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. 

This Defensive Backs article is written by our fellow reader and commenter Erie Express (Rick Caldwell) and thanks to him for a well-written comprehensive coverage of this important unit.

Subtitled…

TURN YOUR HEAD AND COUGH

Let’s start right off by naming who exited the program and the significance of their departure.  First, the coach of this dreadful three-year run of DB play, Renaldo Hill has move on to take the same position in the NFL with the Miami Dolphins.  Second, the defensive coordinator, Josh Conklin, left to take the head coaching position at Elon University.  Good riddance to both – I wish them much success.  New leadership in this area is a huge positive in my mind.

We also lost a team captain in Avonte Maddox, who was a low 3* Rivals rated athlete from Michigan.  He committed to Pitt and Paul Chryst in June 2013 and proceeded to start 28 games over the course of his 4 year career at Pitt.  He was drafted in the 4th round of the 2018 NFL draft by the Eagles.

Jordan Whitehead also will not be back after forgoing his senior season at Pitt to enter the NFL draft and being selected in the 4th round by the Tampa Bay Bucs.  Jordan verbally committed to Pitt and Paul Chryst in October 2014 and signed with Pat Narduzzi in January 2015.  He played in 31 games and started 30 over his three years at Pitt, missing three games due to injury and four via suspension.  As quoted by Reed – “…losing Maddox and Whitehead is a big deal.”

While researching which players may start and provide depth on the 2018 DB squad, I came across this “overlooked” fact about the start to the 2017 season.  Pitt started last season with less than a full deck – not just that Whitehead was suspended for the 1st three games, but that four other significant contributors were on the bench to start 2017.

Phillipie Motely (projected starter) & Therran Coleman were injured in Fall camp, Damar Hamlin (4* recruit) was still recovering from off-season surgery and Paris Ford (4* recruit) was not in camp.  Pitt did not have these five players available for the Penn State and Oklahoma State games.

Pitt finished 2017 as the 103rd ranked Pass D – there were 13 P5 teams ranked 104 or higher.  Of the 65 P5 teams, Pitt ranked at # 52 regarding Pass D. (emphasis Editor)

On to 2018, where I predict HCPN will begin the season with a starting four of seasoned veterans with Dane Jackson RS JR and Phillipie Motley RS SR starting at the two CB positions. Damar Hamlin JR and Dennis Briggs RS SR will start at FS and SS, respectively.

I do believe we have impactful youth & depth that will see this starting line-up change by game # 2.  FWIW, Ourlads.com has a two-deep at CB1 of Jackson/Ford, CB2 of Motley/Coleman, SS of Briggs as starter/Campbell as back up and FS of Hamlin as starter/Garner as back up, per Ourlads’ update on July 19, 2018.  In both starting scenarios, there is a heavy presence of WPIAL stars.

CB Dane Jackson (6’ 185 lbs) is probably the most experienced and proven DB of this group, as he started all 12 games in 2017 with a stat line of 40 tackles, one sack, nine pass break-ups and two INT’s.  Dane has played in 24 games and started 15 in the two seasons he has played, with his 1st season being a redshirt year.  He was a 2* athlete out of the WPIAL who verbally committed to Chryst in June 2014 and signed with Duzz in January 2015.

FS Damar Hamlin (6’1” 195 lbs) may be the 2nd most talented DB on the roster, and has been hindered by nagging injuries throughout his short Pitt career.  This 4* WPIAL recruit was the top rated D player in PA out of high school and the #7 rated Safety in the nation, per Rivals.  Damar played in nine games and started four in 2017 with a stat line of 41 tackles, one TFL and one INT.  Pitt needs Hamlin to meet or exceed the expectations of a highly rated 4* recruit and become an All-American type player in 2018.

SS Dennis Briggs (5’10” 195 lbs) was chosen as one of four team captains in 2017 by his teammates, a rare occurrence as a JR on Pitt’s football team.  He was another 2* athlete who committed to Chryst in June 2013.  Dennis has played in 38 career games and started four.  Briggs has been a career back up and may end his tenure at Pitt that way as well.

SS Phil Campbell, as a RS SO (6’1” 200 lbs), is a 3* athlete who committed to Duzz in December 2015.  He played in eight games in 2017 and started one, the Miami game where Pitt defeated the #2 team in the nation.  Campbell is a big, strong, hard-hitting Safety that should see considerable playing time in 2018, and will probably start in game #2 vs PSU.

CB Phillipie Motley (5’10” 180 lbs) is a 3* DB who committed to Chryst in July 2013.  He has played in 27 games and started four.  Phillipie has been injury prone which has cost him much playing time over the past three years.

CB Jason Pinnock, as a SO (6’ 195 lbs) played in 10 games as a true FR in 2017.  He is a talented 3* DB with an NFL body, who committed to Duzz in January 2017.

CB Paris Ford (6’ 195 lbs) is a multi-talented player who took a red shirt in 2017 and in my opinion, is the most talented DB on Pitt’s roster.  He was a highly rated and nationally recruited 4* stud who committed to Duzz in October 2015.  Paris was rated higher, out of high school, than Whitehead, Hamlin and George Hill.

We have yet to see this potential “star in the making” on the field for a college game.  What we do know is at the HS All-American game, he performed great and the other players were raving to their college coaches to go after Ford and flip his commitment from Pitt.

My belief is Paris will start his career much like Whitehead did – coming off the bench in game # 1 as a DB and will start game # 2 at CB along side Dane Jackson.  P.Ford will also see playing time on the offensive side as a playmaker – he has talent that can be used as a WR and RB.

CB Therran Coleman, as a RS SO (6’ 200lbs), is a highly rated 3* CB who committed to Duzz in August 2015.  His Rivals rating of 5.7 is 0.1 short of the coveted 4* classification.  Therran played in eight games in 2017 and started one (vs cuse as the Nickel Back).  Coleman was a 2-way standout in HS as a QB and DB for Brashear.

He was the Pittsburgh City League Player of the Year as a JR & SR, as well as the individual track champion in the 100 and 200m dashes.  This all points to a speedy, intelligent, athletic DB who has an NFL type body.  Can he put all of that together and gain significant playing time?  Remember, injuries have slowed his development.

Others on the roster have seen valuable playing time to add to the depth chart – Bricen Garner (RS SO 6’1” 190 lbs), Jazzee Stocker (RS JR 6’2” 190 lbs) and Damarri Mathis (SO 5’11” 190 lbs).  All three will battle for playing time with the others mentioned above.

For purposes of time, I will not mention the 2018 class of talented DB’s nor the two new DB coaches.  My guess is the 2018 FR all redshirt due to the depth I mentioned and the two coaches are better than the one we had.

Because of the depth that appears to be on this roster, the perceived strength of the front seven, the health of the projected two-deep and the fact that Whitehead was suspended for three games in 2017, I rate this unit as an:

UPGRADE

H2P!

253 thoughts on “POV’s Win, Lose or Draw for 2018’s DBs

    1. Agreed – he is a true Blue and Gold Pitt man – career back-up fits him well. No disrespect intended – he plays hard and is a leader.

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  1. I believe initially this will be a push, moving quickly to Upgrade as season goes on. I’m just really curious to see if there are any changes made by the new coaches. These guys do have the potential to be very,very good.

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  2. Hmm, losing two multiple year starters to the NFL and who played best we had .. and we follow that with an upgrade?

    Ok, what have we seen from Hamlin so far? Not a whole lot.

    What have we seen from Ford so far? Nothing at all as far as games go.

    Jackson is our best returning DB and while he’s OK he hasn’t shown star play.

    I’m saying based on potential only it is a DRAW at this point.

    If Ford isn’t the star we all hope for then it is a downgrade.

    Funny thing is even as a draw I think it is the strongest unit on D.

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  3. …And yes, very good article. Thank you!

    Note for other contributing authors:

    Write for the whole audience and not just for other commenters… We have thousands and thousands of readers so spell out stuff and write out names.

    Erie’s article needed very little work…

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  4. I agree push to downgrade from last year. Lose 2 starters and unknowns on a Ford and Hamlin. Could go either way but early will be rough.

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  5. i think draw but upgrade by years end

    another topic:
    now granted Nova didnt raise $800M in 1 year like A&M did after Johnny Football won the Heisman, but they did raise nearly $800M over 5 years

    I would think Pitt could raise $200M over 5 years for a nice down payment on a new on campus venue (multi purpose facility – multiple sports programs and non-sports building (HOF room, office suites, retail, etc)) and a new Trees Hall (60 years old now) for swimming/diving as well as a place for a new rec/wellness center (google that one).

    http://www.philly.com/philly/education/villanova-university-surpasses-fundraising-goal-by-more-than-150-million-20180601.html?__vfz=medium%3Dsharebar

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  6. I had the chance to see a lot of these guys in high school. Of the local kids, I was least impressed with Hamlin. Felt he has highly overrated. Now, that could have been due to injury his sr. year, but really, if he’s never been healthy, what good is he?
    Whitehead was a special talent who maybe, and I say maybe got marginally better here. Coaching or off field issues, I don’t know. Maddox, well, the kid was the whipping boy here for 3 yrs, then was somewhat better. Now, if you say they were the 2 best, well, ya, but we all jumped on these kids for 3 yrs. And as often as I saw Paris Ford, I can’t say if ,he will be boom or bust, honestly. He can be really good, or screw up magnificently.

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  7. With respect to rankings, I would like to see all the rankings only include P5 schools because I think the result are skewed.

    As far as DB’s – same, draw, etc. Mayb Hamlin is healthier which would be an improvement.I think we will start seeing 5 and 6 db’s playing alot due to the spread offenses of the ACC. This isn’t your old time football. We should see one or two of the bigger DB’s playing in a dual capacity as small lb’er. This is the defense of the future.

    Also, I like Briggs speed, but that is it. He seems to be too small to impact the game with a big hit at safety. He is always a step late to a break up or interception. He doesn’t play the game naturally or instinctively in my opinion up until now. I do hope we get to a 5-6 db base standard d to get the most speed possible and then attack defensively.

    I like 4 DL, but i don’t like more than 2 lb’s as they are slower and less quick than our db’s. Hoping all the db recruiting focus the last couple of years lends itself to playing faster, not bigger.

    PUSH – DRAW based on what we have seen. Possible upgrade if the freshman and soph’s prove they can play.

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    1. Never noticed Briggs being particularly fast.

      A dilemma for Coach Dooz because of Briggs’ leadership and experience, but I think we have better options now…

      Go Pitt!

      Like

  8. Link: Panthers Hold Second Practice of Camp

    https://pittsburghpanthers.com/news/2018/8/4/2018-pitt-football-camp-day-2-videos-photos-quotes.aspx

    Pitt Football Camp: Media Recap, Day 2

    Videos, Quotes and Photos from Pitt Training Camp

    POST-PRACTICE VIDEOS

    Head Coach Pat Narduzzi

    Offensive Coordinator Shawn Watson

    Defensive Back Damar Hamlin

    Linebacker Quintin Wirginis

    Tight End Will Gragg

    Offensive Lineman Jimmy Morrissey

    PITTSBURGH—The Pitt football program held the second practice of its 2018 training camp on a sunny Saturday morning 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, defensive back Damar Hamlin, linebacker Quintin Wirginis, tight end Will Gragg and offensive lineman Jimmy Morrissey answered questions from the assembled media post-practice.

    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:

    “Practice number two. Had a good evening, good meetings with our kids yesterday. You always find out in practice one where you are as a football team, where you came out of the summer. Practice two really is my favorite because you get to see a little bit more. You see how much little improvement they can make. Between the first game and the second game, you make improvement. Between the first practice and the second practice, you see really who they are. I think there are nerves. I think our kids get nervous on day one. From yesterday in pass skelly, we didn’t catch the ball very well offensively. Then all of a sudden, we made some great catches. I think today we’re going to have a fantastic practice. I’m excited to watch it.”

    On which receivers he expects to step up this season:

    “Everybody, everybody. I don’t have favorites. I want guys that are going to make plays and that Coach Watson and our quarterbacks can count on making a catch. That’s up to them to decide. I don’t decide who those guys are. We know who’s got talent, but you’ve got to show it. Our whole team will find out who those guys are.”

    On tight end Will Gragg’s first practice:

    “We’ve seen him in drills, but it’s amazing what happens when just a helmet goes on. You see different things. Then again, we had little bits and pieces of going through some conditioning drills. But I was impressed. One thing that stood out about Will Gragg was just his route running. That guy can push the field; it’s different than maybe some of the other guys. Off what I saw on day one, he’s going to really help us in the passing game.”

    On how Will Gragg ended up at Pitt as a graduate transfer:

    “It was really no connections. We’re out there scouring. I guess there’s going to be a new website [for graduate transfers]. But we knew where our needs are. We know what we would like to get out there. So it’s a matter of, ‘okay, there’s a name, let’s watch some video tape and find out if we want to get in contact with him.’ He was just one of them. I could tell you there are another 10 that we got in contact with or at least heard about and said, ‘hey, that guy would maybe be a good fit, let’s watch the tape.’ And then you watch the tape and you’re going, ‘eh, we don’t need that.’ So Will was a guy that we targeted. We loved what we saw. Forget what he does in pass skelly; he’s been an unbelievable kid since he’s been here. I just love his attitude. He fits right in, just like Stefano [Millin] has with our football team.”

    On which players make the biggest improvement from day one to day two:

    “I think the older guys, for sure. But there will be improvement of those younger guys. Sometimes it gets worse. Sometimes you throw another install and more coverage and more formations at them offensively and all of a sudden they’re like, ‘whoa.’ So we’ll find out who hits that wall.”

    On if he thought Pitt needed another option in the passing game via transfer:

    “We just thought we needed another tight end that could come make plays. It doesn’t matter what it was—pass catching, run blocking. We were just interested in another tight end that we thought could make an impact. We felt like maybe it was a position of weakness coming in.”

    On Kaymar Mimes moving to tight end:

    “Great question. We had a little tryout. We weren’t here as coaches. We had Kenny [Pickett] and the quarterbacks take them out there and work with some of the defensive ends. He just showed he had a natural athletic ability, natural tendency to be a tight end. He runs good routes. He understands what’s going on. From recruiting his brother—I’ll put this out there for Shilique [Calhoun], who’s with the [Oakland] Raiders—Shilique was never a good enough athlete to be a tight end. I told Kaymar that he’s definitely a better athlete than his brother, who I enjoyed coaching at Michigan State. If Shilique’s listening out there, his brother is getting the opportunity. Shilique always wanted to play tight end, so it’s kind of funny how that goes.”

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  9. Expanded Veterans’ GI Bill benefits:

    https://www.blogs.va.gov/VAntage/51050/forever-gi-bill-expands-va-educational-benefits/

    If anyone knows someone who was in the Service from 9-11 on please tell them to call the VA to see what so of benefits they are entitled to…or call me or drop an email and I’ll try to help also.

    I was visiting with a GS-15 who has been with the VA for years last week and he told me over 40% of service members who qualify for VA benefits are not receiving them because they either didn’t know they qualified or felt they weren’t ‘entitled’ to them…like it is charity or something.

    Nothing is further from the truth. In 2017 alone I helped 8 veterans get VA Disability benefits and 5 of them were homeless and living hand to mouth on the streets. Now they have a tax-free monthly stipend and medical coverage…and are in a place to have decent living conditions.

    Again, if you know someone who may qualify please urge then to get in touch. As long as they served they have a shot at benefits…yes, in some cases even if they had a Dishonorable Discharge in some cases.

    Reed

    Liked by 1 person

  10. This is the best overall group of DBs Pitt has had in many moons. It will be an upgrade.

    I’m figuring the safeties finally know what’s expected of them. Plus we have very good competition for all the DB spots.

    Whitehead was disappointing last season; I’m a huge fan of Avonte but he did tend to fall down at some inopportune times…

    I think we start to see more big plays from the secondary — which have been rare…

    Go Pitt.

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    1. Better than 2014 when we were 24th nationally in Passing Yards Allowed with 198 ypg and 43rd in opponent’s Passing Effeciency allowing 121.59?

      For comparison we were 105th giving up 254 ypg and 88th in Pass Eff at 136.42… And that was with two NFL players back there.

      Do you think we’ll do that this season?

      We could I suppose but imo both Ford and Hamlin have to truly break out. I’m not sure where all this “depth” is people keep talking about…

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      1. The depth for me is the fact that we now are 3-deep at each of the four DB positions with players who have meaningful game experience.

        There is no doubt the two 4* starters will need to live up to that rating or exceed it to be an upgrade. But, can anyone debate me on the fact that our lone 4* starter in 2017 underperformed dramatically? JW missed 3 games due to suspension and his play on the field was less than his FR season.

        Maddox missed two games in 2017 due to injuries and was ridiculed on this site consistently throughout his 4 year career.

        Liked by 1 person

  11. That was a great article and very comprehensive. A big thank you to Rick.

    No question that the loss of Whitehead and the very under-rated Maddox will be a loss. Which makes grading this unit a little more difficult than some others. Why? I think because I believe the whole and entire unit will be an upgrade but based on the DB’s alone…. I don’t really know. imo I would love to have Maddox and Whitehead back but where does PITT put them then?

    I agree with Reed on this one solely on facts. Two good players in their own right. Will the entire defense step up enough to overcome these losses? Not much to base faith on of P Ford and I know if I would I would be crucified if I predict him to be better than Maddox (a player I liked all along)

    So how do I judge this group? Since this isn’t a unit made up of individuals but be committee I’m thinking the saftey’s and depth will help these players come together, something maybe we haven’t seen for a few years. Again it’s all about the young guns getting more and more playing.

    SURPRISE. I say slight UPGRADE based on the entire defense including Bates.

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  12. I don’t think you’re gonna see much Briggs. They tried that first half of last season then mostly gave up on him. He had one ‘good’ play all year when he was badly beat vs. Miami and Rozier threw the ball so weakly it bounced off his back. Couple other times he was badly beat vs. Miami and the dline bailed him out by batting the ball down. I highly highly doubt you’ll see him more than a handful of plays a game this time around.

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  13. Just a thought that I shake my head at. All I ever heard for 4 years was how lousy Maddox is or now was. This is how the negative posters change the goal posts to suit their complaints. << Now PITT will miss him? gtfo , Whitehead was also beat-up his last two years just not quite as much… It all sounds silly and uninformed to me. Just like PC is now a great coach when he was absolutely crucified while at PITT. ike

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    1. I don’t think anyone has said Paul Chryst is great. He has recruited big and talented OL and his schedule is quite easy because his AD understands that wins matter, not competition or losing to good teams. Losing doesn’t help you recruit, no matter the opponent.

      He didn’t get great. He was solid. Couldn’t piece together a paragraph…..nice guy though.

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  14. Maddox had heart but was undersized and not a good DB. Fact.

    He was a starter though hence my downgrade. Zero changing of goal posts. He was a starter and had experience.

    Get your facts straight.

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    1. I believe Maddox was a good cover CB, but he was undersized and was the underdog on all contested (50/50) passes. And you’re right, he had the heart of a lion.

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  15. I do think we are the deepest ever and as a unit. The question is which of these guys will become stars?

    Which ones will make big plays when the game is on the line? Which ones will break up plays on third down to stop drives.

    Face it our defense has been way below the line for a long time. When was the last time we could truly say the defense won that game?

    I don’t think the losses of Maddox and Whitehead are that big a deal. Maddox was not a shutdown guy and Whitehead played his best ball as a freshman. Whitehead was a huge disappointment considering his potential.

    The thing that will help the D the most is a pass rush and better play from the front seven. If we get that pass rush more balls will be up for grabs. If the front seven stops the run, we can do more safety blitzes.

    Whitehead led the team in tackles as a freshman, good on him but as much a symptom of a very poor front seven.

    There is a lot of experience in this group and some potential big play makers. Really good speed and better size. I think that it is a slight to big upgrade if a couple guys play up to their potential.

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  16. Here’s a fact, Maddox played day one and the whole time under two head coaches. Maybe look in the mirror and get your facts straight. Bitch bitch bitch…. etc…. ike

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    1. You forget your arguments???? You are saying I can’t have it both ways. The reason they will not be as good is because he started even though he was average at best he took snaps from the new starters.

      koolaid koolaid koolaid……

      Narduzzi is done after his 4 wins this year.

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      1. I’m sorry Mark, your comment makes no sense to me? Losing a CB you have completely bashed over the years and now he is a big loss? Yes, you want it both ways and you have proven this over time. You don’t like one thing PITT, you being butt hurt has affected your metal stability imo.

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  17. Last season for the cuse game, the defensive scheme was changed to a 4-2-5. Therran Coleman was the 5th DB and even though we lost (see QB play), the D played well enough to win.

    Our DE position is thin in 2018 – I can see DC Bates going back to this scheme with Wirginis and Pine lining up as stand-up DE’s. Both are 6’2” 250 lbs and quick to the QB.

    If this change is made, our D will win a few games for us, cause our offense may have trouble scoring with a fist full of 20’s in a brothel house.

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  18. If you are a Pitt fan, Paris Ford is just about ready to make you very happy while he proves his worth on this fooball team.

    Upitt, call me out on this come season’s end if by then I’m full of crap, kind of like how I totally missed on Morgan contributing to our OL, now he’s gone. But my new prediction, Paris Ford becomes a player this season. By season’s end:
    He is one of our starting CBs
    Accumulates 4 INTs or more
    Sees time on our offense
    Becomes a solid kick returner
    Scores at least one TD

    If I miss on any of these predictions, next time you’re in Savannah, the drinks & cigars are on me.

    Needless to say DBs, UPGRADE. H2P!

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  19. I always liked Maddox, he was steady and consistent.

    One of the reasons I’m wary of the pass defense is that I don’t think we’ll be able to pressure the QB like PN’s defenses require.

    We have been piss poor at that and we have exactly the same personnel returning in the front seven save Wirginis..

    Dane Jackson is the best of the bunch in the DB unit and that worries me.

    I’ve given up with Narduzzi’s higher rated recruits because not one has done anything noteworthy yet. His 4* kids are either off the roster or haven’t been productive at all…Hamlin, Flowers, Watts, Davis and Ford are all that are left of the nine 4* kids he had committed.

    So I’ll wait until I see Ford play before I say he’s an asset.

    Liked by 1 person

  20. Hey Dr Tom, if PITT only wins 4 games or less, Kenny Pickett and myself will chip in with you to pay for the whisky and cigars for Upitt. If PITT wins 5 games or more I will rain down a fury on Mark he has never seen or could ever realize. Time to put up or……………….

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      1. Don’t change the goal post Mark. You swear to only 4 wins then stand up and be accountable. No one said that’s a positive but don’t go saying things you won’t back up. thanks and have a nice day … ike

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      2. He has a valid point there Ike. But if Nard Dog puts 8 or more in the win column then I’ll be glad to hold his arms while you ruff him up.

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  21. Upon reading the excellent DB article above, I must go against my normal policy of rating experience and past production over potential, and will rate the DBs an upgrade for 2018. There is just much more combined experience, talent and depth among this group when the new and injured players are added, and the potential becomes a greater value than the loss of Whitehead and Maddox. Along with most others, I think that Whitehead was a big disappointment last year, and I am not convinced he will make an NFL roster this year due to all of his baggage. Maddox worked himself into a decent college level DB, but is too small to be a major contributor in the NFL. Overall, I give this coming year’s DB group an edge over last year.

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  22. After reading Erie Expresses excellent article I felt pretty good about our DBs as an upgraded unit.
    But after thinking on it more, and reading some other comments I have to conclude that while I think they should be better, most of that is based on their potential and potential is a risky thing to hang your hat on. So, while I think the DB unit will be an upgrade, I have to grade them at this point as a: DRAW

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  23. Agreed.
    Whitehead was never the player he was as a freshman. Moreover, collectively, given his suspensions, he was unreliable.
    As for Maddox, he was injured at times and while he was serviceable, he was not the lockdown corner required for HCPN inflexible defense.
    That’s why I believe an upgrade, albeit marginal, lies ahead.

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    1. I think Whitehead was played out of position as a SS out of need since we had no one any good in the middle. I think he was undersized for the position and should have been playing FS.

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  24. Forgot to commend Erie Express for an excellent article on the DBs.

    And Erie, hope you’re still killing it with the short game!

    Go Pitt.

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  25. Another good contribution by Erie. I happen to agree. the total D and the talent we saw starting to come on at the end of the year plus any new DC makes it an upgrade. Our friend Phil Steele calls this unit an upgrade with 7 DB’s who have starting experience.H2P

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  26. Pitt’s defense will be fine. Whitehead is replaceable. Maddox is too but his leadership was invaluable. Hopefully, some of the young bucks can pick up there. Dane Jackson, Hamlin, Paris Ford and Pinnock are all more than capable in the athletic department … hopefully, they’re just as competent in the head department.

    Avonte Maddox was 3rd team All-ACC … not sure why some are trashing his skill level. Despite missing 2 games, “he had 11 pass breakups and two interceptions. He also had three forced fumbles, ranking second in the ACC and 20th nationally in that category (0.30 per game). Maddox was also a highly effective blitzer, collecting four sacks. He had two in the fourth quarter of Pitt’s 24-14 upset of Miami, including a strip-sack that iced the victory.”

    The entire season rests on the O-Line. If it overachieves, so does Pitt. If not, someone’s seat will be getting warmer.

    Right now, the depth chart has 4 redshirt seniors starting on the O-line and Morrissey returning at Center. Pitt also has another 14 O-Linemen on the roster, even with the departure of Morgan. I understand that there are a lot of unknowns but unknown does not mean it’s a hole.

    There is experience and depth. I’m really not too worried. Because Pitt has 14 OL, they can take chances on players like Gonvalez (sp?) who they won’t need for 4 years. Because players like Morgan leave, a more deserving walk-on will get a scholarship.

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  27. What’s troubling about the Oline is the way they looked in the spring game. Our Dlinemen were consistently in the backfield with little apparent resistance.

    I’m concerned that the former OL coach was too focused on size versus quickness — and now we have some catching up to do…

    Go Pitt.

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    1. The line looked that way because it was a miss-mash of players cobbled together.

      It was a poor decision by Narduzzi to include the linemen in the players’ draft instead of having the 1s playing together and the 2s the same. Narduzzi even admitted it afterward. I know he is still growing into the job, but he needs to be smarter moving forward.

      Like

  28. Just turned off the TV news. Pitt enjoys another media wipeout. KDKA, CN, WTAE, WJAC, WTAJ all extensive coverage of James Franklin Bruises from paintball game with his team and a suspended player returning after one year while WTAE sent a reporter to State College to interview Miles Sanders , their starting RB from Penn Hills that Pitt lost to them 3 yrs. ago. No mention of anything Pitt football even as I endured the Pirates Riverhounds and multiple Steelers stories. Are we that inept at PR or is our coach disliked that much by the TV people??????? This happens all the time. Wonder why we have trouble recruiting ,its our front porch!

    Like

      1. I think it is the opposite. The media can’t be trusted as the writers & reporters are psux, nd, cuse and wvcc grads.

        There is the potential for 6 to 7 WPIAL players on D to be starters – that’s a great story to write without frontline access.

        I’m on Duzz’s Side with shutting out the “biased against Pitt” media of the Pittsburgh area. Chris Peake has the same access as the other Pittsburgh media, yet he is a Pitt grad and has daily news to report. Why is that?

        Just my opinion…

        Like

  29. MajorMajors – The O-lines in the spring game were drafted by team captains. It wasn’t 1’s vs 2’s and two of the starters weren’t even at Pitt yet. It was a fake game put on for spectacle.

    Like

  30. TT – all that is true. Still the ability to block one-in-one was sorely lacking.

    I think Herndon and Dintino have a chance to be okay. My disappointment is with the younger guys looking so shaky trying to stay in front of their man…

    Go Pitt.

    Like

  31. DB’s – I’ll go draw here. I agree with Reed, Ford’s performance could push this group one way or the other. Obviously, Maddox did an outstanding job last year, so that’s a loss, but Whitehead regressed last year so his loss isn’t as concerning (I wouldn’t have thought I’d ever say that a year ago). I do like the fact that we got a lot of young DB’s meaningful experience last year, which will provide potentially solid depth this year. My concerns are Briggs and Stocker. Briggs seems to have great leadership skills and seems to know the defense well, maybe he’ll actually be a coach some day, but he and Stocker are weak in cover and scare me in the defensive backfield, I think their PT should be on special teams, and as 3rd string db’s.

    Like

  32. If you take away D Johnson and T Boyd who were all set for PSU until the sanctions (Johnson even verballed then rescinded). here are the 4-stars that came to Pitt in PC’s years:

    C Voytik
    A Bisnowaty
    R Shell
    D Rippy
    T chapman
    A Jennings
    A Bookser
    C James
    M Grimm

    So you can see, only 3 made any meaningful contribution to the Pitt program. And I suspect that the percentage of Wanny’s 4-stars who made real contributions was even worse.

    I’ll say this again ,,,, while 4-star recruits are good to get …. the emphasis of them on this blog is way overemphasized.

    wwb

    :

    Like

      1. Wait a second…regardless of how they got to Pitt Boyd and Johnson were still 4* recruits. Your argument is about the 4* recruits contributions, not how they came to Pitt.

        So I’d say that Johnson, Boyd ,Voytik, Bisnowaty and Bookser were indeed big contributors.

        The question is really in the percentage of success from the number of 4* kids recruited to the number of 3* players (and really we should combine both 3* and 2* recruits into the equation.

        So with that five of 11 4* recruits did well at Pitt off the PC 4* list which is a 45% success rate.

        Now if we are talking about star players I’d drop Voytik off that list and then we have four 4* players who became “stars” which is 36%.

        That is why the emphasis on 4* recruits. Not all of them pan out but they do so at a much higher rate then the 3* recruits do.

        Look, is it only Pitt fans who don’t get this? Everyone else in the CFB world knows the more higher rated recruits you land the better chance you have to get more high success in production out on the field.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. the emphasis is on better recruiting
        you get that by recruiting 4 stars and kids that actually have stars
        why is it that besides a few programs like tcu, okie st, whisky and michigan st, that the higher avg star rating schools are the ones most successful?
        Pitt will not be able to compete for division titles with an avg star rating of 2.8 when you go up against teams that are 3.3-3.5

        not every 4 star pans out just like not every 2 or 3 star makes an impact
        and narduzzis recruiting is getting worse not better throughout the years based on quality
        he is setting this program up for more 5 win seasons unless you think he is adept at finding all the diamonds in the rough and coaching up this barely 3 star players into something much more

        so one might say why cant we be like those other schools?
        TCU has a very good coach Patterson. been around forever. they get recruits from Texas. and frankly kids down here have more practice time and are better coached. newly renovated OCS.

        Okie st has another very good coach. see a theme. they get kids that fit their system. tough to beat them when your own offense needs to put up 40.

        whisky has the resources and goes out and recruits big uglies for a power running game and plays nobody beside iowa in their division.

        Mich st has another good coach and he somehow wins. I still scratch my had on that one. they play in the toughest division.

        when your coach is not good, you have to be a great recruiter.
        Narduzzi is still learning on the job come year 4. Has ‘thrown away’ assistants and not new up and comers. Pitt doesnt run any sort of a system. It plays a difficult OOC and has to compete against 2 perennial top 20 programs in their division. It recruits no stars with no other P-5 offers.

        Like

    1. What is the point of taking the 2 best away to make your argument? James Jennings and Shell contributed to other programs. Chapman never came. Rippy and Grimm were the only two big failures and one was injured. Also Pitt does not usually get the best of the four stars out there, they are mostly off the board before Pitt gets a chance.

      If you look at the elite teams, they are loaded with 4 and 5 stars, if it didn’t matter why is that the case?

      Liked by 1 person

  33. Great job by Erie Express, should have said that yesterday.

    While I am not a fan of the local media, I do think Pitt contributes mightily to the problem.

    Let’s be honest Pitt has been the source of much of its own ridicule, even those of us who love Pitt the most

    are highly critical much of the time.

    I think the closed practices acerbate the problem rather than provide any remedy.

    Narduzzi and the Pitt media are trying so hard to control the message, instead of letting the media do its job.

    In a city with the Steelers, Penquins, and Pirates, Pitt should be fighting for coverage rather than hiding behind a wall.

    Personally, I pay little attention to the media, I stopped listening to the fan when I retired and got satellite radio. I quit the PG when the assistant editor wrote his hit piece, I watch also most no local news, and I don’t miss any of it.

    When Pitt gets better on the field, and when Pitt Fans demand more coverage, it will get better, just like some of the yellow seats will get filled.

    But face it, Pitt’s incompetent administration, and poor results on the field are the biggest reasons for the lack of and negative media coverage.

    Like

    1. would Pitt’s administration be considered incompetent if the AD fired Narduzzi after another 5 win season? I would say they would be considered genius in my book.

      Like

  34. whether you want to admit or not ….. the decline of 4-stars at Pitt has been a 35 year trend and is directly contributed to the decline of population (and HS football) in WPa.

    Pitt has long been dependent on its 3-stars and that is not going to change. And you’re missing the point on Johnson and Boyd, While you can credit PC’s staff for them, the fact remains that they would have not come to Pitt if it weren’t for the sanctions

    Like

    1. Right, and that is largely why we haven’t been very good for 35 years. So what that those two didn’t go to PSU. The fact is they came and excelled at Pitt. Unfortunately, we didn’t get nearly enough 4 stars due to Penn State sanctions. If Wanny was still here, he probably would have got 6-8.

      No doubt the decline in the WPIAL is a major factor, Narduzzi is finding it difficult to get 4 stars from other regions, but that is what has to be done, if we want to compete at a higher level.

      I think the other issue is that Chryst and Narduzzi missed on too many of the few really good players from the WPIAL.

      Like

  35. school/avg star/#4’s

    Mich St/ 3.06/ 3
    VaTech/ 3.2/ 3
    Miami/ 3.41/ 7
    Wisky/ 3.23/ 4
    TCU/ 2.87/ 2
    Pitt/ 2.88/ 0
    OkieSt/ 2.79/ 0

    Like

      1. the schools i mentioned are the top dogs in the division is schools that have historically won with fewer stars. those schools are the exceptions and not the rule. But I conclude they are able to do it because they are good coaches, run system offenses and can actually develop players.

        I do not think Narduzzi is a good enough coach. I dont think he’s terrible. Pitt doesnt run a special type of offense and we all know Narduzzi cannot develop his recruits because none have made an impact yet. So that also tells me he cant recruit.

        Like

  36. Following up the 3* vs 4* debate:

    In PN’s first two recruiting classes of 2015 & 2016 – the two classes where enough time has passed for players to shine, he landed 28 3* recruits.

    Now, given the previous comment’s 36% stardom for PC’s 4* players that means 10 of Narduzzi’s 3* kids that committed to him should have reached stardom… If we believe that there is no difference as wbb stated above.

    Yet not one has even come close. Not one…nor any of his 2* players even. Weaver and Pickett are the only two who I see might reach stardom…throw in Dane Jackson also. So three out of all those recruits…and that is prefaced with a big “maybe” as Pickett and Weaver played part-time in ’17.

    So if we look at the total 3* and 2* commitments PN had in his first two classes that makes 34 recruits and none have been star players for Pitt (nor any 4* commitments but we are discussing the lower rated kids).

    What would you rather have looking at this? And it doesn’t have to be PN’s lower rated recruits…I’m quite sure we can used any of Pitt’s recent HC’s and see the same type results.

    4* recruits hit stardom at a higher percentage than 3* or 2* kids do.

    Now, we also know that 4* kids don’t always stay with the program…but that is true for all the * ratings.

    Like

        1. he was a 5.7 rivals star
          few players of any star have his motivation
          do you think Narduzzi can find those 2 and 3 star kids that are highly motivated AND have some hidden potential??
          AD is literally 1 in 10 Million

          Like

          1. Aaron Donald is 1 in 10 million. When I saw him in high school he looked like Fat Albert, shot out of a cannon. Just explosive off the line. Still amazed that he has developed into one of the NFL best at his size and weight. Seems to be a genuinely good guy too. Incredible strength and quickness.

            Like

    1. I DID NOT SAY THAT THERE WAS NO DIFFERENCE BETWEEN 3 and $ STAR WHEN IT COMES TO STARDOM. What I said was that there’s very little difference in the percentage who contributed whether they were recruited by PN, PC or DW

      wwb

      Like

  37. By the way Miles Sanders is from Woodland Hills, not Penn Hills.

    It will be interesting to see how he does as the featured back.

    He has huge shoes to fill.

    Many on this blog, said he was no great loss in Pitt recruiting will find out one way or the other.

    Don’t know one way or the other, but Narduzzi should be hosting local High School coaches at Pitt practices,
    if allowed under NCAA rules.

    Like

    1. It is allowed but each time I go up to practices there are less and less. DW used to have meet & greets with local HS coaches all the time…drinks and dinner type functions not paid for by Pitt or DW and that really helped his WPA recruiting.

      PN won’t (or can’t) do that. He’s pretty much alienated the WPA football community.

      Look at Pitt’s recent Official Visit postings…As far as I can tell not one WPA player has taken an official visit yet… I may be mistaken and we had one or two but it is very sparse if at all.

      https://pittsburgh.rivals.com/visits/football/2019

      Like

  38. Hey the Nard Dog is not the ‘people person’ type person DW and Capel are. Most ppl and coaches are not.
    Johnny was a lot more ‘people person’ oriented than Jackie.

    They both had success.

    Like

      1. He still won 16 games in first 2 seasons. Other than Jackie and Foge (who had Marino) and Pop…who has won that many, in first 2 seasons.

        Like

  39. I am aware that the WPIAL is very weak this year, but there always a few guys worth taking a shot at.
    There will be better years in the future. When your top ambassador is not liked or trusted by local high school coaches it is not a good thing. The picture I am getting is of a very small and insecure man. WPIAL kids should be invited to Pitt camps whether they are worthy or not just for PR purposes.When all the local kids turn their back on Pitt, why would out of town kids want to come?

    This also has an impact on attendance. How do you generate new Pitt fans if there is a negative local attitude from high school football players and fans?

    Like

    1. Yea well when DW was here and the local HS coaches liked him. We still had the local negative anti-Pitt media. I can’t remember when it hasn’t been. Purge the local media of Pedo Stater’s and Syracuse bums and Pitt will do a lot better with the locals.
      I suggest UPMC buy the local worthless rags and tell the Pedo’s to go to the Creepy Valley Gazette.

      Like

      1. And btw I wouldn’t be surprised if the local media pedo’s contacted Sports Illustrated to run the Hit Piece on DW & Pitt. Knowing that very shortly the damn was going to burst in Creepy Valley concerning their criminal pedo cult. How do you like that ! That wanted to make sure no DW was around to capitalized on their precious Pedo State football cult !!!

        Like

        1. I could see that
          I also believe our BoT comprised of Nitters is working against Pitt sports
          and having 2 Nitters on Gallaghers leadership team of 8 with absolutely nobody with a Pitt degree is puzzling

          Like

          1. I agree with that Tex. Pitt should have NO NITTERS ON IT’S BOT !!!. Are there any Pitt people on Pedo State’s ? Of course not.

            Like

      1. GC – I suggest you read Jim Collins’ “Good to Great”. Collins did a study on CEO leadership styles/personalities and found the most enduring, successful companies share the common trait of low-key CEOs. Great book btw.

        Like

    1. No jedi mindtrick needed Emel he just pays attention. No one said he has to be a salesman but he should try to connect and try to be a good person. Being an ahole after 5-7 and recruiting terribly it could help his imagine and job security. His 2019 class is a joke. It is Cal U ish.

      Like

        1. I’m still recouperating from Mexico!! Haha. I think he lives 25 mins away. He send a crow here with messages on it’s foot. Haha

          Like

      1. His 2019 class is currently 6th in the ACC. What you were expecting to be ahead of Clemson, FSU. Miami. Va Tech, & NC State. I’ll give you NC State. Though they did have a good year last year and beat us at Ketchup Bottle.

        Like

  40. Noticed BC has creeped up into the top 25 in some rankings. Here is hoping Narduzzie will work like Adazio in that it was a slow steady but continuing process to get there. I hope not to slow as I may never see them in the top 25 again!

    Like

  41. So after gc made me research that. Only 3 other Pitt Football HC’s in our 113 year history has won 8 games or more in their first 2 seasons.

    Pop
    Jackie
    Foge
    Nard Dog

    **Special Mention for Johnny Mike….first 2 seasons included a Sugar Bowl & a Gator. The muckety mucks fired him too ! For Dave Hart….lmao

    Like

  42. BREAKING NEWS FLASH!!!!!!!

    This just in….. 2019 Recruiting season isn’t even half over……Now back to your regular bitching……..

    Like

    1. Emel – Pitt needs to give us a reason not to b*tch
      I complain because of our recruiting and a 5 win season
      You dont hear me complaining about basketball anymore because the right decision was made
      Things are looking up for volleyball, mens soccer and wrestling. Maybe even womens basketball and mens baseball given new coaches
      Victory Heights has been proposed
      I still complain about the Pitt BoT though

      You may hear me complain again if Fantas are given away. Here’s Mexico’s Fanta version (real cane sugar)
      https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/31oRF3lliCL.SY355AA355_PIbundle-24,TopRight,0,0_AA355_SH20.jpg

      Like

      1. Ok but i don’t even remember this amount of negativity after the football season ended last year. It’s sort of morphed and snowballed since the spring. And Capel’s hiring should have quelled some of it.

        Like

        1. Emel…this is the new and improved, well-behaved environment after Reed threw the kill switch a few months ago.

          Imagine the meltdown if the Albany game is not a total blowout…..

          Like

  43. Hey I still hope the guy can get the job done and overcome all of the built in Pitt Obstacles plus personal short comings. We will find out this year and next. I just think a little buck stops here attitude would help, instead of blaming players for a lack of leadership and coaches that gone, and should have been gone sooner. Memories of Not My Fault Walt. Accept responsibility and move on.

    Like

  44. I’m starting to feel more and more like Kreskin around here. If I say new recruit I can predict what the next comment will be spot on…. and who makes the comment.

    Like

    1. No one said a word Ike. I think we all are waiting to hear who it is first. But if the first 16 are an indication we have a pretty good guess. Maybe he got the 4 star RB we wanted?? I am positive until proved otherwise.

      Like

  45. You anti-Pitt folks need to take break…..like I did. You get a refreshing feeling if you stay away for awhile.

    How can you be anti-Pitt…since Heather fired the baseball coach (upitt), the basketball coach (most of us), the women’s bball coach (whoever ) and brought some peeps in who are slotted for success.

    The Nard Dog has at least this year and next year, they just extended him and they’re not going to eat that much money, so soon after eating Otis’s non-deserved contract.

    So let’s all just hop on board and hope we have a good season, cause Nard is he for the foreseable future.

    Liked by 1 person

  46. in·tro·vert
    ˈintrəˌvərt/Submit
    noun
    1.
    a shy, reticent person.
    adjective

    Maybe your definition of an introvert is different from mine.

    I don’t think Nard Dog is shy or reticent, or Chuck Noll for that matter

    Noll was more cerebral than most coaches and a great teacher, certainly not the life of the party,
    but he certainly wasn’t shy, nor is Nard Dog, defensive, obstinate possibly.

    Like

    1. I was at several Steeler events in the 1970’s and 1980’s. Chuck Noll was not going around shaking people’s hands. And he was a very hard person to approach. In my book and many others he was the definition of an introvert.

      Now he was actually similar to Nard Dog at Press Conferences. he had a disdain for reporters. And Nard Dog should have a disdain for PG, Fan, and most Pgh media. I would. Wouldn’t you ?

      Like

      1. If someone doesn’t care for small talk and is stand offish doesn’t make them an introvert.

        I don’t think it is an either or situation, lots of folks in the middle.

        Like

  47. Upitt, someone did make a comment

    Tx, I keep reading that quite a few of these verbals are thinking of early enrollment so they wouldn’t count in the 2019 class. PITT could go up to 25 this year.

    Like

  48. The board has trended negative and will continue that way until we see some positive results.

    We are still suffering from a 5 win season and no bowl game. Imagine if we wouldn’t have beaten Miami.

    If the defense isn’t noticeably better and Pickett does not play well, the board will get much darker.

    A few recruiting wins over good P-5 programs would also help.

    A victory vs PSU could turn it around completely.

    Like

    1. Would a 6-6 Pitt team losing in the Cumquat Bowl to a Sunbelt team to go 6-7 make you feel any better ?

      Last year’s team didn’t deserve to tie the 10 year Bowl run the great Pitt teams of 1974 thru 1983 had.

      Like

      1. It depends on which teams we beat. a PSU, or ND victory would feel pretty good, but you are talking about Chryst type records that will not change the trend of negativity.

        The Bowl scene is a lot different than it was in 74-83. Back then bowls were a lot more meaningful. Getting a bowl now is a lot like getting a trophy for participating in little league.

        I think 8 wins is kind of the bottom line for a successful season. Maybe 7 considering the difficulty of this year’s schedule.

        Like

        1. You can say that again my bro gc. Getting a Bowl bid back when alot of went to Pitt, when there were only about 15 bowls actually meant something. Now it’s a lot like a Bowel Movement. Everyone gets one.

          Like

        2. i will give the Dog credit if Pitt achieves 7 wins plus a bowl win
          otherwise he will get my continued scorn

          remember Vegas pegs Pitt at 6 wins

          Like

  49. Actually if we had won 6 last year, they would have broken our real Bowl run of 9 Bowls from 1975 to 1983. (we actually played 2 bowls in the same year in one of those years) to have 9 bowls in 8 years but it was 9 seasons) Follow that. Good.

    So I’m glad we didn’t break that record with the litany of 3rd rate no name bowls that was in this last run.

    Like

    1. Good man….likewise. 🙂 6-6 with this schedule and this many new guys on offense sounds about right.
      Unless somehow we get some sort of Mich State defense.

      Like

  50. Waiting for camp to get further along and see a revised depth chart and worry about injuries and attrition. I am thinking one win over the 3 bigger OOC games so PITT could go 2-2. I can find at least 4 more wins in conference games on this schedule. Still holding back until later.. ike

    Like

    1. I’m looking for PITT to beat UCF. They won’t be close to the team they were last year. At the very least it’s a good bet to take the points in that game.

      Like

  51. Dog did add this 4 star kid via transfer to beef up the TE position.

    That was before the team added Will Gragg, a 6-foot-4, 250-pound graduate transfer from Arkansas who joined the Panthers in June. This week, during Pitt’s preseason camp on the South Side, Narduzzi and his staff got their first look at the former four-star recruit in action.

    Like

  52. “We’ve seen him in drills, but it’s amazing what happens when just a helmet goes on,” Narduzzi said Saturday before the second day of camp. “You see different things. … The one thing that stood out about Will Gragg was just his route-running. The guy can push the field, and it’s different than maybe some of the other guys. … He’s going to really help us in the passing game.”

    Gragg has two years of eligibility remaining.

    Like

  53. Great article Rick, very thorough analysis. I too am looking for a mild upgrade to the defensive backfield.
    Good luck to Reed and Wlat with their upcoming surgeries! I think I can speak for Bernie and me that the PittPOV rehab team is ready to assist you both in way that we can!

    Like

  54. Yea good analysis EE….it looks the Trib picked up on your analysis and did an article on Damar Hamlin today. Another 4 star who needs to step it up this year. Hopefully the Growth pains/injuries are over.

    Like

  55. Back on topic: We have depth in the defensive backfield and ai really believe our DB’s will play at a much improved level when Jackson and Pinnock are playing with the first string. Your not going to be able to keep Pinnock off the field for very long IMO. As for our safeties I’m real concerned since I don’t thing Briggs and Hamlin will scare any of our opposition if they are our starting duo. The good news may well be that we seem to have a number of good prospects in the d backfield and hopefully more than a few will show up and challenge the presumed starters. Right NOW I have to rate this group a DRAW over last year.

    Like

  56. Any body ever so basically nothing and their lower back goes out? Feels like somone was stabbing me in spine in lower back and muscles all around it got super tight. Barely could move or walk. It let up some but still only about 20% of 100%. God this sucks.

    Like

  57. I did work out there but that was 3 days ago. Years ago I was bent over picking up something and it happened.

    Some numbness here or there. Feels super tight and compressed around lower spine

    Like

  58. Upitt, listen to your body. Rest, especially put something relatively firm (rolled up towel) under your lower back, right above your waistline, and lay on a firm floor/foundation. Push it, and you will require back surgery, which has a success rate eqal to rockport’s recruiting results. Listen to your body.

    Like

  59. How does psu look at themselves in the mirror? They dismiss a player from the team and then Jimmie “one finger” reinstates him. How does this happen? It truly boggles my mind how insincere they are up there in the cult valley. I read when he did the reinstatement he mentioned psu was short on Linebackers. I feel like it’s some sort of a dream. Oh how I do like that school… .ike

    Like

  60. ^^ Emel, I didn’t say PITT will NOT have a losing season (yet) but Kenny Pickett sure has… Gotta love that kid’s moxie.. Funny thing, my final prediction may come down to his guarantee though. We gotta believe if he does… right?

    Like

  61. Well Emel. I’ll tell you something. Your time away certainly has rejuvenated you and invigorated your mind. You are on the beam this morning friend. ike

    Like

  62. I think Reynolds will be a good strong safety, he can hit. If Hamlin is finally healthy and Ford lives up to expectations, the unit will be good. Jackson is steady. Also Pinnock has big upside. Guys like Motley and Coleman have experience. Should be some interesting battles for starting jobs and PT.

    I think the number of guys allows for many types of situational defenses.

    Like

  63. Upitt, try inverting your body on about incline so that your head is angled to the floor. Try to do this for a few mins each day and see if it releases the pressure.

    It’s possible you have a bulging disc in the Lumbar section of the vertebrae and it is probably pinching a nerve.

    Im no doctor though, that would be the best person to get advice from. Good luck.

    Like

  64. 2019 OT Nick Malone (6-6, 278) from Morgantown, West Virginia has given Pat Narduzzi a verbal commitment. Malone becomes Pitt’s 18th commitment and second offensive lineman

    Like

  65. Emel – Rage will ensue shortly due to lack of stars.

    Keep in mind that Pitt has 18 offensive linemen on the team and neither of the last two recruits will be needed for about 4 years when they are redshirt juniors.

    Like

      1. you’re assuming Narduzzi will be around in 3 years
        I dont know of 1 of Narduzzi’s recruits that he’s been able to coach up yet
        Just trying to be rational here
        I dont have the faith like many do given what I’ve seen
        I have to see to believe

        Like

          1. To play like three stars. Correct. Have they made a significant impact. I say not. But they are serviceable.

            Four stars can take over a game. That’s what Pitt is missing.

            Tex

            Like

    1. Pitt did beat out Robert Morris for this recruit.
      now imagine if Capel was going head to head with schools like RM and Duquesne.
      You’d be enraged as well

      i dont know why Coach is just offering to offer and to fill the roster. Shouldnt the focus be on quality at this point since Pitt only has about 7 more to give.

      Like

  66. It seems to me that having good relations with the local coaches really helps when there are preferred walk on positions open. With the 5 additional spots opening up from NCAA increased rosters, they can identify and point out any late bloomers that could maybe develop Pitt down the line. I doubt that PN gets many tips like this with his sour high school coach relations. Look for Pedo and WVU to use their 5 spots by grabbing some WPIAL players.

    Like

  67. No Tx, you’re assuming Narduzzi stinks and his coaches stinks at evaluating talent. It’s the way each and every one of us choose to look at things. Me? I don’t have a clue if this kid will pan out and I’m sure you don’t either. Some choose to whine and some (like me) can wait and see.

    BTW, didn’t I read somewhere on the POV Maddox sucked and he would never be drafted? In the fourth rd no less? Hey, we’re all wrong once in awhile

    Like

  68. Hey gc, Reynolds would be a hitter back there. I was hoping you had an inside scoop where he dropped a few lbs’s and they moved him. I like that kid.. ike

    Like

  69. but Tx, you say you have to see to believe. That is a very fair statement imo. So why when you haven’t seen or watched these commits play you believe they suck? That’s talking out of both sides of your mouth my Texas friend.

    Like

    1. i look at his star rating and more importantly offers
      i have more faith in kids with high stars and legit offers
      when i see a no star kid from some hillbilly town in Appalachia with no P-5 offers, I tend to not believe that this kid will pan out at Pitt. Now if Narduzzi was known as a guy who finds diamonds in those coal fields and can coach kids up, I may be able to make a leap of faith
      I trust Rivals
      I dont trust Narduzzi (with him I have to see it)

      Like

  70. Sadly, there are just too many unrated or low rated recruits lately to think that Narduzzi is just a whiz at spotting undeveloped talent. I mean come on. Why is he taking unrated kids at this point when he has at least 4 months and a fall football season before LOI day.

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  71. you never know who will be a good to very good college player. So lets see what happens by 202 after 2 years of S&C and coaching. As to the DB’s Pitt has more physical talent than it has had in years. Hamlin is healthy and kid can play. Pinnock will be really good and Jackson covered everyone like a blancket the last 5 games. Really good athlete who is now seasoned. As to Reed ans his 2014 stats….get real. Pitt faced one maybe two decent QB’s that year. Not close to the QB’s they faced in 2016. If Pitt played that schedule this year, 9 wins for sure vs the 6 moose lodge had. Pitt if Pickett stays healthy will be a tough out. How many wins, who knows. But they will be fun to watch.

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  72. Rick – I tried to post yesterday but my laptop (word rhymes with Nit) the bed.

    Nice post and thanks for putting the energy into it so we al have things to contemplate.
    I hope you are correct, but tend to lean towards a “push” grade right now.

    My ill-fated post yesterday made mention of Maddox and I’ll repeat it here. One thing I really enjoy about CFB is watching the kids develop during their time at school. Maddox was the target of much criticism early and often and it continued throughout his time at Pitt. The kid played with a lot of heart and was viewed as a great teammate.Yes, he is a bit undersized, but its also fair to say that he didn’t get a lot of help the last few years with the lack of consistent pressure by the front 7. I as surprised and happy for him that he was 1) drafted and 2) in the 4th round. He has a chance to stick around the NFL a for a year or two – and good for him!

    Looking forward to the tailgate before the Albany game!

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  73. Over 200 entries already. Interior linemen the only defensive unit left to review. The anchors of the D.

    Hope this defense finally is what we thought we would get from Nard Dog.

    We are really due to have some of our kids exceed expectations. It has been a while. At least for the D.

    Like

    1. i expect over 1000 after the Penn State game
      i just hope its mainly good comments and trashing of the Nitters
      i may just be able to forgive Narduzzi if he can beat both the Pedos and the Domers

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  74. he went to Pitt camp
    impressed the OL coach
    so they must think he has some talent and upside
    wasnt being recruited by WVU and he lives in their backyard

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  75. This is UTTER laziness on behalf of Narduzzi and his coaches. Just throw a camp and make offers to kids no D1 Programs want. Pure laziness and not want 3.5M should get you. The only kids they are getting come to camps.

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  76. See Mark, this is where I draw the line with you. You say things you know nothing about. Laziness? You have nothing to base that comment on. It really is very unfair. Call him a name in jest but that’s attacking his character and you don’t know the guy. Amateurish at best.

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  77. 2017 AP All-Pro First and Second Team offensive linemen and their Rivals stars:

    Andrew Whitworth 4*
    Andrew Norwell 4*
    Jason Kielce 0*
    David DeCastro 3*
    Lane Johnson 0*
    David Bakhtiari 2*
    Roger Saffold 2*
    Alex Mack 2*
    Zack Martin 4*
    Mitchell Schwartz 3*
    Daryl Williams 3*

    Some comments: I could not find Whitworth’s Rival rating but he was a top 5 offensive lineman so he was at least a high 4 or low 5. Jason Kielce was a walk-on RB at Cincinnati. I could not find his Rivaks rating so I gave him zero stars. Lane Johnson was a non-rated HS QB.

    You Negativos see a pattern here between Rivals’ ratings and All-Pro level performance because I don’t?

    I am not saying that there is no correlation between ratings and success as I strongly suspect that for other positions the correlation exists and of course achieving NFL All-Pro success in 2017 is not the only way to measure collegiate football recruiting success but come on, you got to admit that this information gives the Optimistos something to be optimistic about at least with these OL and potential OL recruits.

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    1. You do know there are thousands of no, two and three star kids.

      You do know that a higher percentage of four and five star kids succeed and impact their college school.

      Your analysis is flawed.

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  78. Ike – It reaks of not jetsetting and getting into programs. Picking low hanging fruit that comes to them. It is a joke and you are the only one who doesn’t see it.

    Screw 4 stars now we can’t even get 3 stars. In tbe end this class will be in the 50’s.

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  79. When Narduzzi finds a player that is not highly ranked by the gaads (Rivals) Morrissey who starts without a scholarship it’s called out and bitched about. There are players out there the coaches know about. Not us dummies and complainers. All you guys want to do is complain. It’s sickens me at times and makes me tired. A bunch of Jim Laurinitis pile jumpers.

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  80. Agree that O lineman can be late bloomers. But finding those guys is a crapshoot and shows we are not getting the guys we really want and need. Having to take those kind of guys shows how far we have fallen.

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  81. It does make some sense that with 14 OLs on the roster they can take a couple of development prospects. But what bothers me is that there is still much time available before LOI day, and they are eating up the remaining scholarships on very low rated prospects. Maybe there is a strategy there that I don’t understand, Narduzzi says he doesn’t worry about stars, but on paper this class is not going to be very impressive.

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  82. Take it easy VOR, I know you can get panicky but you do have a level head. PITT still has 6 or 7 slots available. Do you want Narduzzi to come down to your job and start yelling wolf? 🙂 . . .<< That’s a joke not a lecture.

    Now I understand Reed is in the laboratory cooking up a podcast I look very forward to listening to. Before it comes out I want to remind many that Reed is a PITT fan that has self professed of never being a big fan of following recruiting. Now all of of sudden??? I might have to crack open a beer for this one or maybe better yet, finish cutting the grass now that the rain has stopped.

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  83. Gee whizz. Don’t you get it? Pitt is not going to rise out of mediocrity unless PN knows what he is doing and right now we don’t know if he does or doesn’t. We will find out our answer by next year but we should get more clues this year. The Negativos have every right to be negative. The Optimistos have their reasons for optimism especially because we seem to have a QB and a defense.

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  84. After reviewing the recruiting of the past 3 years I can only say Pitt really knows what it doing and their coaches are much more capable by seeing things in players all other big time schools have missed. Either that, or we have under recruited and the chickens are coming home to roost. What has me worried is all the guys taking redshirts and not getting on the field in front of some pretty bad performers. Well, I guess this will all shortly resolve itself. I can’t wait for the prediction thread. I have a feeling guys will suddenly see 6-6 as a great accomplishment and rationalize it 6 ways to Sunday.

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  85. ike, I’m panicking, you are correct. For 35 years, I have watched the recruiting process at Pitt, and always looked through the rose colored glasses. I thought that Pitt could sniff out talent where others missed. But while this is theoretically possible with WPIAL recruits that were observed on football Friday nights in the ‘Burgh, they are not getting the good WPIAL players any more. They’ve even lost the Aliquippa connection. Sniffing out gems at great distance is much tougher unless they have local eyes watching these kids, which I doubt. So yes, I’m panicking that this class in year 4 of the Narduzzi era will be a flop…

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  86. VoR – You shouldn’t be that worried. Most of Duzz’s recruits have been redshirted and are just entering their redshirt sophomore seasons. This class is a foundation/depth class. Most won’t be needed for 3-4 years. When you don’t need kids immediately, you can take more chances. Outside of TE, Pitt has pretty balanced recruiting across the board right now for the first time in a long time. That doesn’t mean all the position groups are equal, but there is at least depth. That also doesn’t mean you don’t take stars, but Duzz has traditionally landed his best recruits late … and, as Ike mentioned, they most likely have 6 or 7 spots still available. Most of these unranked or lower ranked kids are at positions with a lot of depth.

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  87. The OL was terrible last year. It could be the same this year, very likely. Last years leading RB had the lowest rushing total since 2005.

    Pitt coaches are not sitting pretty when it comes to the OL position. Some on here are acting like the OL is a big time strength, its not. They are not in position to take several chances with this years OL recruiting.

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  88. Bj – The OL is an unknown. Not a weakness or strength. It has 4 redshirt seniors and a returning center. Pitt also has another 14 offensive linemen behind them that we haven’t seen yet.

    Last season the line did, indeed, struggle. The OL coach was promptly let go in the offseason as a result.

    Pitt also replaced their Offensive Coordinator, QB, RB, and TE’s from the previous season. They ended up playing 3 QB’s, lost George Aston and had a rotation at RB.

    My point being there were other factors than just the OL for some of Pitt’s struggles.

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  89. Tossing, you are a voice of seasoned moderation on this site (and a basketball sage as well), so I will defer to your thoughts on the use of this class to build some needed depth. But every class needs a few players with star potential to replace the kids like Reeves and Morgan who wash out. It is inevitable that some kids will need to play early for a variety of reasons (Chris Clarke leaving, for example). As Reed says, there must be some star players, not just serviceable players, in the pipeline.

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  90. i would think just 1 of Narduzzis players that he recruited would have broken out by now after 3 years.

    at many schools, your 4 and 5 stars break out in year 1 or 2.

    this is now year 4 and I’m highly doubtful

    maybe Narduzzi’s 2 star recruits need a full 4-5 years

    Like

      1. lets hope those 2 break out this year then. Narduzzi has recruited over 60 players in the last 3 years. Thats a 3% success rate you know?

        Like

  91. Tx, here is the problem I have, Jackson broke out last year but you don’t want to see that because Narduzzi is the coach and you are hell bent on complaining. So go ahead…. I’ll catch back up to you at the end of the season.

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  92. VoR – Agreed. He has to get a couple with whatever he has remaining. WR, TE and RB need 4 stars on offense. Safety and LB needs 4 stars on defense. 3 stars work for just about every other position. That’s what I’ll be looking for.

    Like

  93. Dane Jackson definitely broke out last season.

    Started all 12 games at cornerback, compiling 40 tackles, two TFLs, one sack, nine pass breakups and two interceptions.

    Liked by 1 person

  94. I’ll get the thread back on track since I am just reading it.

    DBs.

    It is a push right now.

    Last year, Maddox was steady. Whitehead was a disappointment the last two years. His head was more into whatever got him suspended.

    As for the CB, I like Jackson. I think he is above average. The one key, much like LB, there are tons of guys that have experience. So tons of depth. Even if Ford is not ready, I believe there is enough younger guys to step in and play well.

    Safety is a question mark. I am not high on Hamlin. I hope he proves me wrong and stays healthy. Lots of guys are healthy this year that were not at the beginning of the season last year. I would love to see Pitt have a big hard hitting saftey.

    If Briggs starts, downgrade.

    Like

  95. The db’s will be an upgrade as will the entire defense this year. The experience and depth of all the defensive units will aid in an overall upgrade. After all this is a TEAM sport.

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  96. Couple thoughts:

    —Seems to me it is tough to evaluate OLine recruits from video. For one thing, they often outweigh their opponent by 50 pounds or more. So seeing them go drills in a camp is important.

    —I’ve always thought that the majority of recruits are totally interchangeable. And I think this is especially true on the OLine, at least once you get past the Bama and LSU recruits, and they’re not even considering Pitt.

    —It’s just a couple of players on each team that make the difference.

    —Looking more and more like Pitt has one of those difference makers in KP. And at the most important position…

    Go Pitt.

    Like

  97. I’m starting to fall in-line w/ the pessimists on here. This boy better start coaching if he wants to get 6 wins.

    That said… it is painfully apparent – especially to all the loser coaches on Pitt’s payroll – that the AD is not going to accept middling results. So why bother with the whine, bitch and moan routine?

    Like

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