Is Pitt Building a Good & Solid Program?

Is Pitt Building a Good & Solid Program?

We talk a lot on here about recruiting, or perhaps the state of quality recruiting, and what it takes to build a successful college football program. There are obviously a lot of variables that go into creating a strong football team and roster – two different entities with the other two being the coaching staff and the athletic department support.

I’m a firm believer that you build from the ground up meaning that convincing the best HS recruits, wherever they reside, to come and play ball at Pitt is the necessary foundation for long-term success.

Image result for Nate Peterman pittNow, we have seen Pat Narduzzi supplement his recruiting with transfers, most notably QB Nate Peterman, to be able to win football games which we did in Narduzzi’s first two years. I’m not a big supporter of multiple transfers because I think that it is a patch job used by a head coach for immediate fixes and so The work of ghould be used judiciously.

Getting incoming transfers is hugely different than actually recruiting high school players and much, much easier.  In the first instance your HC is convincing a established to transfer in with at most just a few other schools pursuing the player.

In the second instance, recruiting players directly out of HS, the staff has to woo and win the player away from many different options offered to him.  It isn’t unusual for a highly thought of 3* or a 4* recruit to have 10 or more serious offers of a scholarship to play ball.  That is a huge difference from getting a transferring kid who has, in the vast majority of cases, failed to produce at his first stop.

So what has Pat Narduzzi done so far in his ability to get HS players to commit to Pitt and how well have they played for him?

There is an old question of is it the “Jimmys and the Joes” or is it the “Xs and the Os” which creates solid producing players in college.  I’ll add a third side to that and state that the coaching staff has a ton to do with it also.  It doesn’t do anyone any good if you land a talented player then have a staff full of position coaches who fail to teach him how to play successful football at the D1 Power 5 level of play.

The HS players who can come directly into D1 ball starting lineups and automatically succeed in a big way are few and far between – but Pitt certainly has had some of those players before. Guys like Dorsett, McCoy, Lewis, Fitzgerald, just to name a few, have done it and in a spectacular fashion.  Notice that when this does happens they are almost always on the offensive side of the ball where someone in a skill position – most notably Wide Receiver or Running Back – can impact the games right away.  Image result for jordan whitehead pittDefenders usually take longer to reach that stardom level although that has happened recently with players like Jordan Whitehead at defensive back.

But for me it begins and ends with actual HS recruiting and the ability to get good, hopefully great, seniors to commit to your program and that sometimes takes a full two or three years of hard work and effective lobbying while the kid is still a schoolboy. Because of that I believe the ‘commitment date’ is the key indicator of which HC is responsible for the player coming to play here.

Every so often you’ll see a mass exodus of committed recruits change their minds after a off-season head coaching change (as we saw at Pitt after Dave Wannstedt’s firing) but that was minimal back in 2015’s class.

This begs the question of which of Narduzzi commitments have reached past the normal and average level of play to become ‘stars’ in their own right.  Here is a list of Narduzzi’s ‘own’ recruits; 54 players who committed to play for him and Pitt in his truncated 2015 class and the 2016 & ’17 classes since those are the kids who have had a chance to actually suit up and play ball so far. I excluded the 2018 class.

Continue reading “Is Pitt Building a Good & Solid Program?”

PITT Extends AD Lyke’s Contract

PITT Extends AD Lyke’s Contract

April 27, 2018

Pitt Extends Contract of Director of Athletics Heather Lyke 

LINK: Pitt Extends Lyke Contract

PITTSBURGH—The University of Pittsburgh has signed Director of Athletics Heather Lyke to a new six-year contract, which will keep her at the university through at least 2024, Chancellor Patrick Gallagherannounced today. The move reflects the university’s long-term commitment to strengthening its athletics programs under Lyke, who has just wrapped up her first year at Pitt.

“Heather is leading an ambitious charge to transform Pitt Athletics, and her success here is just beginning,” said Chancellor Gallagher. “I am thrilled that she will continue to push our athletics programs to new heights—and spur positive change for our student-athletes and our university community—for years to come.”

“I am grateful to Chancellor Gallagher and our Board of Trustees for their belief in me, our team and what we are building in Pitt Athletics,” Lyke said. “Their support is invaluable and every member of our department knows our university is committed to helping us construct a championship culture with the right people. I want to thank our university leadership for their belief in our vision of what Pitt Athletics is capable of achieving—athletically, academically, within our campus community and in the City of Pittsburgh.”

Since joining Pitt in March 2017, Lyke has recruited six new head coaches. Last month, she appointed Jeff Capel—who owns a championship pedigree as a former Duke player and coach under the iconic Mike Krzyzewski—as the new leader of the Pitt men’s basketball program. She also named highly regarded Florida State associate head coach Lance White as Pitt’s new women’s coach.

In addition to Capel and White, Lyke hired four other coaches this past year: women’s soccer’s Randy Waldrum, a two-time College Cup champion while at Notre Dame; wrestling’s Keith Gavin, a former NCAA champion at Pitt; gymnastics’ Samantha Snider, who led the Panthers back to NCAA Regional Championship competition for the first time in five years; and diving’s Katie Hazelton, who previously distinguished herself in leading the Duke Diving Club to unprecedented success.

Beyond recruiting top coaching talents, Lyke has outlined an ambitious goal of achieving championship results in each of the Panthers’ 19 intercollegiate sports. Her top priorities include bolstering the student-athlete experience and a culture of comprehensive excellence throughout Pitt Athletics. She also solidified the future of Pitt’s ascending football program by extending the contract of head coach Pat Narduzzi, who has directed the Panthers to signature wins over Clemson, Miami and Penn State during the past two seasons.

“It has been a tremendously rewarding and fun first year at Pitt,” Lyke said. “But the best part is we are just getting started. As proud as we are about our history and tradition, Pitt’s future can be even greater. We are highly motivated to usher in a new Golden Era for Pitt Athletics.

Also this:

Bethany Wagner has been named Senior Associate Athletic Director for Sport Administration at the University of Pittsburgh, it was announced by Pitt Director of Athletics Heather Lyke.

Here is a P-G article about the sit-down Lyke had with local media members…

A Few Very Interesting bits of Info…

A Few Very Interesting bits of Info…

SaturdaysAreBetter’s John Baranowski just publish his list of Pitt’s Top Ten Games over the last 50 years.  We old timers remember each one I’m sure and he includes some heartbreakers also (you know which one, don’t you? )

Here it is and what a great bit of work – he’s top notch and and great commenter on the POV.

Chris Peak over at Rivals did an insightful podcast about Pitt’s recruiting the WPIAL over the past ten years. Basically he looked at Rivals’ Top Ten WPIAL recruits from 2010 until this 2018 class to see 1) how many of those 90 recruits Pitt offered scholarships to and 2) how many of them committed to play for us.

Pitt offered 70 of those 90 and right now readers take a second and try to guess how many of those 70 highly rated kids actually chose Pitt?

45? 50? 60?

27… and that’s it. We are talking about the highest rated local players and we end up getting just a few more than a third of them…38% to be precise.

Is there any wonder why we had only a 53% winning rate over those years?

Of course there are some valid reasons for that and mainly because of the Head Coaches’ turnovers we have had in those nine years. Wannstedt, Haywood, Graham, Chryst have come and gone save our current HC Pat Narduzzi

But take a listen to the podcast linked above where Chris really flushes out this recruiting issue with some insightful thoughts that I would not have considered, but do agree with.

His take on this, and again I urge you to listen to it because he has unique theories on why this happens (and why we get Southern kids more easily it seems), starts at the 16m 30s mark.

Up until then he is discussing the Pitt basketball situation and the anger that the players had when Kevin Stallings was fired. I didn’t realize just how much they cared about him as a head coach and of the rather strong very negative reaction they had towards the University of Pittsburgh for firing Stallings.

That is a very interesting listen also and that BB segment goes from the beginning of the podcast up until the 16m 30s mark.

Peak posts his podcasts bi-weekly on Mondays and Fridays and they are available to listen to for free…

OK, I’ll be back home on Friday afternoon and over the weekend I’ll try to finish that Ricky Town article. I think you’ll enjoy it as I’m trying to do more like a human interest type piece on him while I also talked about his football skills.

His talent may very well be the key to the season if Kenny Pickett goes down for any length of time. Let’s keep our fingers crossed that doesn’t happen but much like the offensive line I also have question marks about our backup quarterback situation.

Then again most years we don’t see a backup quarterback having to play but as we know last year was an exception. So most probably we will have Pickett for the whole season and that’ll be a good thing.



POV’ers Panther’s NFL Draft Predictions & Draft Thread

POV’ers Panther’s NFL Draft Predictions & Draft Thread

Tomorrow is the 2018 NFL Draft.  Here is some draft order and team needs info.  Here are the prospective Pitt draftees…which round do you think they will go it?

I’ll start even though I have no idea what will happen or do I care all that much past seeing Pitt guys in the first two rounds. Maybe more draftees helps recruiting but I don’t see a real correlation (Hint: perfect subject for a reader to write an article about!).  Here goes:

OL Brian O’Neill – Late 2nd Round

DB Jordan Whitehead – 3rd Round

WR Quadree Henderson – 4th Round

WR Jester Weah – 5th Round

DB Avonte Maddox – 5th Round

P Ryan Winslow – 7th Round

OL Alex Officer – Undrafted

QB Max Browne – Undrafted

OL Jaryd Jones-Smith – Undrafted

Contact: Gus Mustakas (!!!) So that’s what he’s doing now.  Gus has the hippest mother ever…

TE Matt Flanagan – Undrafted

OL Brandon Hodges – Undrafted

Folks – I’ll be in North Carolina from this morning until Friday afternoon.  So I’ll not draft articles up in that period but will for this coming weekend.

Send me some article ideas for over the summer…or of course send me your own articles and I’ll publish those… Seriously don’t you want your words to be read by hundreds of thousands of readers in 102 countries?