POV Game Thread – Rice & Tailgate Info

POV Game Thread – Rice & Tailgate Info

Keep your predictions going on the last article please – I wanted to get this piece drafted before I leave Maryland at 4:00 am.

Don’t forget we have Fran’s POV Tailgate going on in parking Lot Red5A – between the Red parking garage and the Residence in on General Robinson Street.  As usual Fran and friends will be there around 8:00 am or so and I’ll limp over from downtown around 9:30 0r 10:00.

OK – Game thread on for the Rice game starting at 12:00 noon…

 

Know the Enemy: Rice and Prediction Thread

Know the Enemy: Rice and Prediction Thread

Sorry for the wait on this one guys, but here we are, meeting again as our Panthers are set to take the field against what appears to be an inferior opponent; the Rice Owls.

Rice at a Glance:

 Record: (1-3)

PPG for/against: 12F/31.8A

Leading Passer: Jackson Tyner (241 yards, 0 touchdowns, 1 interception) and                              Sam Glaesmann (229 yards, 1 touchdown, 2 interceptions)

Leading Rusher: Samuel Stewart (44 carries, 191 yards, 0 touchdowns)

Leading Receiver: Aaron Cephus (7 receptions, 133 yards, 1 touchdown) and                                  Samuel Stewart (10 receptions, 109 yards, 0 touchdowns)

How inferior are they?  I’m not quite sure, but I know that after the prior three weeks, what should be a good feeling about this game, is just absent.  Let me introduce myself as a Newfound Pessimist over a   (-22) line in favor of Pitt.

Yeah sure, it is Rice, a school steeped in an academic tradition, but what has Pitt really proven this season that suggests they will win outright?  Nothing, Pitt has proven nothing this season and I really feel this game will fall right into line with that 2017 tradition of just looking pathetic.

As it stands, it appears Pitt will turn back to Max Browne being the man under center, at least to start the game.  That’s really the right call in this case and it’s easy, neither has shown anything to rave about, but it’s clear that Browne has the stronger arm that the coaches trust.  The mind is the other factor in this case.  Hopefully the synapses connect to provide a game on offense we all will still be down on the following week.

This week is do-or-die for offensive coordinator Shawn Watson.  If the pieces don’t fit after this week, there is no fathomable way he returns to stand absent in front of the media.  I fully mean that, if Pitt is unable to break through this week and put 40 offensive points on the board, he is out.

Also, this must be the week they get Quadree Henderson incorporated into the passing game.  I said it the last two weeks, and clearly it hasn’t changed.  Not that my voice serves as a master to disciple, but I think it is obvious the need to get him the ball, outside of the sweeps. Those just aren’t working.  I gushed about Maurice Ffrench last week and I hold true, when he is able to keep his feet, he is the better option to run the sweeps over Henderson.

Players like Jester Weah, Aaron Mathews and Reuben Flowers III should be able to feast on the outside.  Against Stanford in a game that both teams traveled to Australia to play, the Rice secondary surrendered 369 yards passing.  They were deep, down the sideline throws, ones that Browne can throw, just hopefully not 17 yards out-of-bounds.

In their game against Houston, Rice only mustered three points while Houston racked up 38, all in the first half.  While they didn’t score in the second half, Houston ran into some trouble with the adjustments Rice made at the half.  Houston quarterback Kyle Allen’s first half efficiencies went out the door and the team faltered, clearly just on the offensive side of the ball.

Not to be outdone, their rush defense has been horrendous, too.  Against Stanford, the Owls gave up 8.0/yards per carry to finish the game off by surrendering 287 yards and five touchdowns. Almost Steeler-esque. I like the opportunity for AJ Davis to finally get his hands on the ball and do a lot of the running in the second half with Chawntez Moss and Qadree Ollison starting the game as the bell-cows.

Let’s not forget that Pitt will have George Aston back in the fold, who claims he is/has been the strongest player on the team since the day he walked on the field.  There’s not much to suggest otherwise.  Aston could make the biggest overall difference in the game.

To be honest, there is really no way to elaborate on the Owl’s offense.  While Pitt hasn’t quite been a juggernaut this season, the Owls have been worse; even with their 38-point outburst against UTEP.  We all too familiarly understand bad offense in 2017, if those woes continue, it could be a very boring, 12-hour game with 138 punts.

However, what does worry me a tad is Rice’s use of the running back as a receiver. Does anyone remember that Youngstown State game?  The wheel route, thing of beauty, wasn’t it?

That’s the sort of thing we should expect in this game as well.  Rice will be able to seclude a linebacker on their back, and when done right, will slice our linebackers for big numbers across the middle.  It doesn’t take the talent of Saquon Barkley to do that, it’s any sort of talent.  It’s also a big reason as to why Henry Miller will be moving up 7 yards to join the linebackers from his safety position.

Pitt will need to be more athletic on the defensive front to put less pressure on the backers to make instinctive reads rather than the right reads. Rashad Weaver will be a big part of that plan along with Kam Carter who was absent from last week’s game.

If you caught me in the act on Twitter(@clogue_32), I thought Kam was going to have a huge game and play a significant role in the defense containing the run last week, only to have him not be on the travel roster announced two minutes later.

We will see a couple of things happen for the first time in the game. I like the ability of Damar Hamlin to get his first career interception in the Blue/Gold.  Pat Narduzzi specified Hamlin as being one of the players, along with Jalen Williams, to have wholly improved from the beginning of the season until now.

The second thing we see happen for the first time is a quarterback throw for multiple touchdowns. A big feat on a normal day, not at all, but with the status of the team, it will be huge for a lot of player’s confidence.  Jester Weah being the biggest of them all.  Max Browne gets the start and will hold on to the ‘starter’ label for the next week at Syracuse.

Predictions

Chris Logue – I have picked Pitt to win in three-of-four games this season and have been made a fool in two of those.  What it has been so far this season is Pitt is inferior against teams that pepper the ball down the field and also the same against teams that like to train their way to the end-zone.

While it automatically suggests the defense is the problem, the offense must do its part in making sure the D isn’t out on the field every three minutes.  That’s why I like Pitt in this game; they will finally own the time of possession and give our defense a much-needed rest.  Pitt takes this one 47-24.

Reed Kohberger – I’m in a hurry and will predict this evening… but if I was betting I’d sure take Rice and the points.

POV Roundtable Call-In Video; 9-27-17

POV Roundtable Call-In Video; 9-27-17

Anther great evening with the POV’ers – and some new blood joined in with TX Panther (Mike) and Altoona Josh (Josh) both long time readers and commenters… and now commentators.  As you may have figured- there wasn’t a lot of deviation between us when discussing the season so far.  However, there was some when it came to this weekend’s game.

Everyone but one felt there was pretty much  no way we’d lose this game; I’m the outlier there.  Something feels very ‘off’ about this season – TX Mike agrees with this also – so nothing would surprise me in 2017 for our team.

I don’t think we’ll lose.  But I wouldn’t be surprised one bit if we did.

Do not forget about the POV Tailgate on Saturday Morning – Red 5A lot and I’ll have more info up tomorrow, or later today.

 

POV Roundtable Call-In; 9-27-17

It’s that time of the week again – we have a LOT to discuss with last week’s Georgia Tech game and now the upcoming match with Rice University at Heinz on Saturday.  Here is the Call-In info:

Meeting URL

https://bluejeans.com/303520973

Meeting ID: 303 520 973

Moderator Passcode: 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)

Enter the meeting ID and passcode followed by #:

408 740 7256  303 520 973 2615#

Here are some bits & pieces of Pitt football news:

September 25, 2017

Pat Narduzzi Press Conference 

Rice Week

 PRESS CONFERENCE VIDEO: Narduzzi Rice Preview

PITT (1-3, 0-1 ACC) vs. RICE (1-3, 1-1 C-USA)

September 30, 2017Noon, ET

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

Rice Two-Deep.png

Continue reading “POV Roundtable Call-In; 9-27-17”

A Look at Pitt’s Program History

I received this letter in an email the other day and wanted to share it with you all as soon as possible. This was written by a friend of mine who is a long-time Pitt supporter and a graduate so as an alumni he has a large spot in his heart for the University. I think he makes some excellent points and I think this is something we all should read…

Reed,

I just read your latest POV article, and several thoughts occurred to me based on over 60 years of following Pitt athletics; graduating from Pitt in undergrad, and personally knowing a great many of the most illustrious of Pitt’s athletes. Yes, I go back to even EJ’s Dad and Freddie Cox being classmates.

During my days in Pittsburgh, Pitt was highly respected as a private university with far higher entrance requirements than other known major colleges such as Penn State and WVU, etc.  Those playing sports at Pitt in those days were genuine scholar-athletes who had to play both sides in football.

Look at the wonderful guys from the 1963 football team and you would see a great many academic and career successes from lawyers, dentists, doctors, engineers, etc. You also would see that quite a few players were drafted by the NFL and AFL but chose to pursue their careers rather than professional sports. I went to law school with some of them and used to be with them in the Tuck Shop and more. 

Unfortunately, time has not been kind to Pitt after the 1983 season. Yes, there was the misery from 1966 until Johnny Majors arrived through the help of great guys I knew such as John Konomikes. Pitt’s constant internal feuding between the academic wunderkind brought in by Chancellor Litchfield who bankrupted Pitt to build extensively both in buildings and highly regarded academics to mirror an Ivy League school and the weak leadership of the athletic department resulted in a civil war.

Continue reading “A Look at Pitt’s Program History”

POV: MMQB; Georgia Tech 35 – Pitt 17

POV: MMQB; Georgia Tech 35 – Pitt 17

Note: the previous article’s comment thread was closed by me due to the fact that it veered into the political arena.  We had our say and now it is back to Pitt football. Let’s all try to keep to the no politics policy that has worked so well on here… myself included.

Well, it is time for our post-match report cards in our Monday Morning QB articles where we all throw out our “Good, Bad and Ugly” for the last game to be discussed.

Monday-Morning-QBThis will be pretty simple today, just as last week’s was with the OSU shellacking.  We had the same result Saturday with a twist of the offense we had to face.

Where OSU passed all over the field against us, Georgia Tech did the opposite and ran up and down the green grass of Bobby Dodd stadium.  But they were actually pretty generous in trying to give us the game with their four fumbles that our kids recovered.

Our OC Shawn Watson hates charity though and promptly called the plays so as to give the ball right back to them after each turnover.  I have said many time Pitt football needs to humble itself and one way to do that is to take those altruistic offerings and score points afterward… then it is a win-win situations for the giver and the taker.

OK – onto the grading:

GOOD:

♣  Our first offensive drive if only for the fact that it showed we can actually score a TD in more than a couple a FBS games.  Too bad that was it on the day.  DiNucci hit Ollison with a nice pass on a seam route on one of the only good play calls by OC Shawn Watson all afternoon. It was like a tasty appetizer where no main course came after.

♣  Alex Kessman hit a long 55 yard field goal to make his record now 3 of 7 attempts. I’d like to say that we may really need him to become more consistent because we’ll have to depend on him in the clutch at the end to win a future game but from what we have seen from our Panthers so far that situation may not arise.

♣  We didn’t throw any interceptions.

♣  Pitt’s plane didn’t crash on the way back from Atlanta.

BAD:

♣  Where to start?  Like last week’s review the “BAD” tends to meld with the “UGLY” in this game.  So let’s do this…

Continue reading “POV: MMQB; Georgia Tech 35 – Pitt 17”

POV Sunday Podcast; GT Bulldog Edition

I’m doing the Sunday podcast on Saturday evening as we are having house guests tomorrow morning for a football brunch while watching the Ravens play in London.

GT Box Score

Bernie and the Girls
Bernie “BigB” hanging with PhiDelt Girls

 

POVers at GT
BigB, Pittman4ever and Dr. Tom trolling for chicks

Here is that note I mentioned – if you didn’t get one in the mail then read this and, I hope, take it to heart.  We have eight more games to play and who says we can’t turn things around?  I am wary just as you guys are that we can do it but I am a Pitt fan first and as such support the kids out there – they do give it their all…

Pitt struggles Note