POV Roundtable Video; 10-5-17

Here is the discussion we had last night about the season so far and the upcoming Syracuse game.  Some of the questions I asked were: “Who surprised and who disappointed so far this year?  MVP of offense and defense so far?  How have all the transfers and “young guys” played so far this year”.

That last question was a bit hard to answer in that both POVers looked directly to the future in describing the younger players – that is how they thought the kids will play next year.

But that wasn’t the question.

I think the original question is valid and the reason I asked it was not to point out poor play by any of the kids really, but to match what we have actually seen take place out on the field of play to the (I think mostly unrealistic) expectations Pitt fans had during the off-season and through Fall Camp for these new players.

So of all the transfers who have started and played a lot so far and the younger players who started just a few or no games before this season – who is doing as well or better than you thought? And who is doing worse than you though?

But please remember we are talking about THIS SEASON so far... the first five games, not our next game, the rest of the season or in 2018.  We’ll revise these questions at the end of the season to see what progressions the players have or have not made over the year.

Also, these are not referendums on whether these players are “good” or “bad” per se – just how they have played so far this season… there are too many variables to put those good or bad labels on a player after only five games.

I’ll start: For instance of all the transfers who are starting (and I’ll add Ziese as a position switch starter) I think Browne has played as I expected overall as an average QB – last game included. That was a very good one for him but his body of work over five games has been as I though. I wrote I thought he’d have a Chad Voytik 2014 type year statistically and he’s a bit under that in key categories.

LB Ziese has not met expectations regardless of how many tackles he has made.  Too many times he has been either out of position or met the ball carriers and whiffed on the tackle.

But MLB Saleem Brightwell has been an OK player and has built on what he did in his time playing last season..

DE Hendricks was being counted on to be the heir apparent to the departed DE Ejuan Price – he of the 23 tackles for loss and 13 sacks in ’16.  However with only 7 total tackles and just 3 TFLs with 1 sack Hendricks over five games as the starter he has disappointed in a big way.   Of all the new players I’d say he has been the biggest letdown.

TE Flanagan has been a decent receiver and a decent blocker for us but Chris Clark has frustrated fans so far. Clark’s 8 catches for only 38 yards and 1 TD… with a paltry 4.8 ypc is way below what most fans felt he’d do for us. He did have a TD catch last game.

I think part of that is Watson’s offense and Browns not being able to, or have the time to, use his check downs properly – but the hype balloon from the staff surrounding Clark’s coming to Pitt has a huge hole in it. Flanagan is the #1 TE for sure.

Of the young “new” players I’ll say that:

CB Damar Hamlin has not done anything noteworthy yet but that might be rust – I never expected stardom from him anyway but he’s been average so far.

DL Keyshon Camp has been a major disappointment with no sacks or tackles for loss although he’s played in all five games.  He was supposed to be a mainstay with returning DL Amir Watts in the middle of that DL and both have not played to the level fans felt they would.

When you have a DL that has allowed 969 yards rushing at a 4.9 clip and 9 TDs over the first five games there are real problems with the personnel out on the field.  Let’s be brutally honest here folks – when the staff insists on keeping JR journeyman Shane Roy in as a starter on the DL that screams no confidence in the other guys.

Hell – let’s also address Roy then.  This guy is taking up space and that is all he does.  I honestly see no value in him playing when we have younger guys who could use the experience.  Roy’s 4 tackles total with no TFLs or sacks in a full five games as a starter screams loudly for a benching tout suite.

And I believe FS Bricen Garner and CB Dane Jackson have held their own as they have played so far. Not great results from them but certainly serviceable given the state of the defense overall and the teams they have faced.

What do you guys think about how you (or fans as a group) thought these new starters would do compared to what we have seen out in the field to date?

Notes: Guys – when you call in to the Roundtable here are a couple of ideas: 1) put some lighting forward of you so that we can see your face while you are speaking – TX Panther looked like a ghostly spirit with a Pitt hat on last night…:)

2) If you can, or want to, mute your computer’s microphone when you are listening to the others speak you can do so… then just hold down the “space bar” on the bottom of the keyboard to talk.  That will cut down on our reverb a lot – we had a bit toward the end of the meeting last evening.

Also – for all POVers: It looks like Bluejeans Inc. – the online meeting platform we use – has a feature where I can get on their Facebook site and answer live called-in or emailed questions.  The questioners wouldn’t actually be shown but would send me the question or statement for discussion they have and I’d research it and discuss it with listeners in real-time.

That might be fun to do and maybe we’ll try that down the road.


90 thoughts on “POV Roundtable Video; 10-5-17

  1. the OLine both surprised me and disappointed me the most.

    MVP – sadly Lopes on Offense; Idowu or Jackson on defense

    I refuse to make a rash judgement on any of the new players especially on the defense. This is not the optimal way of breaking them in … but hopefully it will benefit them in the long run.


    1. Was about to contribute most of the same observations. However I don’t think it’s entirely too rash to say that I had hoped the defensive front 7 would be more dynamic in 2017 with the anticipated/expected elevated athleticism. I just really haven’t even seen glimpses of it.


      1. FWIW, I have been saying all along that the young guys on defense will start making an impact come mid-October. We’ll see. I did not expect the poor Oline play at all … knew it wouldn’t be as good as last year, but ….


        1. I have read your posts. I just really had hope for some glimpses but there are at least 7 more games remaining and October should indeed be very telling.

          I mean I can’t help but think of how a less heralded player like Rori Blair actually distinguished himself as a true freshman by leading the team with 5 sacks in 8 games and became a starter. I mean Pitt’s entire D line through 5 games in 2017 doesn’t yet have as many sacks (3) as Blair had in his freshman year.

          In terms of just tackles years over year, it will be close for the combined total tackles of the current 2-deep front 7 (141) to eclipse that of the starting front 7 of Galambos, Idowu, Soto, Price, Caprara, Jarrett and Blair from last year (341).

          Pitt had a total of 67 TFL in 2016 without Price’s 23. Thus far Pitt has 23.



    2. Why do you “refuse”? As I stated twice this isn’t a test of if they are good or bad players – just if they have played the way you expected them to play over the first five games of the season.

      Since you keep stating that the defense will be ‘better’ by mid-Oct then it would be appropriate for you to state that the new kids have or haven’t played to your personnel expectations.

      They are big boys – they can take reading an honest assessment of their play.


      1. I refuse because ….

        1) they’re not big boys … most of them are only 19
        2) they have very little experience
        3) most of them are not blue chips .. but 3 stars which usually take a while to develop, and
        4) so far, they have faced some of the best that college FB has to offer


        1. plus they certainly haven’t received any help from the offense …. especially all of the 3 and outs vs OSU and GT


  2. Can’t pass this stat up from Peak of Pantherlair:

    Random Pitt stat of the day: In 2 career starts at the Carrier Dome, Tino Sunseri completed 42-of-57 passes (73.7%) for 600 yards & 4 TDs.

    Note that each of these years, he played the pro style offense.


    1. Tino is an underappreciated whipping boy. To some he is manifest evidence that stats lie and some clear form of nepotism (a tenuous connection between Wannstedt at Pitt and his dad Sal at Alabama) lives on.


      1. And Tino is couch at 1-2 FSU right now – underachieving is a nice way to describe the Noles’ season to date.


        1. Um, okay. What does that have to do with Tino as a player at Pitt?

          Another nice way to describe the Noles’ season to date might be “injury riddled” starting with the loss of Francois (their starting QB from 2016) in game #1 for the season. Besides that I’m not sure what direct effect Tino’s position as a Quality Control Assistant has on FSU’s record.

          FSU with losses to Alabama and NC State.


        1. in two years in the pro set, 38 TDs vs 13 Ints in 24 games is anything but horrible. He certainly wasn’t great, or anything near, but he was Fraud’s sacrificial lamb and everyone bought right into it.


    1. this is the email caption for above

      Omar Renan Moreno Q‏ @OmarMoreno79 34
      Un Honor continuar con el Legado del Gran Roberto Clemente @DAVIDSALAYANDIA @AurelioOrtiz31 @omaralfanno @JCTapiaLMB #PuertoRicoSeLevanta

      (It’s an Honor to continue Roberto Clemente’s Legacy. )


  3. This defense will be very good… by the end of next year. Literally only losing Maddox and Edwards. With all the underclassmen getting PT, I see the light at the end of the tunnel. Only hope the offense can step it up.


  4. As I previously posted Whitehead I do believe will not return next year as he will enter the draft. So lets not get too excited about next years defense since Whitehead by far is our best defensive player.—-As side note to Ike, I most definitely will either admit being dead wrong on my Syracuse win prediction, just as likely I may also say “I told you so” but in that case only if Syracuse beats us by 2 touchdowns plus on Saturday.


    1. Only time will tell if Whitehead will bounce.

      Truthfully, it looks like Garner and Hamlin, with Briggs, Stocker, Campbell, Ford providing depth isn’t the worst safety crew ive seen at Pitt.


  5. Great comments by great PITT fans.

    I agree with having so many POVer’s participate in the round-table discussions but I worry when you say it some back off thinking others will fill their void. Then you get low numbers. I’ll always will be willing to step back if there are enough callers new and old.

    Last night I did jump on at the end without hooking up my camera but apparently my cpu has a mic I did not know about. I believe it was me causing the reverb at the end. Sorry about that.

    Also like the idea of the facebook questions and answers. Maybe you can call it, the Dr Reed hour? << come to think of it, you do look like Dr Phil. Man I hate that guy though.

    Who has surprised me so far this year? That’s a good question as the players have been as nondescript as the team in general.

    In a good way, Lopes, Garner << He’s going to be a good one but geez not much to pick from but the one player who most certainly played up to potential and then some. Ryan Winslow.

    Players that may have not lived quite up to expectations. Browne for sure, Officer, and JJS, and the entire O-Line. We hear it all the time, why change one position as you may weaken two. It’s good to hear that coach Peterson is making some changes on that line. Put the best players where they play the best. Hope to see some younger guys get more playing time as well.

    Drake, Warren, Morgan, Pilato Ford and company. They need experience and they may be better than what’s going on now?

    Transfers, Reed’s pet peeve. I think it’s like the whole PITT team again. I just cannot get a handle on these guys yet. Is Clark a disappointment or is it Browne and or Watson? PITT is playing a lot of two TE’s or has Fannigan been the one to fill in for Georgie?

    I’m not so sure how disappointing Hendrix has been either. No the numbers are not there but I see a ton of substituting going on out there. Which is good but there is that continuity word again. Price rang up gaudy numbers but he played all the time.

    Carter hasn’t played much but he’s still on the team, surprise Upitt. Anyways the linebackers are the players suppose to make the majority of the tackles and I don’t see Brightwell’s name at the top of the list like we did with the middle linebackers in the past. Zeise has been a little disappointing but he makes tackle that I don’t even see. Idowu goes down as a positive for sure.

    Hamlin is starting and a true sophomore. That’s impressive. Crazy thing is that Whitehead being a dummy and getting suspended may help this team in the long run. PITT’s record would still be 2-3 if he played the whole season and he would be gone after this year. Now, I don’t think he leaves.

    I just got tired and I have things to do. later . . . . . .ike



  6. jrn, I was jokingly referring to “having a chance to win” I know I’m not putting any ice cream cones on this game either way. 🙂 . . . . ….ike


  7. Surprise – actually 2…Dane Jackson and Lopes

    Disappointed – 3 way tie…Ollison, Weah and Henderson

    MVP of Offense – Can’t say that we have an MVP on offense yet…waiting to see if last week’s success was due to the competition/Rice

    MVP of Defense – Dane Jackson and Jordan Whitehead

    Transfers and “young guys” played so far this year” Browne and Clark disappointing so far….Flanagan decent

    Pitt wins if the D holds the Orange under 24 pts…Final score 26-24 Pitt…Kessman kicks 4 FG’s + 2 points after TD, Henderson a TD on a punt or kick return and Max a TD pass to Weah H2P!!


  8. NCAA looking at no more transfer rules. Players can come and go as they please. Is semi pro next?


  9. The propensity of doubt among a lot of the POV’erts concerning this weeks game, probably is due to Pitt’s long standing habit of laying an Egg on the Road. There is nothing with the way this team has played this year that can justify having any confidence in them winning on the road.

    Also after having just played LSU(#23 Total Defense) and NC State(#60 Total Defense), Syracuse’s offense is going to love to see Pitt’s KeyStone Cop Defense(#103 Total Defense).


  10. I believe it is already semi pro for most of the Big 5 conferences…The genie is out of the bottle….The equipment and apparel companies have the most influence right now…i.e. the recent scandal involving Louisville et. al.


    1. Concur Reed. I use to watch so many college football games. I’m down to watching one a week. Us.
      I do follow the scores online so that I can do something else online than sitting in front of the tube.


  11. Some of the young DL aren’t stars now, but they will be. They have years to develop.

    I agree. The D has been at a total disadvantage with the offense taking 3 and outs for two entire games.

    Clark and Hendrix have played little football. They will turn out good but need playing time. They are essentially redshirt freshman.


    1. The 3 and out offense argument is the other glass half full argument regarding defensive ineffectiveness. Last season it was that the Pitt offense scored too quickly (or too early). It’s hard to keep track.

      Anyway, Pitt was down 35-0 to OSU early in the second quarter. GT shot themselves in the foot with four fumbles (3 on Pitt’s side of the field). Pitt easily won time of possession against PSU but couldn’t put the ball in the end zone.

      Clark and Hendrix are already 22 years old. Both played as true freshmen at P5 schools.


  12. Oklahoma State scored with a little over a minute to play to avoid having to go into Overtime with Texas Tech.
    After losing by 2 touchdowns at home the week before to TCU, we clearly overrated how good Okie State was. Texas Tech was a 5-7 team last year and is not expected to anything more than mediocre this year.

    Other games of note: Herman’s Beavers got routed again in Corvallis, 42-7 to go 1 win (a 3 pointer over Portland State) and 4 losses. Maybe he can hire Conklin.

    Notre Dame played a MAC team(Miami,OH) at home. Don’t ever remember them scheduling a MAC team.
    REALLY !


  13. ^^ I agree Reed, I’m not much for change myself. I still yearn for the SWAC conference, Bill Jackson, Bud Wilkerson and psu games on the Friday after Thanksgiving. USC vs Notre Dame and all that jazz.

    Change is always inevitable so we move forward but it’s just hard not to look back.

    Is this the reason we ask, why can’t PITT get the colors right on the throwbacks?

    Is this the reason why we yell out loud, we want an on campus stadium? rah rah!

    Is this the reason for having POV blogs and such to submit our complaints?

    or are we just old people that complain way too much? ……..ike

    We All We Got
    We All We Need



  14. Barvo, the 3 and out and scoring too quickly are pretty much the same argument. The big difference is that when the O scores really quick the other team has to try and keep up. The 3 and out scenario allows the other team to take it’s time, eat the clock and “wear down the defense”. << which they both do.


  15. Dontavius Butler-Jenkins listed as “probable” on the injury report for this week.

    Thought the word was he was done for the year, if he can go hope he gets a shot.


  16. ^^ Right on Emel. Certainly a group that needs therapy. Kind of like statistics. It fits like a glove on the right hand, maybe not so much on the left. .. .. ike


  17. Reed, not bothering to send an email, tickets are yours unless you get a better offer. The very least I can do for all you have done!

    Jim, if you can make it up for the UNC game (Bernie’s tailgate) I’ll have club seats for you. Please let me know .. .. ..ike


  18. Riddle me this:
    Why do people believe a subpar young player will grow into an above average experienced player?
    Our cumulative defense is terrible, statistically worse than even last year. And yet, people believe Camp and Watts and Zeise and Brightwell will morph into the 85 Bears. What are you guys drinking?

    Positive surprises on offense: Lopes and Whitehead.
    Disappointments on offense: everyone else.

    Positives on Defense: Idowu and Dane Jackson.
    Negatives? Do you really need to ask? But i would toss in the defensive coaches, and especially the one, the only, our inflexible defensive guru, PN himself.

    And Reed, mucho, mucho thanks for the shirt!


  19. Concerning ND playing MAC teams, maybe ND is learning that playing 5 ACC teams every year is no picnic.


  20. Searching for positives at this point in the season is like searching for a needle in a haystack. Searching for negatives is like constantly stepping on cow poo on a diary field outside State College.

    But believe me, the positives will be more easily found and we’ll step on less poo as the season progresses.


  21. dairy i meant. diary might have been the one Joe Pa kept somewhere buried on the field…Freudian slip.

    City slickers just cant spell agricultural words.


  22. Gasman, go and watch The Wizard of Oz again. If you don not believe then it will not happen…..

    What’s the harm in being positive? We’ve all been wrong many times before. I’m use to it… . ike


  23. The answer to the riddle is a player that is talented can morph into a game changer with the right experience, coaching and motivation.

    Again, these are kids. They are still growing physically and more importantly mentally. I have hope.

    The big leap with players is in year 3. If you dont see it then, time to move to the next player. Narduzzi’s players will be in year 3 next year.

    Coach is also smart enough to understand that next year is make or break. Making a bowl this year was always 50/50. That bowl path starts with the Cuse this Saturday This game will determine the season…I’m not trying to be melodramatic.


  24. ^^ That’s a great comment TX, Kudos.

    People can believe what they want but these are young men. Growth mentally, physically and all aspects of life growing and up so to speak comes at different rates in a young mans life. To say it’s impossible that a player in his third or even his fourth year cannot develop into a big-time players is naive to me.

    Anyone remember a young man that went by the name of Scott McKillops? Plenty more examples as well.

    Give this team a chance but bitch all you want. We deserve it! College football hasn’t been very kind to all the faithful PITT fans in the recent past. . . . ….ike


  25. BTW Gasman, you left out Idowu, the walk-on who leads the ACC in tackles so far this year. One never knows? . . . .ike


  26. High expectations for inexperienced players is a self defeating aspect at the D 1 level. Very few rookies can make a big impact. The o line needs to gel, the day line needs to apply more pressure. Captains Briggs and Maddox aren’t very good, hopefully max is going to continue to improve. Looks like a toss up game with the orange but they have home field, fwiw.


  27. Ike:
    Positives on defense: Idowu and Jackson.
    Reread, please.

    And, you haven’t been the same since you handled that PSUcks shirt!


  28. Pitt is not in a position to reload. This is a rebuilding year. Pitt doesnt have the experience, depth or elite talent at key positions. Thats why most coaches are given 5 years. Next year again is make or break. I feel good about the Cuse game. They have a symptom called SOS. I expect them to Cuse the bed again.


  29. I am being realistic as opposed to crazy…which i normally am.
    Hendrix was going to be a defensive juggernaut!
    MacVittie was going to be the next Cam Newton.
    Watts and Camp were going to be a wall…just try to run on them!
    Chris Clark is 5 star…watch what he can do!
    Our offense is putrid and we rank 103 in total defense. And you think it is because of inexperience? Sure, let it be due to that, because by default, we must improve next year when everyone is older.
    Who next year is going to light up the offense? Oh yeah, the freshman qb nobody has seen.
    And on defense, who has stepped up and caught your attention aside from Whitehead? Who strikes fear in the opposing offensive coordinator? Who do you have to scheme for because he is just too much of a playmaker? Who?
    A caterpillar can turn into a butterfly, but you better make sure it’s a caterpillar and not an earthworm, or else it will never leave the dirt.


  30. NC state will have 8 days to prepare for Pitt. They win tonight and will
    Smoke us.

    Take NC ST getting 4 tonight.

    Everyone in ACC getting better except us and NC having a down year. UVA, VT, Miami, Syracuse, Wake, Duke.


  31. Gasman, sorry I did miss Idowu.

    …and you’re right I’m never the same from one day to another. Some say life is like a jungle and others say life can be a bitch, I say Life is a Carnival


  32. So just a sidebar…Pitt Football and Hoops might very well have, combined, the most disappointing seasons in a long time…but I just want to shout out to Pitt soccer…one of the most loser, pathetic athletic programs one has ever seen. Really. But look at them now! They literally have NEVER WON AN ACC GAME…and now have just beaten two top 25 teams in a row. This coach has come in completely as advertised and Pitt is I believe on a huge upswing (really they cant go anywhere but up). Cautiously optimistic we might become a winner in soccer again!

    And now back to your regularly scheduled programming…Pitt Football an underdog to the ‘cuse….Ugh! On the one hand they are due for a loss to the Orange…on the other…I don’t quite see it, I think they pull one out of their arse! Go Pitt!


    1. I bet on the Panthers with the line being 3 1/2 points going Pitt’s way.

      Pitt wins this one if they win the turnover battle for a third week in a row.


  33. On another note. Getting ready to spend some wife time… no not that… get your minds out of the gutters. At least not yet….

    wanted to shout out to Pittman/Jim and Pitt-cocks/Richard, who’s wives are struggling a bit right now with some health issues. Behind every good PITT man is a great PITT wife. My thoughts and prayers to you both and families.

    Now off to an idiotic movie to get on the good side which seems like it’s a moving target these days. ike



    1. No!! I just watched the full “Last Waltz” video on YouTube just yesterday morning.

      And right after I watch that I downloaded three of The Staple Singers albums because Mavis Staples breaks my heart every time she sings and Daddy Staples holds it all together… the best one of the best singing groups ever


  34. Drove home to Pa tonight from NC driving through my usual small hamlets that served long gone coal mines and small steel mills.

    Noticed something very different this October trip but it took me a while to catch on … there were no Steeler flags, banners or decorations .. American flags were hanging in their place….

    Tyler Boyd facing drug charges… make us proud Tyler…

    Get rid of the bum.. get rid of all the bums.

    Let college football be about student athletes… let the NFL pay for their minor league.


    1. Embarrassing. Glad you learned your lesson the year before Boyd. Better get ready to sell cars on 51 because Bengals may cut him before the year ends. He is already passed up byba 5’11 white receiver and he isn’t playing. Way to make Pitt and your hometown proud. Bengals cant help drafting idiots.


  35. Positive surprises on offense: Mathews, RaRa Lopes and J.Whitehead.
    Disappointments on offense: O-line, QB play, RB’s, the many drops by the starting WR’s and OC Watson.

    Positives on Defense: J.Whitehead and Dane Jackson.
    Negatives on Defense: D-line, LB-ers, Wirginis, Blair, Taleni and DC Conklin.

    How have the transfers performed? Without naming player’s names – disappointed in their collective performances.

    How have the young guys performed? Let AJ carry the rock and I’ll let you know. Put Paris Ford on the field so we can see him perform. Not enough on film for me to really comment any further.

    No excuse but to drop the cuse in the pot with a deuce!


  36. Never did buy into the Boyd DUI. Of course I didn’t care if he still played after one game. He only had one drink at a party?

    Wow! That’s some restraint I never knew of……


    1. Haha… That is a good one Ike. Better be careful Doc loves to defend this fine outstanding Pitt man.


      1. Tell me all about the details surrounding the Boyd drug charges & then I’ll decide whether to defend him or not. That is unless you’re already satisfied with assuming the trifecta roles of arresting officer, judge & jury.


    1. They beat Clemson last year if they had a kicker and if that happens no way they lose to us the next week.


  37. Reed — thanks for the nifty shirt (and the one for my Air Force son!).

    I heard a couple of minutes of Coach Duzz’s radio show last night and TE Clark came up. Coach said that Clark is still making mistakes – like not always getting to where he’s supposed to — but Coach said Clark is getting better every game… FWIW…

    An obscure (and rare) nice surprise this season has been Medure covering kicks.

    We just haven’t had anybody stepping up and making plays — outside of the Rice game.

    I still say that Coach Duzz should personally coach the safeties – their job is tough and complicated — and their success is pivotal to this defense.

    Go Pitt.


  38. A giant negative for the Pitt defense has been the poor tackling. So many missed tackles already this season…

    Go Pitt.


  39. Maddox has surprised me this season. I don’t recall him giving up big plays all over the field. Seems like most of those were on the safeties and line backers.

    Biggest disappointment was the lack of red zone efficiency so far. Did not expect us to put up so few points our first 4 games.


  40. Records Man, I love The Band too…Bernie, you are correct regarding the yinzers swapping Steeler flags for the stars and stripes. Especially in Westmoreland / Armstrong areas. Hope to see you later today. Good luck with your golf game today.


  41. You guys drive me crazy thinking that recruits come from high school into college, and you think they can immediately take over. Maybe at RB or WR, where natural abilities is the prime asset. But everywhere else requires strength training, technique development, knowledge and/or experience.

    Malik Hooker was a recent 1st round pick who now leads the NFL with INTs. He was a 4-star at New Castle before going to Ohio St where he redshirted his first year, played special teams his 2nd year with only a small handful of snaps at DB, and the finally started his 3rd year. And this was a 4-star blue chip.

    Pitt has some 4-stars but none of them were considered blue chips except for Whitehead, Hamlin and Paris. George Hill was another one (sadly).

    Maybe we can expect more if these players were interspersed with veteran, accomplished players who would draw more attention from the opponents … but we have no such luxury. I’m willing to bet that as a group, our front 7 (DL / LB) is the most inexperienced in the the NCAA. Idowu (a walk-on) is the only one with any kind of experience.


    1. Sophomore Watts was a 4 star by some services and he played last year. RS-Freshman Camp was also a 4 star by some services. These guys were both listed around 280 pounds coming in last year. They’re interior defensive lineman, they’re not playing coverage. They’re not playing the edge on an option. They’ve had 3 camps, 1+ season of coaching and game study, 1+ season of conditioning and nutrition assistance. They’ve had one full year of schooling with academic staff support. They’ve basiically had the support equivalent of professional athletes without actually being paid (I hope).

      Granted, he’s an unbelievable player, but Aaron Donald was a marginal 3 star player with nothing but MAC offers who was a spotlighted player as a true sophomore. He also played 13 games as a freshman. Greg Romeus was a 2 star player who was a starter as a sophomore. He played 25 games his first two seasons and recorded 11.5 sacks (4 as a freshman) Jabaal Sheard was a 3 star recruit who started as a sophomore and played 7 games as a freshman. He recorded 45 tackles and 5.5 sacks his sophomore year. This could go on but I don’t think I need to do that.

      Hendrix, Edwards and Roy and Folston are veteran P5 players with game experience at their respective positions. They are 22, 23, 22 (nearly) and 21 years old respectively. Hendrix is a RS-Junior. Edwards is a RS-Senior. Roy is a RS-Junior. Folston is a RS-Junior.

      Brightwell is RS-Sophomore who played a fair amount last season. Zeise is a RS-Junior who has been coached at LB for 2 seasons.


      1. Watts and Camp has had 2 camps, not 3. And they were 4 stars who happened to be around for the picking that didn’t commit until right before LOI …. they were not blue chips. There is a difference as I pointed out above. Folston and Roy were 2-star and 3-star respectively. Hendrix hasn’t seen game experience for 2 years except for one period.

        As far as Romeus, Sheard and Donald …. you also left out Revis, who was only a 3-star. These players don’t come around too often …. there is a substantial amount of 2 and 3 stars who don’t pan out than who end up as stars.


      2. I’ll go way back and give one example from the late 70’s – Rickey Jackson. The star system did not exist then, but he had 15 tackles & 2 INT’s as a trueFR; 27 tackles & 5 sacks as a SO; 111 tackles, 2 fumble recoveries & 4 sacks as a JR; 137 tackles, 12 sacks, recovered 4 fumbles, broke up 4 passes and 1 INT.

        He was a 2nd round NFL draft choice in 1981 and was inducted into the NFL Hall of Fame in 2010.

        I picked up my autographed Jackson jersey yesterday at Jay91’s place of business – you need to check out his business – really cool stuff.

        Currently, a walk-on LB leads Pitt in tackles at 40 after 5 games – that projects to 96 for the regular season. Not too bad if you have 2 or 3 others with similar #’s. The next guy on the list has 25 tackles after 5 games or 60 for the season. Third on the list is 21 after 5 or 50 for the season.

        Missed tackles don’t count and aren’t part of the stat sheet – I’ve seen many missed tackles from Pitt in 2017 – that has to stop or we won’t win another game. Simple math…


  42. ^^

    Maybe we can expect more if these players were interspersed with veteran, accomplished players who would draw more attention from the opponents … but we have no such luxury.

    This was the key issue I wrote about over the offseason. I said that it would be okay to have a few inexperienced players on defense as long as they were surrounded by veterans who could do the correct play calls and do on field coaching with the young kids to make sure they never replicated mistakes.

    But that didn’t happen.

    Pitt fans bought into the hype that just because these young kids were narduzzi’s recruits they were somehow going to be automatically better, and better sooner, than anyone else’s recruits we had. That was a load of crap and it still is.

    But we still have some players in there that are redshirt sophomores and that should be enough time for them to get their learning down and get the Playbook under their belt and be able to go out performing well and those kids aren’t doing it either.


    1. Dane Jackson fits into that category and he certainly looks to be improved .. at least IMO. Same thing for Idowu who is a junior but didn’t start until last year. Safeties have been more of an issue thus far this year but with the return of Whitehead, it should improve. And note that Hamlin really hasn’t had much experience at all … especially since he is laying safety for the first time this year.

      Now of course, the front 7 is a different matter … it is a new position for Zeise and Brightwell … and as you pointed out the other day, Brightwell can’t be expected to call the correct defenses at the line as well as Wirginis would.


    2. Reed — it isn’t just because these players are ” Narduzzi recruits.” Seems to me the recruits under Coach Duzz have generally had much better offers than the guys in previous classes — if we can believe the recruiting sites…

      Go Pitt.


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