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.
The current state of the offensive line sure does generate major concern especially with the coaching staff, and even given Peak’s tendency to downplay real problems on the Pitt football team (as all mainstream media do in PGH), you can tell he also thinks it’s pretty much crap at this point – which it truly is.
Here is what we most likely will have so far for the OL in Peak’s opinion and it sounds right to me:
LT – Chase Brown (Drake possibly)
LG – Mike Herndon (moved back from defense) or Ford, Hargrove, Morgan…
Center – Jimmy Morrissey
Right Guard – Alex Bookser
Left Tackle – Stefano Millin (who isn’t in spring camp)
Not exactly Murder’s Row by any means and a starting lineup that has a re-converted defenseman, a transfer at LT, and JUCO transfer at RT and a walk-on Center… in other words an OL that hasn’t been built by recruiting offensive linemen good enought to play D1 ball over the last four years – and that is a clear and present problem.
So that lack of talent has the staff in a panic mode six months before the season’s first game. Really only Bookser has shown any quality play as Morrissey didn’t do all that well at Center last year…unless you caveat that with the fact that he was a just a walk-on so he did OK for one of those type players. Which then leaves the fact that we were forced to play and start a walk-on rsFR at Center! No wonder we sucked last year and folks and we truly did.
That is also why Pitt has reached out to Lackawanna Junior College OT Devon Davis an unranked player coming out of JUCO and OL Jacob Gamble, a JUCO player from QB Ricky Town’s old community college in Ventura, CA a couple of months ago:
”I’ve been talking with Pitt for the past two months and specifically Coach Salem for the past month. He’s telling me that they’re looking for some O-lineman and he loved my film. Hopefully, this visit will help build a connection and I can check out the team and see if there’s any interest
There is nothing on any of the three recruiting websites about these kids – completely under the radar. You know our new OL coach Dave Borbely has to be tearing his hair out right now.
We also are trying to get a jump on 2019 with an offer out to another Lackawanna OL Anthony Whigan. All these moves are done because we have basically no good starting talent already in the OL pipeline and that is a real problem.
It isn’t as if Pitt is targeting and snatching shining gems out of the JUCO and CC ranks away from other pursuing schools and landing great transfers – these are run of the mill transfers, Stefano Millin included, who have to be brought in to replace the current offensive lineman who were recruited over the last four classes but are not D1 starting material.
Pitt Spring Football Media Coverage Links
Post-Gazette: How Pitt DB Maddox went from MLB to NFL draft hopeful
Panther-Lair: Harley on the linebackers
Tribune-Review: Pitt’s Wirginis ‘excited to be back’ after injury
Post-Gazette: Hamlin goes from ‘little kid’ to leader in Pitt secondary
Panther-Lair: Aston returns to role as the Swiss Army knife
Panther-Lair: Narduzzi on the safety competition and more
DKPittsburghSports.com: Safety, linebacker pivotal to Panthers’ defensive growth
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’s Hamlin ready to finally make full impact
Tribune-Review: New Pitt DB coaches Collins, Sanders working well together
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
93.7 The Fan (audio): Pitt OL O’Neill Promises Preparation and Versatility to NFL Teams
Post-Gazette: Pitt football’s ‘Energy Bus’ and ‘Mr. Positive’ are back in pads
Tribune-Review: Carson Long leads group of Pitt lettermen working to honor legacy of Jock Sutherland
Tribune-Review: Pitt spring notebook: Coaches pleased with running backs, linebackers
Tribune-Review: Narduzzi ‘about as happy as you can be’ with Pitt’s first spring scrimmage
Tribune-Review: ‘The best feeling ever’ — Fullback Aston happy to be back healthy for Pitt
Panther-Lair: Narduzzi on energy, the linebackers and more
DKPittsburghSports.com: Aston, Tipton return to bolster offense
Panther-Lair: Hendrix keeps following his path
Panther-Lair: For Tipton, spring camp has been 8 months in the making
Panther-Lair: Partridge on the DL and more
Tribune-Review: New defensive coordinator Bates assimilating in at Pitt
Tribune-Review: Pitt football notebook: WR Tipton works back into practice
Panther-Lair: Narduzzi ‘a little disappointed’ by the first day in pads
Panther-Lair (audio): Idowu on the Pitt linebackers
Post-Gazette: New defensive coordinator Bates is turning up the volume at Pitt practice
DKPittsburghSports.com: First chance to hit has Panthers all smiles
Pgh Sports Now: Pitt Practice Notebook, Sights and Sounds: March 15
WTAE-TV (video): Guy Junker one-on-one with Coach Narduzzi
Beaver County Times: Pitt corner Jackson to take on more responsibility in junior season
Panther-Lair: Bookser digs into new roles this spring
Panther-Lair: Bates’ first impressions
Panther-Lair: Narduzzi on the WRs, the OL and more
Tribune-Review: Pitt’s Bookser practices at right tackle, works on being leader
Tribune-Review: New Pitt OL coach Borbely ‘has lot left in the tank’ 4 decades into career
Tribune-Review: Narduzzi endorses new Pitt secondary coach, is eager to add pads to practice
Post-Gazette: Ford intrigue only grows through two days of Pitt camp
DKPittsburghSports.com: Secondary scoping out whole new world
Pgh Sports Now: Pitt moves elite talent Ford to cornerback
Pgh Sports Now: Pitt Practice Notebook, Sights and Sounds: March 13
Post-Gazette: Pitt’s spring camp opens with Pickett as the main reason for optimism
Post-Gazette: Paul Zeise: If Pickett can handle the pressure, Pitt could thrive
Post-Gazette: Five questions to ponder as Pitt football opens 2018 spring camp
Tribune-Review: Pickett starts spring drills as Pitt’s No. 1 quarterback
Tribune-Review: Pitt football notebook: New secondary coach Collins out for ‘effort, juice, enthusiasm’
Tribune-Review: Tipton, Aston practicing with Pitt after injury-plagued 2017
Tribune-Review: Pitt’s Ford happy to be practicing, OK with move to cornerback
Tribune-Review: Ah, spring! Footballs are in the air at Pitt
Panther-Lair: For Pickett, ‘business as usual’ means something different this spring
Panther-Lair: Narduzzi: ‘A good day overall’
Panther-Lair: Collins on the DBs, Ford and more
DKPittsburghSports.com: Spring football: Pickett, now Pitt’s No. 1 QB, takes command
Pgh Sports Now: Pickett QB1 from Day 1 for Pitt in 2018
Pgh Sports Now: Pitt Practice Notebook, Sights and Sounds: March 12
The Athletic: Bates, Pitt and Narduzzi: Together again for the first time
ESPN.com: Pitt looks poised for big strides this spring
KDKA 1020 (audio): Coach Narduzzi on the KDKA Morning News Show