Byline by Lee Pickens
While watching a recent documentary about 100 years of Pitt football that Bob Jeffery had posted on his “Real Pitt Football Talk” Facebook site – something came to me in a flash like Curtis Martin running wild against Texas in ’94.
I realized something very simple. We have a real disconnect between the coaching staff and the players.
While watching a game the other day our opponent kept scoring against us, and my Dad, a rabid Pitt fan, kept asking me “How do we stop these guys? Should we blitz the gaps? ” or “why did we run a jet sweep on 3rd and 1?”.
Thinking I knew the answers I explained the sets Pitt’s defense were in and plays we were calling and how these players just couldn’t execute. I wondered if that was the case over the last five years also… that was until I watched that documentary from 1990.
If it is really apparent that the players aren’t bad or not good enough to compete, then I’ll agree that recruiting is all-important. But if you are only going to get only three star or a sprinkled few four star talents like Pitt has done over the last few years then COACHING is the key…
Now this doesn’t mean Pitt’s coordinators have run complex defenses or trick plays on offense. It comes down to the Coordinators ensuring that the position coaches teach fundamentals such as efficient running, blocking, tackling; coming back to the football to make the catch and how to lead the receiver by the QB. Throw in other basic football talents like knowing when to call for a fair catch or to throw the ball away to avoid a sack.
These are all things that can be coached up, but many times aren’t, at least not well enough to show a consistent high quality of play on the field. This is a real part of Pitt’s problems in this ongoing 2017 season.