I Dream of Genie

I Dream of Genie

Submitted by Mark Kerestan (PittPT)

  Imagine if you will…… you are walking down the street in Oakland on the way to The Porch for a gathering of the  POV faithful, when you trip on something lying on the sidewalk. You turn around and pick it up and think, “Who left a gravy boat on the middle of the sidewalk?” Then on closer inspection you realize that it is an old-fashioned lamp, like the kind that would hold a genie in the fairytale.

Feeling a little foolish, but with nothing to lose, you rub the lamp. In a flash a genie materializes in front of you. Not Robin Williams, but in fact an attractive, tan,  blond haired woman wearing a blouse in one of the many variations of Pitt Gold, and with her buff arms crossed in front of her, like Barbara Eden. She says “Greetings, I am the University of Pittsburgh Sports Genie”. Incredulous but willing to play along you respond “Great, do I get 3 wishes?”

The genie reports “Unfortunately no. I used up two of my wishes at my last two stops (OSU and EMU) and have just one selection to offer you.” “You mean one wish, right?” you respond. The genie sighs and answers “Again, sadly,  my superiors have limited my resources and the best I can do is offer you three options for major sports major sports programs at Pitt. The selection you choose will determine the course of Pitts Football and basketball programs for the next 30 years. Are you ready to hear your choices?”

Thinking that you must be dreaming you enthusiastically agree. “Very well then”, the genie begins.

Before you are three paths for Pitt football and basketball. With Choice 1), The Pitt football program has a resurgence, winning 8-12 games a year, regularly competing for the Coastal Division, winning the Coastal Division every 4 years and winning the ACC every 8 years.

The FB team would regularly participate in top-tier bowl games including the New Years  Six. However, along with the success of the FB program the basketball program would continue to struggle mightily, winning 15-18 games per year and never really competing in the ACC and never competing in the NCAA Tournament”

Continue reading “I Dream of Genie”

Recruiting Stars* vs Star Power

Recruiting Stars* vs Star Power

We had a great guest article the other day written by GC that talked about Pitt football player’s “star power” in historical terms. He said this:

Unfortunately, for the next 30+ years we have been fortunate to have an only a few great stars of the game. Passing through the Pitt program were possible future NFL HOF players Chris Doleman, Curtis Martin, Ironhead Heyward, Darrell Revis, Larry Fitzgerald, LeSean McCoy and Aaron Donald.  But we have not had the quality depth to go along with them. We have not had the secondary or tertiary level talent either.

Throw in Dan Marino and Tony Dorsett and you have a start at the star players who have passed through Oakland and given us great football play out on the field.

Of course and since we are still before the official February 7th LOI Day we are continuing current discussions about this year’s recruiting class – and when we do that talk invariably turns to past recruiting classes also.  But anytime we mention recruiting we also speak of the number stars awarded by the various sites to the senior class high school players who are being courted by the 129 Division 1 schools.

But there are differences between ‘stars awarded’ which is pre-college career and ‘star power’ which is post-recruiting after the player enrolls and starts playing for the school he chose.  Too often we fans look at stars awarded and wonder why a player never lived up to expectations. … or we look at the small number of star a kid had and wonder how could the recruiting sites get things so wrong when that player is highly productive and a star football player.

Like anything else it is inexact science and shot through with variables, most of which we fans have no idea are at play.  Adjustment to the more rigorous academics is one and that happens way more often than we fans know.

Every wonder why a kid might have gotten good playing time then all of a sudden is on the bench for the next game? That is most probably because of some sort of academic problem, which can range from failing a class to cutting a class and anything in-between.

So – with that I want to take a moment and look back over the last ten years – to 2008’s season – at our “Star Power” players and which coaches recruited them and which they played for.

Notes: My take on recruiting is that whichever HC the player committed to is who recruited him.  I feel that is the only way to see the true value of a HC’s recruiting efforts.  Others will disagree with this but I have been doing it since 2007 and, to me, it is the most accurate gauge of a HC’s recruiting ability.

Also I have considered that any player who was an All-American or 1st Team All-Conference to be a star player. Others are my judgement.

A major consideration here is that most of Pat Narduzzi’s recruits haven’t gotten a lot of playing time yet and thus this is skewed toward the past where we can see the player’s whole careers. He’ll have some – let’s hope starting this season.

In addition, who recruited who is just 1/2 of the whole equation – the coach which the recruits played under is just as important in my opinion.  So – while Paul Chryst had Whitehead, Henderson  and O’Neill commit to him – Pat Narduzzi is the one who got the great play out of them (especially in moving O’Neill from TE to OL).  I can’t stress that strongly enough.

Star Power 1I broke the years up to make it easier to read…

Continue reading “Recruiting Stars* vs Star Power”

Meet The New Defensive Lieutenant!

Meet The New Defensive Lieutenant!

Well, Pitt has spun the bottle and instead of getting kissed by the gods of college football we got a rather firm handshake.  Our new Defensive Coordinator, ex-Northwestern LB coach Randy Bates, has decided to jump up a rung of the coaching ladder and I suppose that is a good thing for Pitt.

My first reaction was… who? But then I started to feel better mainly because it means that Josh Conklin really is gone.

NU Headshots July 29, 2013 in Evanston, Ill.I just wish he didn’t look like Vladimir Putin so much – it unnerves me, especially since he probably held a Secret Classification while in the Naval Reserves.

His bio reads in part: Randy Bates has led the Northwestern linebackers for 11 seasons and has spent 36 years overall in the coaching profession. Bates assumed his current role at NU after Pat Fitzgerald was named the Wildcats’ head coach in July, 2006.

Here is the full press release by Pitt last night on this hire.

OK – so he’s not a young up and comer like some wanted… matter of fact he has exactly one year of DC experience with the Louisiana Tech Bulldogs way back in 2005 and the story the stats tell of that work is… well… blah.  Here are those ’05 LSU stats:LSU D

I think Narduzzi likes defensive coaches who do well with the turnover margin because, much like Conklin before him, that’s the thing he did best as a previous DC.

Keep in mind those numbers to the left are from 2005 and 13 years is a long time in college ball.  Lately he has been the linebackers coach for the team that beat us in Narduzzi’s second bowl loss back in 2016 (had to get that in, right?) the Big Ten powerhouse Northwestern University’s Wildcats.

His work there has been good overall. Because I love stats and really – they are facts – let’s look at the NW defenses  over the last few years and I think you’ll see that overall it is rather impressive.  One point to consider though;  Bates’ work was only with the LBs and as we know almost all defensive stats are results of a combination of the whole defense playing as one.

Continue reading “Meet The New Defensive Lieutenant!”

POV Quick Quiz: Who Am I?

POV Quick Quiz:  Who Am I?

Pitt Style: Some obscure, some very easy… A quiz submitted by Andrew aka ajs32

How many can you get?

1)  I am a former Iowa State head coach who was a DC in Pittsburgh that had the famous, “read and react,” defense.

2)  I am the holder who botched a snap in the de facto Big East Title game that cost the Panthers a trip to the Sugar Bowl against Tim and Urban.

3)  I am a former Pitt starting QB in the 1986 and 1987 seasons who was so bad, I made Tino Sunseri look good.  Darnell Dickerson replaced me in the 1987 Syracuse game.

4) I am a former chancellor of the University of Pittsburgh who decided in the late 1980’s to make academic standards tougher, de-emphasize athletics, and anger Coach Gottfried to begin the Hackett years.

5)  I was one of the few bright spots for Pitt basketball in the early 1990’s.  I ended up getting drafted in the first round by the Milwaukee Bucks and finished my career with the Vancouver Grizzlies.

6)  After really struggling as a starting QB against Michigan State and Grambling, I gave up the football thing for baseball and I am currently the back-up catcher for the Chicago White Sox.

7)   I was recruited by Johnny Majors during his second stint and I was supposed to be the next Dan Marino.  I had a redshirt burned after a blow-out loss to Ohio State and didn’t feel confident in myself or my work habits. Then I transferred to Duqusene having one hell of a career and earning a degree in education.

8) We are the last two Pitt QB’s from the great state of Texas but we never got a fair shake. 

A.  I got to play in a bunch of games but that dang John Ryan kept taking playing time away from me.  I wore number 28.

B.  I was recruited in 2008 out of Houston because I am small and can run a spread.  Please don’t say Trey Anderson, that’s not the answer.  I never got a shot at QB and had stints on special teams and safety.

9)  In the 2000 Insight.com Bowl, I was the Iowa State QB who defeated the Panthers.  I jumped around several NFL teams without ever really making a mark.

10)  In the 2005 game against Nebraska we lost 7-6 when Greg Lee was pulled down by the slowest white guy ever and I had the most gruesome leg injury as a member of the Pitt secondary.

11)  Speaking of Pitt QB’s who never get a chance; I left all the fun of Kansas to come to Pitt and got one stinking moment in the sun on a scramble touchdown against Iowa.  I bet Pitt never beats Iowa again.

12)  In the 2008 Sun Bowl as a senior, I got my first start on the offensive line due to injury and things did not go well in our 3 to 0 defeat.  Even though I was six foot seven and over three hundred pounds, I was destined to just be someone that tries to block extra points.

13)  I was a third string Pitt QB behind Palko and Flacco and often sent offensive signals calls in for Coach Walt Harris.  I  saw snaps in only two games during my career (Kent State 2003 and South Florida 2004).  During the South Florida game, I came in during garbage time and fumbled my first and only snap of the day.

14)  Speaking of South Florida, I gave their fans the finger when I caught a touchdown against them during the Wanny years.  I turned down a scholarship from Auburn to play tight end at Pitt…was that a mistake?

OK – that’s the questions.  The answers are after the page break… Continue reading “POV Quick Quiz: Who Am I?”