First 3 games are window dressing and speaking of dressing, they are in fact a dress rehearsal. < tongue twister.

    Look, it’s driving me crazy about all the rumpus going on here. and it’s all for good reasons. So now we get into semantics and words that combine all worlds. Who exactly has PITT lost moving forward to the season?

    Whitehead. Yeah, this is a big big loss. Counter point: Pitt won games without him and most complained he didn’t have the season last year as his freshman year. Yet this one hurts like heck!

    Blair. Oh lord, has this guy gotten much bigger, better and more important since he’s been thrown off the team. It makes me laugh. All I heard was how much of an underachiever he was.

    Taleni. He made one tackle against Clemson and Northwestern ran all over him in the now infamous loss in the bowl game. He didn’t do any more than Blair did in his time at PITT. In fact, he did a lot lot less!

    Bookser. A significant loss here buffered by the iceberg landing on the south-side. A loss non the less though.

    Wirginis. Love the way this kid plays and won’t say it’s not a bad loss but that dam depth chart. The dept chart put out by PITT is exactly like statistics. If you liked it, it’s great, if not, then it’s baloney.

    Georgie Aston. A former walk-on. Love this guy, this will change things for the PITT offense. Here’s the thing though guys. he’s a walk-on? Get it?

    Take a real close look at that group and tell me what you see? Whitehead and maybe Bookser (who will be back for the psu game) are the only big recruits who will be lost.

    It does suck to lose these players and it is a terrible blow to PITT’s season but it does put a whole new perspective into all this ” Narduzzi is only recruiting 2 and 3 star players”… !! Look, if 3 of these players were this years commits there would be an outrage for sure.

    It all fits in each of all our mindsets. If you want it to be bad, it will be and vice versa. You don’t beat Clemson at Death Valley and not be able to beat every team in the entire country. It’s basic logic 101. .. . . . . . ….ike

    Like

    1. C’mon Ike you would be telling us how great all these guys are if they were still here. So Aston being a walk on somehow minimizes the loss of a guy that scored 10 touchdowns? Who knows if Blair and Taleni would have been this year’s Soto. Most of these guys were going to be first string. By definition second string is not as good. Will any individual be as bad as the Steelers when they lost Polamalu, of course not, but collectively it is a big loss. Our depth becomes first string.

      Yeah we beat Clemson, but we lost to Northwestern. So by your theory we could lose to anyone as well.

      Hey, if everyone steps up, especially the transfers we might be very good, maybe upset a PSU or OKST, a division title is still possible at this point, but a lot of kids that haven’t shown anything yet will have to thrive along with Hendersons and O’Neils.

      By the way, how is the new kicker doing?

      Like

  47. Ike, the loss of those players are magnified because of the lack of experience and (non)starters surrounding them.

    If it was only them in a vacuum that wouldn’t be a problem but it’s not, it’s them and they were the most experienced players on the defensive front seven. They’re the ones who had the experience and the talent coming back to being the nucleus of that defense so it does hurt

    Funny that the coaching staff felt 180 degrees differently about Taleni than fans now do. That loss was a huge one and the coaches said just that about it.

    We have, what? Maybe four or five previous starts across the whole starting DL now? Losing Blair and Taleni’s experience sure does matter. Spin it all you want but it is another big problem going into this season.

    Like

  48. I guess I have to question why Herndon was moved back to the offensive line when it would seem that our defensive line is really where the added depth was needed. Maybe he was so ineffective from either side of the ball that it makes no difference where he was moved.

    Like

  49. I’m very sorry I won’t be joining the round-table this evening. I’ve just been informed of some sort of small gathering for my 62nd birthday…. so it goes
    ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    Like

  50. You’re right gc, I certainly would be. I’m just growing weary of being told Narduzzi recruits are crap but then somehow walk-ons and two stars are major major losses. We can’t have it both ways now can we?

    Like

    1. Fans always want it both ways. Surely you wouldn’t be disappointed if Narduzzi snagged some four and five star guys.

      Obviously 2 and 3 star guys can become stars too. DiNucci may beat out Brown.

      Like

  51. Rosie Nix just got his degree from Pitt and will now play as a grad transfer at UAB. Good for him on both counts … especially the degree

    Like

    1. Glad to see he graduated. I liked his play. Would have fit in better with Dixon.

      actually going to South Alabama In Mobile.

      Like

  52. Just caught up on 3 days’ reading:

    Dr Tom’s Kool Aid has gone missing, so he can have some of mine. In an extreme reversal from last year, this year’s D (speed in the front 7, plus speed and length in the DBs) will bail out the O!! We will see Donaldesque speed/pressure on all QBs this year. This will result in a bevy of inaccurate throws, leading to numerous knockdown and INTS! (You read it here first.)

    UPitt – does “She of Estonian Roots” know of your carryings on with Heather?? It would be a shame to lose your 5-star recruit this close to “LOI Day”!!!

    Like

  53. ESPN college preview show They were talking about the Big Ten and PS . One guy offered that Barkley was possibly the best in P5 but their O and D lines were not as good as they are cracked up to be. Maybe their is an opportunity there.. Another voice offered that Ok State is better than most think and could upset Ok. and challenge for a playoff spot. Hope for the first fear the last.Used to enjoy Pitt camps at UPJ. Spent time there, met coaches, things were not as regimented as today. Remember Iron Head during first week one year grumbling about his cerial diet as he came into camp overweight. Thought John Majors was the most down to earth friendly guy you could know. First heard about a new OC stadium for panther hollow there back in the 80s from the University Facility Manager——– before the Pederson plague.2 and 2 for the first 4 games will do especially if one of the ws is PS..Aston is just a crying shame Here is the best to him and his recovery.H2P

    Liked by 1 person

  54. Erie, Lastrow, Jay71… I retire for good 9/1. Ready for Fall golf any weekday. Erie…love your optimism. Normally that’s me but losing Aston, whitehead and wirrginis has taken that from me. I could easily see 6-6 and even a loss to a very good Youngstown St team.

    Like

    1. My optimist side says no way we lose to YSU. But my realist side says “anything” is possible – it happened in Chryst’s 1st game at Pitt.

      But, I also think the combination of HCPN and our talent will not allow Pitt to lose that 1st game. That same talent will gain valuable experience to take into creepy valley. That psu game will be very tough to keep the score close, let alone win. I’m not counting out Duzz in this one as I believe he dislikes psu as much as Pitt fans and he seems like a great motivator of his players.

      Remember Franklinstein’s comment when he first arrived in creepy valley? “We are going to dominate the state”. That still gets played on the central PA news channels – saw it last week and almost fell off my chair screaming “you lost to Temple AND Pitt”!

      The OK State game intrigues me – they have almost the same roster and that means our coaches have a lot of film. Pitt should have won last year at their house. The Pitt suspensions and injuries do not help, but OK State did lose early last year to a MAC directional Michigan team – why not a Pitt win?

      Then we get into the ACC Coastal race vs GT – probably 1-2, but I’m not ruling out better (remember Clemson, not Houston, but never forget Houston either). Pitt gets back Whitehead, Wirginis and posssibly Aston. The young talent just made it through a tough opening three games – hopefully they are “more” ready to rock n roll and the depth just got better at the exact right time to pursue the Coastal title.

      HTP!

      Like

      1. Express, yes CHRYST did lose to YSU. Our boy has won his first two openers and hopefully he chalks up number 3. This season is truly indeed one that comes with some pitfalls on the schedule and the adverse effects of having to play many younger more inexperienced players is one of them. Being young and without game time experience is one quality you really don’t want in this situation. But as you said and I agree with, playing in these early games will be beneficial to them. Now to what degree it does remains to be seen.

        Like

  55. I also will agree with both of the above and anything can happen. I just can’t escape the feeling that as the PITT team continues to lose pieces of their puzzle doesn’t necessarily make YSU any better. Yes they had a very good D-2 team last year and their QB is back but they lost a ton of players. They are not anywhere near as strong as they were last year.

    Narduzzi has strong roots there and he knows how much a good game against PITT would mean to them. Translation? He won’t let YSU beat PITT! . . . . … ike

    Like

  56. Ashton injury hurts. Partridge will make a big difference in the DL play. I can’t stress that enough. The second half of the season is where the team begins that real progress especially on defense. The leftovers from the prior regime are still a positive but the talent gap especially on defense is closing. Whitehead has a real wake up call here. As he sits, that will sink in that not playing is a lesson in stupidity and selfishness. He will lead this defense to really good things. It is really about the ACC this year. GT is a biggie. But Pitt will be a better team for playing the nits and Ok St.

    Like

Leave a Comment Please and Keep It Civil...

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s