I arrived at the Pitt Southside facilities around 10:am, festivities start around 11:00 for the player draft for the Blue – Gold game on be Saturday afternoon.
Here are some football & basketball bits and pieces…
Johnny Majors and Walt Harris are back on campus (sort of…)
“He’s excited,” Pitt’s current coach Pat Narduzzi said of Majors after practice Tuesday. “He wants to know when he gets his meetings with the offense. He’s really — he wants to put some plays in.”
He won’t have Tony Dorsett, who helped him win the 1976 national championship at Pitt, but at least he’ll get a chance to improve on his second stint with the Panthers from 1993-96, when he returned from his alma mater Tennessee but presided over four consecutive losing seasons. Majors, who turns 83 next month, still lives in his home state, while Harris, 71, lives in the Pittsburgh area.
This will be a topic of conversation for some time…who will still be on the BB roster when the dust settles?
There’s an argument to be made about whether it’s worthwhile to scramble for players from a team that went 0-19 in ACC play. While it’s undeniable the 2017-18 Panthers struggled mightily, the alternative isn’t all that more appealing. Last season, we witnessed the bold undertaking of adding 11 new players. The product wasn’t pretty. Part of that had to do with lackadaisical recruiting under former coach Kevin Stallings, but few programs outside of Kentucky and Duke can excel after overhauling a roster. Regardless of how touted a recruiter Capel is — and he is quite good — having to piece together a team in mid-April is less than ideal.
All eyes are on the FB team’s defense this season hoping to keep the late 2017’s good showing continuing into September and the Middle Linebacker spot is up for grabs…
I’ve always thought that Wirginis was one of the most physically talented defenders we have had and now in his rsSR year he’s ready to go. We need his speed and quick burst toward opposing QBs more than ever.
Paying the price
To see Wirginis this offseason, the first thing you’ll probably notice about him is the mustache. It’s not exactly Ron Burgundy-level, but it stands out enough to make one wonder.
According to the 6-foot-2, 250-pounder who turns 22 Tuesday, it started with a skin irritation. When he was able to shave again, he decided to keep the mustache as something of a joke for spring ball. This month and last, it’s been a constant reminder that as deep as he sinks his teeth into the playbook under new defensive coordinator Randy Bates, he still wears the playful part of his personality on his sleeve.
Narduzzi likes the direction the OL is going…
Pitt lost four offensive linemen from last year’s team, with at least one of them expected to find a home – and a nice paycheck – in the NFL.
In fact, offensive tackle Brian O’Neill probably will be selected sometime in the first three rounds of the draft April 26 or 27.
Yet, coach Pat Narduzzi, perhaps swept up in the enthusiasm he’s feeling after seeing his team make progress this spring, made a surprising statement Tuesday at the end of practice.
“Our pass protection right now looks like it’s better than last year’s,” he said.
Pitt’s quarterbacks were sacked 31 times last season, compared to the 23 the defense managed against 12 opponents. That’s not a ratio coaches prefer.
I’ll keep a thread going in the comments section…