We discuss recruiting on the POVat least once a week it seems and maybe moreso in the summer football doldrums.  It is perhaps the most important component to a successful football team. Notice I said “team” there and not football program – those are two different and distinct things in my eyes.

I strongly believe success in Pitt football runs on individual star performer’s power and production. We have seen that down through the years writ large. In the last 15 years we have had eight seasons of 8+ wins (hard to believe huh?) with three under Walt Harris, three under Dave Wannstedt and two, so far, under Pat Narduzzi.

15 years

Looking at which Pitt players powered those wins on the field I absolutely believe 4* players are integral to having winning seasons.  We can say all we want that a solid group of only 3* kids can be a perennial winning team but I have my strong doubts about that. There are outlier schools with that – Pitt isn’t one of them.

Here are some of the past 4* and 5* players who have been great producers for us and who all played on those winning teams above:

4* and 5*s:  Rod RutherfordTyler Palko , Larry Fitzgerald , Nate Byham, John Malecki, Jeff Otah, Aaron Berry, Dorin Dickerson, Chris Jacobson, LeSean McCoy, Adam Bisnowaty, Dorian Johnson, Tyler Boyd, Jordan Whitehead, Nate Peterman, etc…  All also made the NFL in one form or another – Whitehead will also I’m sure.

Almost every one of those players were All-Conference and some were All-Americans.  This is what happens when you pull in as many blue chip kids as you can. The higher recruiting stars matter, and don’t believe for a second that they aren’t a pivotal part of winning Pitt teams.

Yes, we see players like Darrelle Revis, James Conner, Dion Lewis, Aaron Donald and others rise up and grab stardom from the 3* and sometimes the 2* ranks, but the richer you are in the 4* and above, the better off you’ll be.  Again we have seen that play out at Pitt over the last decade especially.

What we do hear from Pitt fans are many excuses as to why Pat Narduzzi can’t do better than his latest recruiting classes.  A reminder: when I say a HC has ‘recruited” the HS players I mean he did the long and hard work of convincing the player, his family and in a lot of cases his HS coaches that it was in that player’s best interest to commit to play at Pitt…not just that the kid who was already committed into the recruiting class a new coach inherited.

To recap;  Narduzzi’s recruiting has gone like this:

In his segmented 2015 class Pat Narduzzi didn’t land any 4* kids who committed after he assumed the HC job.  Both Jordan Whitehead and Darrin Hall committed to the previous HC.  Narduzzi landed three 3* and four 2*s kids after his hiring to fill out that class.

In 2016 he had the a 29th ranked class consisting of 24 recruits and five 4* blue chippers.

In 2017 he dropped to a 38th ranked class with 24 recruits and three 4* kids.

In his 2018 class he stayed about even being ranked 36th  with 20 recruits but dropped down to only one 4* recruit.

At this writing so far we have zero recruits in the 2019 class. That is a bit disconcerting as HCPN had always gotten two or three recruits by this time in his previous three classes – including 4* Paris Ford. That will change though and let’s hope for the better.

Let’s take a look at the starting lineup for the late season VT game last season.  I want to point out two things.  First is that of the 22 starting offense and defense positions we had a grand total of four 4* Pitt recruits – by that I mean blue chip kids who Pitt actually recruited.

Two are on offense – RT Alex Bookser and RB Darrin Hall.  On defense we have two also in Safety Jordan Whitehead and CB Damar Hamlin.  That’s four of 22 or 18%.  Way too low and thus our five win season.

cccc

The second point from above is that we had six of the 22 players who were either transfers, walk-ons or had switched positions.  I do not believe you play successful football unless you can target and recruit high quality players from the HS ranks and have them at Pitt for a full four or five years to be taught by your own position coaches.

This drop in attracting blue chip recruits is puzzling to me because the norm is that  a head coach gets stronger and better recruits and classes the longer he is in his tenure… but the opposite seems to be happening with Narduzzi.  Why is that?

Well, if you read the comments we have had in the past articles you’ll see that Pitt fans point to such factors as poor attendance, not playing at an on-campus stadium, not getting proper support from the administration, the quality of WPA high school football has been lessened, etc and etc… But the truth is that Pat Narduzzi isn’t the first, or the last I’m sure, Pitt head coach to have to deal with these external factors.  Walt Harris had to deal with them to some extent (he played some at Pitt Stadium), as did Dave Wannstedt and Paul Chryst also.

Each Pitt head coach has his own way of doing the high school recruiting dance also.  It was well known that Dave Wannstedt’s recruiting team was a well-oiled machine and cultivated great contacts among the WPA HCs to start the recruiting process early.  He was very good at drawing local blue-chip players and targeting and landing diamond in the rough out-of-state players also.  His previous work in Southern Florida established a great pipeline there.

But the main thing Wannstedt did was name long-time Pitt employee and previous position coach Bob Junko as his recruiting Point Man.

“Widely known and respected throughout the tri-state area, Bob Junko has spent 25 years representing the Pitt football program in many important capacities.

After spending nearly four decades in the coaching ranks, Junko moved to the administrative side of college football in 2007. Serving as Pitt’s director of player development and high school relations since 2013, Junko’s tremendous football acumen and contacts are invaluable for the Panthers. 

  A past honoree on the Rivals Top 25 Recruiters list, Junko is especially instrumental with Pitt’s annual recruiting efforts and alumni outreach programs.  

  The 2018 season marks the 22nd year of Junko’s second tour with the Panthers. He initially coached at Pitt from 1982-85, serving as defensive coordinator under head coach Foge Fazio. Junko returned in 1997 as defensive tackles coach under Walt Harris and also served the program as assistant head coach.

Well, in my opinion all those reasons listed by fans above is excuse making and conveniently leaves out one most important factor in this issue – Pat Narduzzi’s actual recruiting ability.

When everything boils down in the rough and tumble game of recruiting the constant factor is going to be how well the head coach is thought of by recruits and their families and how good he is at getting them to buy into the Pitt football program.

What does that entail?  Especially what does it entail with the blue chip kids?

I mentioned above DW’s recruiting team. It was top shelf stuff.  We haven’t seen anything like that since he was fired.  Paul Chryst was a lopsided recruiter and didn’t have the energy or charisma that DW had and or what Narduzzi showed in his first full year here.

But I have also written about the administrative and communication problems in Narduzzi’s recruiting process since he’s been here.  I think that has had a lot to do with the decline over the last two classes. Energy and charisma only go so far when you are dealing with 290+ offers out and trying to land on-campus official visits (which he has been rather poor at doing).

Earlier on some of that may be contributed to by his being new to head coaching. But he has now attempted to rectifiy this in hiring a “highly-driven” Archie Collins . However he’s sticking with LB Coach Rob Harley as his Recruiting Coordinator which raises my eyebrows even further than before.   We’ll see how that goes in the future.

It’s no secret that I’m not optimistic that this coming season we’ll get back to the eight win plateau Narduzzi reached his first two years here.  Mainly because I believe he won those eight games on the strength of inherited players – some true star players that we haven’t seen replaced yet like Boyd and Conner.  I haven’t seen any of his “own” HS recruits rise above average play save for maybe Quadree Henderson on special teams.  That is a real problem going into his 4th year at the helm and the following shows the extent of his poor recruiting.

Here are previous Pitt recruits who were so critical in those eight win successes of the 2015 and ’16 seasons:  WR Boyd, RB Conner, OL Bisnowaty, OL Johnson, OL Bookser, DE Price, TE Orndoff, TE Holtz, DT Soto, CB Maddox, OL O’Neill… to name the principals.

Can you honestly look at the roster today and show me any replacements Narduzzi has recruited to make up for those graduated, or leaving early, losses?  I see only one or two who have already proven themselves to be above average on the playing field – maybe CB Dane Jackson?  Saleem Brightwell?  But even Brightwell will be sat down  this year for a rsSR who never started a game at MLB.

I’m not sure we can point to any other returning player(s) and say for sure that he’s anywhere close to being solid starter let alone a star player.  There are some with unrealized potential like Pickett, Hamlin, Ford and …. really who else at this point in time?  From the guys we have already seen play a full seasons’ worth of ball for us I think we have some decent starters. But that’s about it, decent –  again aside from those three just mentioned.

I don’t think decent is going to cut it with the OOC and ACC teams we have scheduled this year.

Edit:  Late addition Chart:

Breakouts

153 thoughts on “It’s All About the HS Recruiting Folks…

  1. I guess it’s alright to beg to disagree. My optimism is solely based on a much improved defense this season and much improved QB play provided we have Piclkett starting and playing the entire season. If Pickett goes down early in the season Pitt will once again be sitting home for the bowl season.

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  2. It’s hard to be that disappointed with Narduzzi’s class rankings of 29, 38, and 36 given how tough it is to recruit to pitt. Narduzzi is an average recruiter. Probably slightly ahead of previous coaches of the last 20 years other than wannstedt.

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  3. I agree with all that Reed posted above.

    However, there is one caveat. It’s interesting that Reed chose the VT game for the depth chart which pitted Pitt against a very talented and ranked team at their field. Evidence of its talent was that two 4-stars, the Edmunds brothers, were both first round draft picks. Yet, Pitt lost by one and could have easily won it as we all know. And then you all know what happened the following week when Pitt played a team with even more 4-stars.

    I do not disagree one bit that the more 4-stars a program has, the better chance it has to succeed. IMO, that is inarguable. However, I also agree with the strategy of focusing on the southern states where HS FB prospects flourish. 3-stars from FL have served Pitt very well in the past 20 years as we all know.

    Of the players listed above who were deemed as critical for the recent 8-wins seasons, half of them were 4-stars and indeed were key to Pitt’s success. But 3 of them were slated to go to PSU but reneged because of the sanctions. Now, not only are there no more sanctions, but PSU has become a major player on the national scene … like it or not. They haven’t been this big since the 80s when they won 2 national titles.

    Constantly competing for the blue chips with major players like PSU, OSU and ND takes it toll. I don’t now what the answer is … it’s not as if Pitt hadn’t tried. But once again, two recruiting stories should tell you all you need to know.,

    1) Donovan Jeter: His brother played BB at Pitt, he attended many BB games here as well as many fall practices and there has been many pictures that showed him talking with the coaches.He also tweeted many times on how much he liked the Pitt staff. He then took a visit to ND game and committed 2 days later

    2) Dorian Johnson. Chryst’s super recruiter Joe Rudolph was assigned to him … and why not?. Rudolph is a Belle Vernon native and alum. DJ also made a handful of visits to Pitt. But he and his mom went up for the weekend at Happy Valley, and he committed to them before he came home.

    wwb

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    1. Can I remind everyone of Dravon Henry’s recruitment by the Chryst regime – his mom said after he committed to wvcc that she could not trust DC House and she heard from many Pitt players that “things” were not good with the “program”.

      HCPN inherited that mess and is not only the CEO of the “program”, but also the janitor.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. FWIW .. My intention in the above post was not to throw shade on Chryst or anyone else from Pitt. i don’t think Pitt’s recruiting failures are due to lack of effort from any staff member –past or present, It is much more about the lack of appeal of Pitt compared to its competitors.

        wwb

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  4. @Erie Stop it with the he inherited a mess. Its his program and has been been for four years.

    Recruiting this year is off to a weak start. Back in the early spring for junior day, it was a really small turnout. The coaches had a hard time getting players to show up.

    Pat’s dream is to have 85 walk-ons who don’t talk back to the HC.

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    1. I don’t disagree that it is his program. But, the Pitt FB program is a shell of the one I saw when I was in school. My belief is Pat has a plan to get Pitt back into the top 25.

      Let’s revisit this subject in December.

      I’m focused on the current roster.

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  5. There are soooooo many things that go into a winning program. Like it or not, even if they are close to 4* status they are NOT four star players, they are 3*. You can do OK with these guys, but most likely will fall short of where we all want to be. The Duzz has whiffed on a lot of local talent, some of which I thought stunk, but he wanted them anyhow. Now, this may change this year, but up until now he’s gotten killed by WVU and PSU locally, as well as having ND come in and take whomever they wanted. You may say they always did that, well, not to this degree, with thiese highly rated players in such a short timeframe.

    If Chryst was a boring coach, the Duzz has turned into a snoozed of a recruiter. It’s been awhile since I’ve been excited about any of his guys. I want someone to be really excited about.

    The other stuff is that there needs to be a long term overall plan on how to approach the football program. From recruiting to scheduling to coaching to finance to alumni outreach to dealing with the media. They have to know this is a problem. Do they have a solution. The world wonders!

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  6. One thing I might question. Does the makeup of the current staff really know it’s product? By that I mean, do they understand what and where Pitt is and what they are selling. And are they targeting the right kids who this school will appeal to. There are kids we will never, ever get because , football aside, they do not like the urban campus. There are others, like Spindler or the Goose, who were looking for that type of environment. Sometimes I think these guys ( coaches) have a land grant college attitude that does fit with our school. We have many great things to sell, but pastoral fields and open meadows aren’t one of them. I’m not sure, just guessing, looking for some(any) reason to explain my disappointment with our recruiting. It’s just not been good enough so far.

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    1. do you really think any of the current recruits care about or ever heard of Marc Spindler? How many current Pitt fans who became fans in the last 20 years ever heard of them? Get a grip!

      When they come into the practice facility, Pitt’s past is plastered all over the walls. However, when they attend games at Heinz Field, Pitt’s present is plastered all over the stands. wwb

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      1. JoeKnew, I apologize if I took your post out of context. I must admit I really didn’t understand or even know what a land grant college attitude is or why it matters. wwb

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  7. Maybe its time that Narduzzi starts asking for an OCS. I mean he’s running out of things to point to or people to blame.
    Nard Dog: Heather these yellow seats at Heinz are really hurting recruiting
    Heather: Lets tarp the upper deck then
    Nard Dog: Thats a losers mentality Heather
    Heather: Well whats your solution?
    Nard Dog: I want a football venue to be the focal point of this Victory Heights plan
    Heather: But the gymnastics, wrestling and volleyball teams need a new home. They play in a 70 year old building without AC
    Nard Dog: Which program pays the bills?

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  8. Good points Erie Express, case in point. That offensive line last year everyone agrees was so terrible? All but one PC recruits. and the past two years? Not one PC QB recruit on the roster.. Plus all three years since Narduzzi has been the head coach at PITT. One PC QB recruit who was Voytik who most also agree was not very good. Paul Chryst’s recruiting was so over blown it really is not funny.

    We will see this year what’s the difference between a 5.5 and a 5.7 3* recruit is. I wish the season would start tomorrow so we can watch a great group of 3* players racing around on defense. Another point of football PC didn’t embrace.

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    1. Oh this again. It’s so tiresome. I almost wish Reed would stop commenting on the recruiting with Narduzzi because then you reflexively bash Chryst. Narduzzi is now well into year 4. He owns the program. He’s owned it since January 2, 2015.

      Four of those offensive line players from last season (Bookser, Officer, JJS and O’Neill) also started or played significant downs in 2016. I assume you had no problem with them that season.

      Chyrst actually developed Voytik as a RS Soph. Voytik had a very comparable year in 2014 to Peterman in 2015. Granted, against a somewhat easier schedule. Chyrst also recruited Travon Chapman. Chapman was a 4-star out of high school that was dismissed before ever setting foot on the field. Chyrst also recruited Alex Hornibrook to Pitt. Hornibrook then elected to follow Chryst to Wisconsin where is developing into a good to very good QB. Chryst recruited Adam Bertke whom Reed saw play and seems convinced could have been a player with some development effort. Reed has earned credibility here.

      Narduzzi failed with DiNucci (2015) and MacVittie (2016). If he felt that the QB position was lacking in talent he certainly could have recruited more in 2016. He owns competent QB availability and play in 2017 and 2018. Hopefully Pickett pans out.

      Now, put the poms poms away and try to control the involuntary response every time somebody questions the efforts of St. Pat.

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  9. This was meant to be part 1 of a two part set.

    Chris Peak has a great podcast up now where he talks about recruiting WPIAL kids.

    What is most interesting about it is that rivals.com just had a recruiting camp where the kids get together and do a height, weight, speed stuff and they do drills and exercises…7 on 7s, etc.

    He talked to a lot of the wpial players who were there and most of them had D1 P5 offers but Pitt hadn’t offered any of them yet.

    Then he talked to some kids from Michigan and there was more kids from Michigan with Pitt offers then there were from Western Pennsylvania.

    Part of that is because of Archie Collins our defensive backs coach who was at central Michigan before.

    But I don’t think this helps in the long run. If you get a kid from Michigan just because he’s from Michigan or kid from New Jersey just because he’s from New Jersey and ignore local kids you’re doing more to alienate the local population from Pitt football.

    Narduzzi has had a really hard time landing the the top shelf Western Pennsylvania kids and after 3 full years there’s a reason for that and it’s not probably not a good one.

    “Act worn thin” is something I heard late last season when discussing the 2018 recruiting class. Meaning that he can say all he wants about changing the culture from the previous head coach or we’re going to do things a totally different way or whatever, but after two full years and then a losing season the third year he has to stand on his own merits and his own coaching staff merits and can’t compare back to what Pitt was like before he got here.

    That’s what he did the first two years… that’s what most new coaches do… but now it is coming on 2018 and the parents and recruits are looking directly at the state of the program today.

    I’ve talked to two sets of parents, both fathers actually, about how their kids were recruited and it’s not a smooth process over there.

    One of the fathers said that his son went to Pitt at the last minute because his mother wanted him to for the education at Pitt not for the football…which Peak talks about also.

    One thing we have to realize as Pitt fans is that when the coaches go into these families homes they’re not talking to other Pitt fans… they’re talking to parents who have the best intent for their children in both football and education. So we fans might have an over-inflated opinion of the Pitt football program (and we really do) as opposed to one of another many schools that the parents and recruits are dealing with.

    With that they have more clarity about Pitt as opposed to other school’s than we fans do.

    I believe that a program’s momentum is huge in high school recruiting. The fact that we had to a two 8 win seasons but lost that Northwestern Bowl game in ’16… I think that was a turning point with his recruiting.

    Instead of having a 9 win season and being ranked up in the teens, all of a sudden we’re starting over from scratch and we have a losing season which followed up on that.

    That’s a pretty heavy thing to try to overcome when you are trying to convince a recruit and his mother and father that Pitt is on the upswing… because right now it doesn’t look like we are.

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    1. Reed, I agree what most of this but you continue to emphasize that bowl loss .. that is really when you started to lose me. How does that loss supersede the wins vs Clemson and PSU? How does 9 wins mean so much more than 8?

      Any college team that plays a one TD underdog and loses (1) its two interior DL for almost the entire game, (2) its star RB for half of the game, and its (3) star QB and best OL for the last quarter plus is going to lose the game …. pure and simple. And this doesn’t take even take in account the handful mistakes made by proven players throughout the game. You will never ever sell me that that loss was on the coaches … NEVER! In fact, it may a credit to the coaching staff that the game was as competitive as it was.
      wwb

      Liked by 1 person

    2. I agree with the point about WPIAL. I don’t understand why Narduzzi is not offering more kids early this year. Probably a very bad idea

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  10. Narduzzi doesn’t use excuses. It’s the hysteria by PITT fans over one 5-7 season in his third year that seems to have everyone panties in an uproar. PITT will be just fine.

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    1. Hysteria? Panties in an uproar? Are you familiar with the term hyperbole? How about self awareness?

      See comment above concerning your reaction to challenges to the efforts of Narduzzi.

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    1. I have another bio piece I’ll post soon but recruiting is usually the main topic of conversation during the summer months when kids are starting to come to the camps and are starting to commit to schools.

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  11. It seems like every other Pitt Coach has been able to overcome the obvious obstacles to get a handfull of 4 and 5 star guys. I have been down on Narduzzi’s recruiting for two years because he whiffed on the great WPIAL class two years ago and no four stars to go with his above average three stars last year.

    I don’t like the approach of offering everyone, it is too much to manage and appears like there is no strategy to get the guys they really want.

    It then comes down to the Head Coaches, personality and ability to sell his vision. What I see from Narduzzi with his media relations is a defensive guy who runs his practices behind a curtain and controls the message with limited interviews. I wonder if this translates to recruiting difficulties.

    Everyone agrees recruiting is not an easy job, especially with the obstacles at Pitt, but Narduzzi must do better to compete with the best in the conference.

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  12. It’s all about perception Ike and right now to an unbiased observer, which are recruiting targets and their parents, their perception of Pitt isn’t as strong as our fans (yours for example) is.

    Which may well be why we are going to recruit places where Pitt football isn’t discussed in a somewhat negative light in the media.

    That also may well be why we ain’t getting the better WPIAL players…because they grew up with Pitt football and have no false illusions as to what it really is…an average D1 P5 program.

    We can talk about Pitt till the cows come home but the reality is that we are a middle of the pack team and program. Even in the two 8 win years we we’re ranked in mid-40s and dropped #76 last year.

    And really what does that say to a recruit and his parents who don’t have ties to the University of Pittsburgh in the first place?

    It says that you are just like any other team and there’s many teams that can offer more things to you and there’s many teams that offer less things to you but it shows that Pitt is not as special as we fans think it is

    Liked by 1 person

  13. BTW Ike, I remember your stating things were “just fine” at this point last season also…

    Even when we were writing and reading articles that pointed out some of the major shortcomings that we had on the team going into the 2017 season.

    Well this team in 2018 is going to have some of the same shortcomings and some of them are going to be even worse; some parts will be better, but I think it’s kind of wishful thinking to just say everything’s going to be just fine, and is really painting with a wide brush because it well may not be.

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    1. Speaking of deja vu all over again. “BTW Ike, I remember your stating things were “just fine” at this point last season also…”

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  14. I think what some fail to realize or understand is that I post my opinions. I’m not pretending to be someone who knows everything and I certainly know I shouldn’t be gambling with any large amounts of money because I would lose. Of course I never bet on PITT in my lifetime knowing my heart is too invested.

    As far as being reminded when I’m wrong, I don’t mind that as we are all wrong at times with are predictions or just plain opinions. Just remember that works both ways. Thank goodness I have barvo stalking me, looking up comments from years ago to help you all keep track of my sub 500 level of prognostications. The young lady obviously has a problem with me and that’s just fine by me. I’ve been wrong many times before and I hope to have the chance to be wrong many more times. Can we talk about the “infamous bowl loss” one more time? Hey, it’s just my opinion. ike

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  15. Yes and in case it’s not obvious, barvo is about to be on my last. Isn’t there something you would like to comment barvo that isn’t about me? What’s your real name, what do you look like, where do you live? I don’t hide behind any anonymity spewing attacks like you do. ike

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  16. gc, like many other driven head coaches Pat narduzzi is not the most personable person.

    There’s a public persona and then there’s a behind-the-scenes persona and that’s what we don’t get to see too often except for little slivers of here and there.

    I’m not saying that he’s a hard man to deal with although I’ve heard some stories that he’s pretty tough on a lot of things. But to be a great recruiter you have to have the whole package and I’m not sure he has that.

    I can Overlook his first couple classes even though he did get some four stars but overall I just think his recruiting has been lacking in a lot of different ways. I refer very often to Starpower which means not recruiting stars but kids that rise above their recruit rankings and rise above expectations to really be able to put the team on their shoulders.

    Kenny Pickitt looks like one of those and I hope he is. But when I look at the roster and the prospective two deep I really wonder.

    As I wrote above I can only see one or two kids on defense who may accomplish that.
    We need two or three or four defenders to really rise above and really drive this defense the way it has to be driven to win ball games this year because we’re going to have problems on offense.

    My first choice for this would be a DE…we have to get hard pressure on the QBs.

    Second who be a DB who doesn’t drop INTs like our DBs have done. Ford may be the guy for that.

    And nobody’s talking about the elephant in the room about our special teams kicker and our punter.

    I think we’re going to have big downgrades in punting with a lot of shanks and if we do that’s going to put even more stress on our defense this year.

    And this is why I love college ball because we really never know who may do that.

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  17. and barvo from above.. I wasn’t the one who brought up Chryst it was Reed. He mentioned that Narduzzi’s two eight win season were mainly due to this inherited players. << from who? So Chryst gets the credit for Narduzzi’s two 8 win season huh?

    You keep commenting the way you want and I’ll do the same, so take your suggestions and shove them up your bleeping bleep. 🙂

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  18. Well what can make Pitt special then? I think Pitt has all the selling points if not more than most schools.

    That tells me it’s execution, it’s personalities. It’s relationships. It’s on the coaches.

    Let’s just fire narduzzi and get a coach that can recruit first. Leave it up to his assistants to actually coach on both sides of the ball. Pay them well. Get a true recruiting coordinator and a larger budget. What else can you do? Or just give narduzzi more time and trust him.

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  19. You put 5 wins on the board and recruiting will most likely slip.

    I don’t buy Narduzzi’s personality is an issue recruiting. There have been plenty of players interviewed after a recruiting trip that have complimented him as being a great guy.

    He is just a sh-thead with the media. LOL

    Don’t care where or how he recruits, just get some good players.

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  20. Reed: There you go again injecting reality into a Pitt football conversation. Don’t you realize that Pitt fans are far more comfortable making believe that everything is great?

    The reality is that Narduzzi did pretty well in his first few years with a roster he inherited. Year three he had to rely on more of his own recruits and we saw the results. So far this year we have zero recruits and yet we still hear the drumbeat of “it’s early” “don’t worry”…blah, blah, blah. Excuses galore. What does it take for people to wake up and smell the coffee? Zero recruits at this time is NOT good. Finishing with a class ranked in the 35 – 40 range will not cut it in the ACC.

    PN better hope that we get back on the winning side of the ledger or the heat will be turned up in the Narduzzi kitchen.

    SantaCruzer

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  21. I agree with gc that you do not offer every 4 and 5 star. Why?

    I see some progress with recruiting some of the bigger programs in flurrrida. This is what I mean. for years, I have been against offering every 4 and 5 star as gc put out there earlier. What I am starting to see more of and am encouraged about is that Pitt is offering Flurrida kids from big programs early. Sometimes as freshman. Why is this good? For the Pitt coaches that have relationships with high school coaches it is rather simple.
    Pitt Coach – “hey coach, do you have anyone we should keep our eyes on for the next 2-3 years?”
    High School Head Coach – “yeah, iv’e got two freshman studs that when they get more playing time will be special”.
    Pitt Coach – We will offer them now!

    When the deck is stacked against you, you make the offer early because the kid will always hold a place in his heart for his first P5 offer. Second, just because you make an offer when the kid is a freshman, does not mean you need to pursue him hard if he flames out in subsequent years. If the kid is a star, you stay on him hard, knowing you were the first to offer. We are hopefully trying to take advantage of this.

    I am sorry. When I see that Pitt offers a kid from FL or GA and it is the 9th or 10th offer from P5, especially local P5’s, I just don’t get too excited because the reality is that our chances of bringing the kid in, are minimal, unless there is a numbers game and the kid gets shut out from his first choice(es).

    With respect to recruiting rankings, those are flawed. Trying to compare Pitt’s 18 member signed class will lose to a team that signs a 23 member class just because of volume. I do look at overall star rankings vs. class rank because of the number of schollie’s signed.

    In my opinion, we need 4-5 4stars every class. That way, at the fourth year, half of your offense or defense should be 4 stars (if all goes according to the stars). You also have to allow for drop outs, quitters, homesickers, druggies, non-academics, etc), and some just lose their drive to compete.

    Narduzzi over extended his efforts with wpial recruiting. He put too much energy into it and got scorned at the end. That is deflating when it happens. For the life of me, I can’t figure out why Pitt has allowed wv high to come into aliquippa and get players. WV high has less to offer than Pitt, yet we have somehow fractured the relationship. Needs to be fixed.

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  22. wbb, had to go out, just getting caught up. Didn’t mean any kids would know Spindler or Goose, just that they were the type of kids who wanted to come to an urban school like Pitt. Kids who had an edge, kids who were more comfortable in a concrete environment than open fields. As far as land grant, I meant they may go after kids who are more comfortable at a large cow pasture school or the biggest school in a particular state, not necessarily the best. Pitt used to be the school that had kids with an edge, and I have to believe there are very talented kids out there that want the environment we have. Our coaches may be going after kids who have no desire at all to come to an urban campus. That’s what I meant by land grant recruiting. Know what you have and sell it to the right market.

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  23. Need more kisssup to the media to overcome their negativity or they fill space with negativity where you could have given them positive material to work with. Pgh media used to have more balance but that has gone downhill in last 10 yrs. While I don’t care for Franklin and he does have a helecopter he knows how to recruit and with his comparable time at the dairy school has wiped Pitt and even eclipsed OBrian. Getting more local top recruits helps build fan base and fill seats but I agree with NRS, don’t care where he gets good recruits just get them. As for OCS still remember 1st Pitt game. Oaklahoma; 60,000 + IN PITT STADIUM and the Pirates had 37,000 below at Forbes.Oakland was jammed,we parked out inSchenley Park and Pitt lost but it was a great day to be a Pitt fan because it was a “good game”. The north side will never be like that.

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  24. If anyone could post some solutions to the lack of 4 and 5 stars recruited and “star” player recruiting, I would appreciate the insight.

    There is an awful lot of complaining here but not much constructive criticism.

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  25. I agree that the Quip pipeline is broken and hope it can be repaired.

    I’m not saying and never did say everything is copacetic in Oakland. I completely understand the differences in college football philosophies between the PITT and say Alabama administrations. So when I speak of how and where PITT may be in the present climate it’s always with the caveat of who PITT football really is. Personally I think Narduzzi is doing a good job considering the job he was hired to do.

    On top of that, I also think and not many believed me that the PITT administration top down has had a bit of a change in the thinking of their sports teams. Again this is my feeling as I consider what is actually being said and done at PITT. Not words but action in the form of money spending and just a different attitude I noticed with the ticket office as an example.

    So a slow change is what I’ve been saying all along. It didn’t get broken over night and it won’t be fixed overnight.

    Again, I bring up Chryst when he’s been used in the context of the article at hand. That coach did NOTHING to help or change the perception the local high school coaches have for the U of PITT. This just in….. He recruited 3 decent local O-Lineman, that’s it! << One (DJ) didn’t even want to come to PITT in the first place. All I heard and read was how great of an offensive line recruiter PC was, so I guess I bought into that BS and thought the O-Line would have played better last year. Now I hear they sucked. << Does anyone else get the double standard here?

    I get it. This is Narduzzi team now, how many times must I have to say that? I’ll be as critical as the next guy when it comes to critiquing the PITT football team this season. If they look out of sorts or completley terrible then you can be all over me and I’ll take it like a man, but be prepared if PITT has a good season. I already hear things like PITT will struggle but….. Just like when I read I like Narduzzi and don’t think he should be fired but……… ike

    Like

  26. Build the OCS on the OC Lot. Connect the 50k stadium to the Pete via above road walkway (think Ethiad Stadium with an open end to view either the Cathedral or downtown Pittsburgh).

    Use the stadium to house all the sports offices, maybe some new dorms, classrooms, retail. Build then around the OCS for the track, gymnastics, volley and wrestling teams. They get a wing. May even have enough space for a student rec center…bowling, laser tag, pool tables, rock climbing, workout areas.

    Cost $500-750 Million. If A&M could raise $600M in 1 year after Manziel won the Heisman, Pitt should be able to raise half of this over 7-10 years. Basically the ACC check gets banked for the next 7 years. If the ACC can write Pitt a check every year, I’m sure Pitt could find a way to have private and public donors write a similar check.

    No more yellow seats, 95% capacity stadium, housing for pretty much all programs, more than just a stadium, something that sells Pitt to both recruits and students. Pitt gets their new stadium before the Steelers get theirs.

    Fitzgerald is obviously not a huge hindrance to the programs playing there since they all are among the most successful of Pitt’s programs.

    My point is – if you’re going to do Victory Heights, do it right and think big. It will also be easier to fundraise if football is part of it.

    Like

    1. TXPanther – thos are great ideas… bit A&M football is the only game in town in College Station. That’s how they raise that (oil) money.

      I believe Pitt could never raise anywhere close to $500M no matter how many years it takes.

      Like

      1. Aggies do have the oil money and yes only game in town and fans are cult like. I’m thinking raise $250 million over 7 years via donations. That’s $35 million per year. Size of ACC check. Then finance remaining via low cost bonds, naming rights, suite licenses, corporate sponsorships. Just tired of Pitt thinking small and cheap. Tired of yellow seats as an excuse. There is room up there and Pitt owns the land. Cost center, Fitzgerald and Trees would all be raised. That’s dreaming big.

        Tex

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  27. A few points:

    wbb – re: the NW bowl loss. Final CFB rankings are all about “what have you done for me lately?” thinking by the voters. No one but Pitt fans cared that we beat PSU in the beginning of one year – nor Clemson in 2016 actually after the initial media coverage.

    But to win a bowl game and end up with 9 wins is a separator at the end of the season. There was only one 8 win team in the final 25 that year in Auburn. Pitt never got a sniff. But have that 9th win in a nationally televised Pinstripe Bowl AND also the Clemson win to point back to is pretty impressive and I believe we’d have been in the Top 20 at least with a 9-4 record. LSU and Florida had 4 losses and were in #s 13 & 14 respectively.

    Ike – Let’s see who Chryst recruited to Pitt in addition to his one 5* and 11 four star recruits (Boyd, Johnson, Bookser, hall, were some…) over his only three years of recruiting.

    Of his 3* kids who committed to Paul Chryst to play for him at Pitt we have:

    Q. Henderson = star player
    Whitehead = star player
    Holtz= star player
    Conner = star player
    Orndoff = star player
    O’Neill = star player
    Winslow = star player
    Bookser = star player
    Weah
    Ollison
    Soto
    Maddox
    JJ Smith
    Wirginis
    Ziese
    etc…etc…

    In other words those are Chryst’s 3* kids who played well – and extremely well in some cases – and brought us 16 wins in HCPN’s first two years at Pitt.

    Now – look at who committed to play for Narduzzi in his four years so far and make a list of 3* players who have contributed like those Chryst 3*s. Here’s who I see has done as well as the above players:

    Brightwell
    Camp – a bit above average maybe?
    Weaver – did well in 1st year
    Garner?
    Hamlin – just average play so far

    And spare me recruits have to be JRs and SRs before they can play – that holds true for only the OL and even then if you are talented you’ll play early.

    Really no comparison between the two in getting commitments so far at all Ike… Narduzzi hasn’t recruited and had commit to him even one player out of HS yet who has play as a star at Pitt. That is a real problem over a full three years.

    We’ll see some of Narduzzi’s recruits do OK and some will surprise but IMO he’s really lagging in his recruiting.

    Like

    1. Reed, for goodness sake, give Narduzzi’s players a chance. He had 3 weeks for his 1st class and his other two classes would have been sophomores at most ….. and you had the gall to write “look at who committed to play for Narduzzi in his four years so far”.

      JUST HOW FREAKIN’ BIASED CAN YOU BE?
      wwb

      Like

    2. You can’t split classes to make a point. Players are either Narduzzi recruits or Chryst from a class.

      Whitehead and Brightwell were in the same class.

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      1. You certainly can when you are discussing the relative merits of how talented a HC is at getting a HS player to commit to their school.

        Which has been my point all along. You have to work your ass off to get good top shelf HS players and keep them interested until they commit.

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  28. Pitt’s average recruiting class is 44 the last 4 years. Once the 65 drops out it will be in the 33 range.

    The average team ranked 21-25 in last season’s final poll had a rolling 4 year recruiting ranking of 55. Pitt is recruiting like a top 25 team. Once it reflects in the final polls, then Pitt will naturally take a step forward.

    It already has if you look at the subclassifications in the star system. Pitt, this season, recruited many more high 3 stars than since probably Wanny. None of them, remarkably, got a bump which I find odd.

    It’s just a slow process. Pitt isn’t a blue blood that can go from 0-60 mph in 4 seconds because of money, alumni and a competent athletic department.

    Pitt has put itself in a position to have to earn it, not take it. This season’s team senior leadership will be from a Paul Chryst red shirt senior class ranked #44 and a true senior class #65 in the recruiting rankings. That’s not ideal. Next season will have a #65 class as redshirt seniors and a #29 class as true seniors. The season after that will be #29 and #34.

    See what’s happening there? We live in an instant gratification world magnified by Pitt’s bungling of the last 35 years … but … Every.Single.Time.Pitt.Hires.A.New.Coach.It.Starts.Over.

    It’s getting better. Progress can be slow at times, however. Patience is a virtue. I get it’s hard to ask Pitt fans for patience but that’s something Pitt fans have to come to terms with not Narduzzi. He’s building a program from the bottom up … and, yes, Pitt was at the bottom.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Well said but I still believe PN needs to recruit better than he has been. Partridge needs to pay off as a hire or be gone next year.

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  29. Reed, Take a look at the players mentioned above and tell me how many played even ok their first 3 years at PITT. This is the point, let’s see what Narduzzi’s recruits do the next couple years. Orndorf did very little his first 3 years. and you have Bookser as a star player now? Whoo boy.. Winslow. played ok his last two years. Can’t you give Narduzzi a chance here. You’re using examples of kids that played well after years of nothing.

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    1. Right – if you read what I wrote I asked how many Narduzzi commits on the roster today do you see turning ing start or very good players. there will be some but I can’t look at any but maybe 3 or four and say that.

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  30. I still keep coming back to the high closing percentage for the 4 stars who visit the campus. There is nothing wrong with that closing percentage. So the problems lie elsewhere. For the local kids, they are familiar with the Pitt program long term, they take unofficial visits, and the Pitt history and coaching changes must stick in their minds. “Will the current coach stay around for long?”, they ask.

    As for the distant kids, they are more likely to come based on their relationship with the coach who is recruiting them. So improvements in recruiting will come from these relationships first, and then if Pitt is successful they will begin to pick up more of the top local players.

    Also remember that there are too many Nitters around poisoning the well on radio and in the papers. These supposed journalists will tolerate Pitt as long as Pedo is in a superior position. But we know who these Pitt haters are and they will become more vocal if Pitt achieves some success.

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    1. That’s a very good summation VoR. The local well of recruits has been poisoned by the pedo centric local schlubs all over radio, print news and tv.

      Probably if the truth is known some of them help Sports Illustrated with their hit piece on DW and Pitt.

      The pedo cult breathed a sigh of relief when Pitt was stupid enough to cut him loose.

      Liked by 1 person

  31. Barvo, do you really want to give Chryst credit for recruiting Travon Chapman and Adam Bertke? I’d suggest you do a goggle search on both those names to see how well they performed after leaving Pitt. And maybe you were right that it was Chryst’s coaching that helped Voytik when he was the QB at Pitt. Because without Chryst he certainly didn’t distinguish himself at any other program.

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    1. Barvo wrote above about Narduzzi … “He owns the program. He’s owned it since January 2, 2015” … And Narduzzi’s record for 3-years since he owned it is 21-17

      But Chryst’s 3-year record when “he owned the program” is 19-20. (And Narduzzi certainly played against a harder schedule over the 3 year period)

      Like

  32. Agree with Reed and I’ve posted this before. The perception (and perceptions are most important) of losing to programs like Northwestern (who to me and ppl who grew up in my timeline is one of the worst programs around, nobody takes Northwestern football seriously, even at Northwestern and certainly not Chicago) and a service academy (and that game was a rout, 7-31 in 3rd Q) put a huge damper on both 8 win seasons.

    In recruiting, perceptions are a huge factor.

    And you just can’t lose nationally televised games to scrub programs.

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  33. I’ve read on more than one occasion where Narduzzi negative recruits much like Dantonio does at Michigan State. Pine-Richland’s QB Jurkovec who is heading to Notre Dame instantly said Pitt when asked if anyone negative recruited. If I’m a recruit, that’s an immediate turn-off. If you don’t have enough positive and good things to sell me about you as a head coach, your coaching staff and your school and your football program, that’s a red flag and to me a very telling statement.

    Recruiting is the life blood of any football program.

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  34. Mr Anonymous posted above

    “Barvo wrote above about Narduzzi … “He owns the program. He’s owned it since January 2, 2015” … And Narduzzi’s record for 3-years since he owned it is 21-17

    But Chryst’s 3-year record when “he owned the program” is 19-20. (And Narduzzi certainly played against a harder schedule over the 3 year period)”
    +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    It doesn’t work that way on the POV.. Chryst inherited a bad core of players but Narduzzi inherited team of star studded Chyrst recruits. As the world turns……….

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      1. Reed, in response I really wasn’t talking about you there. but I did say a bad core of players and not just bad players.

        It’s important to me that you all realize, I understand that Paul had as much or more of an uphill climb even than Narduzzi has had. I guess my defense is that I still don’t think many understand what HCPN has had to deal with and the urgency from some of you contradicts the solutions to PITT’s problems and aligns with what PITT’s past problems have been, impatience and the lack of continuity. ike

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  35. It was sadly Western PA kids who had easy scores and either slipped or dropped a pass in the NW bowl loss. When those things stop happening Pitt will win more games. If not then mediocrity will continue to hover over the program.

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    1. That game, more than most of recent past, showed what Pitt seems to be up against. Those losses were representative of the saying….1 step forward, 2 steps back. And that pretty much sums up the last 35 years.

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  36. The common thread between Nard Dog & Cheesehead Paulie, is neither are gifted with the gab. And for a program like Pitt, you need to have the gift of gab to be really successful.

    They say with Capel, nobody is a stranger to him. I think with the 2 above, you’d probably leave their company, still being a stranger.

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    1. Emel, I do agree with the comment about the past two coaches. Paul slept talked while Narduzzi talks but says nothing. One we wanted to speak up and now one we want to shut up …. or start saying something about his team.. ike

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  37. I have to laugh when I hear that Darrin Hall plays ahead of Ollison because he’s from the same town as Narduzzi (Youngstown) but Narduzzi didn’t recruit him yet he’s in Narduzzi’s recruiting class. Is that enough to make you dizzy?

    Morrissey, Davis, Sear, Brightwell, Weaver, Hamlin, Watts, Camp, Pine, Reynolds, Pinnock, and others contributed last year while Lopes, PITT’s leading receiver, is against the rules to count.

    You guys can think I’m delusional all you want but the slanted field you guys have Narduzzi playing against is obvious to anyone with good sense. ike

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  38. Okay Reed, you’ve finally convinced me. Narduzzi can’t recruit. We need a HC who can recruit star players and you’ve shown that’s not the Duzz.

    Partridge was supposed to be an ace recruiter – but we see no results. Now we’ve added a MAC coach. Time to move on…we at least need a coach and staff that won’t forget to pick up recruits at the airport.

    If Wanny, of all people, can bring in a boatload if 4-stars, despite the empty yellow seats, then some coach out there can do it. Right?

    I like Coach Narduzzi, but it’s time for Heather to try her magic on a new FB team head coach – she might as well do it now, while she’s on a hot streak.

    Go Pitt.

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    1. I don’t want Narduzzi gone at all – he deserves a full four years at least and probably one extra year to be sure he’s a keeper or not. I just feel that if we are going to be talking about Pitt football in-depth then let’s be damn honest about it.

      And look, even I know that some of his recruits from his first three classes are going to play good, and maybe great football for us. Pickett may be the first to do so. Maybe even a RB like Sibley or Salahuddin also.

      I can see Paris Ford doing well also. Maybe Chase Pine or a WR also.

      But my overall feeling is that we are getting a whole bunch of average 3* recruits who are going to play that way. It is exacerbated by my opinion that Narduzzi is not very good at hiring staff position coaches who are so important in teaching kids to break the bad habits they learned in HS.

      Like

    2. Partridge has only been here for a year. His first recruits have hardly played so far. See the post above about Narduzzi being here for 4 years.

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  39. ^^ Hey John, you know you’re my buddy… so I’ll be jabbing you in the ribs this year at Frans tailgate for that comment.. 🙂 Don’t lose the faith my good buddy… ike

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  40. Solution – Offer Earliest to potential big time players. The high school head coaches know who they will be for the most part when they are freshman.

    Our coaching staff does’nt need to continue recruiting that individual hard, if the player doesn’t improve. The HIgh School head coach understands.

    Get commits early – again, using the above situation.

    Why are we delaying on the 5 star OL whose father is on our staff. WE need to get that commitment early so that other 4 and 5 stars would consider Pitt. Playing nice in the sandbox, gets you nothing in the end. I guess we didn’t try to go after grad transfer Joe Burrow. Kid will play in the nfl if he doesn’t get hurt.

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  41. Emel… I hear you on the Capel/Duzz comparison… “ leaving Duzz a stranger” while
    Capel makes everyone feel welcome….

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  42. Huff, I get your point above. Get the coaches kid to commit NOW even if never ends up coming to PITT. I do agree with perception all the way around as well. Was there a full moon last night or tonight. Something seems more volatile here than usual. I know I do my part but isn’t that expected?

    BigB just may be the second coming of the Big Bopper. Who Knew?

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  43. OK – I just went back over ten years to see if what I wrote above is true – here is a table where I listed “breakout” players who did that within their first three years at Pitt – meaning FR, rsFF and SO/rsSO.

    Some of these kid hit stardom right off the bat but all played, in my opinion, well above average ball with their first three years.

    Obviously i picked three years because that is what Narduzzi recuits have had so far – from 2015 until 2017.

    Read it and weep: DW – Wannstedt; PC = Chryst

    YEAR Break-Out Players HC Break-Out HC Break-Out
    2017 No Players
    2016 Bookser PC
    2015 FR Whitehead PC FR Henderson PC rsFR O’Neill
    2014 SO Conner PC rsFR Winslow PC SO Bisnowaty
    2013 FR Boyd PC
    2012 FR Shell DW FR Pitts PC
    2011 SO Donald DW SO Street DW
    2010 SO Graham DW
    2009 FR Lewis DW SO Baldwin DW
    2008 SO McCoy DW
    2007 FR McCoy DW
    2006 SO Stevens-Howling DW FR Turner DW

    I tried to be a liberal as possible with this and tried to find a Narduzzi commit that fit this criteria but I couldn’t. I’m sure some will disagree and if so point out my oversight, but to me – and this is why I think his recruiting hasn’t been very good – is that he hasn’t recruited “star power” kids who suit up and contribute above and beyond right away.

    Yes, he’s had Peterman as a transfer but we are discussing HS recruiting here.

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    1. I’m hoping Paris Ford is the real deal, cause Dagmar Hamlin wasn’t. And of course I’m hoping that the newbies, like Houdini and Shocky are going to be immediate impact players. Cause lord know we need some immediate impact players.

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  44. and a few more things:

    Boy woke up this morning and boom. Another article already and I wasn’t ready for it and what are we talking about? The hottest topic on the POV. Well, I guess it may round us all into mid-season form sooner than expected. I picked a bad day to give up smoking

    I would like to extend my hand out to Barvo and any others who appear to be rubbed the wrong way in my commenting. I say this in part due to Mike’s recent and wonderful article about sniping and sour go between’s as well as I really do not mean any disrespect toward other POVer’s when I comment. I just don’t understand why anyone would take what I say so personally? and remember every word I say. I picked a bad day to give up drinking.

    PittPride26 has a great article up in case anyone missed it on the heels of the latest article by Reed. Great article again Dan and wouldn’t it be great if other shared their stories and how they fell in love or hate of PITT football.. I picked a bad day to give up cough syrup.

    Honestly, I do think there is a real bias with the POV commenters and who’s guilty of it. Pretty much all of us, except for you real realist. Please stand up for the applause… I picked a bad day to give up my antidepressant…. ike

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  45. I tend to agree with Tossing. Slow steady progress would be fine, as long as there is an actual comprehensive plan of action. No more scattered approaches. Have a plan for the high schools, for the media, for the alums, for the average sports fan. That way if you do these things a coaching change won’t kill ya. This should come from Heather and the admin. I really hope they can figure it out. Might be the first time in 80 yrs or so!

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  46. Heather seems to be really growing in her job… She might turn out to be a keeper… And that’s where we need stability and someone who can reach out and take the pulse of the fandom.

    Liked by 1 person

  47. Reed, How can Bookser have a breakout year while playing on such a lousy O-Line? Isn’t that what you’ve been telling us about the incoming grad transfer from the MAC school?

    and speaking of Bookser I think he did have a good season that year, something similar to Weaver this past year. and mentioning McCoy twice as having breakout years?

    Like

    1. Spaced on McCoy but graphic was already made.

      I like Weaver but you can’t put his 2017 work up against those listed yet. He’ll be one of the leaders of the team though.

      And quit saying I want Narduzzi gone. He’s fun to write about.

      Something else: If we look at games that we won or lost that influenced how other people look at Pitt look no further than the NC loss this last season.That was an ESPN Thursday nationally televised game and we blew it.

      People watch football in the evenings and if you have a Pitt offer and then watch us do that then opinions change.

      Like

  48. You can’t give credit to Chryst for players in Narduzzi’s first class. I get why one would do so, but I disagree with that logic.

    Yes, they were already committed to Chryst, but that goes out the window on a coaching change. As soon as the Chryst to Wisconsin word was out other schools started calling those kids to steal them away. It worked in some cases. Didn’t Nick Bowers jump ship? All of those kids could have left for another school if they were not recruited all over again by the new staff. Ask Narduzzi how easy it was to keep that class together?

    It would be more accurate to not even count the class if you are going to pick and chose players to make a point.

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  49. I guess Chryst doesn’t get any credit for that lefty QB? (Hornibrook) but wait a minute didn’t he commit to Chryst at PITT. So who in the hell gets credit for recruiting him? The Chryst in PITT or the Chryst at Wisconsin. oh forget it..

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  50. I tend to stay out of these because I truly feel all things considered, Pitt’s recruiting falls exactly where a true neutral observer would expect. Below the big boys and better than the bottom dwellers. I have said before it seems the vibe and effort is there and we certainly have pulled off shocking wins against much better teams. Without a viable plan to bring in a true dynamic recruiter I cringe at the thought of starting over with a new football coach. It is equally as likely we would go Stallings bad with a fresh start than get any better. I am curious to see if Capel, who is clearly a dynamic recruiter, can really get top recruits to Pitt. If he can then I may change my mind. Until then, as I’ve said before despite my love for this school, I don’t see how ANY coach gets a 4+ star to choose Pitt over the big boys.I feel like a jerk just typing that but it is as honest as I can be.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Imagine that Tx, a coach hired by an AD while on vacation is better than Narduzzi? You see? We don’t really know what we are talking about now do we?

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  51. Bunch of Debbie downers on here! My goodness. We had a bad season last year. Every team has them except for Alabama and Ohio State. People need to relax

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You need to get on board here, Pittman 2003. Unless you are willing to admit that the failings of two ADs & twice as many coaches over the last three decades or so determine what is going to happen this season, you’ll be hard pressed to pass yourself off as a veteran Pitt fan.

      Of course I’m plying the sacasm trade here but that about sums it up. Come September you know who’s opinion will actually matter? As Narduzzi always emplores his charges to do, it will be the “playmakers” on the field on game day that matters. I’ve seen it happen first hand. I like this team and enjoy watching these kids develop.

      Whether it’s 5-7 with no bowl game or 9-4 with Narduzzi & Co. in an upswing it will be fun to follow these kids. IMO, that’s all the reason that I need to be optimistic, at last until they prove otherwise.

      Liked by 1 person

  52. ike, I suggest you get back to smoking and drinking again. The withdrawl has been rough! 🙂 You’v been tough on Barvo, but I bet if you asked him to your barbeque he would kiss you right on the lips!

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  53. Concerning the problem is that us Pitt fans aren’t patient enough…..Really??? We’ve been walking in the desert for 35 years waiting to return to some form of football prominence and what are we told: “Pitt fans need to be more patient.” More patient? MY ASS!

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    1. and mr impatience, you are? A few short years ago PITT won 10 games. Some desert and proves you don’t know what you’re talking about. But let’s keep your identity a secret for your families sake.

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  54. re-read what barvo posted directed at me. It revels a serial stalker. His last 20 or so comments directed at me. Sorry, I don’t put up with that baby BS VOR. You got the wrong guy if you think I do.

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  55. I agree Dr of teeth. What happened twenty years ago means what will happen next year and in the year 2038. There is no escaping it. Now I understand Capel should take over the football program and poof. It’s pure and simple logic. We are all adults here right?

    Recruiting is the lifeblood of Albany football let alone PITT football. There’s a rich car dealer in Mobile that won’t testify that to be the truth but he will shake his head in agreement when no one is looking. Which is always.

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  56. Penn State will have a totally renovated Beaver stadium in 7 years as part of their 20 year master facilities plan for sports. Pitt will still be playing at Heinz. Will still have a 60 year old facility for swimming and intramurals. But may have a 3000 seat air conditioned venue for programs such a wrestling, volleyball and gymnastics along with some attached indoor track. Sports not well attended and money losers, but actually very successful despite playing in a dump. Penn State thinks big. They then go out and find the donors. Pitt doesnt think this way. Thats why we are little brother.

    Recruiting the same way. Buy a freakin helicopter/jet for Christ’s sake and fly Narduzzi all around the world. Theres got to be some 4 stars in places like Brazil, Nigeria, Iceland, and Moldovia. Pitt needs 4 stars. Dont care where we get them or actually how. Just bring them to campus…and dont let them leave.

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  57. Barvo has an edge about him, ike. No question. But I think that 40 years of disappointing Pitt football will do that to a person. Personally, I hung in there for years after Sherrill, but Majors II broke me. I started to get excited again when Wanny arrived and then POW another kick in the groin. I sat back and cried as Cornhole destroyed the program, and moved it to Heinz where we permanently occupy hind tit. And the Nitters continue lurk in the background smirking all the way despite their many scandals. So pardon us all just a little bit if we still can’t buy in to the Narduzzi revolution just yet.

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    1. VOR, I’ll email and tell you my feelings towards barvo privately, no one wants to hear, read or be a part of my barvo problems or how he doesn’t sit well with me…. and yes, sure this is a not so subliminal message to mrs barvo. ike

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  58. I am really concerned that we have no committs like our ACC brethern do at this time. I hope this new NCAA recruiting setup has not made us even worse recruiters.PSU had 100 potential recruits at their Blue White.How many did we have for our spring game? How much did you hear about Our recruits visit to the spring game from the local media? Money and assistant coach quality is critical. Take a look at the great assts. that went through Pitt in better times. Jackie Sherrill practically moved in on the Dorsett’s til Tony was a committ. Finally Narduzzie’s “coach em up” requires good position coaches. Do we have what it takes or have we had too much turnover of the better position coaches for them to have an impact.H2P

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  59. ^^ I have to tell you Tx that you really and actually made me chuckle out loud with that comment. I mean that in a complementary way. Do yourself a favor and find another football team to love. ike

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    1. Winning is contagious. Thats what creates a true sports culture and mindset. It just needs to start. Doesnt have to be in a popular program. The Pitt women have really impressed this year. Volleyball, gymnastics, cross country and now softball. They helped Pitt to an 82 ranking in the Directors Cup. The best rank in some time. To Hell with Men sports, Pitt needs to put money into womens. Imagine what more money could do to these underfunded, undersupported and underappreciated programs. Mens football is always disappointing despite its support and resources. Watching Pitt women succeed in ACC sports is like being on Viagra. Watching our Pitt men consistently fail is like being on Valium.

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      1. 35 years of Valium later 🙂 We have been numbed, which is why they play that god awful noise at tremendous decibels at Ketchup Bottle……….I guess

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  60. I think what causes some of us on here to defend the current football program more than we should is that many of the comments make it sound like it is so easy to land great recruits here. Even worse some of our own fans seem to imply we are some kind of laughingstock in the football world. While I get that sustained excellence has evaded Pitt for 30+ years we are not currently a doormat program. We were a pathetic under Majors 2, and hide under the covers sad losing 72-0 to Ohio St and a true national punchline with the Haywood fiasco. But BOTH Paul Chryst and now Pat Narduzzi have gotten us to a place of stability. The past three seasons the games (except 2017 Ok St) have been competitive and watchable win or lose. We can’t discount that three of Pitt’s best 5 wins this century have happened the past TWO years. (My memory could be overstating this, but off hand the only win I could think of that was more satisfying this century was 13-9 so feel free to give me two more to knock out last years Miami game) I do think with this team and this schedule we will be fighting for a bowl game this season, that does not mean I think the program is in a free fall.

    Liked by 1 person

  61. Oh and big time kudos to the Softball Team making the ACC Championship game taking on 5 time defending champ Florida State tomorrow. You better believe I will be tuning in after breakfast tomorrow morning to watch some of the game!

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  62. The Narduzzi has owned it since he took over argument is nonsense. That’s just not how college football works. It’s a combination of money, support, recruiting and coaching. College is system oriented so if you don’t inherit kids for your system or that fit your coaching style it takes longer. The NFL is player oriented. A coach has to adapt to the players under contract or drafted by, generally, a different person … the GM.

    I hate the you coach what you have argument. It’s just not reality.

    Besides, the long term approach builds more loyalty due to the investment the coach has made to turnaround a program. These one season wonders are more likely to bolt.

    I, personally, like the steady approach to building the program. I understand why some don’t but I don’t see how anyone thought it would be faster based on who we hired and how they did it at Michigan State.

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  63. We’re a basketball school anyway since 1999. If the demolishing of Pitt stadium for Hoops Arena didn’t convince you. Then certainly them paying Capel more than Nard Dog should have !

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  64. “I’ll politely disagree too. I believe and I have faith that a new set of leaders will rise up and take this team where no Pitt team has been – an ACC Coastal division championship. Last year, if you all remember, player leadership was lacking in a BIG way. Duzz even went to outside help in the form of bringing in guest speakers to teach these young men about leadership.

    That effort was too late for 2017, but just in time for 2018. We won’t know who the captains will be until Fall camp. But mark my words, that Aston and Pickett are leading morning workouts right now with with players who believe in the process. Recently we were entertained with video of Wirginis “mic’d up” – it appears that young man has matured and learned valuable lessons from previous discipline and actions by the program. Dennis Briggs was a captain last season as the only JR and he is in heated battles for playing time.

    Stars for 2018 look Lyke this to me – Pickett at QB, 4* RB’s 3 or 4 + QO, 4* Bookser, 4* TE Reeves, 4* P.Ford (3 way player – O, D, ST), 3* almost 4* WR Shockey and 4* WR Flowers (looked good in the Spring Game – must continue developing amongst a mediocre WR crew). On D, I see many. We’ll start with the 412 Crew of 4’s in DB’s Hamlin and P.Ford. Up front, which HCPN says will be a strength of this team are 4 Hendrix (late bloomer with a history of injuries that hampered on field performance – remember J.Price?), 4* DT Watts, 3* almost 4* DT Camp and NT Twyman. The LBer crew has been a weakness – I see there being six really good players in 2018 with 3* almost 4* McKee breaking out from the 2nd team to be a star.

    Two former Pitt greats and NFL players hang out at the South Side facility (Conner and Donald) – both proud Pitt men who are future Panther HOF candidates. Both influence these young Pitt players just by walking in the room. They are both engaging, passionate about winning and being the best at their positions and are role models off the field. We need more of that and we need to expose recruits to that greatness.

    I believe and have faith that HCPN has a plan and has formulated that plan to produce champions on the field and in life. Is this the year we see the fruits of his plan? We’ll have to wait and see…It is Heather Lyke’s job along with the rest of the Athletic Dept to fill the empty seats at Pitt Stadium @ Heinz Field. Will you be there?

    The nitters are ranked #13 in the “way to early” polls for 2018 – many of them are complaining and think they belong in the top ten. I say let them get their way, put them in the top ten after they beat App State and bring their enabling butts to Pittsburgh in early September for a good ole’ fashioned wood shed butt whoopin’.

    The nit fans have already looked past Pitt – let’s punch them square in the face and let them know that “we are” the better FB team for another year in the non-rivalry game.

    H2P!”

    Liked by 1 person

  65. I think Coach Duzz does a good job recruiting — given the rather large anchor around his neck, which is the lack of a home stadium full of rabid Panther fans.

    I actually feel embarrassed when after the big build-up the team comes roaring out of the tunnel to a polite welcome. I cringe at that moment when there are big-time recruits in for a visit. Which I think explains some of the surprisingly good very late signings.

    Is there a coach out there who would come to Pitt and can recruit 4 and 5 Stars guy’s based on his personality? I’m skeptical.

    We can do that in BB because we have all the boxes checked – great school, great city, rocking BB arena, etc. The glaring yellow seats combined with the shrinking pool of home grown talent is a mighty challenge for any FB coach…

    Go Pitt.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Absolutely. The yellow seats are a killer along with Various other challenges. Yet Narduzzi is the best recruiter other than wanny of the last 20 years. And wanny recruited against paterdo, had much more talent in the wpial, and was a pitt guy aka no negative recruiting that pitt is a stepping stone ala purduzzi, michigan st rumors etc.
      He is not a great recruiter, (missed on tons of WPIAL talent in 2017) but the vitriol on this board for him is misguided.

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  66. As an aside….how about the Pitt Women’s Softball Team!! After winning the Coastal Division (first division championship in the ACC for any Pitt team I think) the team had a walkoff grand slam to win yesterday and today they blanked the Tarholes 3-0 in the ACC Tournament. They face a tough Florida State team tomorrow in the finals. With ACC Coach of the year Holly Aprile running the show it looks like the success will continue. Another positive for Pitt Athletics.

    H2P

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  67. I think Narduzzi is doing a solid job recruiting. Certainly not hitting it out of the ballpark but slicing doubles down the line. Looks like he’s getting some of the best next players available. What makes him a bit smart in my book is he’s adding dept across entire roster top to bottom. Isn’t that what PITT has lacking of, maybe even more so than star players? Injuries and attrition is under-rated in all sports. Last years suspensions and injuries had nothing to do with last years final record I guess? Excuses sure, truth? << Depends on what point one is trying to prove.

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    1. Yes sir! I thought Parker was a hot P6 prospect when he asked for his release.

      Need to get a BIG guy or two to close out this class.

      H2P!

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      1. Capel said he won’t just add bodies which is encouraging. It means if he can’t find anyone this season, he’ll go shorthanded next year and attack the 2019 class with more spots open. It also means next season may not be salvageable.

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  68. Pitt baseball lost the opening game to louisville by a score of 6-3. The Panthers were up 3-2 in the forth and never threatened to score over the next 5 innings.

    HC Jordano started a pitcher with a 6.91 ERA. Ugh!

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  69. Tx, I’m still laughing over your earlier comment! 🙂 Sounded like Winston Churchell’s we’ll fight them on the land, on the sea, in the air speech. There just has to be some 4 star bodies out there that can help the program if PN can find them. Maybe what we are seeing is a change in approach from last year where Narduzzi settled early for some 3 stars that took up all of the scholarships. At least we can hope, as we have been doing for 35 years.

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  70. Hold your horses here. I just went back and re-read the article. We are using the VT game as an example why PITT can’t be good because of lousy recruiting? The game PITT was within 6 inches from winning on four plays? I guess if PITT had a few more 4* players they would have lost by not punching the ball in at the 3 inch line instead? << This makes zero sense to me…

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  71. Look, Capel is smarter than Narduzzi. Let me explain this in less than a page. Capel has a plan. He knows that if he brings in 2 four stars and a 3 star and then brings in three 2 stars to fill out a roster, he will have a problem. Capel understands balance. This is similar to what Stallings so stupidly did. He brought in 7-8 in one class. That creates an unbalanced portfolio of talent. In basketball, a class of four should be the max. Only 3 of the 4 should make it to the end. Why? Because your recruiting should get better and at least one kid should lose playing time each year as they get passed by with better talent. It’s no different in law school. You get ranked for areason. If you can’t cut the mustard, you get the talk. Nothing wrong with that.

    And now Narduzzi. I think Narduzzi adds some borderline reaches to fill the roster spots and then sometimes gets stuck with them for a couple extra years because they aren’t cutting the mustard. I am not seeing enough new talent, supplant the old talent and that is a cause for concern, at least with me. Nard is not building strategically. Maybe we see some new talent supplant the older guys. If so, we can say recruiting is getting better. If the young doesnt supplant the old, than recruiting is not getting better.

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    1. A lot tougher to recruit 20 guys versus 4 guys. Especially with the way kids are bombarded by social media these days.

      Go Pitt.

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  72. Huff, you may very well be right and I won’t argue that you are. Would you say you may be taking a little leap of faith here? or are you basing it on your lack of faith in HCPN? You do sound a little like me when Narduzzi was first hired though.

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  73. Did I tell you guys and gals that my daughters 9 month old Great Dane (Hank) that we are watching ate my glasses this past week? What dog eats a pair of glasses? Never say that bad things can’t get worse. They will..

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  74. Hey Iek my dog did that last year when he was between 9-12 months. Thankfully we caught him before he broke the lenses. I’m wearing them now…looks like I put them in a blender.

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  75. Reed, I don’t think I say you want Narduzzi fired, my standard line is I like Narduzzi and don’t want him fired but……

    The UNC game is the one I point to as the biggest failure. That game hurt in every way. Although it probably saved PITT a bowl game loss.

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  76. VT won the coastal last year, what has their recruiting rank been the last four years? Did Beamer retiring affect their recruiting class when Fuentes took over? I think not.

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  77. I think Narduzzi is doing a decent job recruiting, But decent doesn’t win Championships.

    He may be able to win a Coastal with these guys (probably not) but he will never win the

    ACC Championship game, without a team dominated by 4 star guys. Look at who Clemson and FLST recruit every year.

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  78. VT’s 4 year average was in the high 20’s. I believe 28ish, which is where the teams ranked 16-21 averaged. If you want to be a top 10 team you have to have top 20 recruiting classes. If you want to play in the championship game you have to have top 10 classes.

    gc – Did you really just say championships? What? Pitt hasn’t even been a top 25 team in like 8 years???? Pitt has to be relevant (Top 25) before they can start talking championships.

    Pitt did not hire a coach to transform the program at the speed you want them to. Lol. We hired a guy who is modeling Pitt after Michigan State’s football program. They went from recruiting in the 40’s/30’s, to the 20’s and now in the teens … but it took a decade and was not overnight. It may seem overnight because once they got to the top 25 they stayed there … Pitt’s plan … but it was a long process.

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  79. Boise State had a plan…..schedule easy except one or two games per year. Focus from day one on beating 1-2 majors per year, with less talent. Pitt should be game planning for vtech and miami every year and not having to worry about a strong ooc.

    OOC games should be treated as pre-season and working on schemes, plays, formations to beat the two programs above. Our problem has been that we are not good enough to play average and still win against most teams on the schedule. I am convinced that once the culture changes on how our kids work physically and psychologically, we will turn the program around.

    That is also why i feel we should always recruit a grad transfer each year from osu or alabama, because they came from winning cultures. That is why you dont go after rutgers, kent st. toledo and any other player from those teams. I would have full pressed Foster last year for that reason and full pressed joe burrow from osu this year. Burrow will be in the nfl, barring injury.

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  80. Agreed Huff, the OOC schedule should be like a broken bat dribbler ruled a base hit. Looks like a line drive in the paper the next morning. Nobody cares at the end of the season when PITT’s beats Albany first game and gets to a bowl game at seasons end.

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  81. @grizz – Beamer fell off his last few year and their replacement was a hot prospect. Be fair now. The coastal is the easier division.

    @ike – the biggest failure to me was Jester thinking he had a touchdown and letting up. Every stride is purposeful, when you are a champion. You guys can use that. I use that with my youth hockey team that is now 14-1.

    Also, i am fine with Narduzzi. Wouldn’t have been my first choice, but i like him. I think he lets his heart get in the way of his head. What i mean is that he loves the kids which is great, but sometimes loving a kid is also being honest and telling the kid that player B is passing you up, sorry. If there are no player B’s, than recruiting is the problem and you need to recruit better. That is my main complaint. Narduzzi needs to put his brand and the Pitt brand first. No player is bigger than the brand. When you have a big heart and love for the players individually, judgments can become cloudy. When things get cloudy, he stays with status quo because its comfortable.

    When you trot out Herndon, Dintino, Morrisey, Zeise, Briggs, Roy, etc., you are being loyal OR you just didn’t recruit good enough.

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  82. You could be right Huff? Here’s the thing though, Narduzzi now has players B a plenty and their numbers are growing. As far as the players he will trot out there this year there are 2 unknowns. Do we know what players they are and do we know better than the coaches if they are the best players PITT has to do the trotting? I refuse to believe Narduzzi would sacrifice a win to send Shane Roy out on the field because he’s a senior he didn’t even recruit. In my opinion.

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      1. Ok buddy boy. Let’s see what happens this coming season. I hope you have your season tickets and get your butt up here to watch and we will poke each others in the ribs saying i told you so..

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  83. Pitt softball on ESPN – ACC championship game vs #7 FL State – Pitt ahead 3-0 in the top of the sixth.

    Chants of “Let’s Go Pitt” can be heard in the background…

    Go Pitt!

    Like

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