Again – here is a follow up on what we projected for last season’s unit productions compared to 2016’s play. As stated later on we’ll do one for 2017 – 2018 during fall camp when we have a better idea of the starting lineup.
Here is a bit I wrote last June about these positions:
Then again – it all goes back to how well our running backs are handling their end of the offensive equation. Last season our WRs had 89 carries from scrimmage and that worked well but who knows what OC Sean Watson really envisions of his offensive players.
In his last work as an OC Watson in Louisville he didn’t use his WRs to carry the ball hardly at all. In 2011 they had zero carries by a WR, in 2012 one and in 2013 three. Three years running an offense and a total of four WR carries. Are we sure he’s going to replicate Canada’s offense coming into his first year at Pitt or is he going to do what almost every new OC does when they piss around the perimeter of the practice field to announce it is now theirs to run?
We saw that writ large with Chaney then with Canada… I’ll wait to see what Watson does.
Even so with the returning WRs we have on roster and the fact that we have five with game experience – including the gazelle SR Jester Weah coming back I’ll say it is a …
WRs – UPGRADE
For the TEs:
Now let’s jump on over to the TEs and there we see it is a completely different story and it is a unit I have major concerns with. Departed SR Scotty Orndoff was a great all-around TE for us. He could block well in pass protection; get to the 2nd level and take out LBs for Conner and Henderson to romp downfield and also he was quick enough to get deeper down the field and block for other ball catchers to help extend their yards after the catch.
Top that off with a sterling reception showing himself and that is one big set of shoes to fill. Orndoff had 35 receptions for 579 at a 16.5 ypc clip with five TDs last year. You have to go decades back to find a Pitt TE not named Dorin Dickerson to match what Orndoff did in passing game production.
And really – he did better than All-American Dickerson in some ways in that Dickerson had 49 catches for only 529 yards at a lesser 10.8 ypc to go with his 10 TDs. J. P. Holtz didn’t come that close to Orndoff really, nor did Nate Byham…Darrel Strong came nearest with his 2007 year of 29 catches for 338 yards (11.3 ypc) and three TDs.
We also have a transfer TE coming on board in rsSR Mike Flanagan. He’s been a walk-on then a scholarship player at Rutgers but truth be told – and this is a great thing – his most notable collegiate achievements have been on the academic side. A three-year Academic All-Big Ten is nothing to sneeze at. But he has game experience and has caught passes – some for TDs…
We have rsSO Christopher Golightly Clark coming to the town nearest you to play the game of Football – and that spelled with a capital F and that stands for…
I know I shouldn’t make too much fun of this young man, after all he did get off the train at Penn Station. Whether he knew exactly where he was is another story…
TE – DOWNGRADE
Well, I think I missed on the WRs and was correct on the TEs. Weah’s regression was unexpected and the lack of consistent QB play hurt all the WRs ability to contribute. Here are our receiving stats comparison between the two seasons:
So you can see Lopes make a huge jump and Weah, even with five more receptions, pulls in 172 less yards… but more importantly six less TDs.
Again this is the difference between having a QB of Peterman’s quality play a full season and taking almost every snap opposed to the mish-mash QBs and their unconvincing (save for Pickett) play over the 2017 season.
Even though I labelled the 2017 WRs an “Upgrade” and the didn’t produce that way I do believe the talent on the WR unit was better than 2016’s with Lopes replacing Ford and Mathews getting more passes his way – but not as many as perhaps he should have.
our TE corps was a mess last season. An interesting note was that Clark was thrown to twice on third down plays and caught both balls but didn’t make 1st downs. One was on a 3rd and between 4-6 to go (he made one yard) and the other a 3rd and 10+ yards where he made five yards.
As a matter of fact Flanagan replicated that poor production failing to get 1st downs on three pass completions.
Look back at Orndoff alone in ’16 and he had 12 receptions on 3rd down eight of which he converted to 1st downs along with 2 TDs – and a 13.9 ypc on each reception.
Stat! The do tell a story don’t they.
2017’s TE class was a major downgrade even, I believe, with the lesser QBs.