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.

Here is a P-G piece about a unit that just lost it’s only experienced player – the TEs and Chris Clark.  Color me not surprised one bit when the news broke that Clark left the team – I’m just surprised that it didn’t happen earlier.  Honestly, he’s the type of self-centered player who has to be promised that he’ll be a starter before he can be happy anywhere.

Well, he’s just left the only school that would either give him a spot on a roster or any playing time whatsoever.  I wish I could say that his absence, and I think he’s gone for good, is addition by subtraction but I don’t believe that.  What we have now is a TE roster with exactly one kid who has any playing time whatsoever in Tyler Sear.

What was once one of the more stable spots in the program year-to-year, manned by Scott Orndoff or J.P. Holtz from 2012-2016, tight end has been somewhat in flux for the Panthers two seasons in a row. Graduate transfer Matt Flanagan provided an old hand in 2017, but had never taken a snap at Pitt. Clark had been in the program for a season, but had barely played any college football.

Now, the current trio is both young and inexperienced, but offensive coordinator Shawn Watson would love to see them come along as quickly as possible for an offense that could use a reliable safety valve other than steady slot receiver Rafaul Araujo-Lopes. Right away, Watson mentioned Reeves — who appears to be taking the most reps with the first-team offense for now — as a young player who’s still learning the fundamentals, “but when he flashes, he flashes big.” He called Carrigan, a Pine-Richland High School graduate, “Mr. Consistency” and added that Neshannock product Sear has “picked up where he left off.”

Look – I don’t care what anyone says – 285-290 lbs is way too big for a college TE, or any TE.  But I don’t think we’ll see them as an integral part of the passing game – they will be kept in on the LOS to pass protect most of the time anyway.  We’ll see one of them switch position before fall camp I’m sure – the OL is in that much need of help.

In the “Well, Let’s Hope So!” column here is a piece by the Trib on Pickett and Shawn Watson

Watson, who has coached at eight Power 5 conference schools, compared Pickett to one of the most prominent quarterbacks he mentored during that time: former Big East offensive player of the year and first-round NFL Draft pick Teddy Bridgewater.

“(Pickett) is way ahead — way ahead — of where a freshman would have been because it comes so easy to him,” Watson said. “I made a statement the other day — and I don’t want to put a burden on his back — but he’s the same type of student and same type of player, with his natural instinctual part of it, as Teddy Bridgewater. He’s the same guy — and Teddy was a fast study.”

Watson praised Pickett’s decision-making, grasp of the offense, ability to pick up things mentally and arm.

And here is a bit on Pickett’s go-to receive WR Arujo-Lopes:

A fifth-year senior, Araujo-Lopes was asked how he could build off a team-high 43 catches for 531 yards. The Florida native did not cite statistics, instead turning to leadership.

“Definitely, the main thing would be being a leader,” Araujo-Lopes said Thursday from UPMC Rooney Sports Complex after Pitt’s spring practice session. “Not necessarily so much of the football aspect, but encouraging the guys and making sure everybody knows what they’re doing. I think my role as a leader that is what is going increase from last year to this year.”

That my readers and fellow Pitt fans is a student-athlete with his head on straight.  We need someone to step up and complement Lopes and I’m not sure who that is going to be.

No one is talking about Pitt’s Special Teams much – no one ever seems to do unless there is a problem or a bad play that loses a game.  I have never understood this.

You can have a defense that can or can’t stop an offense but I’ve never seen a defense that can push the opposing offense 40+ yards down the field on one play – but Punters do that all the time.  A good punter is the best defensive player on the field when it comes to opponent’s field position bar none.

We just lost a very good punter to graduation and have a kid now who is pretty much a mystery. Not only is P Kirk Christodoulo from a place that has winters in summer but he’s also never played a down of college ball.

Here is the Trib-Review on his bending an ear (and I’m sure an elbow) with the Steelers’ Aussie punter:

Pitt redshirt freshman Kirk Christodoulou takes over the Panther’s punting duties in 2018. During Pitt’s ninth session of spring practice Thursday, there was another Melbourne, Australia, native on hand to see him: Berry.

“I have known him for years now, so it’s good to just have a chat,” Christodoulou said. “And given the fact he’s the Steelers punter, if I have any problems or had a bad day at practice I can always ask him, ‘What do you think about this?’ It’s good to get a few tips here and there from someone who’s a professional.”

Our Kicker last year, Alex Kessman, was spotty at best with only a 58% success rate but even more importantly his Touchback rate on the year was only 50%.  This is a very important stat here.  In 2017 our punt return defense was a poor 113th nationally giving up 12.55 yards per return.

As was our Kick Return Defense with a very poor 123rd nationally with opponent’s getting an average of 25.1 yards after the kick reception.  Getting consistent touchbacks limits the opponent to starting back at their 25 yard line – instead of 25.1 yards forward from where they caught the ball – and that is a big deal, especially if you have a suspect defense.

What is disheartening about those stats is that we were much better at these actions in 2016 when we were 44th in kickoff return defense and 73rd in punt return defense.  Field position means so much when you don’t have a great offense or a great defense so we have to rebound in that area.

ESPN’s Pitt page has an interview with Narduzzi  and here is something Pitt fan’s want to hear:

The struggles of the running game at times were really the biggest departure from traditional Pitt football. How’s the backfield shape up for 2018?

Narduzzi: Our backfield is looking really good. Darrin Hall returns, and I think offensive football starts with running the ball. There was a time in the middle of the season where we couldn’t run it like we wanted to. We went back to basics and got it cleaned up. That happens sometimes with a new coordinator where you’re still figuring out who you are and what you can do. We’ve figured that out, and that will go a long way in 2018. I’m happy with where our backfield is right now. Qadree OllisonA.J. Davis has a ton of potential. And Mychale Salahuddin, he just adds to it. We weren’t just going to take a guy. We were going to take a great one, and I think we got a great one.

Well, I’ll believe it when I see it.  We may have a good one in Salahuddin but if we are to rely on the guys who have been carrying the rock up to now I think we’ll fall short in that area again this season.

Anyone who wants to chip in an article or two or three please feel free – I’m very busy with my other committments (as evidenced by no new posts for three days) so help out if you can….

 

98 thoughts on “Football Bits & Pieces; March 31st

  1. This O-line has the makings of a Tom Freeman mush-pit unit from the 2000s, though it will be hard to replicate a unit that was good for eight or nine sacks versus a good D-line. At least there is a reinforcement coming in the transfer, Millin. His tape is pretty decent versus Clemson from last season.

    Than God it is only spring ball.

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  2. Reed, thanks so much for this article while it gets us all back to football. So many good writers on the POV that would great with an article or three. May help if I find the time but tied up with family business right now. Plus there are far better POVer’s that write way better than I ever could.

    I checked out the offer list for PITT next year. << Man there is some interesting things to talk about right there. Just a thought?? Let us know if anyone plans on writing an article on that subject or if I can get around to doing one as a last resort.

    Who’s getting ready for the round-table season? ike

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  3. I’ve said it many times before, but I hope Pickett is as tough as McSorley at PSWho. Our line reminds me a lot of their lines a couple years ago. That kid got whacked so hard and so many times that I never thought he’d get up. There tight ends were really pong also, but they had a great back and some very good receivers to take the pressure off. Just so he doesn’t get hurt early on, or ever actually.!!

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  4. For all the good things that Narduzzi has done, it makes you wonder how he let the O-line get in this kind of shape? His biggest success came when he benefited from Chryst’s O-line two years ago. His O-line recruiting was abysmal for two years and it does hurt that O’Neil left early. Hopefully the young guys that he recruited will pan out early, but it looks like last year’s D-line is this year’s O-line.

    It all goes back to recruiting. You need to recruit 2-3 quality linemen on both sides of the ball, every year to keep the pipelines filled.

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    1. That makes no sense at all.

      Narduzzi should like me, I helped him when he was lost in Manhattan the night before the Military bowl. What have you done for him lately?

      BTW, I’ll stack up my charitable donations and volunteer service hours with you for any bet you’d like to make. I guarantee you’ll lose.

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  5. Here is a great Q&A from Chris Peak over at Rivals:

    Does PN have an “open practice” policy for team alumni (and made that clear to them) or is he individually inviting guys to come for practices? Hearing Nate Peterman and others are at practices is great and it seems much more common than with previous head coaches. – smenges

    I can’t tell you the specifics of the policy because I’m not privy to them, but I think former players can attend practice, provided they set it up ahead of time.

    Basically, the list of people who can attend practice includes but is not limited to donors, administrators, high school coaches, high school players, lower-level college coaches, former Pitt players, player family members. There are a lot of categories, but one is specifically prohibited: media. Which is, incidentally, the one group that can be held directly accountable for the information it disseminates publicly.

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  6. Joe Moore was obviously a great line coach, but he was an even better recruiter. Look at the guys he coached at Pitt, Temple and Notre Dame. They were very talented kids to begin with. Even Joe Moore would have a problem with what Pitt has to work with this year.

    A defense should be ahead of an offense in the spring. Our defensive line should be getting better, but they won’t be as good as what we will face vs PSU, ND,and several others.

    The O-line is the story this year, and it is not a good one.

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  7. POVers may be slightly over concerned about the OL. There is not much information coming from Spring drills, but the latest we hear is that the defense is destroying the offense. There are many reasons this could be happening since they have more experience and know the plays. But PN has red shirted some good players and the OL may end up being better than we think.

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    1. You don’t go out and get a kid from Kent St. and Junior colleges if you have a good O-line.

      Sorry, but the O-line should have been a strength last year and pretty much stunk. Losing O’Neil and two seniors doesn’t give me much security. Bookser is the only solid player, the rest are all questionable.

      If the new coach puts together a decent line, he is a genius.

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  8. Now if I go on record right now saying I’ll wait and see for myself how the O-Line progresses from now until the first game of the season, would I be considered too positive? I mean to say that, in no way I’m denying the fact that they are young and unproven while being mostly unknown. Which to me means, I don’t know how they will be this coming season. Just like I didn’t know where Heather was last weekend.

    Narduzzi first recruiting class for the O-Line hasn’t stood the test of time for sure. It’s just imo that there should be more players available other than Bookser in the starting lineup still held over from the previous head coaches last recruiting class.

    Having said that, I think HCPN O-line recruiting has been pretty good the past couple years and could jell better than some think. Emphasis on could. I will never understand why bringing in a grad transfer and JC players is so frown upon and considered a negative. It’s just filling out the roster not an act of desperation….ike

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    1. Enough blaming PC for the ills of PN’s team already, we are in PN’s 4th year and this is his team.

      He has been very poor at recruiting OL and that’s why he and Borebly are scrambling around in a panic mode.

      PN’s 2015 OL recruits would be SRs and rsJRs by now but they bagged out on him – both 3* kids. All of his OL recruits are 2* and 3* kids and he inherited the best OL players he has had from Chryst and they played well for PN because they were taught early on by Jim Huber who has a rep as being one of the best in the business.

      Now we are paying the price for his inability to land the blue chip, or even good, OL recruits.

      I believe part of that was due to our OL coach being sub-par. Good OL recruits know they have to spend a year or two being coached up to play at the college level and I believe that most parents and High School coaches didn’t want their kids to go play under Peterson at Pitt because he wasn’t good at that.

      That’s what happens when you get position coaches from small schools like Akron (or MAC schools like Central Michigan) which is where Peterson came to Pitt from.

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      1. The problem is Narduzzi’s first class after Chryst left (the one with Whitehead that you would credit to Chryst). That class only had Paulina and Pilato. You fail to mention that Paul Chryst landed OL talent because he was recruiting against sanctioned Ped St with Paterno/O’Brien. Dorian Johnson was committed to Ped St until the sanctions hit. He also had a ton more talent in the WPIAL tochoose from.
        We all agree that this Oline will be a struggle. But your constant hammering of Narduzzi on this matter is irrational.

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    2. It is just a matter of probabilities. Most great O-lines are made up of upper classmen, usually with fifth year seniors. They are more mature physically and have more experience. It also helps if they have played together for multiple years. Could this years group beat the odds, while possible, not likely. Bringing in a transfer can be a good thing. Jeff Otah is a great example, but needing two or more of them to play tackle is a sign of desperation. Hopefully some of the young guys can step up, but with little experience they will get beat pretty often. DJ was not good as a freshman and not great as a soph. Bisno was not very good as a redshirt frosh and these were elite players coming out of high school.

      While I agree the O-line recruiting seems to improved for the last two years, redshirt freshmen aren’t that desirable if you want to win games.

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  9. Ike, you were saying the same optimistic stuff at this time last year about the ’17 OL. I said they would stink and they sure did.

    This year I’m saying our 2018 OL will be even worse than last season’s.

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    1. About 95% of pitt followers thought last years oline would be good. It seems to come down to bad coaching as there was enough talent/experience to be pretty good.

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  10. The kids he recruited had good reps locally, but if you went and saw them play you would be scratching your head wondering how they even got 2*s. Some kids you watched and felt they were under rated, some way overrated. He has not done a very good job with the Oline, and he will be moving guys all around trying to find some help. Like I said, same look as PSU three years ago, sad!

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  11. I agree with ike on his OL assessment, and feel that they will put together a pretty good first group under the new OL coach. Injuries are another matter. If they have to dig too deep in the roster we will see some talented but inexperienced young players come of age pretty quickly. And I’m glad Kenny can scramble a bit, he will need to.

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  12. Reed, part of the problem last year may have been the position coaching. We all agreed that they looked quite good on paper at the start of the ’17 season. The early sacks were hard to figure, but coaching may have had something to do with it.

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  13. Reed your first comment is an example of someone panicking. and where are PC’s 5th year senior O-Lineman? and yes this is Narduzzi’s team right now. Hence Narduzzi bringing in players to fill roster spots that are simply void of 5th year players.

    Your second post is completely misreading my comment. How is saying that the O-Line “could” be better than some think, be the same optimistic thinking. It’s simply not negative thinking? remember my emphasis on the word “could”.

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  14. Texas Tech’s O-line is overmatched EVERY year in the Big 12, yet they are one of the highest scoring offenses in the country EVERY year.

    Install the Spread Offense !

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  15. Installing the Spread Offense, gets the ball out of the QB’s in 3 seconds or less, most of the time. Thereby limiting hits on your most vital commodity. Your QB.

    Just another reason to install the Spread.

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  16. Make a list of the recruits who made t big time from Chryst. O’Neill was a TE recruit. Biz is a practice aquad player. DJ has issues with meds and I still think he has a future. Office is a plug, JJS blew out his knee and that was that. Bookser has been improving. May I add Narduzzi has recruited better in the last two years had had one year that looks underwhelming and was stuck with no time and took Paulina, Pilato his first year.the facts are Chrysts best OL he had nothing to do with in Rotherham, TJ, Rowell, OL is an issue but it still can be OK with Millen, Bookser, and an improved center.

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    1. Agree. The best class with Hamlin was underwhelming recruiting on the oline. The last two years have been solid but hard to expect much from these younger guys.

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    2. Really, who cares who goes to the Pros? That means hardly anything when it comes to college ball. I only care about what they do at Pitt…And that is where O’Neill, Biz and DJ were great.

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  17. Was also disappointed to learn that Reeves is at 285 pounds. Was hoping he could be a big-time, down-the-field receiver for us.

    Go Pitt.

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    1. Don’t think we’ve got one of those This year. Before last season the staff was hoping Clark would be that Orndoff-type TE but he couldn’t catch passes in practice over the ’16 season. That’s why the need to get Flanagan for ’17

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  18. Emel – Agreed about the spread. I hate the pro-style offense in college. It’s a dying breed for a reason. Even stalwarts like Alabama are moving away from it. First and foremost you have to score. Time of possession is less important than how many plays you run.

    I have a feeling the offense will look and feel different this season.

    You guys are too worried about the offensive line. It’s March.

    285lbs for Reeves? Is that right? I know it’s on the sight but that doesn’t make sense. He was 230lbs last season. Unless, they have plans to move him to OL ala O’Neill.

    A little harsh on Clarke who, it sounds like, is dealing with some serious personal issues.

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    1. Agree on Clarke, he hasn’t officially left the team as of yet. Again, look into the eye, all is not what you may think it is…. ike

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  19. On Reeves and Carrigan’s weight, Narduzzi said around 290lbs and challenged the reporters to bring a scale next time to prove it.

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  20. It sure appears like he’s gone but it also sounds like he is dealing with some real demons beyond not not being mentally tough enough for college football. I hope he’s okay and gets the necessary help.

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  21. Ike.. if the TEs weight is around 290 and they play for Pitt – they probably weigh over 300 lbs… PIYTs high carb training table and 2 am 4am peanut butter and jelly samiches…

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  22. Cinderella is fun to a pint but I want to see good teams in the finals. Nice run Loyola but I’m glad it ended here … did I mention I have Michigan winning my office pool! Lol.

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  23. Carrigan of the three TE’s in the same class was the one I understood to be the most likely to end up on the O-Line. << Looks like he’s almost there. ike

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  24. I know what you’re thinking Biggi B. You’re picturing Alex O bending over in his 3 point stance with that derriere of his. I hope Narduzzi didn’t say he weighed in at 290 lbs or PITT is in trouble. ike*

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  25. Pitt’s baseball team beat UVA today 7-5

    Anyone know which players are playing where on the OLine during Spring practices? Coach Borbely has a tall order to assemble a serviceable starting five. Last year’s OL was projected to be solid, maybe even a strength. I did comment throughout the season that O’Neill continually got beat Lyke a drum and I’m not sure his injured shoulder ever was right. Officer came in overweight and finished the season that way.

    Morgan came in way overweight this year – 365 lbs. Doesn’t coach Andrews have access to these guys in the off season? S&C seems weak. I know it can be an individual players choice how dedicated they are to S&C – this team needs all the advantage the can scrape together – S&C cost very little in the big picture other than blood, sweat & tears from the players.

    H2P!

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      1. HEATHER!!

        ok not much to do with Heather right now but isn’t that the same as the other sports Heather didn’t make the hire of? << good or bad?

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  26. Do you realize what you’ve started Jack? If this guy even considers PITT and vice versa, Narduzzi’s D-Line recruiting will be ridiculed and chastised to no end. That said, I’m all for bringing in good players, transfers or otherwise.

    Criticizing a transfer or JC without knowing anything about the player is downright shallow minded thinking. Remember who gets paid to offer these players a chance to play? I don’t put myself ahead in terms of educated knowledge of those who actually scouted the young men. ike

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  27. In no way did I say Clarke would come back to PITT’s active roster. I only stated a fact. << He’s still on the team as of this second.

    Still think that one of the current TE’s will be moved to the O-Line before it’s all said and done.. . .ike

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  28. Reaves at 290 is like Eric Green from the Steelers. Reaves can run with that weight. The issue will be if he can slim down if he has any knee issues. It is such a mismatch if he stays at that weight, both blocking and catching. I will keep pushing him because i watched him a couple of times in high school.

    Carrigan remnds me of Giesecki and Sear reminds me of a more talented jp holtz. Health is critical for Pitt as we are not deep….anywhere.

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  29. Buddy close to Pitt Hoops told me Capel is making 3.4M a season. Anyone hear anything on this. He is usual right on with things Pitt Hoops related.

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  30. Reed – Regarding the RB comments by coach Duzz – he failed to name Todd Sibley and he only mentions QO’s name – no other comment, period. It appears, in the mind of HCPN that Darren Hall is #1 and AJ Davis is the back-up.

    Ike – that is called reading between the lines. Lol.

    As for the OLine almost everyone is afraid will be Pitt’s demise in 2018 – what if the starting line consisted of four 5th year SR’s and a bulked up Center who is one year smarter since starting every game in 2017.

    L to R -> Millin / Herndon / Morrissey / Dintino / Bookser

    I really wish Millin was on campus already. I’m hoping our DLine is the best in the ACC and our OLine development benefits from that, through months of practicing against them at the South Side facility.

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    1. I’m hoping it looks like this:

      L to R -> Millin / Brown / Morrissey / Bookser / Hargrove

      I think Herndon is best suited at defensive tackle and he struggled on the offensive line when playing. Chase Brown needs a spot and if that means a younger player can’t knock him out then so be it. I was really hoping Brandon Ford would make some noise and there is still time for that before the season starts. Hargrove seems to be a guy battling for time and could be a nice three-year starter at tackle.

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    2. Dintino isn’t starting material.

      Herndon is currently a DT.

      Millin played on an OL that was 129th in TFLs allowed, 127th in Sacks allowed, 127th in Total Offense and 123rd in Passing Offense. Only semi bright spot was 80th in Rushing Offense. Remember there are only 129 ranked teams.

      Millin’s job at LT was to protect his right armed QB yet he helped allow 46…I say again 46!! sacks last season.

      All of the above leads to the staff scrambling around to sign CC & JUCO OLs who weren’t even that great at the lower lever of play.

      Now they are being coached by a guy who’s last OL coached was 125th in TFLs allowed, 127th in Sacks allowed (45!), 95th in Total Offense and 106th in Passing Offense. That is the blind leading the blind.

      Trouble in River City and it Starts with “OL”… Pickett is going to be running for his life.

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  31. Happy Easter EE and all…

    I did notice in that interview that Sibley was left out of the conversation. So what I read between the lines was that Narduzzi is absent minded at times.. or it could be as you said, Sibley may be far back in the pack. Obviously I have to take a computer course in this new fangled or angled “reading between the lines” technique. Although I think I read somewhere that Sibley was having a good camp with his low style running with a runners lean.

    A couple of my grand kids are here this morning and my oldest (8) is still in bed. In today’s world, holidays and birthdays last a week or so and they get more gifts for Easter than I did in 5 years of Christmas presents. ike

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    1. ike – obviously Coach N. didn’t mention Sibley because Sibley is a secret weapon who will not be unleashed until the second game!!!

      Best wishes to you and all POVers.

      Go Pitt

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    2. Sibley was mentioned by one of the offensive coaches as being ahead of Davis, if I remember correctly.

      Plus, spring depth charts don’t mean all that much.

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  32. Go Erie Express!

    On the extreme-sounding weight of some of our players, didn’t Pitt a few years Ago start making food and goodies available at any time in the practice facility?

    That’s a nice perk, but perhaps some players just can resist this bounty and making all this food available is back-firing in some cases???

    Go Pitt!

    PS – whose idea was it for the Pirates to open the season in March in Detroit?

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    1. There is food and snacks galore in the player’s break-out room – which is where the media hangs out when there are practices…but yes, they get big meals all year around.

      I think we have had overweight problems for many years at Pitt – there is a reasonable doubt that our S&C program isn’t all that it should be.

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  33. I’m not sure if I can classify as a realist or a pessimist? Or maybe I should just make him a unrealistic pessimist on Pitt football. For myself I’d prefer to be considered as a realistic and optimistic at this point in time. You work your offensive around your best players. That is if the OL is not your strength then you don’t make your running game the focus going forward. With Pickett at QB the focus should be the passing game with offsetting draws and screen plays being a big part of the play calling. One positive IMO is that Watson should have the Teddy Bridgewater script and playing calling at Louisville fresh in mind to guide him in devising the Pitt offense for this season.—-Pitt should not be out of any game this coming season if Pickett can stay healthy and the OL turns out to just be average.

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  34. I think hoping for this years Oline to be average is like hoping the past three years defense would be average. Like Dumas said at the end of the Count of Monte Christopher, it can all be summed up in two words, “ Wait and Hope”

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  35. Upitt has a scoop on Capel’s new contract. 3.4 mil per. I hope this is true as it would show all of us once and for all that PITT will spend money on athletics now and into the future.

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  36. I hope the >3 million is by the end of the contract.

    But then again, as I understand it, the more you pay the coach, the better results you get… 🙂

    Go Pitt.

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  37. While no one will agree with this, perhaps the NCAA should adopt legislation restricting players with an excessive BMI.
    Obesity, diabetes, hypertension and on and on plague these players after their careers. And looking at many of our players trying to use excessive weight to overcome a talent deficit is a harbinger of doom.
    If we are to stop helmet-to-helmet collisions for the sake of neurological integrity, than why aren’t we limiting playing time based on excessive weight?

    Liked by 1 person

  38. RB Coach Powell said Sibley was ahead AJ Davis and it didn’t sound particularly close. He also said that the reason AJ didn’t play more last year was that, to paraphrase, he wasn’t playing on instinct … i.e. thinking too much, and that the coaches didn’t trust him in the game … A common problem with players trying to acclimate to a game where they can no longer rely on being the best player on the field like in high school. Reading between the lines, however, I think more is expected of AJ and they are trying to light a fire under him.

    Upitt – I believe that $3.4M since it sounds like that’s what they had to offer Hurley and Miller. Once that number leaked, I’m sure they had no going back. I’m fine with it. When you’re only like the third team in a decade to fire a coach after only 2 season there will be some consequences … usually money.

    What’s your take on Heather after the Capel hiring? Coming around a bit? It certainly appears that she broke free of the puppetry and didn’t let all the noise around the program hinder here search. Real question … not trolling … I didn’t feel like sifting thru 800 comments to find your response. Haha … congrats to Reed for having such a popular blog.

    Reed – you’ve said yourself that you have a critical take on Pitt football. Critical is a derivative of criticism … which has negative implications, like it or not. You really have to stop being so sensitive to folks who call you negative, or in this case, pessimistic. It comes with the territory with how you present your blog. When you have a critical eye, you’re looking for imperfections which means that you’re going to point out problems that you see.

    It’s an unusual spin for a fan blog. When people come to a fan blog they aren’t usually looking to read about the program’s flaws. It took me a while to understand this and appreciate you. Once I understood your MO, it was an easier pill to swallow and I became less argumentative with you.

    Instead of being combative with your replies, try leading with the notion that you write this blog with a critical eye on Pitt football. In the heat of debate I think that sometimes we forget that, so it has to be hammered home … No matter how repetitive. That way you can slowly start dropping the stigma of being negative and gain the reputation of being critical.

    Your slogan “We’re keeping our eyes on Pitt football” even connotes that you don’t necessarily trust the program.

    It’s March (now April) … some of us aren’t ready for the harsh truth of reality yet … That’s what September is for. Haha.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Heather is leaps & bounds better than any AD we’ve had here since my high school days….not that that’s saying much as Pitt has been cursed by some of the worst AD’s in Div. 1 history. She is quite good though……way better than our current O-line 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  39. PN came in and had back to back 8-5 seasons. That created the perception that Pitt was headed for top 20 status at least. But that 8-5 season ended with the disappointing NW loss. And Pitt had the horrendous defense in 2016 even though PN came in as a defensive guru. Last year we were 4-7 coming into the last game of the season against the #2 team in the country. We clubbed them but then Miami dropped like a rock.

    Then we have a recruiting season where until the last moment of the season we had no 4 stars.

    I’d say we really don’t know if PN can take the program to the next level and that Reed has every reason to be critical of PN.

    IMHO the key to next year is our OC. I was highly critical of him all last year but he show d some smarts in the last game of the season. The OL is not going to be average next year and we will need game plans that don’t not allow defenses to exploit that weakness. I want SW to succeed but if he doesn’t I want PN to have the smarts and courage to unload him. I hope we don’t get to that but if we do and PN fails that test such a failure will tell us whether PN is just meh.

    Liked by 1 person

  40. In real estate they say the key is 3 words, location, location and location. The college football corallary is recruiting,recruiting and recruiting. The simple fact is Pitt has not yet recruited the team package of talent it needs. This takes a good recruiting program,decent winning against top teams and stability of coaches with good position coaches. Each year one area gets better another gets worse. Hopefully we get some continuity of good coaches andother sparkles to lure these kids but it starts at the top.

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  41. My 2 cents. First off I’m a half full glass type of person and look at the OL issue differently. Young guys and transfers must step up big time and there seems to be plenty of quality talent to chose from. Add Ashton being back with a promising versatile QB that enables OC the flexibility to plan accordingly, as jnrpitt pointed out. Add to that 2 big horses at TE and Sear a JP Holtz type player should be solid. Huff III beat me to the punch, remember Eric Green. Nature of CF, young men must step up and I believe in the Duzz!

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  42. yes the Ol that can send guys to the NFL speaks to the development of the lineman. It also speaks to the physical capability to recruit lineman who are physically capable of being developed to that level. Yes what they do at Pitt is important. But who doesn’t think being a NFL all pro or a solid player is a sellable point in recruiting. Now do I think Pitt has some question marks as to the OL certainly. But to suggest the new OL coach is a plug or is not capable is wrong. He has vast experience in coaching and he is an upgrade from Peterson. . But no question the Kradels and Zubovics have to upgrade the PL in two years..

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