YSU Game Two-Deep; Read it and ….

OK… I’ll say weep… or scratch your head maybe.  There are some real surprises and concerns here and unless this is a some-what joking attempt to rile up Pitt fans I see some scary issues in front of the opening game.

First off I am actually not that surprised that SR Mike Flanagan is listed before rsSO Chris Clark at TE.  Regardless of that 5* and #1 TE recruit ranking Clark was given years ago Narduzzi always goes with real game day experience if he has the opportunity to do so. We see that now at the TE position for the opener.

Most specifically it is because of Flanagan’s blocking abilities.  He’s a big and proven guy and, again I don’t care what the Pitt people say, Chris Clark is on the thin side. Pitt needs bulk for that 6th offensive lineman this season.

Jim Morrissey over both Conner Dintino and Alex Officer (who played Center last year) is disturbing to me. I have said repeatedly that I have real concerns about the Offensive line.  A rsFR with absolutely zero game experience beat out both of them… not good at all.  Hey, you can believe Morrissey is some sort of Fall Camp superstar if you wish – but the real possibility is that the other two guys sucked at playing Center.

Here is the lineup as of Monday afternoon…

 

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And what do the first two paragraphs of this article have to do with each other?

This offensive starting list centers (no pun intended) on the maximization of pass protection for our new QB Max Brown. This will be a key issue throughout the season but especially in this first game for him in his new home surrounded by a new supporting cast.

Browne isn’t very mobile to begin with so these changes, especially at TE where Clark’s blocking is completely unknown in real game situations, are key to keeping him not only upright but inside the pocket so he can get off accurate passes.  He’s not very effective at throwing on the run like we saw with Voytik and Peterman over the last two years so he’ll need that Safe Place.

One other small tidbit about the TEs.  Notice that on the  two-deep Narduzzi listed real FBs (SR Cotton Lively and  SO Eric Sellers) and thus is not employing an F-Back using Flanagan as was discussed in the interviews. Now it should be said that since Narduzzi believes in surprising opposing DCs he may be holding that formation in abeyance until needed, but if one talks openly in camp about the possibility of using it – then you can bet he’ll do it sometime down the road.

That makes me wonder even more about how Clark did, or didn’t, impress the staff since he got here back in 2016.  But that’s just me – the situation may be that SR FB Colton Lively impressed the OC well enough in the camp scrimmages to take Aston’s place until Aston returns and allowing the playbook to stay unchanged from before Aston’s injury.

I do wonder how well we will be able to accomplish our pass protection.  – maybe not so worried for our match against YSU but certainly concerned about the next week up in Happy Valley.  I have written, and I believe, that we will see our ‘sacks allowed’ number rise dramatically from a Pitt record nine sacks given up in 2016 to two or maybe three times that many.

Peterman was excellent at feeling pressure even before it came too close to him – his anticipatory skills were excellent.  That’s not the case so much for Browne I fear.

What will really be interesting to see if Watson incorporates Flanagan in the passing game before he does Clark…

As I said Narduzzi favors experience if he has it to use.  Ollison was the clear starter at Running Back no matter what inane coachspeak we heard during camp.  If a HC sits down a player who previously had 1100+ yards; 11 TDs and a 5.3 ypc average for a virtually untested Moss, or worse as shown in the above listing, JR Darrin Hall –  who hasn’t shown a thing in three years, that HC needs to have his head examined.  That starting position was never in doubt.

There aren’t too many other surprises here – but seeing Moss left out as not even an “or” with Hall at RB is a bit wonder making.  These kind of things take us by surprise because of those closed practices Narduzzi loves so much.  Maybe Hall did a bit better than Moss over the length of camp… or maybe Moss is a bit dinged up – who knows? But I think we all expected Moss as RB2.

On defense I cringe just looking at the lineup – we knew Whitehead, Blair, Taleni, and Wirginis wouldn’t be in the starting lineup but very little on that defensive side of the ball impresses me at all. I can say that of the 11 positions at least six of them have big “?s next to them.

At DE we wonder 1) if Hendrix is actually healthy enough to play well and 2) if his ‘playing well’ is akin to a high D1 level.  We really don’t know what we’ll see from him as he’s inexperienced in actual games and even if his hype level is astronomical among Pitt fans he needs to live up to it while in uniform. Since he hasn’t done so I’ll award him a single “?‘”.

On the other side we have another Panther, 2* recruit DE SR Allen Edwards who, even though eligible to play for Pitt in 2015 didn’t get into any games, started only four games last season.  He did… OK…  in spot duty last year so I’m hopeful he’ll be better, and that means very good, this year.  Average ain’t going to cut it from our DEs this season, not if The Great Pat Narduzzi and his sidekick, the Small Coordinator, want to keep believing that continual hard pressure on the Black Hat QBs somehow makes it impossible for opponents to pass the ball with success.

I know! Crazy, huh?  Not one word about the actual failed pass defense schemes over the last two seasons for the guys in the defensive backfield.  One more horrid defensive season like we have in 2016 had and we’ll have to put the DB’s on mass suicide watch.

I just am always hesitant when I see a SR getting full starting playing time this late in his career.  But I was psyched to see what Taleni was going to do for us in his SR year this season so I’ll keep an open mind on Edwards but still award him a single “?” based on only four starts.

Commenting on the interior of our starting defensive line needs only one statement… Shane Roy !! 

Really Josh?

Roy is another journeyman ex-special teams player turned starter in his SR year.  That gets a “?” from me there; a double one actually – “??“.  My gut feeling is that the if our defensive staff coaching is forced to play Roy in that key lineman spot then it is an indictment as to the honest level of over-all talent we had at this point in time. Notice I said “honest level” and not ‘the level fans think we have

We have talked about the prospective ’17 starting lineup since January and not once, never, did I read or hear even once Shane Roy’s name being mentioned as a starter until there was only one week left in fall camp. And if readers are being honest with themselves they never seriously considered Roy as a starter either.  As I said in the opening sentence of this article – either this is a coaching misdirection toward the opposing coaching staffs or we just truly are bereft of new talent on our DL.

Sad to accept as it may be, but it is the latter situation most probably.

Next to him is rsFR Keyshon Camp, a 3* recruit who apparently jumped over a 4* game-experienced (at least a little) SO Amir Watts.  That might be some goods news I hope but again – no D1 experience at all there again. One “?” for Camp.

We have another question mark in the LBs who will start on Saturday.  I’m not sold on the WR-LB Elijah Ziese experiment yet but with no concrete evidence I can’t say whether he’ll play well or not at the Money LB spot.  But it does concern me that, again, we have less than one full game experience there. Mark him down as a single “?” in my opinion.

Perhaps where injuries are going to hurt most is in our defensive backfield.  Returning CB Starter Phillipe Motley is out at this point and that might hold for a while.  He had two starts at mid-season and was set to be the starting CB for the last four games before missing those matches with injury.  Even with his small experience he’s needed.

His replacement, 2* recruit rsSO Dane Jackson,  has one less start than Motley with three and those came in relief after Motley left the lineup.   I give him a “?” for his recruit rating combined with his inexperience.

At the Strong Safety position 2* rsJR Dennis Briggs (from mighty Shadyside Academy) is going to play well for us I think.  He’s been in a lot of games over the previous two years and that should help settle down some of those newbie DBs who you can be sure are going to give up some big-ass passing plays early on.

With S Briggs out there along with SR CB Avonte Maddox, who is a three-year starter at that position, they will be a stabilizing influence for all those other inexperienced guys on the field with them. Let’s hope they are up to that task. I give Briggs a “?” not so much for inexperience, he has that, but for his suspect talent level.

At the other Safety spot;  the Free Safety position has newcomer SO Jazzee Stocker will be out there chasing down WRs from behind. You may remember him as he is the younger brother of “Pitt’s Magically Disappearing Quarterback” Manny Stocker. Sure you remember him, he was just plain old Jay back then; that’s why you didn’t recognize the name. BTW – “Jazzee” is his given name.

Jazzee has been a regular Special Teams player with only dipping a toe into the starting waters last season.  He is Whitehead’s replacement during the latter’s three game suspension.

As much as I like Jazzee’s cool name, because I am down with that my Brother from another Mother and am too hip to be square, I still give him a big “?” as I think he’s in over his head filling in Whitehead’s shoes, especially given his almost complete lack of play at Safety.

Now – I have talked a lot about the inexperience on this Pitt team this season, especially on the defensive side of the ball. I think it is a clear and real problem for us and is magnified because there are so many unknowns when it comes to these guys’ actual talent levels also.

There is a huge difference between fans assuming a player is going to be talented and then make that talent into productivity… and it actually happening. If it was just two or three players on defense who fall into this category perhaps I wouldn’t be so worried.  But it isn’t. With exception of… Hell, only Idowu, Maddox and Briggs, we have no idea how the other eight guys are going to do when the whistle blows and they are playing as first time starters.

I have reservations about the two-deep on offense also, but it is nothing like what I feel when I looked at the defensive two-deep when it was published yesterday afternoon. I think I can speak for most fans when I say that looking at a prospective defensive lineup and feeling unsure about two or even three positions is normal at the beginning of each season. but seeing so many real question marks here is unnerving as hell.

One last note and I’m adding this: just because I feel there are question marks on offense and defense doesn’t mean those players are going to fail out there. Not at all – it means we fans (and the staff) have no real idea how well those players will contribute.  But there are valid concerns going into 2017 and I think all us fans can agree on that.

PITT vs. YOUNGSTOWN STATE

September 2, 2017 • 1 p.m., ET

Heinz Field (68,400/Natural Grass) • Pittsburgh, Pa.

ACC Network Extra • Pitt IMG Sports Radio Network
PittsburghPanthers.com • @Pitt_FB • #YSUvsPITT

LINK (PDF): Pitt Game Notes (vs. YSU)

GAME STORYLINES

  • Pitt opens its 128th season of intercollegiate football when the Panthers host Youngstown State at Heinz Field.
  • Under the direction of third-year head coach Pat Narduzzi, the Panthers are looking to build off consecutive eight-win seasons. The Panthers have finished second in the ACC’s Coastal Division each of the past two years.
  • Pitt is 82-43-2 (.654) all-time in openers. Since the 2000 season, Pitt is 12-5 (.706) in its initial game, including 2-0 under Narduzzi.
  • Narduzzi has deep ties to Youngstown and YSU. His father, the late Bill Narduzzi, was the Penguins’ head coach from 1975-85, twice leading them to the NCAA Division II playoffs, including the 1979 national title game.
  • Pat Narduzzi was a starting linebacker for his father in 1985, leading the Ohio Valley Conference in tackles as a YSU freshman.
  • A member of the Football Championship Subdivision (FCS), Youngstown State is coming off an exceptional 2016 campaign. The Penguins finished with a 12-4 record and advanced to the NCAA Division I national championship game, where they lost to James Madison, 28-14.
  • Youngstown State head coach Bo Pelini is in his third season with the Penguins. Like Narduzzi, Pelini is also a Youngstown native. Prior to YSU, Pelini was the head coach at Nebraska for seven seasons (2008-14).
  • Narduzzi (Ursuline) and Pelini (Cardinal Mooney) starred at rival Youngstown high schools. In their last meeting against each other, Ursuline routed Mooney, 35-0, in a game that decided the 1984 Steel Valley Conference title.
  • Pitt is 14-1 all-time against FCS opponents. The Panthers’ lone loss to an FCS foe came against Youngstown State in the 2012 season opener, 31-17.

SERIES NOTES
Pitt and Youngstown State meet for the fifth time in a series that began in 2005…the Panthers are 3-1 against the Penguins…the last meeting occurred on Sept. 5, 2015, a 45-37 Pitt victory…that 2015 game served as the head coaching debut for Pat Narduzzi…incidentally, Bo Pelini was making his YSU coaching debut in that same game…the Panthers’ lone loss in the series came on Sept. 1, 2012, when YSU upset Pitt, 31-17…the 2012 YSU game is Pitt’s lone loss to a Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) opponent…the Panthers are 14-1 all-time vs. FCS foes…on Sept. 5, 2009, Pitt rolled to a 38-3 victory over YSU to open the season….the inaugural game between the schools was on Sept. 24, 2005, when the Panthers defeated the Penguins, 41-0…the 2005 encounter is the only contest between Pitt and YSU that was not a season opener.
BROADCAST INFORMATION  

Television • ACC Network Extra via ESPN3/WatchESPN

Robert Lee, play-by-play (Andrew Jackson is his research assistant)

Dustin Fox, analyst

Pitt Radio • 93.7 The Fan & the Pitt IMG Sports Network

Bill Hillgrove, play-by-play

Bill Osborn, analyst

Larry Richert, reporter

 SiriusXM Satellite Radio

Sirius Channel 93, XM Channel 197, Internet Channel 959

WPTS Radio (Pitt Student Station) • 92.1 FM

 Pitt IMG Sports Network Online Audio Options

PittsburghPanthers.com

Pitt Panthers Gameday App

TuneIn (free live and on-demand content)

145 thoughts on “YSU Game Two-Deep; Read it and ….

  1. I agree with your concerns, however, a year ago at this time, who thought Aston, Weah or even Henderson would play like they did a year ago. Of course, there are more unknowns this year coming in, but we’ll see.

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  2. That’s why we play the game..the excitement and drama that surrounds college ball and more specifically,our Pitt Panthers, keeps bringing us back for more…

    I hope the POV tailgate this Saturday and in the future are a huge success for all…who knows, maybe the “Dark One” will make an appearance.

    Like Gasman, I will be outta town for the opener- will be in Vegas on Saturday in a sportsbook ( get your locks ready UPitt) then driving to Glen Canyon Dam for a few days on a houseboat.

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  3. Reed that report was dire indeed. It is certainly a crapshoot going into the season with so many unknown variables. Yes we will get some 7s come 11s but there are a lot of snake eyes for sure. Aside from wins and losses am looking for the young players getting experience and maturing. It is all we can ask for plus some surprises here and there. How they respond in these first four games will tell a lot about this team and the future to come.

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      1. Unequivocally, yes. And I’m not even saying DOOM is incorrect. There is just no other logical conclusion to be drawn from the extremely heavy implications and explicit statements in today’s post. You can say no all you like. To draw any other conclusion from the post is to engage in the kind of wishful thinking that you regularly criticize. You can’t write off literally the whole defense except, PERHAPS, 1 or 2 positions, semi-write off the offensive line, semi-write off the starting QB as you have been doing for some time now, and then say, ‘Oh no not DOOM, just question marks and concerns.’

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  4. I agree with you Reed. Browne and Dinucci are “statues” and will be broken into pieces by game 3 behind this offensive line. YSU can beat Pitt! Frosh at center? Unless he is the reincarnation of Mike Webster…huh? Lots and lots of angst reading this 2 deep….but it’s this way every year as a Pitt fan. You just have to hope they grow up fast and are coached up fast.

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  5. Face it, when it comes to Narduzzi and especially Conklin, Reed has a glass half-empty view .. but had a half-full view of HCPC. This is not a criticism but an observation. Many of us (including me) are just the opposite, although I thought PC and staff was great at recruiting OL.

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  6. Good Lord Reed, you have become quite negative, LOL.

    TE – Narduzzi stated you can consider them both starters. They will play a lot together. No worries and nothing to do with Clark not showing enough. I don’t get why people insist on being negative about this kid. It is like the Weah BS before last year. This is college ball people, kids develop over the years.

    OL – Two things. One Bookser is back after game one. Morrissey is getting game experience so he can be serviceable as a back up for the rest of the games. Also, Pitt has a great OL coach. This line will not struggle to pass protect!!!!! O’Neil was a freaking converted tight end and was fine his first year. Narduzzi praised Morrissey big time in his news conference. I think the kid is legit and will be a future fixture at center. Hell, maybe Bookser doesn’t get back into the starting lineup because he is an idiot.

    DL – Absolutely no worries. The DL was AVERAGE last year with the exception of Price. This unit, with all the depth and options, will exceed expectations. Taleni and Blair are not big losses. This is where the recruiting will show up on D.

    LB – Totally agree with you. Praying for Pine to step up and be an impact player.

    DB – Whitehead wasn’t even first team ACC last year. Let’s not act like we are losing an ALL American and he certainly isn’t a leader with his off field behavior. Not saying his replacements are better, but there isn’t going to be a HUGE drop off. Not a Briggs fan, Hoping Campbell or Miller beat him out.

    Worry about the back seven on D. The rest of the team will be fine.

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    1. agree that Morrissey is a one game thing .. and it’s great that he gets a chance to start. But look for Bookser to either take over at center or for Officer to move back to where he played all of last year.

      Again, I emphasize patience. I’m more than happy if we get out of Sept with a 3-2 record. We lost 5 draft picks and about 2 or 3 more who have a good chance of making at least a practice squad.

      UPitt, Heather is going to be on the 93.7 The Fan in a little while.

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    2. Good point regarding Whitehead. Although I have tried to avoid making this point because he is so exalted by Pitt fans.

      Whitehead made his mark two years ago and a lot of it had to do with the fact that he was a starting true freshman who led the team in tackles by a wide margin. It wasn’t because of his stellar pass defense (1 Int and 6 passes defended). Last year had Whitehead played the entire season he may have led the team in tackles again (1 Int and 2 passes defended), but it would have been close. I would say Whitehead hasn’t truly demonstrated strong and consistent pass defense skills to date. I have seen him be as out of position and fooled as Terrish Webb was last season. Hopefully he elevates that part of his game this season.

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  7. The average defensive line from last year MAY have 3 of them playing in the NFL this year. Price for sure will make the team. Jarrett has a very good chance in making the Denver squad. And Soto is a toss up but I wouldn’t be surprised if he makes some teams practice squad this season. Whitehead not playing is a big drop off on a backfield that can’t afford any drop off at all. I expect our true freshman DB’s to both end up on the field this year by either poor performance from others or via injury replacements. Ans as for the line backers let’s just hope the added speed is not needed for the mistakes being made by not being able to read what the opposition is doing.

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  8. I am really concerned about our LBs. I believe our DBs are actually better than our LBs. When is Pitt going to get a big time LB who goes on to play in the NFL??? And the latest guess is that Brian Asamoah will pick
    Oklahoma over Pitt. See you guys on Saturday

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  9. Wbb… I didn’t address the coaching staff in this article at all. I was talking about The level of the players we have mostly their experience and some about their talent level. But the fact that Narduzzi sticks with the older players in some cases tells me that he trusts those players more than he does his new recruits and that means something.

    But when you discuss Paul Chryst recruiting you have to also look at the offensive players he recruited also. The basis of those eight wins we had last year was all on the offense and it was the offensive line, James Conner, George Aston and other players who came in under Paul Chryst. Weah also in particular.

    When I see players like Orndoff, Johnson, Biz, Conner and those guys missing from the lineup and being replaced with a true freshman at Center – Conner Dintino, Mike Flanagan as a transfer and a senior fullback who never played a down I get worried.

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    1. See Reed, this is exactly what I’m talking about. You give credit to PC and staff for many of the players who were part of that great offense we had last year …. and you should! But then you turn around and criticize Conklin for the poor defensive play. It doesn’t work both ways.

      I’ll continue to say that last year we faced a large handful of QBs and WRs who will play in the NFL, and had to defend them with Webb, Mitchell, Caprara, Briggs (all 2-stars who only had one P5 offer) … and Idowu, who was a walk-on.

      It could be said that last year’s defense was a direct result of commitment classes like 2013 when of 27 total recruits, 18 were offense and the top rated defensive recruit ended playing RB.

      Liked by 1 person

    2. No doubt Chryst’s talent evaluation recruiting was underrated.

      But I think Narduzzi’s coaching and development is underrated as well. He’s also a pragmatic dude, a problem solver. Pitt lost a massive amount of talent on offense, so Nard turned to the grad transfer market and netted potentially quality starters.

      For the first time, this is a majority Narduzzi recruited squad. According to the official two deep, the offense has 9 Chryst recruits and 16 Narduzzi recruits and the defense has only 7 Chryst recruits and 21 Narduzzi recruits.

      It should be a fun year but I’m thinking anything more than 6 wins is playing with house money

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  10. Did anyone watch the press conference yesterday? Did Narduzzi seem concerned about the DL? From what I gathered that was the unit he felt most comfortable about on the whole D! I can get where most of your assessment is coming from Reed. But I don’t feel that way about most of it. I don’t understand the viewpoint of not starting out the year with the anticipation of having a good season and being excited about it. All the negative stuff is depressing.

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  11. Lot of talent has moved on or not available esp on offense

    Peterman – starting QB for Bills ATM
    Conner – tearing it up in preseason
    Ford – has a good shot of making Lions
    Orndoff – has a slightly less good shot of making Lions
    Johnson – Starting OG for Arizona
    Bisnowaty – will make Giants roster

    Other losses from two offensive two deep
    Bookser (suspended), Guy, Reese, Baker, Parrish, Blewitt

    Price – will make LA Rams
    Jarrett – will likely make Denver Broncos
    Soto – hanging around with broncos
    Bradley – hanging around with Ravens
    Galambos – hanging around with steelers
    Lewis – hanging around with Arizona
    Webb – hanging around with steelers

    Others
    Caprara, Mitchell, Taleni, Blair, Whitehead (suspended), Wirginis (suspended)

    This is a massive talent drain for a program like Pitt to recover from in a single year.

    I do like all three of the grad transfers though… big time offseason pickups by the staff.

    Gotta give props to Morrissey though, don’t hate – appreciate.

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    1. There are very few on your list that would qualify as “irreplaceable” at this point.
      The issue as you’ve mentioned is the large numbers and needed replacements at the same time.

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      1. if there’s one thing sports has taught me (specifically the RB position at Pitt) – no one is irreplaceable

        still that’s a chunk of talent and experience

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  12. Pitt has better numbers on DL and DE than years past despite Blair and Taleni. Weaver is healthy and Hendrix has yet to be 100%. Hendrix was a terror on the Scout team 2 years ago. But man those injuries . Camp was a 4 star by the way. Line backers are an issue and Wirginis returning helps for the 4th game as does Whitehead. Pitt is unlikely to beat the nits even with all hands on deck. To many players who need to jell. OSU may be interesting by the third game. OL can be very good if they stay intact. Need to keep coaching and developing on defense. Partridge will make a significant difference there. .

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      1. Scout 247 ad him as a 4 star. Yes Rivals had him as a high 3 star. But my point was he was a USC de-commit and was highly rated. Means little now after a couple years but his offers were very good.

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  13. Hey, I still have 4 days to write positive stuff – but as the poster above lays out so well – we have a totally different team from last season almost and that isn’t too the plus side. even the players were were counting on last Jan as returning starters are missing – Blair, Taleni, Whitehead, Wirginis, etc… in addition to natural attrition, is a big blow over this season’s first few games… and maybe the whole year.

    Look – even the one guy on offense who I think will really contribute in a big way has a valid ? next to his name and that is Ollison. Had he continued his great 2015 work last season as a back up to Conner I’d feel much better but he didn’t, if anything he dipped pretty drastically, so that is something to keep an eye on.

    Now, and maybe i should have made this clear in the article and I’ll edit it, just because there are question marks on offense and defense doesn’t mean those players are going to fail out there. Not at all – it just means we fans (and the staff) have no real idea how well they will contribute.

    I think we can all agree with that.

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    1. Exactly we just don’t know. The staff can say this and that about them but they most likely are thinking the same thing and hoping for the best.

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  14. Anon..who woulda thought Webb, Lewis, Bradley and Galambos would still be hanging around an NFL camp this close to the season opener…that is 1/4 of the 2017 defense. I am surprised they wer even asked to an NFL camp same goes with Lafayette “please turn your headaround” Pitts….go figure.

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  15. We were one of the worst defenses in D1 last year. If we were that bad with em lets so what we can do without em.

    I am excited for this team and I think the year could be a great surprise 10 wins or a dumpster fire 5 wins. I think QB play and D line play will be the largest factors in determine which number we land on.

    We know we aren’t going to find out anything about the team Saturday. The only bad thing that can happen is a lose to YSU. Aside from that we will find out what we have or don’t the following weekend.

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    1. I disagree. Honestly this season should be a relative low point for the program. The class that should be seniors has more or less disintegrated. There are only 10 dudes in the two deep moving on. There are 18 players in the offensive and defensive two deep with two years remaining, 13 players with three years remaining, and 15 players with four years of eligibility remaining. This doesn’t include LS and K (both four years left). This is a very young team once again.

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  16. –Aston is such a talent that he will not be replaced. I think we go back to seeing the fullback block and touch the ball maybe once per game until Aston returns. I look for plays involving Clark and Flanagan to take up the slack.

    –Clark will be a star TE, IMHO. I’m looking for 2 TD catches in the opener. Going to be tough for defenses to match-up with him, especially near the goal line…

    –Yes the DTs are unknown and untested, but, if you look at their recruitment, it has been ages since we’ve had such highly regarded DTs. And going 3-deep we can keep them playing fresh. I think they will be decent to start the season and get better as we go along.

    –And concerning Shane Roy — what did we expect to get out of Soto going into last season. The truthful answer is “Not much.” He had done little at DE but had a nice season at DT… Shane can run for a big guy. My concern with Jarrett was that he was so big that he didn’t cover that much groiund – his tackle radius was small. He must have shed some weight and gotten a bit quicker if he’s making an NFL team…

    –I’m skeptical about the DEs but hoping for the best. At least there is potential there.

    –Stocker worries me at safety. Looks the part but was strictly a chaser last season.

    Obviously it’s real hard to play DB in Coach Duzz’s defense. Tough for the corners because they are on an island — it’s all about can they do it physically. And it’s a tough job when the WR knows where the ball is going and the DB doesn’t.

    Tough for safeties, I think mainly on the mental side. Seems like they have tough reads to make and one false step – like reading run instead of pass – leads to a wide open receiver and a TD.

    Pitt has been terrible at both positions since Coach Duzz arrived. I suspect the corners play better this season even if it’s just a matter of the percentages coming more our way on the 50-50 balls. It’s the safeties that scare the heck out of me…

    Go Pitt.

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  17. Great write up Reed. I am really fired up now!

    Share your concerns about the Defense – at really every position… But I remain optimistic & am really hopeful that some of our local kids BG (from the truly MIGHTY CCHS kudos to the staff for insuring the 5th Ave pipeline remains open), TC (Pittsburgh Public’s Brashear) in the short term have real opportunities and we are all still on board with KP (‘quips) finding a position down the road right?! If we are all being honest its just so perplexing that JW – who was being given “face of the program en route to the league” status & QW – always billed as “high character” – yet both required such corrective punishment.

    The AB infraction was tangible to us all (and thankfully no one was hurt- I still ride my bicycle through oakland – sometimes at very odd hours of the day!)… I know every program has their issues, these are just young men, etc… and I’m all for 2nd/3rd chances… Great big opportunity for EZ at Linebacker – ITS SHOW ME TIME!!! I believe that the “front 7” has to step up in order for the DB’s to have a fighting chance!!! h2p BTW thanks to all the regular commentators your “point/counter points” are the stray that stirs the drink.

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  18. August 28, 2017

    Pat Narduzzi Press Conference

    Youngstown State Week

    PRESS CONFERENCE VIDEO: Narduzzi YSU Preview

    PAT NARDUZZI: Well, after a long, long camp, four-week camp, it’s finally game week. I don’t think there’s anybody more excited for game week to be here than our football team, our players especially. Got a great opener, obviously, one that’s familiar with me, being that it was my first game as a head coach here against these guys, and get to come back and do it again two years later. But I think we’re facing a totally different program. I think we’re a totally different team than we were two years ago as far as just who we are and what we are. But we face a team in Youngstown, 12-4 record a year ago, played in the National Championship game, got beat by JMU, very good team, had several guys drafted. I know two defensive ends for sure. But a very talented football team in Youngstown. They’re tough. They’re disciplined.

    But very talented football team, and Bo Pelini and I go back a long way, Shane Montgomery, we go back a long way, the offensive coordinator, and Carl [Pelini], shoot, first time I met him, he was the head high school coach at Austintown-Fitch High School back at some point, and I’ve known him since then.

    When you look at Youngstown, they’re a very disciplined football team. They’re tough. I would say very similar to what we are. They’re well-coached. Bo is a heck of a football coach. He’s assembled himself a great staff. Offensively Hunter Wells runs the show. He was a guy that got beat out early in the year. I think they were trying to go with the athletic quarterback, and Hunter Wells played against us two years ago in 2015, so he’s back as a starter. He was a guy that really came out and won all those playoff games for them. But really about quit, I believe, from the stories I hear. But hung on, and then was the guy to start for them. What a great story for him in adversity.

    They have a couple young tailbacks that didn’t see a lot of action a year ago, the McCaster kid is the guy. Alessi is the backup, who I went to school with his dad back at Youngstown, also, so that’s another interesting tidbit, also. The receivers are very athletic. The Patterson kid, good football player, played against us two years ago, got great hands, makes plays. And then the Scott kid from Hubbard, his brother is LJ, plays at Michigan State, he was a Division I athlete coming out of high school, ended up going to Youngstown State for whatever reason, and hometown kid, and he’s talented. He could play anywhere in the country, I think.

    Skill-wise, I think they’re talented across the board there, and they’ve got a very experienced quarterback that talking to Shane back when I was at Michigan State, Shane Montgomery, that is, thought he was a Ben Roethlisberger type quarterback, so I think he can make a lot of throws and he’s very smart and gets them in the right place.

    Defensively, Armand Dellovade kind of runs their show at the middle linebacker spot. I think that name is familiar with everybody around here. He’s a football player. Wish he was in this program. Up front, they’ve got two D-tackles, Savon Smith and Mesier, and then they’ve got a safety that will rock you, a kid named Jalyn Powell, who played for me at Michigan State, as well. So they’ve got a couple transfers at defensive end from Florida, a receiver from Florida that we don’t know as much about, and maybe there’s some other guys that pop up on the roster. But great football team, and it’ll be a challenge. Our guys better come ready to play.

    With that, I’ll open it up.

    Q. You said you feel like you’re a totally different program than the one that faced them two years ago. In what ways?

    PAT NARDUZZI: Well, when you watch the tape, I think offensively we’re a little bit different than what they saw in the past. I think defensively, I’m watching going, golly, we’ve come a long way. When you look at just your first game and then you look at your last game, just go back to the bowl game last year, just what you’re doing, how you’re doing it, how fast you’re playing. We did not play very fast the last time we played. We didn’t get lined up as well as you’d like. It’s really two years past that date, 26 games later, and you kind of look and say, where are you, and it’s like, wow. There’s some players on that field I’d still take. I’d still take Lafayette Pitts, and big Tyrique [Jarrett] is out there playing against them, and there’s some other players that you’re going, wow, we don’t have a guy playing for us right now that’s like that guy, either, which is a good thing, too.

    Q. What do you want to see out of your team in this game Saturday?

    PAT NARDUZZI: You know, I want to see our guys come out with an attitude of this is a big game. I think it’s all how you put into it. It’s a big game because you only get 12 opportunities. So it’s the attitude they take into this game. I want to see them come out and play like they can. I don’t want them holding anything back for the next week or the next week after that or for the ACC. It’s a one-game season, and that’s all I’m focused on. I don’t care about anything else. I want to take that same attitude that our coaches will take into this game.

    Q. This is the first of three games you’ll be without Jordan Whitehead, Quintin Wirginis and Alex Bookser. How did you kind of feel at the end of camp the replacements that were stepping in for those three were playing?

    PAT NARDUZZI: I feel good. I feel a lot better than I would have felt if I found out or made that decision this week. I’d be like, oh, my gosh, can we get time. We’ve had time to prepare, and we’ll be fine.

    Q. You have three guys on defense who are starters who are redshirt freshmen in Rashad, Keyshon and Bricen. Do you think those guys are just right there with the starters?

    PAT NARDUZZI: The “or” questions. Give me your ors and I’ll tell you one by one.

    Q. We’ve got Dewayne and Rashad?

    PAT NARDUZZI: Yeah, Rashad is playing really well, so we feel pretty good obviously about Dewayne Hendrix, and we feel really good about Rashad Weaver. He’s played good football, and we’re excited about him, so that’s a good ‘or.’

    Q. And then Jazzee?

    PAT NARDUZZI: Jazzee Stocker, that’s been a competition back and forth. If you saw our depth chart during the week, you’d be like, one day it’s him, one day it’s the other guy. Those guys to me are co-starters right now, okay. That’s how it is — just so we’re on the same page, those guys are co-starters, and I’ve been in that situation before, and you know what we’re going to find out, we’re going to find out who plays and does it in the game and who doesn’t.

    Probably after the game or at least Sunday, I’ll be able to tell you this guy is starting this week, based on what he does on September 2nd. But during the week it’s a little bit back and forth and maybe he didn’t look so good because it wasn’t live and he looked better because it was thud. I don’t know, but we’ll find out in the game.

    I’ve been in games where we’ve had co-starters at that safety spot, and Kurtis Drummond I think is playing with the Texans right now. He was co-starter until he made that point in a game, and we found out against Indiana at Indiana that he was the starter. He started the rest of the year, and it was a done deal. Someone finally exposed the other guy, and there we go.

    Q. Do you prefer having two guys like that or do you prefer having the one guy separating —

    PAT NARDUZZI: If you can give me an All-American there at that position, that’s had 12-game, 15-game experience, I’d take him, too, with someone pushing him, but I do like the competition, and I feel like we’ve got two guys that can go in there, and I feel like it’ll be great for both of them.

    Q. With Shawn Watson in his first game trying to figure out what his guys can do in a game situation, do you open it up or do you try to keep it vanilla because you don’t want to show too much because what you’ve got coming the next few weeks is considerable?

    PAT NARDUZZI: Do you want me to tell Bo right now?

    Q. Well, watching that other game, I was like —

    PAT NARDUZZI: Boring, huh? We might be a little bit boring. I don’t know.

    Q. How do you weigh it then because you’ve got a guy calling the game, he’s trying to figure out what works, and — how do you weigh that versus I don’t want to show the guys next week what we’re doing?

    PAT NARDUZZI: Put it this way: There’s some things we’re going to hold, but we’re going out to win that football game. That’s what it comes down to.

    Q. Is this a more difficult test than what you guys opened with last year?

    PAT NARDUZZI: I mean, I would say on a piece of paper it is, but when you look at they’re (YSU) a top-10 team right now, I think they’re eighth in one poll, ninth in the other. They’ve got players. I would say yes, it is.

    Villanova is not the type of team that’s bringing in a ton of transfers that you don’t know who they are and the history back when Jim Tressel was the head coach there, they brought a ton of transfers in and had some success with them. So they’re on that same track.

    Q. How is Paris Ford progressing?

    PAT NARDUZZI: You know, not as well as you want to. I shouldn’t say that. He’s doing a great job on scout team. At the point when he came into camp, you know, like the work was in already, unfortunately, and that’s why I told you it would be a miracle probably for him — has he scrimmaged yet? No. I mean, it’s just too late. But you know what, he’s doing a great job on scout team. He’s having fun playing the game, and that’s what you notice about him.

    The other day he’s got a chance, we run a pass, whatever, doesn’t matter what the pass is, but he comes, whoop, and like pretends like he’s going to hit that guy. Obviously he’s on the scout team, he doesn’t want to hit the guy, but he’s having some fun and you’re like, whoo, that would have been a nice play. He probably would have broken the pass up, so he’s doing good on that. But he’s just sitting there reading a card like — so he doesn’t really know what he’s doing yet, and we’ve worked with him, but the only time — you can work with him and he can say, yeah, I know what to do, but until you see all the different things that can happen to you, you really don’t know. It’s just too hard.

    Q. Is he eligible if you guys do want to put him in?

    PAT NARDUZZI: Yeah, as far as I know, yeah, is he eligible.

    Q. Do you think that either Motley, Aston or Hamlin will play this year?

    PAT NARDUZZI: Motley, yes.

    Q. Do you think all three will play?

    PAT NARDUZZI: Who did you say?

    Q. Motley, Aston and Hamlin?

    PAT NARDUZZI: Yeah, no doubt about it.

    Q. All three will play?

    PAT NARDUZZI: Yeah. I told you I would tell you if someone wouldn’t a couple weeks ago, so you guys ask the same questions. But yeah, if somebody is out for the year, I’m going to let you know.

    Q. How crucial is it just looking at the schedule, your first three — the second and third games are huge, but how crucial —

    PAT NARDUZZI: This first one is huge. I ain’t worried about —

    Q. Do they need to perform well on both sides of the ball leading into the next two games?

    PAT NARDUZZI: You said how important is it to play good in this game because of what you have next? Is that what you’re asking?

    Q. Just to build confidence.

    PAT NARDUZZI: Yeah, we’re not going to play like you want to. We’re going to make our biggest improvement from game 1 to game 2. That’s just a natural. We can play really, really good and then fall flat on our face the next week. Sometimes it’s nice not to play great and then at least you go into that next week going, okay — so that confidence, we’ll build that. I just think when you look at the first game, there’s going to be those first game things that happen to you, and we’re going to see some of those ‘ors’, you either do it or not, and the next week there might not be any ‘ors.’ We’re going to find out what some of those guys do. It will not be a perfect game, I can tell you that.

    Q. With all those young guys back there, how important is it to have Avonte and Dennis back there, guys who have been in your system now for three years and really know what to look for more than someone who’s —

    PAT NARDUZZI: It helps. It helps obviously a lot, and Dane Jackson has come a long way. Damarri Mathis, guys, is a football player. He’s not in there because of a lack of talent. That guy is a football player. I can’t wait to watch him play. Now, he may be a freshman out there on September 2nd, but he hasn’t been a freshman in practice — not one day of practice has he acted like a freshman. I’ve been impressed with that guy from day one to be honest with you, and Pinnock, not as much, but Pinnock is really good, too. I’m excited for those guys and see what they can do.

    Q. The numbers weren’t great for the secondary last year. What have you seen — you guys have said we’re going to stick with a plan. This is what we do. What have you seen during camp that sort of gives you confidence that these guys are starting to play?

    PAT NARDUZZI: Well, the first thing is there’s always going to be tweaking to it, so when I say not change what we’re going to do, we do what we do, but like we do every week, we’re going to tweak things to take care of things that had hurt us in the past. So you’re not changing the overall structure, but you’re changing little things to make things better, whether it be a technique, fundamental, an alignment. Those are all little things that will change weekly and change with the years, as well. But what you see out of our players in the secondary that you didn’t see a year ago is more recognition of splits, where guys are lined up, what they’re trying to do to you, the why’s, are we doing this, those things, and I’ve seen guys make plays. Now, they’ve made them in practice. We’ve got to make — like I said, we had some great catches on defense through camp, and we’ve got to see it on game day now.

    Q. Are they doing less push-ups the last couple weeks than they were at the start of camp?

    PAT NARDUZZI: I think it’s been about the same. I think they’ve been pretty steady. I think they’ve been steady through camp. It wasn’t something where they started off bad where they were doing a lot of push ups, I didn’t count them, and then they’re doing less. It’s been a pretty consistent attitude back there, and it’s been pretty solid. We’ll find out on game day.

    Q. As a coach do you like that? When you see guys take accountability like that —

    PAT NARDUZZI: It’s their defense, so yeah. That’s what you want to see, that accountability out of them and not accepting that.

    Q. Even with the secondary, you’ve got five corners posted on there. Is there still a chance we might see Therran Coleman get in the mix?

    PAT NARDUZZI: There is. He just needs some game reps. Therran, those other guys have gotten more reps than he has. He’s been up and down and in and out, and we’ll see. But we expect big things out of him and Damar, and we’ll see as time goes. I expect him to play.

    Q. From a physical standpoint, where is Dewayne Hendrix compared to where he was at this point last year?

    PAT NARDUZZI: You know, that’s a great question. It’s hard to tell. I want to get a whole game out of him. But you know, we don’t even have a game — a whole game to look at and say, okay, how is Dewayne now. I don’t even know how many plays he played against Villanova last year before he was out. Did he play a quarter? I don’t know if he played that long. But he didn’t play very long, so we don’t have a lot to compare it to. He’s looked good. He’s looked good in camp. He looked good in spring ball. He looked good last camp. It’ll be fun to watch him stay healthy, and then I’ll — but you really have nothing to gauge it from.

    Q. Do you feel better about your depth on defense this year compared to last?

    PAT NARDUZZI: You know, I think it’s just like any year. Some spots you feel better than others. Right?

    Q. Where do you feel good about your team?

    PAT NARDUZZI: (Smiles.)

    Q. It’s not an unfair question.

    PAT NARDUZZI: It’s not, you’re right.

    I feel pretty good about it everywhere, but I’m not going to sit here and give you the weaknesses or anybody else for that matter. I hope you respect that. But I really feel really, really, really good about our D-line and our depth there. I really do. I like the guys that we have.

    I mean, when you look at Patrick Jones and a guy that hasn’t played for us yet on the edge with Weaver, Jimmy Medure has showed that he can come in there and make some hay, as well. Probably forgetting some other guys. Let me look, at the defensive end spots. Rashad, Allen Edwards had a good camp, Folston. Those are a lot of guys that can play football on the edge, and then inside, Shane Roy has really had a good camp, and Keyshon, and I feel good there.

    Q. I saw the clip on Twitter. What was it like giving out that scholarship to Jimmy Morrissey last week?

    PAT NARDUZZI: It’s always good. I mean, it didn’t go as planned. We wanted him to take a couple snaps first, but we messed that up. No, it was great. Jimmy has worked his tail off. It was something coming for a long time. You knew if you had one available that that was a guy that worked hard. He’s had the respect of our football team since he walked on that campus. He’s a natural leader. I mean, I will not be shocked if that guy is a captain some day. He’s just a redshirt freshman right now but it will not shock me if he’s a captain some day. He’s respected on and off the field. The kids really like him. For a young guy, man, the communication he’s got in the huddle and at the line of scrimmage is incredible. He does a great job.

    Q. You have four tight ends. Where does Flanagan —

    PAT NARDUZZI: Again, I could put them in order if you wanted me to. I guess we don’t have an order there because we’re going to play two of them a lot. Might even put three of them on the field. Flanagan has just been consistent and so has Chris Clark now. You’re going to see a lot of those guys on the field, and it’s — you put one tight end on there because you’re putting three wide outs, I think. Is that the case? Do we have three wide outs? Or two backs, or a fullback, whatever. We’ve probably got 12 guys on there instead of 11. We don’t just have two categories for two — maybe we should have a category with 13, 14 positions.

    But we see Chris Clark as a co-starter with Flanagan. In my opinion those guys are going to play a lot. That guy is going to get out and make a lot of plays this year for us, I think. Flanagan, though, if you had to put them in order, has been more consistent. He’s got the experience that Chris doesn’t have, and he probably pays attention to the details a little bit more than Chris. But when Chris Clark is the senior, he’s going to have the details, as well. I’d say the difference is the details, but when you look at 260 pounds that can run block, pass protect and also run down the field and stretch the field and catch the ball — I mean, they both have play making ability.

    Q. Quadree Henderson taking another step as a receiver, what does that do for your offense having him in the slot?

    PAT NARDUZZI: It gives us another guy to throw the ball to. I mean, it’s good, I guess, right?

    Q. Has there been separation at running back or are those guys still sort of technically together?

    PAT NARDUZZI: They’re a big pile in there. It’s another one of those things, it comes down to game day. Quadree has obviously had more reps lying back there, and we’ve seen him do it. Darrin Hall has gotten good. I could throw more ‘ors’ on there as you want it after that if you really wanted me to do that, but there’s some young guys that have really stepped up. I mean, AJ Davis has been impressive.

    Q. I wanted to ask you about the long snap position.

    PAT NARDUZZI: Good for you.

    Q. With Cal Adomitis winning that, is that something that Coach Powell comes to you and says I think we’ve got to go with Cal or is that something you’re involved with because obviously it’s a very niche sort of —

    PAT NARDUZZI: You guys were out there for practice most of the time during field goal and punts and all that and watching the snaps.

    No we make staff decisions, and it’s just consistency as far as where that snap is, especially for punts. We like it at the right thigh board in the punt protection. Those are all things that we all look at. It’s not hard to see, and consistency as far as where that snap goes is important. Cal has done a great job, and we’re going to find out on game day. I don’t know if there’s an ‘or’ there, but Nate Bossory has done a nice job, as well.

    Q. Talking about the backs, Moss isn’t on there. Is he just a step behind or will he still get some runs?

    PAT NARDUZZI: We’ll find out. It comes down to getting reps, and Moss isn’t on there, but AJ Davis isn’t on there, Sibley is not on there, probably somebody else we’re missing on there, as well, but it comes down to getting enough reps to be a guy that you’d want to put on that two deep and feel comfortable. Those are our first two guys going into the game Saturday. I can tell you that. If they’re not going on, then we’ll go to the third guy. But those are the first two guys that you’ll see in the game, unless something crazy happens this week.

    Q. With you and Bo both being from Youngstown, a year and a half apart in age, did you know him growing up and as you got into the profession?

    PAT NARDUZZI: It’s been a ‘hate’ tie since the beginning, okay, and in a good way. You know, we don’t grow up in a world like we do now, so Youngstown, you’ve got Ursuline, Catholic school, versus Youngstown Mooney is really what it was, and we didn’t like them and they didn’t like us, and the hate was the rivalry, not even me and Bo. But without — you’ve got Twitter and Facebook and Snapchat and then you have all these recruiting events, like in the Pittsburgh area, all these kids in this area all know each other, you know, and when you look back in 1984 and ’85 and ’83, there was no such thing.

    They may have lived two blocks away, but because they were from the other block, you didn’t talk to them. So you really didn’t know them. You knew them from a scouting report and who they were and what they played, but you really didn’t — there was no interaction like there is nowadays. And it’s kind of neat how these kids get along with each other now and they play each other on a Friday night and then they continue to talk — we didn’t do that back then. I mean, I know you’re too young to maybe figure it out. You’re like, what is he talking about. Us old people.

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  19. Good grief Reed, I’m shocked that you’ve been treated with such kindness after that horrid depiction.

    PITT’s offense was super fantastic last year and will miss some key parts. That is true enough. Yet we want to call the defense crap and complain about losing players from that unit. Who cares PITT lost players that failed miserably?

    Officer was NOT beat out by a walk-on in any sort of way. That’s crazy talk.. The guy is a starter at guard.

    I’m hearing that Bricen Garner will be the other safety.

    Flanagan and Clarke are co starters.

    PITT’s second charted players are a good bit young in the tooth. Thanks Paul. BUT I think they will hold up just fine.

    This business about Browne being a statue is also overblown and worn out. We have NO idea how he moves in the pocket. Marino and Joe Namath were consider immobile but had a pocket presence. This can also be countered by a sly step to the right or left. Let’s not talk falsely here as we just do not know.

    Quick passes and a quick release can be just as effective as holding the football too long then running. It will also keep the QB a lot healthier in the long run. Remember Peterman getting jacked up in the bowl game.

    BTW, did PITT lose last year’s bowl game?

    We should all just hand in out tickets and call it a season. PITT has ZERO chances of winning a game this year with this pathetic team.

    Good gracious is that a dim outlook.

    NOT TO BE TAKEN SERIOUSLY
    ..AND I AM SERIOUS
    H2P!

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  20. It’s a Pitt thing guys. “Pitt pessimism” rhymes so much better than “Pitt optimism”. Considering how Pitt has disappointed it’s fan base over the last three decades, who can really fault Reed for his trepidation?

    My psychiatrist has suggested that I avoid the Pitt POV, she feels to accelerate my recovery from my recent bout of depression I need to be surrounded by positivity. Up to this point, I’ve not taken her advice. I might have to reconsider.

    Oh & BTW Reed, quit fooling yourself, because when you present articles that are definitely a “glass half empty” analysis that you interpret as a just “keeping it real” editorial, you’re kidding yourself. No, rather you’re just presenting a pessimistic viewpoint because you value track records & experience of veteran players at their respective positions as criteria for future success.

    This team has many players with none of either of those valuable assets at multiple positions presently. Lots to be scared about, easy to be negative. That begins to change come Saturday.

    But do yourself a favor in the meantime and just own apprehension that you possess, it’s your opinion. You take to heart criticism on this issue way too much.

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    1. At least we won’t have to worry about Baduzzi losing his third bowl game in a row with that scenario!🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣😫😫😫

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  21. Doc, send Reed the phone number of your psychiatrist he could use it more than you.

    and by the by. Your last sentence rings true to me as well.

    A great PITT man and a different friend of mine is so pessimistic it drives me nuts. < (there’s the reason) the weird part though, he thinks it brings PITT good luck. I can’t stand to be near him during a game and that includes the phone.

    I can reason with most of the apprehension moving into this season as I have questions as well but I still find good reasons to by somewhat optimistic. It’s called the ACC and I feel PITT will be just fine. Thank You .. . .ike

    Good Luck PittMan
    ..and to all in Texas.
    H2 P!

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  22. On the bright side(or dark side depending on where your coming from) if we win only 2 games there won’t be many teams looking to employ Narduzzi at seasons end.

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  23. Third year of a program can go either way. But to me, the facts are Pitt lacks game day experience and that is the concern. But many of these players have two to three years of college coaching and S&C behind them. Now it is a matter of application and adjustments. Teams improve form the first game to the second. This is also true of players. they make the biggest leap from freshman to red shirt freshman to sophomore year. Weaver, Camp, Watts, Jones, Pine, Coleman, Garner, Wheeler and in time Hamlin will be the backbone of the D.

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  24. I’m actually happy about the youth on this roster. I think everyone forgets about what we discussed w/ HCPC and the years before. We all saw the roster and knew we didn’t have size or athleticism and the past two seasons we exceeded expectations and had generally successful seasons. I want to see these kids with the size and athleticism we have been missing and seeing if Narduzzi continues to create a culture he was able to do place in East Lansing. I think everyone agrees this is a building year as now it’s Narduzzi’s kids banging on the door to start. Why not let them play and gain the experience if we all can agree it’s a building year?

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  25. Has anyone ever seen narduzzi and Paul chryst and Wanny and Walt in the same place at the same time

    Because I swear they’re all the same person judging by how pitt fans talk about them exactly the same way. All loser bums apparently

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  26. I’ve been doing this since 1967 and can remember a period of time 76-81 where we used to argue what was the one game Pitt would lose that year to keep us from the National Championship. We we all forget is that every college football team has huge turnover each year. Most however are much better stocked than Pitt because of 8 years of coaching chaos.

    Forgive a few of us if we are less than optimistic based on out past Pitt Expereience. I think Reed and I and a few others have earned it. And yes, Pitt could easily be upset by a very good YSU team.

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    1. Yes, you guys are entitled to be as delusional as you want. YSU could easily beat Pitt. Okay. Sure. Then why didn’t they do it two years ago when Pitt had a much less talented team then and no experience playing under narduzzi and his staff in actual games.

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  27. The depth on the OL issue is a valid concern, but a bit overblown.

    Talent on the D line is not an issue, regardless of Roy starting. The bigger problem here is youth/inexperience. Once again, too much emphasis on stars, how about we focus on ability instead?

    I do agree with the concerns about safety, Briggs is solid but appears limited, and Stocker was totally lost last year, I can’t imagine him even playing respectable this year. I hope he proves me wrong.

    My other concern would be linebacker depth and talent.

    And finally, I look forward to the day when a talented, mobile QB takes the reigns

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  28. Pat Forde, noted Yahoo college sports writer lists top FB rivalries which did not include Bama-Auburn BTW … seven were listed, here is excerpt of one of them:

    Penn State-Pittsburgh (15). The date: Sept. 9. The location: State College. They’ve met 97 times dating back to 1893, but the rivalry was dormant for 15 years before renewing last season. It was a memorable game that wound up having long-term effects on the national picture – Pitt pulled out a 42-39 thriller, a result that ultimately helped prevent the Big Ten champion Nittany Lions from making the playoff. This year Penn State has playoff aspirations and quite likely cannot afford another loss to the Panthers. (Note: Penn State hasn’t beaten Pitt without some involvement from Joe Paterno – as head coach or assistant – since 1947.)

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  29. Hey Dan, I’ve been around just as long as you old fogies. I can see a difference in this PITT head coach that I haven’t seen for awhile. Rear-view mirrors when forecasting a college football team’s season is not a good idea.

    Past PITT experiences have nothing to do with the upcoming season less than 5 days away. That’s with all due respect of course.

    Still putting together my season predictions and will try my best to keep it real. (Very hard for me to predict a PITT loss)

    I can tell you all right now that, although Reed has given a fairly dire depiction of this years team he will have PITT winning 8 games. Just watch imo

    Paul Chryst and Pat Narduzzi to me are no where remotely the same. You’re right though Mr Deep the fans are. SOP fans! . . . . . . . .ike
    Hell
    Hell
    H2P!

    Like

    1. Nailed it!!!!!!

      Our last National Championship in 1976 came out of a complete Chang of direction in commitment and direction of Pitt’s less than mediocre football program from the previous decade plus.

      Coach Narduzzi fuzzies is building something good. This season we discover whether the bones of that build are solid or not.

      Like

  30. agree with Dan72 & am trying to have the optimism of Dr Tom & EE… I always said history would be kind to HCPC. After all he grabbed the wheel in the midst of a historic tailspin. In the end, he cleaned up the “front porch” (ADSB…lol) reminded us all that sometimes a good scoop of vanilla ice cream is all you deserve, and treated us like the stepping stone we were – even with our massive inferiority complexes as Pitt fans, that was a bitter pill to swallow. In the end he went 500 & only recruited Olinemen (in retrospect he prob didn’t want to waste any blue chip recruiting trump cards on a stepping stone gig – can you blame him?). Somehow he got what he wanted (thanks Uncle Barry – he gives & he takes dont he?). BUT we got what we wanted, a young animated, passionate winner from the demilitarized zone of Youngstown OH. Now certainly all of us are smart enough that the statement made above about the Stillers backup Tailback being HCPC’s best defensive recruit has to resonate with all of us no? Lets hope the defensive 2 deep are the final after shocks of our coaching tailspin. Lets see what the youth can do (does anyone else feel as though Coach Partridge was brought here to be the DC tho????) H2P

    Like

  31. Love this site but rarely comment. Kudos to Reed on a fine article. The handwringing and gnashing of teeth contained therein is impressive, even by Pitt standards. As always, I will expect the worst but hope for the best. H2P!

    Like

  32. And when pitt beats ysu and goes on to have a decent season that was simply impossible to achieve yet somehow they did… the same people will ignore it and say the same delusional things about 2018 as they are saying about 2017 and as they said about 2016 and 2015. If actual reality followed the ‘realistic’ expectations as determined by expert ‘realist’ little brother pitt fans, narduzzi would have a .500 record as a head coach at best instead of 16-10

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    1. If Browne can’t handle the blitz he won’t be behind center for very long. He well be replaced for ineffectiveness or via injury. We won’t have to wait very long because I believe Bo will test our QB as well as our DB’s very early Saturday.

      Like

      1. It’s been noted previously, even by Browne himself, that one of his strong points is playing “on time”. That means going through his progressions quickly and not holding the ball beyond the critical “throw it away” deadline. Even QBs with poor mobility can handle the blitz when they effectively manage the game in such a manner.

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  33. Move over Deepelemblues – I like where you’re going, and I want a ride!

    Like Reed, I see all the question marks – even the ?? A ? means we don’t know the answer to this puzzle……one way or the other – especially since the gates to the practice field are closed (I find great solice in the fact that, neither do opposing coaches – how in the world can you prepare to meet this team in the first 3-4 weeks???).

    However, I’m expecting the this whole puzzle to have been assembled in the positive. I have great confidence in our coaching staff’s ability to teach and condition.

    Like

  34. … and Reed wonders why people accuse him of being negative. Pessimism is realistic to a point when you’re overhauling a roster as much as Pitt is but this outright negative.

    Like

  35. Wow doom and gloom article sounds with a lot of unknowns looks like a horrible year ahead but that’s why they play the game.

    Maybe Narduzzi is publishing fake news that seems to be in nowadays.

    Like

  36. Did HCPN praise the defense that got run-over by Northwestern? Perhaps he saw a different game than i did.
    And why does Idowu get the start? Despite being second on the team in tackles, i thought he was a mop-up player at best, beaten out by Zeisse. Would replace him with Brightwell and put Pine in the middle.

    Like

  37. Way too much of taking Narduzzi at his word. Pat Narduzzi reminds me a little of “opposite George” from Seinfeld. I am a little surprised when he’s asked a question he just doesn’t give his rank and serial number as the answer.

    I can no reason why Narduzzi and the PITT coaches would not play the players, who they think, give them and the PITT football team the BEST chance to win a football game.

    It’s kinda like taking care of my kids. It’s what I was supposed to do!! ..ike

    Like

  38. Dan72 I am with you on this as to past and present. I expect Roy and Stocker to play well from snap to whistle. Stocker did look lost at times last year but at least he moved and hit. Reed is pointing out what he sees as questionable areas which is what good analysts do. I disagree on some, agree on others, this is the year we transition to Narduzzi’s players. I can see anywhere from 7 to 9 wins. I will expect 10 next year. The areas of greatest concern to me are 1) inexperience 2) defensive scheme and 3) LBs – a walk on and a converted WR both from North Allegheny) – geez. All that said – Reed come in from the ledge.
    H2P

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  39. A cut from PSN on today’s practice –

    “Macvittie is wearing red, but true freshman Kenny Pickett is wearing blue, meaning he’ll be joining walk-on Jake Zilinskas on the scout team while Macvittie works with the starters.”

    We don’t know what we think we know, cause there is no way to know until we see the action on the field.

    HTP!

    Pluck the Penguins…

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  40. Holy Hell guys – I said they were question marks in those units and positions, not that the players would suck, don’t put words in my mouth.

    You guys are hilarious… I had been drafting another article immediately after I posted this one… wait to read that one tomorrow before you push me off the bridge. At least give me some time to acknowledge where there are positive check marks next to players names whom I think will do well or even better than who they replaced.

    But honestly, can you look at that starting 2-deep and reread that article and then tell me exactly where you can say Hendrix, Clark and Ziese are NOT question marks even though they have almost literally never played at the D1 level so far? Oh and explain exactly what did you see in Hendrix, Ziese and Clark’s one game played that makes you so sure of success there.

    Can you honestly say that DL Keyshon Camp will automatically be a great player even though he’s never taken a snap. But that’s what I heard for the last five months here. Damn folks, the DL you all were crowing so much about as playing as a true FR, Amir Watts, is now 2nd string.

    Can you look at 2* Briggs, who played poorly last year, and the new DBs, Jackson and Stocker who have very little game experience and really feel assured they are going to raise up that putrid pass defense. No doubt in your minds about that?

    You really can’t and that is why there are QUESTION MARKS next to their names – not black marks but question marks.

    But let me ask you this also – how did you feel when you Saw Morrissey’s name as a starter when we had other OL guys who you all were touting. How about DL Shane Roy starting before those DL players Narduzzi recruited and you all were crowing about… where is Watts or some fans’ favorite JUCO Kam Carter that some on here was just sure he’d waltz in and start?

    Kazeon Pugh? How many times have we heard since LOI Day last year that he was just too good to keep of the field – and now we read he’s been a bit of a disappointment in his switch and we’ll probably not see much of him this season. I’m not surprised at that – it should take a couple of years on the bench before you fleet up to a starting job. Your optimism about him was over the top, I wrote to that effect and now we see he isn’t in the Top five DEs.

    To me that doesn’t mean he’s a failure – it means you fans have too high expectations for his recruits to play real soon based on – as far as I can tell – they are Narduzzi recruits.

    So… instead we get Shane Roy as a starter. I keep telling you that Narduzzi’s recruiting was such that his new players would have to sit, grow and learn the D1 game and that Narduzzi always goes with upperclassmen if he can.

    Flanagan before Clark at TE? Be honest now – when seeing that your gut was telling you something is wrong in Old Oakland Town.

    Really, some of you need to go back and read some of the things you were saying, vehemently at times, about how much better the defense was going to be in 2016 than the year before. I wrote that I didn’t see that automatically happening given the players we had returning. How did that work out for you?

    While you are perusing those comments you made last year also re-read about how negative you all were when it came to discussing the 2017 passing game and our receiving corps because Boyd had left early.

    Hell almost everyone on here was telling me I was crazy because I wrote ,many, many times, that we wouldn’t miss Boyd one bit and that we would actually be better without him. Folks, that was crazy OPTIMISM about the receivers on my part and again, the majority of you all were very negative about that situation.

    Go back two years when I was telling everyone who would listen that Peterman was going to win the starting job and do well for us – most of you commented that would never ever happen… again, that was crazy OPTIMISM on my part, negativity on yours. I was telling everyone Peterman was going to have a great year for us last season – some of you guys wanted to yank him after a few games. Again real optimism on my part.

    I’ve been saying Ollison will do very well this year and even though I could have given him a ? based on his work last year I didn’t because I am… .optimistic he’ll return to form.

    Both years I have predicted 7 wins and last year I said possibly 8 wins. I am by far not the only fan to do that and I’m one win off on my predictions and you call me overly negative – yet a lot of fans on here predicted 9, 10 and even a couple 11 wins and I don’t hear one peep from those fans saying they were overly positive… not one.

    Spare me the ‘always negative’ label.

    You all expect me to paint Pitt football with a wide black brush and when I don’t do that you bitch because I didn’t write exactly what you want to read. You guys know me by now and you should know that in almost every case I need to see actual results before I jump up and down about a player or a coach – especially a player who has never really played any ball at Pitt yet.

    Last note- how anyone can be anything but a ‘glass half empty’ about Josh Conklin’s body of work at PITT is strange to me. He’s been a train wreck at best. Many other successful college DCs get successful at their new school with other staff’s players – but his defenses have slid down two years in a row. You act like he can’t be fired – he’s a friggin’ employee for god sake!! – especially now that we can roll the dice with Partridge.

    Ask yourself this – would you feel the same way with Conklin if our offense was a normal 28 or so PPG offense last year and we had a 6-6 record? Of course not, you’d be screaming for his head rolling on the floor which would make you somewhat hypocritical.

    Well, I believe that when you see crap results two years in a row, and yes Ike they were crap, especially with a ‘defensive guru’ like Narduzzi – you cut it out before it infects the rest of the body – which will happen if our offense doesn’t score like they did last season.

    And another thing….

    Like

    1. You. Nailed. It. Reed.

      Guys. We are very young. The defense has been horrible. Watch the Syracuse game from last year. Our best player is suspended. Our secondary is a mess. If the defense improves, it will still be bad.

      The offense lost 4 starters who are now in the NFL. We are starting a walk on at Center. Aston is out. Our QB is gifted, but is he a QUARTERBACK?

      Lots of questions.

      But I do think that some of the young guys will step up. The question is who and how many?

      It makes for a fascinating start to the season. I’m much like Reed, you need to show me.

      I like what Pat Narduzzi is showing me. I do think that his ability to put together his type of defense has been restricted by the lack of talent he inherited from HCPC.

      This year we make progress. Next year we start to turn the corner.

      H2P!!!

      Like

  41. Reed — looks like the Coast Guard doing a lot of good work in Texas… Scary as hell down there and the rain keeps falling…

    On football — very impressed by a statement made by Coach Duzz when he said Damarri Mathis hasn’t looked like a freshman for even one practice! That’s impressive praise, especially coming from Coach Duzz.

    Reed — also, thanks for the magnet and reminder about the POV tailgate…

    Go Pitt.

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  42. We missed an opportunity to have a special year last season with that great offense….maybe we’ll see a better “team” this season if we can get a passing defense in the top 50!

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  43. Reed… you do your job well..you put out great articles that gets the neurons firing and the juices flowing… and as you say ” don’t hold back- let’er rip.”
    Lotsa question marks surrounding this team ….

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  44. LOL Reed you sucker… why do you get all mad?

    First off and I don’t give a dam what you say. You are on the negative side of the dime. I’ll bet you call tails all the time. ….but hey there is nothing wrong with that if you can take a little heat because of it. Just like Dr Tom TT, others and I do at times when we see the glass half full.

    I get it, you have a dislike for Josh Conklin. This is not breaking news today. Here is the thing, having Partridge is not necessarily the dagger in Conklin’s career at PITT. It could be his savior though. Partridge could very well be the guy that PITT hires to replace Narduzzi and not so much to replace Conklin. hmmmm?

    ….and another thing…. Conklin is an above average recruiter imo. Stay patient. Two years is not a trend, I just don’t get all this Narduzzi hasn’t done this or that in this short of a time period.

    Some were saying at the beginning of last season ( the beginning of Narduuzi’s second year) that he hadn’t won a signature game? This after only one season? So much is expected way too soon with HCPN.

    Again considering YSU. Don’t believe a word of what comes out of Narduzzi’s mouth. I thought I could see something brown coming out his one ear. He’s full of it.

    I still don’t understand why you think it’s so unusual that a redshirt jr would start over a redshirt freshman or a true sophomore? Talking about Shane Roy and he did play a lot last year.

    Reed, serious question here and a little off topic. Is it possible to break down the snaps a player plays and at which position? <<< This stat trumps game played by light years.

    Don’t be bringing up 2 star players in a negative manner. That not fair when we remember James Conner and Arron Donald so fondly.

    Since when is two 8-5 seasons crap for PITT?

    Has Narduzzi won a bowl game yet. Hesus!!

    Reed, you better be at that POV tailgate so we can settle this once and for all!! ..ike

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  45. Firstly, Ike, what do you drink? I owe you big time buddy for setting me up with Dinosaur 71. Thank you!
    Next, despite Reed’s excellent analysis, I believe in keeping it simple. Although having less experience, I am hoping that between another year in Narduzzi’s system, hopefully faster/more athletic players, the addition of Partridge to the staff, and less talented offensive opponents in the ACC this year, Pitt’s defense may take its lumps in the 2nd and 3rd games of the season, but will then come together and be much better statistically by the end of the year than last years team. Sorry about the super run-on sentence, lol.

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  46. If every player without experience gets a question mark, Michigan would not be in the top 25. They are replacing their entire team (hyperbole) yet it is assumed that their coach is replacing them with players that are ready to be starters.

    I am not sure why this isn’t assumed at Pitt, that they will perform to nearly the same level as the guys they replaced (not that they should be in the top 25). Especially since many of the guys they are replacing were not highly thought of coming out of high school and the guys doing the replacing were (in comparison).

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  47. Ike .. oh no you said Partridge could replace Narduzzi… damn .. flashing back to Foge taking the reins from Jackie… say it ain’t so Ike.

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  48. BigB, I love the Nard Dog but he’s got a ways to go to be in Jackie territory so hopefully we don’t have to think about your analogy yet.

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    1. Here you go. I thought I posted this but apparently I did not send it. I agree almost totally with the BigB link. Trying to be realistic as I can possibly be, I can vision a very similar forecast.

      I just can’t see PITT losing to any team in the ACC aside from Miami though.

      This is not my official prediction just yet but it very well could be at the end game.
      10-2 or
      9-3

      I’ll hold off for now though, ….. . . . .ike

      Like

  49. LOL Bernie. I hear what you’re saying. Yet, I think Charlie has more brains in his bigB toe than Foge had in his head. Nothing like being a failed head coach and being rehired at another school to prove a point.

    See Carroll in Seattle. Holtz did ok as well.

    BTW Bernie, when and if Partridge becomes PITT’s head coach it’s because Narduzzi has won the ACC and possibly the National Championship and moves onto greener pasture. A win/win!!…. ike

    Wind-Mills
    Wind-Chills
    Wind-Shields << ding ding ding 🙂
    H2P!!!

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  50. Reed – you, literally, opened up your story with “YSU Game Two-Deep; Read it and ….OK… I’ll say weep… or scratch your head maybe. There are some real surprises and concerns here and unless this is a some-what joking attempt to rile up Pitt fans I see some scary issues in front of the opening game.”

    Emphasis on “weep”, “scratch your head”, “surprises and concerns”, “Some-what joking attempt”, “scary issues”.

    And you’re dumbfounded as to why some readers called this article negative?

    Reed – I love what you do for Pitt and I hope you keep this going for a long, long time. I can’ imagine the time and energy and love you put into it. And the fact that you sacrifice doing the other very worthwhile things you do for veterans and your local community makes me appreciate you even more. I genuinely mean this. I have the utmost respect for you as a person. What you do is honorable and very admirable.

    The forum you’ve created is fantastic but, I’m sorry, this was not a fair and balanced piece and I don’t believe for a minute that you didn’t expect people to jump down your throat for it. You had to expect this type of response from a segment of your readers. You had to.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Well – not every article stands alone; as I said above I was already into a draft of aspects of the two-deep i find heartening. But, as you were probably taught in grade school – we need read the whole piece of writing, not just the opening and closing paragraph.

      But speaking of that first paragraph – don’t you think is is some real head scratching items on this two deep?

      I mean 10 days ago not one Pitt fan would have thought Watts wouldn’t be a starter and that Shane Roy would be in his place. No one did. That is head scratching.

      Still listing a pure FB after Aston’s injury? Especially two with zero playing time? Flanagan over Clark at TE? No Kazeon Pugh at all after all the fans talk about his playing this season ‘for sure’?

      C’mon – those sure are decisions that I find unusual and apparently do a hell of a lot of other Pitt fans if you read the message boards and other Pitt football sites. There is a lot of concern about seeing this two-deep in print. It is one thing to discussion a hypothetical two-deep but when you see one from the HC that is finalized it means something.

      Like

      1. Reed – I actually liked the two deep. My expectations for this season are tempered b/c of the turnover Pitt had and the transition to younger players. I’m expecting about 8 wins again with Pitt peaking over the next two seasons. I could see Pitt winning 10 games and I could see them winning 6 games. There are a lot of unknowns b/c of the turnover but just because it’s unknown doesn’t mean it’s bad. I’m more excited about this season than I have been since Duzz’s first year. I’m more than overjoyed that we’re slowly getting past the Chryst era. I like the 21st century approach to the sport.

        I didn’t see any surprises based on the stories I’ve seen in the papers and on Pittsburgh Sports Now. Hall has been getting praise, consistently, over the course of camp and I wouldn’t be surprised to see him out-touch Ollison. The center spot has been a competition all camp. What I’m most excited about is the youth and higher rated players listed on the two deep. There is a lot of talent bubbling just under the surface and getting ready to move into the starting line-up (thus, Pitt peaking over the next two season).

        I’ve been very consistent in saying that Duzz is a system coach and players that fit the system, even if younger, are better than experienced players that are not a good fit. The experience factor on defense is a moot point to me. The entire point of running a system is to plug and play … to take out the learning curve … to curb the need for experience. Speed and fit trump experience. It’s how college football has evolved in the 21st century. I think we’re seeing that approach on offense as well. You can see it with the types of players they are recruiting. Watson didn’t even change the terminology of the Canada’s offense. He’s using Canada’s b/c Pitt has settled on this system. Can he call plays as aggressively as Canada? That remains to be seen and where Canada really shined.

        To your point on reading the entire article, the opening sets the tone for the entire read. It’s hard to get past that.

        Once again, thanks for everything you do. Blog-wise, community-wise and sacrifice-wise.

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  51. I think the defense will be improved by mid season. We will find out who can play at D1 level. IMHO LBs are going to be the weak spot by the end of the year going into next year. HCPN hopefully can find. Recruit and develop some good game changing LBs. Been a while since Pitt had that. There are some good parts to the defense. And it will improve. But until there is good talent and depth at LB. Pitt will struggle to win the ACC. The DL should have a good rotation. DBs have the talent on the roster. Just finding the right combination

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  52. Okay, this is why things might get worse objectively and why it won’t subjectively. 9 of 11 defenders that started last season won’t start this season. The good news is that those 11 that started last year weren’t good as a team, but more as individuals because many still dot NFL rosters. Candidly, I do not feel as if they had a brotherhood on defense, sorry.

    The better news is that we have a lot of newer players that didn’t waste redshirts so there might be an improvement. Might, is critical. Hopeful, yes. I like our youth. I like our southern youth even more. Football is their life. They show it in their attitude. Improvement happens this year. It can’t get worse, it just can’t.

    Offense Returners – Weah, Officer, O’neill, Henderson. Seven regulars missing. Solid contributors gone. Good talent in the pipeline. Less innovative OC, which leads to less points. All teams will load the box with run blitzes and force our qb to beat them early whilst under great pressure. I think he is more successful than not. 2-4 start equals 3rd string qb, not Dinuch. 4-2, look out.

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  53. Reading all this over, all I can say is this is what we do as Pitt fans. That is why this is one of the most honest of all fan sites. Unlike the cult, we are more than willing to look at our warts and have an open discussion. Everything that’s been said is true to some degree, and slanted to some degree also.
    I for one am concerned about everything. You really can look at the makeup of this team and go “Oh *^&$”, but every team has a defining moment in the season. That one play or game that makes or breaks them. For the Nitters it was actually the Minnesota game, which they amazingly won, and gave the momentum necessary to compete with OSU. For us, there will be that moment this year, the one where we will break out or be broken. Can’t wait to see how it plays out!!!

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  54. Unknowns shouldn’t make anyone feel all diggity.

    Again, when Maddox and Briggs are your starters and not your nickel and dime back respectively, no young player has stepped up to beat them out, which is problematic. We just can’t tell if we are better or worse at the other positions because there is no incumbent to compare against.

    For instance, if Ruben Flowers was listed as a starter of Weah, we would be excited because Weak is a fairly well known entity and our head coach has found someone they think is better than Weah. We just haven’t seen turnover based on talent winning a competition over an incumbent.

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  55. This is the beginning of the year two deep roster, by the end of the season the starters will be very different. Hell, by the second week some of the starters will change. The coaching staff is going to find out who can play by watching actual game experience. It’s a very young team experience wise and as such the coaches don’t know yet who can play and who can’t. Nard is starting the year with his most experienced players listed as his starters. It’s going to be a very rough month of september.

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  56. From the 2016 class, there are 14 (out of 21, excluding Hill, Gilbert & Zach Williams ) that made the depth chart. Hamlin, Coleman and MacVitte could make it 17 out of 21 next year. If 1/2 of these guys turn out to be really good players 2019 is going to be special if they get good QB play.

    Like

  57. Tossing… Not a negative article at all… Just ate a lot of?’s and there are plenty… should be a very fun year… There are positives And if I read correctly early on in the thread Reed will have an article about that aspect

    Like

  58. Great article in the Trib this AM on center Jimmy Morrisey. Sounds like he has an enormous work ethic and leads by example. I think he could be this years George Aston. Let’s hope.

    Like

    1. Or Idowu, or Guy, or Stocker, or Trey Anderson, or Alecxih, or …

      Not nearly enough props are given to the walk-ons and its kind of disheartening to see. Takes a lot of dudes working in the same direction to have a good campaign, not just the All-Americans.

      Cal Adomitis is our starting LS for the next half decade. I think Colton Lively will be a good surprise as well. Jim Medure is shaping up like a 3rd down pass rushing specialist at DE. Brian Popp and Rimoni Dorsey will likely letter on special teams.

      Like

  59. For you glass half-emptiers …. exactly a year ago today:

    1) we had serious doubts about our new OC who had just been fired from NC State
    2) we had no faith whatsoever in Jester Weah and wasn’t even considering him as a big contributor
    3) Nate Peterman was simply an above average QB (at best)
    4) Quadree Henderson was known solely as a returner
    5) George Aston was not even known … at all

    just sayin’

    Like

    1. 4 of 5 ain’t bad – But I had written a piece about returners from the 2015 offense before last season on The Blather and talked up Aston in it. If I remember correctly I added a video to it. It was pretty obvious after his work blocking for Ollison.

      Good point about Peterman… but his 20 TDs to 8 INTs in 2015 led us to think he could be a much better QB in ’16 – but truthfully I didn’t expect his 163+ QB rating. That is outstanding.

      Like

      1. OK, allow me to rephrase:

        5) anyone who predicted Aston would become a myth and a legend would have been largely ridiculed by all (including me)

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    2. What the hell are you trying to do wwb? You keep this up and we’re going to start questioning whether you’re a truly dedicated Pitt football fan or not. Be informed, that any forms of perceived optimism will not be tolerated!

      Like

  60. Posted this on the other thread by mistake–Living in the Y-town area and a grad of YSU, the scoop on the Penguins is they felt they played terribly on defense last time at Heinz and are looking to fix some errors, they have struggled in recent years against the pass but have been very good against the run. Offensive side of the ball, they have some inexperience at running back and wr, but return their qb that led them all the way to the title game. The Penguins have a lot of guts that didn’t quite fit in at other places on the roster so they are not your typical 1-AA squad. Key to the game will be our pass o vs penguin pass d and our d line getting pressure on their qb. If Pitt does both should be a happy ribfest, if not could be 2012 all over again.

    Like

    1. John, thanks for the heads-up. As (1) a son of an YU alum (class of 49 much via GI Bill after WWII) and (2) one of my best friends being a business professor at YSU, I have a very warm spot for your alma mater, and wish the best to Coach Pellini and his team … after Saturday of course.

      Like

  61. Sure, you have to interpret coachspeak to really understand what HCPN means and my interpretation of what he has been saying is that he is impressed with the team. If my interpretation is right, that bodes well because HCPN does know what a good team looks like at least I believe he does (Recall him telling us how surprised he was with the level of competency that HCPC had left him. Kazaam, two 8-5 seasons.) This doesn’t mean that Reed is wrong in his uncertainty. We are after all just reading tea leaves. And of course the central truth of reality is that the future is truly unpredictable.

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    1. “Recall him telling us how surprised he was with the level of competency that HCPC had left him. Kazaam, two 8-5 seasons.”… I remember that also – the cupboard certainly wasn’t bare in 2015 – missing pieces on the DBs shelf for sure but overall Narduzzi had a a lot to work with in his first year at Pitt.

      Like

  62. I guess Harvey plans on making an appearance on Saturday. How will rain effect the game and just as important, how will effect the POV tailgate?

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  63. Reed

    You are totally correct about expectation too high for young players. Hamiln, Ford are perfect examples. You are correct about it taking time for MOST young players to develop physically and mentally for the college game. That being said, red-shirt freshman and sophomores start emerging on teams and the DL has a bunch of talented ones.

    Therefore, every year, there is some juniors and seniors that finally see the field. They were slow to develop.
    Shane Roy starting isn’t a negative reflection on the talent around him.

    Also, walk-ons get scholarships and end up playing all over the country every year. Ever hear of JJ Watts? Morrissey plays a specialty position and the other best option is suspended for the first game.

    As far as the tight ends, you are making up an issue. Narduzzi clearly explained they are both starters. Flannigan did not beat out Clark. Even if we play that game, he should beat him out, he is a grad transfer that has played tons of ball.

    No wonder Narduzzi makes fun of the media for over analyzing the depth chart and ‘OR’s on it. It is just that, over analyzing.

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  64. @wwb – Your list was all offensive. Can you make a defensive list for us this year to help? Another great unknown. 9 of 11 new starters really on defense. If our recruiting is better, we will see signs in skill level, not necessarily results.

    IF things work out defensively, than sure we will have a great list next year. Right now however, we have no list on which to rely. There are no proven commodities on the defense for the first three weeks anyway.

    Our defense and offense is a petrie dish of sorts, the great experiment. Our defense will improve because they can’t get worse. The opposing offensives aren’t going to get any better, except perhaps for The Dairy High School and OKSt. Our offense does have a few proven weapons, but not proven with their current teammates. Dynamics change. We lost a lot of offensive talent that dots NFL rosters as of today.

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    1. I’m counting on the pleasant surprises this year being mostly on the defensive side of the ball. I have a much rosier expectation of the DL than Reed and I believe that the DB will be much improved (after taking their lumps early.) I also think that, barring key injuries, the OL will be pretty productive (although of course not as good as last year)

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  65. Under the ‘did you know’ department — last season, YSU’s 1st 3 games were as follows:

    Thu, Sep 1 vs Duquesne W 10 – 45
    Sat, Sep 10 @ West Virginia L 21 – 38
    Sat, Sep 17 vs Robert Morris W 6 – 38

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  66. YSU has some players with connections to WPA and Duzz. One is a former MSU Spartan that is now getting a second d chance at YSU. Those guys will have extra motivation on Saturday. As a Penguin alum and Pitt fan I am rooting for the Panthers, YSU will be just fine with a L, Pitt losing would be the start of a 5-7 season

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  67. I’m getting the vibe that PITT and the AD dept are doing their best to reach out to the fans this year. Say what you will about Heather, I have a feeling she’s trying new and different types of approaches.

    Well actually I can see new ideas unfolding and at the very least have to give credit for the attempts.

    Narduzzi isn’t keeping the media away and closing practices only to give out the very information he’s trying to keep secret. It seems that some of the PITT fan base is still trying to figure all this gestapo secrecy out. ..ike

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  68. In other words. Don’t believe a word of what he say’s. Hells Bells, it worked last year to a degree. He’s not going to tell us what he doesn’t want us to know.. . . . . .ike

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  69. The coaches have loved Hall since they/he got here. So I assume they know what they see in the closed practices that we can’t see. It’s called trusting the ones who are in the know. I don’t think Narduzzi wants to play players that give him and the team a lesser chance to win a game.. . . . . .ike

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  70. Ike..I purchased 4 tickets for my nephew, wife and 2 kids for the NC State game-those were over $50 bucks a piece in the upper deck on the sideline and the same seats for Okie State are $65 a pop. By contrast I bought 40 yd line seat at Duke through the Duke ticket office for $40 ea and the price includes a drink and hotdog or popcorn. I think Pitt needs to lower the cost of general admission for the hometown folkd…but we do have 13000 employees-tuition and tax money doesnt cut it.

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    1. but are you getting a Coach K bobblehead?

      BTW, I bought tickets via Duke office for the game 2 years ago and am still getting periodic emails from their ticket office. I’m thinking about going this year but may not be able to swing it

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  71. Going for the Rice game as i make the annual Burg trip. Need to see a win I hope. I have hope in the youngsters. HCPN seems hopeful.

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  72. BiggieB, I’ve been under the impression that PITT tickets were actually too cheap. I have been a club season ticket holder for years on and off. So I take your good word on the matter.

    I do believe it’s better to give away a ticket to a possible future fan then to sit on it and eat it. This is where the PITT attendance is at this point.

    Hell, maybe when the POV gets big enough we could start donating tickets to the underprivileged kids that could be interested. …. ike

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  73. Reed, I gave you some props for this reserved opinion on the many unknowns making up our team’s two deep.

    Now I’m still waiting for the upbeat rainbows & unicorns article that you promised. Need the infusion of positive energy this week.

    BTW, we can scout OK ST. tomorrow night when they open their season against Tulsa on an exclusive ESPN Thursday nite NCAA kickoff to begin the season.

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  74. Penn State hasn’t beaten Pitt without some involvement from Joe Paterno – as head coach or assistant – since 1947

    That is a mind expanding thought … Let’s keep it that way!!!!

    Like

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