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.

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Wow, that is a long list and there are certainly some good ball players on there.  But is it good enough to 1) build a solid roster of kids Narduzzi himself targeted and landed out of HS and 2) win a lot more games than we lose?

Lets see – first off we have this as far as his recruiting stars awarded goes: 8 – 4*, 38 – 3* and 8 – 2* for an average of exactly 3.0.  Not as good as we need it to be because I think if you recruit at the 3 level you’ll play that way. Forget about the silly-ass comparisons to schools like Texas A&M or Wisconsin who also average out at 3*s like we do – their head coaches and staffs, programs and athletic department infrastructures are at a much higher level than we have currently.  They are the outliers in almost every way.

I also firmly believe that Pitt needs true “Star Power” players (like Marino, Dorsett, Fitz, Donald, Conner, Boyd etc…) to really carry the team to victory especially at Pitt it seems.

In our last season of 2017 we didn’t have one player who played at a star level. This was  strange as three players who just recently left the team; OT Brian O’Neill, WR Quadree Henderson and DB Jordan Whitehead had done so earlier in their careers but couldn’t sustain it last season.  I can’t remember any recent Pitt team to have three great players regress like that in any single year – which contributed directly to our 5-7 record.

I have also said you need to land more than one or two Blue-Chip (4* and 5) recruits per year to push your team from average to good – or even great. Last years 2017 class had none and this season we signed only one 4 and that is troubling.

Even though he wasn’t a Pitt recruit Narduzzi had QB Nate Peterman come in and really play well which led to our second eight win year. Conner and Boyd helped in the 2015 and 2016 seasons eight win totals also – all bona fide stars who played head and shoulders above others.

The thing about blue chippers though is that you have to keep them on roster for at least three years to get star play from them.  Out of Narduzzi’s eight 4* recruits we still have five on roster which is a pretty good 62.5% keep rate.  For comparison DW landed 27 4* & 5* kids and lost 7 for a  keep rate of 77%.

Unfortunately I don’t see any current roster players who have shown me that they can ascend to star play and be like other Pitt stars before them who could carry the team to victory on their play alone on a consistent basis, and consistent basis is the key here.

Last season we saw big games from QB Max Brown where he threw for over 400 yards and 4 TDs in our win against Rice and then later on we watched RB Darrin Hall take on Duke’s defense and run for 253 yards and three TDs which accounted for almost all our points in that victory.

But aside from those singular games no other players stepped up and played at that level over the course of our 12 regular season games… and that is worrisome to me because looking at the prospective two-deep for 2018 I don’t see anyone who, without a complete surprise big break-out year, will be a true star player for us.Image result for kenny pickett pitt

Players like QB Kenny Pickett have the ability but haven’t had more than a combined eight quarters of play to show his stuff. He had a great Miami game of course and we all hope that is the harbinger of what he’ll give us this coming season, but then looking at 66 pass attempts with only one TD is a bit disheartening especially as that TD was on a trick five yard shovel pass to the Fullback Ollison.

Pickett sure could reach stardom but I can’t say the same for any other player with any real certainty.  Image result for rashad weaver pittrsSO DE Rashad Weaver (28 tackles, six TFLs, three sacks and three pass breakups on the year) may up his already effective play to stardom and we really need that to happen as I’m suspect of  defensive line this season.  Maybe rsSO Paris Ford can match the hype shown for him but he hasn’t played a down yet for us.

Another point about our last three true “star” players; O’Neill, Whitehead and Henderson, is that none committed to Pat Narduzzi himself. They all three had been convinced to come to Pitt by his predecessor and committed before the coaching change. Now that said, I understand that all three had to be taught how to play at this level and had to be put in the position to succeed by this HC and his staff (like the move of O’Neill to TE in Narduzzi’s first season) so credit of their good play here is absolutely shared by Pat Narduzzi.

He put them in the position to do well and they did.

However I have real concern if his HS recruiting is good enough to get us out of this five win hole we are in and then get us back up, and keep us up, to the eight, nine or 10 win level. I don’t see that happening at this point and the recent spate of transfers into the program, especially along the offensive line, is an indicator that his 2015, ’16 and 17 recruiting classes have left big holes that need filling right now – and that shouldn’t be the case after a three years of recruiting.

The great thing about college ball is that rosters and starting lineups change every fall and sometimes when you least expect it a star is born. Let’s keep our fingers crossed that happens this coming season because as it looks right now we may have some real problems in the proposed two-deep. It will be almost totally populated with Narduzzi recruits so there will be not excuses made as to inherited players not doing well for us.

HTP!!  

 

123 thoughts on “Is Pitt Building a Good & Solid Program?

  1. Reed,
    Thank you so much that even though you are extremely sick, you none the less spent so much time on a new article. You are greatly appreciated Commander!!!!

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  2. Also, after reading all the comments on the previous thread it really cracks me up that after nearly 40 years of mediocre athletics, commenters are actually stating that the fans are a big cause for the the failure of the programs. You know, the fans aren’t patient enough, the fans are too critical, and on and on and on………
    The FANS fault?????? REALY???? ITS THE FANS that are the problem……..REALLY?????
    Are you kidding me???????

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  3. Reed – For someone who harps on the importance of recruiting you neglect to say that Pitt is recruiting at a top 25 level and that an average of 3 stars is also a top 25 program.

    Did you really expect Pitt to go from 0-60 in this area knowing Narduzzi’s background and who he is modeling the program after? And to disregard other schools because of the lack of infrastructure but to expect Pitt to recruit at a higher level with that same lack of infrastructure is comical. Why would infrastructure affect one area and not the other?

    I agree Pitt needs some stars, except most on the list above haven’t played enough to know if they’ll be stars. Not having true freshmen play is a good thing. That’s how you know you’re recruiting well.

    Dorsett, McCoy, Lewis, Fitzgerald played out of necessity. McCoy and Fitz’s essentially redshirted at prep schools and were a little more mature than typical incoming freshman … the reason both got to leave for the draft after their sophomore years.

    Pitt is not ready to be a top 15 program competing for ACC titles. If that’s what you’re arguing regarding their recruiting efforts not many will dispute you. But what in the world makes you think Pitt should be recruiting at that level when they haven’t sniffed the top 25 since like 2010.

    It takes time and patience and continuity. These next two seasons will tell us everything we need to know.

    The reality is the first class with a full year of recruiting is entering their redshirt sophomore year. That’s very young to start judging recruiting success.

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  4. Nice write-up Reed. Well done!

    When I look at this season’s schedule, I can see us going unbeaten at home and splitting the away games.

    The pedos will be PO’d for another 12 months denying that there is a rivalry. The nits will drop from a top ten team to #11 in the rankings. Pitt will remain unranked. We will beat UCF and everyone will point out the loss of their HC and sooo many good players from last season. Still, Pitt will be unranked.

    We lose a close one to nd and thus keeping Pitt out of the polls until late in the season.

    That puts us at 9-3 during the regular season. Pickett, P.Ford, R.Flowers, Shockey, Reeves and AJ Davis have breakout seasons on offense (yes, Paris plays both ways plus special teams). On D, Hendrix, Weaver, Watts, McKee, Wirginis, Hamlin and P.Ford become the new Steel Curtain in Pittsburgh.

    Pitt gets a raw deal with a toilet bowl Lyke bid, with Hendrix & Wirginis sitting out to protect draft status and finish 9-4.

    Now, back to focusing on golf.

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    1. Rick.

      If Pitt wins 9 games, I will happily pay for us to golf on ANY course you choose (within driving distance). What do I get if we go sub .500 again this year? Maybe a great bottle of bourbon or rye to get me through the next off season? That way, I can drunken babble like the incoherents on here.. “It’ll be better next year! The recruiting is fine. We just have to give it more time!”

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          1. You’re on the “9 win” train with Erie??? Ok, I’ll take your booze. You’re on!

            I figure it this way.. It would be worth the money to me, if Pitt could pull off a big season. But, since there is virtually zero chance of that happening– I’ve actually been reading people on here saying, “Just wait til 2019!”– at least I can numb the pain with some distilled corn and grain.

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  5. After re-reading the comments from the last article, can’t say where I read it was the fans fault for PITT football being mediocre over any period of time. I did read where the fans are mediocre for blaming something happening over 40 years ago or any reasonable explanation why PITT lost last year to North Carolina because of past history? Sorry, I just can’t understand how 40 years ago is relevant to the present. Except maybe someones reluctance to get over a loss of a football game.. Cry me a river. Let’s watch this year and see what happens.

    I get that last season sucked. Just like the Heather vacation, let’s see who has the last laugh.

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  6. Reed, you really jumped the gun here. Do you understand this season hasn’t been played yet? Do you really think you don’t come off as 100% negative? It boggles my mind. ike

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  7. Overall it’s simple. The good guys we get aren’t as many as the number of good guys they get. This requires all sorts of stuff to happen to overcome those numbers. That hasn’t happened in over 35 years. We have to do all sorts of things to compete, and getting that just right is almost impossible. Just a different version of Wanny’s “run faster”

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  8. The most alarming thing that I’ve read concerning recruiting were the comments made by Reed in a previous thread. To paraphrase, the Pitt coaches are bad at recruiting, not just bad, but inept. Promises not delivered, phone calls not returned etc.. These were from first hand conversations he had with recruits and their families. It really bothered me and changed my views about Narduzzi. I had assumed that he ran a pretty tight ship and wouldn’t settle for incompetence but it appears I was mistaken.

    Then Jeff Capel comes in and has immediate success. It makes me wonder.

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  9. My football knowledge could fill a thimble, but here is how I interpret the 2 competing sides on Pitt recruiting. The optimists point to the fact that football is a team sport and that the average numeric rating of Pitt’s recent recruiting classes is making slow incremental gains. The more, let’s say cautious crowd, point to a decrease in the number of big time stars in Narduzzi’s recruiting classes as a harbinger of more 5-7 seasons. Each side can point to successful programs with similar recruiting profiles. The wildcards in such comparisons are the actual coaching ability of the team’s staff, strength of schedule, and overall university commitment. So what have I left out and what have we learned. My guess is the season hinges on Pickett’s development above all else.

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  10. One can be a realist and not be considered a pessimist or ‘fake news.’

    Narduzzi has recruited many high 3 stars. I’ll give him credit for that. I’m just not sure if his staff can coach them up and develop players or even use them in the right way.

    I do like his use of social media and energy. But, Pipelines to powerful high schools are critical and these relationships take time. But again, The clock is ticking and we Pitt fans are an impatient bunch.

    Narduzzi hasnt been able to reel in those elite 4 stars that Pitt truly does need to compete for Conference championships. Execution seems to be an issue since I believe Pitt has all the selling points despite a bland game day experience (eg 30k yellow seats).

    I do however believe in stability and continuity for the program since I believe that has been a hindrance to Pitt’s ability to sustain any momentum and to attract recruits. So I would practice tough love with Narduzzi.

    But make no mistake, Pitt needs football to be successful since it makes or breaks Pitt’s athletic programs. Our basketball program nearly broke Pitt’s back. Football could inflict far greater damage if it implodes.

    Think about it. Pitts athletic budget is around $60 million. It ranks in the bottom half of spending in the ACC to support 19 programs. The football budget is most likely around $40 million but it probably breaks even at best and years when attendance falls under 45k like last year (35k), it probably loses at least $5-$10 million.

    And in a year when basketball goes from a modest profit to losing over $20 million, Pitt is damn lucky it wasnt forced to make program cuts.

    I dont think many truly understand how important that $27 million dollar check is from the ACC. It pretty much subsidizes Pitt’s Olympic sports since those programs run a deficit.

    If Pitt was still in the Big East making a $5 million dollar check, I dont see how 19 programs could be supported.

    So the success of football is critical. Not because it is a profit maker but because there is significant risk to lose even more millions than the basketball program.

    For Pitt football to succeed, it will obviously take coaching, recruits and some luck. Pitt will generate a solid 30k each year regardless of record. Look at the past 40 years. At Pitt’s height (early 80’s), it had low 50’s in attendance. But there is a solid core of loyal supporters who will show regardless of record. Credit to their loyalty. Few programs out there can match it given what Pitt has been through. Truly remarkable.

    So winning does help but it will also take some savy marketing and building fans at a young age (exremely critical). And Heather has been on record for undertanding that…a refrwshing change from the previous leadership.

    So unless Pitt is in the BCS hunt or has a Heisman candidate, you’re looking at $45k in attendance each year. Thats breakeven at best. Cultivating new fans will take time but they are the future. I envy them since they most likely will see games at an on campus venue. 🙂

    So the bottom line of my rambling is Pitt cant drop the ball on football. The program is critical to the overall success of Pitt athletics. It must find ways to make it profitable, good and solid. If it becomes a huge drain on resources, Pitt must be willing to cut expenses in the program. Its not untouchable.

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      1. then Victory Heights should include a plan to build a multi purpose venue with 45k capacity and ability to expand another 5k if needed. I’m pretty sure the VA hospital will be gone in 10-15 years.

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  11. We will all feel better about recruiting when we can fence off our own back yard and keep the cream of the WPA crop home or has that train left the station not to pass this way again ?

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    1. Boy, wouldn’t that be a great start Bernie. But you’re boardering on negativity here.

      Pitt seems to have to have big stars to win a lot of football games, it’s the way our history has been and this was the first year we didn’t have that and so it was also the first year we’ve seen only five wins in 11 years.

      I don’t know if I’m negative but I’m just putting the facts out there and that is a hell of a correlation.

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  12. I remember some local recruits a year or 2 ago getting interested in coming to Pitt because they said that Narduzzi was having the team trending up. Translation: More wins. More wins = national exposure, night games, etc. and a better blow game.

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  13. a good blow would either Vegas or Miami
    a good bowel game is always Detroit
    now a real Bowl game I think would be New Orleans. On Bourbon Street you can get blown, do blow and crap yourself all in public and nobody would say a thing.

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  14. Yup, you have to give them a reason to stay home. Right now, the best players see other, more viable options. Home town school doesn’t cut it nowadays.

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  15. The longer the current trend goes, mediocre to good seasons, but out of the top 25, the harder it will be to get to that next level.

    There was some good fan energy when HCPN was hired and he had the back to back 8 wins. But the bowl losses mattered and the excitement was tempered at best, perhaps not for all fans but seemingly for HS recruits.

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  16. The quip pipeline has gone from western pa to north central west virgna. That should take precedence for correcting. Gotta get at least 4 kids from flurrrrrrida each year too!

    I say this every year. Our recruiting has been fine with all 3 stars, but we need to get four 4 stars each year to be really good for a really long time.

    As far as the Dairy college coach being really good, I disagree. Their schedule is very easy but they do play 4 tough teams per year which is part of the big14 scam. OSU,MSU, Michigan and Dairy are on the schedule. In a great year if you go 3-1 against them you will have a chance for playoff. The big14 always votes their teams in the polls which also helps strength of schedule.

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  17. Clarification. I do not think Reed is 100% negative towards PITT football. I think he could come off to many as being that from those that don’t know him as well as some of us at the POV.

    75%? Yeah that’s closer to the truth in my mind.

    😉

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  18. I think Reed calls it as he sees it. If he sees good it’s probably good – if he sees bad it’s probably bad.
    Seems straight forward to me: Reed calls em’ as he sees em’.
    In my book that’s all I can ask for!

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  19. I didn’t think the post was negative, and I’m an extremely optomistic Pitt fan.

    I agree that I do not yet know if we have any super stars on the team. We probably do, but we have yet to see any so far this year.

    The star ratings are flawed, but there is not much else to go on until kids actually play d1 ball.
    Can’t translate potential to performance. Can only speculate that someone seems like they will do very well and hope that they exceed expectations.

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  20. Reed. Great article. From my perspective, you’re 100% realist. Many posters don’t want to hear the truth. Our recruiting is mediocre. Not horrible, but nowhere near what we need to challenge for the league championship. We lose more of the few great players in WPA than we keep. Heck, we may be the worst program in the nation when it comes to successfully recruiting legacy players.

    All the nonsense about the need to win before we can recruit or the need to have a full stadium is just a bunch of hooey. Jeff Capel walked into the worst team in the ACC and a horrible attendance situation and recruited a 4 star right away. Good recruiters find a way to win. Losers make excuses.

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  21. The effect of a Superstar QB can overcome a lot of mediocre recruiting! Pickett is the man and I will pay to see him. I think a lot of what Reed has posited is probably true but I love Pitt Football and I’ll be damned to if I am not going to be optimistic about the coming season! If it’s SOP during the season…so be it.

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  22. Reed, thanks for the article.

    I too think Pitt needs to recruit better. This year and next will be the true measure of Narduzzi’s coaching. There are no excuses. Get back ti 8 wins or better.

    Hard to believe that will happen this year with the offense.

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  23. Your AD needs to be aligned with your head coach. The AD should easily see the need to win more games. The AD can help that along with a softer schedule, which in theory, should lead to more wins, which should lead to a ranked team. At that point, you need to improve recruiting because the narrative changes to being a win or two away from playoffs, which makes recruiting so much easier. It will also get the local 4 stars (if any), to want to be a part of something special. Narduzzi did have momentum, but the schedule and lack of star power killed the momentum.

    As far as Capel, he had the pedigree of Duke. He can sell the dream because he lived it for a long time. Completely different story. Also, typically a basketball coach needs to only hit on 3-4 big time players every year. In football, 3-4 big time players get you to 7-5.

    As far as the vote on Reeds leanings, I think he doesn’t necessarily lean any way. Look, the truth hurts at times. Each issue stands on its own. i can sit here and type that Ike is perceived as overly positive and Upitt can be viewed as overly negative by some (not me buddy!). Reed agrees and is impressed with Narduzzi off the field management of the team. That is positive. Reed thinks recruiting lacks star power. I kind of agree. Do we have a lot of solid 3 stars, sure. Do I think that is good enough? Not with our schedule lately. It would be good enough against a Dairy schedule.

    Do I agree with statistics, no, but you need them to help inform an article. Gotta scoot!

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  24. Reed, where is your analysis of how many times we have had numerous star players in the last 25 years yet we only finished ranked a small handful of time in that timeframe? (Sean Gilbert, Reuben Brown, Curtis Martin, Antonio Bryant, Gerald Hayes, Larry Fitz, Darrell Revis, Shady McCoy, Dion Lewis, Jabal Sheard, Aaron Donald, Tyler Boyd, Dorian Johnson, James Conner) …

    The problem is NOT the star players … the problem is that we have never had enough other players to support the star players. In recent times, I can only think of two times … 2002 and 2009 … where we really showed a real good balance of support players at all positions. And there was no greater example than 2016, when we were loaded with 4-stars (and one 5-star) on the offense … but only had Whitehead on the defense, who was surrounded by mainly 2-stars.

    Pitt has always had great players … but very little results in the past 25 years.

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    1. Agree, except for now, not sure we have any great players. Maybe Ford and Pickett become great, but who knows. Even with that, two is not enough. It looks like we have the support players on defense, but not so sure about offense. Also that is 15 great players over thirty years.

      When we were really great, we had multiple great players at the same time, and very few weaknesses.

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    2. “Reed, where is your analysis of how many times we have had numerous star players in the last 25 years yet we only finished ranked a small handful of time in that timeframe?”

      I dunno – how about you draft up an article about that.

      All I know is if you look back at Pitt’s modern history every time we had 8+ wins we had at least one or two star players and more often than not a superstar among them.

      Liked by 1 person

  25. Who do you all see as stars this year? Who is going to step up? Someone always does.

    My Picks…

    Offense:
    Pickett
    Aston
    Bookser
    Shocky Jacques-Louis

    Defense:
    Dane Jackson
    Wirginis – I doubt this one but after the spring game I was encouraged.
    Weaver
    Paris Ford

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    1. Who stepped up last year? Pickett in the Miami game. Ollison in the Miami game. Hall for one game.Possibly Lopes.

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  26. By the way, I wouldn’t call Whitehead a star player. If he would have built on his freshman year, he would have been a high draft pick. If you told me he was going to get drafted in the same round as Maddox after his freshman year I would have called you crazy.

    Instead he chose to be unreliable by getting suspended. Thus my doubts for Wiriginis. They certainly are not team leaders. Whitehead could have been a star.

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  27. Last year the optimists were counting on the young guys and transfers to step up. Most were counting on the O-line to be good. None of this happened.

    We should be better this year, because of more experience and hopefully better QB play. The question is, will it be good enough to result in wins vs an abnormally difficult schedule?

    The optimist says the O-line will be OK, The realist says probably not. The pessimist says no @#$%^& way.

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  28. SantaCruzer – Football and basketball are two different sports and in basketball we hired a coach known for recruiting. In football we hired a guy who is modeling the program after Michigan St … in which case they are tracking just fine.

    You’re right about not being ready to compete for championships … that’s kind of my point too. Pitt didn’t hire a guy capable of skipping steps. That’s the reality. The other reality is he was given an extension so he’s not going anywhere soon so it’s better to just stay the course.

    Pitt is recruiting solidly and evenly across position groups. I agree Pitt needs some superstars but the team is very young so not many have had a chance … yet.

    When we hired a guy like Duzz, it was always going to come down to years 4 and 5. The defense started turning a corner last season. They have to build on it this season. The offense is where the defense was last season. They have to start turning a corner by the end of the season.

    Next season both groups should have depth and experience and be clicking on all cylinders.

    If we don’t see the defense capitalize on last season or the offense starting to come around by the end of the season then I’m changing the tune on Duzz.

    … But I’m to reserve judgement until then. It’s a process to rebuild a football program. Duzz has repeatedly said he’s building a sustainable program not flash in the pan seasons. That’s important. It’s how you weather the constant turnover in college football and injuries. 5 years of depth of your players with even recruiting.

    Pitt did not hire a quick fix and leave in a cloud of dust guy. Pitt hired someone they saw as a longterm leader of the program.

    All this entitled stuff. Duzz should … Pitt should … We deserve …

    We don’t deserve jack. Pitt was a terribly run program by terrible administrators for way too long. Most of the problems with the program are institutional and cultural. Mediocrity was acceptable.

    I know that sound odd being how mediocre Pitt’s been under Duzz but we’re still the stabilize the program phase … the good news is we’re beginning to exit that … this season.

    For all the talk of reality, a lot of you ignore the fact that change takes time. Instant gratification is not reality.

    Like I said, I’ll start getting the life boat ready at the end of this season if things I mentioned don’t start happening … but I’m going to wait until the end of the season. This season.

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    1. totally agree
      i think where many of us are concerned is that we dont see the 4 stars coming in like we saw under wanny
      those 4 stars produced our first 10 win season in decades
      and i think the jury is still out (hence the anxiety) on whether this staff can coach up those high potential players and put them in the right positions to succeed.

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      1. TX – I agree. It has to happen. He had four 4 stars very recently … heart defects decimated it, however. And you even admit the 3 stars in this last class were better than previous recruiting classes. I think they’re close but they have crack that top 25 to get the “on the fence” kids to hop over the fence. Like I said, the program really has to start turning a corner by the end of the year. It’s a very important season for Pitt football. Reasons and excuses are running out of runway.

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    2. Football and basketball are clearly different situations in that a basketball program can be turned more quickly with 2-3 superstars. Football takes longer. That said, my point is about recruiting. The issue that is the same for basketball or football is that great recruiters are able to sell their vision. Capel has it. Not sure that Narduzzi does. If recruiting doesn’t pick up this year, we’re not going to turn the corner. We’ll be a 7-5, 8-4, 6-6 type of program for the foreseeable future.

      I do agree with you regarding the administration. This group wants to win and seems to be willing to spend some money to do it. Of course, we’ve had over 30 years of practice being mediocre which makes it hard to be optimistic. I’ve seen this movie too many times. The pattern just repeats. I hope I’m wrong, but I see no evidence from Narduzzi to lead me to believe we’ll be any better then middle of the pack.

      I’ll leave you with one last thought regarding the time it takes to turn a program around….I’ve been waiting over 30 years for this program to get it’s act together (and I’m not alone). If anything, Pitt fans have been too patient. I’m surprised that we have any fans left after the shit show we’ve been watching for years. What I look for in terms of progress is directionality. Are we progressing year to year? Year 1 of Narduzzi was very positive. 8 wins was a big improvement. Year 2 was not really a progress year but at least we didn’t slip backwards. Last year was a huge disappointment. 5-7 in a coaches third year is not progress. This year is going to be huge. If we can manage 7 wins we’ll be moving in a somewhat positive direction. 8 would be great. 6 or less is a very bad indicator. We shall see.

      SantaCruzer

      Like

  29. Well I would like to meet the PITT football fan who says he doesn’t want PITT and Narduzzi to recruit better. In fact, I don’t think there are many fans from schools in the country that doesn’t say they would like more and better players. Would you like any 4 stars with those 5 stars sir? Yes please I’ll take a dozen or so, chop chop. I also think it’s universally agreed upon that the higher the star ranking the better the player and having higher star players should make it much easier to win more games. The question becomes. Do having 4 and 5 star players guarantee more wins though? I guess that depends on how we define winning more games.

    Naturally we throw out two teams who recruit similar to PITT, Texas A&M and Wisconsin simply because of..??? They win? or because they are silly comparisons because they are outliers? Huh? We throw them out because they contradict ones position. If nothing else those two teams do tell the opposite story of PITT by way of commitment and continuity to their football programs. One way or another these two programs tell the story why it is PITT has had a tough go of it lately. They haven’t mucked it up for themselves and thrown away decades because of the lack of a vision. Hello Heather…

    On the other hand there is a group of players right now that Narduzzi gets credit for recruiting. Hamlin, Watts, Reeves, Ford, Davis, Flowers, Hill and Pugh. Your eight four star players. What gave they done for PITT so far? Not much. Could it be that they just haven’t been on the team long enough to become great contributors? I think so. Look at Dinucci last year, he was a major player for PITT last year. Not a 4 star but a slightly older player who did get quality playing time last year.

    I guess what I’m saying is that just recruiting star players do not guarantee anything in the big picture. It takes a village to raise a child and the entire football program to have a winning team. Excuse me for believing that priories have been put straight up on the hill in Oakland but it will still take more time. Look into the eye.. . ike

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    1. Hill and Pugh are gone. Hamlin has been injured. The rest are very young.

      But no four stars last year is not good. Is it an anomaly, hopefully.

      The year before was a banner year for stars in the WPIAL, Narduzzi under-performed.

      I remember someone saying not to worry about Dixon’s recruiting because he had all these stars lined up.

      They didn’t come and he is gone. Just sayin.

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    2. Naturally we throw out two teams who recruit similar to PITT, Texas A&M and Wisconsin simply because of..??? They win? or because they are silly comparisons because they are outliers? Huh? We throw them out because they contradict ones position. If nothing else those two teams do tell the opposite story of PITT by way of commitment and continuity to their football programs. One way or another these two programs tell the story why it is PITT has had a tough go of it lately. They haven’t mucked it up for themselves and thrown away decades because of the lack of a vision. Hello Heather…”

      Ike – this is what I meant when I said it was silly – I just didn’t spell it out. The athletic administration and infrastructure at both schools are so much better than Pitt has had over the last 15+ years there is no comparison.

      Now – give Pitt that type of support, a good HC, pay for and keep good staff coaches and have 100% fan support and maybe we’d be like them with 3* players. But we aren’t. Recruit’s talent is one thing – getting the utmost out of them and having them play together as a team is another thing all together.

      Maybe we’ll see that with Gallagher, Lyke and Narduzzi if they can get the funding – another thing those two schools leave us in the dust in:

      Highest earning Schools in 2017:

      #13 – Texas A&M – $74M ($194M in all sports; #1 nationally)

      #14 – Wisconsin – $71M ($137M in all sports; #12 nationally)

      We are poor, poor, poor and will probably have to float a bond or get creative financing for Victory Heights – some schools like the above can pay that of in a few years.

      This is what I mean when I say that our staff coaches and coordinators, who I think are as important if not more so than the HC, need to be paid more than peanuts.

      Like

  30. Although Football and Basketball are different, I see a similarity in Dixon bringing in all the transfer centers, and Narduzzi bringing in the JUCO linemen.It shows a weakness in recruiting, and will probably get similar results. I do agree that some of this is on Chryst because there are no red shirt seniors, or seniors other than Bookser. O’Neil leaving early hurt a great deal, but that is part of the game. However, shouldn’t some of the redshirt sophomores be ready to contribute? Johnson started as a freshman, Bisno as a redshirt freshman.
    O’Neil starred as a sophomore.

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  31. Where would Chryst have been if he didn’t get Boyd and Conner? You need impact players.
    They lead us to our eight win seasons.

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  32. That’s what I meant and saying gc. Agree with you. Narduzzi’s 4th year hasn’t started yet and all I keep reading is how Narduzzi’s players haven’t done anything after 4 years.

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  33. For starters, we need to put to rest that Reed is not a Pitt guy who wants them to be successful. Not sure where this is coming from. No one puts in the effort that Reed does for this blog without strongly wanting Pitt to do well. Secondly, the FB recruiting is just not where it needs to be to be a consistent top 25 program. There should be sufficient consistency among 3 star recruiting to adequately provide depth for potential 4 star injuries and deficiencies that ike spoke about while reasonably maintaining the wins vs. losses. Not all 4 stars will become good players or have the character and dedication to football that is needed at this level.

    However, having a few national level star players increases interest in the program and will get a college some much needed publicity. Realisticly, it is important when star players end up on the football magazine covers because it says much about the college program and helps recruiting. And another much needed characteristic is leadership. This can come from 3 stars who give 100% and know how to lead in the locker room. We don’y always know what goes on in the locker room or the events that lead to disciplinary actions. Disgruntled players can destroy a program. Pitt’s recruiting results are not yet sufficient to compensate for all of these situations.

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  34. @Ike – you didn’t just throw out a dinucci reference did you….UGGGH!

    He was not a major player. He was below average at best. He did get quality playing time but it was obvious to everyone, including the coaches, that he was not a major player. You have to agree with that, brother. Pick somebody else as an example of low stars (how about Aston?) supplementing the bigger stars. Don’t pick Dinucci.

    Pitt needs to secure 4, four star recruits per year. After compensating for injury, flame outs, flunk outs, drug outs, etc., we should have at least a constant 12 on the starting team or two deep every year. This allows the supplementals, not deplorables to make a great contribution.

    Focus on a lighter schedule will help align to strategy of winning games and conferences and better recruits taking notice. No alignment = confusion, inconsistency and early bowl games.

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    1. Huff, my Dinucci reference was limited to him being the starting QB. That to me is a major player. I really didn’t want to beat the kid up by elaborating anymore than that.

      Is it legal to use walk-ons as example’s? << That’s a joke. Weaver was a two star and he played a lot last year and looks to be a “major” player this coming season. Brightwell has played as much as all the four star players put together. How’s that Huff the third?

      Like

      1. We may be regretting his departure if things go south with Pickett. I’ll take a kid who has played in a bunch of games and thrown TDs in some of them over a kid with no D1 passes at all. Not even mop-up duty at Arkansas.

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  35. I’ll say this many times before and will continue. The day of Pitt FB dominance has been far over. Pitt offers nothing unique in addition to the fact that we compete in an NFL city, play in front of empty seats and have a dwindling area talent base.

    Anybody who thinks Pitt as a FB school is delusional … in this millennium, Pitt has definitely been a BB school, and it is the main reason why it got an ACC invite. And thankfully. it’s much easier to rebuild a BB program, especially when you play in the most exposed conference and have a very attractive venue … two things that FB doesn’t have.

    There has been nothing since the late 80s that should give you FB fans any real hope. Yes, occasionally we can hope to play for a Coastal championship but that’s about it. When the program’s only league championship occurred as a result of a 4-team tiebreaker in a 7 team league .. and then went on to be totally dominated in the bowl … this should be a wake-up call. Not to mention the fact that we have had just one ten win season since 1982. … ONE!

    Yes, we should expect a team that wins more than its loses .. but the perspective on this site is delusional IMO. wwb

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  36. gc – Lineman take longer to develop. That is the reason for the JUCO’s and transfers at that position. Overall, the reason Duzz is doing that is because of the uneven recruiting before he got here. Chryst got some good players but he also completely neglected some position groups. I don’t think many would dispute that. Most teams add transfers and JUCO’s. It’s a quick fix to depth and experience. Ideally, not many are starting or playing key roles. Pitt doesn’t have the existing depth and experience yet, however, to afford that luxury.

    From my perspective, Duzz has also sacrificed depth in order to redshirt as many players as possible … which is a good thing. This is in line with a long term approach and not sacrificing the overall success of the program with in-season moves.

    I know the big flaw to this is Kenny Picket last season and Damar Hamlin. I think injuries and snap judgements played a role. I also think with Kenny that they had already decided if Max was injured he’d play that season so in their minds one play didn’t matter. It’s still questionable based on how long they took to get him back out there but it may end up panning out with the way he closed the season. And they did a good job getting him up to speed in practice in the meantime.

    I wouldn’t disagree with those that said that there was a little bit of luck involved with that decision. I also wouldn’t disagree with those that say it was a bad decision. I also don’t believe that either the Hamlin or Picket decisions hurts Pitt long term … and Hamlin may still get a medical redshirt, even if it’s s long-shot.

    Duzz is not perfect. He’s made some mistakes. I haven’t seen any mistakes that were bigger than anything Walt Harris, Wanny or Chryst have made however … and all three were criticized for in-game and program decisions. Par for the course, in my book.

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    1. Agree on all counts. My real problem with PN is his recruiting. If we bounce back and win 8+ wins with his own kids in the two deep then i’ll say I was mistaken. I don’t think he’s a bad in-game coach really, took two years to figure out when to take or not take a Time Out though…:)

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  37. Keep talking like that, Anon, and you will be called a Pitt hater, or worse, a spy Nitter..

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    1. I am wwb and have been called much worse, not to mention a few threats. I have also said many times that I am not a Pitt alum and probably have a different perspective than the alums here … however, while you can disagree with my opinions, you cannot question my passion for Pitt FB and BB

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  38. Huff, to start competing for the ACC I 100% agree Pitt will need at least four 4 star recruits per class. That’s two steps from now, however. Pitt has to crack that top 25 barrier first, IMO … which I think we’re close to doing. And once they do, I think Pitt is set up to consistently be there which will make the next step a little easier. At that point it’s adding the star power that Reed mentions.

    Like

  39. @wwb – I don’t think anyone is talking about dominance, seriously. Well, maybe some of the optimists. 🙂 Pitt fans can’t use the word dominance in any sport, except perhaps, frisbee.

    Words are really important. The ACC Coastal is winnable every year as proven since there has been an ACC Coastal. Somebody always wins it. The question is, who will win it next year. Pitt has been close and can’t get over the hump.

    Let me go back to scheduling. Easier OOC schedule gives kids confidence they didn’t have going 2-2 in OOC. It’s a process to turn a program around. The Dairy did it by executing on an easy ooc schedule and really only needing to worry about MSU, Mich and OSU each year. They could beat Indiana, Rutgers, Illinois, Maryland, App St., Kent St. and Iowa, nearly blindfolded this year. They also got Wisky instrad of Purdue this year which will be difficult and of course, Pitt. That puts them at 7 wins without trying and gives players confidence. Their other games are MSU, Mich and OSU. In good years, they go 3-2 and finish 10-2. In bad years they go 2-3 and finish at 9-3. In really bad years they got 1-4, but still finish 8-4.

    That is how you snooker the press and the voters. That is how you recruit to win. When 8-4 will be your worst year, recruits can dig on that and feel they can make a difference. Schedule, schedule, schedule.

    Confidence is also critical. Pitt players can start to expect to win when they take the field. It is a completely different mindset. A coach can only say so much. Players have to feel it and know it.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Agreed – but then the fan base complains about the easy OOC and doesn’t attend home games – damned if you have easy and damned if you have difficult.

      Like

      1. The fans didn’t show for OKST last year, so why schedule tough teams unless they are a draw like PSU and WVU.

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  40. One thing that should stand-out in the 2018 FB team- leaders . On the field leaders were AWOL last year.

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      1. Let’s name the possible leaders for this team –

        Aston gets my top vote.
        Bookser because he seems to have cleaned up his act. I don’t throw stones, I give 2nd chances.

        Wirginis – see Bookser above.
        Briggs because he was a captain as a JR last year. Duzz trusts this young man – he may be the Nickel Back.

        Pickett seems to be a natural leader and could replace any one of the four above.

        H2P!

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  41. Wow really good thread. A few thoughts…

    We will have at least 3 all ACC players this year. None of them will be four stars (unless maybe Hamlin gets it together)
    Conner was a star at Pitt but he wasn’t a star when he was recruited.
    Thank you Tossing Thabeets for your rational and level-headed approach to this topic.

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  42. Last comment was me… Met with Greg Sasser, my Carolina buddy,last evening and we discussed preliminary plans for the PITT vs Carolina tailgate..Never too soon to plan a great party !!! One thing to remember about Kenan Stadium on a sunny September afternoon–it’s a long slow 4 hour sun-bake in the PITT section…ask Dr. Tom. !!!…If you are going think about getting tickets on the Carolina side.

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  43. wwb, I’ve been reading your posts for quite a while and didn’t realize you were the Anon. You are certainly an avid follower of the POV, and a loyal Pitt fan. I really enjoy your comments and insight into these matters, and look forward to additional insights in the future! 🙂

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    1. I am not the only Anon, there are others … I almost always identify myself when do ujse the Anon, normally at the bottom as this

      wwb

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  44. Huff, I know some Pitt beer drinkers who could hoist a glass with anyone! Their chairs were bronzed at the Luna. Does that count as a Pitt sport?

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  45. JoeL…time only allowed us to get the front nine in after 5 hours at Busch Gardens and % year old grandson’s dinner reservation at 6:30…we need to hook up and play there and play a full round. Heading to Bay Creek in Cape Charles on the Eastern Shore to play the Palmer and Nicholas courses in June.

    BTW..that Anon who posted about the 2018 team having leaders was me….

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  46. OL Tony Pilato is leaving Pitt program. Believe he is a 4th year player who barely played.
    Best wishes

    wwb

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      1. Why does Pilato leaving back up Reed’s criticism of OL line recruiting? How about Pugh leaving and MacVittie and DiNucci also leaving? Who should we credit for those three leaving? I guess we may be the only team that has players leaving when it doesn’t look like they are going to get much playing time.

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        1. I don’t know that. Maybe pilato didn’t think he was being taught well enough…or maybe he was told he wasn’t good enough to start.

          But usually the players who transfer are unhappy with the staff in some way.

          Also, and this is a big also, some players are told the aren’t welcome back for a variety of reasons that have nothing to do with playing time. Most of the time it is for disciplinary or academic failure – mostly discipline though.

          When a player gets out of line with rules and regulations and he’s being suspended for a specific time period but will be back on the team after the suspension is lifted then Pitt makes that public – or fills in the news blanks.

          But if a player up and disappears out of nowhere without there being a police record or any public info about his negative actions Pitt won’t acknowledge the dismissal.

          I know Pitt fans don’t want to believe this but it happens at all schools and every single year at Pitt.

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    1. Brian Batko in the PG:

      “In three seasons with the Panthers, Pilato never worked his way up to starter status. He redshirted as a freshman, didn’t play any snaps in 2016 and saw action in 12 games last year, mostly on special teams. Pilato was listed on the depth chart as the backup to left tackle Brian O’Neill last season, but coach Pat Narduzzi brought in a graduate transfer at that position this offseason”

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  47. Not sure Pitt has the luxury of having anyone leave the OL at this time. Pilato was on the 2 deep OL currently wasn’t he?

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  48. Let me posit this question: Are there HC who are better than other HC. And I don’t mean in game situations. Or in recruiting? I mean in the whole package. Now let me posit a second question: If the answer to that question is in the affirmative, will that superior HC make a difference? Now a third question: If the answer to that question is in the affirmative, is PN a superior HC? After year one, I thought the answer to all three questions was “yes”. Now after last season, I really don’t know. I’ve learned a lot about PN. I’ve learned that his lack of HC experience mattered. I’ve learned that he is intent on running a clean program. I’ve learned that the high character he displayed at MSU is consistent with his intent to run a clean program at Pitt. But is he capable of being a Dabo Sweeney? Jury’s out my friends which if you consider wwb’s appropriate pessimism after our 35 years of wandering in the desert, is not such a bad thing. Pessimist, optimist, realist, anyone?

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  49. Pitt’s offensive line is as follows:

    Redshirt Freshman: 4
    Redshirt Sophomore: 3
    Redshirt Junior: 2 (both transfers … Devon Davis/Chase Brown)
    Redshirt Senior: 3 (Chryst)

    The redshirt Junior’s are both transfers. The redshirt junior class is also the class Duzz had to assemble in 30 days. There are no true recruits in that class.

    I’m not sure how you can make a judgement on the offensive line recruiting when the the only recruits are redshirt freshmen and sophomores. That’s asinine. They haven’t played much yet and are very young.

    Duzz has two offensive line classes recruited into the program (not including the newest class). If freshman and sophomores are filling out your line in the ACC you are in trouble.

    They don’t have any offensive lineman in the redshirt junior class. Ideally you want a line of redshirt juniors and seniors. Pitt does not have that and, therefore, have to get creative in how to fill that position group out.

    Until they, play (or don’t), I really don’t understand how you can have any opinion on the offensive line recruiting. They haven’t made it to the starting lineup yet … nor should they have. The offensive line, out all the positions on the field, requires the most experience from a position group perspective.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Remember – on May 12th we get another 5th year SR in Stefan Milan, a grad transfer from Kent State. I watched his 2017 Clemscum game where he played the entire game against a top DL and gave up ZERO sacks and his guy he was blocking had one or two tackles at most.

      The 2-deep will be fine. Four 5th year SR starters plus one RS SO. Two JUCO’s and three RS SO’s as back-ups.

      H2P!

      Like

    2. Well Tossing consicdering speculation is exactly what people do on blogs and message boards I have a hard time understand why you miss that. Of course no one knows how they will play.

      No one knew how Paterman would play – everyone on he felt he was brought in to be Voytik’s backup only. I felt he’d grab the starter’s job right away and do very well – that was speculation.

      No one knew how Browne was going to play when he transferred in so people speculated like crazy that he was going to do well – some saw stardom at Pitt for him.

      I didn’t think that way so i called and wrote to people who watched him play at USC then took that info to form an opinion on his future at Pitt. – that was an informed opinion.

      Big difference but we all speculate on here in almost every comment we post.

      When Erie calls for a 9 win season in 2018 that is speculation. If he says after watching Lopes catch the ball that he has the skills to be our leading receiver that is his opinion. If he says Lopes WILL BE the leading receiver that is speculation.

      We do this 24/7 on here. I just happen to do my homework and research well enough to make pretty good predictions.

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  50. I have one single idea that would help this team immediately and significantly…

    Pay the money to hire Jim Huber back as the OL coach and give him a long term contract so he’s here no matter who the HC is…

    Liked by 1 person

  51. Experience (good and bad) is a great teacher if you learn from it.

    Let’s not be so cavalier and think we have a squeaky clean program in any sport. Re-reading that made me sad due to our averageness. Yes, it’s a new word.

    Reed, welcome back and my condolences on the loss of your Aunt. She had a following and if we had thought about this a little bit, we could have given her a pov send off by trending her on google! Would have been a great idea.

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  52. The correlation concerning PITT not getting the four star recruits from the WPIAL is.. ready… drum roll………… there isn’t any.

    Devonshire is considered by some to be a 4* but I seriously don’t know if it’s Rivals rankings? Losing Kristovic (3*) ?? The kid didn’t want to play where his father did. Plain and simple and good luck to him. WPIAL is way down this coming season.

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  53. Someone asked earlier which other player has left the team this spring? We now know the answer. Wasn’t Pilato part of that 30 day makeshift class?

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  54. Reeed,
    Huber was an excellent OL teacher. The best I have seen since Moore. Yes we need him big time. Borberly isn’t even close. ( Sorry Ike).

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    1. Not saying Borbely is Jim. You know my feelings. Give the person a chance before we take them out back of the woodshed. << Do they still do that in Houston?

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  55. Would be nice to read a positive article on Pitt football. Maybe something like which players could potentially break out as star players in the next season or two. Any suggestions? Just sayin.

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  56. There are lots of posters on here that could do a great job writing a positive article. I hope they do. I think it would be a great read.

    Like

  57. I’m disappointed that Heather didn’t lighten the FB schedule for this season, but I can see that her hands were kind of tied with ND and PSU being on the schedule.

    Wouldn’t have looked good to get out of the game at UCF, even though they were undefeated last season…

    Go Pitt!

    Like

    1. MM – Pitt will beat UCF and you’ll hear all kinds of comments Lyke this –

      “They lost their HC & coaching staff to Nebraska.”
      “Numerous starters graduated.”
      “Not a P5 Team.”

      I call BS. They beat Auburn in their bowel game and claimed the “fake” National Championship. UCF needs knocked down a peg or two.

      Pitt & Duzz will gladly be the hammer!

      H2P!

      .

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  58. Grizzled; your suggestion. “which players could potentially break out as star players in the next season or two.” is a great idea but it’s not necessarily a positive article it’s just not a doomsday one. Reed speaks his mind and backs up his opinions mostly with facts and finishing off with his feelings. I trust in Reed.

    As far as building an article to present, I don’t have to confess I lack the basic writing skills as so many on the POV have to write an article and maybe I’m to dumb to care. I love the POV and want it to thrive. If I did so can you all. Where is your all time favorite place to watch a PITT football game over the years? Boom, there is your article.. ike

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  59. grizz… something positive for U… the PITT Panthers enter the 2018 season with a 1 game winning streak kicking the #2 Miami Hurricanes ass and in the process shoving the “turnover bling” where the sun doesn’t shine.

    Get a functional OL to begin the season and a can of WUP a$$ will be unleashed…..

    Like

  60. “Would be nice to have a positive article….” my ass. Yes, my ass and you can kiss it.

    Hell – I practically begged you all to help me out while I was busy and away from home so you guys would have something to read and discuss each day…- and now you are suggesting a positive article from here??

    I didn’t get one email from any of you but you sure as hell can take the time to write, repeatedly, a few hundred words about how negative I am. You practically write fcking short stories on that fcking subject.

    That my friends pisses me off to no end

    Liked by 4 people

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