POV Tuesday Bits & Pieces; 10-10-17

I was sent this list from a reader who found it on the Pitt Panther Phanatics Group on Facebook.  It is a big picture look by one fan addressing the teams (and program’s) ills to date. I have made my rebuttals in italics.

A short list of everything that went wrong for us in 2017 in no particular order”

1)  Matt Canada leaves the program after one year to take a job at LSU. This comes a year after our previous OC, Jim Chaney left us after one year to take a job a Georgia. No continuity in the most important coaching position outside of the HC.

Plus this is what a program gets when the HC hires old buddies instead of doing the hard work of trying to find the best OC for the salary… or even, heaven forbid, lobby for a (legitimate) pay raise at that position so he wouldn’t have to hire a retread.

“This wasn’t the first time Pat Narduzzi or the program he was with took a shot at hiring Shawn Watson.

When Narduzzi was there, Michigan State tried to land Watson, but he was too busy with a winning situation at Louisville. And when Narduzzi became a head coach for the first time at Pitt, he tried to pry away Watson from Texas, but no luck.

Now, the two old friends are reunited with a little more on their plates than coaching wide receivers at Miami (Ohio), where they met. On Thursday, Narduzzi made Watson the Panthers’ offensive coordinator, and Friday morning he talked at length about that decision.

“It’s about the people first, then let’s find a coach after that,” Narduzzi said of his process. “I knew Shawn was a great person, so I didn’t have to investigate that.”

Well, Pat maybe that should have been your JOB ONE priority and WTF does this mean anyway: “It’s about the people first, then let’s find a coach after that” ?  Good God man! You are spending the University’s money to hire a highly qualified coach – not someone you can drink a Schmidt’s beer with and reminisce about the good old days at Miami of Ohio (where you may just end up again).

2)  When Paul Chryst left us to take the Wisconsin job he was followed by our QB of the future Alex Hornibrook. Had Alex stayed we wouldn’t have had to take a flyer on Max Browne.

Maybe that would have worked – if Hornibrook would have been willing to sit behind Peterman for two years which I doubt.  I wouldn’t have traded Nate Peterman’s transfer in and his good 2015 season followed by his great 2016 season for Hornibrook. 

Narduzzi’s QB recruiting back in 2014 and 2015 was bad and left us with DiNucci, who I believe doesn’t have D1 skills, and MacVitte who I feel the same way about.

If we are pointing fingers about the current poor QB situation let’s remember that Narduzzi basically ran off QB Adam Bertke early last year in favor of future trivia-question answer Bo Schneider.  Bertke would have been the QB2 behind Browne this season if we had a HC who didn’t play favorites among his players.

Bertke was, in my opinion, a better QB prospect than both DiNucci and MacVitte and had a better arm than all three of the QBs we have seen so far in 2017… but wasn’t a Narduzzi ‘get’ so had to go.

3)  A young team like ours needs all the seniors it can get. Before the season started HCPN dismissed senior D lineman Jeremiah Taleni and Rori Blair for unmentionable transgressions.

True and a very valid point- but the trade-off is not having Narduzzi apply discipline when needed which is a large and important part of what a Pitt headcoach is hired for.

4)  Our most experienced LB senior Quinton Wirginis is suspended for the first three games and before he can return has a non-football season ending injury.

He would have started this season and would have provided that experience the current young guys around the MLB position need. Personally I think he may be moved on as a 5th year SR after this season.  I think his dad jacked up the prices on the Gateway Clipper boats after his son was suspended – I believe his ship Captains were told not to allow any passengers wearing Pitt gear onboard.

5)  Perhaps our best player, junior Jordan Whitehead, is suspended for the first three games.

This kid has some problems off the field – this last suspension wasn’t the first bit of corrective discipline handed to him by the staff.  On the field he’s not regained his FR form and it shows.  But since his return our pass defense has lifted from 126th (349.0 ypg) to 115th (280 ypg) and that is something to hang a helmet on.

6) Senior O lineman Alex Bookser is suspended for the first game of the season.

And when he returned has played like crap – but that’s OK because the rest of the starting OL has done the same.

7)  Our No. 1 recruit from 2016, CB Damar Hamlin battles a sports hernia injury and starts to see regular game action this year in only the 4th game against Georgia Tech.

Fan expectations for this kid were off the charts and now that he’s playing like a regular rsSO it seems disappointing.  But, that’s OK because as with Bookser’s case above all the other DBs look like hell out there also.

8)  Our No. 1 recruit in 2017 Paris Ford, a projected freshman starter, has to overcome some NCAA Clearinghouse issues which effectively has ensured he will redshirt this year.

I wrote earlier that it may not be just being behind with grasping the defensive playbook as originally stated by King Narduzzi and Prince Conklin– because after all there isn’t one. 

I think he’s been given time by the coaching staff to fully acclimate as a freshman student so that his academics are up to par and stay that way.  I’m not 100% certain this is the case but I do know that with less heralded players sometimes they don’t see the field for just that reason.  Either way the main thing is to get Ford on firm ground as a student/athlete.

9)  One of our few experienced receivers Tre Tipton sustains a season ending injury in training camp.

Avoiding a car”… and if you believe that I have some oceanfront land in Nevada to sell you (word is that it was a pick-up BB game). This is a big loss though because I think he would have done much better in the #2 WR spot than Henderson has done so far.  I advocate dropping Henderson from the receiving corps totally as he’s been less productive there than other ‘real’ WRs who have had less playing time than him.

I advocate playing these two guys below because, well – the season’s most probably in the crapper anyway and it would be fun to watch.  The top guy looks like the first person you want to slap at a fraternity party and the second one looks like he’d eat a live toad if you dared him to:

whire WRs

10)  Our offensive returning player with the most TDs – fullback stud George Aston incurs an ankle injury in training camp. Although there is word that he won’t return for the season he plays in the Georgia Tech game and hurts it again.

…And Narduzzi and Watson immediately proclaim the TE Matt Flanagan will fill Aston’s role as a H-Back hybrid to provide additional pass blocking in the backfield and lead blocking on some run plays – which was an experiment we saw very little of.  That was mainly due to the other TE, Chris Clark, failing to perform in any of the aspects of TE duties so Flanagan had to be dedicated back onto the LOS.

11)  Perhaps our No. 2 recruit from 2016, athlete George Hill, is diagnosed with a career ending heart condition while getting his pre-camp physical. Junior D Lineman Justin Moody diagnosed similarly which also ends his career prematurely. Another fairly highly touted recruit Pitt legacy Zack Gilbert is diagnosed similarly, but given a year to possibly recover. After a year it is apparent he too will never suit up as a football player again.

Luck of the draw and in Hill’s case his good luck he had UPMC doing the physical as his condition was caught on a test that almost no other schools administer to their incoming recruits.

12)  Our most effective RB in the season thus far, Chawntez Moss, is suspended indefinitely just before the Syracuse game.

This is no great loss to my mind – with our crap OL and Watson’s very questionable play calling every one of our regular running backs are under producing this season. Moss has been in the dog house before and I’m wondering if he can stay a full four years here.

What I don’t understand, and this is another weird move by Narduzzi, is why he burnt true FR A. J. Davis’ redshirt for minimal appearances in only three games.  Davis played against the weakest teams on our schedule so far and still didn’t do a damn thing…

aj davis

Yet the fans are clamoring for him every game.  I suppose there  nothing to lose since he’s used this year of eligibility so we might as well give him the ball on a regular basis.

You just can’t make this stuff up. We’re not Alabama or Ohio State. We don’t have the depth to recover from this many bad things. I admire HCPN for staying positive when so many Pitt supporters want to take a flying leap off the Fort Pitt Bridge.

Staying positive?  OK, if you say so – but you are watching and reading different media items about Narduzzi’s reactions to these losses than I am.

NOTE: I received about 20 emails in support of the comments’ closure yesterday – and most asked me to ban the commenters who repeatedly hijack the comments string with their personal attacks.  I have never done that before but now I will – but only after emails and/or phone calls have been made to the offenders.

About half of those emails I received were from readers who used to comment but stopped because of what has been happening on the blog lately.  Let’s not assume that any one or two commenters are more important to me than those who read but feel they can’t comment for fear of being personally attacked – you are not.

Please don’t make running this blog a chore for me. It is a non-profit (big time) hobby I do for all of us to enjoy and to be brutally honest sometimes is just a pain in the ass.