POV Game Thread – Albany, Tailgate Info & Game Predictions

POV Game Thread – Albany, Tailgate Info & Game Predictions

Don’t forget we have Fran’s POV Tailgate going on in parking Lot Red5A – between the Red parking garage and the Residence Inn on General Robinson Street.  Tailgate starts 10:30 am when the gates open…Fran now drives a silver 4Runner SUV.  POV and Pitt script flags will be flying. Red lot 5A and I’ll limp over from downtown around noon or a bit after.

OK – season’s opener and who are we playing?  Well that would be Head Coach Greg Gattuso and his D1 FCS Albany Great Danes of the  Colonial Athletic Association.  Here is an overview of the team from ESPN.

The ‘Danes were 4-8 last season but I would have loved to watch some of their games.  If you like defense you would have enjoyed their match against Elon where they came up short on a 6-0 score.  Or how about this?  In their game against Maine the final score was 12-10 with the ‘Danes sniffing the Black Bears’ butts.  Fun!!

Albany wasn’t a that good last season – here are their stats as compared to the rest of the Football Championship Subdivision (FCS).  Burt they did excel in overall defense (9th nationally) in giving up only 282 yards per game and good at scoring Defense (17th) giving up only 17.7 ppg.  Not too shabby for a 4-7 team but you might expect that from a defensive minded Gattuso.

Obviously their offense was poor where they did a 180 from their good defense with being 104th in Scoring Offense (17.4 ppg) and 108th in Total Offense at only 273 ypg.

But where they made their mark was with 19 Turnovers gained including 15 opponent’s fumbles recovered…so let’s hope the staff saw that and pushed ball security hard in this last week of practice.  Because if Albany is going to keep this game close or – even possibly win – it will be because of Pitt turnovers.

This should be a good game to watch.  Vegas hasn’t a line on it that I can find but ESPN came out this week with Pitt giving 24 points.  I’ll take Albany getting 24 and do think it will be a closer game than some fans have written.  I believe we’ll win but, as I did before the YSU game last opener, I’ll also say let’s not overlook this team.  The Great Danes’ bite just might be as bad as its bark.

Reeds Pick: Pitt 27 – Albany 13

Editor’s Note: I’ll grab some of this games predictions by our readers off of the “Predictions” article published on Thursday and list them.  But if you haven’t done so yet put your own predictions for the Panthers vs Great Danes match in a comment for the world to see.

Also – this will serve as the game thread for saturday.  Looking forward to see all at Frans tailgate…

Thanks and…

HTP!!

 

 

 

2018’s Pitt Football Predictions!!

2018’s Pitt Football Predictions!!

It’s that time of year again – a couple of days before the season opener and our favorite team has broken camp and are in game week preparation.  That means it’s time for The Pitt POV , its readers and its commenters to put their thoughts about the 2018 version of the team, players and coaching staff out in public for all to read.  First off here is the “Predictions Card” I passed out at the 2nd Annual POV Gold Tournament.

As you can see it hits a lot of issues and I put it in this format so you can copy and past into your comment if you wish.

GOOD LUCK AND HAIL TO PITT!!!

Logo Nightmare

☻What will be Pitt’s season record?

☻ What will be Pitt’s ACC record?

☻Will Pitt win a Bowl Game?

☻Will Pitt’s QB2 throw a TD pass?

☻Pitt’s Leading Rusher, Yards Made and How Many TDs?

☻Pitt’s Leading Receive, # of Catches, Yards & How Many TDs?

☻Pitt’s Leading Tackler? How Many?

☻ Pitt’s Sacks Leader?  How Many?

☻Pitt’s Interceptions Leader? How Many?

☻Pitt’s Offensive Points Per Game Average?

☻Pitt’s Defensive Points Per Game Average?

☻Opponent’s Rushing Yards Per Game?

☻Opponent’s Passing Yards Per Game?

☻Who Will Be Pitt’s Offensive MVP?

☻Who Will Be Pitt’s Defensive MVP?

☻Will Pat Narduzzi Scream at a Coach on the sideline?

☻How Many times Will He Do It?

What will be the score of the Pitt Panthers vs Albany Great Danes game?

So with that here are some of the tallied results of the prediction cards I got back from the golfers – pretty interest stuff actually and you will be able to see the difference between how our fans felt in April as opposed to now after fall camp is over – they will be much more optimistic in their comments on this thread then earlier I think.

I filled the table out not with every actual answer but to give readers a flavor of what the combined answers were (the “Semi-Totals” on last row of each table). For instance under “Season Record” 9-4 got 1 vote and 6-6 got 7 votes as the votes are in parentheses.

The answers in red are what Reed thinks will happen.

predictions tally C

prediction tally D

Hope you all can read that.  Let us all know what you think about the upcoming season and we’ll look back at this in January to see how well we knew, or thought we knew, the 2018 version of the Panthers.

So for my season W/L total I feel we will win five games and possible six.  I don’t see us winning more than that or less than that.  I base that on the Offensive Line being poor (maybe terrible) and the defensive front seven getting the same or less pressure on the QB which will keep our opponent’s passing yardage high like it was last season.

Two things of note happened since spring ball that I think helps the team.  WR Taysir Mack being eligible and us getting QB Jeff George, JR on roster.  I am firmly convinced George will be pushed up to the QB2 spot as soon as possible and that makes me feel a whole lot better than Town going in if Pickett gets injured.

So 5-7 on the season feels right to me – 6-6 at the best.  Let’s hope I’m off base with this but I called for five wins last year at this time and that came true.

As far as the opening match against Albany I’m calling it: Pitt 28 – Albany 21.  I am absolutely not overlooking this game.  I stated last season that YSU was going to give us problems and I won’t be surprised if we have score points late in the game to win this Albany match also.

HTP!!

Reed’s Picks

☻What will be Pitt’s season record? 

5-7

☻ What will be Pitt’s ACC record?

4-4

☻Will Pitt win a Bowl Game? 

No

☻Will Pitt’s QB2 throw a TD pass? 

Yes

☻Pitt’s Leading Rusher, Yards Made and How Many TDs?

Ollison, 900, 10 TDs

☻Pitt’s Leading Receive, # of Catches, Yards & How Many TDs?

Araujo-Lopes, 55, 550 yds

☻Pitt’s Leading Tackler? How Many? 

Idowu, 93

☻ Pitt’s Sacks Leader?  How Many? 

Idowu, 6

☻Pitt’s Interceptions Leader? How Many?

Ford 3

☻Pitt’s Offensive Points Per Game Average?

26.5

☻Pitt’s Defensive Points Per Game Average?

28.6

☻Opponent’s Rushing Yards Per Game?

135

☻Opponent’s Passing Yards Per Game?

245

☻Who Will Be Pitt’s Offensive MVP?

Pickett

☻Who Will Be Pitt’s Defensive MVP?

Idowu

☻Will Pat Narduzzi Scream at a Coach on the sideline?

Yes

☻How Many times Will He Do It?

Lots

 

 

Does Pat Narduzzi Know What He Is Doing?

Does Pat Narduzzi Know What He Is Doing?

Here is a good article by Jay (6&34) who is a reader and commenter on the POV…

With the first game of the season less than a week away, the tension and apprehension, optimism and pessimism mounts. At this point it’s all about The Team. How good are they? Everyone – all the Negativos and Optimistos are about to find out if not this coming weekend the weekend after.

The Negativos have every right to think they are right to be negative. Pitt is coming off a rough 5 and 7 season with a terrible SOP 2nd half against Nothh Carolina in game ten. I was by myself watching the game on my computer using my Hot Spot connection that had insufficient bandwidth. It was one of my worst sports viewing experiences ever because it seemed to confirm the growing conviction that our optimism for the Pat Narduzzi Era was misplaced.

I am big on sports statistics but in football statistics require more context to best understand what the data means than for example baseball. This is not to say that statistics in football are meaningless. If your team does not have a lot of rushing yards that is meaningful information but it may not mean whatsoever that your running backs are no good because the problem may be the offensive line.

Or your primary running back may be good but the statistics lead you to think he is the greatest running back ever ala Ron Dayne some years back for Wisconsin. Or for that matter with Melvin Gordon just a few years ago.  Or with Darrin Hall for a few consecutive games for Pitt just last year where the other teams run stopping skills were poor.

But there is one statistic in football that does matter and it’s called the “season record”. Our Commander likes to say the “game is played on the field” and I am pretty sure to some extent what he means is that there are 12 games to a season and you may win some against “better” teams and you will lose some against weaker teams but the idea is to win more games you should lose, lose fewer games than you should win and most importantly win as many games that are toss ups as you can.

Certainly Pitt’s schedule is tough this year. But a decent team can beat a very good team on any given Saturday. Pitt Nation knows that from its experience these past two seasons.

What Pitt Nation has not experienced in quite some time is Pitt winning just about all the games that are toss-ups or which Pitt is a touchdown or less underdog.

I don’t know what the odds would be today for the Pitt-UCF game but irrespective of what those odds would be Pitt had better win that game if this mildly optimistic Optimisto is going to keep thinking that Pat Narduzzi knows what he is doing. I am a big believer that many of the Negativos fail to either recognize the structural problems that work against our head coach or just fail to give these problems the weight they deserve. I do.

And I judge him with these problems in mind. But UCF has structural problems too – significant ones and it managed to win those games last year. . And barring major injuries to Pitt between now and that game, to my mind if I am going to continue to think that Pat Narduzzi knows what it’s doing, Pitt better win that game.

And Pitt better beat Georgia Tech and Wake Forest and every team that it will be favored to win (not saying it will be favored to win these games). If Pat Narduzzi knows what he is doing Pitt better win those games.

Right now I am thinking that Pitt will win those games. I think that because to my mind in college football how many returning starters and senior starters (especially 5th year seniors) are on the team is a hugely important statistic. I believe this not just because it is a generally recognized significant predictor of success or failure but because of the underlying reason why it is. College football is played by man-boys.

I remember a few years back a Pitt coach had said that the biggest jump in sports is from high school to Power 5 football. In making that case I think he said that in high school you may be playing against a tough kid weighing 150 lbs at center but in Power 5 football there’s no kid at center – there’s a 300 lb man.

That 300 lb. man may have weighed 300 lbs when his first Power 5 game began and he stood on the sidelines as a true freshman but we all know that five years later that 300 lbs. of freshman body was a very different 300 lbs. five years later. I don’t have a clue what the qualitative boy to man improvement rate is but I do know that whether it’s four or five years later those 300 lbs have been transformed.

Nor do I know how to measure the incremental improvement in a player’s ability that is derived from knowledge gained from experience. But I do know that such knowledge is critically important and a very real factor in a player’s capability especially with certain skill positions and limiting mistakes.

And although some players develop more slowly than others – and I guess some players can regress, but it’s the players that do improve from physical and knowledge development that play, so they are the ones that matter.

Then there is an individual player and team’s desire to win. Whether we call that “getting a team ready to play” or character, we all know that in college football this is real. Pitt had that in the Miami, Clemson and 2016 PSU games. If the team can be up for those games why can’t it be up for twelve games? And if it’s not whose fault is that?

So does Pat Narduzzi know what he’s doing?

We are about to find out because whether we think the schedule is too tough or this is not fully his team yet because he has only recruited for 2.5 years for this team ((Editor’s Note: Should read 3.5. Narduzzi has 3 full recruiting classes and 7 of 15 recruits in the class of 2015 committed to play for Narduzzi), enough of the players are his either because he recruited them or he has had enough time to mold them. And as we can all agree, the game is played on the field and it’s almost game time.

HTP!!

How Good Can Pickett Be?

How Good Can Pickett Be?

Here is a very well researched and well written article by our frequent commenter “Michelangelo”

I think I could describe the perfect quarterback. Take a little piece of everybody. Take John Elway’s arm, Dan Marino’s release, maybe Troy Aikman’s drop-back, Brett Favre’s scrambling ability, Joe Montana’s two-minute poise and, naturally, my speed.” –  Peyton Manning


There has been a lot of hype this spring around Kenny Pickett, and we all know why.  After ten games of mostly inept quarterback play last season (with the exception of Rice…) Pickett came in and gave us a tantalizingly short glimpse of what competent quarterback play looked like.  And thus the hype train began.

The question is, as a sophomore and a first year starter, what is Kenny Pickett’s ceiling?  Sure, everyone is saying the right things on the Southside.  Teddy Bridgewater comparisons have been made.  But I am a believer in facts, not coachspeak, and right now the only facts we have are history.   So let’s look back at the stats of young first-year Pitt quarterbacks and see if we can get a sense for what Pickett might do in 2018.

But before we dive into these stats, I would like to point out a couple of things:

  1. Dan Marino played in a different era. We all know he’s a legend and the best quarterback on the page, so I don’t want to hear anything about that.
  2. On the opposite side of the coin we all know that Tyler Palko played under Walt Harris who is a noted passing game guru, and so it’s probably unfair to think that Kenny will replicate these numbers in what appears to be shaping up as a run-first offense in 2018.

1st year QBs

Let’s move on to the observations.

  • First of all it’s clear that the two sophomore quarterbacks on the page were statistically better than the freshman. That is a good sign.
  • Second, it’s a pretty good bet that Pickett will throw no more than 16 touchdowns. The only person to do that was Palko and I’ve already pointed out that he played in pass-first system. Still 16 TD’s is nearly a 50% improvement over last year, and equates to about +3 PPG, so I would take that.
    • There is a *chance* that KP throws 20+ TD’s. Wouldn’t that be nice?  The Data suggests there is about a 20% chance that happens.
  • Pickett will probably throw 8-9 interceptions. With the exception of Alex “Gunslinger” Van Pelt, 8-9 int’s is a pretty consistent average here.    Yes, Yes I know that Narduzzi said that Pickett hasn’t thrown an interception all camp, but lets be real here.  That’s camp, and that’s Pat talking.  Besides nobody has thrown less than 7 int’s in the last 39 years.
  • Yards Per Attempt (Y/A) will probably finish around 7.4 – 7.5. Lot of consistency here throughout history.  However Kenny’s Adjusted Yards Per Attempt (AY/A on the chart.  This stat takes TD’s and INT’s into account) will probably be a tick higher.  Notice how the Sophomore Adjusted Yards per Attempt is higher than the Freshman number by more than half a yard.  Another good sign.
  • Lastly (and this is somewhat dependent on system and playcalling) the data predicts Pickett will throw for somewhere between 2600 – 2900 yards. If he can finish at the higher end of this range, that would be a slight uptick from last year.  Of course if you factor the Rice game out of 2017 Kenny’s yardage total would be a nice increase.

So based on all of that I’d say it’s a pretty good bet that Kenny posts a stat line of 2700 yds, 16 TD’s and 7 ints, with a rating of around 136.  That’s not a bad line for a first year quarterback, and it’s an improvement over 2017.  If the defense plays well, and the running game is working, it should be enough for 7 wins, maybe 8.

Of course there is always the chance that Kenny is a generational quarterback.  It’s a slim chance (like less than 1%), but lightning strikes do happen. And to that end, I’ll leave you with Teddy Bridgewater’s freshman and sophomore seasons… enjoy.

Bridgewater

Editor’s Note:  Here are the passing stats for us last season…  just about anything is an improvement.

2017 passing

 

 

 

Sunday Podcast; Aug 26th, 2018

Sunday Podcast; Aug 26th, 2018

 

Editor’s Note:    Geez, I did that whole podcast and didn’t even consider if George is eligible for 2018 or not.  Actually he may not be as he played last year for Illinois.  Damn, we really need him this season… Well, next year also.

Hey! Just read he is eligably this coming season! Yeah us!

Jeff George, Jr – Started five games in 2017. Career wise he was: 132 of 275 (48%) for 1743 yards and 11 TDs to 15 INTs.

George

Illinois was poor all around last year on both offense and defense His surrounding offensive cast pretty much sucked, especially on the Offensive Line as they were 105th in Sacks Allowed with 42 and TFLs Allowed with 98.

Does that sound familiar?  We were 101st in Sacks allowed with 31 and 99th in TFLs Allowed with 79.  Let’s hope that changes this year.

George was 13/39 for 140 yards and 2 TDs with no INTs in a 31-27 win over MSU in 2016 even if MSU sucked that season.

 

Jeff George

Here are the full Upgrade, Downgrade or Draw articles written about the 2018 Panthers:

Special Teams – Downgrade

https://wordpress.com/post/pittpov.com/54045

Offensive LineDowngrade

https://wordpress.com/post/pittpov.com/53989

Defensive LineUpgrade

https://wordpress.com/post/pittpov.com/53973

Running BacksDraw

https://wordpress.com/post/pittpov.com/53951

Defensive Backs – Upgrade (Erie Express wrote that…POV feels it is a Downgrade)

https://wordpress.com/post/pittpov.com/53932

Defensive Ends – Upgrade (Ike wrote that one – POV feels it is a Draw)

https://wordpress.com/post/pittpov.com/53925

Wide Receivers – Downgrade  (With addition of WR Taysir Mack the POV feels this is now a Draw.)

https://wordpress.com/post/pittpov.com/53900

Linebackers – Upgrade

https://wordpress.com/post/pittpov.com/53888

Quarterbacks – Upgrade (and with addition of Jeff George, Jr a big Upgrade)

https://wordpress.com/post/pittpov.com/53871

POV’s Win, Lose or Draw for 2018’s STs

POV’s Win, Lose or Draw for 2018’s STs

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 or defense 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. 

This is a unit that I feel is severely overlooked by both the coaching staffs in college and by the fans. There are really seven different components to Special Teams; Punting, Punt coverage and Punt Returns.  Also Kickoffs, Kick coverage and Kick returns.  Then there is the ever-important Field Goal kicking.

In the 2017 season in some of those we excelled and in some we didn’t – and in some we pretty much just sucked doing. Let’s look at the positive aspects of our special teams play first.

We always talk about good defenses that can hold opposing offenses to short gains – but we tend to overlook the punter who can make the opponents  start 40+ yards down the field or inside their own 20 yards line on a regular basis.

Punters who can do that on a regular basis are worth their weight in gold and we had one of the best in the nation last season in four-year starter SR Ryan Winslow.  Here is his game log from 2017.  Note what he did in pushing backward the starting points of our opposition.  Without his great punting, and it truly was, we’d have given up a hell of a lot more points.

Winslow 17

And here is what he did punting seen broken down:

Winslow total

That made him a first team All-ACC selection and 11th nationally in the Punting category.  The tops in the nation averaged 47.5 so you can see Winslow’s 44.5 ypp is right there up with the best.  He’ll be hard to replace.

That is the good news about our punt game.  Where we fell down was in our punt return coverage game.  Nationally we were 113th (10th in the ACC) in allowing 12.55 yards per return.  In addition our kick return coverage exceeded that in ineptitude as we sat at 121st nationally (14th in the ACC) by allowing opposing teams 25.21 yards per kick return.  Throw in giving up three blocked punts and it paints a not-so-pretty picture

Seriously, if you want to start figuring why we were not very good on defense last season, and overall we weren’t at 69th nationally, that is your jumping off point.

Continue reading “POV’s Win, Lose or Draw for 2018’s STs”

Pitt Fall Camp: Day 18

Pitt Fall Camp: Day 18

Link: Panthers Continue Preparations for 2018 Season

 Pitt Football Camp: Media Recap, Day 18

Videos, Quotes and Photos from Pitt Training Camp

 POST-PRACTICE VIDEOS

Head Coach Pat Narduzzi

Offensive Coordinator Shawn Watson

Offensive Line Coach Dave Borbely

Offensive Lineman Gabe Houy

Offensive Lineman Jimmy Morrissey

 PITTSBURGH—The Pitt football program practiced for the 18th time of its 2018 training camp during a Thursday morning session at the UPMC Rooney Sports Complex on the South Side of Pittsburgh.

Head coach Pat Narduzzi met with reporters prior to the session, while offensive coordinator Shawn Watson, offensive line coach Dave Borbely and offensive linemen Gabe Houy andJimmy Morrissey answered questions from the assembled media after the workout.

Videos from each media session are available above, while a transcript of Coach Narduzzi’s media availability can be found below.

Head Coach Pat Narduzzi

 Opening statement:

“Good morning guys. Wonderful day. Got the sunshine out today. Forgot my hat; I’m going to have to run up and get it… rushed out of the office. A lot of great things going on right now. We’ve got to get a good day’s work in. Yesterday was a solid day; can’t say it was a great day. Our guys are pushing. It’s the grind that we’re in right now. That’s kind of where we are. I feel like we’re fresher than we were a year ago after practice 17. We still have legs, which is a positive thing as far as conditioning. Maurice Ffrench, for example, took the corner on a sweep play yesterday at tailback and took the corner on everybody. Most of the time, practice 17, your legs are shot anywhere I’ve ever been. I think we’ve done a great job keeping our guys as fresh as we can with recovery… really just trying to be a maintenance guy as far as not having them out here too long, so I think that’s a positive.”

On if off days during camp have helped:

“We’ve always given them an off day. Sundays always been our off day, so that new NCAA rule two years ago didn’t bother me. I think you have to do that; that’s part of the process. Maybe a little less hitting, shortening the practices a little bit has helped. I would say it’s more that than the day off.”

On picking captains:

“I thought about that; that’s coming tonight. I have thought about this like, ‘wow, you can only have four walk out there.’ It’s not going to be an easy decision because there are some good leaders—older guys and younger guys. I think we’ve done a good job developing leadership. It always can be better, everything can be better. But it’s not going to be an easy chore, that’s for sure.”

On if the two-deep depth chart has a lot of “and”s and “or”s in it:

“There is. You find out on gameday who some of those guys are. We talked about who some of the sure-shot position guys. Some of those other positions, we’re going to find out ongameday who’s making the plays and who isn’t. ‘Or’s are there.”

On differences that fans will notice about offense and defense:

“I don’t know. It’s a hard question. We’ll find out.”

On new or different approaches:

“No different approaches. Hopefully you see a fun team playing. I want this football team to be exciting—offensively and defensively. When we’re on the field, we’re out there to make plays. We’re out there to enjoy ourselves and have fun. It better be fun. If it’s just a grind of, ‘aw man, I got to go out on this first down…’ We want to have fun. It should be an exciting football team to watch. We’ve got a lot of speed, got a lot of physical players on both sides of the football as well as special teams. I want them to go out and have fun. It better be a fun team to watch. Period. Fun.”

On creating more big plays on offense:

“We talk about explosive gains all the time. We want to eliminate them and we want to have them. I see a more explosive offense with some of our weapons outside. When the quarterback puts the ball where it needs to be, I think that helps you. Like I said, you can do it in practice all you want. Maurice Ffrench yesterday, I don’t think we had a ton of those a year ago, even in practice. This is a pretty good defense they’re going against. We want to have more, for sure. Everyone wants to see that. That’s exciting. I don’t want so many so fast like we had against Syracuse two years ago that the defense is back out there for 129 plays, but I guess I’ll deal with that too.”

On having fresher legs and a deeper team:

“Me saying they have legs and them saying they have legs are probably two different things. I bet you they could give you a different description on how their legs feel right now. But I can see it as a coach. I’ve gone 17 days and we looked at them like, ‘man, they are shot.’ They aren’t shot right now. Maurice Ffrench is proof of that. Shocky [Jacques-Louis] caught a ball yesterday and turned it up north. He still got some in him, so that’s a positive as we go into game week next week.”

On if there is a position he feels better about than before camp:

“I still say that offensive line. I still feel it starts up front. I felt good about the defensive line, but I feel better about the offensive line as a whole, just with what they’re doing and how they’re doing it. We’ll find out on gameday. It may be disappointing, but right now I’m excited with where we are.”

On if he’s excited about the starting offensive line or the depth:

“More of the first guys in some of those key (roles), that sixth man and seventh man in, that first guard or center-type guy and that tackle coming in. So it’s the first seven guys. We talk everyday about getting three percent better. Everybody is making the jumps, so in the long run it’s going to help us, whether it’s in week two, week five or week eight. It’s going to help us continue to get better.”

On health of the team:

“Generally, I’d give us a B+, which is better than it was last year.”

On his calf workouts:

“I don’t do calf raises.”

On if the team jokes about his calves:

“Every once in a while, you hear a remark. Do you joke about it? [Reporter: Not at all.] Good, thank you. [Reporter: It’s just admiration.]”

On Tre Tipton’s program LOVE and how much he’s changed since injury:

“Tre [Tipton] is a remarkable young man—both on the field and off the field. He cares about the other students. He’s got a great heart. I wish we could get in and measure some hearts sometimes when you’re on the road recruiting or at a team meeting, but that guy has a big, big heart. He’s not like the Grinch. He’s got this gigantic thing inside his chest cavity; he cares about other people. It’s the truth. It’s not going to help us win or lose, but it’s an important factor for our kids to have out there. It’s something you’re proud of as a head coach.”

On helping the players with mental health:

“Kristen Mackel is the psychologist on campus. Really I should call her a counselor on campus that Heather Lyke just hire probably about four months ago. She actually talked to our team Tuesday night just to say, ‘hey, we’re here for you, whatever you need.’ She did a tremendous job at the meeting. Again, it’s just if it’s something to talk about. If it’s to talk about, ‘my calves are too small,’ they’ve got someone to talk to about their calves. It doesn’t matter what it is. If you’ve got girl problems… But just having someone outside of football that they can go to. We do have two (counselors) over there. They’re brand new. We’ve never had them in the past, so we’re getting better. It’s another benefit to these gentlemen.”

Editor’s Note:  Here is the article about Tipton’s LOVE Program by DiPaola of the Trib…