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 in player quality, “Downgrade’ if I see a lessening of talent or “Draw” if I think we’ll match last year’s player(s) in the position or unit. 

Might as well get this one out-of-the-way but it hurts me to even think about it – the 2018 Wide Receiver corps we’ll field this season.  Let’s look at who has left the team first.

WR Jester Weah was the poster boy for high-end talent and inconsistent play.  He came to Pitt in the 2013 recruiting class as a middling 3* recruit with his only Power 5 offer being ours.  He did have good ‘measurables’ coming out of high school as a 6’3″ gangly 193 lb pass catcher but there was something off about him from the time he reported into ’13’s fall camp and when he blossomed into a solid player in 2016.

I remember watching him in Paul Chryst’s open practices that fall and through into spring of the next season and what was obvious to everyone there was that he just couldn’t catch passes on any consistent basis.  I mean he’d high-point a circus catch one series and have the ball clang off of his hands the next.

Weah’s 2016 to 2017 performance:

As you can see (if you can see it) Weah had a drop in production overall even with five more pass reception last season. The lower TDs really hurt by going from 10 – which is a nice number for a WR to only four in ’17.

Weah 16weah 17

Of course the main play of his that sticks in our minds is his being caught from behind and tackled one yard short of the goal line on a long pass play in our 20-14 loss to Virginia Tech.  Needless to say he’s moved on and I’d say just about no Pitt fans are too broken up about his graduating.

Our other WR loss was a player who didn’t really have all that much impact in the passing game.  Quadree Henderson made his mark at Pitt as a kick returner and as a running back on jet sweeps.  He totaled 17 catches for 186 yards and zero TDs.  We’ll talk more about his leaving in our Special Teams article.

Of course having two below average QBs throwing the ball to them didn’t help our WRs last year either and let’s hope that problem is rectified with QB Kenny Pickett behind Center.  But still a team has to have talented receivers for him to throw to.

So, what do we have for 2018 then?  Well, our most productive WR coming back is SR Rafael Araujo-Lopes and you can see that he was a steady ballplayer in that he caught almost 80% of the passes thrown his way.  That is pretty damn good considering that doesn’t take subtract QB misfires.  Not too shabby especially compared to Weah’s poor 53% last year:

Lopes 17

Another stat to look at for a WR is what his “Success Rate” is and here the explanation for that.

Success Rate

A common Football Outsiders tool used to measure efficiency by determining whether every play of a given game was successful or not. The terms of success in college football: 50 percent of necessary yardage on first down, 70 percent on second down, and 100 percent on third and fourth down.”

So with that it opens the eyes up even more when see that Lopes had a very good 57% rate in that category (Weah’s was 51% in his good 2016 year).  He’ll have to be even better as the WR1 this season.  The question though is who is going to be playing alongside Lopes in the two or three (maybe four sometimes) WR sets?

Here are who we have returning in the WR unit who caught passes last season.  Pretty sparse pickings all around.

NAME REC YDS AVG LONG TD
Rafael Araujo-Lopes 43 531 12.3 28 2
Maurice Ffrench 25 272 10.9 32 0
Aaron Mathews 16 189 11.8 20 0

Something to consider when you look at those three WRs’ stats is that of 2017’s Top 99 receivers listed by Yards Per Catch the least value was 15.4 ypc… No Pitt receivers even sniffed that last season and that is poor work all around.  So these guys returning having a best of 12.3 ypc is worrisome.

Hopes were high for both Maurice Ffrench and Aaron Mathews when they were recruited in the class of 2016.  Mathews mostly on the strength of his being 6’4″ and having a solid Penn State offer – actually he had committed to PSU and flipped to Pitt.  But here is what he did in his first two years and it is certainly less than expected:

Mathews stats

Ffrench is a different animal though and he may be a key to our offense in more ways than just catching the ball. With Henderson and his jet sweeps riding off into the sunset Ffrench is the next WR in line to be used that way – if our OC Shawn Watson can find a way to use him in that capacity. as he seems to have cut that particular and successful part of Matt Canada’s offense down to almost half.  In 2016 we ran WRs 91 times (16% of carries) and last year only 50 (10%)

Here you can see that Matt Canada did just that with Ffrench in ’16 and it worked well to the tune of 10.2 ypc on 12 attempts – didn’t have any passes thrown his way back then though. In ’17 he was only used as a ball carrier nine times for a lot less yardage.

Ffrench stats

But that will change this season with him being no less than WR3 and most probably WR2 in front of Mathews.  His 25 receptions last year is a good bit of experience for a receiver and now that he’s going into his Junior year it’s time for him to really produce.

Other than those two we go into the great Pitt unknown.  Tre Tipton seems to be a fan favorite but he was hurt all last season in a bicycle accident no less (hope it wasn’t a stationary one!) and has been injury prone since coming onboard in 2015.

This will be the third consecutive year Tipton, an Apollo-Ridge graduate, will be forced to miss significant playing time. He was out for all but four games with a knee injury in 2015, his freshman year, and was given a medical redshirt.

Last year, he played in the first nine games, including a start against North Carolina, before missing the remainder of the season. Tipton said he suffered a collapsed lung in the Miami game Nov. 5.

Before that, Tipton caught 12 passes for 142 yards and a touchdown and added another 61 yards on 11 carries. He also completed an 11-yard pass to quarterback Nathan Peterman in the Virginia Tech game.

Supposedly he’s healthy enough to go now but we’ll see how he does in fall camp.  He’s had a small smattering of catches in his rsFR year of 2016, none in his first 2015 year, and ran the ball a few times also:

Tipton Stats

But he’s now a rsJR and has to make his mark out in the field of play or drift down the depth chart.  It’s too bad that one of Narduzzi’s few 4* recruits chose to leave the program this season;  WR Ruben Flowers was a prime get for us and at 6’4″ he looked to be a player we could really have used but he chose to take off instead and play at Independence Community College.

Although when that happens, dropping down to a CC,  the first thing I think of is academic problems because to transfer and play at any D2 or D3 school they still have to meet the NCAA academic minimums.

After sitting out their true freshman year we have three kids who are ready to try to get playing time and depending on how many time our offensive coordinator Shawn Watson wants to go to multiple WR sets they may get some.

rsFR Michael Smith just might be the best of that group as he was All-Everything in his Florida Class 8A league two years ago. His 66 catches for 1,556 and 24 TDs in his SR year is nothing to sneeze at and if we are looking for a kid who just might make a big time impact in his first year of play it may be this guy.

Here are the other two rsFR WRs who may also see time this season…but I kind of doubt it will be much really.

17 WRs

We have a freshman kid who, with the new four games played before redshirting rule, could see action early on also. That would be Cameron O’Neil but I think he’s a few years away.

A fan favorite, and as best I can figure out why is because of his funky name, is Shocky Jacques-Louis.  He was listed by Rivals.com as an ATH and with that, and his speed you can see in this video, I think we’ll see him more as a special teams returner than as a WR in the offense.  Maybe he’ll get some of those end-around carries also.

The bottom line here is that this is an interesting unit to evaluate for the 2018 season as compared to the 2017’s WRs.  In all honesty I do not see more talent here than we had last season, less in fact and I think this is going to be a problem area for us going forward.  Aside from Araujo-Lopes, who was good but just that, we have inexperienced and unproven receivers who I don’t believe posses the type of talent that will make them highly successful Power 5 producers.

If the fans have been keeping up on their Pitt football daily readings, listening to podcasts, etc. you’ll have heard most sports media saying pretty much the same things and that is that there are going to be two big problems with the Pitt team in 2018; first is the Offensive Line and second is the receiving corps.

I agree with that and so award this 2018 WR unit a:

DOWNGRADE 

NOTES:

You can find previous articles on units here:

2018’s Quarterbacks

2018’s Linebackers

 

 

240 thoughts on “POV’s Win, Lose or Draw for 2018’s WRs

  1. I think Watson recognizes he will have to do things differently with this group. Also, because the line play will be a downgrade he probably won’t go downfield as often, lessening the loss of Jester. Hopefully more of a New England style, which I think will fit these guys. Usually, getting off the line of scrimmage in college isn’t as difficult, but we’ll see. Therefore, I call it a PUSH.

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    1. i agree
      quick release and reads
      west coast it this year
      or some play actions for the deep ball
      this line wont give poor Kenny more than 2 seconds to release the ball
      and you dont want him scrambling and running for yardage…need to keep him healthy
      he needs to build confidence and become comfortable
      i expect the play calling to be simple with a heavy dose of running the ball and the RB’s to be Kenny’s go tos when in trouble since Pitt has not tight ends

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      1. They west coast it every year … that’s part of the problem. Canada had a fun spin on it but it’s a dying offense for a reason. Stalwarts like Alabama have even moved away from it.

        I agree with quick releases and reads but do it from an RPO hyrbid/spread. Scrap this pro-style crap. That’s how you hide the o-line and that’s how you get quick shifty receivers the ball. The fact that they couldn’t utilize Q-Henderson better was a travesty. He wasn’t a route runner – just get him the ball quick in space. Smh.

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  2. I don’t think the wr sweeps have been successful because they are only successful when you have other targets that the defense has to respect running down the seams. The idea is to pre-occupy the safety just enough to allow the wr to turn the corner. Penetration and lack of protection will indeed subvert the wr sweep and blow it up in the backfield.

    If it’s me Reed, all freshman get to play a couple of games to show their wares and get some film that they need to work on for next year…and also help the morale. This is why it’s critical to have easy ooc games. The new rule doesn’t help because of our scheduling. That was not planned well by the AD department. They are aware of these changes and possibilities of changes far in advance of two months.

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    1. But these better teams are scheduled years in advance

      It may be that the true FR might have a chance to play in only the Albany game.

      If the other 3 games are close PN will go with experience to minimize mistakes.

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  3. But this is about the talent level of the respective WRs. I think it is less than with Weah and Henderson.

    Besides Lopes no one has shown anything.

    Our D is going to have to carry the O this season imo.

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  4. Henderson wasm’t a WR, he was a specialty offensive player and a very good one.
    My guess is the position is a Draw, time will tell. We expect better QB play and worse OL play. Statistically, my guess is we have slightly better wr numbers this year, though if we do we’ll have Pickett to thank.

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  5. To me this unit is a microcosm of the whole team. No elite talent. A group of reasonably talented guys but no stand outs. Of course they don’t play in a vacuum and last year’s blocking and QB effort were lacking.

    As far as the jet sweeps, we were successful two years ago because we had exceptional blocking and an exceptional guy running the ball. Face it in space he is the best we ever had. Henderson had elite talent running the football on punts and kicks and around the end. The great blocking also allowed him to turn up field on those jet sweeps. Last year when the blocking wasn’t there, his success waned.

    Weah also had elite talent when he caught the ball.

    It will be hard for the receivers to stand out this year if the line doesn’t provide enough time and/or KP isn’t accurate. I mention accuracy because none of these guys have shown that they are the kind of guys that can adjust and catch the marginal pass, or take it away from a defender.

    It looks like a slight downgrade, unless one or two make the next step up.

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  6. I do hope that Ffrench and Tipton have finally matured enough to become men. If either or both can withstand the physical needs of the game they could be pretty good. But all of them need to get open and catch balls, they need to help out their QB when he is flushed. I hope they are working on those drills, which could result in drive sustaining plays.

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  7. I also hope that Watson finally wises up and has an outlet pass available when guys can’t get open or plays break down. KP also needs to learn when to throw the ball away to avoid the sack.

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  8. The best WR on this team will never see the field this season -Taysir Mack – transfer from Indiana – transfer rules prohibit his play for Pitt this season.

    He will have two years of eligibility left.

    Pitt really only lost Weah and will gain four RSFR including Paris Ford. One of those four will stretch the field and be able to catch 52% of those thrown to them.

    I call this position a draw.

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  9. Face it, no one can predict what a bunch of young, inexperienced receivers will do on game day. Most of them seem to be injury prone from prior experience. I’m looking for some positives such as Tipton has natural ability and Matthews seems to be a taller short threat, but that s not much to go on. Given Weah’s speed and experience (not necessarily production), I say the WR position is a a downgrade.

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      1. He was homesick. Incredible a kid from New Zealand travels all the way to a new city and has a hard time adjusting. He said thought about quitting basketball, which he didn’t, so nothing really earth shattering.

        It feels like Adams never even played at Pitt as I don’t have one memory that sticks out about that season. Just the “what ifs” if Steve and Khem Birch played together that one season and all the block shots those two would have amassed.

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  10. Really last year was a wash unable to evaluate the young guys because duzz insanely stuck with Browne and Dinucci. Weah got caught from behind because he looked back . I like ra ra; I like tipton and Matthews

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  11. Last year Watson and company sucked. More of the same coming this year. Lack of recruiting and Pat’s best friend is not the answer.

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  12. I’ll try and stay consistent with my original thoughts that the offense and WR’s did end up being hamstrung by poor QB play. I also think that didn’t help the defense much either. I think the loss of Weah will hurt PITT this coming season.. .. and if you guys don’t mind, I’ll throw in this opinion. Weah is further proof that when a player comes in as a 2 or 3* player, expecting major production is likely going to be delayed until further on in their careers. I think he’s a big loss with Pickett at QB

    I have a firm belief that Henderson moving on is a plus though. PITT trying to wedge him into the WR unit as a run the reverse player was a unique idea under Canada but it was easily figured out by the opponents. QH is no great loss in the WR unit department.

    PITT does seem to have a few capable returning slot type receivers in Ffrench, Tipton and of course Lopes. << These players are an upgrade over QH imo. The question then becomes who replaces Jester? Matthews, Smith or the younger guys. I like Butler Jenkins and O’Neil may one a player to watch this year along with Shocky.

    As an overall group, I rate this as a DRAW because QH was not a good receiver and there seems to be more dept at this position although not so much at wide-out. Watson will have to adjust and adapt.. ike

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  13. Statistically this year’s wr unit will produce more than last year. Pickett is a more accurate passer and will be more productive than Browne and Dinucci. Weah dropped too many passes and QH was not all that productive as a wideout. Young wideouts have potential, based on this I say “upgrade”.

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  14. This is a draw at worst and an upgrade if any of the younger guys step up and KP can produce. Big ??? is the O line.H2P

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  15. I pretty much agree with ike’s take, and some others. I look for the WRs to be a draw for the first half of the season and an upgrade for the second half.

    Henderson had little production as a WR. Weah was back to being inconsistent – though abetted by the QBs.

    I think Ffrench and Mathews improve. They can both be playmakers, especially Ffrench.

    Then we have to have one or two of the new guys show something. Out of Smith, Butler, Street, Jacque-Louis, and O’Neil, we got a shot.

    Street is skinny as a straw, so he likely needs to eat for another year. Jacque-Louis and O’Neil seem to have some swagger.

    WR is a position where a guy who works hard can have an early impact.

    Must say though that I was disappointed in the way Smith looked in the spring game. Looked to me that when he made his cuts they were rounded-off instead of sharp. Needs some better coaching, IMHO.

    GO Pitt.

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  16. Agree to a point on scheduling. Schedules are tweaked up to 4-5 months before the season. Sure, there are contractual issues to work through, but it is done all the time. The AD’s have figured out that a guaranteed 3-1 minimum ooc is the only way to go. You then rely on your P5 conference affiliation to carry strength of schedule for national discussion.

    I think the WR’s are an overall push and here is why.

    Lopes is a push as he probably didn’t get any better (faster, stronger, purer route runner). Quad Henderson was more of a runner than a pass catcher last year from the slot. I think there is a pass catching improvement opportunity if Aaron Mathews picks it up a notch. I think he will. So he is probably a plus receiving. Even more so if he starts blocking hard on all plays. He has seen how HInes Ward made a career in the league and he and Boyd should have learned something there.

    We have a lot of slot type receivers such as Maurice Ffrench, Tre Tipton, Raja Lopes. So who outplays Weah? That’s the swing player in the analysis. Is it Jockey Shockey, Michael Smith, Darian Street, etc. I thought the story on Street in high school was a good route runner with average speed. Hope he gets faster after working out more with his brother.

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  17. Agreed with DOWNGRADE assessment by Reed. I think the hope might does KP’s accuracy make Matthews a much improved WR. It appeared to me that the majority of his routes were middle of field seam routes in traffic. Accuracy is paramount to completing those passes as there are safeties and dropping LBs ready to take a big shot on a WR stretching out for a pass. Matthews has to step up and take advantage of his size.

    It would not surprise me to see Smith come out of the rsFR corp and be a nice addition. Frankly, Weah had several good games in 2016, but thought that 2017 was pretty much a disappointment, but how much was his fault and how much was the mediocre QB carousel?

    We also shouldn’t sleep on the potential benefits of a clearly identified starting QB developing chemistry during the offseason with one or two of the WRs on the team. Last year it wasn’t clear who the QB was going to be, although Browne had the inside track. That isn’t the case this year and if KP has developed a rapport with any of WRs, no matter who it may be, it could be huge for both the QB and WR positions.

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    1. Narduzzi told the offense early on the Browne was going to be the starter…and stuck with that even after DiNucci pretty much outplayed him at the end of camp. But you are correct.

      Tipton and Pickett have been drilling together a lot this summer so that will help.

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  18. you go 3-1 in your ooc and then you get need to only go 3-5 in conference. thats 6 wins and a bowl. how easy is that???

    if the coach is any good that 3-5 turns into 5-3 or 6-2 every year. so 8-9 wins every year in regular season should be very realistic.

    for narduzzi money, I would hope its more like 9-10 wins plus a bowl win.

    i’m tired of people giving this guy excuses and a pass after 3 years.

    like the wpial is down. like the yellow seats arent his problem. like he doesnt control the ooc schedule. like its his assistants fault. like he deserves at least 3 more years. like its the media’s fault. like its the players fault. You know who u r

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    1. Well, the WPIAL is down, which makes it tougher to get elite players; the yellow seats are everyone’s problem (and the major recruiting drawback for whoever is the Pitt coach, IMHO); the OOC schedule for this year was a tough one because of ND and PSU- too late for Heather to do anything with that problem but I expect the schedule to be friendlier in the future; Duzz did end up making a poor judgement on the DC and was too stubborn about it, I like the change he made.

      I’m not familiar with the excuses that Duzz deserves 3 more years, it’s the media’s fault, and it’s the player’s fault…

      I continue to think that the yellow seats and game atmosphere are the main issues holding Pitt back. And I stand by that one.

      Go Pitt.

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  19. Oddly enough, KP seemed to have some rapport with the departed Flowers in the spring game. Hoping that transfers to the similar-skills of Mathews this season.

    Go Pitt.

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  20. Grizzly’s thoughts pretty much match mine. I too found Jester Weah’s senior year a major disappointment and QH was a never was as a receiver. With expected improved QB play I expect the production from the WR position as a group to be improved .

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    1. But Ike you hired people and pay them big salaries to fix problems…not just continue them.

      There is talent in the WPIA and WPA. But to get at it you HAVE to have the local HS coaches on your side and willing to convince their star players to choose Pitt over other good schools.

      DW cultivated this very well, as did PC to an extent. Narduzzi has done the opposite from what I have learned in the practice’s sideline conversations I’ve had. And less and less coaches show up to watch practices now.

      We have read just recently what his bar/restaurant meetings with the fans have been like…that’s part of it too. I was told the DW used to have HS coaches meet all the time with him and his staff at bars and have get a bite to eat and have bullsh*t sessions to get to know each other. Narduzzi hasn’t done this.

      And his attitude re: recruiting has hurt with parents also.

      Other coaches have had many yellow seats yet still pulled a lot of good blue chip players out of the local area so it can be done – he’s just not doing it.

      His treatment of the media, and yes, closed practices, have worked against him also. Fans want to feel engaged, especially at Pitt. Look, we know we aren’t going to be in the national championship hunt every year so we know we are going to have multiple losses every year also.

      What keeps Pitt fans being that is because we want to know about the team and players on it. We want to know how they are doing in practice and not through the mouths of coaches who say whatever they want to say. It is the intimacy Pitt fans want and need because wins and losses, while important to us obviously, aren’t the end all, be all with us.

      We don’t have the luxury of watching championship roll in on a regular basis so what fills that void?

      Getting real accounts on who is doing what and some honest details about the practices worked very well for all the previous HCs but he stopped it. Go back and read some media accounts from practices under those HCs and you’ll see they are all detailed but positive…but he’s so paranoid he can’t see his policy is hurting rather then helping his work.

      Those are problems he should be bending over backward to fix instead of being too stubborn to really take on.

      So, yeah there are problems but that doesn’t mean they can’t be addressed honestly and worked on. When someone chooses not to do so then the problems become false excuses when the negative stuff continues.

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  21. TX – You realize that Duzz won 8 games back to back his first two years, right?

    Last year sucked but they also lost their record setting OC to LSU, starting QB to the draft, two future NFL offensive linemen, their All ACC FB to injury for the year … and, oh yeah, the heart and soul of the team … James Conner. That doesn’t even factor in that O’Neill missed almost the entire offseason and went into the season cold, without practice, because of a torn rotator cuff in the spring. It’s shocking that he struggled. Shocking.

    In hindsight, for a team that already lacked depth, last year’s struggles on offense should not really be that surprising. Emphasis on “already lacked depth”, because that’s Pitt’s biggest enemy right now. Pitt can’t afford to lose players of that caliber because Pitt did not have distributed depth across position groups. They’re getting their, however … minus Tight End.

    Yes, the offense took a step back … but it should not be jarring that they did … the defense took a step forward, however … and the defense should improve even more while the offense should also take a step forward. I’d expect our kicker to be better in season two as well. Punting will be interesting with the move from a traditional punter to an aussie-style. I’m curious what that will look like. I have a feeling some Pitt fans will not be ready for that. Haha.

    In other words, Pitt should be better in all three phases of the game. Should being the operative word.

    If not, you’ll get your wish and Duzz will either be on the hot seat or gone … most likely gone. He’s ran out of runway with the fans. Lykke probably won’t have much of a choice, much like Stallings. When you have a disenfranchised fan base, a mediocre (or worse) team, and an unpopular coach there is no way the marriage can continue. Lykke has shown a knack for recognizing this.

    I really don’t get the anxiety going into this season, however. As I mentioned the defense should be better. The offense should be better. Kicking should be better.

    Pitt has depth at most positions outside of Tight End, which is a dying position anyways and really hasn’t been featured at Pitt under Duzz … or Chryst … or Graham. The last impact Tight End was a converted linebacker, Dorin Dickerson, who took 3 years to find a position. Even he was more of an H-Back.

    Pitt has mostly used the tight end as in-line blocker for an extra offensive lineman, which has usually been done out of necessity to protect our QB’s because Pitt is married to a dinosaur offense (pro-style) that kept our QB’s in the pockets while wide receivers ran complicated routes.

    Based on personnel, alone, I really think we’ll start to see a move from a traditional pro-style offense to more of a hybrid/RPO which will hide the inexperience on the offensive line while also not requiring an extra blocking tight end. This will lead to more 4 wide receiver sets but if Pickett is effective at reading the defenses, won’t neglect the power running game.

    We’ll see. I fully admit that I could be wrong about the offense but my gut tells me we’ll be seeing some wholesale changes.

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    1. You don’t believe Holtz and Orndoff contributed to the offenses as TEs?

      Hell, in 2015 alone Holtz had a 14.6 ypc average and 4 TDs on 24 catches and Orndoff had an 18.8 ypc and 5 TDs on only 13 catches.

      I don’t think Narduzzi is going to buy into wholesale changes on offense. His whole deal is to imitate MSU in eveyway and that is with a Pro-style offense and spreading the field with 3 or 4 WRs sometimes. That is what we are under him.

      Canda stuck with that with the jet sweep throb in a bunch of times. I think we’ll see that with Watson in ’18 just like last season…with more RPOs but no wholesale changes.

      We’ll see in Sept.

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      1. Reed – 24 catches is 2 per game. I’m not sure how you define featured. 36 combined is 3 catches a game from the tight ends. They had roles but were not a big part of the offense. That does not mean they didn’t have big plays. That production is replaceable with other position groups and it took two of them to get those stats.

        Dickerson had 49 for 529 and 10 TD’s in 2009. More than the combined stats of Holtz and Orndoff. That’s featured.

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      2. Reed – Michigan State does not run a traditional pro-style offense. They run exactly what I’m calling for. A hybrid pro-style with spread concepts.

        The QB is mostly in shotgun for an RPO and the receivers run spread concept routes based on coverage … and this is what they’ve been doing since Conner Cook.

        This is what Canada did with the Jet Sweeps. Instead of running RPO with a RB, Canada incorporated it with the wide receivers and motion. It’s what made the offense so electrifying. The biggest difference is the Jet Sweeps were pre-snap reads where a true RPO is after the snap and requires the QB to determine if the defense is attacking the mesh point (hand off) or the RB (pass).

        So I don’t think your Duzz argument holds up.

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  22. Bingo Tex – 3-1 OOC at a minimum should equate to 7-5 with a .500 ACC record. With Syracuse (rival), Virginia and Duke that should equate to bowl eligibility. Then you do some work on UNC, VT, Miami, Gtech and a crossover. Minimum 7-5 years, but normal will be 8 wins and an occasional 9-10 win.

    Heather could have changed the schedule. Should have addressed last Feb. Too late. We live with the work of steve and the ignorance of barnes.

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    1. How much do you think wed have had to pay ND or UCF to drop them off this year’s shedule.

      Multiple millions I’m sure and we should pay that money for a change.

      What ever happened to the concept of go up against the best and beat them.

      I swear, everyone talks about the ‘pussyfication’ of America and here we have people wanting us do do that on a large scale. I say schedule some tough teams,at least two, and beat them out on the field.

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      1. ND is contractually obligated to play Pitt as part of the basketball agreement. Not an option to drop them. The conference schedule is weak(ish), so a difficult non-con balances out the schedule this season. It’s not an unreasonable overall schedule.

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  23. Matthews has seen plenty of PT the last 2 years and has produced little. I don’t see him becoming a stud in year 3…just like QH, he is only occupying a position on the O.. hopefully, I eat those words… need to try out a couple of these hot shot freshmen under the new red shirt rule….maybe one of them can run routes and become a deep threat.. need to make the opponents defend the entire field..

    BTW I now refer to the pedos as : Penn State Predators !

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  24. I think Tipton is a wildcard here. If he’s mentally tough he can have a great year as he’s been through adversity and hasn’t been able to play much. This is his last shot at displaying what he’s made off.

    Like

  25. With the possible splitting of the public and private school athletic sports, what will that do to finding the best kids? Will all the good private kids go to ND? I remember when my old high school won the PA state private high school BB championship. We thought it was nice but we knew it was not complete.

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  26. Unless someone steps up the wideout group is a downgrade. Lopes is ok but he’s a wr3 at best. Not one guy in this group has shown the ability to stretch the field for big plays. I think the wild card is Butler Genkins who the staff was high on last fall camp till he got hurt, but without open practices who really knows remember when Duzz said wait till you see what Mcvettie can do LOL!!!!

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  27. The reason the WR position cannot be considered an upgrade is that the returning players have not produced before, except for Lopes. To assume an upgrade, one must also assume that players will perform who have not done so before. While perceived talent may provide some hope, there is no previous production to back it up. Therefore, rating this group as an upgrade requires faith that they will start to produce when given the opportunity.

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    1. Yes, that’s how I approach writing these articles.

      If the is a 3rd string kid who played some and showed real promise then I look at him as a real positive going into next season.

      For example Mathews was thrown to 26 times last season and fought only 16 for a rather poor 61.5% rate which was 2nd worse of all our receivers. His first year he was thrown to 10 times and caught 6 with Peterman passing the ball.

      That makes me feel like he’s about an average ball player as far as catching the ball goes – which is his main job.

      So that sort of factal stuff override speculation for new kids.

      Like

      1. For whatever reason, Peterman’s worst and most inaccurate passes were his attempts to hit Mathews. There were not that many attempts, but I remember thinking the kid (Mathews) just can’t get a break. He’d be open and Peterman would throw it crooked.

        Let’s see what Mathews can do this season with KP slinging the ball and Mathews now a mature junior…

        Go Pitt.

        Like

    2. The argument could be made that perceiving a group as a downgrade is also requires faith that they will be bad at what they do.

      But it’s a lot of fun to speculate both ways.

      Like

  28. Not even close this unit will be an upgrade from last year simply because they’ll have a QB that can get them the ball. Smith will easily replace Weah IF Narduzzi and Watson let him take the field. And our 3 midgets Ffrench, Tipton and Lopes will give Pickett plenty of options when he gets outside the pocket. I don’t expect much out of Mathews at WR. Keep in mind the only reason he came to {its was to play WR as I believe other programs wanted him to play on the defense.

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  29. Guys that work hard and develop physically and mentally can make a big jump in production like Aaron Donald. This is what we have to hope for throughout the lineup. This motivation comes from within but has to be supplemented by good coaching.

    By the way, someone said POV hates three stars. That is certainly not my opinion, three stars will always be the majority of players at Pitt and there is nothing wrong with that.. What I hate is the dearth of four stars, because you need more than a handful of them to compete at the highest level. What is really needed are marquis players no matter the star rating. We can hope that KP, Ford, Wirginis, Weaver can become those guys, but no guarantees so far. Hopefully going into next year we will have those proven poster boys.

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  30. I tend to agree with jrnpitt above in terms of his overall assessment. Like a few others, I am not expecting anything out of Matthews, if he does produce I’d consider it a bonus. In limited action, I liked Tipton quite a bit as a possession receiver before he got injured, both him and Lopes were good route runners, and throw in Ffrench and I’m pleased with our returning WR’s, minus one thing: a downfield threat. To me, this is where there’s opportunity for one of the freshmen WR’s to step up, and if I’m watching camp practices, which apparently start Friday, this would be an area of great interest to me.

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  31. 1618mt, Smith is that potential downfield threat IF he sees the field. Another key point IMO is the new rule allowing freshman to play 4 games and still be able to retain their Red Shirt status. MR CONSERVATIVE Narduzzi has got to let some of these kids play to see if he has another potential Tyler Boyd in this group.

    Like

    1. I agree completely with your last part. Mr conservative has got to get more players involved to see what he has.

      Smith is a wild card.

      Like

    2. A HC did not need to see Boyd play a snap to know he was special. His great body control and hands would have been evident even on a practice squad.

      Like

  32. The grade should be incomplete or N/A since it’s such an unknown. It may very well be a downgrade but I don’t see how you can grade something you haven’t seen.

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  33. It’s fun to project and see how you do. It’s a blog exercise if you will TT

    Smith RS last year so he should see the field this year.

    Like

  34. The redshirt rule will not help you find diamonds in the rough. You can see a guy like Tyler Boyd a mile away in practice.

    While I agree that Henderson was not an impact receiver. His ability as a return man will be greatly missed.

    The jet sweeps were not as good last year because the blocking wasn’t there. but he had the ability to cut up field when the block was there and few guys have that instinct.

    I am really interested to see whether KP has the accuracy to make the throws into tight spots because our receivers rarely get wide open. Somebody said we don’t have a deep threat. We know KP’s arm is strong, but can he hit a deep target? Everyone is hoping he will be all ACC but his ability to complete a high percentage of passes is completely unknown.

    Tossing Thabeets, it’s called speculation, that is what we do in the off season. We try to predict the unknown.

    Like

    1. Yep. I’ve said many times on here, real talent shows up early and often. Difference makers play early. We don’t have enough of them.

      Everything starts up front. Were clearly lacking on the OL. Still aways to go on the DL.

      Like

  35. I think we can expect a bunch of INTs from Pickett this year as he’s a gunslinger and will take a lot of passing chances. He’s got a good arm but his accuracy is about average in a lot of ways.

    Lots like Marino did, but hopefully not being an INT machine like Marino was …their supporting casts are 180 degrees different in quality.

    But KP’s value is with his total package not just his atm.

    Like

  36. Ffrench is quick and fast. He dropped two passes in a row against Miami and has had a few other drops. If he fixes that – and I believe that he will – then he will require some attention from the opposition. Watson will move him around, put him in motion and occasionally run the sweep or shovel pass with him. I believe that Ffrench will be a better overall player and receiver this year than last…

    Weah is gone. Weah’s hands improved, his speed was good, he was evidently a hard worker, he had an awkward way of catching the ball, and was a downfield threat due to his straight/sprinter speed. The only part that may not be replaced this season is the downfield threat part… Unless one of the rFr or Fr has downfield threat capability…

    Tipton has good hands based on what little I’ve seen of him.

    Lopes is solid. If I were Watson, he and KP would be practicing the quick slant until they could execute it in their sleep… Lopes also has experience and good instincts. Instincts will come into play when KP has to scramble out of the pocket. Lopes will know what to do and will break off his route and move towards KP.

    The transfer TE that quit the team (can’t think of his name) had the speed to be lined up wide. We lose that with the existing bunch of TEs. I mention this in the WR comments, as I thought that he could be used as a WR/TE… But, was not to be…

    Smith will play alot. He may become the goto guy by season end.
    Butler-Jenkins (sp?) will play alot.

    Mathews is tough. He blocks well. Blocking is really important on run plays and bubble screens. He will play because of this. He has the size and toughness to level a LB or DE on a crack back type block. Coaches need to find a way to improve his route running. He is a bigger target. The time is now for Mathews…

    I believe that this WR group has more upside than last year’s group but I’ll call it a DRAW at the get go.

    Liked by 1 person

  37. Butler was injured and would have seen the field last year. a healthy Tipton will make some difference. FFrench hopefully has spent some serious time at the jugs machine. There is a joke in there some where. Smith has physical size and can get deep. So the roster at WR isn’t bare, just unproven.

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  38. I do get all of Narduzzi’s faults. He does seem to be a JO at any given time. Is he arrogant or plain stoopid? I don’t know. Just because he lacks different qualities doesn’t necessarily make him a lousy head coach. ….. and speaking about that. I also have noticed his head coaching wasn’t really up to par when he first got here. After year 3 he’s made a switch in his asst coaching much like DW did when he got to PITT. For the umpteenth time I am not married to the man. I just feel there is a fairly large over reaction towards him at this exact moment.

    I did not like the Barnes, Stallings and Lyke hire one bit. Once they were hired though I had to wait and see what they could do. Just because I didn’t call them funny names or talk about how much money they made or make I choose to wait and see while giving them a chance. Turns out that Barnes and Stallings sucked. I never professed to love Heather but I stood behind her as well. Turns out she may not be all that bad yet I can’t take any credit or say I told you so because I never really said she was going to be any good.

    Again, I believe Narduzzi has at least two years no matter what his record says this year. I will sure as fire be on his ass and back if he doesn’t produce a quality product on the field these next two years though. ike

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  39. Bill Belicheck is no media darling but he can sure coach football … at the end of the day, a college coach’s jobs are to win games, develop young men, and positively represent the institution (and probably in that order at most schools although Pitt might care more about 2 than 1 … e.g. Wannstedt). I get that how the coach interacts with beat writers or people at meet and greets somewhat relates to the third thing I identified, but that’s lower on the totem pole. I’d rather have a coach that puts winners on the field than one that can work a room or smooth talk journalists.

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  40. Rocky — agree about Frenchy, has speed. Has made a couple “wow” catches and has had some drops. Need him to be reliable from here on…

    Go Pitt!

    Like

  41. It is hard to project kids that haven’t played yet. Especially RSFR. I think one will emerge as a good player.
    Now if they are RSSR and haven’t played I would be really worried. Like OL.

    One thing you will notice with the positions that are unknowns is that there seems to be a missing class. There are no SO wide receivers except for a transfer. You really need to have JR, SO, RSSO with some game experience if you want depth.

    Lopes and Ffrench are the same type of receiver so I don’t see them playing much at the same time. Lopes is the starter obviously. I solid WR. If Ffrench drops balls again this year look for his time to go signifigantly down.

    Maybe Tipton and Mathews become better. I don’t see them being able to stretch the field at all.

    One of the RSFR or FR must step up or it is a downgrade.

    Like

    1. Good question. Probably none of our WRs, at least initially. The opposition will try and stop the run first.
      And, the opposition may have to spy/key on KP, if Watson runs him on designed runs and read option type stuff.

      Like

  42. Agree with Reed, softening the schedule is not the answer…Play and coach better. The truth is you do gain some measure of respect when you lose to a superior team but give them a fight. What did last season’s win but struggle in the opener against YSU do for Pitt’s status in college football?…Anyhow, King Saban has spoken, in the future all P5 teams will only schedule other P5 teams…So it is said, so it shall be done!

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  43. Newbk…Belichek is one of the greatest of all-time but he wasn”t so good at Cleveland. My question is can Narduzzi grow into a Belichek or can PITT become a NewEngland-type organization.just a goofy thought I had… Kind of a chicken or the egg thing… maybe some scrambled thinking after a bout of severe vertigo this weekend
    .

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  44. Speaking of molesting docs..our senior year at Apollo-Ridge we had a new doc do the football physicals..He would giggle when he put his finger in our groin and asked us to cough during the hernia part of the exam..we thought he was a bit “queer-weird” back in 1969. He later was arrested for being with an underage boy amongst…

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  45. I think getting Aston back will help in the passing, as he can be an outlet for Picket when he is most certainly going to get flushed from the pocket with our offensive line. He can be a threat with the ball.

    Like

      1. Actually they did a lot in 2016 considering he was a FB. He was thrown to 27 times and caught 22 for 169 yrs and 5 (!) count them…5 TDs. He had more catches than Mathews and Lopes that season.

        I think he’ll get more this year as a safety valve when the wall of opponents comes down on Pickett.

        But I wouldn’t mind see a FB draw in the red zone more often.

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  46. I believe the wide receivers will be an upgrade for two very simple reason.

    Ra Ra Lopez will be starting. He was our best WR last year but only played half if not less of the snaps which was maddening as having Q Henderson at WR was as good as playing with 10 men on the field.
    Kenny Pickett.

    Like

    1. Upitt….I hear ya. However he is the best on the team at getting open and catching the ball. Seems like every time he caught it last year it moved the chains.

      No one else could get open or catch it. He could.

      Like

  47. True – need a Number 1 WR who is a threat every play.

    Met Ra-Ra at the spring game. Super person; no taller than me, and I’m not tall…

    I think Frenchy, because of his speed, gives us our best hope – unless one of the new guys makes a big splash…

    Go Pitt.

    Like

  48. Why are there no news items being fed out in the lead up to camp? 1 to 3 items a week coming out of PS by Franklin even if it is about last year Barkley and his progress in NY but usually about upcoming camp , personnel, schedule etc. This gets you public visability.Why don’t they get Narduzzie a TV show like WV has on Pittsburgh TV. It’s like Pitt does not exist in the media. That does impact recruiting. Pains me to see K Givens and Sherrife Miller ( the ones that got away) doing so well at Pedoland.

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    1. Now Lopes is the next AB. You guys with all do respect are such homers. My favorite is the one 3 star who becomes a NFL HOF’er and you act like all the Narduzzi recruits will be so great. Until he recruits multiple 4 stars with his lackluster coaching we win 5-7 games a year and more mediocrity.

      Like

    1. Nice job Ike going into the archives and pulling out a positive write up on Lopes by Reed. I’m hoping he stays healthy and the Pickett Lopes combo opens up some eyes this coming season.

      Like

    2. Ike, you are attempting to reason with a guy that threw constant shade at Tyler Boyd all the way into the NFL.
      Hopeless pessimists, are, in fact, hopeless.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Tyler Boyd has done nothing in the pros. For someone who got through dental school you aren’t very smart.

        In 2 seasons he was 3 TD’s. That is with one season where the #1 WR was done 8 weeks and he was passed up by a white FA signing.

        So glad you think 3 TD’s is so great. Colossal waste of a 2nd round pick.

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  49. @HBG Frank and Reed – You don’t get respect losing to a better team. You get a loss. There are only 12 chances to win a game each year. Scheduling 2-3 ooc losses, gets you relegated to espn highlights, for the other team. The only time you earn that respect is when you are a severe underdog and play em tough. Schedule better after you get some years of 4 stars.

    The problem with those that think we should try and play a difficult OOC is the same problem Pitt has had in football for the last 35 years. We think we are smarter than other AD’s. Google the schedules of last years top20 teams for this year. Each team has an OOC schedule that at a minimum should result in 3-1. I did it.

    Pitt thinks they are smarter and also think that the playoff committee actually looks at strength of ooc schedule. They do when it is close, minimally. But for Pitt, we won’t sniff the playoffs with 4, 5 and 6 losses. So to make that steps, we should schedule more in line with your teams talents.

    To be relevant and get better players, you need to win. Look at Dairy College. They have been running the scam for years. Same with Bama and all the rest. We all complain about the Dairy schedule, but all it gets is the Dairy on ESPN and able to recruit better. Man it is frustrating reading the logic here.

    It does sometimes cost money to break a contract. It all depends on the replacement game, called “cover”. Pitt’s strategy in scheduling has been stupid! Stated differently, how has a difficult schedule worked out recently? I know, the Pitt Admin knows better, because they are smarter. That’s why we are always in the top 25.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Agree with you, Huff.

      Too many Yinzers will only go to see “big” opponents, and the tough schedules was an attempt to that issue. But it doesn’t work to fill the yellow seats except for a couple long-time rivals.

      Yeah, like everyone else, schedule for at least 3 wins.

      Personally, I don’t give a hoot who we’re playing. Just want to see my Panthers. And I want to see my Panthers win…

      Go Pitt.

      Liked by 2 people

    2. Alabama and the rest of the SEC play a max of one P5 team for ooc games. PSUx plays one and Wisconsin plays none in 2018.

      Pitt plays two and a third game with top 15 UCF.

      Winning matters and the SEC and BIG Joke conferences have figured it out. Plus, they pack most of their stadiums regardless of the opponent.

      Liked by 2 people

  50. Pitt has two 4 star recruits! Like many do these days, if you don’t like the results of something just find some place else to look to find what you want to see.

    How much would the off-season narrative change around here if Pitt had two 4 stars on rivals???

    Liked by 2 people

  51. btw Collier is a 3 star on 247 instead of 2 star on rivals in case anyone is interested. Check the height and weight differences between the recruiting services if you don’t think it’s all subjective hogwash.

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  52. If the directly above commenters don’t mind me thinking out-loud for them. The problem some have is that they feel that some others have a real and unfair bias against and towards Narduzzi. I know that’s how I feel. Just thinking out-loud.

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  53. AJ Woods will get offers as any DB ho runs a 4.38 and has physical skills of coverage and tackling will see offers. I think he is potential 4 star or high 3 star on Rivals. This is big time speed.

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  54. A few years ago Reed accurately predicted that Pitt would not only meet but exceed the receiving production of the exiting Tyler Boyd…and he was right. In a similar fashion I don’t think Pitt will have much trouble replacing and exceeding last year’s receiving production of the departed Weah, Henderson, Flanagan, and Clarke. Especially with anticipated improved QB play and the return of the Animal, Aston.

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  55. AJ Woods now an ESPN 4 star… what say you Reed…

    BTW.. my JeanieB was Alva Jean Woods.. heck we could be family !

    So if all our recruits were ESPN 4 ⭐️s would they be better than Rival 3 ⭐️ s. ???

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hey that’s quite interesting Bernie. I was going to include in my post the other day, that Wood’s rating could have been held down….because he had committed to an FCS school. Yea it works that way.

      I bet Rivals either bumps him up to a high 3 or maybe even follows suit with ESPN, to a 4.
      Pitt now has two 4 star rated recruits.

      Like

      1. Now we just have to hang on to him, since other P5’s might start offering him, other than Virginia & Temple. What’s also of interest about Woods, he must be a quality kid, since he was offered by the Air Force Academy, West Point and Annapolis. And UVA is better than Pitt academically. Isn’t this exactly the type of kid we want ???

        Liked by 2 people

        1. No! We only want DBs that are 6’2” and above, that run sub 4.4 40s, are scholar athletes, squeaky clean good citizens, and are rated at least 4 stars only by Rivals with at least 5 verifiable offers from SEC, ACC and B1G powerhouses (not bottom feeders).

          I think that about covers it.

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  56. Response to a TT comment above. Yes but that depends on the individual. People on the POV can’t stand the word agenda but it rings in my ears like the last concert I went to. It makes me laugh and frustrated at the same time that honesty bothers so many. I profess to know absolutely nothing more than anyone else who are PITT fans. I just shoot from the hip. Sometimes I miss. Why I come off as a know it all to a few puzzles me. but eh? I’m on top of the mountain and rolling on home.

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  57. @BigB – if they are espn connecticut 4 stars, than they are espn south 3 stars. Come on BigB, get with the geography 🙂 However, a 4.38 seems to be a 4.38 depending on whether it was a handheld stopwatch, or as I found out on a back road in tennessee a couple weeks ago, radar.

    It’s reported as fast, but who knows until you see it live.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. If AJ Woods has the change of direction cutting ability to go along with that 4.38/40 speed then who knows, we just might have our next Q Henderson replacement.

      Like

    1. Don’t know but does that mean we need to go back in time and find all the ESPN 2* kids who Rivals had at 3*s over the years and start downdgrading them in our conversations? Start with Devon Davis in the ’18 class…

      As I said you all can cherry pick as much as you want as readers.

      But as the writer I believe that Rivals has been the most consistently correct recruiting website and I’ve been writing publicly about Pitt football and paying close attention to these rankings for over 10 years.

      No site is 100% correct but Rivals has the best string of scouts and follows up their ratings with articles about the recruits way better that any other site… so on here we use them.

      I do this and urge commenters to do so also so we have a common baseline for discussions and not have readers looking at different info to pick and choose bolster their own points of view.

      If you like the kid then fine, my only problem isn’t with the recruit but with Pitt fan’s hypocrisy in praising this kid because he’s being recruited by Narduzzi but if Chryst had recruited him they would be super critical because of the kid’s height and lack of P5 offers.

      But that is what Pitt fans do. He seems fine to me.

      Like

      1. That seemed to be aimed at me. You being a Coast Guard Commander I would have thunk that this kid being offered by Navy might have meant something. Or do other factors override that ?

        Like

    2. @TT, your rhetorical question must be taken in context. 10 years ago a 4-7 Pitt team beat #2 WVU and the off season hype was off the charts for the Panthers while waiting for our next season under Wanny.

      Current history repeats itself with a 4-7 Pitt team, hampered by injuries and poor play at QB, knocking off #2 Miami on the shoulders of our true Freshman QB making his 1st start, thus keeping the Hurricanes out of the playoff picture.

      And the vibe this off season here on the Pitt POV? Yeah.

      So the short answer is NO, no apologies, Pitt remains a questionable meddling also ran team with little potential to make waves in either the ACC or the national scene. In their POV opinion.

      The thing is, it is just an opinion.

      This Pitt team needs to prove that they’re something other than what their 2017 record said they were. Questions abound, The OL is an unknown, many in the WR corps have no experience whatsoever. Our QB has had one start. The defense still needs to develop an adequate pass rush that improves a mediocre TFL & sacks stat from 2017.

      So the “meh” attitude thrown AJ Woods way when he announced his commitment to the Panthers by so many here on the Pitt POV is just a continuation of a lingering SOP attitude by the POV old timer doubters.

      But here’s the reality of the situation. None of the kids on this team are hampered by that debilitating psychological handicap of SOP.

      That Miami win came on the heals of one of the worst SOP type defeats at the hands of the Hokies that I ever personally witnessed. Walking out of that stadium there was not a single VT fan who didn’t fully recognize that they were gifted that win in the end. Weah looking back. Four stops from the one yard line was a monumental PITT failure by this squad not a fantastic defensive stand by VT. EVERYBODY realized that Pitt gagged on their own at the end. MAJOR FAIL! SOP!

      Then a week later that same team comes out and kicks Miami’s ass all, game,, long!

      My point, this team is not SOP, this team is going to PROVE that the Miami win was NOT an aberration.

      They’ve got something to prove. Right now, they are invisible, lets just see if this group of Panthers can prove themselves come September 8th.

      A nationally televised storied rivalry game that will probably be the last time in a long that penn state visits Pittsburgh. The atmosphere will be as electric as any elite venue in the nation on that evening. I would not be surprised to see them best penn state. After witnessing live that win Pitt pulled off in Death Valley back in 2016, I understand that this team can play and beat anyone.

      When penn state goes down, yet again, then you can ask your rhetorical question yet again.

      Until then, my advice to our Pitt Panthers, PROVE IT!

      Liked by 1 person

  58. Interesting that we are the fourth best linebacking crew even without Wirginis. That is impressive considering how poor the linebacking has been for many years. Will it still be our best unit at the end of the season?

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    1. Linebacker talent has been down at Pitt overall since the Gottfried era. Hayes, Blades, McKillop and Session are the names that stand out the most with Adam Gunn a solid player. Duzz has done a terrific job adding young pieces coupled with Chryst leftovers, Zeise and Wirginis, Pitt has a legit two deep.

      Pine and Reynolds even looked more comfortable at the end of the season when on the field.

      Add in McKee and the three kids who redshirted and you have those guys on special teams while they develop at linebacker.

      Like

  59. Noticed that too GC…and thought the same. Assumed the ranking was because Wirginis is returning.
    Ike, like the Sundance Kid, you’re pretty accurate shooting from the hip.
    Emel, agree on recruiting kids with character…who also have speed. Nice combo. Haha.

    Like

  60. Guys, if you are really interested in learning about recruits, current players and Pitt football in general then I suggest you subscribe to the Rivals.com site and really read Chris Peak’s articles and listen to his podcasts. It is by far them most comprehensive coverage by any media outlet that deals with the subject.

    I don’t agree 100% with Peak or their other writers but again, been doing this a long time and they are the only media who will even attempt to look at and write about Pitt football with anything approaching a critical (looking at both merits and faults) eye.

    All the other media are basically in bed with Pitt.

    Not shilling for them but passing on my opinion on the issue.

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  61. I will assume Archie Collins saw something in him during Pitts camp that led to an offer.
    Conner was a camp offer if I recall.

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  62. Reed, I’m in agreement that this blog should have one recruiting service as the standard on the POV. However, I feel it can or should be duly noted whenever another service has a player ranked higher OR lower. I feel there is nothing wrong with mentioning that. I think that helps us all in evaluating this PITT recruiting class especially since Narduzzi is getting crushed by so many in his efforts on recruiting.

    Like

    1. Its fine for me. But when the post count gets to a certain amount i wish there was page breaks. Would help a lot. Sometimes its really a lot of scrolling on a mobile device.

      Like

  63. Dr. Tom provided an excellent and objective assessment of the upcoming Pitt team, warts and all. Given this assessment, if I am a fan from an OPPOSING team on Pitt’s 2018 schedule, how do I consider its upcoming game with Pitt? For example, does NC or VT consider their game with Pitt to be a win or a loss? I bet that Pedo and ND consider it a lock to win. I’m also guessing that, just as the POVer’s do, as they assess their upcoming wins/losses they are assuming a win over Pitt in most cases. Do we fans see things with rose colored glasses?

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    1. Check the Miami blogs before the Pitt game & all the talk was about how the Hurricanes were going to get a win in the ACC Championahip game. They assumed a cake walk was to be had up in Pittsburgh. Boy did they get a surprise.

      If this Panther squad sneaks up on anybody come 2018, my bet is on penn state being the victim. If not them GT. If the team is who I think they are, they burst out of the gates quickly this season.

      The OL is the stumbling block early on. If that issue proves to be much ado about nothing then penn state gets whacked.

      Like

      1. I doubt we beat the Nits. Vegas doesn’t think so either. Lucky for Pitt the Coastal side is weak football, Miami will probably win it this year but every other team can be beat.

        Beating GT I wouldn’t call it sneaking up on them.

        Like

  64. Nothing has changed for me. It’s usually after I use a cleaner or Norton runs a checkup I have to logged back in or have some sort of a problem.

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  65. Those three hard OOC games are too early in the season for us to win them I think.

    I feel PSU – #10 preseason – will handle us pretty easily with their rebuilt DL (4s replacing 4s) and their DBs are going to be very strong – plus I think Miles Sanders breaks out this season and their QB is very good.

    UCF – # 16 preseason – returns the #1 QB in the country in Milton (3500+ yards @ 316 ypg with 35 TDs and only 9 INTs) and a fantastic RB in Adrian Killins (6.8 ypc and 10 TDs on 112 carries). He’ll be their #1 back this season.

    ND is #9 preseason and better than last season.

    I see us going 1-2 at best with those teams but more like 0-3. If we played one at the end of the year maybe but not in the first seven weeks. PSU was the only Narduzzi upset to happen early on – his Miami and Clemson wins were the last two games of the year.

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  66. Reed is right that it is looking like 0-3 for those three games. It is possible but unlikely that UCF could get off to a slow start with the coaching change, but that is not much to go on. Fall camp injuries could changes this, but it goes both ways and these teams will have greater depth. This doesn’t leave much room for error the rest of the way.

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  67. That’s not what I said Mark. I compared their size and that’s it and not with his ability. and btw, I asked a question I didn’t make a statement. C’mon brother.

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  68. Pitt will win at least one of those three games. If history has shown us anything, it’s that the team is good for at least one big upset in recent times.

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  69. ike, your views are absolutely essential to having a balanced set of views on this site. This cannot and should not be a Pitt bashing site, but at the same time should be a forum for objective and critical thinking about the Pitt football program and Athletic Department. I for one have not felt that there is sufficient discussion about the dry rot that has taken over the Athletic Dept. over the years Heather has been on board for sufficient time, now, that they should be cleaning up the mess so that Pitt can increase its athletic donations and improve in all other areas of Pitt sports. The ACC is a demanding league, and the Athletic Dept must greatly improve if Pitt is to compete and be successful in the ACC.

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    1. If its a kid who has offers from Stony Brook, SUNY Binghamton and Fordham and the like I have no problem with boo birds.

      But hey if this is the case, maybe you guys can find a recruiting service from India that has him as a 4 or 5 star.

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  70. Ike, you dirty rat. I got hopeful for a second because I wrote on here that when PJ verballed to OSU that things might change that. Well OSU has three 4 star OL’s for 2020 and two 4 stars and a 3 star for 2019. The road to playing time just got harder for the young man.

    Perhaps Sr. Johnson needs to have that talk with his son. Atmosphere is great, the student experience is great, but at the end of the day, you need to see the field.

    Similar to my point on Kristofec yesterday or two days ago. There’s a chance on the 2020 guys. Gotta have a vision for the 2020 guys.

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  71. lol Huff the third. I think Kristofec may be a possibility though. One problem with him, he’s a lousy 3*. but I think CBS has him rated as a 3 1/2* or is that the KBG? Dam it to hell.. ike

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  72. Some giant OL kid named Matt Conglaves or something like that, I suspect Upitt will take one of his breaks from his arduous job and make a derogatory comment about this recruit and the amount of money Narduzzi makes. 3 2 1…..

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  73. It’s interesting they are calling him a OL recruit when most HUDL tapes have him listed as a TE and DE if I’m reading correctly.

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  74. Lineman for NY stated , “Since I’ve been a young player, my dream has been to play big-time football in front of 65,000 people.” Must never have attended a Pitt home game.

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  75. Another project recruit clearly Narduzzi is taking anyone he can get. Hope the kid works out but he played te in high school as well as De. Said he can’t wait to play in front of 65000 had he looked at attendance records. I want Narduzzi to succeed but he’s taking to many unknowns and projects on the o line. People keep saying POVERS have a negative attitude folks I’m looking at this objectively I’m tired of SOP I want it to change. I sometimes wonder if I’ll die before pitt wins 10 games again. Clearly Narduzzi practices what he preaches he wants kids who want to be at Pitt so he only offers kids he knows will say yes. We need Hubbard my gut says he won’t commit.

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      1. But he was a five star on espns rating
        Many on here want to defend a coach who flat out can’t recruit
        This kid won’t ever see 65k at Heinz
        However This kid will come to know SOP
        Every frosh at school has to take the class

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  76. The Pedo’s may sputter as they had to replace Joe Moorhead as OC. JF can recruit but he’s not a coaching genius, their offense took off with JM as OC.

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  77. Yep, that’s the guy Bj. The 16 year old Jr that hasn’t played his senior season yet. but it’s ok if it fits into your square hole.

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  78. Are you kidding me?
    If narduzzi was known for finding diamonds in the rough or coaching players up, he could be forgiven.
    I might as well have doctor Tom extract all my teeth
    That would be a more pleasurable experience than watching no star players with division 2 offers commit to Pitt

    Liked by 1 person

    1. belly laugh belly laugh John. Good one to lay my head down in bed and go to sleep tonight. The good side of some of these posters is they make me so tired it makes it easier for me to sleep at night. Yet I wonder how they do??? ike

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      1. I meant to put a smiley face. 😊

        We’re all on the same team — 🤔

        On the Pantherlair the other day, after a series of negative posts, someone posted “I feel like I’m reading the POV.”

        Hang in there ike.

        Go Pitt!

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  79. I was correct he has only played both TE and DE in high school. Perhaps Narduzzi and staff sees another O’Neil in the making. But of course the boo bird(realist) see him as another recruiting failure. Fire Narduzzi buttons will be on sale prior to the Albany game I’m sure.

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  80. Speaking of extracting Mr Anonymous, Narduzzi did extract Monte Nicholson and Torrie Cox from the WPIAL and they started on one of the top defenses in the country under Narduzzi.

    jrn, the real interesting part is Narduzzi gets the crap end of the stick but when people get called out for being wrong they get mad at you. It’s an agenda, simple as that.

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    1. ^^This may be the dumbest thing you have ever said bj. Seriously. Narduzzi had nothing to do with his recruitment? See how you can’t stand the man? It’s obvious to all.

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  81. Bj, do you believe Narduzzi as defensive coordinator had no say or influence on Nickolson’s decision to commit to MSU?

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  82. I really don’t defend Narduzzi as much as you guys think and say. I call out you constant bitchers that want to complain at everything PITT. Your obvious to many people. It was Demetrius Cox bj, see I make mistakes and own up to them. Weren’t you one of the gang yucking it up calling Heather names and taking shots at her about being on vacation? Yes you were.

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  83. Guys,
    Clearly we need fall camp to begin. I think we’re all getting cabin fever.
    PS: Remember, this is a sports blog – not life and death sitting in the Critical Care Unit of a hospital.
    PM4

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  84. If I’m not mistaken we don’t even have 20 scholarships to give out this class – more like 17. We have 84 people on the roster now so that’s one right there (max is 85) then we have 16 seniors who are in their last year of eligibility.

    That’s according to Rivals.com’s scholarship board.

    If that is the case we are in a world of hurt because anyone who is leaving the team to open scholarships are already gone which means no more scholarships will open up before 1) the ncaa early signing date of Dec 19th and 2) Feb 6th’s LOI Day.

    We now sit at 16 total commitments – so we one left to give. We have this so far:

    3* – 13
    2* – 2
    Unranked – 1

    For an average of 2.68 stars per recruit. If some of you feel that is a ‘good’ recruiting class then I don’t know what to think about that. These latest recruits with those types offers are not what should be happening in Narduzzi’s fourth full recruiting class, it just isn’t.

    His only ’19 OL so far is a guy who really shouldn’t even be considered by Pitt as a recruit… again, the only OL in this class.

    Liked by 1 person

  85. Reed – If I’m not mistaken they just have to be under scholarship by the time the kids enroll, which most won’t until August when camp opens. They’ll have their usual spate of transfers after the season, then again after the spring game, to go with the usual attrition of 5th year seniors getting on with their lives or going to smaller programs to start for a year. They can probably, safely, go up to 25 kids in this class. Hell, Pitt has an open scholarship right now with Reeves late departure.

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    1. Even with Reeves gone we still sit at 84 currently.

      All those things you mention taking place before August’s fall camp of next year apply to the next recruiting class – not this one. All the transfers, graduations, etc. for the 2019 class have already happened taking into account our 16 seniors (all 5th year redshirt SRs save Darrin Hall which is unusual) who will be done at the end of this season.

      Very few kids leave after fall camp starts and a few, maybe, after the season and before Feb LOI Day. Of 2019’s rsSRs I see only Chase Brown and Jay stocker as players Pitt might tell to leave – that might open up two more. But Narduzzi hasn’t done that yet has he? If so not many at all – not like DW.

      Anyone leaving after LOI Day and after the 2019 spring game will open up the class of 2020 scholarships, not this current class

      Unless I’m completely off base with this which i don’t think I am. We may pick up a few more but I don’t think very many before Feb. I’ll say maybe 20 at most when the dust settles.

      You certainly want your best recruits committed and onboard before LOI Day. That doesn’t appear to be happening now or if it is I’m not impressed.

      Again – maybe my math is off on this…

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  86. This article explains it. They have to be down to 85 scholarships by the first day of preseason practice. They have until next August to get down to 85. I doubt they go all the way up to 25. I was only stating that they probably realistically could go that high.

    https://www.landof10.com/michigan/michigan-2018-roster-getting-85-scholarships-never-easy-task

    This one too.

    https://www.cbssports.com/college-football/news/oversigning-index-on-another-front-its-still-alabama-and-everyone-else/

    The NCAA does their audit in July/August.

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  87. Got you.

    Point is that when you are getting toward the limit you have, and we are at 64% now if we have 25 to give when the dust settles, you save your scholarships for the blue chip kids who sign later on or after the season.

    Teams can pick up kids like this last recruit anytime so why now?

    Smacks of a bit of desperation to me.

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  88. I don’t like the avg star rating currently but I’m curious if anything changes in season. If the 2 stars and unrated turn into 3 stars we’re right back to a 3 avg. It’s too soon to get upset about it.

    This does appear to be the most risk-averse approach to recruiting that we’ve seen. Duzz doesn’t appear to be wrestling with the big boys in this class.

    It has the feel of a depth building exercise.

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  89. Michigan St. will not take Narduzzi with his current record, especially if 2018 is not a big success. It is not similar to the Wisky situation, where the AD and Chryst were pals. Chryst was credited with stabilizing a bad situation at Pitt even though his win/loss record was not great. Also, I believe Chryst played at Wisky. Narduzzi is risking everything with this mediocre recruiting class. He has to know that this group will be on the field when his next contract renewal comes up.

    Liked by 1 person

  90. That’s absurd. His loyalty to Michigan St. is Dantoni. That’s it. I’m not sure it’s even a worthwhile exercise to speculate on a coach who just went 5-7 and is from a town less than an hour away from Pittsburgh.

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  91. No Narduzzi’s situation is not nearly the same as PC’s except in one way. It’s plain hard to recruit big time players to PITT who not from the area and then even those kids recently. I really didn’t think Narduzzi would be going any other place soon but I’m starting to change my position on that a little for a couple reasons. One being if he can win 8 games again during the regular season and a bowl game and then he gets an offer somewhere else he could bolt realizing how hard it is to recruit at PITT.

    Two and this comes from 2 entirely different sources. Narduzzi is starting to wear out his welcome. The handling of the equipment manager leaving has really upset many of the older alumni/players. Other Narduzzi antics are starting to be noticed by Lyke as well. I just don’t believe he’s in as solid as he was just a year ago and it’s not because of the season’s won lost record last year. Narduzzi also knows this. HCPN has brought to much negative attention to himself, so if things don’t get patched up there could be a change looming sooner than I expected. . .. ..ike

    Liked by 1 person

  92. This is crazy talk. Narduzzi is not going back to MSU, nor would he be wanted. Especially now that Michigan is back on top. Dantoni and Narduzzi did well at MSU when Michigan was at it’s lowest point since before Schembeckler. MSU has the money to go big time, and has to if they want to compete with Michigan.

    Narduzzi has to prove himself at Pitt in the next two years, with his own players or he will be a D coordinator somewhere. He needs to reverse the trend this year and have a good year next year.

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  93. Agreed, ike. I wonder if, say, a 10 win season would cement his position longer and if people would overlook his obvious personality deficiencies. The situation with Ox was terrible, and could hurt relationship of the past players with the current administration and coaching staff. Not good. I doubt, however, if a 10 win season is coming any time soon. And if assist. coaches begin to suspect that PN is on thin ice, we may start to see some bailouts soon. His poor PR skills and rough relationship with the fans and press don’t help, either.

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  94. It’s all catch 22 VOR, if Pat can win ten games that could remove a lot of the warts that has popped up recently but I just don’t see that happening this year. The fact that the next few years the recruiting looks to be remaining light locally. I thought Narduzzi would be entrenched at PITT for the next five years but he is falling out of favor fast.

    How in the heck did I like my own comment? Trust me, I don’t think that highly of myself..

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  95. Serious question – how in the heck does a head coach have time to be involved in something involving an equipment mgr? Beyond saying hi every day while passing through the locker room or perhaps asking where his favorite t-shirt is, how does that happen? Certainly can understand more interaction with a trainer or an S&C coach.

    Issues with shoes?, the right spikes?….would love some insight

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    1. Me too. Some insight. Why so secretive about the details. And while you are at it please spill the details of the Cupka Situation.

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  96. Hey ike, I liked your comment so much I gave you the “like” before the answer! 🙂 Seriously, that was some good insight you provided about PN’s tenuous relationship with Heather. I still think he gets another year (2019) to produce on the field, and if he gets 9-10 wins (I’m dreaming here) he stays for several more.

    Like

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