If you all remember I did a series of articles in June of 2017 that looked at the departing starters from the 2016 season and who I thought would be replacing them for 2017.  With that I assigned a grade of “Upgrade“, “Downgrade” or “Draw‘.

What I’ll do first is look at each position, or unit, along the offense as of today and write down who I think will be the starter and why it will be that guy.  Then I’ll assign a ranking of “Upgrade” if I see an upgrade, “Downgrade’ if I see a downgrade or “Draw” if I think we’ll match last year’s player(s) in the position or unit. 

Please remember that this is in comparison to the departed player and not a grade of the new player himself.  Thus a “downgrade” from NT when Aaron Donald departed would have been assigned even if it had have been anyone college and in the NFL almost and they would still have been a loss at that position.  So, let’s start that again with the team’s position units and the prospective starters and two-deep.

This will easily be the simpler one of all the units to write about.

In a nutshell we went from QB Nate Peterman who had the best year of any Pitt QB in ages if not in our total history (27 TDs to 7 INTs and 8th in the nation in Passing Efficiency with 163.4) , to transfer-in QB Max Browne who was already a has-been fleeing USC for greener pastures.  When Browne was injured in the first half of the Syracuse game – almost exactly at the halfway point of the season – he had not impressed anyone with his play.

Here is his year-end stat line:

Browne 17By the way – don’t let that season’s 142.7 pass efficiency rating of Browne’s fool you. If you take away the Rice game his rating over the rest of his season was a horrid 113.2. with no regulation-time TDs in any other games.

But it was clear from game one against Youngstown State that something went wrong with the QB position for the 2017 season. After going through 60 minutes of play without throwing a TD against the mighty YSU Penguin defense, Brown finally completed a TD throw to win in overtime. Of course that was a good outcome for Pitt, especially after blowing a 21-0 halftime lead,  but it pretty much showed the Pitt fans what Max Browne was and was not capable of.

Aside from an impressive outing against the nation’s worst pass defense owned by the Rice Owls, Browne was a huge disappointment to the team and the fans. Not that anyone rejoiced when he was injured; no true fan wants to see any player get hurt and out for the season, but there wasn’t the sense of a tragic moment either because our 2nd string QB, Ben Dinucci, was playing just as well.

What it shook out to was a stifled offense that could not rely on a passing game to advance the ball on a consistent basis. That is turn lead to opposing defenses being able to not worry much about Pitt’s air game and so they could  tighten up their front seven to stop the run – which was a successful tactic all season.

Here are our QBs’ stats from last season – read it and say Good Riddance! because anyone who threw a pass for us in ’17 is off the roster for 2018.

Passing3The difference in play from our QB position from one season to another was truly and remarkably horrible. A telling point is that our team Passing Efficiency Rating (RAT) was a great 156.0 in ’16 then sharply tumbled to a very poor 129.0 last year.

I think we’ll see a change in QB play almost as dramatic as we segue from 2017 to 2018 but in a completely positive way.  In other words I believe SO QB Kenny Pickett is going to be a solid and good player at QB for us and is going to allow the rest of the offense’s skill players – no matter how inexperienced they are – to play at least decent football.

I know Pitt fans are expecting stardom from Pickett based on the only real playing time he had last season when he got into the Virginia Tech game (a 20-14 loss) then started his first game in a Pitt uniform against #2 ranked Miami and led our 24-14 upset.  He impressed everyone with his cool under pressure and his moxie when tucking the ball and running for two scores against Miami.

But stardom does not live in a vacuum so I don’t think we’ll see Pickett reach that lofty plateau in ’18.  He’ll play well but true stardom? There are just too many question marks – and some very serious doubts – about who he is going to be playing with on offense.   We’ll address all the seperate position units in future articles but in my mind, and with what every other writer I have read covering Pitt football this off-season has to say… we are going to have a real problem with a cobbled together and poor quality offensive line.

It is absolutely imperative that Pickett stays upright and free of injury this season because our only viable back-up QB is well-travelled but never having played D1 ball Ricky Town.  I wrote a series on Town earlier this season and think he’s a great young man who has had some real problems so far in his abbreviated and circuitous college career.  Now he’s at Pitt and will try his best if called on I’m sure… I just don’t believe he has the physical or mental skills to succeed as a QB at the Power Five level.  Here is a timely article from ESPN on just this subject…

So I think a poor offensive line will hinder Pickett’s ability to play up to his full potential this season and thus we’ll see less production from him than most fans feel he’ll have (that is if what I am about to write is actually ‘less’ than you thought he’ll  do). My predictions for him as our starter, and hopefully our only QB playing this season, is to see him deliver much along the lines of Nate Peterman’s first season here at Pitt.

Peterman had a good season in 2015 doing this:

NP 16

And I think as far as passing goes Pickett will be around those figures. Something to realize also though is that he has, to this very young date in his career, a rather poor TD:Pass Attempt ratio of 1:66 or 1.5 percent of his passes for TDs – and his lone touchdown pass was a tricky shovel pass at that. That will change for the better this season for sure but that what should be noted.

That prediction of his production above doesn’t factor in one of the strong points Pickett brings to the offensive table with his ability to escape the collapsing pocket and run with the ball. We saw that in a big way when he carried the ball against Miami.  His rushing totals so far aren’t that impressive overall;  21 carries for 75 yards and 2 TDs for a 3.6 ypc clip, but factor in his being sacked five times (five times in 6+ quarters of play!… and that with a better OL than we’ll have this year…) so his rushing the ball forward on purpose average would be higher.

I think we’ll see Pickett replicate or better the running game of Chad Voytik (career 529 yards, 4.0 ypc and 5 TDs) and there will be some called QB keepers in the playbook I’m sure.  However Voytik’s 2015 year in rushing was pretty good with 108 carries for 466 yards and I’m not sure Pickett will get that many carries, but we’ll see.

It would be a departure for our OC Shawn Watson since he’s been here to run his QB but that was with Brown and DiNucci… but then again he’s had an excellent QB down in Louisville before and that turned out very well in his coaching Teddy Bridgewater for three years. Wouldn’t that be nice to see that happen, even on a smaller scale, at Pitt?

All in all the Upgrade, Downgrade or Draw determination to make here is pretty obvious…

UPGRADE

…and a damn big one at that!

 

 

112 thoughts on “POV’s Win, Lose or Draw for 2018’s QBs

  1. Can you imagine if we have KP starting for us for the next 3 years? I’m getting giddy just thinking about that. The last time we had a QB start 3 years in a row was…well…never mind.

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  2. I’m just really curious what Watson’s gonna do to keep Pickett upright. If he’s half the qb Peterman was I’ll be very happy!

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    1. Watson had better game plan like he did for last year’s Miami game. Play action (roll out), a few designed QB runs to keep the D linemen in lanes, and some pass plays on non-passing downs helped alot in that game. In the Miami game, Pickett opted to run on several non-designed run plays and wasn’t afraid of contact. The lack of fear of contact is fine, but Pickett needs to be coached to slide feet first or go out of bounds every now and then and to avoid contact as its a long season.

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  3. This one is a layup. If KP can stay in one piece, he’ll be the best we’ve had in a long time.

    In a totally unrelated matter, I direct anyone who wants to get the juices flowing to google “Pitt football dream on video YouTube”. It gets you into the Pitt football mood almost as much (almost) as the 13-9 Rich Rod press conference.

    I would link it, but I need a smarter guy like Eicher to walk me through the steps.

    Wlat

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  4. Seems like an appropriate time as always to thank Reed for another enjoyable if not controversial read. I don’t know what I’d do without his indefatigable effort.

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  5. I’m thinking when Reed and all of us get through with this new series we will all wonder what the fuss is all about. Just taking a quick and uneducated glance around the different units, which ones will not be an upgrade?

    Right you are Wlat, a break away layup and Reed scores. Great job Reed.

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    1. Defensive backs perhaps? Certainly WRs…mainly because we haven’t seen them do anything yet. TEs also…losing your two starters is going to hurt there.

      So that’s three units that could be draws or downgrades right there…but lets discuss those positions when the articles come out.

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      1. I’m with Peak in thinking that our db will be very good. Our course there is a bit of hope in there bc other than Dane none has had much playing time. The skill is there though.

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  6. Peterman turned out to be a good one with the exception of the military Bowl.. he was able to achieve more than many anticipated in large part because a a super OL that kept him off his the ground

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  7. I guess that is the link wlat was referring to.

    Agree Pickett is a definite upgrade and it will make our other skill positions an upgrade too.

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  8. Ok, I’ll be Johnny Raincloud:

    Pickett threw how many touchdown passes last year?
    His revamped offensive line is eagerly awaiting a transfer from…Akron? or its equivalent.
    His tight ends are…sophomores and a transfer.
    And, his backs are mediocre.

    So, call me unmoved, nonplussed and otherwise concerned that we may fall offensively flat on our collective faces.

    That said, H2P!

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      1. takes rain and sun
        so look for a mixed bag on offense
        there will be struggles
        hopefully Kenny’s confidence isnt shot and he stays healthy

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    1. One passing TD from Pickett I believe. The staff should have gotten Kenny more playing time(experience) last season.

      Mathews still looking for his first TD, going into year three. His best attribute is blocking. He’s not a WR.

      If I’m not mistaken Lopes has two receiving TD’s so far.

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  9. I agree with you Reed in expecting KP’s stats this year to be in the range of Nate Peterman’s first year, a definite upgrade over last year, which should help the stats of some of the other offensive units….

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  10. He gets hurt early and will be out for the year.

    He is replaced by the Cali Kid who plays pretty good but the lack of an offense and bad coaching gets us to 4-7.

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    1. Assuming Pickett and most of team stays healthy throughout the season, then what are your thoughts on our final record?

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    2. Damn, UPitt. Maybe you could forewarn the Pitt coaches of the play that KP gets injured on – so they can put someone else in for that play…😊

      Fingers crossed that KP survives the pass rush and the tackles — like he did against two good defenses in VT and Miami…

      Go Pitt!

      Liked by 1 person

  11. Good job, Reed.

    I could be wrong, but I don’t remember Bridgewater being a running threat. And Bridgewater was an accurate passer but didn’t exactly have a cannon. He was a good student of the game though.

    I can see KP eventually surpassing Teddy B.

    Go Pitt.

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  12. I think it is a push right now. Not a downer, but not an upper. I am thinking about the qb only, not his supporting cast. Not risk of injury because we could say that about every player. I am looking solely at the player. So for me, the question is whether he gets better physically and mentally.

    Mentally, I think he improves. Physically, I think he remains the same. Has he become more accurate this year, I don’t know. Is he faster, beats me. Has he become a leader in the locker room, I don’t know. Does he know the entire playbook, I don’t know. With all the positional unknowns, I gotta go with the push with a slight lean towards improvement.

    I do believe that the back up qb position is better for a couple of reasons. First, there is Towns. You get to be a 5 star for some reason and mostly it’s because you can chuck it around the playground. He might struggle mentally, but seems to have the physical tools necessary to compete. Secondly, and more importantly, the rule change this year allows for true freshman Patti to play four games without blowing a redshirt.

    Once we see him play live, we will have a better chance figuring it out but until then, who knows.

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  13. Reed – very good article. KP will be a rising star for Pitt and the next QB drafted to the NFL.

    KP will also make the players around him better. G.Aston should return to pre-injury form and if that happens, the rest of the O should jell.

    IMO the WR group is deep, but inexperienced except for Mathews, RaRa Lopes, Ffrench & Tipton. The young depth behind these four should push for playing time.

    The RB group is loaded with talent – at least one needs to unleash a can of WA on opposing D’s or KP will be running a lot – not good.

    TE’s will be ok – Gragg with SEC game experience and Sear looked good until he was injured in 2017.

    The Oline will find 5 starters and keep KP upright – mark my words.

    H2P!

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  14. Reed – the fact that we don’t have a viable backup QB – do you think this really inhibits how much we let KP run? I just think we have to be really careful in not getting him injured but at the same time you don’t want him to play in fear of injury.

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    1. I really wondered about that myself but one theory is you let the kids go out there and play without regard to injury.

      But Pat narduzzi is very conservative and doesn’t take risks at all so they might try to make KP in the more of a pocket passer that he usually is.

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      1. He’s been as conservative as his OC is. Cheney was conservative. Canada was not. Watson was conservative last season. We’ll see if he changes in year two. They way the offense played against Miami lends you to believe we’ll see a different offense this season.

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  15. Certainly KP is an upgrade over Browne and DiNucci but is he an upgrade over Peterman? Time will tell.
    Peterman had the best line since the eighties and the most weapons, maybe of any Pitt QB ever, with Conner, Henderson, Aston and Weah, tight ends and a tackle that could make plays. Also Canada’s finest effort.

    Pickett definitely has leadership qualities, but will be able to complete those third down plays and keep drives going?

    Of course it has as much to do with the line as him.

    I believe if Pitt can establish a running game, it will make a world of difference and take a lot of the pressure off of the QB. My hope is even though the line hasn’t played together, that because 4 are seniors, they will be better than anticipated in run blocking. With two new tackles I worry about the pass protection. I see a lot of three step drops, screen and shovel passes and dumps to the backs to keep the pressure off. This means third and long could be a problem. That is why the running game has to be successful. Also it chews up more time and keeps the D fresh.

    There is no such thing as shut down defense in today’s football, you have to be able to score enough to win.

    I’m hoping that KP has Tino’s most valuable assets, his toughness and durability. Hopefully he is better at throwing the ball away when necessary, and is very good at throwing the ball accurately while on the run.

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  16. It would also help if one of the receivers becomes his go to guy, probably Lopes, but one of the bigger guys needs to step up, especially in the red zone.

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  17. One thing to note here is I read where Pickett really devoted himself to the weight room as well and put on 15- 20 lbs of muscle.

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  18. Agree with the comment above that Watson needs to have an offense closer to what we saw against Miaimi. Not Canada’s offense with non-stop jet sweeps. Canada had the perfect personnel for it.

    I see Watsom putting his own stamp on the offense this year. It will look more like it did at Louisville.

    Found an article about Watson that was written when Watson was hired at Texas. The highlights…

    Louisville went from averaging 22 points per game in 2011 to 31 points per game in 2012 to 35 points per game in 2013. They also turned the ball over sparingly (2012: 17th in FBS turnover margin; 2013: 2nd in FBS turnover margin) and consistently protected the defense with clock-milking drives and positive field position (in 2013 they were #2 in FBS in both time of possession and third down conversion rates) while racking up plenty of yardage and points. This was Charlie Strong’s dream offense – high productivity with minimal risk. (Replace Strong’s name with Narduzzi).

    Watson’s work with young QBs…

    Louisville – 2011-2013
    Teddy Bridgewater (2011-2013)

    Watson is largely responsible for Bridgewater getting the reins as a freshman and convincing Strong to bear the growing pains. He bet his career on that decision and it paid off. Bridgewater threw for over 9,800 yards in three years while completing 68% of his passes and amassing 72 TDs against only 24 interceptions.

    The 2014 NFL Draft is a fascinating prism through which to view what Watson accomplished with a talented, coachable quarterback.

    Bridgewater was initially coveted for his his accuracy as well as the rapidity and decisiveness of his reads. He wore the NFL-friendly Cardinal offense like a glove. “The most NFL-ready college quarterback” was the common refrain. Given a Louisville offensive supporting cast largely bereft of NFL talent, the reasoning was that Bridgewater had to be elite to be getting this sort of production in an offense with few gimmicks (i.e. not a Leach style system creation).

    When professional teams brought him in for workouts and interviews, they saw a different picture. Bridgewater had average size (6-2, didn’t carry extra weight well), an average NFL arm, average athleticism (4.8 40, 30 inch vertical), didn’t exhibit a great grasp of new offensive concepts and struggled to throw unfamiliar routes. Where was Superman?

    However, Bridgwater was incredibly well-versed in his college offense. In it, he was Superman. He was a well-drilled machine within his physical and mental comfort zone – adeptly performing the reads and throws suited and molded to his strengths. Bridgewater’s deficiencies had been disguised and hidden, his strengths highlighted. By design. By a designer. The NFL realized that Teddy Bridgewater wasn’t a spectacular talent. He had just been coached up. His fall in draft perception from consensus #1 pick to the last pick of the 1st round was the NFL coming to grips with the gap between great film and actual talent level. Watson’s work at Louisville is more or less unimpeachable.

    Note: Bridgewater faired well in the NFL before a really bad leg injury.

    Nebraska:

    Taylor Martinez – 2010

    Remember the bet Watson made on a freshman QB at Louisville in 2011? He did the same thing at Nebraska in 2010 with Taylor Martinez (a three star dual threat prospect recruited from California). The bet looked brilliant initially and demonstrated Watson’s willingness to revisit his offensive approach and feature his best talent. Watson benched Lee for the speedy freshman and moved to a spread option running attack that showcased his running ability. The results were spectacular.

    Through their first nine games, the Huskers averaged 37 points per game and boasted a 8-1 record. The Huskers ran the ball at will and Martinez exhibited just enough passing ability to exploit defenses overplaying a dominating rushing attack.

    Then the bottom fell out. (Upitt’s prediction)

    Martinez suffered a high ankle sprain and couldn’t run effectively. Limited to the pocket, he proved a terrible passer when he had to actually throw into windows and his offensive line couldn’t protect him. Nebraska struggled to a 2-3 season finish while averaging less than 20 points per contest. In Martinez’s first seven games, he ran 100 times for 871 yards. In his last five, he ran 62 times for 95 yards. A Washington team that Nebraska put 56 on early in the season held them to 7 in the disastrous bowl rematch. Watson was fired. Nebraska fans rejoiced.

    In retrospect, the firing is odd, as much a reflection of a desperate head coach seeking a fall guy for an injury to his freshman wunderkind quarterback and a fan base willing to accept a few lopped heads instead of confronting the larger marginalization of their program (which still continues today in a weaker league) as a referendum on Watson’s failings. When Watson had solid, healthy quarterbacks at Nebraska, he exhibited legitimate offensive resourcefulness and the Huskers put up numbers. When that talent bottomed along with his quarterbacking options, so too did the offense. That doesn’t excuse Watson, but those related facts aren’t coincidental. Beware of anyone who oversimplifies Watson’s time in Lincoln. He showed some desirable traits even as things went sour.

    I remember watching both of these teams. They were totally different offenses. Watson can adjust to his personnel. I think PN’s idea to keep Canada’s offense was a bad move. Let Watson sink or swim on his own.

    Upgrade

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    1. Pretty encouraging. Except for the part where he didn’t have the talent. Nebraska always seems to have plenty of beef on their O-line. It really will come down to the talent on the offense as a whole. Two years ago the O was a well oiled machine because of the talent level. Peterman, Conner, Bisno, Johnson, O’Neil, Henderson, Weah, all with pro potential. How many guys on the O this year have that potential?

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      1. Well, opinions differ on your last sentence gc , but I personally think that with the exception of Pickett we are going to have the least talented players on offense that we have seen for many years.

        Pitt fans overestimate Narduzzi’s recruits constantly and we all have a familiarity bias with these kids because we read and care about them so much.

        But if you can take a step back and look at our prospective offensive starters and two-deep in an objective manner, like other sportswriters not associated with Pitt have done, you see big talent problems.

        What worries me is of course the OL. It scares everyone but the most rabid fans, but more so with me the WRs, TEs and RBs.

        WRs and RBs are skill set positions where the really good players get on the field right away and really produce. None of Narduzzi’s recruit at those positions have done anything close to that and we are going into year four.

        So what we are left with is hoping someone new comes along and breaks out into stardom (like we do every year) and that hasn’t been happening. Keeping my fingers crossed but I feel well have an average offense with less OVERALL talent this year than even last season…and we sucked then.

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    2. Good information NRS.

      I watched the Pitt v Miami again a few weeks ago over the course of a couple of evenings (the game is on YouTube if interested).

      I’m not a huge Watson fan, but I will give credit where credit is due. Watson did a helluva job game planning for Miami, IMO.

      Watson designed runs for Kenny (including a run on the first play of the game), rolled Kenny 6 or 7 times, had him under center and in shot-gun, called pass plays on 1st or 2nd down on occasion, ran one jet sweep, a couple of pitches to the RBs, a shovel pass, a screen or two, and so on.

      The strategy seemed to be to keep an aggressive and fast Miami D off balance, and to keep the heat off Kenny. The plan worked! The couple of designed QB runs over the first 10 plays or so, had the effect of keeping the Miami D linemen in their lanes (containment as you rush) as they now knew Kenny was a threat with his feet.

      I also noticed that Kenny feels pressure and stepped up in the pocket a couple of times to avoid the Miami rush. Come to think of it, Miami sacked Kenny for the first time in the 3rd quarter on a designed roll out and not while he was dropping back and in the pocket.

      In addition, all three of our experienced RBs are good receivers so I hope we will see various screens early this season, which helps against aggressive defenses.

      After seeing the Miami performance, I’m optimistic on both Watson and Pickett and believe (like others) that Pickett is an upgrade at QB over last season.

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      1. Rocky — good post. Agree with you except for the RBs being good receivers out of the backfield. I’ve seen them catch the ball and I’ve seen them with some drops. Don’t know what you might get. Hopefully they get consistent on the good side…

        Agree that KP is one of those guys who seems to have some ESP in sensing where the pressure is coming from and adjusts well to it…

        Go Pitt.

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  19. The QB position will be an UPGRADE — with a capital UP.

    And agree that Coach Duzz should haveleft Watson do whatever Watson thought was best with the players coming back last season. Max was no threat to run, but we still ran plays where the QB running was an option. Which the defenses knew they didn’t have to worry about.

    And, even though we somehow won, watching BD play at Duke was frustrating. Definite upgrade this season.

    Go Pitt!

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  20. NRS, great post and I may need you when we do get to tight ends. << does that sound weird? Anyway, I don’t want to jump ahead in positions but you sound like you have some good background on SW.

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  21. Last season was a crap shoot. QB play was suspect compared to the prior year. Pitt won 5 games and was in the hunt to win 8. QB play will really elevate things. the questions are there, but Pitt will always have some question marks. All teams do. Narduzzi and staff have invested three years into the program as to development of players. Many are now poised to pay dividends. But having a quality QB is big..

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  22. I would say this year is just as much of a crap shoot. There are just as many unknowns.
    KP surely looks to be more talented, but he has only won one game and has a grossly unknown
    O line in front of him, slightly more difficult schedule than last year and no bonafide skill players around him.

    We will see how many of Narduzzi’s recruits pay dividends this year. It better be a big bunch.

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  23. This is an easy one for me(a MAJOR UPGRADE) since I believe there is a good chance that Pitt will only have Pickett for the next 2 years. He will be declaring for the the 2020 NFL draft in his junior year is my best guess. Tipton said he’s the best QB he’s ever been around. And we do know Tipton played a season with Peterman at QB for Pitt.

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    1. Sorry, I like the guy too but to say he will go pro in two years is crazy. We have no idea yet whether he can read a defense, can go deep or even hit a guy in stride with regularity. We also don’t know what defenses will do to him once they have some film to study. Being able to pick up a first down has some value to the pros but not as much as throwing down field with accuracy.

      His success like all QB’s depends greatly on the O line and the skill players which in my opinion are very suspect at this point.

      Even next year, the O-line will probably be a total rebuild, not good for even the most skilled QB.

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  24. I like Reed’s suggestion we wait on each unit’s article to get into deep discussions about them and here’s the thing. We now know how Browne and Dinucci performed last year so we have a solid foundation to answer this question. On the other hand, what do we know about Pickett?

    Well, there is more information out there than it originally seems. Yes we have half the VT game and the great game KP played against Miami. Then, we have none other than Reed’s testimonial prior to last year’s season flat out telling us all how good this kid is. I consider Reed a top notch resource and believed him when he told us all that. So I can only go with a big big UPGRADE with the QB position this coming season.

    I’ve posted this before but here’s a small speed bump. Pickett had the same play available to him in the VT goal line stand that he used in the Miami game. The boot leg and he never called it. Let’s hope he’s matured mentality as he has physically.. . . .ike

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  25. Again, Peterman had an O-line with 3 or 4 pro prospects, who played together for a long time, Conner to hand the ball to, Henderson running wild around the end, Boyd for a year and Weah the next. Solid tight ends and Aston for misdirection. Easy to look pretty good with that much help.

    Please name one guy that is as good as any of those guys.

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    1. Which is a big problem. Hall is overrated by a large margin; the staff apparently thinks Ollison is a bum…and any young untested RB better have speed to get to the outside because up the middle is going to be very hard going.

      I’m really disappointed in the TE situation.Clark for all his problems had at least some experience.
      Reeves was very impressive to the staff and they were very high on him…

      Now the decision not to recruit any TEs in his first two classes is going to bite us in the ass.

      I think Pitt fans really underestimated Holtz and Orndkff and what they did with in receiving and blocking. We are really hurting there.

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      1. All u need to know about Hall and Ollison is that Moss was going to be Da Man before injuries and his wooden head did him in.

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    2. This where I’m at gc. Some on this board think Pickett is going to walk on water no matter what is around him.

      Points will be hard to come by due to lack of recruiting. The hiring of Watson/Borberly is not helping the situation.

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  26. The great unknowns Ike. Does he get it mentally? Will there be mental mistakes because he just isn’t yet ready for the P5 experience every week as a sophomore?

    Physically, I don’t doubt his ability and if he gained some weight, great. He will need that to compete all year.

    I don’t get enamored with just the physical. I get enamored with the complete package of mental and physical. So to me, the mental area is where he may struggle because I would bet he will not see a pass rush in practice, like he will see against The Dairy and ND. How he responds mentally will be critical. Scheme recognition, route progressions, offensive blocking schemes and the like.

    Again, I am not voting on how the line does or how the coaches call the plays or how the rb’s run and block and how the WR’s look. I am only looking at the QB, not the supporting cast. I know they are intertwined, but the exercise to me is to only look at the qb position right now. For that reason, I am a push until I see him under center this camp.

    As yogi said, 80% of the game is physical and the other 40% is mental. There is truth in the words, not the percentages.

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  27. Well, I’m above a push because we were pretty bad at QB last season.

    Honestly I heard DiNucci outplayed Browne in fall camp and would rather have seen him all year than Browne.

    But once Narduzzi gets a bone in his teeth he isn’t going to deviate from his plan and that was to use ex-5* Browne all season if possible.

    I wish PN would take more chances with personnel and see what he really has. Too many coaches play who was best in practice only and that cuts out kids who play better under game pressure.

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  28. Loved Reeves while watching him in High School. I think he will make it back to a campus and dominate at some point in the near future. He so reminded me of the Steelers Eric Green. Physically there, mentally not at this point.

    Sear seems solid mentally and has had a year to beef up and get faster. Mentally there, physically a work in progress. He is PJ Holtz like in my opinion.

    Clarke, talented physically, but not mentally.

    Arkan sauce TE transfer – ?? who knows.

    Seems like we lost a TE to West Virgina High last year that wanted to come to Pitt but we told him the numbers didn’t fit and pulled the schollie. Pooof, there goes a 4 star that wanted to come here. Forget his name. Had good size…maybe Banks? That happens when you unexpectedly lose two TE’s.

    Like

    1. Maybe Reeves was injured for the spring game, but he didn’t demostrate any speed or quickness at all.

      I focused on him on several plays because of my high hopes. Sure looks like he has the real deal body — have to wonder what went on with him…

      Go Pitt.

      Like

  29. I agree that Kenny on his worst day is better than another other QB we ran out there last year.

    MAJOR UPGRADE

    It also makes you wonder why in the heck he didn’t play sooner??? He was young blah blah blah.

    All the great ones are better as soon as they touch the field as freshman.

    Larry Fitzgerald
    Antonio Bryant
    D Lewis
    TD
    Revis
    Donald
    Shady

    etc etc etc etc

    Here is hoping there is a few freshman that make an impact like the above list. I don’t care what their start rating was I am just hopefully someone works out for pete sake.

    Like

    1. There are other reasons kids don’t play…academics or unannounced disciplinary actions for example.

      It isn’t always who is the best.

      This is true especially for true freshman and is the reason redshirts were started years ago…because lots of freshmen couldn’t do the school work well enough right out of HS.

      Remember KP was already enrolled in the spring and summer not just coming on board in August.

      Kids that just come to fall camp can play because they haven’t had academic problems until well into the season.

      Ford was sat for a year because of this.

      Like

  30. When the time comes, let’s refer to NRS if Watson used his TE’s anywhere he’s been. I don’t think that is a position to worry about. Thus the 285 lbs TE’s.

    Like

  31. Agree with Reed that Narduzzi, like a lot of coaches plays it safe. The players that make the fewest mistakes during the week are the guys that play vs the guys with the most upside. Hope he doesn’t keep Ford on the bench too long. He also needs to give the younger O-linemen playing time to see what they got.

    Although I do agree it would have been a mistake to play KP vs PSU and OKST, he could have used him sooner.

    Like

  32. I think it is really unfortunate that Clark and Reeves are gone, they both could have made a difference. Same as Taleni and Wirginis last year. When you are a borderline team these kind of losses are magnified.

    Like

    1. Was thinking the same thing.

      In the Pitt/Miami game a TE with the number 86 did a nice job blocking on a couple of plays. I’m thinking that that is Tyler Sear? If so, then he is a solid blocker and should see significant playing time this season. Clark was fast for a TE – bummer that he is gone…

      Like

  33. Football is the ultimate team sport. We have been pretty lucky to have some guys make all-time Pitt lists in recent years, Donald, Boyd, Conner, Henderson and Blewitt. Unfortunately it didn’t translate into enough wins because we didn’t have the surrounding casts. With the exception of the O-line, I think Narduzzi is assembling pretty good depth. what is missing right now are the stars to elevate that depth.

    Hopefully KP becomes one.

    Like

  34. I see where P Ford is not on the first team depth chart? What does that mean? Is Narduzzi’s recruiting that good that a four star can’t crack the starting lineup? He said with his tongue in his cheek…. ike

    Like

  35. Well I certainly agree with Reed on how conservative Narduzzi plays it. For some reason he seem to rank age over talent IMO. Pickett didn’t play earlier because Narduzzi thought he was too young period. A major mistake and the reason he was at best a C minus coach this past season.

    Like

  36. jrn, I’m asking you to trust me on this one. From a reliable source with inside knowledge, Pickett, although he enrolled early, was simply not ready for the big time college football rigors. He had a slow time coming around and adjusting to all aspects of playing football, studies and being away from home. The coach just couldn’t afford to put his eggs in the Pickett basket early in the season. Myself? I believe this story to be true considering my source.

    Like

    1. Few kids are ready mentally and physically. Hence few frosh play unless they are truly elite athletes and can handle it. Never a good idea to force someone into playing who is not ready. Damages your confidence and tough to recover.

      Tex

      Like

      1. Not true. Not today, college football today is vastly different than 25-30 years ago. These kids today are more prepared now than ever to come in and play early. All across the country young kids are playing.

        Look at Saban, he recruits at a elite level. They won the NC last year. Plenty of talent up and down the roster. Last year they had 17 different freshman play in 5 games or more..

        Like

  37. With an open scholarship, maybe Clarke will come back.. 🙂 Still waiting on Capal to close out that last scholarship.

    Like

  38. UPGRADE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    Let me put it this way: if ike was our starting QB for this year, and I was the QB2 and Reed was the QB3
    …..it would be an upgrade from last year!!!!!

    Like

    1. Ike,
      That’s why I named you the starter with me and Reed backing you up! You’re an undefeated, seasoned starting QB! :>)

      Like

  39. I was hoping that Chris Clark had finally matured to the point where he was happy to be in one place and was willing to concentrate on football for his senior year so that maybe he could get a step into the NFL but that didn’t happen.

    Physically I think he had all the tools for success but I’ve come to believe after watching football for 40 plus years that the mental part of the game is at least half of the success these players have or don’t have and that’s why I’m kind of worried about some players on the team this coming year.

    Like

  40. LB position article drafted and will go up tomorrow.

    I’m going to rotate the O and D units.

    Thinking about starting up the Round table call-in show again when fall camp starts. It will be on an invitation basis this time. Have to keep it to people who won’t interrupt others and try to dominate the conversation.

    Like

    1. I’m a little confused about the round table comment. Your point is clear with no need to elaborate, but I guess I just didn’t see what you are talking about. Of course I didn’t see all of them.

      They are fun though, and it would be great to get different people on each week. I always prefer talking woth people rather than texting to them.

      Like

  41. Reed,
    What is considered a good passing efficiency rating? Great point you make in that Pickett’s only touchdown pass was a shovel pass and Pitt fans have anointed him a future Heisman Trophy winner and NFL star.

    Who holds the single-season rushing record for a Pitt quarterback and how many yards is it?

    Thanks.

    Like

  42. Chris Clarke is a classic example why the star system is not a science. The number one 5* TE out of high school in the country?? What was Scott Orndoff rated? You can win with the better 3* players. Ask psu, Clemson and Miami if it’s possible.

    Liked by 1 person

  43. Just wondering, does anybody know what happened with Ox? Sounds like the Duzz had issues with him. Man, I just want no more drama.

    Like

  44. @VOR – I think Aundre Wright has re-classified to this year and his decision will come after a visit to LSU. I think his announcement is scheduled for like 8-7? I think i read that, but the memory is going.

    Like

  45. Just read Dans comment, oh boy! We’ve all seen this type of behavior when a person gets promoted and doesn’t deserve it, so they act like a authoritarian just to prove that they, in fact, are the boss. I really don’t want any drama. Just football. Please!

    Like

    1. Look, no young boys were raped in the shower, nor were the gymnastic team members being groped and the wrestling team is not being watched at practice by a group of perverts that we know of (All BIG 10 facts). The speculation is that an employee (Ox) of the Pitt Athletic Dept was “asked to clean-up after a FB team party at coach Duzz’s house”.

      Who knows, this Pitt employee may have had a bad day, lyke losing big at the casino or getting a DUI the night before. None of us know the whole picture.

      Let me know when someone steals a pair of underwear from the Pitt locker room because the equipment manager resigned. Oh, and maybe the “cleat” issues our FB team has experience for the past 31 years will suddenly disappear.

      Coach Duzz needs to win FB games – keeping all employees happy is nearly impossible.

      Morning coffee rant…

      Like

  46. The QB position is a win for me. Pickett, Town and Patti in 2018 are better than Browne, Dinucci and McVitte in 2017.

    Let’s get to Fall camp and see what we have – good riddance to 2017.

    Like

  47. Rick, you are off base with this. Ox was a positive and solid guy and well-loved at Pitt. This is not a good thing to hear happening at all.

    To put it mildly Dan72’s comment was not only accurate but his last few sentences were 100% correct. Kevin Gorman weighs in on it also with “What I’m hearing about his departure is not flattering to Panthers coach Pat Narduzzi”… When a sportswriter in PGH, who are mostly syncophants, says that in public you can bet something is wrong

    This is not all that surprising to me. I’ve had lots of conversations with POV readers where I’ve said something is rotten on the south side… Narduzzi isn’t a beloved figure at Pitt.

    Like

  48. Here is something that twists the knife a bit. We put a total of 4 players in a ACC Top 100 list…

    https://www.cardiachill.com/2018/7/23/17602414/pitt-football-pittsburgh-panthers-top-100-list-acc-football-2018

    Offensive lineman Alex Bookser leads the way and you don’t even find him until No. 31. Bookser is the only Panther in the top 50. Linebacker Oluwaseun Idowu jumps into the mix at No. 53. He’s followed by defensive end Rashad Weaver (No. 66) and Darrin Hall (No. 95). The four players Pitt had was tied for worst (with Syracuse and North Carolina) in the ACC.

    Like

  49. There is an obvious dearth of established talent and if young guys don’t step up this year it will be a trend.
    If the guys that say recruiting has been good are correct, we should see the improvement this year. Those of us that say recruiting has been substandard hope we are wrong.

    Like

  50. BJ, I don’t really think that Clarke will come back, but thought maybe as camp got closer he would miss football. But ike is right that much of what determines success is in these kid’s heads.

    Like

  51. Let me sum this up a bit. Duzz is an arrogant jag off at times who acts like he’s had 3 ten win seasons. He can’t recruit for crap because of his personality. He is a mediocre game day coach still apprenticing to be a head coach. But…if he beats the Dairy school and Tech to start the season, he’s my guy for a long while and I don’t want to hear any more crap about his deficits fron the POV gallery of negativity. However…

    If the Albany game goes into OT and we get blown out by the Peds and Tech…it’s open season on Duzz. I can’t think of anyone better than Heather to hire a real head coach or a better time for it.
    Can Capel coach football too?

    Like

  52. BJ, You do know Capel is BB coach, don’t you? Clark was a tight end for the football team. Or was your post meant as a joke? I’m confused.

    How can anyone say our QB situation is better than last year? How do we know this early? Granted, Pickett looks good. But there is no “known” depth at the position at PITT.

    Why would we think Patti would be a good replacement? Because he is from NJ? Patti played soccer until he was a freshman in high school! There is not a great QB football tradition in Northern NJ. Certainly not on the level of Western Pa. Plus kids from affordant Northern NJ communities don’t always want to pay the personal sacrifice necessary to play big time football; alla Clark.

    Like

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