Football Bits & Pieces; March 31st

Football Bits & Pieces; March 31st

Let’s get back on the football track here.

Post-Gazette has a few interesting articles – this one has been repeated every single spring since I have been following Pitt football – the defense is ahead of the offense this spring.  Honestly, I can’t remember one time when the reverse was said.

“Two weeks ago, on the third practice of spring football camp, Pitt coach Pat Narduzzi made an announcement to his team just before their first 11-on-11 action in full pads.

“Stay off the quarterback!”

That advisory might have said as much about the value of sophomore signal-caller Kenny Pickett as it did about the gap between Pitt’s defense and offense at this point. As the Panthers enter a long weekend of three days off Friday through Sunday, they do so with one side of the ball ahead of the other.

Damn right – stay off the f’ing QB!!

That is one kid we absolutely cannot afford to lose due to injury.  Everyone else on the roster is expendable – Pickett is not.  This bit is interesting – and the first admission in mainstream media I can point to where a writer has said something that has been written on here a hundred times and that is this:  Narduzzi’s defenses have sucked even with his rep…(emphasis mine).

I mean, we had a blitz period today that was a little scary just because of how fast they are on defense right now. They know what they’re doing, and it’s not easy to pick ’em up for an offensive line that’s as young as ours is right now.”

That all makes sense, and it’s a good sign for a defense that still hasn’t consistently lived up to expectations since Narduzzi took over the program, what with his reputation as an elite coordinator at Michigan State. When turned loose in March, a group of “crazed dogs” — as senior linebacker Quintin Wirginis described them — with 130 combined career starts, plus a bevy of young players trying to avoid falling down the depth chart, should be able to terrorize an offense searching for new answers.

I would have dropped the “consistently” above – they have been across the board bad save a few games.  And the fact that they are blowing by the OL in scrimmages isn’t at all hard to believe – the problem will come when our opponents are doing the exact same thing.  And it’s going to happen folks – the only light at the end of the tunnel will be what I call “Pitt’s Hope” and that is that pre-season we know the OL will start off in trouble then we “hope” a light goes on and they mesh toward the second half of the year.

Sometimes it works – sometimes it doesn’t, like last season.

Continue reading “Football Bits & Pieces; March 31st”

The Jeff Capel III Show…

The Jeff Capel III Show…

Unless you’ve been in deep cover or hiding under a rock you know already that Pitt has finished it’s search for a basketball head coach with the hiring of Duke assistant coach Jeff Capel III.

“We are excited to announce Jeff Capel as our head men’s basketball coach at the University of Pittsburgh,” said Lyke. “Coach Capel is a high-energy leader committed to being a part of our university and the city of Pittsburgh. He has a tremendous basketball pedigree and a strong track record of recruiting, developing and mentoring high-quality student-athletes.

His relentless work ethic, passion for the game and clear vision of how to build a program capable of competing at the highest levels in the ACC and on the national stage are impressive. I look forward to our student-athletes, fans, donors and the Oakland Zoo getting to know Coach Capel and his family and watching this program flourish under his direction.”  

My first reaction was that I hoped he wasn’t hard over on the use of Roman numerals after his name because I ain’t doing it.

My second reaction was that it was a good hire – and I believe better than most Pitt BB fans thought it would be. He comes from a strong coaching line as his father, Jeff Capel II (couldn’t just use Jr?) was a BB HC also. Capel has been a HC at two different schools – Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) and Oklahoma.   His stint at Oklahoma was tinged a bit due to one of his assistant coaches, Oronde Taliferro, took part in financial improprieties with a player and an investment firm.

Continue reading “The Jeff Capel III Show…”

POV’s Bits & Pieces; 3/27/18

POV’s Bits & Pieces; 3/27/18

Yes, I’m the new Rodney Dangerfield… I get no respect.  I do understand that with an opinion/editorial Blog like The Pitt POV, sitting firmly outside the mainstream as we do here, isn’t considered a completely valid ‘media’ outlet   in the world of Pitt football but sometimes things rankle me (of all people Chris Dokish once responded to my disagreeing comment on his article with a “YOU HAVE NO CREDIBILITY!” answer).

I tend to listen to Chris Peak’s podcasts while I’m working out at the gym sometimes – it’s a good way to get a feel what other Pitt writers are thinking about different issues and it sometimes leads me in directions for articles – and last night I heard the below from him when he was discussing the start of Spring Drills and the 2018 offense (to paraphrase):

“No one thought that we’d see the QB problems coming that we had last season… No one thought Pickett would play… Fans were shell-shocked the offense played poorly, etc…”  

Well, that made me sit straight up and drop a bar bell on my foot.

This is what gets me because I know a lot of other media writers read the POV,  but hell guys – I was screaming all of that from the rooftops way before last season started.

I wrote that Max Browne wasn’t going to be a good QB even before the spring drills of last year; I wrote that DiNucci wouldn’t be a starter lunless Browne got hurt and finally, after I watched Pickett practice,  I wrote that he was by far the best QB on the roster.

And I wrote that our offense was going to suck because of the QB situation and putting a poor OL on the field.

So, yeah – someone did think all those things and even wrote about them. Oh well…

In a comment to yesterday’s article a reader wrote this:

Read the PSN write up on Jacob Gamble(OT Ventura CC) visit to Pitt tomorrow. Quite a story around him IMO. With the offer to the Lackawanna College OT today and the visit of Gamble tomorrow it would appear that Pitt is in a little “panic mode” in trying to shore up the OL numbers for next year with a couple of our senior OL graduating this year.

To which I responded yes – there is panic at Pitt about the OL for this season and next year.

What he was referring to is the recent spate of offers to JUCO and CC offensive lineman to step in and play as soon as they get on campus.  I’m not the only guy who thinks Pitt OL is going to be scary this season – Peak in a podcast addressed this same issue – which honestly got me thinking more in-depth about it.  In the podcast #320 linked above Peak begins talking about the OL and states “the OL is what concerns people the most this coming season…“.   That’s absolutly true – his OL bit starts at the 20:15 mark and I suggest you listen to it.

Continue reading “POV’s Bits & Pieces; 3/27/18”

View From the End Zone Podcast: 3/25/18

View From the End Zone Podcast: 3/25/18

My fellow Pitt fans – time to start the Sunday morning podcasts again.  I hope you like this one – I’m a bit all over the place with basketball and football issues, some predictions and some strong opinions…

It’s a longer one at 60+ minutes but so what? It’s a lazy Sunday…

On a side note: I’m going to visit our local Potomac Curling Club this afternoon to see a sport I’ve never watched live. I’ll let you know if it should be a scholarship sport at Pitt or not.

Saturday Morning BB & FB Blahs…

Saturday Morning BB & FB Blahs…

More BB info (I guess) and all this won’t go down well with fans:

The Trib-Review starts today off with this bit about Mark Schmidt:

If Pitt truly is interested in hiring St. Bonaventure men’s basketball coach Mark Schmidt, the Panthers fan base does not approve.

At least if social media is any indication.  Those on Twitter were losing their minds Friday afternoon after word leaked that Schmidt, a former Robert Morris coach, interviewed to replace the fired Kevin Stallings.

Reporters for the New York Times and the Olean (N.Y.) Times Herald reported on Twitter that Schmidt interviewed Thursday. The Buffalo News reported that St. Bonaventure Athletic Director Tim Kenney said a representative for Schmidt informed the school of Pitt’s interest .

My favorite Tweets in all of this.

Apparently we actually did interview Mark Schmidt, HC at St. Bonaventure, to see if he’s dumb enough to work at Pitt (from the Post-Gazette):

St. Bonaventure coach Mark Schmidt, who previously coached at Robert Morris for six seasons, interviewed with Pitt on Thursday, according to a source with knowledge of the situation.

The 55-year-old Schmidt just finished his 11th season with the Bonnies, the most recent of which saw his team go 26-8 and finish in second place in the Atlantic 10 regular-season standings, behind only Dan Hurley’s Rhode Island team. Additionally, their win against UCLA in an NCAA tournament play-in game was the program’s first NCAA tournament victory since 1970.

Sticking with the P-G Paul Zeise thinks we know not what we are:

Pitt coaching searches always seem to turn into a punchline, and this current search for a basketball coach is quickly turning into one. There are many reasons why this has happened in the past, but this time around it’s because Pitt has no idea what it wants the men’s basketball program to be.

This whole process would be a lot easier if everyone in positions of power got on the same page. 

No program can conduct a successful search for a coach until it figures out these questions: Does Pitt want its program to compete at the highest level? Does Pitt want its program to fight for ACC championships and NCAA tournament success? Does Pitt want a program that regularly produces NBA players?

Three questions and no real answers to any of them. I will say this – for the price Pitt is willing to pay, and I don’t believe for a second Pitt offered a higher salary than Narduzzi is getting to anyone, the answers to those questions will end up being “NO”.  If anyone thinks Pitt all of a sudden offered upwards of $3M to a BB coach they are dreaming – that would put a new Pitt BB coaching in the Top 13 of salaries… and that ain’t going to happen when Narduzzi hovers around 60th in his field.

And can we please kill the “Boosters will ante up” when discussing Pitt – there are none who will donate any sum that would make a dent in this coaching search. That happens at real universities that take athletics seriously.

Corky Cost was the last big donor Pitt had and he’s backed away a bit I’ve heard.  The last big slew of donations were for the Peterson Sports Complex and there hasn’t been much since – although the info for donations to Pitt athletics is hard to find.

Continue reading “Saturday Morning BB & FB Blahs…”

More FB Coverage

FOOTBALL MEDIA ROUNDUP: PITT MOVES THROUGH SECOND WEEK OF SPRING DRILLS

Pitt Spring Football Media Coverage Links

March 22
Panther-Lair: Aston returns to role as the Swiss Army knife

March 21
WQAM Sports Radio Miami (audio): Partridge joins South Florida High School Sports Radio
Panther-Lair: Former Pitt players seek to honor Sutherland
Post-Gazette: Bad-luck Browne takes realistic approach to NFL hopes
Post-Gazette: Ryan Shazier scouts for Steelers at Pitt pro day
Panther-Lair: Powell on Aston, the running backs and more
Tribune-Review: Pitt pro day could provide boost for Whitehead
The Pitt News: Pickett proves worth as rising Panthers star
DKPittsburghSports.com: Whitehead, Henderson brush off Combine on Pitt pro day

Continue reading “More FB Coverage”

POV Bits & Pieces; 3/22/18

Rival’s Chris Peak has a piece on Pitt’s  FB history:

Carson Long likes to study history, and when the former Pitt kicker digs into the history of his alma mater, the early 20th century stands out.

In those years, Pitt was a dominant force on the football field, and that dominance was led by Dr. John B. “Jock” Sutherland. The Panthers’ head coach from 1924-38, Sutherland directed the team to a record of 111-20-12 and five recognized national championships.

It’s a period of time that gives Long pride, but in the course of his research, he sought out Sutherland’s grave in Homewood Cemetery, and what he found inspired anything but pride.

“I went out to his gravesite and found it deplorable,” Long said at Pitt’s South Side facility on Tuesday. “So I called my friends and they said, ‘We’ll fix this.’”

This morning’s P-G on Hurley:

The man who was Pitt’s top option in its search for a new men’s basketball coach is going elsewhere.

Dan Hurley, the current coach at Rhode Island who was reportedly offered big money by the Panthers to come here, has decided to instead take the vacant position at Connecticut, the school announced Thursday morning.

Between Pitt’s offer of more than $3 million per year and Connecticut’s status in the American Athletic Conference, it appeared that the Panthers might have a shot to lure the 45-year-old New Jersey native who was atop their list. But in the end, he’s taking a six-year deal from the Huskies, per ESPN, and Pitt athletic director Heather Lyke must look elsewhere.

In the “You have to be shared*thing me” department Brian Batko writes this about Max Browne’s chances in the NFL:

It’s very possible, maybe even highly likely, that a Southern California quarterback will be the first named called next month in the NFL draft.

Max Browne admits that four years ago, he expected that would be him, not 20-year-old pro darling Sam Darnold, his former teammate.

“Yeah, 100 percent,” Browne said with a smile. “When I went to SC, I’ve always been an academically inclined guy, so the mindset was to start for three years and get out, get a shot at the NFL, which is exactly what he’s doing. He’s a great kid, and I couldn’t be happier for him. But yeah, that was definitely the mindset five years ago. It’s funny how things change.”

Can’t get enough Aston news…from the P-G again:

According to Aston, he feels completely healthy after his apparent lower-body injuries. But running backs coach Andre Powell refuted that — or maybe he just knows Aston has more in the tank than he’s shown so far this March.

“I’ll be glad when we get him back 100 percent. … When we get him fully back, I think our offense will pick up a notch,” Powell said. “Practice is a lot different when George is around. It sounds different, it moves quicker, it’s normally more productive when he’s around.”

From the Tribune-Review here are some readings:

Whitehead and Pro-Timing day…with a dig at Combine training.

A hamstring injury kept Jordan Whitehead from doing any events other than the bench press at the NFL Scouting Combine three weeks ago.

He was much more active Wednesday at the annual Pitt pro day, and he hopes NFL talent evaluators took notice.

Pitt coach Pat Narduzzi certainly did.  Asked which of the 11 former Panthers players benefited the most from the workout, Narduzzi singled out Whitehead, the safety from Central Valley who declared for the NFL draft with a year of eligibility remaining.

“He went away to train, and I don’t know what happened there,” Narduzzi said. “I think if he had trained with (Pitt strength coach) Dave Andrews, he probably wouldn’t have gotten hurt. But he had a hammy and went to the combine and didn’t get a chance to do much there.

“He had a 4.5 in the 40, which is important for him to test. That was the guy. … Guys that didn’t go to the combine, those are guys who have stuff to prove.”

Coachspeak is alive and well on the Southside...

Working during spring practice with a position group of proven veterans and intriguing youngsters, Pitt running backs coach Andre Powell likes his options in devising the depth chart.

“I have a good handle on what we’ve got,” Powell said Tuesday from Pitt’s South Side facility after the fifth practice of the Panthers’ spring. “We have got two veteran running backs who can play winning football and can do a lot of things. We’ve got some young guys who we have got to develop, and we’ve got a talented guy coming in.

“So it will all sort out. We will get a good plan this summer in how we get guys ready and what roles we put guys in, and we will go forward and execute the plan in training camp.”

As to the LBs:

MAKING ‘DUZZ’ SAY ‘WHOA’

Asked a more specific question about Pitt’s linebackers group, coach Pat Narduzzi gave an unsolicited and highly positive assessment of the group in general.

“If you had to say, ‘Give me a position where I would say ‘whoa’, our linebacker corps is pretty good,” Narduzzi said.

Narduzzi said he was impressed with the linebackers during Saturday’s intrasquad scrimmage at Heinz Field. He noted veteran returning starters Elijah Zeise and Saleem Brightwell can play each other’s spots and also singled out a couple of redshirt freshmen.

If anyone has an idea for an article send it to me or draft it up and get it to M to polish and post.

HTP !!