Here is another All-ACC team listing. Pitt isn’t as well represented this last season as in the past. We have only three 2nd string players show up here; Maddox at DB, Newsman at Kicker and Henderson at Kick Returner.
Two of those three are gone for next year.
What is interesting, and I think adds accuracy to this particular list, is that both OL’s O’Neill and Officer are not on it, nor should they be in my opinion. They both played well below what fans, and I’m sure what the coaching staff, expected.
There is a good chance O’Neill will declare also even though he’s be better served sticking around for his SR year. But here is an interesting about that. So much of an OL’s individual success relies on the quality and teamwork of the other lineman around him.
I believe that was a big part of O’Neill ‘s problems in ’17… The fact that the other lineman pretty much sucked, especially both Officer and Jared Jones-Smith. Our Center Morrissey was a true rsFR also and his “or” Center mate Dintino was sub-par. Transfer Hodges was brought in for depth and he was about average for his short time here.
I have written in the past that our offensive line for 2018 makes me very nervous.
Below is a listing of those players that I think we’ll be seeing as starters next year and they aren’t something that jumps right out at me to say ‘Boy this is going to be a big improvement over last season.‘ and folks this last season wasn’t very good for us in this area.
70 BRIAN O’NEILL JR*, 6-6, 305 (If he stays)
72 Tony Pilato (SO*, 6-5, 320)
66 Mike Herndon (JR*, 6-4, 310)
67 JIMMY MORRISSEY FR*, 6-3, 300 OR
76 CONNOR DINTINO JR*, 6-3, 315Ȏ
78 ALEX BOOKSER JR*, 6-6, 315
66 Mike Herndon (JR*, 6-4, 310)
71 Bryce Hargrove (FR*, 6-4, 310)
Not exactly Murder’s Row is it? I am not impressed at all with Narduzzi’s OL recruiting. His OL recruits have all been 3* players save for a 2* thrown in. He’s recruited only nine OL over his first three years and of those I’d say maybe three had any offers that really stood out above average FBS schools, and a few had mostly FCS offers.
Two key stats for me when looking at OL effectiveness are “Sacks Allowed” and “Rushing Offense”. As to the first – Sacks Allowed – we let the opponent get to our QB 31 times last year. 31! That is as bad as it has been for sometime. We ranked 102nd nationally in that category… and that was in only 12 games. Boy, compare that to our 2016 season’s work in this area when we were 3rd nationally allowing only 10 sacks over 13 games.
Our Rushing stats were almost as bad as we were 85th nationally with only 3.85 yards per carry. That is as low as I can ever remember over the last ten years at least.
Can you imagine what we’ll be like here if O’Neill declares? Pickett under Center will help with the sacks as he is more mobile, and smarter with his pocket presence and decision-making, than our other two ’17 QBs.
We’ll go into more detail with this when we get closer to Spring Practices but from what I watched last season, and what I’m looking at now, this is an area of huge concern for me. We saw a marked decline from ’16 to ’17 and even if it stays at the ’17 level next year it will be a hard thing for the rest of the offense to overcome…but that maybe wishful thing on our part.