2017’s Regular Season De-Briefing

I say regular season because I’ll assume there is a slim to none chance we see a bowl date.  However, as much as I dislike the idea of a team with a losing record being “rewarded” with a bowl game (I’m very ‘old school’ on that count) there is no doubt in my mind we should take it.

For no other reason that 75% of the bowls mean relatively nothing anyway, are played solely for TV viewing, and Pitt needs the extra ACC-shared money we’d get from it. We’ll see what happens with that.

Now – lets breakdown the season and because Pitt always seems to save the best for last we’ll start with the ending first.

As you all know I feel very strongly that my role as the blog writer on here is to be a critic.  And that is meant in the true definition of the word as it applies to the addressing of the arts, politics, and now sports.  That also means I try to look at Pitt football and all that it encompasses without my fan’s blinders on – and make no mistake I am a Pitt football fan.

So with that in mind here is my take on this 2017 season. To recap: we now sit at 5-7 overall with the regular season finished.  All that is left for this Pitt team now is to sit and wait to see if we get the dregs of the bowl game invites.

Head Coach Pat Narduzzi started off his Pitt career with two consecutive 8 win seasons, identical 8-5 records, with two losses two bowl appearances. Because we lost key players from our 2016 squad – including QB Nate Peterman, whose SR season goes down as one of the best Pitt QBs have ever had, along with two great offensive lineman and 2/3s of our defensive starters we all knew we were in for a negative dip this year.

However not to many Pitt fans felt we’d be ending up with a losing season – I think most of us predicted along the lines of my preseason thoughts of a 7-5 or at the very least 6-6 regular season record.  There were of course the outliers either way with a few fans thinking we’d have 10+ wins and on the flip side some stating we’d drop down to 4-5 wins.

However at two wins and five losses a bit past the season’s halfway point it looked like a tanked year and that those latter fans would have had the correct impression of the team.

But the staff and players got some things together and as much as I hate to say it I believe the team’s attitude changed when QB Max Browne went out for the year due to shoulder surgery.  Sometimes you have addition by subtraction and when rsSO Ben DiNucci went in the offense perked up a small bit – at least as far as attitude goes.

Honestly though I think it was the reality that Browne wouldn’t take anymore snaps that season that lightened things up. These kids aren’t stupid and they know when a player is either helping or in this case hurting it as Browne was.

From there we won two straight game beginning with beating a rather weak 4-3 Duke team (24-17 score)  and then a good 5-3 Virginia where we left Heinz Field with an impressive 31-14 win.  That put us at 4-5 and a decent shot at getting to a even 6-6 season.  All we had to do was beat lowly 1-8 North Carolina at home then keep our fingers crossed that we could upset one of our last two opponents either VT or Miami.

The football gods are funny though, aren’t they? Especially when it comes to their handling of Pitt football.  Instead of leaving the NC game as victors and possessing a 5-5 record we crapped the bed completely and were beaten 34-31 by a gods-favored Tarheel team on a come-from-behind TD pass by NC with 6:18 left and us having a chance to drive for at least a tying field goal attempt

Well, that didn’t happen and we sat at 4-6 going into those last two matches.

Against a strong VT team we traded scores and played them pretty straight up – mostly because the coaching staff actually felt their collective crotches and realized they did have sets of balls enough to go with true Freshman Kenny Pickett and sit down the ineffective DiNucci.

Here is how that switch happened and it reinforces my belief that Pat Narduzzi is just scared as hell of turning the ball over. In most cases that is the way to go – but we’ll discuss later in this article why that was a bad belief in the course of this season.

At the 5:43 mark of the 1st quarter Ben DiNucci tossed a nice 13 yard TD to Rafael Araujo-Lopes to tie the game at 7-7.  However on our very next possession DiNucci threw an INT that lead directly to a Tech FG and the 10-7 lead.

Exit DiNucci stage left; at 11:15 of the 2nd quarter enter Pickett stage right… and for the remainder of the season.

Pickett put up pretty gaudy passing stats for the remaining three quarters of play and kept us right in the game until a poorly play-called series at the end of the game after he threw a 75 yard pass to Weah who was downed at the VT one yard line.  I do not think Pitt fans will forget what happened there anytime soon.  We missed a fade route on the 1st down play then called three dives by Hall into the middle of the highly efficient VT defensive line.

Look – when a team’s defense is holding your running game to 55 yards on 27 attempts for a 2.0 average… and on the other hand your QB has been passing at a 10.5 yard per attempt clip and racking up 248 yards… and you have only 1:02 left to play with no timeouts left… do you run three times knowing that the clock keeps running on rushing plays but stops on incompletions?

Yes! Why not!

Of course that is what we did and thus lost this heartbreaker. Had we pulled that win out and really we should have, we’d have been 5-6 going into the Miami game with a semi-decent chance at a 6-6 bowl bid season.

Remember those football gods?  They stabbed us in the back with that NC game then twisted the knife in a bit more with the last second VT loss then said “OK, enough is enough with Pitt… who else needs f*cking around with?” and forgot about us completely for the Miami game – which was the ultimate break we needed.

So without a doubt I feel that Friday’s game was shot through with positive and euphoric memories made that way by good coaching on the sidelines and strong and effective work from the Panthers on the field of play.  It all came together for a 24-14 upset at Heinz Field that was made all the better because it was done against a strong ACC team that has pretty much had our number in recent years.

Let me set a stage here: I watched that game with my 102 year old aunt in Wilmington NC – she’s a Pitt class of 1926 undergrad and who finished her Pitt Masters in 1927.  BTW, she is as sharp mentally as anyone on here, which while that might not be a great endorsement considering our POV commenters, she hasn’t lost one iota of memory or intelligence.  Along with her were my four cousins who I love dearly even though they are crazy as loons.

My aunt is all that is left from my original Kohberger ancestors, all my parents, aunts and uncles have passed on but her, so I spend Thanksgiving there every year.  She is a crazy Pitt fan and you can hear stories from her about those true football giants and great Pitt seasons of the ’20 and ’30s that we all now just discuss as historical figures.  Pretty far-out stories also – those guys back then we certainly not choirboys and she was a knock-out beautiful flapper (who was also later a highly decorated WWII WAVE Navy Commander, Intelligence Branch).

As is traditional we do a college football pool every year and this year I took Miami over Pitt flat-out (no point spread).  My cousins really came down hard on me for that – Southerners have different ideas about loyalty than we Yankees do I believe – but I stuck with that as I’m sure did 90% of Pitt fans everywhere.

My cousins all went to NC or NC State so when they, collectively appalled,  asked how I could bet against my team I said – “Look we lost to NC, ‘isn’t that a good enough reason?” and that they understood that but still didn’t like it.

Listen – Pitt was an underdog in that game for a reason… but aren’t we glad games aint’ played on paper!

So we watched the game – drank and ate and drank and yelled at the TV as other fans do and all game, every time Pitt made a good play, my cousins would turn and point a disappointed accusing finger at me. All except my aunt who would put up her bony 102 year old hand and say “Remember this is Pitt – the game isn’t over“.  She knew that in the long, long history of Pitt football things are never over until they are over. But boy was she happy when that final whistle blew.

Aside note: We were watching the Pitt WVU holiday game back in 2011 when she turned to me and said “Our QB really isn’t any good, is he?” and she never spoke that way about individual Pitt players… Guess who was at QB?  That’s right – Tino Sunseri.  We lost that one though 21-20.

I really hope she’s around to watch Pickett play out his Pitt career. Amazing woman.

As the Miami game played on some things became obvious – we shut them down defensively and in turn played the best 60 minute game of our season.

We made the best of the field positions we were given… with our QB making more risky throws on in-patterns and a slant or two and hitting receivers inside a small target box – he is so very accurate.  And truth be told that final score wasn’t at all indicative of the ass-whipping we applied to the Hurricanes’ rather ample backsides… we owned that game from start to finish.

But at the same time I personally had strong misgivings watching Kenny Pickett play that exciting and effective brand of football because I have known he was capable of it and understood that if our head coach been a forward-looking and gutsy leader we would have had better play from our football team all season long had Pickett been given the starting job out of fall camp.

There is not one question in my mind that his play would have surpassed anything we saw from the other two QBs who played before him – none whatsoever.

And before you puff up the lungs to counterpoint that statement let me say with 100% sincerity and belief that easily could have happened, especially given the immediately apparent low quality of talent from the other three viable QBs on the roster.

DiNucci was (is still) a career back-up QB who has a low talent ceiling. I had written last year that the only way he’d ever see the starting job was through injuries as was the case in reality. Thomas  MacVitte was a reach scholarship given to a one-year HS QB who’s best thing going for him was the fact that he played for perennial powerhouse Moeller High School in Cincinnati. I wrote that he’d never take a starting snap at Pitt and that is the case.

Because Pat Narduzzi loves transfer players he landed a four-year bust in Max Browne from USC based on, as far as anyone can tell, his 5* recruiting rating and as anyone who read this blog can attest to I was loud and clear in the spring on the assessment of him that he’d be a bust for us also, as he was – the Rice game aside. He just didn’t have the arm or the head to play D1 ball.

So the truth is that Kenny Pickett arrived at the Southside practice facility as the most talented and game-ready QB Pitt had on roster.  You can listen to all the excuse making Narduzzi and the media do on this subject and I will tell you flat-out that the people who know football, and who I talked to about this subject, all agree that Pickett would have played as well right out of the gate against YSU and the other teams on schedule and he did later in the season when he finally got the starting nod.

I’m reading all these newspaper articles and blog sites who are writing these uber-positive articles about Pickett’s play and I’m literally laughing at all of them.  Especially when they write things like “Pitt has found a QB!” or “Pickett Surprises in Late Season Play” or some such because it was so damned apparent that he was the best QB by far and everyone but the coaching staff knew it.

But let me backtrack here – I believe Narduzzi did know it but was afraid to play a true FR regardless of that young man’s talent level. That was an unacceptable risk on his part and he wasn’t going to take it.

Let me show you in player’s own words from this morning’s Post-Gazette article...

His excellence was highlighted in memorable moments. There were the darts he threw across the middle to his receivers, the kind of passes that would have given him even more yards were it not for some untimely drops. There was his first touchdown of the day, when he scampered in space and dived across the goal line while absorbing a punishing hit from a defender.

“The crazy part about it is he’s been making those plays since he’s been here,” defensive end Dewayne Hendrix.

“We always knew he had the capability of doing it. The coaches just gave him a shot, and he made the best of it.”

The bolded part is my emphasis but this is what I have been hearing from people who have watched full practices since the spring. I wrote back in April that I had an extended 60 minute viewing opportunity in a closed spring practice and that I spent the whole time watching our QBs.

It was, even at that early stage, so obvious that Pickett stood out high above the others but what was even more intriguing is that you couldn’t put a finger on just why he did.

Of course his arm was the best on the roster – by far – and his poise was that of an older player but there were intangibles in watching him that literally gave me a weird feeling that I was watching a kid who was going to play far above his HS ratings or fans expectations.

I had the same feeling in reverse when during Paul Chryst’s open practices we could watch Chad Voytik in pre-season action. I knew right away that media and fan expectations were way too high for him and that he’d never be more than an average-at-best Pitt QB.  So knowing how that turned out to be the case it reinforced my thoughts on Pickett.

Look – every Pitt fan knew that we were up against a very hard first four games – FCS YSU excluded. But Penn State, OK State and Georgia Tech were most likely going to be losses anyway and that is the perfect time to look clearly at the QB trouble spot in your team and find the guts to roll the dice knowing that the caliber of kid you have at hand would not be overwhelmed by tough circumstances.

That isn’t how Pat Narduzzi is built though.  For as well as he does in getting his players up for big games, and that is clearly his strongest trait as the Pitt HC, he just isn’t very good at forward thinking. And forward thinking back in April and again in August would have prepared for Pickett to have taken QB1 snaps all through the offseason and thus be ready to step into D1 action.

I honestly believe we would have seen the exact level of production in the beginning of the season as we did at the end from Pickett. He is that mature beyond his years and that was the intangible I felt at that spring practice. But Narduzzi makes a two-deep and sticks with it come hell or high water and that’s what he did.  When asked after Browne went down if he considered Pickett stepping in then as the starter and he said ‘ No. Ben is the next man up on the two deep and that’s how we do it’ to paraphrase.

But when you look at DiNucci’s production and at the W-L record of the games he played in you can see some would have turned out differently had a better QB been playing.

BN Losses

In those four losses none were blowouts save possibly the GT game with their great running attack. But the other three Syracuse, NC State and NC could easily have been wins with better QB play.

And QB play doesn’t always revolve around stats either.

At no time during DiNucci’s play this season did I feel his presence in the lineup clearly elevated the others around him. We did however see that writ large as soon as Pickett stepped on the field in his true relief of DiNucci. The offense was sharper, the pass blocking was better knowing the OL had a QB behind them who wasn’t afraid to step into the pocket and try riskier throws.

And the I believe defense played better in knowing that the offense had a real chance to win the games as long as the defense held up their end of the bargain.  I’m not sure they felt that way with either Browne or DiNucci on the other side of the ball..

In that regard I truly believe we shot ourselves in the foot and missed a valid opportunity at another winning season. We easily could have had seven or eight wins on the year with Kenny Pickett at the helm.

If I was giving grades on the coaching staff for the season, and I’m about to, here’s what I’ll write:

Our defensive coordinator gets a “D” again.  Look, we played better later in the season due to our young defenders getting game day experience – not because Josh Conklin did anything different in his planning or coaching to make it happen.  i stand by my statements about his future with Pitt.  He should be gone right after LOI Day.

Our offensive Coordinator gets a “C” in my book.  I don’t think he was a bad as some fans do – I feel he is truly handcuffed in his work in two ways. First off Narduzzi is so risk averse regarding turnovers I think it severely limits what he allows the OC to playcall. Narduzzi just doesn’t trust offenses and QBs enough as a HC to allow the riskier passing routes that define great offenses –

2000px-passrouten-svg

With this route tree you see that we hardly ever called the “in” routes – no Post patterns, no Hooks, no Intermediate or Deep Slants and no Under routes… nothing really that would put the receivers in the proximity of more than one defender. And where were the TES in the passing game?

Last season Orndoff and Parrish combined for 39 catches for 657 yards at a 16.8 ypc average and 6 TDs.

This year Flanagan and Clark had 33 catches for 282 yards and with 8.8 ypc and only 1 TD.  You can’t tell me we couldn’t have used them more in the passing game especially since Browne and DiNucci were terrible on any throws over 15 yards – those two QBs needed the TEs out there.

OC Shawn Watson might have wanted to call those riskier plays but who knows? I think he was dissuaded from doing so until the last two games when Pickett was inserted and showed that his arm was strong enough, his release quick enough and his accuracy good enough to throw into traffic.

We could have and should have had that all season.

Secondly Watson was saddled with Canada’s offensive legacy of scoring 41.5 ppg last year and Narduzzi thrust that full playbook onto Watson expecting somewhat similar results.  But we didn’t have Conner, Peterman, Orndoff, Bisnowaty or Dorian Johnson manning the key position like Canada had and trying to play like we still did hurt us… especially with the inept Browne and DiNucci under center.

Our Head coach gets a “C+” on the year mainly on the strength of the big win over Miami, otherwise I’d give him a “C”.

I would love that a win over a top ranked ACC team like Clemson last season and Miami this year actually meant something to Pitt when it comes to getting close to a divisional or conference championship but that hasn’t happened under Narduzzi.

What those wins are, and this is reality folks, are nice to have for pride and morale but really mean not all that much where the rubber meets the road.  I don’t buy into moral victories or blowing up the impact of wins.  Miami was a fantastic game to watch, was a wonderful way for the kids to end their season and for the seniors on the team to bow out on… but that’s all it was – a feel good win.

Much like Pitt fans were saying that the PSU and Clemson wins (along with a nice 8-5 record) would really boost the program and especially Pitt’s recruiting we saw that dream deflate rather rapidly. It certainly didn’t do anything to help this 2018’s poor 61st ranked recruiting class.

And I think this win will be the same way – something great and fun to look back on but not much of a program changer at all.  No, it is up to the coaching staff and the athletic department to make that happen, not any individual win.

We’ll do some forecasting the 2018 season article over the off-season where we’ll all talk about the “what may happen” issues but I’ll close this 2017 recap with this.

Pat Narduzzi has not learned how to separate the fact that he is a current head coach and in charge of everything from his past of being a successful full-time Defensive Coordinator.  Now is the time to make sweeping changes knowing that you have a roster of kids who can win games for you… all they need is clear and decisive leadership from the HC down through the coordinators and the position coaches.

If it is broken, and boy we still have aspects of the team that sure are broken, then have the sand to face that fact and make hard decisions.

And above all Narduzzi has to understand that great college football minds have the ability to accept the unknown and it’s vagaries and make that work for them.  But he cannot now do that and he hasn’t been able to but for real high level success he has to change.  If he can modify his outlook to do these two things, combined with his ability to get kids to play hard for him as they did all year, he might have the makings of a championship coach at Pitt.

Now is the time to strike and take a losing season and make things really happen the next year. I believe we can do it – I do, but not within the model he’s shown over the last three years. Coaching too conservatively because that is your comfort zone and playing risk  too close to the vest doesn’t cut it… not in today’s college football game and the way it is played.

278 thoughts on “2017’s Regular Season De-Briefing

  1. There you go – 4000+ words to end the season on. Get your writing skills buffed up folks because i’m hanging it up for a good while…

    Remember – do them in Word if possible and send to me as an attachment. I’ll proof and post them.

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  2. Super interesting story about your aunt, Reed. So great to have that living connection to that era of Pitt football around. May she live to see a real resurgence of the team she loves.

    And if the real bottleneck is Narduzzi’s conservatism, then hey…maybe that CAN change. Maybe it’s just a function of being a (relatively) new head coach, and time will loosen up his attitude, as he learns the difference between strategic, calculated risks and reckless ones. Let’s hope.

    In Charlottesville to visit my daughter at UVA and impulsively stopped by at the Pitt-UVA women’s volleyball game last night at which the Panthers won a share of the ACC title. Really enjoyed it.

    Hail to Pitt!

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  3. Good stuff overall and agree with all except your inexact recall of the last 4 VT plays and giving HCPN a C+. By your defining him and his issues of applying his conservative concept to be a big fault, you/I cant raise his grade just because applying that fault he gets him to play KP…maybe it should even drop him to a C- as it proves your point Reed.

    I do have 1 question as certainly one of the POV idiot commenters who couldn’t match up to your aunt, what the hell does it mean to “….have the “sand” to face the fact…”

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  4. Narduzzi just bought himself a YEAR FIVE by laying claim to the “UPSET” Chain.

    Ending the Season with a THUD would have surely meant DO or DIE in the Fall.

    No longer having the lack of a Quarterback to BLAME, let’s hope Narduzzi and Staff are capable of coming out of the blocks with less than EMBARASSING results.

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    1. Back again rkb with some more DiNucci wisdom. The simple fact is that if Pickett played two games previous to the VT game we would be going to that bowl. Narduzzi knows full well that he blew it by not playing Pickett well before he did at VT.

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  5. Reed – thanks for the good coverage this past season. Despite the disappointing season, I’ve enjoyed your articles, most of the posts and meeting other readers at Fran’s tailgate for the UNC game.

    Regarding the final 4 downs at VT… first two were handoffs to Hall, filled by the fade pass and a final five to Hall. Pickett showed great awareness by getting that play off and within the remaining time.

    As for Duzz pulling DiNucci, my take is that it wasn’t that he threw the pick, it was how he threw it. Bad judgement, bad throw and not the first time we’ve seen that.

    I guess when Pitt decided to hire a DC as HC, the conservatism on offense was set in motion. Hard to play what if, but I could see Wanny doing the same thing with both Pickett and the 1st down on the VT one yard line. Used to p*ss me off then as it does now.

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  6. Pittsburgh Sports Now has a good article that clearly states good reasoning to dispel the notion this years recruiting class is not going to be good. Check it out. Most of the kids coming in had many other big time offers. The size of the class impacts the overall ranking and this class is small.

    I was very disappointed after sitting through the YSU game. It was clear to me the coaching was too conservative on offense, Browne was a scared rabbit, and the defense was way young.

    It feels to me, and I am going on feeling, that the season was one of growth for players and coaches. Conklin clearly learned from the past and has the defense able to defend the pass and play inspired football. Watson was saddled with the ghost of Canada. It took too long to forget about the jet sweep stuff. As the season wore on, looked like he was given more reign to call it his way. Narduzzi stated he was bringing the young QB along. Not sure why folks think just because the kid was good in practice means he could play right away. I like the way he was eased in. Plus, we’ve got a good game manager backup who got several games under his belt. Ask Maryland how many QBs you need – they are on the fifth string.

    I loved Narduzzi’s half time bravado. Short and inspiring. Some of you might think he brags or is full of it, but I absolutely loved it.

    The coaches started the season as a D. By the end of the year, I give them an A. The last three games were good, all things considered, such as team youth.

    Next year is going to be good. The year after, championship of ACC.

    I’m just not a debbie downer like many of you on this blog. I respect and enjoy reading your comments, but think you all overdo the negative at times.

    Have faith is my middle name.

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      1. Agree with you Reed it was not a good season for the team and coaches. I give it a C too because of the late season play of the D, Pickett and the taking down of Miami.

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  7. Here area few exerts from Jon Steigerwalds article on the PSN

    “Before you rip Narduzzi for not going to him sooner, allow for the possibility that Narduzzi knew a little bit more about his readiness than you did after watching him in practice for four months. Pickett’s success could have been directly related to not having played before he was ready”

    “A national TV audience saw what looked like a future top 10 defense and a future NFL prospect at quarterback instead of another Pitt season coming to a bad ending and a coach answering questions about his job security.”
    +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    ike speaking — Pickett himself said he may not have been ready. We choose to believe what we think not what someone says. << Is that back-asswards? Just asking.

    BTW Reed, Really nice summation of this past season and it could and maybe should have been a little better? I choose to look forward as always and this next year will be all on Narduzzi for the first time since arriving. No more excuses next year unless PITT has 12 more suspensions during the off season. I hope to hell they do not… ike

    H2P!

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    1. Pickett is smart enough not to contradict his head coach after the head coach already said something.

      Ike, come on you should know better than that. Pickett was ready for the day stepped in the south side…. especially given the two crap QBs in front or him.

      Maybe Pitt fans should stop making excuses for Narduzzi’s decisions and actually look critically at things.

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    2. However, the rumors were flying furiously, Ike that Pickett was transferring if he didn’t start by the end of the year….he felt he was at least as good as the QBs in front of him. That other comment just shows his maturity.

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    3. Good God, have you ever read a PSN article that was nothing but totally positive about the Pitt football program. Ever.

      They are the biggest brown-nosers there are in the Pittsburgh media. Look at who their advertisers are and where their endorsements come from Ike, they know exactly what side of the bread the butters on and they work very hard to make sure they don’t rock the boat over there.

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      1. Have to admit Reed you do make sense.

        I guess I just want to see Pitt rise so bad I do have roses for glasses.

        My brain tells me you are correct. My heart is another matter

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      2. I can vouch for Reed speaking the truth in respect to PSN as their Pitt articles are sugar coated. They need click bait and also spellcheck their articles and proofread them.

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    4. Ike, you or someone else have said previously Pickett made the comment he “may not have been ready before”

      I can’t find where he said that. If anything his comments have the flavor of always being ready. Such as “feeling like being the best player on the field, and having made all the plays before” be it on a smaller stage.

      By the way Reed is right, he would have been ready in the beginning of the season. I shake my head thinking about the plays he completed against MIami. Pickett is a class above!!

      Ike you have to come to grips with the fact PITT’s coaches f____d up.

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  8. Love the stones. Love you rebuttal. Yes! A got a good chuckle.

    Forgot about this gem by the Stones.

    Is the toilet for Fraud Graham or the positivity?

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  9. Reed. Fair point. When you see the top programs go to true freshmen and not hesitate if better you wonder why not us. I went to YSU game. It was clear Browne was not the answer. That is part of my point. Let’s hope the coaches are less conservative moving forward.

    I do think they coached by their fears early. Fate. Fate caused them to go for it.

    I hope they learn.

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    1. And even more those true freshman get the QB1 or QB2 snaps right in spring training if they come early or in the fall Camp if they come after the spring practices . they’re put right into a position to succeed… they aren’t held back and put on the scout team because “Gee, true freshman just can’t compete at this level.” Which was the thinking by this staff.

      Can you imagine if Pickett was getting QB1 reps all four weeks of fall camp? This season might have been completely different.

      Max Bowne went 29 of 47 for 226 yards with 0 TDs and 2 INTS combined against PSU & GT… You just know that if we let Pickett play the way he could in those two games they would have scored more than 14 and 17 and those games would have been a hell of a lot closer.

      We would have beat SYR, NCS and NC also. Just those three easily won games gives us 8 on the year…vice 5.

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  10. This was a great read Reed (haha)…

    For myself, the degree of irrational exuberance I am feeling about the future of Pitt football is directly proportional to how much I think the coaches can learn and adjust their thinking. HCPN has, in my view, the one key ingredient that can’t be learned or taught or shared – the fire to inspire a team. They never quit and I attribute that to his first rate leadership. On other coaching fronts. perhaps I just want to believe it, but it seems like he was taking baby steps towards improving.

    I actually enjoyed most of his pressers at the end (indicating to me he was losing that stupid chip on his shoulder) – something I couldn’t say earlier in the season and as Reed points out, he seemed less risk averse. Maybe it is circumstances but it was welcome and it paid off in the Miami game. I would give PN a solid B because I so admire his ability to whip up the troops.

    On the assistants, I am less clear. It seem unarguable that the defense got better and better as the season went on and was actually pretty spectacular by the Miami game. A big part of this is playing better athletes more of the game. But I wonder if there is more to this..

    The improvement is so much – I remember watching Zeise in the first couple of games and he looked completely lost… In the last couple of games, he was a player… Some of that MUST be coaching. Also, I do not know enough about the nuts and bolts of football to easily recognize if they were doing something different schematically that allowed more success. I think the call on Conklin is the hardest. Something made the defense an order of magnitude better by the end of the season. Did he really not have something to do with that…

    And I believe (as I think Reed well expressed) that part of the issue with Watson was the shackles that the risk averse head coach placed on him. Everyone liked the play calling against Miami… We all know he coached Bridgewater into being a top QB in his past. He obviously knows a thing or two…

    The Pitt team we saw at VT (minus that last pitiful red zone appearance) and Miami was excellent – on both sides of the ball…

    I plan to keep my irrational exuberance throughout the off season and believe you can teach old dogs (the coaches) new tricks…. Hail to Pitt!!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Well put. Reed, the engineer is a better writer than I. Thinking you both are on to much of the truth. This is why this blog is fun.

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  11. Some think my mind is too open and I think some minds are too closed. I really believe that the PITT football team was much better at the end of the season and yes PE, an indication of good coaching. << or at least it’s a good possibility? . . ike

    Like

  12. Reed… you deserve credit for being pretty much “Spot on” regarding Pickett.

    However, after finally seeing him play (BTW in Person) against VaTech, the takeaway as to what separates him from the Pack is not simply his ARM or even his ability to RUN… or even his MOXIE, which he obviously has a LOT of.

    It’s his CEREBRAL approach to the Game. That, in itself… can be a DIFFERENCE Maker!

    Liked by 1 person

  13. In college it’s about taking risks. It’s playing your best even if they are freshman.

    When Pitt is good, they have a QB. When they are great, they have very good lines. Pitt needs to beef up the lines since I think we found our QB.

    Pitt basketball becomes very good with guard play and rebounding. Will take a while.

    Overall I give the team a C plus. It wasn’t difficult this year to obtain a solid B. I blame the coaching.

    I’m hoping basketball will at least be a D plus.

    Like

  14. Tx, you have to know the plays before you can execute them… This will be the theme until next year and the light can be seen at the end of the tunnel. I always give the coaches the benefit of the doubt. Well almost always…

    Why do we look at stats and facts as pure knowledge then speculate in our own minds until it drives us all crazy? Narduzzi closes practices for a good reason. << not that I like it.

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  15. I don’t know about starting Pickett to start the season, but I think that he should have come in possibly after Syracuse and for sure by NC. That said, if Browne had been at least as good as Peterman year #1, it would have been great to have Pickett start game #1 next year and have him for four years. It is true though that it did seem that everyone knew that Pickett was going to have the best college career, including the staff way back in the spring. Hell, if Pickett never plays again, he will probably have the best career of the four guys on the team as of yesterday.

    Conklin had little talent. Chryst left him nothing. You can say that he should have brought in the young players earlier but I think this year proved that the young guys were not ready. Guys like Campbell, Pine, Hamlin, Garner, Watts, Kamp, Weaver and Jackson and a few others started to turn the corner at the end of the year while guys like Idowu and Briggs were better options last year even if they weren’t good options. Idowu really improved this year.

    Not a big fan of Watson, but better QB play made him look a lot better. I am not sold but I think he deserves a second year. I still can’t believe the play calling at the end of the VT game, but give him credit, he learned his lesson. That said, the players have to be able to get a yard and a half on three running plays.

    The NC game, I put the blame on the players. Fumble on the goal line. That was a ten point swing if I recall. Just like Alston against Northwestern. Those two plays lost those two games. In both cases the opponents were getting handled easily and those plays turned the tide.

    PITT’s recruiting class has every player at 3*, that is better than almost any class in the last ten years. We usually average a tick under 3‘s. I don’t think Chryst ever had a class that averaged 3‘s and Wanny was usually just over 3‘s but with a few guys that everyone knew were nowhere near 4 or 5 star talent like Bostick, Rippy, Hale and a host of others. I also don’t think there are nearly as many 4 and 5* rated players coming out of the local schools as their were ten years ago.

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  16. Pitt played one of the toughest schedules in DI football – 4 In the top 25 (NC State was close), next year they have 4 on their schedule as well – so expect a 7-5 or 6-6 unless there are a few upsets. Getting 5-7 this year with the schedule and the youth of the team is pretty good.

    Like

  17. Excellent article Reed!

    For us old guys, it stinks to waste another Pitt FB season (we don’t have that many left) but that’s what I feel like Coach Duzz did this season.

    Hopefully we can move on now with Kenny “Naked-Boot” Pickett at the helm. I look at it like Coach Duzz nailed it with bringing in NP and then whiffed on Max B., but I think that’s an expected success rate on QB transfers…

    Reed – enjoyed reading about your 102-year old Aunt. Cool. Appreciate all your work on the POV.

    Go Pitt.

    Like

  18. One thing I forgot to say, thanks Reed for all of your efforts. Any PITT discussion is more then appreciated.

    Since I am here. Lets not forget. One of the reasons for the down year is basically this year some of the upper classmen come from the lost year in recruiting due to the transition from Chryst to Narduzzi and that will still be in effect next year and the year after.

    We are so used to coaching changes that we are used to it but keep a coach for over 5 years and depth because less of a concern. We are starting to see that now where we have a decent starting lineup on paper and decent depth at most positions. If we played a Big 10 OOC schedule next year I would think 9 wins would be very possible but 7 wins may be a good year.

    Like

  19. Here’s a thought.. Germans live for a long long time in many cases. I had a great grandmother for years and years. Shame both my parents died very young from unnatural causes. I’m poised to break that streak. << meaning dying young from natural cause.

    Reed, having your Aunt still around is very special. You are a very lucky man to have her and a special man to visit like you do.

    Like

  20. So I hope the POV at least stays a seasonal blog?? This shindig won’t last unless the commenters on here try their best to help Reed out.

    Like

  21. I’m going to give duzz and the coaching staff a c+. I’ll admit by the 3/4 point in the season I was ready throw the towel in. I was really upset all the big talk seemed much to do about nothing. I was really excited going into the season but I felt like we had enough to win 7 or 8 games definitely go to a bowl.

    A bowl game would have still been possible if the staff went with there gut and played the guy that gave em best chance to win. It is clear narduzzi is still learning on the job, but he shows the clear ability to get his men up for a big game.

    The win against Miami brought me back off the fence because we found the one thing we haven’t had a qb. It makes all the difference. Let’s give credit where it is due narduzzi and Watson brought this kid in. Not playing him till final two games was a mistake costed us a couple wins. It put the coaches on a warm seat until they beat miami, keep recruiting keep working go pitt I’m excited for next year.

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  22. Like any corporation, shouldn’t the decision on whether to replace Conklin (or any asst coach) rest on what your alternatives are? If I knew I could get a bonifide coach like Scott Shaffer to come, maybe I would make that change. However I would not fire him for another coach with a similar resume (see Matt House) or fire him without knowing who you are replacing him with (ie the Dixon/Stallings debacle).

    Like

  23. If the NC game didn’t happen I would feel very differently about the season just like I feel differently because the Miami game did happen.

    I suspect we all recognize PN’s ability to not lose the team especially after the NC game. And he sure had the team motivated after the VT game which easily could have caused the team to lose heart.

    What I don’t think enough of us appreciate is his and his staff’s ability to recognize talent. Let’s give credit where it is due with Pickett. Unheralded high schooler. Let’s give credit with Ziese. That kid has come along way and fast. PN was faced with a team that was dangerously weak at linebacker. He saw Idowu’s talent and stuck with him. And although Brightwell showed flashes last year at OL who really thought that he could play ML? Fact of the matter is the team’s speed is in my opinion the fastest it’s been in years.

    And I know that a lot of POVers think that QO was our best rb but who really saw Hall’s talent before his bust out game? I sure didn’t (I thought Moss was the best rb before the season began). But the coaches did. Note: QO really played well the last two games.

    And of course the defense played wonderfully the last two games though I have to wonder what might have been if Rozier was more on for Miami. But how to reconcile the defensive performance the last two games with its performance in the 4th quarter against NC?

    For sure Pickett is a game changer who makes next season look so much more promising but I still believe we have substandard coaches especially our OC. Sure we can have a fine season next year but how much better could it be with good coaches?

    Lastly, I agree with the PSN article on the 2018 recruiting class not just because the recruits had offers from other quality P5 schools but because I believe PN and his staff know talent. I recall PN telling the press after his first spring camp that he was surprised with the quality of talent on the team. That was a surprising thing for him to have said because it eliminated an excuse if in his first HC experience he lost a lot of games. Look at the team now (and not after the NC game). I like the quality of the team. They are not great or even very good but with coaching up they can continue to win 8 games so long as Pickett is healthy. But there is the problem: they need coaching up and I don’t believe in the coaches. Does that make me a glass half empty guy?

    Like

  24. Sitting here thinking and contemplating about this past season, I just can’t bare to walk away from my computer leaving this season and possibly the POV behind. Reed taking his much deserved rest from all the fuss and bullschitt and leaving all of it behind, I find it very hard to think or imagine how I will be able to cope without both or either?

    I realize all the hope isn’t going to extend the PITT football season but I sure hope the POV survives somehow. In the back of my head I believe the true POVer’s will stick around and be patient or at least I really hope so.

    Erie Express, Dr Tom, wwb and others have already dropped pretty much out of sight. Please come back fellows. The 2017/2018 season is already behind us. Remember, we look out the front windshield? Time to put last season behind us all. The future looks great and I am truly looking forward straight out the front windshield. Don’t look back….

    I remember going to see Southside Johnny at the Syria Mosque the night before the 79 Steelers super bowl. After every song the crowd would not just cheer. It was DEFENSE DEFENSE DEFENSE! or maybe it was the backup band??

    Hate to leave it all behind and go home but one last tribute to this past season and to my good friend and Greensburg buddy Mark here you go:

    Like

    1. Excellent choice, Ike. I intend to try to put together and submit some brief topics that the POVers can debate during the off season, for Reed to review.

      Like

  25. I don’t know if it’s Conklin or whether it just takes the safeties having a lot of experience – and having learned from a lot of mistakes – to become half competent in Coach Duzz’s scheme.

    This scheme appears to be extremely sensitive to a safety taking a false step and having someone running free down the field. We’ve seen this way too often – but finally to a lesser extent over the second half of the season. At least that’s my perception.

    Now, after Whitehead leaves do we start all over with guys running open, or do the guys pick things up better from being in the “system”???

    I think Duzz should personally coach the safeties since they are so critical to his defense…

    Go Pitt.

    Like

  26. And the BIG Question…

    Will the “UPSET” Chain do anything to help salvage a RESPECTABLE Recruiting Class for Narduzzi?

    Goodness knows he needs one to have any chance going forward.

    Like

  27. Good article, Reed. I agree with all of it except for one correction. All ACC teams, whether they go to a bowl or not, share equally in the bowl proceeds ($5.2M each if one team goes to the playoff bowls) as long as they have a bowl eligible APR: This is done so that all teams can do their budgeting ahead of time. The SEC is the only conference that pays participating bowl teams more money.

    http://accfootballrx.blogspot.com/search?q=bowl+payout+per+Acc+team

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Whitehead committed to Chryst… So did Hall, Q. Henderson and others listed below out of he 2014 class. These all committed to Chryst not Narduzzi..

      This is why I go crazy with the bullsh*t “Chryst left the cupboard bare” crap.

      Jordan Whitehead DB Monaca, PA 5’10” 180 5.9 10/4/14
      Darrin Hall RB Youngstown, OH 5’11” 196 5.8 8/19/14
      Tony Pilato OL Greensburg, PA 6’7″ 290 5.5 7/18/14
      Dane Jackson ATH Coraopolis, PA 6’0″ 170 5.4 6/24/14
      Tre Tipton WR Spring Church, PA 6’0″ 160 5.5 6/15/14
      Quadree Henderson WR Wilmington, DE 5’8″ 170 5.7 6/11/14
      Malik Henderson DB Hallandale Beach, FL 6’0″ 174 5.5 6/5/14
      Alex Paulina OL Canonsburg, PA 6’3″ 280 5.7 1/19/14

      He left a great offense and some very good defenders such as Ejuan Price, Tyrique Jarrett, Idowu, and Maddox.

      Like

  28. Reed: Thanks for your observations. In general, I agree with you, although I think your grading for our coaching this year is generous. I would rate Watson’s coaching a D+. Pretty vanilla and not at all effective. Conklin gets a D- in my book despite the fact that the defense played pretty well against Virginia Tech and Miami, overall, we watched year 3 of a crap defense. Narduzzi gets a C- (and I think this is generous). No movement on his staff, little real progress from a “defensive genius” and worst of all, horrible personnel decisions with Pickett, AJ Davis, and a couple of the young CBs. Recruiting has been average. Overall, it’s clear that 2017 was a step backwards by any definition. Next year is going to be critical if we’re going to actually get to a level of challenging for ACC titles.

    Like

  29. The pieces came together in the last game and what glorious victory it was… I will bask in the memories during the off-season.

    This was definitely a year to grow and grow we did. We literally were in all the games from Syracuse going forward and could have won five of 6. A fumble on the 1 could have been 6 for us… Jester, a State champion sprinter turning his head around to check defenders and Avonte slipping while 2 other PITT defenders on the spot watch the ball land unscathed into the Techs receivers hands for 6. 2 wins for sure there- that wasn’t on the coaches….

    Dr. Tom said in the beginning these new pups would grow on D and did they against 2 of the better-best ACC teams. We witnessed solid D the last 2 games. The pups are now PITT bulls with new pups in the pen. Include the OL new pups in the litter.

    Listened to the 1st half of the game on Sirius radio- thought it was an SEC game from the crowd noise coming through the truck Bose speakers…what great fans we do have who pour out their hearts for their PITT football Panthers. I will never give-up or turn my back on my team. They are our boys and they need our support. Just imagine if the whole team was required to read our comments each and every day- hpoefully, we are banned reading for players….

    I want to be more positive in my outlook and my comments going forward. I want to be more like Ike.!!!

    Liked by 3 people

    1. I listened to the FAN on the way home from church Sunday and they were talking about attendance and said the crowd seemed dead at the game. I wanted to call these clowns (no doubt pedos) and give them a piece of my mind.

      Like

  30. ^^ Actually that was me… Misspelled my 3 letter name again, so obviously I do belong under mental health care supervision.

    Getting ready to watch the Steelers. Pretty cool pregame shows..

    Like

  31. One note for those not at the Miami game – Tom Flynn was the honorary captain. I remember him well and the highlight clips of him were great – playing safety and returning punts.

    When he was interviewed on the scoreboard it was obvious he’s still a big-time enthusiastic Panther fan. He also did a shoutout to the Pitt Band, which I thought was great…

    Go Pitt

    Like

  32. Just read that Fraud has quit ASU for his dream job at Sam Houston Institute of Technology. His wife says this is a match made in heaven for Fraud’s coaching ability…. wait, he didn’t quit? He was fired? Never mind.

    Like

  33. Reed you are spot-on about very many things, however I question your assessment of Conklin. You said your self to use some critical thinking skills. So after half a bottle of Cab here you go.

    If you look at our last five games, we gave up 17, 17, 34, 20, 14. That’s an average of 20.4 including the NC debacle.

    20.4 points per game is good for 24th in the country this year. Also 40% of the schedule that I’m “critically thinking about” were against top 20 competition. Moreover that season average for the five teams we beat was 27 points per game. So our crappy, underdeveloped, scheme-and-coaching-challenged Josh Conklin led D held these teams each to a touchdown less than their season average. BTW, the average college year of that starting defense is 2.7. (2 is sophomore, 3 is junior.).

    And if you aren’t following, let me put this another way: WE LOSE 1 GUY FROM A DEFENSE THAT WAS TOP 25 IN THE BACK HALF OF THE SEASON.

    Say what you want about the coaching, I think we are in a pretty good place.

    Like

    1. You can obviously believe whatever you want, especially under the influence. However I wouldn’t start with CFP rankings (which have become as credible as an AP poll) as the basis of anything. VT wasn’t ranked when Pitt played VT, but vaulted into the Top 25 after narrowly beating 4-7 Pitt at home. Miami leap frogged Clemson because the committee appreciated Miami’s resiliency in beating UVA at home in a close game. Wow.

      Anyway, Pitt’s last 5 opponents end of season rankings in scoring offense:

      Duke 84
      Virginia 101
      UNC 83
      VT 63
      Miami 39

      Pitt’s last 5 opponents end of season rankings in total offense:

      Duke 69
      Virginia 90
      UNC 48
      VT 99
      Miami 47

      Pitt’s last 5 opponents end of season rankings in passing offense (see below):

      Duke 80
      Virginia 42
      UNC 69
      VT 59
      Miami 41

      Pitt finished #63 in scoring defense, #68 in total defense, #107 in passing defense, and #37 in rushing defense.

      Depending upon the ranking source there are ~130 FBS teams. Now, go forth and be as impressed as you want to be.

      Like

  34. Ike, I think you drink!

    I have said as well as anonymous, Pickett may not have lasted if he started the season. Dungey of Syracuse got injured. He is the same kind of player; not as good of a passer

    Like

  35. Looking back, I think things would have been different if Browne had not taken that hit against Cuse. I think he was coming along with good passes in the game. HCPN then went conservative with Dinucci who he then thought would give the team the best chance to win.

    Maybe Browne will get a look at a pro league. Granted he was a little slow afoot but he has the arm and you do not run a QB in the NFL. I think any bowl gives a chance to work with the players by more practice time and a little fun together.

    Like

    1. Look better minds than mine said he wasn’t D1 material and he wasn’t. In his time at Pitt he threw only one TD in regulation play outside the Rice game.

      He doesn’t have the mental strength to play QB well above HS level…and that was shared with me by SoCal sportswriters who watched him for 4 years.

      Like

  36. Someone please get in KP’s head about avoiding injury. @Reed?
    When will redshirt rule changes be made official? If he is anywhere near what I envision, he won’t stay all 4 years, but just the thought of that 😍

    Like

  37. Reed still not ready to give Narduzzi all the fault. Regardless though, he is the HEAD coach and is responsible. He did move too slow is dealing with the shortcomings of this team.

    I truly believe he is working on his people skills. He really screwed up with Chaney. He wants to keep his players positive and gives them lots of room to develop. PITT has had a lot of luck with QB transfers: Savage and Peterman. We have had success with OC’s: Chaney and Canada. Browne at QB and Watson as OC have been nightmares. Look at Watson’s resume; not good.

    Like

  38. the grandfather commented: “Ike, I think you drink!

    I have said as well as anonymous, Pickett may not have lasted if he started the season. Dungey of Syracuse got injured. He is the same kind of player; not as good of a passer”
    ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    First off I’ll answer the question you asked about Pickett’s statement. You look it up yourself. It was during the interview after the Miami game on PSN.

    Now about me and my personal life? You don’t know me although you should. I’ve laid myself out on this blog pretty clearly. Speaking of clearly, you hide behind some idiotic fake screen name and wonder out loud about my personal life. I think you should be ashamed of yourself.. IKE

    Like

  39. Killing PittofDreams that Pitt won on Friday. Walt beat a top 5 team, Wanny beat #2, Duzz back to back years beating #2, PC??? Nope. Voytik? Nope. Oh well, guess we need to attack recruiting cuz you know PC was so good at that, oh wait….

    Like

    1. POD picked our last win against Miami though….when no one else would. (I’ll save him the trouble of pointing that out to you)

      Like

  40. +10 Atlanta Panther.

    I have learned a lot since I started reading the POV:
    1.) Never knew a high school senior could learn 2 playbooks AND how to read D1 defenses in only 6-8 months, while adjusting to college life and keeping his APR high enough to be able to play;
    2.) When a team plays lousy, it’s those sucky coaches. But when they play well it’s because the team has matured;
    3.) There’s no reason a coach who inherits a suck-hole MAC defensive unit can’t bring them to D1 respectability in the first 2 years – certainly in 2 1/2 years.
    4.) Since it’s so easy to learn to play D1 ball, I wonder why our All World freshman DB didn t sniff the field this year. Certainly, the talent is there. And he had a couple weeks of fall practice. No telling how many wins he would have been worth. Damn coaches!

    H2P – really looking forward to next year!

    Like

  41. Talking about the Football gods, as Reed does in his article. The Football gods have been f*cking with Pitt since the first play of the 2nd quarter on November 28th, 1981.

    Liked by 1 person

  42. I’m going to read and savor this article in pieces and over days. Much like reading a great novel, like War & Peace. Reed you have outdone yourself !

    Like

  43. This should have happened when Herman hired Otis :

    “Tennessee backing out of deal with Greg Schiano after fan backlash”

    Tennessee officials have called Greg Schiano’s representatives and told them they are backing out of their agreement to make him the next football coach at Tennessee. There’s a signed Memorandum of Understanding between Schiano and athletic director John Currie, which they agreed to and signed in Columbus earlier today.

    Some of the backlash was tied to Schiano’s link to the Jerry Sandusky scandal,

    https://sports.yahoo.com/tennessee-backing-deal-greg-schiano-fan-backlash-010837354.html

    Like

    1. Does this mean Tom Bradley isn’t coming here? lol

      Actually we did try to complain but Herman dissed us fans after the hire and said we don’t know what we’re talking about.

      Like

  44. The Administration gets a “D”. The Administration has been flipping the bird at its own fans for nearly forty years and nobody questions them.

    The head coach gets a B-: Two eight and fives followed by a 5-7 is above average for the Administration support given.

    Coaching Staff – C+ : See above. You get what you pay for in coaching. Plain and simple. Stop with the Canada crap too. Canada was offered a million after his deal was already done. Canada had a large number of seniors on offense who understood the game and were football players. The stars aligned for a real nice year.

    Fans – C – : Demand a game day on campus experience like your peer institutions. If I wanna go to Station Square to see my team, I’ll watch the Steelers. Pitt is Oakland. I like our campus, alot. Recruits like our campus and practice facilities. Opposing players like our big boy, home field. Heinz is a disadvantage.

    Huff – C: Need to stop taking administrative incompetence, personally.

    Reed – I don’t grade the grader.

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  45. Let’s clear the air about one thing and that if Pickett plays to the level of what many of us think he can he will be gone after two more years. He didn’t come to Pitt half way through his senior year in high school to stay around Pitt for 4 and 1/2 to 5 1/2 seasons. His goal IMO has always been to showcase talent and enter the NFL draft as soon as possible. Therefore I’m hoping he only has two more years to do so at PITT. That being the case I know Pitt will be very competitive for the next couple of years.

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  46. I’m on the run this morning but if any of you get the chance to read the article about Pickett in the Asbury Park. New Jersey newspaper after Pickett led Pitt to victory against Miami.

    Like

    1. Thanks for posting that article. Quite a fertile recruiting area. ..

      So Rutgers didn’t offer Kenny P. – interesting…

      Go Pitt

      Like

      1. Rutgers took the kid from Jersey City who was rated higher than Pickett. Sometime these great football minds don’t get it right (like almost 50% of the time).

        Yes there is a sh*t load of talent in NJ all around the state.

        Like

  47. jrn..read the article on Kenny..PITT needs to lock that conference down now..keep our best recruiter there. Kenny could be a boost for recruiting…star power at QB is a great thing to have especially one who will potentially be here for 3 more years.
    I say no to Greg Schiiano and transfer QBs.

    Like

    1. Michigan already “owns” a school called Paramus Catholic in the fertile Northern part of the State. Remember Peppers ?. The #1 recruit in the country in 2016 Rashan Gary plus others.

      Like

  48. Please guys lets agree on this. his nic should be Kenny “the wicked” Pickett. I’ve been calling him that since the spring game.

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  49. “So the truth is that Kenny Pickett arrived at the Southside practice facility as the most talented and game-ready QB Pitt had on roster. ”

    Overstatement of the century, LOL.

    Most talented? Not based on the recruiting stars that so many of you insist are the key to a winning program. Can’t disregard the stars when it is convenient.

    Most game ready? Ahhh, he never played in a college game. You can’t say Browne could not have been good because he failed at his other college. So did Peterman and Savage. Savage at two freaking schools.

    Could we have had the same or better results with Pickett starting from game one? Probably, but with Pitt’s success using graduate transfers, PN made the right call using Browne. Plus, he also proved to recruits that he gives players a fair shot as he did with DiNucci.

    I have been saying to play Pickett, but I also understand the logic behind the wait.

    Like

    1. And yet you never watched him live in spring practices nor had multiple conversations through the spring and fall practices with others who watched him on a regular basis..

      I did those things and will stand 100% behind my statement as it echoes others and some of those at Pitt. He was handed the playbook on Feb 2nd and from that point on was ready to practice and be the starter in September.

      True FR QBs have been starting seasons in college ball for years…Marino was ready back in the day and it isn’t all that uncommon now but Pitt fans think it can’t possibly happen here…why?

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Reed, you have no need to protest. You were right and it is obvious. I’m shaking my head too why it took so long for Narduzzi to make the change.

        Like

  50. BTW. Recruit some of the public school powerhouses here in NE Ohio where I live. St. Ignatius and St. Edward are big time here in the Cleveland area, but my hometown Mentor Cardinals are in the big school state finals this week. A big 6-4 215 pound senior QB is a great passer and runner and supposedly has no D1 offers. A diamond in the rough? He also has led Mentor to wins the past few weeks over both St. Ignatius and St. Edward in the playoffs. Pitt had a PK from Mentor the past few years. Both Mentor and St. Ignatius have spectacularly good place kickers this year too. FWIW.

    Like

  51. Watson called a great game against Miami. If you noticed as the season went on he got away from the jet sweeps and shuffle passes. Only using them sporadically to keep the defense honest. More straight ahead running was emphasized. He also rolled Pickett out often and used more read option plays because of Picketts running ability.

    The last game also showed that the routes were always there, despite what Reed thinks. DiNucci would not step up in the pocket and wait for the routes to develop. He also didn’t have the arm or confidence to make the tight throws. Picket did an exceptional job at stepping up and keeping his eyes down field when scrambling.

    Look for the offense to be changed a bit over the off season. Watson tried to stick with what Canada did but the personnel was no there. Namely Austin and Conner and a really good OL.

    Like

    1. Two lineman missing from last yr made some difference. But it’s the job of the OC to adjust. His ego got in the way. I don’t think much of Watson

      Like

  52. Pickett could have withstood the hits throughout the year. That is not an issue. Watch all the running QBs in college. They survive.

    He’ll have an entire off season to get stronger and faster. The better ride that horse next year.

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    1. Disagree. Dungey at Syracuse didn’t last. Pickett has to taught not to sacrifice his body. He showed what he’s got to be the starter. Now we need him to stay healthy.

      Like

  53. Titleman…Agree on Wicked Pickett. We played a 3 song Wilson Pickett medley post game tailgate in Kenny’s honor. 😎. Did you come to the tailgate and I missed you? If so, my bad.

    Like

  54. Reed, great post as always. But, you confuse me. Maybe I read it too quickly. Haven’t you always contended that a true Freshman quarterback is not ready to start—and that it may destroy his future chances to really do the job well? Or, did I misread those comments of yours in the past?

    H2P

    Like

    1. I have never once written that as a blanket statement. I have said individual QBs couldn’t do it. Look,, high school classifications are like playing at small colleges anyway… the game is fast and it takes cerebral players to play quarterback and you can have offenses that adapt to anybody. Not all true freshman could do it of course, but there is no doubt in my mind Kenny Pickett could.

      Like

    1. Ike, no one ever said a 3* recruit can’t play well. But a recruiting class full of them is not what you want to compete for championships. Which has been Pitt’s track record for 40 years. Crappy recruiting and zero outright conference championships.

      Do you or anyone else believe that this coaching staff can take average recruiting classes and turn them into championship teams… Really?

      Don’t hold your breath.

      Like

    2. Ike, don’t you ever give up? Sometime a kid is under or over rated. Kids develop at different levels.

      However, Reed was right on with this young man and, Ike, you don’t know what you are talking about. Sorry beforehand, because I know you are sensitive.

      Reed, you need to start ignoring some people. Don’t leave we need you.

      Like

      1. ^^No worries grand pap. imo you don’t know what you are talking about so it’s even steven. My references aren’t what you think, I refer back to what some say and believe.

        I think Reed was dead on correct in his analysis of Pickett. Look forward to the young man starting next year.

        So your breaking is news is, sometimes kids are over and under-rated? Hmmm? I didn’t know that. Groundbreaking news…. I think you drink…

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  55. Narduzzi was correct to try to preserve KP’s redshirt this season. Brought in Max to play and DiNooch showed enough to be backup. Injuries forced KP to lose his redshirt as the rules currently stand. Nard’s biggest risk was starting KP for the Miami gsme. Hindsight is 20/20, KP played an outstanding game. Good call coach.

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  56. I wonder if titleman came to some tailgates and didn’t tell anyone who he was? He’s a legend in these parts and not only in his own mind. Joking titleman.. Message boards, blogs and talk shows. The man does it all!

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  57. Didn’t make it to the POV tailgates. it is weird.Tailgates start early and in a heartbeat you are headed to the stadkum. Hoping POV does the spring game.

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  58. Reed, thank you for the stories about and from your Aunt. Maybe you should collaborate with her on a book about her days at Pitt.

    You were right on about the talented KP. We will never know how the season would have been different.

    While I think it would have been a mistake to start him in the first three, it would have been a bold move to start him vs Rice, or at least after Syracuse.

    I do think that the other big story is how much the rest of the team got better during the year and that there is the possibility that bringing Pickett in earlier could have been detrimental. Our O-line was really bad early, which could have caused Pickett to throw interceptions, get sacked and fumble, causing him to lose confidence. We will never know.

    Also, the defense certainly got a hole lot better. They were not making those three and outs after turnovers, earlier in the year.

    A QB does not play in a vacuum, although he could have made the whole team better, they also could have made him worse.

    The one thing for sure is that he won his first start against the number 2 ranked team, the biggest win ever at Heinz Field. Legendary! It might not have happened at all if he had started earlier in the year. And I wouldn’t trade it for a seven win season.

    I hope that Reed is 100% correct in his evaluation, because it means there are great things to come from KP next year and that there is only upside. But I know better, even the best have bad days, and football is the ultimate team sport and all 22 guys can win or lose games.

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  59. Pitt fans are the most risk adverse people in the world. Honestly, 40 years of mediocre play and we are not willing to roll the dice .

    We’ll folks, you get what you pay for and we have gotten one 10 win season since 1983..no conference championships ..no major bowls….so what if we take a risk and lose a game or two? We are doing that anyway.

    Get those submissions drafted or it is BB game threads until next August.

    Like

    1. What you don’t consider those 3 BBVA Cumquat Bowls….Major Bowls.

      We did get to the one BCS Bowl under WLAT, guess it was the Fiesta Bowl, WLAT’s last season.

      Pitt got to a BCS Bowl before the Pedo’s did. So there’s that.

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  60. I think another concern for the team is that Hall was not able to run in the last two games and the O-line was not opening holes. Don’t want to think about the last series vs VT. At least the coaches were smart enough to switch from Hall to Ollison against Miami. Another switch that could have helped earlier in the year. Obvious that Hall needs a bigger crack in the line than Ollie.

    Not sure how this plays out next year, with a rebuilt O-line, but sure it will be a key to winning or losing games.

    Hopefully the big win at Heinz will encourage more fans to show up. The fans need to get their confidence back as well as the team.

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    1. If the fans didn’t show up a week after Clemson (and they didn’t), don’t expect them to show up nine months after Miami. It’ll take a couple of 10 or 10+ win seasons in a row.

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  61. Titleman…the third was his rendition of Born to be Wild. Have it on a 45 from back in the day. Sorry you missed the tailgate.

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  62. Yes Reed, you were dead on with your Pickett analysis. Maybe he should have played earlier?? Spinning a football is great on it’s own merit but knowing where and to whom to spin it to is a very different story.

    You have used Bostick as an example of playing too early and being thrown in there a little too soon. Injuries played a big part in that decision.

    But, I’m looking forward and I’m happy as hell Pickett has been discovered. He’s the perfect match for this young PITT football team. Someone mentioned he may not be @ PITT for 3 or 4 more years. That’s a bridge we all will have to cross when e get to it.

    He’s good but he needs to grow physically but he is definitely a good find for Narduzzi and staff and a diamond found in the ruff.

    PITT needs to add depth at the QB position or an injury to KP would seriously wound any chances of PITT living up to the expectations next year and that would be a big big blow in this process.

    I’m not as worried about the O-Line as some but then again I was worried coming into this past season, so there’s that. << I think the O-Line should be more athletic than this years unit was. Plus imo the future looks bright on the line. The past two years, this one included, some nice good recruits there.

    Regardless of what happens to Conklin, (nothing) the defense is poised to be very good.

    I’ll say it again. It’s Narduzzi’s time to put up or shut up with his recruits. This year was one year too soon to judge his recruiting. He has to win the close games here on out. Hopefully QW can stay out of trouble and remain healthy as I believe the kid has NFL potential. He can be the icing on the cake next year imo!

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    1. Bostick had a completely different set of problems that had nothing to do with his playing football… literally no comparison there.

      I find it really interesting that I say Pickett was going to be a good QB… then he comes in and does just that but you all speculate that he couldn’t have possibly done the same thing at the start of the year… with no proof at all that he couldn’t.

      This is exactly why I’m getting out of this – there is so much party line going on with the coaching staff, etc. that most of you truly cannot take a critical and honest look at the subject matter.

      Ike – you have made every excuse possible for Narduzzi’s decisions when possible. I understand giving benefit of the doubt but you disbelieve something that is known and always agree with the unknown.

      I do not get the euphoria around this 2017 team when it lost 7 games and won only five. You would think we actually accomplished something other than winning one single match. The bottom line is that we got beaten by a poor SYR team and a 1-8 NC team. Yet because we “almost won” against VT that was a good game? Please spare me the moral victories – the coaching staff blew that game and we know it. It was another loss to go along with the six others.

      Yet you keep making excuses for the staff. Here is the truth:

      Team Stats – Through games 11/25/2017

      Stat Rank Value
      Total Offense 97 366.2
      Rushing Offense 84 148.5
      Passing Offense 74 217.7
      Team Passing Eff 74 129.01
      Scoring Offense 100 23.9
      Total Defense 68 396.6
      Rushing Defense 37 142.4
      Passing Yards Allowed 107 254.2
      Team Passing Eff Defense 89 136.42
      Scoring Defense 63 26.6
      Turnover Margin T-70 0.00

      I see only one category where we are in the Top 25% (rushing defense) but five in the bottom third and almost all in the lower half. Combine that with a 5-7 record and any normal thinker would say this team pretty much sucked all around.

      Well, start your engines for next year because you and others are going to do the same thing you did last year – get overly optimistic on the strength of your liking of Pat Narduzzi and basically nothing else.

      Me – I’ll wait until the team actually plays better before I say they are better.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Don’t get out of this. For me besides good info and reading, you are great therapy. Just do your thing and don’t expect to be treated like an officer. People will disagree and a bunch of people on this site (such as me) know nothing.

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    2. Which POV poster wrote the following in August?

      Blair. Oh lord, has this guy gotten much bigger, better and more important since he’s been thrown off the team. It makes me laugh. All I heard was how much of an underachiever he was.

      Taleni. He made one tackle against Clemson and Northwestern ran all over him in the now infamous loss in the bowl game. He didn’t do any more than Blair did in his time at PITT. In fact, he did a lot lot less!

      Wirginis. Love the way this kid plays and won’t say it’s not a bad loss but that dam depth chart. The dept chart put out by PITT is exactly like statistics. If you liked it, it’s great, if not, then it’s baloney.

      And now Wirginis is an NFL prospect?

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  63. Kenny needs an original nickname I called him “Kenny the snake” and “Pickett’s Charge” not to mention how that turned out….how about Mr. PITT.

    I bought an extra copy “Alle-Kiski Sports History: A Century of Sports in WPA” written by George Guido who has covered sports in the Alle- Kiski Valley for the Valley Daily News/Tribune for many years. He is quite a historian.Anyone who would like it after I am finished can have it just get my e-mail from Reed and I will send it to you.Pass it around or add it to your library. One interesting fact at the peak there were over 2000 school districts in Pa and by the time of the books publishing in 2010 the numbers, because of mergers, dwindled to around 500 and probably fewer now.

    On the positive-Pitt wins the ACC title and is in the National Championship in 2 years. Duzz will eventually have a Bronze statue in his likeness erected along General Robinson after he he retires in 20 years.

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  64. Reed thanks for all your hard work and time on the pov. It keeps the flames burning for victory. Next year we’ll be better but tough schedule. Two years we should march thru the ACC and win as well as kick the manure out of the Franklin cult to the east. Fellas I enjoy reading and loved going to all the games this year. Next year planning two road trips. One to ND and one down south as my age in seventh decade and lights getting dimmer I want to see some more great experiences. I love college football and hate the arrogance of psu cultist. H2P. Beat Penn State on sept 10 2018. Let’s all back the team be positive and enjoy life and your families.

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  65. There have been plenty of QB controversies in this town. Noll played Hanratty, then Gilliam over Bradshaw. That one worked out pretty well, eventually.

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  66. BTW Bernie, Jeanette just overtook New Castle for the winning-est high school in the WPIAL with their WPIAL championship victory Saturday..

    I remember a Greensburg vs Kiski game back in the early 70’s when GS was down big time at Vandergrift and all I could hear was one guy in the back singing bye bye Greensburg only to have GS come back and win.

    I also remember Big Dennis Booker. I heard they had to get a special helmet for him because his head was so big?? He was a bad ass for sure… ike

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  67. I remember Denny Booker..he was big. I think Latrobe beat Kiski’s butt in the AA WPIAL championship at Forbes Field.

    Extend Conklin..he is obviously getting the hand of the D think.Working on a better outlook for ’18

    Miami should have only had 7 on us. Where were the safeties on the long TD pass? Seems like that happens every other game…would love to ask Duzz why recevers get so far behind the safeties in his D. Bob Jury had 10 ints in one season and our safety leads the team in tackles while receivers get completely open- not being negative but just in search of knowledge or clarification as to why this is….

    i am going to miss Avonte. the kid gave his all. Will always remember the start of his career covering All-American Crowder from Duke. Avonte got beat several times but man was he close. If he was a little taller would have been a super DB he certainly has the head and heart for the game.

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    1. And if Crowder had not gotten away with pushing off AM. I can still see Crowder pushing him in the end zone on a 50/50 and getting a touchdown.

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  68. There is way too much optimism about Kenny Picket on this blog. If any of you have 18-19 year old kids you know what I mean. I think that Pickett would never have lasted the season if thrown in with the early OL performance, or if he ran as much throughout the season. Remember the image of Browne getting crushed when JJ Smith missed one of many blocks on the rushing DE? Pitt got themselves a fresh QB at the end of the season who had moved up to QB2 after Browne was hurt and was finally getting some snaps with the first team at practice. Earlier in the season, he would have been exposed as a QB who was not ready to play. Pickett had the ideal situation at the end of the year.

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    1. I’d venture a guess that Pickett isn’t exactly like most 18-19 year old kids.

      But I will say this without hesitation – I worked 33 years with 18-19 year old Coast Guard members who spent their days and nights piloting small boats in extreme weather to rescue people who needed it so I know exactly what an 18 or 19 year old can accomplish. Believe me – that is a hell of a lot more stress that throwing a football because no one dies when you miss the mark.

      Don’t say that is a rash comparison because it isn’t. I know many, many young people who can accomplish things the older generations couldn’t or wouldn’t believe they”ll do.

      That my friends is why I think Pickett could have done what I say – because he has the moxie and the strength to do so… and I think it is rather a sad state that some can’t imagine their 18 or 19 year old taking pressure and succeeding through it.

      Like

      1. Pitt’s all-time leader passer, Alex Van Pelt started as a Freshman in 1989. Threw 15 TD passes and a 134 QB rating. So you’re right, it can be done. Marino shared time with Rick Trocano his freshman year.

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      2. I’m told Pickett’s high school classmates and teammates (at Rutgers) say he is a great kid. Not full of himself at all. No big ego. Got alone with everybody, all types. He is a kid that can do what he says he can do. Reed you are probably right, Pickett is ahead of most 18-19 yr olds. through I know one that is his equal.

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      3. Reed, I also have worked with 18 and 19 year old Infantrymen, at that point in time you see where there is leadership and start to guide and train your future NCO’s. The youth movement in my company propelled it to being named the best in the battalion, brigade and division, never sell a man short because of age, desire, determination and plain old guts go a long way!

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  69. Latrobe did indeed beat Kiski in the rain at Forbes Field. Think it was 67?

    If Maddox had been two inches taller, PITT would never have landed him. Another of the long list of D-Backs who were much maligned while at PITT that weren’t as bad as thought of and treated. Pretty sure that A Maddox lead PITT in sacks. << not too shabby.

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  70. I disagree VOR as I think there are too few on this thread and obviously on the Pitt coaching staff as it relates to Pickett’s potential. As I previously posted if he registers for the NFL draft after two more seasons at Pitt the Pickett fans will be celebrated.—Also I think just maybe Nick Patti may bring in some of the same qualities that Pickett possesses. At least I hope so.

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  71. The main difference between Pat Bostick and Kenny Pickett’s freshman campaign is that Pickett participated in Spring workouts which is huge for development, or so we’ve been told. Pickett has been in the program since January, so he has 11 months in already.

    Bostick didn’t matriculate in the Spring before his freshman year and in fact, missed a lot of camp because he went home to handle some personal business. Never did get the entire story on that. He was truly a true freshman with regard to time “in” the program..

    Secondly, the skill set isn’t comparable. Kenny Pickett uses his legs to escape the pocket and keeps his head looking downfield. Bostick, no comment on foot speed at any point in his career.

    Pickett looks good, but the sample size is very small. We wouldn’t be typing all of these accolades had the ball he threw in the flat that went through the hands of the Miami defender, been intercepted instead of a first down. That said, we don’t play could , woulda, shoulda. Exciting times ahead…hopefully!

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    1. Bostick could not throw either. I was sitting with an NFL qb and they had him on the local news when they signed him. My friend saw him throw and just shook his head.
      Bostick has a 5 star ranking.
      He is a 5 star kid, but not a d1 QB

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      1. Bostic threw soft HS floaters….zero zip on his throws. He was a little chubby and couldn’t run. Other than that he’s like Pickett…

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  72. Well, Reed, the young people you worked with at the Coast Guard were the best of the best as far as maturity goes. There is only one Coast Guard, that must screen its recruits very carefully to only take the best. Believe me, I’m as hopeful as anyone that Pickett will continue to develop. But the same was said for Bostick…

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  73. Pitt’s Pickett and Maddox Earn ACC Weekly Awards

    PITTSBURGH—Pitt freshman quarterback Kenny Pickett and senior cornerback Avonte Maddox were honored by the Atlantic Coast Conference today for their performances in the Panthers’ 24-14 victory over No. 2 Miami.

    Pickett was named the ACC’s Rookie of the Week, while Maddox was named Co-Defensive Back of the Week. The duo proved instrumental in helping Pitt halt Miami’s 15-game winning streak, which had been the longest active streak in the nation.

    In the first start of his college career, Pickett (Oakhurst, N.J./Ocean Township) accounted for three touchdowns (two rushing and one passing). He completed 18-of-29 passes (62%) for 193 yards with zero interceptions and was also Pitt’s second-leading rusher with 60 yards on 13 carries (4.6 avg.).

    Pickett’s six-yard touchdown rush gave the Panthers a 10-7 lead right before intermission. Late in the third quarter he connected with Qadree Ollison on a five-yard shovel pass to increase the advantage to 17-7. Pickett’s final TD proved to be the clincher—a perfectly executed bootleg on fourth down that the freshman took for a 22-yard score.

    Pickett became the first true freshman to start at quarterback for Pitt since Pat Bostick in 2007.

    Maddox (Detroit, Mich./Martin Luther King) saved his most heroic performance for his final collegiate game. The senior compiled four tackles, two quarterback sacks and two pass breakups. Maddox iced the upset when he strip-sacked Malik Rosier with 1:45 left, turning the ball and the game over to the Panthers.

    Both of Maddox’s sacks came during the critical fourth quarter. His overall play spearheaded a stingy Pitt secondary that limited Miami to just 187 yards on 15-of-36 passing (42%).

    The No. 2 Hurricanes became the highest-ranked opponent the Panthers had ever beaten in Pittsburgh. Prior to the win over Miami, the highest-ranked foe Pitt had defeated at home was No. 3 Fordham, 13-0, at Pitt Stadium on Nov. 8, 1941.

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  74. Ike..I have been to a few Southside concerts in the past few years and they are still killing it in live shows, well worth the ticket price…I share your optimism with regard to the future of the football program. The offense appears ready for a better season, and I finally started to see our secondary making plays on the ball (vice watching the receivers catch the ball all day).

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  75. I love Pat Bostick great pitt man. BUT Pickett is light years more talented than Bostick. Bostick had a slow delivery and not a strong arm/. Slow flooted.

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  76. Reed @ 12:05: Yeah I have been a supporter of HCPN more than some but I don’t know if you’re reading my comments in their entirety? I would consider myself more of a poster that gives Pat the benefit of the doubt more than a defender of his. << Just the opposite of what you accuse me of. Some want to believe more of what they think as to what is actually being said. That’s everyone prerogative and fine by me. Just be honest and I’m ok with any and everyone’s opinions.

    I don’t look at statistics the same way you do Reed. Thought that was obvious? Let’s face it, this one area we will never see common ground. I see I see too many factors that are not factored into the stats I see. 10 starters on the defense the last game, an upset, that are still eligible to play next season. This doesn’t factor into the stats? Same thing on offense, only 3 starters who have used their eligibility up. This is my reason to evaluate stats as they are meant to be read. What is the main hypothesis? That the coaches stink? I don’t think they do and I’ll read the stats accordingly.

    An example of differences of opinions, look back to the timeout called by Pickett after halftime of a stoppage of play I think. Some say the play wasn’t on his wristband. Which maybe true. Others say that Pickett didn’t know how to read his wristband? I don’t know the right answer? So does Pickett have trouble with calling plays or is Watson stupid enough to call a play that’s not on the wristband? Who knows the truth.

    I am or was shocked to hear and read all the negativity after such a big big win by PITT over Miami? IMO, that’s very telling to me. Seems like there isn’t anyway to make some people happy.

    I’ve said on the POV many times that Narduzzi has a long ways to go to be a good head coach but that’s not what you hear. Would love to see PN get some help and learn the in and outs of being a successful head coach. He’s not there yet. Yes I’m half glass full but I’m not stupid as I can see what the bigger picture is. We just disagree with many things concerning the program. I can live with that… ike

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  77. Thanks Frank… 🙂

    titleman. Here’s another little problem I have.. Narduzzi is accused of being a bad recruiter? Well Bostick was a 4 or 5* QB and Pickett was a 3* with limited offers. We just can’t have it both ways. right?

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    1. Narduzzi does have to improve his and the staffs recruiting. PITT lucked out with Pickett regardless of # of stars!

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  78. One of the toughest schedules in FBS with no QB for 5/6 of the year.

    5 wins.

    A possibly real QB put in the no. 1 slot.

    A possibly real defense finally on the field. Possibly.

    C because with some tweaks here and there it could have been 6 or 7 or even 8 wins (again).

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  79. I don’t hate to say it as we all can rationalize how KP MIGHT NOT have succeeded if he started earlier but @Reed is now going on real evidence of play. I am getting Reed’s frustration. @Huff says small sample size which is somewhat true but NOT tiny and versus #2 Miami in a critical game for them. How much more real information do you need? Not saying some of the rationalization is based on complete nonsense, but I am seeing the light.

    Did our o-line improve? Yes, but what KP brings to the game is so much more than just making the best of opportunities given by that inconsistent line, his abilities make the line better and so in fact he MAKES EVERYONE BETTER. KP opens up the game in a way Max Browne was able to BUT ONLY AGAINST RICE. Dinucci opened up NOTHING and maybe couldn’t have even against Rice considering his weaker arm and obvious poor mechanics and inability to even look downfield let alone to a second receiver.

    There is obviously a fine line between winning at this level, so that huge edge KP gives this team can’t be overlooked or downplayed. PN blew it with Max B and added to it by going to Ben D. I was willing to give PN the benefit of the doubt with no knowledge or information to think KP really was going to perform like Reed stated often. Not that Reed is infallible but I now realize that although he expressing opinion, he has spent way more time putting together the information available to base it upon. Often here, I wonder at some of the experts posts because they seem to be based on information sources revealing things that we just can’t have access to. Maybe they do and are.

    I know I plan to stay more connected to Pitt over the next few years especially if any of my kids decides to go there, so I hope this POV is part of that and I will be looking to read some of the topics submitted over the off season.

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  80. Reed

    Just a suggestion for a new thread. Not an article.
    People are all optimistic about next year based on one win. How about folks state their theory?

    Predicted record for next year:

    Positions that will improve.

    Positions that stay the same.

    Positions that get worse.

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  81. We can rehash the past forever and history does repeat itself but on to hope for the BB team. Unless we get a bowl bid (out of the blue) on to recruiting. Our tough OCC schedule and Cuse and UNC losses doomed us.

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  82. Went through the above exercise in my head. I am with Reed. Not many things that make me see more than 6 or 7 wins, especially with the schedule.

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  83. Before projection to next year, what do others including Reed think this season record should have been if KP starts from game 1?

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  84. Kenny has talent and Presence and moxie. He was better than Max and Dinucci and should of started.

    Narduzzi could have a Full House and not play the hand.

    Pickett may very well
    Save Narduzzi’s job and cover up lots of his inadequacies. .

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  85. Ike I love reed but he is HORRIBLE in qb. analysis. He still has his Tino bobblehead. he loved the kid so much. I swear he told us tino had a better arm than savage. He is blinded when it comes to quarterbacks. Too many years inhaling seaweed.

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    1. Don’t tell lies. I ripped Sunseri with cause in many Blather articles.

      BTW, I have been perfect in QB analysis going back to Voytick’ s recruitment.

      Ike, made a call.The play sent in wasn’t list on wristband.

      And again, I am by no means the only person who saw big things in Pickett back in April… But keep think King Pat makes no mistakes. But then how do you explain the Max Browne fiasco?

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I got scared reading Reed liked Sunseri. Glad to hear it was bull$&_+-. Correct me didn’t, Wannstadt play him over Bostick? Upittbaseball is even positive with Pickett.

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      2. Reed…..the year Voytik started he had very good numbers. In fact they were almost identical to Peterman’s numbers the following year. Voytik had the best QB rating in /ACC game of all ACC QB’s that year.

        So please…..enough already……..

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  86. So Florida hires a guy with a losing conference record over the course of his career. Hmmmm
    I’d be pissed if I was a Florida fan.

    Tennesse actually considers Schiano, double hmmmm.

    …and we thought Barnes was bad.

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    1. If Narduzzi wasn’t already here under contract, Barnes would have hired Sandusky’s wife as our HC. Or Apollo HS’ HC if she wasn’t interested….

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  87. tvax, Pickett wasn’t close to being ready to start. Narduzzi is the head coach and Watson is the OC. Those two are at practice everyday and get paid to win games. I would hardly think they wouldn’t play the QB that gives them the best chance to win? Reed watched a couple of practices at most. The kid couldn’t find the play on his wristband 8 games into the season..

    I read on here and many other places that you can never go by the spring game. Until now..

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    1. I saw PN or SW stay with MB over BD, ok flip a coin but staying with BD over KP until a last game start – I don’t care how unready he was.

      I saw PN go with DH 3 times over QO in a goal line situation game on the line when QO is the only back to prove he has any, albeit it weak also, yards after contact ability.

      I saw QH too often as a receiver when he looks like a bad route runner though not saying he shouldn’t be in the mix for other abilities.

      I have no idea what happened with the play on the wristband issue.

      I think experience is a safe bet versus young talent but….I think the best coaches adapt to the talent they have until they recruit better fitting kids….AND they recruit better talent.

      I really started watching more Pitt football last year and though not lockstep with Reed and definitely not with writings the likes of Upitt(ok with his Roundtable stuff) and others who go ballistic with criticism of everything, I need to see more. I really think last year’s close but not quite year says a lot with the talent Pitt had but this year should’ve been more too.

      I know you have said this before, but next year is going to tell me all I need do know about where PN is and whether we should want him at Pitt for the next bunch of years. He needs the full support of the powers that be but THAT is the only excuse I will accept for future failure.

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  88. I agree with ike. Duzz was desperate to win games to prevent any backsliding from the previous two years. He would clearly have played the best QB, although he may have given Browne first chance to win the job since he agreed to transfer to Pitt.

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  89. You have to ask yourself, what burgeoning first time head coach deosn’t play the best players? Now, I don’t know if Narduzzi does or not but I sure as hell don’t know if he doesn’t? Again, I defer to my ignorance of what Pat is realy thinking. After watching football for over 50 years is how I come up with that notion.

    titleman, I think Reed hit the nail on the head with Pickett’s throwing abilities, KP also looks the part of a QB of PITT’s future. I had a couple different points there.

    and I repeat myself, spinning a football when you don’t know the plays or cannot see secondary receivers is a learned science. This ain’t high school. Who was the PITT QB who could really zipped it but look lost out there? He became a catcher in baseball.

    Secondly, I hear over and over if PITT/Narduzzi recruits 3* players then they will get 3* play. << This is not consistent talk imo! . . . ike

    H2P!

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  90. I’m not sure Pickett knew there were two pages on his wrist band and didn’t know to flip one over?.. I’m saying I don’t know! << Can we understand I’m saying I don’t know, while saying who does that aren’t the coaches?

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  91. There are just way too many rah rahs on this site. And the funny thing is most people recognize it except them. Forest and Trees.
    Reeds evaluations have been pretty spot on. All you had to do is look at release, mechanics, and footwork. Pickett is not a dolt, it’s not that tough to learn the plays, if you ever played the position you’d know that. Executing them is different, and that falls on coaches.
    I’m also taking a break, for many reasons I need to stop for awhile. H2P

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  92. I raise my hand, Mr I don’t want people to know who I am, to the question about Wirginis being a potential NFL prospect. Otherwise I have no idea what Blair looks like these days and don’t care. As far as Taleni goes, I think he could have helped the team this past year but again, who in the hell knows?

    It’s just my thoughts. << Dumb as they may be. Let’s hear yours and I’ll be more than happy to judge you.

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  93. I think we know, as best we outsiders can know, Pickett’s potential for next year. But what about the rest of the team? With Weah gone, who will the “go to” receiver be? I think that Hall over performed a bit for a few games but started to slip back some beginning with Virginia Tech. I just don’t see him as the feature running back next year. And if Duzz is counting on Wirginis, a suspended LB, to start next year, assuming he returns, then the LB problems may be worse than we think. Ironically, the secondary may be the strongest unit on the field. Reed, what is your assessment of the returning players?

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  94. About Pat Bostick, that’s my point. I’m tired of hearing about how Narduzzi is a lousy recruiter and how good Pickett is. << which I totally agree with. But that is the very definition of an oxymoron.

    If you recruit 3* players you get 3* teams. It doesn’t add up to me.. General blanket statements… Terrible, always, never, constantly, and just plain are terrible. << This is no way to treat a team you love. Not in my dictionary anyways.

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  95. Totally agree the coaches would pick the player that gives them the best chance to win. That was clearly Browne at the beginning of the season.

    However, once Browne was hurt and DiNucci’s shortcomings became very apparent. Pickett should have started immediately.

    Can’t say Narduzzi doesn’t give guys a shot. DiNucci clearly was given a fair opportunity.

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  96. Mark and Reed others. Yeah, at this point I probably would have played KP sooner but we all know what happen? Right? QH drops the ball at the one yard line and it’s return for an easy field goal. 10p pt swing is the fact. << That’s after we all know what happened.

    Yes I look back and believe the season could have been much better with the knowledge I now have or maybe not. So Narduzzi coaches his team to one of the biggest upsets in the schools history and yet he still sucks for not playing Pickett earlier? There’s no perspective here, I surrender, you all know more than a coach that’s been doing this for years and from a family of coaching. You need to humble yourselves.

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    1. Looked for a minute but couldn’t find your email you listed, I think when you were dealing with Anon, can you repost it?

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  97. No need to keep re-hashing this past season. Time to move-on. I see this FB up-ticking and the pieces are falling in place and improving that includes players and coaches. We have a small recruiting class this year and will graduate considerably more in 2018. Much bigger class in 19 but a solid record to go to work with on the recruiting trail. I am all in on giving these coaches and kids support and not be critical of ever perceived mistake. After the blow-out by OSU my expectations were completely lowered and the 2 thoughts I had after this game were #1 Coach, Don’t lose the team. #2 Show improvement as the season progessed. In my eyes they met both of those goals and that speaks volumes to this ole boy.

    Duzz is going to get the job done. These kids believe in him and want to play for him. No one on here can tell BigB otherwise.

    By the way, start making plans to come to Chapel Hill in 2018 to see the Kenny Pickett Show. My Carolina Heel buds Greg Sasser and Frank Nixon who were guests at the POV TAILGATE plan pay-back the hospitality and kindness (not to mention the Makers mark and McCallen’s scotch) A Carolina PITT POV tailgate is in the works. Greg and Frank says they will even let us win the game !!!

    Frank’s 1st time at a PITT home game)and Greg gave me feedback after the game; they loved the Burgh experience. We stayed at Station Square and had lunch at the Grand Concourse, breakfast at Pamela’s in the strip district, gambling at River’s (no big winners), we toured the PITT and the Catherdral/ International rooms. Frank is a proud Greek and was just amazed as the Greek room was vacant- he stood and soaked in his heritage. My guests spent over and hour in Heinz Chapel absorbing the beauty and feeling the spirituality. Frank spent time in prayer as his sister’s mother-in-law’s funeral was taking place at that moment in Carolina.We toured sports facilities minus the OCS. Maureen wanted to see our campus right after the game thinking like most folks that the ball field sits with the university’s campus. Maureen never had a pierogy so off to McKees Rocks to Pierogy Plus-handmade by Eastern European’s ladies still with accents wihich made it even better then later in the evening up the Duquesne incline to the Lamont. They were blown away at what our city and university had to offer. RICHMAN-pass this on to the fan committee- get more out of towners interested in coming here.

    There is one more item to share on that home-coming of sort- my friends could not get over the POV tailgate and how a large group of people who never knew each other had come together through an internet blog. To paraphrase Greg Sasser “It’s like you folks have known each other all your lives! ” Everyone was so kind and friendly and freely shared with my friends. they mentioned the tailgate experience several times during the week-end.

    With that said, I hope this blog (sad to call it a blog) continues. We all have are warts and assorted blemishes. we all have unique ways of communicating and more times than not we can be very negative even down right nasty (on a rare occasion )rather than positive. I have met a lot of commentors- all good people. I call them my friends and there are so many more to meet. We are much more than a blog. We are people who breathe, love and live PITT football. Let’s bring a positive PITT spirit to the blog and to the streets of our neighborhoods. Let’s talk PITT-UP in spite of all it’s short-comings.

    Liked by 2 people

  98. Ike is right. its so easy to second guess. to say a raw freshman should have started from the beginning. well Duzz knows what he is doing he is not the village idiot some of you guys paint him to be . He owns that record. he guessed wrong on browne but the guy was a 5 star. He thought he could do something with him. its easy for you guys who have no skin in the game to critique Duzz’s decision making. he did not go to Pickett earlier because he thought he was not ready. I am happy he was ready and no qb controversy is facing us in the spring. Duzz is a serious dude and knows his game we are lucky to have him. But Pitt fans are compelled to piss in the punch bowl

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  99. PS I love the fans on the infamous facebook fan sites that insist Duzz played Dinucci to curry favor with the pine richland coaches and recruits. The most amazingly stupid conspiracy theory I have heard this side of Wanny playing tino because the sunseri family is big donor. ( hint the sunseris never gave sh*t to pitt they were not donors.

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  100. Say what you will about Narduzzi, but he now has three of the biggest wins in Pitt’s recent history, with 2 of them at Heinz. The last one with mostly his own players in a transition year. He finally has a defense that is making some stops and it looks like a QB for the next three years.

    I can’t remember a coach having this many marquis wins since Jackie. Certainly not in their first three years.

    With maturity, the defense should be better next year and if we have a decent O-line, the offense should be better as well.

    Tough schedule, but a better team overall.

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  101. One Game One New Starting QB and the Pitt football program made a 180 degree turn after the Miami game. Just hoping we don’t reverse that 180 turn around next year after more less than intelligent coaching decisions.—-Just a guess but I believe Pitt will sell an additional 5000 season tickets before next season kicks off. Problem is many of those additional season tickets may be sold to the Penn State faithful and not the Pitt fans.

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  102. That’s a fantastic Bernie. I love our city and always want to know how people view Pittsburgh when visiting. So happy they came away impressed. Hope to make the trip to Chapel Hill.

    Liked how you used the word “perceive” because it’s the slant you look at the picture. If we go looking for trouble we will surly find it. Those that chose to look for the good only need to open their eyes wider! It’s directly ahead. . .Thanks B.. . .ike

    H2P!

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  103. I don’t see losing to nc, ga tech, va tech, Syracuse, much of a sign of progression. We have one decent win in va, and a great win in Miami. What else was there?? 5-7 is not a good year.

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  104. I read somewhere where Max might get drafted, if he has a good pro day/recovers fully, etc.

    There is a severe talent problem(crisis) at QB in the NFL. So who knows !

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  105. I went to the SoCar @ NoCar game back in 2007. Parked in a nearby parking garage. People were friendly but didn’t offer food or drink even when using my “go to” move of asking what people where cooking. Didn’t tour the campus but then again the only campus I toured was Ole’ Miss. Had to because on campus parking was first come, first serve & I was no where near first.

    Stayed closer to Durham then Chappell Hill. Had dinner Saturday evening at some old & famous steak house whose name I can’t remember.

    The only thing I thought was strange was that the men’s & ladies rooms where outside the stadium.

    Never been to Wake Forest. Thinking about going to PITT – Wake game. Anybody know anything about Wake / Greensboro.

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  106. Pitt-cocks.. there will be a bunch of POVers there… as soon as we get the schedule I will get a room booked in Winston Salem… will try to find out where the
    Panthers are staying.. we can have a beer or 10 with the voice of the Pitt Panthers

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  107. Pitt-cocks/ Richard .. we will be there… plan on going! Pitt won’t be back for 14 years and that will make me 80…. wow that was hard to put down…

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  108. Commenters need to exchange email addresses themselves.

    The Round table is permanently closed. I have scheduled four BB game threads but that will be that…

    The only thing I will do with this blog over the off-season is post other content if I feel like it so I suggest you subscribe so that you’ll get an email if something goes up.

    Folks, I am way too busy and truth be told just plain tired of the same things said over and over again. So I’ll leave this up until the morning then shut the blog down except for those threads mentioned above.

    Will revisit the blog at a later date. If anyone has questions on how to start a blog I will certainly be glad to help. It can be a lot of fun if it stays small.

    Good Luck,

    Reed

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  109. For Reed and your honest assessment of this program week in and week out, I give you an A++ for the season….

    Prior to the start of the season, I predicted 6-6 (which is nothing special, because I predict it every year). Wins I expected: YSU, Rice, NC State, Duke, Virginia, UNC. How painful does that Carolina game look after win against Miami?

    I have been extremely critical of Narduzzi over his tenure, but his ability to keep the team together after that UNC debacle was no small feat. After another soul crushing defeat in Blacksburg, he kept the group focused for Miami despite nothing to play for. Color me impressed with his ability as a motivator. I though Miami would run them off the field. What was a certain D grade after Carolina, turned into a C+ grade for me. With 70+ teams going bowling in 2017, I don’t see how he earns above a C if you can’t get to a bowl game.

    When assessing Conklin, how do you ignore the Oklahoma St. and the UNC games? While the Miami game was exceptional, Rosier missed so many 1-on-1 match-ups it was ridiculous. Next year, the Pitt defense has to pick up where this team left off. No more excuses. Paris Ford has yet to take the field which is exciting, but this style of defense requires big time cover corners. I liked Wirginis before he let the team down, so you put him in the LB mix with Idowu, Zeise, Brightwell, and Pine and you finally have some depth at the LB spot. Arrow pointing up for the defense.

    After the VaTech game, I was ready to issue Watson a D-. However, he learned from his mistakes with the utilization of a shovel pass (Ollison TD) and a naked bootleg to seal the victory. Where the hell was that creativity in Blacksburg? That said, Kenny Pickett will make Watson look a lot better next year. Arrow pointing way up for that kid.

    While Kenny Pickett provides a huge boost of optimism for 2018, the out-of-conference schedule is BRUTAL. Penn State at home and road games at UCF and Notre Dame. Almost certain Scott Frost won’t be back at UCF in 2018, but he has built a great program in Orlando. The cupboard will not be bare for the Knights next year whoever ends up coaching. It is conceivable that Pitt will be much better in 2018 and still go 1-3 in the non-conference. ACC road games are Miami, UNC, Virginia, and Wake Forest. If the Panthers go 3-1 in ACC home games, they might need as many as 2 road wins to get to 6 wins. Big boy football takes everything clicking on all cylinders to exceed 8 wins. My expectations are tapered. Link to schedule below.

    http://www.pittsburghpanthers.com/news/2017/1/19/Football_Completes_2018_and_2019_Non_Conference_Slates_.aspx?path=football

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  110. BigB, I just talked to a guy at the bar as I was picking up food for me and Mrs. Richman, and he suggested the same thing…get out of towners interested. I got his contact info and another contact that should be fruitful. Will let you know how it goes. Thanks for bringing it up.

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  111. Pittcocks… my email… bblystone12@gmail.com…put it down so we can hook up in the future for the Wake game

    Reed, a huge thank you. Wow it was a short run but a great run. Looked forward to the being here every day.. it filled a void. Best wishes to you on life’s journey.

    I’m outta here.. back to the Blather where it all began… who know’s maybe FRANKCAN will reappear!!!

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  112. Reed – Thanks for all you have done with the POV & for me. Your blog has helped me get through a difficult time in my life.

    Reading the PITT POV was a link to an earlier easier life as I sat in a hospital room. I joined the Round Table at first to add another voice when it seemed to me that not enough voices where joining the conversation. I wanted it to continue. After my loss, the round table was something I looked forward to joining. Couldn’t wait for Wednesday at nine.

    I haven’t expressed this before but THANKS to all POV’ers for your thoughts, your prayers & your condolences. A life line all of you where.& are.

    Looking forward to next season, the four scheduled threads & whatever content you want to provide.

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  113. Richard, my thoughts and prayers are still with you, can’t imagine what you’re going through. Hang in there friend. << You really know your stuff.

    Fran and all, definitely renewing my tickets next year if for no other reason but to be at the tailgates. See you all there and at the fire-pit afterwards… ike

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  114. Everyone makes mistakes and Pitt’s QB problem this season goes back to the decision by Coach Duzz and/or Coach Watson to take Max B. Even as a one-time 4 or 5 Star, he did not fit the Pitt offense — which clearly requires a running threat at QB.

    That single, very poor decision, and it’s natural aftermaths, ruined our season, IMHO..

    I have hope that PN, despite his stubbornness, will do better. And the best thing that can happen to Pitt is to go 5 or 6 or 7 years without a coaching change so we don’t have those weak, coaching-change “lost classes” interspersed with half-decent classes…

    My prediction – Pitt will be a tough team to beat when Coach Duzz consistently has full legitimate classes of seniors and juniors leading the way…

    GO PITT!

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  115. Just went back to the Blather, 12 posts on today’s thread, which seems low given the craziness in college FB this weekend…my heart’s not into it but where else do we go….?

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  116. This song crossed my mind considering the impending POV doom. << Cheesy and for the old dudes. I really never like this song all that much.

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  117. Hail to Pitt!

    Hail to Reed!

    See many of you at the Fran and Friends tailgate in September, where we will tune up with Albany and then watch Pickett’s Charge lead us to victory against the hated Nitters!

    Regards to Ike, wbb, EMel, Dr. Tom, Pitt Cocks, PittPT, MajorMajors, Erie Express, Annie, altoonajosh, pittintheville, Upittbaseball, DarkKnight, TVax, Barvo, JoeKnew, JoeL, LastRow, BigB, Richman, Gc, PittofDreams, titleman, jackagain, notrocket, frankmd, dallasmike, savannahpanther, Justin Antonini, Pap76, Tedspun, Kman, huff, Jrn, hbgfrank, pmd, atlantapanther, and many others who made reading this blog fun and entertaining.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Great to get to know all you guys.

      Thanks Reed. Thanks Fran……see you next year.

      If I have time and think a good topic for discussion I will definitely submit.

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  118. Good luck Reed and thanks for the memories. Blather looks like its about dead as its barely limping along. Cardiac hill might just be the ticket to reunite. Not a bad blog with multiple contributors to lesson the burden on just one key person.

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      1. That’s right. Tino was the QB for the next to last bowl victory in 2010. He had a so-so game in the air but somehow managed to run for 50+ yards.

        Bill Stull was the QB for the victory prior to that in 2009.

        Interesting coincidence that the last 3 Pitt bowl victories had Stull, Sunseri and Voytik as the QB.

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  119. Thanks for all the hard work Reed! I think you should keep those press credentials and write an article here and there 🙂

    To Reed and all the POVers, good luck and good health to you all and your families.

    The posts on here could be a case study in civilized online forum disagreement. Some of that was due to Reed’s parenting of us, but mostly I think there are good people on here.

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  120. One final story to share. On my way from the YSU game tailgate I walked to the stadium with Reed. Now, for some reason I always felt Reed just barely put up with me( and I can see why). But during our walk he stopped and asked me to hold his coffee cup. I did so but wondered what he was doing, well what he was doing was stopping to share a few words and a few dollars with a down on his luck vet. Even as jaded as I am at my age the gesture and the sincerity of that effort left a lasting impression on me.
    It’s been a lot of fun this year, from the golf outing to a tailgate to sharing our views. Thanks all for making my day more enjoyable, and thanks Reed for causing me to pause and think. H2P

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  121. Anyone of you POVerts who wants to share their email to be alerted to golf tournaments, tailgates or just BS can forward it to mine,,,bblystone12@gmail.com …I have made so many new peeps on here and a list of contacts…Like that old 60’s song says “Keep the Ball Rolling”

    Ike..look that song up and post’er ,I feel Like singin’

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