Spring Game Tailgate
Let’s do a roll call to see who will be attending the Pitt Spring Game on Saturday, April 14th… I’ll make the drive up and Fran will, I understand, do his great and wondrous tailgate again.
I’ll pin this when the date gets closer but for advance purposes please give us a quick answer and ID yourself if you would in the “Other” choice comments.
POV Golf Outing
Here is some preliminary info: I discussed this with Erie Express (Rick) last week and there is going to be another POV Golf Outing. However we are not going to hold it in conjunction with the Spring Game this year – we decided we lucked out on the weather last year (and it was perfect for golf) and we don’t want to chance it again.
So we are thinking late May or early June for 2018’s version. With this I am going to call E.J. Borghetti and see if we can’t get a guided tour of Pitt’s Southside Football and Weight Room Facilities in the afternoon of Golf Day. I can’t promise this will happen – but if I let Pitt know there will be donors in our group it may smooth the path.
We’ll see on that but I think we can make it happen as long as it is organized.
We have not hashed out the details of the Golf Outing as yet so here is another poll asking about your interest in doing this again. Last year we had 24 golfers and it was a truly wonderful day of fun and fellowship.
So – let us know for planning purposes. If you think you may do it then comment your thoughts in the “Other” box provided.
Spring Drills so Far
Here are some links to wet your Pitt football whistle:
From Zeise of the P-G:
The Panthers really have no other legitimate options — at least experienced ones. Max Browne graduated, and Ben DiNucci transferred, so if Pickett isn’t the real deal, the Panthers could be in for another long season saddled with quarterback woes.
That seems to be a lot of pressure to put on a sophomore, but Pickett has the right demeanor to handle it all. He is confident in his abilities. Coaches seem to be extremely confident in him, and he showed last season some glimpses of just how good he can be.
BTW – I agree 100% with him about the “no other legitimate options” – we are in dire straits if Pickett falters or goes down with an injury.
Brian Batko (who’s becoming a good Pitt beat writer) has this about Pickett also:
“He really grew — fast,” Watson said of Pickett’s ascent from third-stringer to season-finale starter. “It goes back to when I first knew him, just as a guy who football comes easy. He loves it, he loves to study it, he wants to be a really good player, and that’s where it really begins. He‘s willing to work at it. A lot of guys aren’t. A lot of guys say they are, but they don’t. He says he does, and then he does it.”
…and here are Pickett’s offensive teammates so far in camp:
Working with Pickett on the first unit Pitt put out there Monday was Darrin Hall at running back, Chris Clark at tight end and Rafael Araujo-Lopes, Maurice Ffrench and Aaron Mathews at receiver. From left to right, the offensive line consisted of Jerry Drake, Bryce Hargrove, Jimmy Morrissey, Mike Herndon and Alex Bookser.
Over at the Trib Chris Adamski has some bits on Alex bookser – the Old Man of the OL.
But as soon as the topic turned to whether he would embrace a leadership role as a fifth-year senior, Bookser’s face quickly turned serious. The tone of his voice did, too.
“I will be the first one to tell you, I haven’t always done as much as I can for the younger guys,” the fifth-year senior from Mt. Lebanon said. “And maybe haven’t been as mature as I needed to be, but I am really trying to embrace that and transform into a leader.”
Pitt would welcome that. It needs a veteran leader on an offensive line that lost three starters and could potentially start two sophomores, a freshman and a senior who was a defensive lineman 15 months ago. In the absence of future pros Brian O’Neill and Jaryd Jones-Smith and four-year starter Alex Officer, can Bookser be that guy?
Gee, I don’t know…can he? He sure hasn’t been much of a role model in his first four years on the roster – but people mature. Let’s see what happens out on the field. But I have to say – any OL with Bookser as the sole returning scholarship starter (Morrissey was a walk-on) is a scary proposition. It isn’t like he has played lights out so far as a starter although he’s by far the best we have.
Bookser was All-ACC Honorable Mention last season so good for him but this part is nervous making – aside from him the only other Pitt OL player to be ALL-ACC anything was First Teamer Brian O’Neill… so no proven returning starters or two-deep but Bookser and Morrissey who was average at Center last season.
That and the fact that the 16 prospective roster players for the OL two-deep for this year is populated by recruits who average 2.6* (less Bookser) and one do has to wonder…
I know at least one POV reader is high on 3* Jerry Drake out of Florida to be a OL starter this season – here’s some reading for you my friend. He does have an impressive offer list for a 5.5 rated kid.
Seaking of scary – here is another Adamski piece but this time talking about the other side of the ball.
A day prior, Collins talked about his aggressive approach to defense, one that matches his personality. Head coach Pat Narduzzi was asked if that was what he was looking for when he hired Collins to take over the reins of a defensive backfield that ranked near the bottom of the list of Power 5 conference teams each of the past two seasons.
“I think it’s personality and it’s also coaching; you have to have the whole package,” Narduzzi said. “I think Archie can recruit, I think he can relate to the kids and he can teach. So it’s got to be everything. It can’t just be one thing. But he’s got the whole package. I’ve known him before and I’m excited about what I see already.”
Well, hell – if he’s that good why wasn’t he hired three years ago so we fans wouldn’t have had to watch Pitt’s version of the Keystone Cops in our defensive backfield over that time period?
To me this is another FOP (Friend of Pat’s) hire who has yet to prove himself capable of successfully coaching a D1 Power Five defensive unit. Collins did OK in the MAC conference for the Central Michigan Chippewas but that isn’t much of a yardstick to measure success by is it?
Maybe his resume’ is better than the failure we had with Renaldo Hill who came to Pitt after being a Grad assistant and then the Cornerbacks coach at Wyoming. Get that – two years experience at Wyoming and Narduzzi hires him to be our Defensive Secondary coach… and then keeps him in place for three years while we field some of the worst Pass Defenses in the NCAA.
Talk about FOP – Hill actually played for Narduzzi at MSU for three years. Job patronage is alive and well on the Southside. Who says Pitt doesn’t go cheap in all they do?
Back to the OL. Here is a Trib piece about Dave “Ming” Borbely.
Borbely said he was happy to be back in the proverbial trenches.
“I didn’t really feel like I was gonna let one man define who I was,” Borbely said. “I have been a pretty good line coach for 35 years, and I probably have a lot left. I don’t know if I have 35 more left, but I got a lot of juice left in the tank, so I am ready to roll.”
Borbely takes over a unit that is replacing three starters and one in which he said had eight of its 17 members as freshmen and sophomores.
“I didn’t know that until after I met with them when I got hired,” Borbely said with a smile. “…(Narduzzi) said, ‘We might have forgot to tell you that.’ “But it doesn’t matter. We’ll get them cranking and ready to roll.”
Hey! It’s a new day and a new year and soon a new football season so things are looking up! Right!
Please tell me things are looking up…right?