This is an overview of the QB roster players we have at this time.  I will follow this with an in-depth look at our new transfer QB Ricky Town in a week or so.  His back story is rather fascinating.


Here are the two-deep listings for the opener against YSU (on left) and then the last game against Miami (on right).

YSU QB.png

Miami QBs.png



As in any year our fans’ eye turn directly to the QB position as a first response when we ask the question “How good will the Panthers be this season?”  For the first time since the 2016 season the other question “Who will be the starter at QB?” has already been answered – it will be SO Kenny Pickett.

That second question really should have been asked at this time last season also, but

So how did I do?

when head coach Pat Narduzzi brought in transfer QB Max Browne from USC it was assumed that he was the player who would take the reins and that is what happened.  The problem with that however was the doubt brought forward toward the end of last year’s fall camp when rsSO Ben DiNucci began to outplay Browne.

Narduzzi wasn’t going to sit down the player he handpicked and trumpeted to be the starter so that is how that played out – until Browne went down with a season ending shoulder injury in the 3rd quarter of the Syracuse game and DiNucci was the next man up. Looking up exactly when Browne went down I ran across this gem from the post-loss coverage:

Pitt didn’t record its first third-down conversion until midway through the fourth quarter and finished 3 of 13.

“When you come in at halftime and see the opposing team has not converted a third down, that’s absolutely amazing,” Babers said.

Suffice to say neither of Pitt’s two ‘best’ QBs distinguished themselves out on the field.

Browne had one decent game against the Rice Owls, who finished 1-11 and had one of the worst pass defenses in D1 football (although not as bad as our 105th ranked pass defense which is hard to type). Other than that singular game Browne threw exactly one TD pass in regulation for the rest of his season.  DiNucci didn’t fare much better either as he ended up with only 1,091 yards on 88 of 158 passing with 5 TDs and 5 INTs.  His QB efficiency rating was a dismal 117.9.

Overall our total passing game was poor and ranked 73rd because of this:  224 of 362 for 2,612 yards with 12 TDs and 8 INTs for an efficiency rating of only 129.01 and that is with those four TDs passes against Rice in that one game.  Subtract that game and we were 196 of 330 (59%) for 2,202 yards, 8 TDs and 8 INts for a rating of only 118.8.

Here are the total passing stats for the Panthers in ’17:

2018 QBs

Why am I twisting this sharp stick into your eye?  Well, for two reasons – first to show just how truly bad our passing game was last season and two… to infer that it almost has to get better.

And get better it will because we now have a kid behind Center who not only looks the part, but has the tools for the part and has succeeded in the part and most importantly he feels he is the best possible Pitt player for the part. That would be the returning late season starter Kenny Pickett.

He exudes confidence without the accompanying arrogance that screw over so many young and gifted athletes. And confidence in the position was something we saw absolutely none of in 2017 from the other two QBs who had playing time.  That alone puts a smile on my face thinking about 2018.

I have written rather extensively about what I feel Pickett can do at Pitt since I was able to watch an extended spring practice in April of last year, thanks to E. J. Borghetti’s gracious help because I drive so far to get there for media visits.  Instead of the normal 15-20 minute window in the beginning of the practice Narduzzi usually allows the media I was able to stay on the sidelines for a full 60 minutes and watch the kids go through their paces.

Because of the hype surrounding Browne (from everywhere but The POV mind you) I concentrated on watching the QBs as they went through warm ups, then their different pass pattern drills; watched a nice long 7 on 7 scrimmage then the full 11 on 11 situations drills.  As much as I wanted to watch Browne to see what we had with him I kept getting drawn to QB wearing #8 out there.

I didn’t know much about Pickett when I drove up that morning – mostly factual info from the recruiting websites and some media pieces.  But that afternoon I left the Southside and once home quickly wrote and posted an article really praising what I had seen him do out there – it was head and shoulders above any of the other kids we had in that position.

It was obvious then he would become the starter sooner rather than later.  If you followed the QB situation closely last season you’ll remember there was some controversy regarding Pickett’s redshirt being burned for a single play when DiNucci’s helmet came off and he had to leave the field for one snap… but that didn’t bother me too much because I knew we’d see more of him before the season ended anyway – especially once Browne went out for the season.

Fast forward to our next to last game played against Virginia Tech at their place and we watched the passing of the torch from DiNucci to Pickett writ large.  DiNucci started that game and did pretty well at first throwing a 12 yard TD pass to Araujo-Lopes in the 1st quarter to tie the score at 7-7.  But on the next series DiNucci threw an INT on our own 27 yard line that led to a VT score and that was all she wrote for his season.

One thing Narduzzi is deathly afraid of in INTs and turnovers. That will get a kid benched ASAP.

Pickett came in and then went 15 of 23 for 242 yards at a very good yards per completion rate of 16.1 and that was that – he played out that game, almost winning it, then started against Miami and pretty much single-handedly played us to that big upset of the second ranked team in the country while knocking them out of the playoffs.

Pickett’s stat line at the end of the season didn’t really show the basic importance of his presence in our offensive backfield. Not that they are bad numbers but they aren’t something we want to see replicated by him as a bona fide starter this year: 39 of 66 (59%) for 509 yards with 1 TD to 1 INT with a QB rating of 125.9… and that passing TD was only a shovel pass to boot.

His yards per completion at 13.0 and yards per attempt at 7.7 were just average as far as Pitt QBs go.  The best yards per attempt averages recently were Peterman with 9.3 in 2016 and Sunseri with 8.4 in 2012.  Voytik’s was 7.8 ypc and Savage’s 7.6.  For us to have a good offense this season Pickett is going to have to get that up into the 8.0+ range.

But Pickett’s running skills as a dual-threat QB really won us that game against Miami and this is where his 360° skill set really shines – he ran the ball 26 times for 96 yards at a 3.58 ypc clip – but scored two rushing TDs also.

On the season he was sacked four times for (-) 14 yards so when you factor that in when he actually ran forward with the ball he did so at a good 5.0 ypc average. We’ll see a lot more of that this season.

And that sets the stage for 2018.  So we’ll have Pickett as the starter – who else will factor in?


As we go into spring drills we have three viable QB candidates; Pickett, Town and another transfer CC transfer JR QB Jake Zilinskas from DIII John Carroll (not to be confused with walk-on QB Tyler Zelinski.)

Let’s limit our discussions to both Pickett and Town because if we go past them on the depth chart we are royally screwed anyway.  Pickett will start and Town will back him up.  One thing to make clear with my praise of Pickett – I think he’ll be a good QB for us – however he may reach real star class fruition in 2019 or ’20.

Let’s put things in perspective with him.  First off he’s thrown a grand total of one TD (shovel) pass in 66 attempts for a poor .015 ratio (or 1.5 per 100 attempts). To put that in a different point of view Voytik’s ’14 season he threw 5.5 TDs per 100 attempts; Savage had 8.8 per and Sunseri threw for 8.2 per in his 2012 season.

Of course that will change pretty dramatically with his being the starter but remember that we haven’t seen him do much on that front yet.  Regardless, I think we know he’s going to do more than pull his own weight in the position.  But again, don’t get expectation sky-high for this youngster as true stardom might be just out of his reach as a SO.  But he’s sure opened some eyes in his short stay at Pitt so far.

Here is a bit from a guy who knows QB play – ex-Pitt HC Walt Harris:

“The thing that really excited me about him is his poise and his toughness,” Harris said in a telephone interview on Tuesday. “I think it’s always great when your quarterback displays a tremendous amount of toughness. Football is a tough game and when your quarterback demonstrates it, I think it really motivates the rest of the team.”

Harris attended some of Pitt’s practices in the spring and said he saw a different player against Miami than he had a few months previous.

“He showed a lot of natural football playing ability,” Harris said. “I think with the lack of reps, starting off with Max Browne being new and getting most of the reps … as well as Ben DiNucci, it took him a while to get comfortable in the offense so that he could play up to his football playing ability. It just kind of all worked out in a crazy way.”

That begs the question of what happens if Pickett falters or gets seriously injured to the point he can’t play?  Well then, we turn to the absolutely and completely untested Ricky Town to be the next man up.  As I wrote above I’ll have a longer and more detailed look at Town’s high school and college experiences in a later piece but in a nutshell he has done this:

Nothing…or at least close to it.

I don’t mean to sound overly harsh, but here is a QB who was very highly ranked coming out of HS and who previously committed to three different major D1 Power Five programs – Alabama, USC, Arkansas (and now Pitt) and didn’t play a single snap.  Hence his diving down a level or three to commit to Ventura, CA Community College where he started some games, played OK ball, then was benched for a better and much more successful QB.

Yes, my friends we have an all-important second string QB who was benched in his community college play.  Not to make you nervous or anything…

Does that sound a bit familiar Pitt fans?  But without the Community College stop?  Yes, our QB bust of 2017 Max Brown had much the same background as Town has – great SoCal HS player; ranked #1 overall recruit by some sites and then… nada.

I do not like them, Sam-I-am.  I Do not like Green Eggs and shams.

But Town is the best back-up we have on roster due to, in my opinion, poor QB recruiting and subsequent handling by our HC – save his one keeper recruit in Kenny Pickett.  I know Pitt fans were frustrated with Ben DiNucci last year – but I’ll take a kid who has already been through atrial by fire in D1 play over a benched CC kid any day.  DiNucci threw 167 passes, completed 91 for 6 TDs and 7 INTs in his career – that is valuable experience we really could use for a worst-case scenario this season.

But he was gone as soon as Narduzzi started talking with Town about transferring to Pitt and promising him the QB2 spot (more on that in the later Town article also) so that bridge was burnt.  And we are left with a starting QB with tons of promise but limited action and then back up players who are completely untested at this level of play and I mean to the point that we have exactly one (1) QB on roster who has thrown a D1 pass… not a TD pass mind you but any D1 pass.

Pickett will be a good, solid QB for us, I believe that – my real question is how many leg shackles are the Pitt staff going to wrap around him to keep him from making himself an open field running target out there… and they may do just that for fear of injury and having to rely on what we have, or more succinctly, don’t have behind him as QBs.

He’s a great dual threat QB so do you roll the dice and let him go all-out and play the way we have seen him play so far in making things happen with his scrambling and rushing ability or do you turn him into a more protected pocket passer hoping to keep him upright through the entire season?  With the level of talent we think he has then you let him play his game and keep fingers crossed, but mark my words – if Pickett goes down then so does the 2018 season.

Of course saying he would be a “more protected pocket passer” may be a reach because I have little faith that our OL is going to be able to keep our opponent’s defensive players out of our offensive backfield on any regular basis.  The OL is my biggest area of worry in ’18 by far.

Hell, let’s really speculate at this point before spring drills; here is what I think we’ll see out of Pickett’s arm this year: 2300+ yards with a 60+% completion rate and 18 TDs with 9 INTs.

What do you think his stats will show when the dust settles?

NOTE: Do not, under any circumstances, use the phrase “Pickett’s Charge” when talking about our QB’s play – that was one of the worst military blunders in history.  Pitt fans will have to come up with something else catchy to describe his work on the field of play.

136 thoughts on “POV’s Take: Pre-Spring Drills – Quarterbacks

  1. Browne had one decent game against the Rice Owls, who finished 1-11 and had one of the worst pass defenses in D1 football (although not as bad as our 105th ranked pass defense which is hard to type)

    Considering how bad Browne was, doesn’t this exemplify how quality of opponents matter?

    And I wouldn’t call Browne’s game “decent” … 28-32 for 410 yards and 4 TDs.


  2. Otherwise, a very fair assessment of the QB situation. I expect Pickett will be good this year but certainly not fantastic … in part due to the OL.

    For some reason, Pitt has had a series of QB unrest for the past 20 seasons ..

    Walt used 2 transfers for starters; and then Gesky left
    and Flacco left, and natural FR Bostick had to start under Wanny
    Savage was a transfer which was the only starter PC ever brought in
    and while Narduzzi brought in Nate P and Pickett, the QB position remains a dumpster fire

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Pickett definitely passes the eye test in comparison to all recent QB’s at Pitt, even Savage and Peterman.
    He looks quicker and has a faster release. Hopefully this continues to transfer to wins like Miami. He also runs better than all the others since Voytik.

    QB is just a symptom of our recruiting issues.Since we get very few four and five star guys overall, and QB is the most coveted position, stands to reason why we have been weak.Although 3 star QB’s can succeed, it is like finding a needle in a haystack. You need to get lucky. Hopefully we have with Pickett.

    Also, we have been very lucky with our QB’s staying on the field. Not many have missed many games due to injury. Hopefully Pickett is as tough as Sunseri.


  4. The QB position is getting healthy with Pickett being our next three-year starter since Palko. It will be nice having a kid like Patti who can redshirt. It will be scary every time Pickett runs with the ball because if he gets injured we’re screwed. Can’t wait for the opinions of the other QBs during spring ball.


  5. DiNucci was gone the moment Pitt won the Miami game and Pickett was clearly the future of Pitt football. His transfer to James Madison had nothing to do with Ricky Town and everything to do with not having a prayer of beating out Kenny for the starting job in 2018.


  6. Purely a guess based only on reading body language, but an unhappy DiNucci would not have been an asset in the QB room or on the practice field, or on the bench during games.

    With DiNucci gone we will likely suffer if Pickett gets injured; with DiNucci gone we will be way better off if Pickett stays healthy, IMHO.

    Go Pitt.


    1. Look, it is the devil you know vs one you don’t.

      Of course Town could surprise and I hope he does, but it is scary as hell knowing that all our back-up QBs are complete D1 virgins.

      I’d prefer to have someone who has actually done something with some measure of success, however slight, at this level than not.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. OC Watson needs to get La Pickett good, productive reps vs Albany by running a variety of the playbook and let Kenny run up the score.

        Once KP succeeds at that, OC Watson must insert La Town to get him some meaningful D1 reps to show what he can do.

        Pickett coming out early will also keep him fresh, healthy and somewhat mysterious for psux.



  7. Narduzzi is starting his fourth year as head coach for PITT . His starting QB’s for the offense have been Peterman, Peterman, Browne and now Pickett. Dinucci and Macvitte both abandoned ship on him. He now has brought in a former high school star as a planned backup Town). All his recruits. I can’t see where he has not been effective at all in recruiting the QB position. Having the turnover at the OC coaching couldn’t have helped much though.


    1. Agree. aside from last year Narduzzi has had good starting qbs. Sure browne was a bust but it was worth the scholarship to have him come to pitt after peterman graduated.


    2. Again, recruiting is getting Has players, not transfers.

      He missed badly on both DiNucci and MacVitte and constantly bringing in transfers has kept blue Chip kids from commiting to Pitt


      1. Recruiting is getting the best players regardless of whether they are high school kids or transfers. QB transfers are just part of life now in college football. And when u cant pay ur OCs like Georgia and lsu u will have turnover and a tough time recruiting qbs.


      2. IIRC, DiNucci wasn’t expected to be much of anything. He was a roster filler and clipboard holder.
        To say he missed on him is a bit much. Now MacVittie was a miss.


  8. QB is different from any other position. It is the most important position yet only one guy gets on the field at a time. So the dynamics of recruiting good QBs, keeping them, and having a good back up are tougher to navigate. Everyone agrees that KP is the man now and in the future. So how do you recruit someone who is a top flight QB and keep him on the roster? QB is basically a throwaway recruiting position where a team needs 4-5 QBs knowing that transfers will occur and most of them will never end up on the field.


  9. QBs definitely important but half of the plays are OL/RBs. A good running game is essential. Spring practice should bring out how good that might be.


    1. Watching Patti’s Hudl video he looks good to me. The kid can pass short, intermediate, down field and run when he has to. There was a NJ article about him where he stated he wanted to incorporate Aaron Rodgers and other great QBs traits.


  10. A fair and accurate assessment Reed. Sobering too.

    Hire a defensive coordinator as a HC and you get a guy that is afraid of offensive mistakes. And a strong belief that defense wins games. Was the same with Wanny.

    BTW, I think it was actually Chaney who got Peterman to Pitt, having coached him at Tennessee.

    Let’s say Pickett has a big year this season (and I think that’s possible if he stays healthy). Gonna be hard to land exciting QB recruits for the 2019 class if so. Perhaps in 2020 when Pickett might possibly be ready to go play on Sunday. With that, I eagerly await the scoop on Town, if only based on Reed’s comments that it will be interesting.

    Pickett i has been working with an outside QB coach during the winter. Ffrench at the other end of a lot of those passes from what I can see on a Twitter. Can’t wait to see how them April 14.


  11. Hopefully OC Watson will incorporate the tight end more in his offensive schemes. The TE is an inexperienced qb’s most valuable target and a key to early success.


  12. Pickett will declare for the NFL draft after his Junior year at Pitt. That’s how good I think he will be this season and next season. The only question will be if he will be able to stay healthy over the next two seasons.


  13. Hey, I know I may be in the minority on this, but from what I observed with DiNucci, he was not a D1 QB (or at least not high major D1 caliber), this is no knock on him personally, he seemed like a tough competitor and a very good athlete. But if your #2 is not D1 caliber (just my assessment, but its not changing), then ‘rolling the dice’ with an unknown (Town) is frankly not a big risk to me. If Town stinks and we cannot win a game with him as a backup against a decent team over a span of 5 games, for example, then winning one of those games just because we kept DiNucci is not all that entralling to me. I wish Ben well on his next venture, but I felt like he’d be a solid #3 here ultimately, and that’s not something I’ll lose any sleep over.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I agree 1618. If Pickett goes down I’ll take my chances with Town sight unseen over Ben D.


  14. Outstanding QB play is the missing ingredient that Pitt deals with most seasons. Pickett can be a quality QB and with continued development on the OL, WR positions, the second half of the season if healthy will be something to watch. The maturation of the D and the added OT’s will certainly help.


  15. Pickett’s meh passing percentage especially in the Miami game was primarily direct result of his passing being somewhat inaccurate. His passing in the Miami game was actually unsatisfactory in my opinion. This is not to say I am not on the Pickett bandwagon because I sure am. Just calling it the way I saw it and reminding everyone that he has had only one career start.

    I watched Reed’s N Patti video and that kid is impressive.


    1. The kid was thrown into the fire against a top 5 team so it would only be natural for him to be a little nervous with his passing. Besides how much game-time passing did he have before that game…not much if any besides practice.


    2. 6&34, Patti was a good soccer player. He did not play football until his freshman year in high school. I hope he is a winner as QB. In soccer he was on same level as my grandson (which was high level). We have had a few good QB’s out of North Jersey.


  16. Sorry, no ill intent here but I just can’t see why when the head coach brings in a QB of NP’s caliber or any other player, he’s not considered a recruit? << Especially when the player has to sit out a year. I can half see a grad transfer but a jc or cc transfer? Many kids attend these colleges with every intention of going to a specific school in a year or two.. BTW. OJ was a jc transfer.


  17. I don’t think keeping Dinucci would accomplish anything. At best he was a barely marginal D1 QB who maybe would have been able to keep some games close, but a close loss and a blowout are losses either way. The question none of us can answer is what would his attitude be in the locker room watching KP especially if KP begins to struggle, sorry Reed as much as I love your analysis I don’t think you can predict what a 20-year olds attitude will be,

    Town will hopefully be able to keep Patti on the red-shirt path which is crucial if you think he has the tools to follow KP and keep Pitt relevant. I will agree in advance with what I think you have hinted will be a negative view of Town since I have no reason to be hopeful at this point.

    The transfers were a necessary evil, the real test is how HCPN recruits going forward after, what is hopefully a relatively successful and healthy year for KP. The MacVittie failed experiment was the real disappointment, not Dinucci.

    If the OL is as porous as it projects to be, doesn’t matter who the QB is, Pitt is facing a difficult year, and that is directly on HCPN.

    Liked by 1 person

  18. Ike your right about OJ and there have also been a couple more Heisman winners that attended a junior college one big one that I’ve known for a while Roger Staubach he went to small school in Roswell NM the New Mexico Military Institute before going to Navy like him are not he is hell of a man and was a pretty good quarterback. I think what Reed is trying to say RT may turn out to be great or at least functional as a qb but his track record just isn’t there. I’m hoping the other N.J. rocket is up to the task if we need him . Tim


  19. I agree with 1618mt’s comments @ 1:07 also. If our backup QB situation has gotten worse it’s probably like going from a C to a C- But it just as easily could go to a C+ also.


  20. I put together a short defensive line article for Reed in case someone else was thinking about doing one. If you already did, then we will use yours 😉

    Waiting to hear back from him..

    Liked by 1 person

  21. Riddle me this:

    The private lessons seen on YouTube involving Pickett and last year, DiNucci, who pays for those?

    They don’t appear to be at our complex. Moreover, to receive free services is, I believe, a violation. So, who springs for these?


  22. Another reason that scheduling is critical. An easy…er out of conference schedule helps let your OL gel and does not necessarily subject your qb to a butt beating. If he gets one, perhaps a heavy dose of asspirin will help.

    Look, if the new qb Patti is as good as some say, hopefully he can get ready and be the backup this year and then redshirt next year. I like that approach as it gives the freshman an idea of the speed of a game played at 100% versus practices at 75%. Yeah, it’s a backwards approach, so what did you expect.

    Have not seen or heard of Town. Maybe he is the guy and can provide immediate backup and potential starter, but can’t comment on that for a couple of months…or at least after spring practices.

    Liked by 1 person

  23. I know we talking FB QB but ACC has 9 BB teams in NCAA so we make more money the more games they win. Money talks.


  24. Just saw brackets and how it might affect our coaching search. Hurley being in town is interesting, but you might have to wait tillOllie has his appeal hearing. Still think he wants UConn. Matta will go to UGA if healthy.
    If you want to watch an interesting game that has a coach, watch CoC vs. Auburn. Decent guy vs Bruce Pearl. Herron is Auburn’s leading scorer, what might have been. Auburn is a high scoring, guard oriented team. CoC has two very good guards, a decent big man, and will defend. Auburn should roll early, CoC making game. Watch, don’t be surprised, but do not bet, and see your next coach!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Auburn has been on a late season swoon, losing 4 of their last 6 games, including a one and done clubbing by Alabama in the SEC tourney. Could see CoC winning that.


  25. La Pickett’s dual threat running ability should also help out our overall running game.

    The anemic running game last year, had many moving parts, but one certainly was the almost no
    threat from the QB position of running the ball. And it was NO Threat when Mini Max was behind center,

    And Pitt’s dearth at the QB position, is also a result of the poor recruiting at that position by Cheesehead Paulie. Which led Nard Dog to bring in 2 transfers. One worked out quite well thru the Chubbs hire and the other one didn’t.

    The ONLY QB, Paulie recruited I believe was Travon (something) who has shown he wasn’t even a D1 Qb.


    1. Travon Chapman. Sadly, Chapman was a Rivals 4 star. He was dismissed by Chryst.

      Alex Hornibrook had committed to Chryst at Pitt but then followed him to Wisconsin.

      Adam Bertke transferred out.

      I believe that’s it for the scholarship QBs from Chryst.


      1. Chapman denied enrollment into Pitt for what he did to his girlfriend. Amazingly, Chryst wanted him admitted despite what he did. Chryst isn’t the saint some think he is.

        Liked by 1 person

  26. You saw 2 yrs ago how hard McSorley got whacked behind a subpar Oline. Kid was tough as nails, and he had ?Barkley to take some heat off, and he still almost got killed. I hope our Oline is better than that or Pickett is as tough, or we will be looking at option b quicker than we want. If that happens things will get interesting real quick!


    1. That’s not a good scenario, as it would probably also lead to Patti not being able to Redshirt. Nick Patti btw is rated slightly higher than La Pickett was coming out of HS.


      1. I have no issue with Patti playing as a true freshman if Picket goes down. Patti can always take his own redshirt as a sophomore. Not a big deal of when he takes the redshirt since picket has at least two years left.


  27. Mark Fox (UGA) was fired Saturday, ending the coach’s nine-year stay.

    Possible candidates to replace him include former Ohio State coach Thad Matta and former Indiana and Marquette coach Tom Crean. A source close to the discussions told ESPN’s Jeff Goodman that Matta is scheduled to meet with Georgia officials Monday.

    Heather is probably gonna schedule a meeting with the fired Fox 😦

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Ohio State would pay the difference between what we pay him and what OSU owes him. The problem is that Matta wouldn’t take the job unless he trusts that Lyke won’t report everything back to OSU AD. If she owes OSU AD, she should make Matta an offer which means his payout by OSU decreases whether he accepts the job or not.

        What a predicament for Matta. I think he goes to Georgia. Warm weather will help his back.


  28. Unless Buffalo (as a #13 seed) pulls off a huge upset of Sean and then Pitt hires the cheaper hire of the Buffalo coach. (who’s name escapes me) (he would be like a Ben Howland type hire)


  29. The victory cemented the Bulls’ MAC daddy status as Buffalo is going to the Big Dance for the fourth time in five years. It is the second NCAA tournament for Bulls’ third-year head coach Nate Oats, who replaced Bobby Hurley after Hurley left for Arizona State. Oats has kept the winning going at Buffalo with his deft recruiting and a fun, up-tempo style. The high-octane Bulls feature four double-figure scorers, led by first-team All-MAC performers C.J. Massinburg and Nick Perkins


    1. Oh ok…I see that now. But they could still afford to maybe but that out ?

      But evidently, UB’s administration knew they had to make a strong play for their rising men’s basketball coach. So on Thursday, shortly after Oats led the Bulls into the MAC semifinals and within two wins of another NCAA bid, the university got his signature on a lucrative five-year contract extension.

      A UB source confirmed that the extension is in the range of $550,000-$600,000 per season, which puts him near the top of the MAC men’s salary structure.


    2. To beef up his buyout for anyone that comes calling to hire him away.

      Also in case you guys did not know, Matta’s Brither is a H.S. coach in Georgia.


      1. A-oh….didn’t know that. Plus Georgia if they want him, can certainly pay more since the SEC’s take home loot is more than the ACC’s. Plus Georgia takes sports much more seriously than Pitt.


        1. That all just adds to the gloom.

          Pitt is competing right now for a new HC with UGA, Ole Miss, UConn, Colorado State and possibly Memphis, if Tubby Smith is let go.

          So, Crean & Matta are possible hires for any of the above mentioned. Hurley & Earl Grant will probably move up after their teams get bumped from the tournament. Hurley to UConn and Grant to Memphis, if Matta lands at UGA and Crean at Ole Miss.

          At that point Pitt is competing with RI and CoC for coaching talent. The Vermont coach slides to RI and CoC hires the UVA assistant. The vicious cycle will continue to spin out of HL’s control and Pitt will settle for a complete unknown.

          Better than Stallings? You bet…


          1. I’m glad Crean is still out there…he will fill a vacancy so we have more viable candidates. We’ll still take a bum though….


  30. Not to sound glum, but why do I think Heather’s choice will leave us shaking our heads?
    Hope I’m wrong.


    1. As long as I don’t out my fist through my computer screen it will be an improvement. I’m checking Amazon for new screens now though….


  31. Pitt gave Buffalo a home & home in football the other year…which gave them some much needed loot.

    Maybe we can call in that card…….now !


  32. If I lived in Pittsburgh I certainly would see the NCAA games this week. I went in 1976 to Final Four in Philly where Rut and IN were both undefeated. IN won with Bobby Knight. Great event.


  33. Another guy who is in Pitt’s pay grade (apparent) requirements is Mark Schmidt of St. Bonaventure.

    Mark Schmidt is a very good basketball coach and St. Bonaventure is lucky to have him. He led the Bonnies from the depths of the post scandal years, guided them to an Atlantic 10 title, and had them on the doorstep of an NCAA tournament berth this season – **all while working within the limitations of the smallest budget in the conference **

    The Bonnies play UCLA in a First 4 game in Dayton.


  34. Check this out.

    Schmidt has a pair of local ties in that he spent six years as the coach at Robert Morris and his wife, Anita, is from Mars, Pa.


  35. Here is another who fits, with the added bonus of covering the recruiting territory of the ACC –

    Joe Dooley, HC at FL Gulf Coast is a 1988 graduate of George Washington University in Washington, D.C., where he completed his bachelor’s degree in speech communications. A four-year letter winner in basketball at George Washington, he started his last two seasons and was elected a team captain as a senior. A native of West Orange, New Jersey, Dooley was a prep player at St. Benedicts High School in New Jersey where he scored 1,140 career points.


    1. Dooley just turned 52 yrs old. He had a previous stint as HC at East Carolina from 1995 to 1999(57-52). Didn’t merit another HC gig until 2013.

      Dunno if he could recruit at a clean place like Pitt. Plus he’s kinda dorking looking. lol


  36. Who’s hosting the NCAA games scheduled for Pittsburgh, next week ?

    Pitt or Duquesne or RM ?

    Sux that Villanova is playing in our home turf.


  37. As for the BB coach, wipe the egg off your pretty little face and buyout KS for the amount agreed by who should be the most hated man in Pitt history . . . . . Scott “front porch my ass” Barnes.

    Then hire a young, aggressive head coach from a lesser conference, and give him the time to re-make this team. Its probably a 5-year plan, unfortunately, but Barnes made the bed that Heather won’t Lyke, but has not choice, but to lie in it.

    Liked by 1 person

  38. This guy is available and probably at a cheap price. Has NYC connections too having played at Power Memorial with Lew Alcindor (Kareem).

    In 2015, Danny Nee joined the staff at Gateway High School in Monroeville, Pennsylvania as an assistant coach.[5] The same year, he also became head coach of the Basketball Stars of America AAU club.[13]

    Has been HC at both Duquesne & Robert Morris.

    Needs Pitt for the trifecta !


    1. You are on the right track. Pitt is not shelling out more than they paid KS. It may be less. The media talking about Matta are clueless.

      There will not be a major shift in the way Pitt views athletics.


  39. KP personal QB Coach.—Keep in mind folks that this coach is from New Jersey. Also as far as I can tell he has spent a great deal of time in Pittsburgh over this past winter coaching Pickett. So whoever is paying for his services must be running up quite a bill. Maybe Reed’s sources at Pitt can give us some additional color on this situation. It’s very interesting to say the least and not one you see very often reported on.


  40. Georgia vs Pitt

    — without knowing UGa’s roster, I’m betting that they have a better team returning next year

    — the SEC is easier than the ACC

    — they can easily match anything Pitt is willing to pay


    1. Seeing jobs like Georgia looking more appealing than pitt is discouraging. I have a bad feeling we will be disappointed with this hire.


      1. I am really curious of where pitt ranks as a division 1 bb coaching job. Would love to see an anonymous survey of coaches.


  41. Now this could be just a spring practice experiment but interesting nonetheless

    Chris Peak@PantherLair

    Interesting moves in #Pitt’s secondary, as Paris Ford will be at cornerback and Therran Coleman will be at field safety.


  42. from PSN: Pitt football season officially starts today with the first spring practice. The football program released a spring prospectus and it had some players listed at different positions. The headline is that Paris Ford is now listed as a cornerback. Alan Saunders is at practice and will have more on this later today. Also, Therran Coleman is listed at safety while Carson Van Lynn has moved to offensive tackle.


  43. I like the moves. I always thought that Whitehead and Hamlin would have ended up playing corner as well.

    Whitehead was a better run defender than pass defender. We always heard that Hamlin had amazing hips, but has been slowed by injury. It just stands to reason if Ford is that much of an athlete and he is still rather light, that he would play corner.


  44. So, can Pitt find its Jay Wright or Tony Bennett? Two guys that have put together the kind of program we would like.

    By the way, is there another school that would let two legendary coaches go? Both Wanny and Jamie would have been coaches for life at most schools. I can’t think of any parallels where other schools let go of these kind of guys. We have paid a steep price in both instances.


  45. wwb was the first to bring you: (as tweeted by Brian Batko @PG)

    Pitt’s first first unit on defense:

    DEs: James Folston, Dewayne Hendrix
    DTs: Amir Watts, Shane Roy
    LBs: Elijah Zeise, Saleem Brightwell, Oluwaseun Idowu
    DBs: Jason Pinnock, Damar Hamlin, Phil Campbell, Dane Jackson

    It’s just one brief viewing window at the first spring practice, but Pitt’s first-team O was such:

    Kenny Pickett, Darrin Hall, RaRa Lopes (slot), Maurice Ffrench, Aaron Mathews, Chris Clark, Jerry Drake, Bryce Hargrove, Jimmy Morrissey, Mike Herndon, Alex Bookser (left to right)


    1. note that the KSU transfer is not available. But, of course, this way too early to make any judgments … however, surprised to see Brightwell at MLB


  46. Though it will depend on the OL performance, I expect improvement from Watson as OC. I think we will see a slightly different offense this year. Well, not until Penn State.

    So they promoted Charlie Partridge….Mr Florida better have some results recruiting in Florida. Isn’t that his claim to fame? How about a 4 star from Florida to earn that extra money.

    Career assistant for an DC. UGH The only good I see is that he should be able to scheme against a spread offense since he faced one in practice every year at NW. I doubt they beat PSU recently, but did they get killed?

    Borebely and Watson need to rekindle the success they had at Louisville.

    Collins – another guy with experience against spread teams. Is there a MAC team that doesn’t throw the ball all over the place?


  47. more from Batko: On the injury front, George Aston and Tre Tipton were good to go (in shorts, of course). Spring enrollee Shocky Jacques-Louis worked with the returners early on, as did Paris Ford.


  48. ….they have P. Ford listed as 195 lbs……….they also have him listed at 6′. So, when you guys are at the spring game give him the eye test and report back that he’s lucky to be 5’10” and 180, which seems much more accurate.


  49. Pitt’s problem…the people at the top, Gallagher, BOT, big donors all expect to win and act like Pitt has top notch athletics but they aren’t willing to spend the money to do it.

    If big donors actually pressured Pitt to try and get some buyout money back, then they should be pressuring the administration to spend more money for a new coach.

    Who actually runs the show? It isn’t Lyke.

    Let’s go fire the coach! Here is your crappy budget to replace them. Oh…and take the heat when we try to take back KS buyout money.

    It will all play out again with the next basketball coach. If the basketball program is back to middle of the pack ACC in four years I will be shocked. They keep digging a deeper hole.


  50. I’m told from a source that Pitt has moved away from Matta due to the health reasons. They are worried about his ability to sustain a program over a number of years with his health problems.

    Liked by 1 person

  51. That said, I am not pleased with the prospect of waiting another 4-5 years before the BB program becomes successful again. Us old timers have waited long enough for football to come back, and if you look at the progress Narduzzi has made it has been a long slog just to get to mediocrity. I’m not saying Pitt should give up on PN by any means, but realistically, getting to sustained success in football will probably take a few more years. Do we POVers have the stomach for a similar path for basketball?


  52. VOR – I think the fan support will be there if we make the right hire and show progress accordingly. Expectations are different in bb simply because a good coach CAN turn things around quickly due to the small number of players on a roster and how quickly recruiting and coaching can impact a program. The lack of support for Stallings is on the Administration for botching the hire and on Stallings himself, not on the fans (I’m sure you’d agree). So yes, I think there’s sufficient stomach, relatively speaking.


  53. Interesting move or trial with Paris Ford. I think corner gives him a chance to play right away versus safety because of how critical the “reads” are at safety.

    I like this thinking with Ford…even though it means I blew it on the DB article 😦

    Go Pitt


  54. 1816mt, I think you are right that basketball can turn around more rapidly with the right coach. But knowing Pitt all these years, they will take a chance on finding another Ben Howland or an assistant coach without a track record of turnarounds, and we will be waiting until the next millennium for a winning program. Don’t mean to sound negative, but after all these years I know Pitt and a leopard can’t change his spots as they say..


  55. of course, it’s a double-edged sword

    Brian Batko@BrianBatko
    New Pitt DBs coach Archie Collins said Paris Ford had two or three interceptions today. Not a bad start to spring ball.


    1. Ford should have been on the field last year. Narduzzi did not play many of his most talented players for most part last season.


  56. +1 HC gc and Reed…A lot of the struggles our BB and FB programs have suffered through over the last 30+ years result from a lack of commitment to, and even flat out mismanagement of, those programs by the powers that be at dear ol Pitt.


  57. Like I have said before re. top adm dedication to Top 20 football at Pitt. It is not there and has not been in 100 years, Check out the history. How many football programs can say they forced out Pop Warner and Jock Southerland in the middle of unparalleled success not to mention some of the other better coaches they let escape like Sherrill and Majors! Good feedback on “18” teamshape up thanks to all who contribute info and computer skills and tops to Reed for keeping this site alive and well!


  58. I’m sure someone has called him Wicked Pickett, but I’ve been off the grid for a while…

    Maybe they can play Mustang Sally instead of Sweet Caroline….


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