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. 

Here we go Pitt fans… this unit, along with the QBs, is always the most dissected and discussed over the offseason.  Maybe that is because it is featured on the majority of offensive plays (460 runs to 362 pass attempts in ’17) or maybe it is because Pitt has had a great history of turning out superb running backs over the last four decades.

When you can boast of alumni players like Tony Dorsett, Ironhead Heyward, Randy McMillen, Curtis Martin, LeSean McCoy, Dion Lewis, Ray Graham and James Conner… to name just a few, then that’s something to hang your helmet on.

Dragging us back to the present now and I hope I didn’t raise your hopes up too much.  I doubt we are going to see a star performance out of any Pitt RBs this season.  For one reason the two RBs who will start off as the primary carriers this season are fair to middling players at best.  rs Senior Qadree Ollison and Senior Darrin Hall have been around for years and have both started games and held starting positions so they hold trump in the experience column.

Last season Pitt’s run game was…well, poor as we were 85th nationally (in the lower third of D1 schools) and had a yards per carry average of only 3.87.  In college football a good rushing average for a RB is the 5.0 ypc benchmark.  5.0 ypc is the same  benchmark as for a team’s rushing on the season.  To put that in recent historical perspective here are the last fous year of Pitt’s run game:

Rushing

Granted having Conner carrying the ball was a different animal all together but you can see how we dipped last season.

This poor rushing offense didn’t take place in a vacuum however.  Our offensive line was bad last season; 99th in the country in Tackles For Loss allowed with 79 on the season.  Some of those TFLs were the 31 sacks the OL allowed also but that still left 48 times the ball carrier was dropped in the backfield.  Not good.  Hell, if you total up the TFLs and Sacks that is 79 negative plays.  Given that our total carries were 460 that means 18% of the time we ran the ball we lost yardage (more on that below).

Combine that with the  poor passing game we fielded in 2017 which was a minimal threat to complete intermediate and deep passes and all of a sudden we saw seven or even eight defenders in the box slobbering to shut down the run.  Those two issues, a terrible OL and a bad passing game combined to make it hard for anyone.

But the bold truth is that both of our main ball carriers are just not that good at running the ball. Hall and Ollison have both had highlights in their Pitt careers but on the whole they are not the type of running back Pitt has had and depended on for our offensive firepower in other seasons.

Ollision had a fine rsFR year in 2015 when he went in for James Conner during Conner’s illness. That season he ran for 1,121 yards on a 5.3 ypc (there is that 5.0 benchmark) and scored 11 TDs.  Then he was sat down.  This is one of the biggest mysteries in Pitt football for me. The staff can say what they want about him being overweight, etc…but when he is the only back on the roster to 1) have a 1,000 yard season and 2) average over 5.0 ypc I think you have to get him the ball more often.

Hall started seven games last season and had the best showing of his time since he’s been here.  He rushed for 628 yards on 4.6 ypc with 9 TDs. But he was on/off in a big way.  In the first five games he played he averaged 22 yards per game on a 3.4 ypc clip. Then had a great three game stretch where he averaged 162 ypg… then dropped back down to 17 ypg on 25 carries for a 1.36 ypc in the last two matches.  Down then up then down.

Still, both of the backs, along with true Freshman A. J. Davis (nine games with 16 carries for 40 yards and one TD on a 2.5 ypc rate) failed to make a strong impression for the future season.  One of the problems all the young men had was one of consistency.  Hall broke of two great runs in the Duke game, both for TDs to seal the win.  But on the other 98.4% of his carries he had a low 3.6 ypc average. That is a glaring problem in my opinion.

This is what is meant when we say there was way too much inconsistency in the rushing game. That along with being stopped at the line of scrimmage or behind it way too much.  Not only were we terrible in the numbers of tackles for loss we had allowed to happen but our “Stuff Rate”( the measure of percentage of runs where the runner is tackled at or behind the line of scrimmage) was a very poor 21.5 % and put us 98th in the nation in that category.

Get that Pitt fans? On over 1/5th of our carries we were stuffed at the LOS or dropped for a loss.  Pass the Bromo Seltzer please.  Again, a combination of factors led to all this but as stated above, our RBs just weren’t that good.

And usually that means the door is open for new blood to get into the games and shine and that may be the case this season.  But what also usually happens is that either those average backs from the year before graduate or are sat down for the better players. Therein lies the rub.

Hall and Ollison are not gone but obviously back for another year.  Given the way we have seen this coaching staff under Pat Narduzzi use their personnel you can be almost sure that it will be Hall and Ollison (and George Aston at FB) to start the season and, depending if any of the young bucks break out or not, play the lion’s share of the games.

George Aston isn’t all that much of a ball carrier with 75 yards on 22 career carries but when he does he’s super effective with five TDs (!). But he’s a very good lead blocker and that will help Hall and whoever else is back there with him. Now I just read that Aston dropped 20 lbs over the offseason and kept his prodigious strength.  I wonder if that will up his speed to the point that we’ll see him carry the ball more.

So we fans are keeping our eye on the young running backs: Sophomore Davis, rs Freshman Todd Sibley and true freshman Mychale Salahuddin.  Davis and Salahuddin are 4* recruits and Sibley is a 3* one-time Ohio State recruit who refused a gray shirt offer there and so switched to Pitt.  all but Davis are untested at the college level and all have good potential. The new NCAA redshirt rules that allow a player to partake in up to four games before he burns that year of eligibility may serve as a testing ground for Sibley and Salahuddin to get out there and contribute.

It takes a lot of the pressure off the coaching staff to be able to do this and takes a lot of the guesswork out of the decision-making on whether to play a kid or not.

And that is about all we have at this point. It is very hard to gauge anything about any players who haven’t seen playing time yet because of the media shutdown of practices. So what we fans know about these guys is really nothing more than coachspeak on whether or not these kids will produce – and that’s worth the bytes it is written in.

Because these articles are based on the talent levels of returning players as compared to those from last season this is a tricky unit to grade.  If we remember last year at this time Pitt fans were excited about seeing how A. J. Davis was going to do and if Sibley was going to get carries and if Chawntez Moss could produce.  Well, we saw how that went.

This season is pretty much more of the same…we all are waiting and keeping our fingers crossed that one of the three underclassmen really put it together and have a star breakout season and thus force Offensive Coordinator Shawn Watson to sit Hall or Ollison down.  Until that happens though how the youngsters  will do is all speculation.  Which is fun to do, but again, these comparisons are based on returning players’ talents we have seen, not what could happen.

I feel I have to say this also.  Our OL was poor last season and that impacted the running backs’ production.  I honestly believe that this season’s OL is going to be worse than last season’s edition and maybe by a lot.  That will also strongly impact the run game and whoever is carrying the football.

But looking strictly at the returning talent we have on hand in the running back unit I call this a:

DRAW

 

 

200 thoughts on “POV’s Win, Lose or Draw for 2018’s RBs

  1. It is all going to come down to the offensive line and how they are used. If we have large, slow offensive linemen, then even the best back will have an average year or poor year. If you get a defensive player in your grill at the same time you get the ball, that is a tad of a problem. Same thing applies to our QB. Hopefully the new line coach is a very, very good teacher with run blocking being the first order of business. Aston coming back will help both blocking and also as a passing option. Aston can only take on one person at a time though. If the line is as bad as last year, this coming season is going to be very, very long.

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  2. Looking back, the running backs that Wanny brought to Pitt were truly amazing. Shady, Dion and Ray. It puzzles me that other recent Pitt coaches haven’t been able to identify difference-makers at RB.

    It puzzles me because we know what a RB should look like — Shady is a rare guy, but I think there are some Dions and Rays out there.

    Pitt has brought in all these 4-Star RBs, but none of them have the skill to plant the foot and change direction. They are 4-stars because they outrun the high schoolers, but they can’t consistently outrun the college defenders.

    The RB recruiting disappoints because I think you can look at about 3 plays on a highlight video and tell whether the guy has the lateral quickness / skill you should be looking for.

    With RBs, 4-Stars don’t impress me; lateral quickness, and the resulting ability to make people miss, impresses me.

    IMHO, The RB position will be a DRAW until we recruit a foot planter…😊

    Go Pitt!

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  3. upgrade. The OL will run lock better than last year, and Watson will install some read option type plays so that defenders can’t automatically key on the RB but need to respect the QB dive. Four of the RBs have one more year of experience. Sibly and Davis will play more. Aston is back.

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      1. You are probably correct.

        But, I think that the Center position is so key, and now we have an experienced guy there. Run blocking (as long as the guards and tackles can move) is easier and more fun for linemen.
        Well, maybe not easier… but definitely more fun.

        I also liked how Watson rolled Picket against Miami. That helps as well. And, have a mobile QB forces an LB to stay home and somewhat forces the opposition D linemen to stay in a lane as they rush up field. This all helps the running game as the opposition has more things to key in on than just the RB who will be getting the ball.

        I’m suspect of Watson’s play calling, though he called a good game against Miami. I’d like to see Watson bring back the Chryst style pitch play, especially for Hall. Use his speed a little towards the outside.

        Aston blocks well, can be used as a decoy, and allows the offense to bring in an extra linemen/TE in short yardage as he can be (as necessary) the only RB in the backfield.

        I like this group of RBs.

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    1. I think the passing game will be better, which means fewer eight and nine man fronts, which should open up the running game a bit, so even if no one on the offensive line or at RB actually shows any improvement, the running game will nonetheless be more effective.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Let me lift my self-imposed posting ban for this important message..

    Happy Birthday, ike! I think you’re a bit delusional but I love your enthusiasm!

    H2P!

    Liked by 2 people

  5. I do think our line will be a downgrade. Our only hopes there at that Borbs is able to elevate these guys and he has no history of that, it would be more that Peterson was a deficit.

    I do expect to see improvement from Hall and Ollison because of two things. They a maybe the best fullback in CFB in front of them and now have a QB that can run.

    Don’t expect much from the young guys or Ffrench.

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  6. Iek, if I knew it was your birthday I would have baked you a cake 🎂!

    Draw on the RBs .. dependent on the OL in a pro- set. Maybe a return the the veer featuring Kenny and Saluhhdin/ Salamander is in order.. a return to the Cavanaugh- Dorsett style attack..

    Liked by 1 person

  7. There is a lot of talk and write-up that Hall is the starter and QO is the back-up. When I look at the past four years, 2014 very good, 2015, below average, 2016 very good and 2017 below average.

    In the very good years, Conner was the punishing back who worked hard with a good OL.

    In the below average years, the RB’s were Hall and QO. Both will be 1 and 2 on opening day for the 1st qtr. and the other 3 “should” see meaningful reps and meaningful looks by the coaching staff in prep for the killer stretch of games ahead. If the coaches don’t know it yet, they are on a “hot seat” regardless of what anyone says to me…

    My take is that this unit is a DRAW for two reasons – 1. We know what we have with Hall and QO and 2. We don’t know (yet) what we have with the other 3 RB’s.

    Hall and QO had a great opportunity to learn how to use the “straight arm” from one of the best, in James Conner. I’m not sure I ever saw either Hall nor QO use a straight arm to get more yards.

    H2P!

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  8. Hall and Ollison will get the Narduzzi senior preferred treatment and start the year as the main RBs.

    Hall runs upright and never psuhes the pile. No moves. Ollison is pretty much the same. He did play well against Miami.

    Sibley will pass Davis on the depth chart.

    I will predict Ollison and Sibley end up with the most carries this year.

    Very slight upgrade because of the Aston addition. That is not considering the OL play this year.

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  9. My initial gut was, “obvious draw”, since you basically have the same guys, and they are veterans that aren’t going to change much (they are what they are).

    However, there are a lot of variables that can impact RB performance as noted above, including OL play, the return of Aston, and our passing game. We are all leery about the OL, however keep in mind that our OL was sub par last year overall, and given all of the veterans on the line and the addition of Millin, I really don’t expect much drop-off, if any, once they get in sync, maybe a few games in.

    They you add in the return Aston, one of the best football players on the team, and I think that is a boost. And maybe most importantly, time will tell, but we appear to finally have a QB, and that may keep the defenses off balance. Oh, and one other thing, an x-factor will once again be whether or not a young RB breaks out to infuse a new threat into the position; this hasn’t happened yet, but there are candidates (as there are apparently at the WR position too). So in hindsight, I’m going with NRS, slight upgrade.

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    1. Well do an OL comparison article soon but those two OG veterans, mid-3* recruits, have exactly two starts between them and one was on the defensive line by Herndon.

      Dintino couldn’t beat out a walk-on rsFR Center last season even though Dintino was a rsJR with four years in the program.

      Worrisome….

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  10. I was thinking slight upgrade but remembered the premise of these articles were returning players and since Sibley and Salahuddin are complete unknowns I went with draw.

    That said I think we may see something out of one or both of those young kids. Still – Draw for now.

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    1. I agree in that our run game may be even worse than last season.

      I should run a poll asking over/under for sacks and TFLs allowed.

      That “stuff rate” was eye-opening when I saw it…one in five rushes stopped at or behind the LOS.

      That’s why I make the point about Halls 126 other carries aside from his big hitters. Those carries and his own stuff rate is what led to his poor 3.6 ypc on those other 126 tries.

      To really understand what happens in football you have to look at why the main stats were like they were, then look closer to see trends, etc that the main stats don’t show.

      Aston is a good case in point…you look at his main stat for career rushing and see 75 yards on 22 carries for a low 3.4 ypc…but then you look closer and see his ‘carry to TD’ ratio is out of this world having a TD every 4th carry.

      Works both ways.

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  11. Article on PN and the 2018 defense:

    http://www.post-gazette.com/sports/Pitt/2018/08/09/pat-narduzzi-pitt-defense-michigan-state-2018-pittsburgh-panthers/stories/201808090171

    Him discussing Randy Bates…

    “Fresh ideas are great,” Narduzzi said. “There was some tweaking that needed to be done. It probably needed to be done three years ago, but we didn’t do it.”

    Must not have read the POV back then, we were screaming for Narduzzi ‘tweak’ Conklin off the staff.

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  12. Almost every team replaces lineman on their team every year, and wind up having to play guys with little starting experience. We are not unique in this. Dintino and Herndon star ratings at this point are irrelevant, if they are not good enough, they will be beat out, and if they do wind up being the best 2 at their positions, then their experience (physical and mental) should at least make them competent at the position, relative to last year’s group. Honestly, my bigger fear at this point is Borbley. The Steelers’ OL sucked for years until they brought in a good OL coach- I think coaching is critical.

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    1. The Steelers OL sucked until they invested multiple first round picks and other high round picks on it. Pitt hasn’t made the investment in the OL. I don’t understand why our OL can’t bring any kids he has been recruiting for years, into the program.

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  13. Running Backs… should be WIN if not for OL. Think they’re bad on paper? Try watching them up close.

    Drilling a little deeper with the RBs…

    Aston – Healthy
    Hall – Solid
    Ollison – an Enigma
    Davis – not to be counted on
    Sibley – showing some promise

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  14. Like many, I’m sure we were hoping chase Brown would have pushed Dintino out, but I don’t think it is happening. I was also hoping for Drexel moving to guard and starting. I think Herndon might be OK on the right side.

    I still wouldn’t mind Hargrove looking good at tackle and Bookser kicking back in to guard.

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  15. The Steelers OL sucked for years.. and then they drafted Decastro, Pouncy and Gilbert in a 3 year stretch.

    Players are fairly critical, as well. It’s amazing how good coaches look with good players.

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    1. The Steelers went so draft heavy that they made a huge error in hindsight drafting Mike Adams over the guy whom was going to be the selection: Nebraska linebacker, Levonte David.

      Adams was a left tackle with a first-round grade and a 10 cent head. The line was still an issue then as only Pouncey and Foster were legit. Gilbert was still overweight at the time and finding himself as a professional.

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  16. Anon – it’s a 2 way street. I think that’s fairly obvious. If the Steelers hadn’t made a coach change, they’d be in the same boat today.

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  17. Based on a combination of factors, I give the RBs an UPGRADE. There is experience followed by a younger group that should push them over time. Aston of course helps. Hopefully, Hall and Ollison will show some urgency since this is their last year. The new 4 game rule should give us a chance to see Davis, Sibley and Salahuddin in live game action, so this group more than other units should benefit from this new rule. I’m trying to isolate the OL issues from the running backs even though the two must work together to get results.

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  18. I have my rose colored glasses on today. I think the running game will be better, primarily because we have a mobile QB, who has a pretty quick release and teams will no longer be able to put 7 or 8 in the box.

    For this reason, plus Aston, I think the line will surprise. We have four seniors on the line plus Morrison has a year’s experience. Dintino not beating out Morrison does not worry me because Center is a whole nuther animal. Guard is pretty straight forward. My concern with the O-line is mostly pass defense. But even there I think KP with a three step drop and quick release, and roll-out plays can keep the other team honest. In other words this offense won’t be one dimensional like last year.

    I do share Major Major’s concerns about the individual abilities of the runners elusiveness and ability to break tackles. I like Salahuddin’s Hudl film although he ran through a lot of wide open holes so hard to tell about lateral moves.

    With these backs I think we will have a better power running game this year and if Hall and Ollison don’t do the job, there are three other guys that would love a chance.

    Liked by 1 person

  19. I’m guessing when Nardo recruited Davis he promised early playing time, much like promising Browne the starters job last year. The new 4 game rs rule gives the coaches the opportunity to let Davis and Saluddin both play this year and both redshirt while having Sibley available for the full season. That is if injuries don’t enter into the equation.

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  20. When Pitt had a drop back QB, defenses put 8 people in the box. When Nooch and Pickett played, other teams had to account for a mobile QB and a little RPO and it opened up the running games. VT decided to stay with 8 men in the box and it almost cost them … FU Weah … I still don’t know how a kid that runs a 4.3 40 at the combine gets caught from behind … Smh … But, I digress … If Pitt play calling can move a man out of the box, then the running game will be significantly improved. If Pitt has to play 8 man boxes, then it will struggle. Same goes for the O-line. Play calling will either expose the offensive line or you won’t even notice they’re there. It’s on Watson and offensive execution to improve both units.

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  21. Reed – I just said that VT played 8 men in the box … and please stop looking at team stats.

    Ollison – 14 for 62, 4.4 yards per carry
    Pickett – 13 for 60, 4.6 and 2 TD’s
    Hall – 10 for 30, 3 yards per carry
    Q-Henderson – 4 for 23, 5.8 YPC

    They had 4 sacks for -23 yards.

    Take out the sacks, which has nothing to do with running lanes and they had 175 yards on 41 carries for an avg YPC of 4.27

    http://www.espn.com/college-football/boxscore?gameId=400937529

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    1. You actually watched all the game video for the 8 in the box claim?

      Anyway, DiNucci (1 quarter) and Pickett (3 quarters) played the entire VT game. Your point was that things will be different with mobility, yet it wasn’t against one of the best DCs in the conference and the only cited defense of your point is that VT almost lost specifically because of the way Foster elected to defend Pitt?

      As long as it’s okay to slice and dice stats, Henderson had one run for 18 yards in the Miami game. Otherwise he was 3 for 5 (1.6 ypc) .

      This thread concerns running backs. In any event, my recollection (I must admit I don’t have time to re-watch the games) is that a lot of Pickett’s yards were the result of tuck and runs, not RPO. Therefore it doesn’t seem accurate or reasonable to discount sacks or to count all of his yards as true rushing yards.

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      1. Anon/Reed – Not my point at all. My comment is regarding the running game and that’s because game planning is what will make the running backs successful.

        What exactly did I slice and dice? Lol. I took sack yards out of the equation.

        My point on VT is that they challenged Pitt thru the air and Pitt had 300 yards passing and two TD’s and almost lost the game.

        Miami the next game, did not stack the box. Hmm.

        I’m not even sure what point you’re trying to make about Henderson. Reed’s the one who discounts big plays. Rb’s win some and lose some. I look at the overal average.

        What are you talking about on the RPO stuff too? I even said, to quote, “a LITTLE RPO”. Emphasis on a little.

        If you don’t think having some mobility helps an offense, I’m not sure what decade of football you’re watching.

        Soooo … my point is that Pitt has to force teams out of 8 man boxes. You do that with a Mobile qb that can make plays in the passing game.

        Sooo … to further that point, the running backs will be at Watson’s mercy of being able to call games to bust the 8 man box.

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  22. Let me add my best wishes to ike, the the old reprobate that he is (I say this out of admiration and respect! 🙂 ). Ike, you have experienced many things and are a seasoned observer of life, love and losing (as in Pitt over the years). Those grandkids will continue to keep you young and positive about the future, even in Pitt’s case. Good luck and wishing you many more fun years to come!

    Liked by 1 person

  23. A jingle for Reed and all the POVerts who worry…as for me, can’t wait for the season to get here… lots of fun to look forward to….

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  24. and John thanks. Jeff R had a good comment above reminding me that a good passing game will open up the running game. I think that will be the case and Hall will have a good year and surprise.

    Bernie great tune love your style, I’m a worried man as well. PITT is just not the type of team you can just sit back and watch expected great results all the time. They make us earn being a PITT fan every week.. ike

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  25. Thanks you it was actually yesterday and I’m embarrassed I try to slip in that reference that Jay caught. I never know when to keep my big mouth shut… lol ike

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  26. Good article on PSN re: Butler-Jenkins breaking out this s year. He, B-J is also is excited to have Shockey-Lewis on the team as he knows him from the Fla HS rank….sooooio….
    What if ..Kenny and the “HypheNations”” become a force and threaten to score from any point on the field…RBs immediately up (HypheNation)grade along with the OL…

    There are newbies ready to step (HypheNation) up on the team… that’s what real college FB is all about…. in some ways wouldn’t it be boring if we were getting all 4 – 5 ⭐️’s like the Alabama’s, Ohio States of the CF world .

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  27. Never late for the POV to start planning an August 9, 2019 suprise birthday party for Iek… give us all another good reason to stick around.

    BTW.. if anyone is going to the Carolina game and is interested in a Sunday golf outing let me know.. Dr. Tom has expressed interest…

    Carolina game will include a tailgate for POVerts hosted by my Carolina friends who attended Fran’s/POV extravaganza last year… I will get something to Reed to post at the appropriote time… ain’t that far off…

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  28. Thanks everyone. Bernie, in my case planning a year ahead may be a little risky. Reed how bout the Albany game, can you make that one as well? You probably have that as a close game.

    Listened to Peaks podcast, he’s starting to feel a little more positive. ike

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  29. Remind me who did Pitt lose? Two young backs gain a year, Freshman has explosive ability. Hall and Ollison ready to make this year special. Aston blocking returns. Really Draw???????

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    1. I think this is a situation in which the nature of the way the article is written leads to draw being the proper verdict even if you think the stats will be better in the upcoming season.

      Unless by default you are going to say that the position is an upgrade because a healthy Aston is back and the bulk of production is back, draw is a fair assessment due to inconsistency. Occasionally draw can be a cop out answer and the logic you use is understandable. However, the arrival at draw is not an outlandish conclusion.

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  30. ….. and Chet… a good probability of a better passing game. again, I understand that not everyone is in panic mode about the O-Line either.

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  31. Every position offensively is an Upgrade. Why? Because just having Pickett on the field makes everyone better. The opposition defense has to account for a QB that can run and get outside the pocket on any given play. Thus in most cases they cannot be too aggressive on coming across the line and letting the QB get outside the pocket. Thus and lanes open up for delayed runs, jet sweeps, shovel passes, reverses and draws. The opposition defense will be on their heels if Watson opens up the playbook for his versatile QB.

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  32. Well sticking with Reeds thought that we just want to look at each position and only considering the attrition within these units and returning players. So the O-Line and QB shouldn’t count. So when I strip that down I still can’t seem to understand why some think this is nothing but an upgrade?

    So who did PITT lose at the RB position? If you all think of someone let me know, I can’t.
    Who and what did PITT gain this year?

    How about another year of development for all the returning players?
    Another year for Hall
    Another year for Ollison
    Another year for Davis
    Another year for Sibley
    Addition of Salahudin
    And maybe the biggest…. the return of Georgie.
    All to get wiser, bigger and stronger. BTW George Aston lost weight but got stronger and is in his best shape of his life

    How is this not an upgrade? …… ike

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  33. Ike it sounds logical to just look at each position and make a judgement. Let me answer it by asking a question, do you think J Weah’s numbers would have looked much better last year if Peterman were still the QB instead of thew duo Narduzzi and Watson trotted out early last season? Now lets carry that one step further and add in Reed’s statistics for the WR’s if our QB was Peterman. Now lets take it to the next step and use those famous Reed statistics when evaluating the WR’s for this years class. Hmm sounds like a huge upgrade using the Peterman stats and it will be the same if we are using the stats for both RB’s and WR’s with Pickett at QB.—-PS And a happy birthday to you also IKE

    Liked by 1 person

  34. If you have just about everyone coming back from last year, are adding an injured starter back (Astont), and another precious 4 star, how could this be a draw???

    If the measure is talent, experience and past production this has to be Upgrade

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  35. Reed – a very sound, cogent post and I largely agree with your conclusions.

    I am a bit concerned that HCPN will start the season with Hall and Ollison and if they don’t perform, will stick with them until its apparent to everyone a change should be made. Just seems like coaches like to stick with their plans and not just HCPN. Once its obvious a change should be made, he puts a kid like Salahuddin in and things start to work…but too late to save the season. As we all know, this is what happened last yr at QB.

    Two arguments for an optimistic Draw+ grade if one were to make one…

    Ollison may continue to improve in how he picks up and make his blocks. From what I recall, most of his mistakes were attention to detail related and not natural talent.
    Aston’s return. I don’t really pay attention to his TD or yardage stats – that’s not really what he seem to bring. Its more attitudinal. He’s just a bull who can get short yards, blocks well and is a nice option for the QB coming out of the backfield. He could really help us convert when its close. And lighter with the same strength? Whats not to like about that? Fingers crossed for his health.

    Like

  36. Good points made about Aston’s return – that’s definitely a huge plus. But I still say a draw on the RBs overall because we just don’t have a dangerous back.

    By that I mean a back who you sense could break a big gainer on any play. To do that, you usually need to be able to made a guy or two miss. I still don’t see a back with that skill.

    I think we will see “decent” play from our RBs, but nothing special. And nothing putting fear into the defenses we will face…

    I think Pitt needs to re-evaluate the types of RBs they are recruiting.

    All that said, I like Hall because he runs hard every play and when there’s nothing there he still gets a couple.

    And I have high hopes for Sibley as a power guy. He’s got the Marion Motley thighs and backside. 😊

    And hopefully Davis and the freshman have been talking to Tyler Boyd or Dion or Ray or Shady to learn how to fake somebody out! A novel idea!

    Go Pitt!

    Like

  37. I agree 100% JoeL but then that would lend itself to bleed to the QB position so it’s not a true indicator if and including the O-Line as well. Considering the RB’s alone it has to be on their own merits imo.

    Like

  38. Anyone see this on ESPN?

    http://www.espn.com/college-football/story/_/id/24342005/maryland-terrapins-football-culture-toxic-coach-dj-durkin

    I’d really like to see Batko ask Borberly about his time at Maryland.

    It sounds like a terrible culture but this peaked my interest about Borberly …

    “Durkin’s staff has gone through significant change, as only four original assistants from 2016 remain, while seven have since departed College Park.”

    Throughout the entire read, it references a former staffer.

    Like

    1. Wow TT, that’s quite a damning story. Sure glad Pitt didn’t hire Durkin…

      How could a kid go to Maryland after reading about how that program is run??

      Go Pitt!

      Like

  39. How you treat people matters. Emotional outbursts verbal abuse causing players to leave the program. Not a good offseason for Big 10. Maybe that’s why Borbleys first picture looked like he was hiding in the mountains. Happy birthday Ike!!! I was going to be negative but chose to be optimistic because it’s your bday.

    Liked by 1 person

  40. To start the season I see the running backs as a draw. By the end of the season if one or two of new guys step up it could be an upgrade, but I must see it to believe it!!

    Like

  41. Oh man, I have to disagree. I’m not enamored at all by Hall but Ollison is just so slow. Plus, he got himself in the doghouse … work ethic? Plus, he’s epically bad in pass protection. He’s the one who got Max Browne killed last season. Anyone remember the phantom block he had as a freshman too? It was like playing air guitar except he was blocking.

    Like

  42. So my grandkids come over to visit and I ask my 4 year old grandson what does he want to do for fun.

    He tells me “I don’t care, I just want to be where you are.”

    This 4 year old will be golfing a lot really soon. LOL

    Liked by 2 people

  43. Did some sleuthing on the Borberly hire, and this quote really stands out now after reading that UMD article …

    “I didn’t really feel like I was gonna let one man define who I was,” Borbely said. “I have been a pretty good line coach for 35 years, and I probably have a lot left. I don’t know if I have 35 more left, but I got a lot of juice left in the tank, so I am ready to roll.”

    Like

  44. A naturally shifty fast RB is a real asset, if I remember J. Majors talk about his delight on how great TD was from the get go but most running backs are not that good. I remember at one point when Wanny,s RB stable was loaded how much some of his top recruits improved in the first 2 yrs. First was learning how not to be a straight up straight ahead runner without any moves. It still is the chicken or the egg. Backs or line that will move the whole game up a peg this year. If the line works we seem to have enough backs to hopefully get the right mix in the running game. On 8 in the box predicament even if you have the talent you have to mix up the plays properly (coach/coordinator) Remember watching Chrysts teams keep banging the run ,pitch outs and short passes while Iowa just kept 8 in the box and Pitt lost another one they could have won. Where is Joe Moore when you need him . Maybe he will look on us from above with one last blessing for the O line. I think we need it.H2P

    Like

  45. I was gifted 4 more PITT shirts and a Steelers shirt from the grand kids plus a pair of PITT shorts the past two days. The only two shirts I’ve received as gifts in the past 10 years that aren’t PITT garb are my wonderful POV T-shirt from the great Reed and the great Uncle Ike’s T-shirt from the great Fran. Am I really that transparent? 🙂

    Like

  46. Durkin, Court S&C coach and Urban Meyer go back to BG days. Hear ex players have nothing good to say about those 3. Nice write up on how much Borbs is coaching the Ol DK sports and how much the players are really receptive to the details. So much for the narrative Durkin is a good coach and doesn’t values coaches who are not dicks. .Canada OC had to know this was a bad situation but taking that job suggests head coaches aren’t buying his act.

    Like

  47. Running game will be worse, but the actual running backs are better. Year older plus George back plus new guys. The position will be an upgrade, the productivity won’t be.

    Like

    1. Your brief comment here may be why Reed’s assessment of draw seems quite logical/justified AND people are shocked that the verdict was not upgrade.

      Like

  48. Connor’s productivity continues as he averaged over 6 ypc against Phillie and was out of the game early like most experienced players are. If only one of the Pitt backs could ave.5 ypc. Wow Go James!

    Like

  49. Link: Panthers Prepare for Saturday’s Scrimmage

    Pitt Football Camp: Media Recap, Day 7

    Videos, Quotes and Photos from Pitt Training Camp

    POST-PRACTICE VIDEOS

    Tight End Grant Carrigan

    Wide Receiver Shocky Jacques-Louis

    Running Back Todd Sibley Jr.

    Defensive Lineman John Morgan

    Defensive Lineman Jaylen Twyman

    Defensive Back Marquis Williams

    PITTSBURGH—The Pitt football program held its seventh practice of its 2018 training camp on Friday morning at the UPMC Rooney Sports Complex on the South Side of Pittsburgh.

    After the session, tight end Grant Carrigan, wide receiver Shocky Jacques-Louis, running back Todd Sibley Jr., defensive lineman John Morgan, defensive lineman Jaylen Twyman and defensive back Marquis Williams each met with the assembled media for interview sessions.

    Videos from each media session are available above.

    The Panthers continue camp with a scrimmage on Saturday morning in Pittsburgh.

    Like

  50. Ike, about the possibilities of a young running back doing well.

    Of course that could happen but at this same time last season we were talking about Davis and Sibley being the two backs people were excited about. One got redshirted; the other played not that well.

    That doesn’t mean they can’t play well this year, but again, the premise was who do we have returning that actually carry the ball.

    Now if no one was returning then I would have to speculate on who the people are that would be going to start in place of the ones that graduated or left the team.

    To the comment above about maybe the backs being an upgrade but the rushing game being worse is something I can also relate to.

    I have said many times I really do think that we’re going to have a major problem on the offensive line.

    I’m not the only one who thinks that; people have told me that who won’t speak it publicly, and if that’s the case it’s going to affect the whole offense.

    Time and again the mainstream media who cover Pitt football have said the two biggest issues right now for the 2018 season are the wide receivers and the offensive line. I agree with that and those two things are really important especially with a new quarterback.

    I think the defense is going to be better but that all depends on QB pressure and that hasn’t been good yet, but overall it will be better.

    What I don’t think is that the defense is going to be so good it’s going to be able to cover for a low-scoring offense for winning a lot of games.

    And of course no one really knows what Pickett will do as a full-time starter. I have been singing his praises since I saw him in spring camp two years ago, but two games is not enough to be hundred percent sure he’s going to be a star.

    I think he’s going to play well – I have said he’ll probably replicate Nate Peterman’s first year at Pitt numbers. If that happens then again it won’t be enough to cover for the other ills on the offense.

    And if he plays average ball, like a lot of kids do especially in their sophomore year, then we might have a very big problem.

    If Pickett gets injured then I think we will see a down season like we haven’t had at Pitt for 20 years because I have little faith in Ricky Town as a D1 quarterback.

    Like

  51. Rick, you don’t look old enough to have grandkids…but what a great line from the 4 year old.
    Iek, enjoy your birthday weekend my friend… will be seeing you soon still the games.
    Mark, I saw that Blu Emu commercial and said to my wife “wow, Iron Mike looks like crap”…haha.
    Major, see you tomorrow at the golf outing. I’m going to a wedding tonight so bring your A game. Might take me a few holes to “wake up”.

    Like

  52. I get your point Reed, Sibley and Salaludin fall into that category of the unknown entity. Also, Davis was used primarily as a short yardage guy but I do understand he did not impress.

    These scrimmages are a better gauge of who is doing what way more than the spring game. At the same time this first one is more of getting a look at most of the players.

    Narduzzi and his asst coaches have shown a real tendency of keeping the players fresh his first three years, this year will be the first they will have the depth to do just that more effectively imo ike

    Like

  53. Thanks Fran. Good to hear from Pittman4ever and Richard down in South Carolina too many others to remember. I will be at the Fran/JoeL tailgate with all the great people who make up the POV, Annie and the wives included. Have missed you all. and thanks to you all again. ike

    Like

  54. Reed you can forget about any low scoring offense if Pickett is the QB for the entire season. We are polar opposites on this subject for this season. But you can take comfort in the fact that most of the posters to this blog I’m sure are voting with you on this matter.

    Like

    1. I’m with you on that JRN. I think Kenny’s maturity and grit will override his inexperience. I’ve seen enough of him to believe he can lead and get the job done. And I do not believe the offensive cupboard is bare. I think it’s in a slumber and will wake up and perform under Pickett’s command.

      Like

  55. @MattSmithCFB
    Conference records in new leagues:

    Texas A&M: 25-23
    Missouri: 23-25
    Nebraska: 34-24
    Maryland: 10-24
    Rutgers: 7-27
    TCU: 32-22
    West Virginia: 27-27
    Utah: 28-35
    Colorado: 15-48
    Louisville: 21-11
    Pittsburgh: 21-19
    Syracuse: 11-29

    Like

  56. Focusing on Pitt, the move didnt hurt them. The program is competitive. But, the results are mediocre. Pitt is like a sandwich which is o.k. It wasnt bad but it isnt lights out fantastic. You typically dont order that sandwich again.

    Like

  57. So the reason that the RBs are a draw is because of a suspect OL? The only reason I can see that this OL is going to be worse than last year’s is because somebody says they will be. Why? Because guys like Chase Brown & Stefano Millin have no playing history with the Panthers, and other potential starters on the OL like Conner Dintino & Mike Herndon, who do, didn’t beat out the graduating starters from last year’s OL squad.

    Sorry but that is just flawed logic. Between these four guys you have over 150 games of experience, both Brown & Millin have been starters for the last two years. However that experience is discounted if it wasn’t done at Pitt & the Panthers who are now pegged as starters don’t get credit for their gained experience either because they weren’t good enough to be starters for Pitt in 2017?

    NEWS FLASH. This isn’t a sign of weakness, rather it is a sign of strength. This is what is termed as “reloading” rather than “rebuilding”. Good teams that have quality depth routinely have good players that have to wait their turn. Dintino’s & Herndon’s turns are now.

    It’s not like either have been warming the bench for the last four years, they’ve been playing. As a matter of fact Herndon & Millin played both ways multiple years in HS as well.

    The “relevant” concern Pitt does have to deal with however is how quickly do these new starters, whoever they end up being, mesh into an effective coordinated UNIT.

    I have no doubt that Pitt will have the horses this year. We will potentially have four RS Seniors/ Grad transfer on this line. Not one of them will be younger than 22 or lighter than 300 lbs. This will be a crew of full grown men who have earned their starter status through years of game experience in the trenches.

    So when evaluating this group of RBs it has to be viewed as an upgrade when just looking at the personel in the RB film room. The Panthers have lost NO ONE to graduation and now have added a talented new Freshman RB to the roster while getting a real Senior leader back in the mix with George Aston coming back from injury.

    So to dampen the expectations from this deep roster of RBs, some point to a OL that needs to be retooled with replacement starters, while ignoring the return to the huddle a guy like Aston while also tempering the impact that an up & coming QB like Pickett will have in this RB equation because, “he might just be unable to continue to perform at the level that he showed he was capable of last season”.

    I call BS. This OL might need a month or so of real games to gel, but just like happened last season with our then young defense, this OL will only get better during the season. So yeah, the RBs are an upgrade to begin with, & they get better as the season progresses right along with this OL because they will be better run blockers as the season unfolds.
    Don’t believe the naysayers, this OL will work out just fine.

    Like

    1. Ok, I said repeatedly that the OL was going to suck last year. If I remember correctly you wrote the same type of comment listing all he ways it wouldn’t.

      Like so many starts by Bookser, JJ Smith and Office. A great transfer in Hodges, etc.. You though all that was great and the OL would be very good.

      How did that work out between us? I was correct, unless you think they did well last season then you are crazy. By this is what you do. In over two years on here I haven’t read you admit to being wrong once.

      It isn’t just me saying there will be big problems there. In their turns Peak, DiPaola, Batko and others have said the same thing publicly. Hell, Batko just wrote “They won’t be good…” and for a beat writer to say that you can read it as ‘they will stink’.

      And, as I said it was the topic of conversation on the Southside when I went up for the spring game draft.

      But you’ve your opinions, we’ll see when the whistle blows.

      Like

      1. You were right on both Brown & the poor OL play last season. I was wrong.
        We’ll see again this year who was correct with their predictions in about four months. And it will be a gloriously enjoyable 4 months indeed.

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        1. In all fairness to you Dr. Tom you could not have known that BO would be as mediocre as he had been all year presumably because of injury. Had he not been who knows what might have been. And you didn’t know George Aston would be out for the season which greatly affected the OL stats and effectiveness.

          Like

  58. the line may get better as the season progresses but its mediocre at best to begin with. It may be slightly above average at year end although I think it will just be average period. Average wont cut it with a rookie QB and really no proven backs. Kenny will be on his back plenty this year and scrambling for his life. The backs will be dropped behind the line a good number of times. But thats why we play the game. It will all play out and we’ll eventually know, but I sure dont have your optimism.

    Like

    1. Tx, I explained my POV & backed it up with facts. You state, as if it’s fact that this OL, (that we don’t even know who will be tagged as starters yet) is “going to be mediocre at best”. Like I said, I call 🐂💩. State your reasoning for your opinion. Yes, that is why they play the games. We’ll both see soon enough.

      Like

      1. Two starters on line with little if any starting experience. Grad transfer from MAC school with a bad line. Never played before as a unit. Experts in football circles saying line is weakest link. But you wouldn’t know that by hearing Pitt brass talk. When you hear that talk based on my experience, you take it with a grain of salt. No need to talk a game when you cant walk the walk.

        Tex

        Like

  59. If the line ends up average by years end Tx, that would certainly be a far cry from the “worst O line in the history of Pitt Fball” that some have been predicting.

    Like

  60. Best chemistry in years for the program. Despite all the rumors of discontent, nothing to see here. Borbs will make a positive impact on the OL. He is a simply a better coach and will have them playing technically sound and with more precision. Pickett helps of course, but the D will really make things much better. I keep referencing 19 seniors this year. They are setting a far different tone for the team and are not going to settle for losing. .

    Like

    1. Somebody who sees the situation as it is, You keep expressing these observations chethejet & you might just get labeled as a “realist”, even worse, maybe an “optimistic” realist. Oh my the travesty!

      Like

  61. When you hear the players interviewed and talk about how much they enjoy playing at Pitt and how the Panthers are a “family,” it makes me wonder about the talk on here about something being “wrong inside the Pitt team…”

    You would think Coach Duzz is the second coming of Durkin, only worse…

    I agree that Coach Duzz is not good with the media — I think he tries to be too clever and comes off poorly at times. The other day he said he’s the exact same coach he was when he was hired at Pitt. Not the best answer… So many positives or progress he could have cited. But that’s our Doozer…

    H2P

    Like

  62. The players have obviously been well schooled in how to do interviews. I’ll do anything they ask me etc.

    Team comes first. No I in team. Very professionally done.

    Narduzzi has been getting rid of the bad apples, a good thing to do in any organization.

    All the horses need to be pulling in the same direction.

    It does appear that a lot of work in the weight room and on the play book has been done in the off season.

    Hopefully we will see the dividends.

    Like

  63. I’m real sure that some of the rumors concerning problems are being leaked out. My concern is who is doing the leaking. Apparently Narduzzi does indeed have a very abrasive personality at times and he just may have dressed downed more people then he should have. I can imagine there are a few internal employees that don’t like the man just like there are plenty external people who are real pleased with him.

    I listen closely when I here talk about things and then still decide for myself but keep a close eye out and an ear to the ground and wait to see if anything manifests itself. I have to say, I don’t see the evidence backing up problems in the clubhouse. ike

    Like

  64. You guys crack me up with the insistence of all the negativity on here. There are maybe three or four commenters who are mostly negative. More are middle of the road and even more commenters are optimistic.

    You guys just get very defensive when anyone points out problems or poor play by your favorite team.

    I feel like some of you have no sense of personal history at all. Go back and read some of your comments you wrote about the team and players this time last year. Especially those about the defense, the OL and Max Brown.

    I heard the same “Oh, Reed, You are so negative.” when I wrote that Brown would be terrible based on conversations I had with SoCal sportswriters…and that the talent level was poor on the OL, and that our DL was going to play poorly because of a lack of skilled players there..and that we’d win probably five games and no more than six.

    Now, how feakin ‘negative’ does that sound now looking back at the 2017 season and our ending record ?? Sounds rather straight out correct to me.

    I write informed opinions. I make and receive phone calls and get and receive many, many emails about Pitt football and then when I form an idea of what something is or what might happen I write articles about it.

    You all agree or disagree, but at least be honest about what you thought would happen in the past and then look at what really did happen and admit if you were wrong…or pat yourself on the back if you were correct.

    But when you make predictions for all to see on here try to remember what they were.

    MajorMajors is the only one who does that on an ongoing basis. Others have selective amnesia when it comes to what they though a year ago.

    Like

  65. Negative equals spot on correct over last 30 years so in my eyes if you are correctly assesing the Sh*t show that is Pitt Athletics then you were negative. Maybe things changes with Heather but TBD. Narduzzi isn’t the answer especially at 3.5M. That will end up being what gets him fired. Underperforming his 3.5M contract.

    To the folks that think Conner replaces Bell and performs 1/3 as good please send me the Medical Marijuana.

    Like

  66. I did predict the Miami win last year and on video no less. I have no recollection of my other opinions that may or may not have come to fruition. 🙂

    The experts give Pitt 5000:1 odds to win the ACC.

    I guess some of us believe Pitt is this year’s Leicester City.

    Like

  67. Reed please calm down. There is no doubt a lot of different opinions on the POV, you do a great job and it’s much appreciated. ike

    Like

  68. Odds to win the 2018 ACC Championship
    TEAM ODDS
    Clemson

    -225

    Miami

    +700

    Florida State

    +900

    Louisville

    +1600

    Virginia Tech

    +1600

    NC State

    +2000

    Boston College

    +2500

    Wake Forest

    +3300

    Syracuse

    +5000

    Georgia Tech

    +5000

    Pittsburgh

    +5000

    Virginia

    +5000

    Duke

    +5000

    North Carolina

    +10000

    Like

      1. The smart money is not on Pitt?
        Too many question marks in experts opinions
        They arent always right but they are objective…no homer bias

        Like

        1. If you wager $100 on PITT to win the ACC, and they do you receive $5000. Conversely, if you think Clemson will win the ACC you have to wager $225 to win $100.

          Like

  69. Reed, I can’t dispute your ŕun of of accurate predictions on the POV over the years. But recently there have been a lot of Bob Prince-isms being quoted here, and I certainly hope there will be some “hidden vigorish” going on regarding your predictions for the O LINE and general state of affairs of the team for 2018!

    Like

  70. Mark (Upitt) Wanny was 27-12 his last 3 years and yes I credit him for the bowl win. It was his team. Hardly a schitt show unless you’re counting the PITT administration. ike

    Like

    1. The show is that Pitt has won no championships in any sports in 42 years. For a P-5 college program, that is EPIC BAD. The odds of that happening are probably 20,000:1

      There are 16 programs at Pitt? Over 42 years thats 672 chances.

      Like

    2. I always count starting with the WVU upset in 2007. Loved Wanny though he was frustrating, like most coaches. The whiff on Thaddeus Lewis in the 2006 class cost Dave more wins and what would have been great times.

      He was the perfect college QB who could throw ball as well as run it. Pairing with McCoy for two years then Lewis the same would have made the offense so much better.

      What could have been defensively starting in 2012 as Wannstedt finally had what would have been a strong secondary and some legit defensive ends flanking Donald.

      Peterson was such a douche but it falls on Nordy.

      Liked by 2 people

  71. Don’t know what I would do to get my Pitt Football fix with out POV. Glad you keep this going Reed. Positive negative or indifferent, it’s still Pitt football and its open and a lot of good participants.H2P

    Like

    1. Lol – you left out it was for a TD, and that the Bengals cut his competition Brandon LaFells already. He’s the starting slot receiver. Won’t make camp? Lol.

      Like

  72. Ike,
    It’s been crazy hot done here this summer! Currently, the gulf water at Galveston is 86 degrees! The fish come out already cooked! :>)

    Like

  73. Mark/Upitt: Reports out of Cincy have Boyd starting opposite AJ Green, and ahead of John Ross. He may not be a pro bowler, but he’s collecting an NFL paycheck for a little while longer. And nobody cares about stats from a preseason game. He probably only played 10 or 15 snaps. Safe travels from Ohio my friend.

    Like

  74. Thinking about Reed this evening. Hope you’re out of pain tonight. Remember friend, take a load off and put the load right on me.. ike

    Like

  75. Durkin placed on ADM leave. M Canada is named head coach. Wow, just wow. What a freaken tire fire. I posted Durkin was a coach who had a long history with Meyer and was not liked by players at BG. Harbaugh players sell shoes, MD, OSU with an investigation and Dottie Sandusky still claims Ole Jerry is innocent. When you mention the Big Ten, you aint talking about the commandments. . .

    Like

        1. Pitt has a 2% chance to win the ACC based on the odds makers
          +5000

          Thats the same as Leicester City when they won the Premier League in 2016
          The point is the people who know arent as rosy on Pitt this year
          Syracuse has the same odds to add injury to insult

          The teams to beat in the division are still the Hokies and Canes

          Like

  76. When you don’t graduate anyone at the position, you bring in a four star recruit, and your stud fullback returns from injury for his senior year, how can the RB position not be an UPGRADE? Now it’s fair to believe that the run game will struggle because of the offensive line, but that is a completely separate issue.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Eric – I disagree. It is like a new travel trailer that is really nice but worthless if you don’t have the nice 4×4 truck to haul it to where it needs to go you know. Hope all is well buddy.

      Like

  77. At a family get-together today, a cousin who lives in Florida said that in Florida, Urban is know as “Urban Liar.”

    And there’s an “Urban Liar” Facebook page…

    Go Pitt!

    Like

  78. Wonder if Canada get another pay increase to be
    Interim head coach…. he has been ton-ing when it come to $$$ the last couple of years

    Like

  79. Pulled this from the Trib RB article from Thursday – (Sorry if this was already posted…)

    And there’s plenty of competition. Running backs coach Andrew Powell said Thursday – there are four backs in his group he can trust.

    Hall and senior Qadree Ollison ran for a combined 1,026 yards last season (628 for Hall, 398 for Ollison). Ollison also has done it by himself, rushing for 1,121 three years ago as a replacement for James Conner.

    Then, there’s sophomore A.J. Davis and redshirt freshman Todd Sibley.

    Coach Pat Narduzzi said he likes what Sibley has done after the team started practicing in pads.

    “He’s gone out and shown that he’s ready,” Narduzzi said. “He had a great move (Thursday) and bounced it outside and had pretty good-sized run.”

    Of Davis, Powell said, “A.J.’s got a knack. He’s slippery. He can twist and turn and contort. He goes to the ground and puts that other hand on the ground and always is coming up with extra yards.

    “He’s probably the best guy we have at open-field running. A.J. has to shore up his pass protection a little bit and play with a little bit more urgency, but he’s a talented guy.”

    Freshman Mychale Salahuddin also caught the coaches’ eyes early in camp, but he’s behind the other four right now.

    “He’s got some natural talent,” Powell said. “We’re so happy and thankful we got him.

    “He’s got a long way to go. We put a lot of offense in in six days (of practice), probably as much as Mychale has had in four years. We’ll spend more time with him, and we’ll get him caught up.”

    =====

    We fans should see no less than 4 RB’s in the Albany game. AJ Davis seems Lyke the best of the bunch and he is a 4* from Florida. The reference to “slippery” caught my eye – comment by coach Powell.

    H2P!

    Like

  80. PITT did pick up Kradel and Zubovic last year. Two of the best O-lineman in the WPIAL last year. Drake, Warren, Houy and others have been getting complemented recently, they just need a chance to mature. We don’t have a clue if they play much or not this year?

    Like

  81. With regard to Davis, his numbers last year were in my opinion, highly situational. For example, if I remember correctly he was used mostly as a short yardage (4th and 1 types and 1st and goal type carries). That led to a packed line and short yardage for an average.

    He would have been a great benefactor from the 4 game redshirt rule.

    I do think the talent is better,but the results will be the same. It’s a borrowed concept from above, but it lends itself to a push. Off to the beach for the rest of the wekend.

    Oh,and Pitt recruiting better be after every 4 star player at Maryland and Paris Johnson at osu…..you snooze, you lose. I was disappointed that borb’s didn’t bring any high ranked players he was recruiting for a few years with him. Makes me think he was out of the loop….

    Like

  82. It sounds like AJ struggled in pass protection so they didn’t feel confident putting him in there. I think that’s a big reason Ollison hasn’t seen the field the last two years either. I sounds like Ollison might be 4th on the depth chart again this season.

    Like

  83. Right EE, Hargrove has been highly thought of for two years now.

    I agree Huff the third. Davis was used for a specific carries.

    So many times we as PITT fans like to question the use of players or the play calling and other coaching decisions. That’s cool on a blog but we really don’t know the whole story behind anything that goes on with that PITT football team because that is the plan, keep everyone in the dark. The interesting part about the radio silence dictated by Narduzzi is he doesn’t mind the critics complaining about the lack of access, in fact he seems to relish it. ike

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  84. Interesting tidbit, I went over to the P Lair to catch up and there is not a mention about the scrimmage yesterday. I find that strange. Top six topics right now.

    Barry Bonds
    Steelers
    PGA
    Matt Canada
    Coach Borb
    Steelers.

    Not hard to see why the POV is the best place to be when you want to talk PITT football! . . . . .ike

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  85. The coaches just need to keep the blocking schemes as simple as the tent on the line can handle. They shouldn’t try any pulls they would do with O’Neil az none have his footwork and athleticism.

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