YSU Two-Deep; On the Flip Side…

Note: I started drafted this piece immediately after I posted the preceding article.

I wrote an earlier article detailing what I think are the major question marks found in Pat Narduzzi’s YSU two-deep that was just released by Pitt’s Athletic Media Department.  They are many and I think they are compelling in the sense that it really highlights the lack of experience we will be fielding at Heinz field on Saturday.  Here is that listing again:

diu-6w_xyaa_vsl

But that two-deep, as in anything regarding Pitt Football, doesn’t tell the whole story. While I can’t really wrap my head around the fact that the HC and DC feel that SR DL Shane Roy is a starter, I can also look at the list and see things that I feel will be working hard for us to get a victory in this game.  I’ll start with the offense.

Three players whom I feel could also have question marks next to their names also (but I didn’t award them that) are more in line for the positive 1245686792938124914raemi_check_mark-svg-hi.   That would be Chris Clark at TE; Max Browne at QB and rsJR Qadree Ollison at RB.  Now, I have written in the past that I have major reservations about Max Browne so let’s start with him.

Transferring from one program to another for a SR year is becoming less unusual than it was even five years ago. So Pitt is where Browne has decided to transfer to after a disappointing showing over his first four years as a D1 player – his FR year was a redshirt season. Pitt fans are excited about him pretty much only based on his #1 recruit ranking (overall) coming out of HS.

That fact doesn’t necessarily mean anything to me – I wrote earlier that I’ve had correspondence with a couple of bloggers and a sportswriter from the USC area and they were uncertain that Browne had what it takes to highly succeed at this level of play.  That is understandable as his time in California was nothing to write home about.

But that was then and this is now.

I chuckle a lot at the always very lofty expectations Pitt fans have for players who join our program, either through the normal HS recruiting system or via transfer. Ask those fans and they will tell you loudly and often that everyone has stardom stamped on their (broad in Browne’s case) forehead.

But I’m not looking at Browne and wondering if he’ll be a ‘big star’ at Pitt because he doesn’t really need to be.  It would be nice if that happened, but what I want to see from Browne is a QB who can execute the game plan as written and lead the offense down the field toward a touchdown or into position for a field goal.  In other words fulfill the job description for QB play in Watson’s offense (whatever that is). As they stand now Brown’s career stats don’t get anyone excited, but remember these are historic and not what he’s done at Pitt… or will do at Pitt even:

Browne stats.PNG

I don’t know what the intent of the USC Offensive Coordinator was when Browne played there but I’m sure an average yards per attempt of 5.8 wasn’t one of them.  Again, that was then.  This season Browne will be asked to carry out a game plan that will be heavy on ball control and getting numerous consecutive 1st downs.  His deep threat will be rsSR Jester Weah – but here’s the nice thing about Weah and his astronomical 24.2 yards per catch – a ton of that yardage came on what is called YAC – or Yards after the Catch.

That is where we will see our passing game really contribute this season and where I think Browne will be able to execute his duties best. Weah and our “new” WR Quadree Henderson will get those short and intermediate passes Browne is best at throwing and make things happen.

That said I have real concerns about Brown’s mobility talents when pressure forms around him.  He isn’t like the last two QBs we had with Peterman and Voytik both being very mobile and both having very good situational awareness. I see our ‘sacks allowed’ rising, perhaps drastically, but when Browne if our OL can get that Browne that extra second to pass – I think he’ll do well at it.

No stardom for Browne in his year at Pitt I think, but he’ll be a good, decent QB for us.  I see a prospective stat line of his to be around 60% completion rate, 2300+ yards, 9.0 YPA, and a TD/INT line of around 20-14.  If he can do that and also make over 50% of those crucial 3rd down passes then I think we’ll be OK in the passing game. Let’s give Browne a 1245686792938124914raemi_check_mark-svg-hi for his 2017 season.

Another offensive player who concerns swell around is returning RB Qadree Ollison.  If we remember he had a star turn in relief of James Conner when Conner sat out the 2015 season due to his illness.  It isn’t a reach to say that Ollison surprised a lot of the college football world with his efforts and results when tapped to be the primary ball carrier for us. This is what he did back then (Yinz want details; yinz get details):

Ollison '15.png

We see that as a rsFR Ollison did very well in his first year of play at Pitt.  1121 yards and a 5.3 YPC is just what we’ll need from him again this year – we’ll take more of course but that would be fine as long as we have a decent passing game complementing it.

An interesting projection for Ollison’s past  2015 season is this.  If our staff would have given him the same amount of carries Conner had the year before (298) Ollison’s stat line would have been:  298 carries @ 5.3 YPC = 1580 yards with 15 TDs.  He may well get those 290+ carries this season if he starts off hot and stays in as the starter.

But, as with Browne, there is a valid concern here also.  Something went on with Ollison and the coaching staff last season and thus he wasn’t the featured RB subbing in behind a healthy Conner as we all expected him to be. His carries and YPC dropped dramatically from ’15 to ’16 and thus makes us wonder which Ollison will we see out there this season. I think he gets back to his 2015 form though and so he gets a solid 1245686792938124914raemi_check_mark-svg-hi from me.

I’ve been pretty critical of rsSO TE Chris Clark and his actions of bouncing around from program to program while wearing his prima donna tiara before he landed at Pitt last year.  But he was younger then with a bigger head than he has now and has publicly acknowledged that he behaved that way – so now onto his football skills.  Of which we know very little actually as he has only played one game at the D1 level and that was for UCLA back in ’15.

I easily could have designated Clark a “?” in the last article but as I was reviewing his part in the offense during fall camp I realized that 1) I started to see that he was indeed a ‘good hands’ TE and  2) that would fit in with the type of QB we have and the type of offense I think OC Shawn Watson will field this season, which would be the shorter passing game I described in Brown’s part above.

One thing to look at with Clark is who he is replacing  as the TE (or part-time replacing since Flanagan seems to have grabbed the starting TE spot). Graduated Scott Orndoff was as a productive TE in the Pitt offense as we have seen in a very long time.

Orndoff stats

Considering our leading receiver, Jester Weah, had 35 catches in ’16 that makes Orndoff’s 34 receptions really jump out at us. That is a lot of action for a TE and even more impressive was Orndoff’s 16.5 YPC,  which helped him to be the 2nd leading TD maker on our offense last season.

So Clark has big shoes to fill but if we believe that he’s a speedy guy and a talented catcher of passes then he’ll mesh very well with our offense. I’ll put aside some of my concerns about Clark as a starter at TE especially now that we see that coaching staff has acknowledged what I have been saying all along – Clark’s worth to our offense is in receiving the ball and not being relied on to be an effective, and very much-needed, blocking TE.  Transfer Flanagan will be that TE playing when the emphasis is on solid pass protection for Browne… especially now with the great blocker FB George Aston out for the long term .

Clark gets a 1245686792938124914raemi_check_mark-svg-hi for his prospective  talents in catching the ball and moving it forward after the catch.

Another 1245686792938124914raemi_check_mark-svg-hi to hand out goes to a specific position rather than an individual player. With that I’m looking at our Slot Receiver position.  There has been a lot of talk out of fall camp about the move of taking Quadree Henderson, out 1st team All-American return man and getting him the ball more often via a role as a pass catcher. Last season Henderson did some of that;

QH Catching.png

Henderson’s 26 catches is not bad but totaling only 286 yards on those catches is pretty low at an 11.0 average per catch.  Moving him into the Slot and incorporating him into the base offense more seems promising. but there is a concern with Henderson and that is he dropped more than a few passes last season – even in his limited time as a receiver.

What I think may happen, especially if those drops still hang around, is that WR rsJR Rafael Araujo-Lopes may get called on for duty there. Lopes is one of the faster Panthers we have on roster and although he didn’t see a lot of time on the field last year with only three catches for 36 yards I think he’d make a good short yardage pass; big YAC type receiver.

We heard his name a lot this fall camp and if it gets to the point that we need Henderson way more of a healthy returner I can see Lopes getting a lot PT – and I think he’s got the potential to make that personnel move work.

He gets a 1245686792938124914raemi_check_mark-svg-hifrom me for that.  Actually the position and the look that it may get used more often than in our last few season’s offenses gets a  1245686792938124914raemi_check_mark-svg-hi regardless of who is in there – as long as OC Watson does as I say.

That is about it for offense in my opinion. Others have been recognized in the past for what they will bring to the table this season but I’ll skip over players who have already proved their worth to us by previous season’s play. Players like Weah, O’Neil and Bookser are proven commodities and need not be acknowledged as such now.

Finding guys on Defense to award  1245686792938124914raemi_check_mark-svg-his to is a whole lot harder than on offense. That’s because we have so many real concerns about our young and/or inexperienced players on that side.  I wrote in detail about those concerns earlier in the last article.

But there are a couple to point out and I’ll start with our ‘new’ MLB rsSO Saleem Brightwell.  This is a kid who played OLB in HS and was there at the Money LB position for Pitt in a back-up role last year. But even as a part-timer he opened some eyes, including mine, with his steady, some times big, play and looking like a more seasoned and experienced player out there when it was only his first year on the field.  Here is what his Pitt bio had to say about that:

“Played in 12 games, starting two at Money linebacker (North Carolina and Duke)…compiled 26 tackles, 3.0 TFLs, two sacks, one fumble recovery, one PBU and an interception on the year…had a season-high five tackles in each of his starting assignments against North Carolina and Duke…against the Tar Heels, added an 11-yard sack, a fumble recovery and a PBU…had his first collegiate interception in Pitt’s 43-42 upset at Clemson…picked off Deshaun Watson at the goal line, returning it 70 yards to set up a Pitt TD in the fourth quarter.”

Ahhh, yes. That great INT that helped complete our win over Clemson in college football’s biggest upset last year. He showed a lot in that game and others but what I was impressed most with was that it didn’t look like he made many mental errors out there – or if he did he had the quicks to make up for them.

Let’s give Brightwell a 1245686792938124914raemi_check_mark-svg-hi for what he’ll do out there in a much-needed role.  BTW – it wouldn’t shock me a bit if we see Brightwell quickly become the leader on defense making it all that much harder for the presumed starter but suspended SR Quintin Wirginis to come back and regain that middle LB starting role.  Wirginis will get a lot of PT this year, especially in blitz packages, but I wonder if he’ll start again.

Now I’m really taking a hard look at that two-deep defensive listing and trying to find another player to award a check mark to on defense…

OK, let’s go with rsFR Keyshon Camp who has kicked his recruiting classmate 4* SO Amir Watts down onto the 2nd string.  I think SO Amir Watts acquitted himself pretty well in his limited playing time as a true FR last season.

He started one game, played in six others and had a few tackles on the year. If you remember he really was thrust into action when injuries hit the DL for the bowl game. I can’t say I saw any sort of assured stardom ahead for him, but I did figure he’d keep that job going into 2017.

But obviously Camp impressed enough during fall practices that he grabbed the starting position alongside Roy in the interior of the DL.  With that I can see him doing well as long as he doesn’t get double teamed all the time because the opposing OL feels like one man can handle Roy on a regular basis.  If Roy can play above (my) expectations and really share the load, then I can see Camp holding his own out there and maybe flourishing.

Give a 1245686792938124914raemi_check_mark-svg-hi to Keyshon Camp also then.

There – along with my very real concerns and questions I listed yesterday we also have some existing bright spots… and some perhaps even very bright, as is star bright, things to look forward to seeing.  If our wishes come true it can be an exciting season…

Note: please don’t forget to jump over to our tailgate page and use the poll there to let us know if you’ll be joining us at the POV Tailgate for the YSU game.  An accurate count would help – and friends and families are welcome.

Also – tonight is the POV Roundtable Call-In show at it’s new 9:00pm start time – detail are as follows:

 POV Roundtable Call-in
 09:00 pm10:00 pm
 Meeting ID
303520973
Moderator Passcode
2615

 

96 thoughts on “YSU Two-Deep; On the Flip Side…

  1. I am 72% convinced that the few typos I spotted were intentional and strategic. I started looking forward to the next one because they were all pretty funny.

    Thumbs up

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    1. Deep – I try to rush these writing and posting articles so the readers can get to them on their lunch hours so the first posting usually has some typos – then I really proof read and edit corrections. It should be easier to read now that I’ve done that.

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      1. I will be very disappointed if you change the “drooped” to “dropped” re: Henderson’s pass-catching and “gates” to “gets” re: Weah receiving a check, I actually really loled at those they were perfect typos.

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  2. I don’t know – it could be all smoke – but I’m seeing several reports that the DL is the best position on the team. I don’t know why people are discounting Roy. Ever think maybe he made huge leaps from last year and is actually a good player?

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  3. I know this about Reed and he takes his writing very serious, he bust’s his ass to bring information out in a timely manner to suit his fellow POVer’s.

    Let’s not get into the grammar police or else I’m in big trouble.

    Reed, great article and look at you being positive. Hope it didn’t give you a migraine? I kid.. or not

    I’ll tell you what though. You are very hot and cold with Clarke. Let’s remember that Watson’s MO was not using the TE at a few of his stops…….but.. I think he’s flexible now that’s he’s has some experience under his belt. I think we as PITT fans can expect the unexpected. << That seems like Narduzzi’s MO.

    Has Shane Roy become this years version of the Pinstripe Bowl loss? Seriously though, I think he can pull of a Scott McKillop type jr season..

    Hope to make it tonight for the round-table but it’s tight . So some of you regulars and new guys may have to step up. … ike

    God Bless Pittman4ever
    God Bless All Those Affected in Texas.
    H2P!

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  4. You guys can sing Roy’s praises if you like – I see it as a real indication of problems on the DL. Edwards, Roy and Hendrix with hardly any games played and Edwards and Roy not being able to beat out other players on crappy defenses doesn’t get me excited… then Weaver as another no-games played back-up.

    We’ll see but I think that is going to be a real problem this season – especially if our defense rests so heavily on crazy pressure on the QB.

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  5. I thought Shane Roy was a Rs JR, same as Taleni last year. Cooking the facts? Give him a chance, assume that Partridge knows what he is talking about. More interesting is that everyone’s savior 4* Kam Carter is third string. rkb

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    1. I think Narduzzi’s comments about Carter being a completely different person at Pitt from what was shown on Last Chance U were at least 50% BS and him being listed as third-string is an attempt to light a fire under his butt… and also a bit of misdirection for PSU. I have little doubt that he’s going to see the field quite a bit up there in Happy Valley, as long as he puts his nose to the grindstone over the next 9 days. And as long as the coaches think he isn’t going to blow up and get a personal foul penalty at just the wrong time in response to the undoubted mountain of sh*ttalking he’s gonna receive from PSU players on the field.

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  6. Mason Rudolph has four excellent WR’s to throw to, and don’t forget McSwirley has a year’s worth of experience and 4 returning starters on PSU’s O-line. The secondary will be the weakest unit by far on defense, IMHO.

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    1. I think the LBs will be the weakest unit simply because there is no depth. I don’t think much of any of the LB backups except Chase Pine and he’s yet to play a single down of college football as an LB (much like Zeise, but at least I have a bunch of comments from the staff this spring and summer about how good Zeise looked to cling to).

      There appears to be a bunch of depth in the secondary much superior in athleticism to the LB depth, although just like the LBs the secondary depth is all completely inexperienced.

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      1. Idowu is experienced but not very physical in his play, Brightwell is undersized to play the Mike and may not last, Zeise has almost no experience at OLB. It’s hard to argue against your premise, but here goes. Maddox looks to be all of 5′ 7″ tall. Who is the opposite corner, do we know at this time? Briggs couldn’t beat out T. Webb last year. And the very limited experience of Jazzee. Don’t know, might be a toss up at this point. Not looking forward to the PSU and OSU passing attacks.

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  7. I’m excited about seeing these new kids play. I think if they keep the mental mistakes at a minimum their athleticism will show up big time.

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  8. @Reed – we think a lot alike on this subject. What I put in the last thread yesterday in 150 words, you took 2000. Much better stated than I did. I should have just copied it over to this response, as we said the same thing differently. When you look at the year, we will have 9 new starters on defense. Everybody can guess on whether we will be better the same or worse than last year and 1/3 of us would be right I suppose. We can’t get worse, so stated.

    We can look at that is good by saying all the bad guys are gone, but we would be selling them short because many dot nfl rosters. It’s an unknown to me. If the new kids can’t cut the mustard, get better new kids.

    I do think this will be the off season where Narduzzi has more discussions with non-contributors and they mutually agree to part ways. Many on here think that is wrong. I don’t. I don’t care about doing things the old “Pitt” way and letting a non-contributor stay for 4 or 5 years. If you all want a winning team, that is the down side of collegiate athletics. The non-contributors got to go. It will open up schollies for potential players.

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  9. Yep Taleni was going to be a star because the coaches loved him and had one ginormous tackle.

    Rori Blair was an underachiever until he was thrown off the team??

    Coaches love Shane Roy and Darrin Hall and the coaches all of a sudden become idiots.

    I don’t get it?

    Does anyone get my point here? HELLO! … ike

    Just plain to hell with it!
    H2P!

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  10. A lot of people here are expressing doubts on people that they never have seen play. Just an observation. The light goes on at different times for different players at different positions. No doubt that experience counts but we all have to start sometime.

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  11. Good point wwb. Expressing doubt works both ways.

    Are we ready for the PITT football season already. I want to tackle someone besides Reed!!

    GRRR!
    H2P!
    ike

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  12. I was surprised that neither Justin Morgan (OL) or Kam Carter (DL) did not ascend into the two deep. Another nice thing that Reed failed to mention is that Alex Bookser is available to start in 4 days, so if the newly crowned scholarship player starting at center soils the sheets against YSU, Coach Peterson can easily slide Officer back to center and Bookser gets his old starting job back.

    Congratulations Reed, you did it, a positive outlook spin on a team with a whole lot of questions left to be answered. Let’s see how many get solved on Saturday.

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    1. CJ Davis (necessity), Lucas Nix and Dorian Johnson (necessity) are the only three natural frosh OL in recent memory to start. It is much more than just instincts .. technique, teamwork, strength, keys, etc.

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  13. I’m going out on a limb here but I believe you could put a check mark on Mathis at DB. I expect he’ll unseat Dane Jackson fairly quickly and be a long term star in our defensive backfield.

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  14. ^^ Oh for crying out loud. Never thought I would see the day. Upitt with a non negative comment about anything PITT.

    I may have to take a nap now? … ike 🙂

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  15. wwb, it’s high time you showed up at a round table. Zero down loading and zero chance of anyone pilfering your mega life earnings. Hit the button Reed gives us and tell the world what is on your cranium.

    I say spread your knowledge.

    If you’re mugly like the rest of us then put a mask on an mumble your way through.

    I doubt I’ll be there tonight so get with it!

    I did mean mugly in this instance!

    You bunch of chicken crappers………..that goes for you too Anne, let’s get with it. . .. . . .ike

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  16. Like to end this season with a defensive backfield of Whitehead, Ford, Maddox and Mathis. Revise that to the above group on the field for the first game post Georgia Tech. Freshman playing the triple option for the first time can be a disaster for any defense.

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  17. Pitt will get its 30 points a game. The question is if the D can keep the competition to 29. Big question marks that don’t look good for so many inexperienced players on the field. There is not one area where we can say the defense is experienced and solid.

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  18. IMO

    Brightwell and Weah are the D and O players that we can least afford to have injured early in the season.

    Morissey and Edwards will be the biggest pleasant surprises on O and D, with Hall and Idowu close seconds.

    I think that we will see some fun gimmick/gadget plays in games two and three. I believe that McV will be involved. Flee-flicker, Statue of Liberty, Double reverse, tight end draw plays, fake punts, fake field goals, half back passes, wildcat, wishbone, tackle screen play and the rest of it.

    Sliwoski, a walk-on, will make an appearance at fullback. He will do well. Evidently he can catch a pass and is a good athlete.

    Our record at the end of the year will show our growing pains. We will need some bounces to go our way in order to be 7-5.

    The offense will be considerably different than last year. I predict more pass plays – hopefully not because we are playing from behind.

    Our D will get more interceptions than last year. Our O will throw more interceptions than last year.

    Jay Stocker will have a great night game, and will become known as the ‘night Stocker’.

    I’m excited for some football.

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  19. This season could end at 8-5 and just as easily 5-7… pends which way the cookie crumbles….Thank God its football season…..

    Any reports from Pittman??? Hang in there Jim…. praying for your safety

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  20. What I hope for is a significant improvement on the D.. I think the O averages 30-32 per game.. also looking for a never quit attitude no matter the circumstances… I love Duzz’s spirit and these kids love playing for this staff.. inexperience will show but so will the hearts and guts of this PITT Panther team!!!

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  21. Come Saturday the old adage applies, “talk is cheap”.

    By 4 pm on Saturday we will have our first look at Panther Football 2017. Let’s hope she’s a beauty, tall, with all of her teeth and a nice 2nd story balcony.

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  22. Don’t like Brightwell in the middle because he’s only about 220 pounds — isn’t he? I couldn’t give him a “check” in the middle.

    Wirginis will take over at MLB as soon as he’s back, which will give Pitt some flexibility if they all stay healthy.

    Maddox is taller than 5-7, but not much. .. He’ll still be All-ACC, IMHO.

    I hope they design the Pitt offense like the Steeler offense with a mix of quick throws and deep balls. Both teams have tall immobile QBs, both have big play tall WRs, both have lightning quick shorter WRs, and both will have good OLines…

    Go Pitt.

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  23. OK Guys- here we are an hour away from our Wednesday evening roundtable Call-In show. last week we had seven total ( myself and 6!! callers). That was a lot but they listened to the moderator and it was pretty informative.

    With that I ask for some ground rules – take the Moderators lead is one. It is essential that we get to as many topics as necessary and in doing so I need to limit individual answers to about 2-3 minutes at most.

    I’ll do my best spreading the ball around – if you do your best in wanting everyone to get equal airtime. so if I drop in a “Thanks Ike, lets hear what Dr Tom thinks…” don’t take it the wrong way.

    Also – if you have earbuds please use them in lieu of your computer’s speakers – that cuts out the echoes and reverb.

    Richard (Game Cocks) did a smart thing – he muted his microphone until it was time for him to speak. Next on the POV agenda is to pool our money and buy him a set of $4.99 earbuds at Target.

    Here is a good reference to have at hand as we’ll be talking about the YSU two-deep and the game itself…

    https://s3.amazonaws.com/sidearm.sites/pittsburghpanthers.com/documents/2017/8/28/YSU_Notes_17_COMPLETE_.pdf

    So here is that Call-In info again this time with the phone numbers…

    Meeting URL
    https://bluejeans.com/303520973
    Meeting ID
    303520973

    Moderator Passcode (for phone-ins)
    2615

    Want to dial in from a phone?
    Dial one of the following numbers:

    +1.408.740.7256
    (United States)
    +1.408.317.9253
    (Alternate number)
    

    Just do this: 1-408-740-7256 then 303520973 then 2615# (Don’t forget the # sign!)

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  24. I am expecting a terrific season and it’s more based on I believe this coaching staff, and particularly HCPB, have learned how things work, meaning what it takes to win.

    Winning is a learned mindset and that game at Clemson (one of my best weekends ever) showed me and the team a lot. As disappointing as the follow up was, especially the Bowl Game, this off season was a time to look back and get things even more right

    Look, there are NO good defenses in College FB, period. Just degrees of mediocrity. Alabama gave up over 40 in the NC game. I believe our defense will improve enough. That’s due to both time (3rd year) and coaching. That includes of course HCPN but also strength and conditioning, nutrition, Charlie Partidge, Shaun Estson, etc.

    Offensively we are pretty solid. Some real athletes to go with a great scheme. Nobody had a better scheme than Pitt in 3016 and we are building on that.

    Question marks? Sure. All teams have some. There is not a single team on the schedule that’s really great and we can win every one of them with good coaching. I expect great coaching this year!

    H2P!

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  25. Guys I don’t care where we finish this year. I just want to remind everyone that 4 years ago (or maybe 5?) we got blown out by Florida state at home one week 1. They went on to be national champions.

    Last year we went on the road and beat the national champions.

    That is f-Ing progress. I don’t care how you slice it.

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  26. Depth chart appears to be upperclassman biased, which is perfectly fine for the first game against a non Div 1 school. They aren’t facing off against Miami or PSU. Its basically a scrimmage, especially the first 1.quarter or so. I tend to think Narduzzi will play whoever looks good the next week, no matter what the depth chart says. The players with some recruiting hype to their name are going to have to earn their way on the field, as it should be for anyone.

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  27. Great to see some new names joining in the PITT POV conversation…
    Going to be a fun year… you POBets going to the YSU game please get to the tailgate… let’s make this effort something special and positive for helping grow the PITT school spirit

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  28. Sorry about the late sign in Reed. Kids Hockey got in the way of the roundtable. I will talk to the coach and advise him of getting my priorities in order!

    Good comments above fellas. Everyone is getting the itch for this year to start. Haven’t heard any Browne news except that the steelers signed the Brownes DB Haden.

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  29. Not hot and cold on Clark Ike. Just keeping my eyes and ears open and listening to reports from camp and reevaluating things as time goes on which is what I believe thinking person’s are supposed to do.

    We know a lot more about Clark now that he’s been mentioned more often because he’s a potential starter this season than we did at this time last year when he was a scout team player, so with that I began to think that he could become a real asset to the team. But I never thought he was a bad player… I didn’t like the way he bounced around, but I also don’t think he’s going to be a real great player for us.

    You seem to think that something has to be completely great or completely bad and that there’s very little gray in between. I see things differently than that. I see things, especially in football, where players can be average, or below-average, can be above-average, can be great, can be poor. There’s a whole bunch of different levels players can be out there on the field.

    Pitt fans get overly excited about a recruit and think he’s going to be the best thing ever, but no one ever looks at the recruit and says he’ll be a possible starter his junior or senior year, or he’ll be a pretty good back over up his career. Which is exactly what most players do… that’s how they are play football there’s one or two great stars; there’s some good solid starters and there’s a lot of regular contributors.

    When I look at this defense right now I see a bunch of kids who look like they’re going to be average players at best this year; I see some kids who look like they’re going to shine and I see some kids who are going to be contributors and maybe get passed over on the starting chart down the road… but very few players on that defensive lineup jump out of me at this point.

    Now that said some of those players who I think are going to be just contributors or going to play average ball this year may well turn out to be very strong players for us in two or three years. But right now we are talking about this season and are talked about this lineup to begin actual play.

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  30. Heading out to another busy work day – but I thought I’d stir up the rumor mix. Bo Pelini apparently guaranteed a YSU win over Pitt and Mad Max Browne may be slowed by an injury.

    I’m not reporting on either, just re-posting from the rumor mix. Fake news?

    I don’t know, but I’m making sure I have the right underwear on when I enter Heinz Field this Saturday for the YSU game. If Pitt wins, they (the underwear of choice) will be on for the rest of the season until the Panthers lose. Of course they will be washed in between games –

    Pluck the Penguins!

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    1. The first one to reply with the correct answer gets a free Pitt magnet …. provided he/she arrives at Heinz Field early enough on Saturday.

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    1. rkb, I was saying I will need to wash them (or throw them away) if Pitt LOSES, due to a lack of control of my body fluids, ala JoePa.

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    1. He may not be able to coach his way out of a paper bag. And he was a very uninspired hire. But Rockports (a.k.a. Stallings) is not responsible for the downfall of our basketball program. Jamie’s failure to make the transition to the ACC was and is the cause of the demise of the program. Blame Stallings for his failed experiment of using Artis at the point. But don’t blame him for the fact that there was no other competent point guard in the program.

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  31. If Pitt is 3 for 3 on grad transfer QBs it will be quite the story. I don’t doubt Browne based on USC. Savage and Peterman were failures at their last schools. I do feel better with Browne playing than DiNucci. I think his game experience is huge. We just has to hope he doesn’t have Tino pocket awareness and run straight into defensive linemen.

    Clarke, if he stays healthy, will have a huge year. The way the team talks, he has speed for his size. He has big slow shoes to fill. Orndoff was not a fast TE.

    The two deep is just listing who will play. In many cases, it doesn’t matter if a kid is listed second or third. DL is a perfect example. Carter will play a lot even though he is listed 3rd. The coaches are waiting to see shines when the lights come on.

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  32. Meanwhile, in national economic news, a reported 864 people will lose their jobs this weekend. Sadly, Terrish Webb is likely to be one of them.

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      1. I’ll continue to say this …. with the exception of QBs, the CB is the most exposed position in football. He can have his guy covered for 9 plays in a row and the QB doesn’t throw his way … but everyone will remember the 10th. For his last 2 years, Pitts was assigned to opponent’s best WR and had to watch him all over the field, often one-on-one.

        BTW, last year Clemson’s Watson completed 36 passes for 420 yards and Hunter Renfroe had 10 receptions for 92 yds and Mike Williams had 8 receptions for 94.

        The above was vs Alabama … and all of their blue-chip DBs.

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  33. I still say the over under is seven. The offense should be good enough to bet on the over so the real question is, will the defense be good enough? Unless you are wearing your Pitt extra special rose colored glasses there is really no way to know. Dr. Tom always says remember Houston, I’m going to say “remember Syracuse and Northwestern”. We can’t be any worse but we pretty much have a complete remake of the defense which was dreadful last year. So if you are a glass half full guy you will say we are going to be much better. If you are a glass half empty guy you are going to say we are in big trouble with very little experience.

    In any case we have to hope that the increased athleticism overcomes the lack of experience and we get better sooner rather than later. We also have to hope that we get through the first three games without many serious injuries to key players.

    As usual, line play is essential. We need the O-line to protect and open holes. We need the D-line to stop the run and put pressure on the QB. We will find out soon enough if they have what it takes.

    Like Henderson and Weah last year, we need guys to take the next step and make plays on both sides of the ball.

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  34. Did a round-table go down last night?

    Reed, I have always been known as a gray guy and also known as someone to change their mind midstream. It just seemed like you took an abrupt about face with Clarke.

    I still don’t understand why you are so shocked with Shane Roy getting the nod at DT? He payed a lot of snaps last year and he’s older more mature than many of the others. Hell Soto came out of nowhere last year to be solid.

    Also, we don’t even know what Narduzzi is doing with all this depth chart business. I think we will see lots of players play…

    Richard, I sure hope the wife is feeling better and gets well real soon. . .. . …ike

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    1. there is a remote chance that he gets on the practice squad later in the year … because, I have seen them add local players later in the season that never get called up, probably for scout team purposes. Did you know Rod Rutherford has a SB ring from the Steelers?

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  35. Quite correct Reed. We have been very fortunate with QB injuries since Bostick was thrown to the wolves then beat wvu and then was pushed out.
    I’m with you Big B. It would also make me wonder about the quality of Pitt coaches. Wonder if Reed has an opinion on Conklin or Hill? 🙂 🙂

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  36. Has anyone seen or heard of DK since the eclipse – may be hiding in the bat cave or is finding the freshman year of high school is an adjustment. 🙂
    Speaking of caves, Emel time to wake up from hibernation. Wake up little rosebud, wake up. (from Popeye cartoon).
    Heather the field better look good this year or I am going to lose it. Again. I actually got a fan survey from Pitt and I ranted so much on our piss poor field that I had to keep typing after I ran out of space.
    H2P

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  37. Here’s the thing about La Pitts and Webb and others who actually do cling onto a NFL roster spot practice squad aside. If someone could do the math for me, there are how many defensive backs coming out of school and being eligible for the NFL in any given year?

    To me, it’s quite the accomplishment. I still remember when my son introduced me to Ross Ventrone. He had already decided to transfer out of PITT and enroll at Villanova. I couldn’t believe how small he is/was and BTW, he’s still earning a NFL paycheck. Never would have guessed.

    I will never again underestimate a young man who earns their way into the NFL… it ain’t easy… ike

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  38. PSN posted a Nick Patti 2017 scrimmage tape highlight today. I do believe that Pitt will not need to go after any more grad transfer QB in the near future. I really like our two P’s Patti and Pickett. Two guys that can both throw and run when needed to escape the pressure. And from the looks of their highlights tapes they both are fairly accurate on the run. That running inability IMO will be the downfall in Browne’s game this year.

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  39. Couple points –

    Orndoff was not the second most prolific TD scorer on our team – Conner, Weah, Aston, Henderson all found paydirt more often on offense last year. He was tied with Aston for 2nd most RECEIVING TD’s though.

    Did Shane Roy steal your girl or something? You’re making me into a Shane Roy fan just to prove you wrong! The dude came in 5 years ago as a 6’4 230 lb DE. Now hes a 23 year old 6’4 290 lb DT who beat out a half dozen far more highly recruited players. Call off the jihad against Shane, let’s see what he’s got

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