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. 

It isn’t any secret that I have been writing many times since the end of last season that I feel the Offensive Line is going to be a major problem for our 2018 team.  I have done so constantly and I sure do feel that way.

Last year at this time I also wrote that the 2017 version of our OL was going to be the Achilles Heel of the offense… battling the QB position for that honor. Well, as it turns out that was correct and our OL was about the worse I can remember in a long time.

Going back not all that far we had a very poor OL in Todd Graham’s 2011 year when we were 119th in Tackles For Loss Allowed with 110 on the season; 120th in Sacks Allowed with 64 and 93rd in Passing Efficiency at 118.1.  Add to that our 74th in Rushing Offense and you can see how ineffective we were – and those ranking are out of only 120 teams in Division 1 at the time.  You may say that the implementation of the Graham’s High Octane Spread Offense had a lot to do with that but the truth is we  just had poor offensive line talent.

Those four statistics are key indicators of how well the line is protecting the QB and helping (or hindering) the running backs.  Now, it is pretty obvious that our 2017 wasn’t a whole lot better than that 2011 unit. Here is how they stacked up against each other in those categories:2011 OLBut here’s the rub – that poor showing by our 2017 OL was done even when it was populated by linemen who had a pretty darn good amount of P5 game experience.  Experience is what you want in an Offensive Linemen and that is why when you see really good, productive lines they are made usually up of a lot of upperclassmen – mostly redshirt Juniors and redshirt Seniors.

For instance last year our starting lineup on the OL was, in left to right order; rsJR Brian O’Neill, rsSR Alex Officer, rsFR Jim Morrissey, rsJR Alex Bookser and rsSR Jared-Jones Smith.  Not only were four of five upperclassmen they also had a lot of starting experience to draw on.

That is the big difference between the 2017 OL and what our 2018 squad is going into this season.  Here is a table of experience I drafted to show the huge difference in the two season’s lineman’s starts against Power 5 schools.2017-2018 OL 3

Where in most years we’d be jumping up and down at having four (count ’em – 4!!) rsSR in the O line, this season there is a decided negative twist to that.  Three of those four OL are virtual P5 competition virgins with a total of five (count ’em – 5!) among them with any experience in that at all.   There is a huge difference between 75 games experience vice 40 but even more so in ’17 we only had one player, Morrissey, with less than five P5 starts… this season we’ll have three.

rsSR Mike Herndon, a converted Offensive Lineman to Defensive Lineman and back again to Offensive Lineman has exactly one P5 start and rsSR Conner Dintino (Remember him – the rsJR who couldn’t beat out a rsFR walk-on for the starting job at Center?) has none.

I’ll repeat that; Herndon and Dintino have a total of one P5 start as offensive lineman.  Actually they have two combined starts against any competition in their six total years of previous eligibility;  Dintino started at fullback against Villanova and Herndon at RG against Syracuse.

rsSR Stefano Millin is an interesting transfer and one I think Pitt pursued out of sheer panic.  He played left tackle on a Mid-American Conference (MAC) school that compiled a 2-10 record on the season in 2017.  Why did they have only two wins?  Well, you can look directly at their offense and especially their offensive line for that.  Here is the tale of their offense…look at it then remember LT Millin was the key member of that OL protecting a right-handed QB.

Kent OL 2

My friends, hard to believe but their OL was worse than ours by a mile in a much weaker conference than ours.  the reliance on transfers is a big part of why I feel that Pat Narduzzi’s recruiting hasn’t been done well.  Where are the younger offensive linemen who can step up and grab a starting job from two knock-abouts and a MAC tackle?

Well, in 2016 he landed three 3* &  5.5 rated OL in Brandon Ford, Zach Williams and Justin Morgan.  All would be rsSOs this season and if talented ready to play.  But wait!  Morgan was dismissed from the team and Zach Williams never qualified academically.

In the class of 2015 Narduzzi had commitments from 3* & 5.7 rated Alex Paulina and  3* Tony Pilato but they both bagged out for greener pastures.  As did Chryst recruit 4* Mike Grimm after he had to sit out a year due to injury..

I wondered about all these offensive lineman leaving Pitt in bunches and the best I could find out was that they really didn’t want to be coached by our previous Offensive Line Coach John Peterson who was poor at developing talent on the line.  That is understandable.

So rsSO Bryce Hargrove was moved over to OL at the end of 2017 to fill a gap but he’ll take time to learn the position.  rsSO Brandon Ford is in the wings though and good for him because his Dad is an excellent guy and is a great guy to prop up a bar with.  He and I, along with Scott Orndoff, SR  had a good long session the night before the Pinstripe Bowl.

Experience is so highly valued in offensive linemen and that is why, along with the mental and especially physical maturation process needed, playing in actual games against like-competition is everything.  Well, this upcoming season at Pitt it is virtually nothing.  You may say that these new starters have been in scrimmages for four years in Pitt’s practices but let’s face it – they were going up against pretty average defensive lines in those scrimmages.

The bald fact is the both Dintino and Herndon have been journeymen who the other and better players practice against and beat up on.  In essence they have been living blocking sleds for four years working on the 2nd string, 3rd string and Scout teams.

Pitt got two JUCO transfers in last december from Lackawanna College – C Devon Davis as a Preferred-Walk On and Tackle Chase Brown to bolster the depth in the OL.  At this late date in the fall camp, neither are projected to start.  However, the OL Pitt was pursuing the hardest was OT Anthony Wigan who signed with PSU.

The good news in all this is that our two returning offensive linemen are pretty solid.  Bookser was an Honorable Mention All-ACC awardee in ’17 which wasn’t bad considering he was suspended early in the season and Morrissey had some accolades also.  He was an All-ACC Academic Football team member.  Morrissey acquitted himself well for a first year player though and he’ll build on that I’m sure.

Players don’t produce in a vacuum though because coaching has a lot to do with that. This season we’ll have Dave Borbely as our OL unit coach.  He’s late of the Maryland Terrapins where he coached the OL in 2016 and had a real Jekyll and Hyde season.  They were very good at running the ball and set UM records in that.  However their pass protection was sorely lacking – as in terrible.

They were 127th in Sacks Allowed with 49; 125th in TFLs Allowed with 108(!) and 106th in  Passing Offense with only 178 ypg.  I follow the Terps pretty closely as I live right here and the fact is that the HC wasn’t happy with Borbely’s OL work so they ‘kicked him upstairs’ to Ass’t HC in 2017 to fill out his contract and then hired a new OL coach, Tyler Bowen, for 2017.  No Terp fans were crying when Borbely left Maryland though – it was more of a Huh…OK? type reaction.  I don’t feel his hire at Pitt is that much of a betterment over Peterson but we’ll see how it goes on his watch.

But these articles deal with returning talent on the units and because we lost three experienced starters – one a bona fide star All-ACC 1st teamer Brian O’Neill and All-ACC Honorable Mention Alex Officer along with experienced Jared-Jones Smith… and since we are replacing them with three guys with little or no actual P5 game experience I see this unit as possibly the worst OL we have had in a long time.  Actually that same phrase was directly quoted to me when I was up on the Southside for Spring Game Draft Day.

Again – when you read and hear the mainstream writers constantly stating that the OL will be the ‘team’s biggest problem” this year and one even stating ‘he’s not convinced they will be good‘ you can pretty much infer what they really think.

 

So this unit is a dramatic:

DOWNGRADE

 

162 thoughts on “POV’s Win, Lose or Draw for 2018’s OLs

  1. If there’s any hope of mitigating the weakness of the offensive line, it’s going to come from a creative offensive scheme that uses surprise and misdirection instead of a reliance on individual dominance at the point of attack. I’ll be interested to see what Watson cook up this year as that will prove almost as critical as the talent itself. This is also where a shifty back would come in handy. It remains to be seen if one of those is on the roster.

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  2. Anticipating 2019’s depth chart for the OL is a hideous endeavor. If you think that this year’s projected OL starters lack experience, just wait until 2019 rolls around after losing Bookser, Dintino & Herndon to graduation & incoming grad transfer Millin has played out his last year of eligibility as well.

    Our only hope going forward is that all of those guys mentioned above suck so bad in our first game that they get replaced immediately by younger players who can earn their stripes in 2018.

    Can you imagine the inexperienced OL that will result if this years crew performs well, has no injuries & seldom sit to provide playing time for our second stringers?

    Not a pretty picture.

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  3. Reed – thanks for another well written article with many details most would not know about this unit. As a side note, Paulina and Pilato left to play at D-3 Waynesburg & D-2 Slippery Rock. Mike Grimm ended his career due to injuries that prevented him from playing FB.

    Right now, I rate this OL as a DRAW.

    Last year’s O stats were a combination of bad OLine, no George Aston and bad QB play. This year, the QB is an upgrade, Aston is back and the OL is yet to be determined.

    H2P!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Running blocking will be an upgrade. I’d be very surprised if we don’t rush for 2000 years this year. Look at Borbs’ history and you’ll see.

    Pass blocking, as you pointed out Reed, is a different story. However I don’t think it can get much worse than last year, even if the talent level is a downgrade. The reason is that I think Morrissy’s experience makes for more coordinated protections.

    So if we assume the pass blocking stays at the same level, and the run blocking improves, technically this year’s line is an upgrade. Sounds weird to say it i know…

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  5. Last years line was much more talented, but performed poorly. In fact, they were a hot mess. I think this years line will be really bad, much less talented, but considering the bar we set last year I will say PUSH. Hey, there’s really not much lower they can go ratings wise, right?

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  6. If you are just comparing personnel to personnel, I agree, downgrade.

    However, if you are comparing production, I say draw to a possible upgrade, for the following reasons:
    Last years numbers were pitiful
    A mobile QB and experienced running backs
    Aston is back
    Four of the five are seniors and the line has been set since spring
    The receiver corps is much better with experience and young potential
    An aggressive defense will give the offense better field position, and it is much easier to score on a short field.

    I say all this because O-line production is very dependent on skill players making plays.

    For example, every time KP picks up 5 yards on a broken play with his legs or arm is 5 yards you didn’t have last year. When these pick up first downs, you keep drives alive.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. I do agree with Dr Tom, our young guys need to get some live action, but hopefully as back-ups and not as starters. Unless they outright win the position. I also see more O-line transfers for next year.

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  8. PITT needs simplified schemes with this OL. 3 step drops for KP so he can get the ball out quickly, heavy dose of runs without a ton of shifts pre-snap or many pulls because of the lack of athleticism on the OL.

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  9. I think a big factor will be what kind of shape these guys are in. The previous OL coach, with the exception of O’Neill, seemed to go for bulk. Our line looked heavy and slow to me last season, again with the exception of BO.

    We need lean and mean. One thing that gives me hope is that both Herndon and Dintino move pretty well. Remember Herndon played middle linebacker in HS at something like 260 or 270 pounds. And Dintino has been used as a blocker at FB.

    So, figuring the new OL coach got them to be in better shape and will be more effective coach (now that he got out of Maryland 😊), I’ll actually go with a slight upgrade.

    Though I admit it’s based more on the poor play of last season than an abundance of confidence in this season…

    Go Pitt.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Reed, good article. I agree on the downgrade.

    Dr. Tom hit the nail on the head and I have stated the same thing.

    The coaches MUST start atleast one of the RSSO or RSFR or next year will be a debacle in a year Pickett will be even better. You always have to have a mix of younger and older players on the OL.

    I am predicting and hoping that Ford or another young player takes over one of the G postions after the first game. Otherwise, the coaches are idiots.

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    1. Don’t think they have to start, but they sure need to get some experience this year.
      The real problem is who plays tackle next year?

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  11. Good comments guys, thanks.

    personally I think the offensive line lack of talent is going to affect the way Pickett plays quarterback. We are looking at Kenny Pickett to solve all our ills at QB and they were many as we averaged only 18.5 ppt against P5 competition.

    That is a lot to ask a true SO QB.

    We may well see the OL and RBs drag down the passing game.

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  12. also a concern is Narduzzi swinging and missing on the areas top OLineman over the past 2 years and probably not going to get Carmody from Mars…the cupboards are not well-stocked looking forwqrd from this year… something is amiss here…and it just ain’t yellow seats…was in the Burgh this week-end and heard from a long time supporter who confirms much of what Reed lays out here regarding Duzz…I am trusting in Heather….Duzz has to win and win soon.

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  13. Speaking of Heather… this weekend had the opportunity to talk with a person directly informed on the inner-office doings with the Athletic Department. Pitt’s AD getting “A” Grade all the way around including those working with and for.

    I have full faith in Heather’s ability to find the RIGHT Man for the job when the time comes.

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  14. Draw, Millin started more than just the 4 games mentioned in the chart. Morrissey has a full year of starter’s experience. Hoping Books can move to tackle and be effective. Coach Borb’s will develop a good run game, which will help with play action passing. There isn’t much to point to improvement of the unit.

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    1. Grizzly – Millin started exactly 4 P5 games. He started a bunch of MAC games but he’s now in a P5 conference. Big difference.

      Look, at this point last year people were saying Brandon Hodges was going to be great for us because he started a bunch of games for B12 Texas…how did that work out? He started games against much tougher competition than Millin has and still couldn’t beat out pretty poor OL players at Pitt.

      My point is that we are going to start a MAC LT from an OL that was truly horrible across the board. If that makes you feel good fine…it worries me.

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  15. Reed to answer your question from yesterday, I’m expecting that Pickett will come very close to 3000 passing yards this year if he plays all 13 games(bowl included). Since I believe Watson will have to rely on the passing game much more than the running game this season. If Pickett is as good as I believe he is the running game will also perform better since that opposition will be so much more focused on trying to stop Pickett’s passing attack leaving some good opportunity for our backs.

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  16. … In college football, teams turnover starters yearly. Not sure why Pitt fans get so scared of the unknown when every team in America deals with the same constant turnover

    … When you replace players, the goal for most coaches is to replace them with kids that have been in the program for a few years … experience and depth

    … Last year was last year and is independent of this upcoming season

    … They have a new OL coach very familiar with the current OC

    … This is their 3rd stint together in the same OL-OC relationship … Colorado, Louisville and now Pitt

    … Players get better year over year … or they better, anyways

    … There are 18 OL on the team … with most being redshirt sophomore or younger. The OL is in fine shape for the future.

    … This is also the reason for adding transfers. Duzz’s first class did not have an OL in it. He also only had 30 days to recruit and Chryst did not have any in the pipeline

    … Most OL won’t start until, at a minimum, their 3rd year in the program … this is a good thing for the OL

    … More than any other position, stars mean nothing for the OL … mostly because they don’t have to start immediately

    … 4 stars and 5 stars are needed to compete for championships, but this is not why Pitt has been mediocre the last 35 years

    … The reason Pitt has NFL HoF’rs but no results to show for it is because of … depth. Pitt, historically, has not had much depth across the board

    … Imbalanced recruiting and consistent coaching turnover is the why

    … More than any coach that I can remember, Duzz has built depth at almost every position on the field. TE is the one glaring hole in depth

    … This is partly because he’s been here 4 years, but even Wanny didn’t have as much depth across as many position groups in the same amount of time

    … You overcome a lack of 4 and 5 stars with experience and depth … Eventually, to take the next step, Pitt will need to make a leap in recruiting … they aren’t there yet

    Liked by 1 person

  17. @Tossing, that can’t possibly be even remotely true. I have read nothing remotely close to supporting that here and it is backed by reports from unnamed sources that are in positions paying big bucks who must know everything and anything about Pitt football and who are unbiased and always accurate with their assessments.
    Trust me and just keep your obviously erroneous opinions to yourself….and you too Ike. 😉

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    1. tvax – You’ll have to be more specific as to what “that” is? I had a whole bunch of bullet points.

      Reports backed by “unnamed sources”? Sounds legit. Trust you? Sure.

      You may not agree with everything on the list but none of it is inherently untrue. Definitely some opinion on there to get my point across but nothing salacious enough to require unnamed sources involved. Lol.

      Positional turnover doesn’t happen at every college?
      Teams don’t want to replace players with kids in the program a couple of years?
      Last year and this year are not different seasons?
      They don’t have a new OL coach that has experience at 3 stops with Watson?
      Players don’t improve year over year?
      There aren’t 18 OL on the team? Most aren’t redshirt sophomore or younger?
      There were no OL in Duzz’s first class? Chryst did have some in the pipeline? That has nothing to do with adding grad transfers?
      Most teams don’t prefer starting older kids at OL?
      OL don’t generally start later in their careers negating the need for instant starters from 4 and 5 star recruits?
      4 and 5 stars aren’t needed to compete for championships? Depth has had nothing to do with Pitt’s struggles the last 35 years?
      Imbalanced recruiting and coaching turnover is not a reason Pitt has struggled?
      Pitt doesn’t have depth at almost every position group? He doesn’t have more depth than Harris, Wanny, Graham or Chryst at most portion groups?
      Surprise teams that don’t have 4 and 5 star players don’t have success because they have experience and depth?

      Liked by 1 person

  18. UGH. On the doorstep of the home opener Reed does what he does so well. Pees right in the punch bowl. We love you reed but your negativity just sucks the air out of the room. I think Duzz knows what he is doing. And he damn well knows how to coach them up. As I said before stick to maritime affairs and admiralty. Maybe a POV on salvage rights because your negativity is the last thing I need at the start of another beautiful year. Hail to freaking Pitt. And maybe reed can take a happy pill.

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    1. Exactly what part of the article do you think isn’t correct? I mean if I’m peeing in the punchbowl with an honest and accurate assessment of the OL (and I felt this way last year about the OL also) then who’s fault is that? Mine for stating it or Pat Narduzzi’s for having these circumstances happen before the season starts.

      BTW – I have said many times that if I’m going to write something I’m going to be as honest and accurate as I can be. Some of these unit articles have been either Upgrades or Draws – is that my pissing also?

      Again – my thoughts on the OL are not unique and if you read and listen to others you’ll hear the same concern but stated a bit more lightly.

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      1. Last year’s RT was awful. Our LT was drafted fairly high but his play really was not particularly good probably due to injury. His statistics really were pedestrian or worse. Our center was a RS freshman walk on who got better as the season developed but was pretty bad in the beginning. Bookser was one year younger and well, was Bookser. AO was awful as a senior.

        You can say the OL will be a down grade this year but there are no statistics to back that opinion up. It’s just opinion and saying Dintino and Herndon can’t be an improvement because they did not start is a reasonable position to take but let me ask you this: How was TJC in his first year as an offensive lineman? And he was a redshirt junior, not senior as Her don and Dintino are.

        There’s plenty of reason for concern. But it’s not baked in the cake that the unit won’t be decent.

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  19. Hey Major, I looked at the picture associated with this article and noticed Bookser was looking svelt across the midsection. Now if you want to say that Officer was a bit chunky, I would agree. LOL.

    Agree with Reed on the assessment, completely, except for the Morrissey evaluation. Pitt was able to hide Morrisey last year and we used Bookser and Officer to help him in the blocking game. He just wasn’t big enough or quick enough in my opinion. That won’t be the case this year. He will be on an island (as will the others) more than ever and that is troubling, especially against the Dairy, the ND team, VT and Miami at a minimum.

    Add to that, we have a new OL coach that is probably changing their blocking techniques a bit and their man/zone blocking responsibilities from the last few years and it further makes the argument that we could be looking at a disaster because these guys haven’t had a chance to mesh as ONE unit, let alone perfecting their craft under the new coaches techniques.

    I remain disappointed that Borbely even got this job without having a few 4 star lineman in his pipeline. That is telling in my mind.

    Doc T made a real nice point about next year. If Pitt is trending towards a 5-7 season, the 5th year players need to be moved out and replaced with the RSSo, etc. We are wasting Pickett time if the OL struggles.

    In that vein, most want to promote Pickett as a superstar and he may end up being one (I HOPE). But the truth on that one is that he only has a full one game resume’ of P5 ball under his belt as well. Yet another reason to have a nice full slate of easy, exhibition games before ACC games. You don’t win the ACC by getting beat up against a tough OOC schedule and lose confidence.

    Gimmick offenses keep defenses off balance and help protect obvious flaws of lack of talent. That is why the big12 is so offensive scheme oriented. They know they can’t recruit the best OL, so they recruit speed and attack defenses with scheme. Watson better be good at hiding the ball.

    Been jammed up at work for a awhile and missed a lot of comments, but things seem to be settling now.

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  20. In looking at last year’s line, it was a MAJOR disappointment. I agree with JoeKnew and gc that this should be a DRAW because last year was that bad.

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  21. Another realy good article from Reed, Thanks, I know you’re a busy man

    Reed pretty much nailed two things last year prior to the season. They were 1, the offensive line may not be that good and 2, Max Browne is not a good QB who is pretty much a statue. Well we see how that hot mess turned out didn’t we? Poor QB play last year led to many poor statistics. The poor play made the WR’s look bad, the O-line look bad and the RB’s look bad as well because the opposing defense could load up the box to stop the run while not respecting the passing game. << Again, this put a very poor reflection on the offensive line that had plenty of experience and quite frankly, look offensive.

    So trying to gauge and compare player for player without looking at the QB position is really hard to do in this case. Football is a team game. So when we look back at last year’s o-line we can draw conclusions but they are derived from how the whole team played, especially the QB. So I’ll be breaking Reed’s rule and look at this o-line with all things considered.

    Couple things first:

    I don’t know if Whigan was anymore pursued than Brown and Davis. I never heard that one. The one who doesn’t come to PITT is always a miss but when we get a kid from the same school it’s a travesty. BTW, there was an allstate player from Ligonier Pa right down the road from me named Smith who signed with WVU and has transferred to Lackawana College, very talented athlete who played QB for a state champion finalist. I think. He plays safety in college. Love for PITT to grab him up.

    Take this for what it’s worth but there are people who don’t think the O-line situation is quite as dire as others think. Jus saying I hear some are starting to see some fluidity to this unit.

    Morrissey will be an upgrade and I don’t know why so many people are down on him. I don’t study the center position in general each play but I didn’t see any glaring bad play coming from there. Reeds right about how you would normally feel good about the rest of the unit as well considering they are all 5th yr seniors. But there some questions about why they haven’t played much until now not including Bookser.

    When it’s mention about Morrissey beating out Dintino remember the position and think to yourself, could you snap a ball and keep your concentration on your blocking assignment? It’s no wonder Jimmy made the all academic team. Doesn’t mean Dintino is a weak link of the chain. Speaking of chains, that is what an o-line is and all the links have to be strong. Millen, is an unknown and could have been playing with many weak links and could be ok to good and we shall see.

    Dintino and Herndon are both above average athletes for there positions. Whether or not they are good o-lineman is in question though. Interestingly enough, part of the poor play last year was due to slow footed and fat o-lineman in my opinion. These two could bring a little more athleticism to this unit

    I also hear that Drake and Hargrove are progressing well and should see some playing time. Haven’t heard much about Warren..

    Well here goes, all things considered and looking at how poor the o-line looked last year statistically, I don’t really see a significant downgrade as Reed does but I can’t call it an upgrade. Based on all the facts I see this unit no less than a draw and possibly an upgrade as the season wears on…

    DRAW! . .. . … . .. . . . . . . . .ike

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  22. Borbs is a seasoned coach who certainly can elevate the OL play. the problem is what exactly is that level. No question the seniors have a sense of urgency and are driven to have a good year. and they appear to be pretty tight in that stance. So I am in the camp they will find a way to be a decent OL and with the skill addition of Mack and Shockey, Tipton the offense will be much better this year. Narduzzi in his fourth year has a better grasp of being a head coach and has his recruits poised to play. Upgrades on the staff also will show up in day to day and game day coaching. As to Narduzzi and his popularity, if he wins no one cares.

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  23. Tossing

    Plugging new guys in from year to year is the norm in college football and developing guys is the ideal way to go. However, you can’t be successful replacing an entire unit in one year when the backups have no experience.

    As an example, last year Reynolds and Pine got good reps in about four games. They will play more this year (Pine at DE). Next year they will be ready to step in.

    The same can’t be said for the OL where you stick with the same five starters all year. The younger OL will see no action to prep them. Pitt doesn’t have the blowouts where the younger players get reps.

    It would be crazy for Pitt to not play atleast one younger OL this year to prevent next year from being a disaster.

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    1. NRS – that was the hand Duzz inherited. Like I said, Chryst didn’t have any OL recruits in that first class. Duzz’s 2nd class is just redshirt sophomores … and it sounds like a few will be getting playing time.

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      1. Chryst left some terrific starters for Narduzzi, but that last class of linemen were putrid. Add in the kid starting at Central Florida who wasn’t offered by Paul and we see why this unit looks very shaky.

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  24. @TT – If players get better every year, why were we 5-7 last year? Did the other teams players get…..more better? LOL! I get the point, but the reality is that some of our younger players should beat out some of our older ones. Look at the great programs and you will see that across the board.

    @bigb and Reed – Being a big donor doesn’t mean you know how to run a football team in college. A big donor that knows how to run a large business, does not necessarily equate to knowing how to run a sport program. Look at michigan and Domino CEO as AD, etc.

    Turnover in coaches and players is so important. Stability/Continuity is the key. Pitt should have a smoothing effect and the program should have a great understanding of where it will be with a coach after 4-5 years. The schedule will help next year and we need it if we are going to have a bunch of new linemen. I wouid propose infusing some young linemen this year as previously noted. If they aren’t talented enough, have the discussion and move on.

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    1. @Huff, because Pitt lost like 7 players to the NFL. Lol. It was a transition year. The college football landscape is littered with successful head coaches who had down years in their 3rd year.

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    2. Huff – that donor wasn’t talking about how the athletic dept is being run or how the program is being run as executives- it was more along the lines of Narduzzi’s personality and his interactions with others. We have read comments on here from others who talked about this same issue.

      But the phone call I received and the details in it are more of the same but from someone who is more tuned into Pitt football than all of us.

      Again – a personality issue.

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      1. Got it. I couldn’t garner the difference as I read through the comments. Thanks for clarity.

        Bad personality and winning program = silent observation
        Bad personality and mediocre performance = short timer
        Terrible personality and terrible performance = buyout

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      2. Anybody ever wonder what kind of personality Woody Hayes had at OSU or Bear Bryant at Alabama? If Duzz wins with Pickett at QB the next couple of years most all negatives about his personality will be shouted down by all the cheerleaders sounding off on the positives. And my guess is many of the current POV Pitt downbeaters will either abandon this board or be posting under New Names.

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  25. Gentlemen,
    Great comments, thanks!
    Reed, thank you for the well done, unbiased, and sadly true article on our DOWNGRADE offensive line.
    FACT: for the last 40 years every time we had a strong offense – we had a really strong OL. This year it’s simply not in the numbers. Do the math.

    Like

  26. This is the unit downgrade we have all been waiting for… so yes, downgrade vote for me in terms of personnel, not sure about how much performance will actually change. And NO, I don’t think it’s a substantial downgrade, although none of really know that at this point, but it potentially could be. This is actually a unit that could see some changes to the starting unit as the season develops. My bigger concern is actually the play calling of Watson; this is his second year here and he has a lot to prove, and he could significantly impact the way both KP & the OL unit look this year.

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  27. This is the first year that Pitt as a team is close to being balanced as per units. Yes the OL looks to be the issue but not since maybe Walt 15 years ago. It has taken three recruiting years to have the depth of talent and competition on D. Now with Pickett, and Mack, Davis, Sibley, the hyphen WR’s and Drake, Zubovic, Kradel, Warren and a sophomore center, at least we are starting to see the kind of incoming talent to upgrade the offensive side of the ball. Narduzzi and Borbs are keenly aware that the development of these Olineman is critical to success.

    Like

  28. OK, the OL will struggle. What can be done to mitigate the impact of poor OL play in games this season?

    I think we see a lot of moving pockets, QB draws, slants, screens (RB and WR), pitch-outs, and jet sweeps.

    Time to suck it up and play!

    Like

  29. Ike – that truly goes both ways.

    It is the excuse de jour to point to our QB play for everything that was wrong with the offense last season…but when a QB hands the ball to the RB then it is the RB and the OL who are the principals in the run play…which netted us 3.9 ypc on the year ( BTW that was 95th in the nation).

    QBs who have defenders in the backfield on a constant basis never play their best either – and if you look at our percentage of overall plays in which our QB was sacked it was 7.95% (93rd in nation) and we know about the TFLs which shows how much overall pressure there was on the backfield.

    But still our QBs completed a good 62% of their passes but the problem was they were under so much pressure that the threw mostly short passes or quick outs – thus the low yards per catch of 11.2 (in 2016 it was 15.2) and low yards per attempt of 7.2.

    They had to rush the passes on almost every play and those things all combined to make us only 33% on 3rd downs.

    That wasn’t because we weren’t completing passes but because bull rushes on 3rd down made the passing game too short.

    This is why i’m saying that while we all hope the emergence of Pickett is the tide that will raise all ships – the fact that the OL may even be worse than last season might curtail that a bit (or maybe a lot if things go really south on the OL).

    Another key issue I didn’t address in the article is the lack of blocking experience of our TEs who will be the 6th OL this season on a lot of series. Gragg wasn’t known for that at Arkansas and Sear had very little playing time last season. We are going to be holding the TEs in a lot to help the OL this season and I’m hoping they will rise to that.

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  30. Excellent comments on all sides. Pee in punch bowl. 🙂

    I’ll say downgrade.

    The line will make or break the offense this year. But I do agree that the right scheme can hide a bad line. But do we have the players to execute that scheme.

    Too many question marks now.

    Tex

    Like

  31. Of all the upgrade/downgrade articles written, this one is the key. Our only hope is that Reed and everyone else in the know is wrong. I am not “in the know” but I agree with the downgrade and that is over a bad O line last year. We will probably know the answer in the first game against Albany. Our offense will probably be a vanilla run biased offense plan. If we have trouble moving their line and creating holes, we will have a new head coach next year. It is going to be that simple. The rest of the season will be a nightmare if the Albany game is bad.

    One thing to keep in mind about last year’s stats is that more than a couple of those TFLs were on our less than brilliant QBs last year until Pickett’s arrival.

    Like

  32. OK Reed, good points but it was the type of passing game Browne and Dinucci ran. Dink and dunk and yes it may have been for the lack of time in the pocket but I really don’t think so. Those two really could never see the field even if they had the time. Pickett will make more time with his pocket presence and footwork which is exceptional from what I see in the drills they show us.

    A good QB with pocket presence, footwork and the intelligence to keep a defense honest, invaluable! It changes everything. Nothing I heard or read about Pickett describes him otherwise. The kid is not cocky but he’s cocky! << In a non cocky way! Confident he is! Hope all is well with everyone . . . .ike

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  33. For some time Pitt has not been able to put all the pieces together at once. All the subparts of the O and D and coaches that can make the most of the hand they’re dealt. Only time will tell about this year. Good coaches do not try to drive square pegs into round holes but adapt to the reality in player use and schemes/play calling. Ike, good note about lack of visibility for team. Watched the thousands at Steeler family day on TV. People loved it. We can not even seem to get a family day promotion for a game.

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  34. Kenny The wicked Pickett will make this o line look good. Much like our crap qb play last year made everything worse. including allowing defenses to stack the box. Hey I am hopeful I don’t sit around and piss and moan about a subject we all know too well. Lets give it a shot before we cry like school girls.

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  35. Tossing

    I wasn’t arguing about the missing classes of OL. I totally agree. My only point is that Pitt must play at least one of the younger OL so they do not have to replace four starters next year. Replacing three is bad enough.

    I think the TE blocking and receiving will be better this year but we will save that for the TE article. The reason it will be better is because Sear and Gragg both got reps last year. Experience is key to the success of a unit. An entire unit can’t be new starters with zero game experience.

    Like

    1. Oh, I think younger guys will be playing. There have been rumors that it’s not the starting 5 we’re expecting, by the way.

      Like

  36. BTW, no coverage of the scrimmage Saturday? Did they put in the west coast spread offense while we weren’t looking? I keep saying, there is something cooking up down at the south-side.. Get yourselves prepared. I’m almost up to 7 wins now and trending upwards???? ike

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  37. Kenny will be a huge difference until he gets hurt. There are so many ways the QB play changes everything that even though I agree this OL is overall a huge question mark and therefore likely a bit of a downgrade, the direct comparison of stats is almost useless.

    Until we see a beast or 2 on the defensive side, I think this line should do the job, so therefore we won’t learn anything by the Albany game UNLESS they are bad. The PSUcks game will tell us everything we need to know and if successful, only injury will change things from there.

    All this Narduzzi personality stuff, is so f’in odd. Does Belicheck have a great personality? Winning solves everything. I mean really, would anyone here tolerate the likes of Upitt if he also didn’t come across as successful and more than willing to share his whiskey, cigars and hotel room points? And I mean that with all due respect Upitt. 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  38. Of course Kenny will get hurt. That’s how our piss and moan fanbase reacts. Like cry babies entitled to something. yeah maybe he will get hurt. but maybe not. As for Duzz yeah he treats the fans ,,(not the Big donors Reed of which non of us here are part thereof) like we are diseased. That’s his personality. win big games like Penn St at Clemson and The U and I can take his personality. As for donors Duzz knows how to treat those guys. Ive seen him in action even though he would kick me in the nuts if I walked by and I give 4K a year. hail to Pitt.

    Liked by 1 person

  39. Agree, the Narduzzi stuff is a nothing burger. No coach is liked by everyone. Hell, no leader in any profession is liked by everyone.

    I know I know, but that meanie won’t let people watch practice. LOL

    Liked by 2 people

      1. It’s personal. Narduzzi can be abrasive and some take umbrage to it. Should he calm his ass down and go with the program more? Yes. Does it change his knowledge in coaching? You guys decide. I already know the answer.

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  40. Yeah and we all know who is butt hurt because duzz closes practices. Yeah it might be a jagoff move but his job not ours is on the line. I feel sorry for the ex players excluded from practice not a bunch of bloggers and hanger ons. ( not necessarily commander Kohberger)

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  41. Trenches! Games are won and lost on both sides of the trenches.

    DL v. OL and vice versa.

    Our Trenches beat Albany’s trenches (1-0)

    After that, it gets scary in a hurry. Dairy College will have 3 RSsoph or less OL starting with multiple game experience. Their 2 deep have 3 more backups as rs FR. Our DL may have a slight advantage. However, their DL will have a big advantage over our current OL in my opinion. Simmons, Toney, Gross, Givens And Shareef…ouch! Run KP, Run!

    I am starting to re-think the year towards the positive. Looking at the early schedule, absent Dairy, the beginning of our schedule is easier (especially with the UNC suspensions) so if there is a chance for a quick start, this could be it with GT and UNC under wraps before the OOC is complete. UCF starts Tyler Hudanik from Seneca Valley along the OL and they have a transfer from tex a&m…you know the agricultural and mechanical school.

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    1. The Georgia Tech game is probably the most critical in terms of compiling a winning record. Hopeful that the defensive line is up to the task because, of all the tossup games, (UNC, UVa. Duke, Cuse, Wake – maybe even Va Tech just because Pitt plays well against them historically), Ga Tech is the one that scares me most.

      Like

  42. @titleman, if we wait until we have the answers, than all blogging sites would have nothing to write about or opine about for 9 months of the year and that isn’t any fun. At the end of the day, we all can’t be correct in our prognostications as of today. One injury, one player change, one come out of nowhere player and everything can change in an instant. The point is this, we can all pontificate today, but we all also know, that it just doesn’t matter. Makes for a better blog.

    I think closing practices is stupid. Does it make me angry as a fan, yes. Do I respect the decision to close the practice and make me angry, sure. Will I get excited for the season to start…no! Why? Because I can’t connect to the players because there is nothing to connect to. Hopefully that makes sense.

    Ike will guess that we go 13-1. UPitt will guess that we go 0-11 with a forfeit and an interim coach at game 5. Taking things personally at this stage is funny. We will only know who won or lost after they play. If Pickett throws for 5ooo yards, some will say they knew it all along. Some who didn’t say that will argue it was because of the great protection. Some will argue it was the WR’s. Some will say it is Georgia Aston Martin with the sparkling plays. We all want Pitt to win. Most of us think differently on how best to get there, but to argue with no games played is somewhat of an empty argument.

    Liked by 1 person

  43. As far as I know winning games and being a decent guy are not mutually exclusive. Are most big time college football coaches jerks, ya, I guess so. But most winning big time coaches don’t usually have yellow seat disease. If you won’t adapt you can only be successful if all things go your way.

      The line stunk last year and will stink this year, it’s just a matter of degree. He may have 18 linemen on the roster, but he needs at least 5 who can actually play at a decent level. At this time he does not have that.
    

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  44. I have to say I’m laughing kind out loud or more like a good chuckle as we get closer to the season. The POV is a lot like the PITT football players bumping heads with each other at practice and are anxious to hit an opposing player. Some real funny stuff today. I’m ready for some football..

    Huff the third, I’m standing at 7-5 at the moment but trending upwards. Trying to keep my wits about me but that ship may have already sailed a long time ago.

    Please tell me I’m not the same enigma that my buddy Mark is (Upitt) because I think he’s pretty much nuts. but in a good way. << People like Mark are fun at a party though… ike

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  45. PoD – When has Pitt had depth at every position group? Walt Harris didn’t. Wanny didn’t … he was also getting there but got fired just when Pitt was about to. Chryst definitely did not.

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  46. I’m happy to see titleman commenting again. Yeah, he doesn’t see eye to eye with Reed all the time or even me sometimes but it’s what makes the POV go round and round. Wish Barvo and Emel would start posting again and the Dark Knight as well. Dam it men and women we need all hands on deck for this season is almost upon us. << A nautical term for Reed.

    Liked by 2 people

  47. Browne was missing passes regularly until the Rice game and the first half of the ‘Cuse game…sad he got hurt because he started to look something like the guy everyone raved about in high school. Had he stayed on the field, we likely win one or two games that we lost with Dinucci and finish 7-5, going to a bowl game — not great, but nobody would’ve dumped on our line that much. Pickett comes in for VTech and Miami and Pitt looks like a completely different team after the Dinucci stretch. Echoing others, QB play changes so much and enhances or downgrades every other spot…teams run and block better when the defense is forced to respect the pass more…def. not rocket science.

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  48. Also, Conner and Aston together really thumped people…they were huge and created their own holes…getting Aston back and stressing to Hall or Ollison to really hit it hard after only one move will make a big improvement.

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  49. There was much too much optimism built up last week on the news of Mack being eligible to play this season. Actually for a day there last week I didn’t even recognize the POV with all the positive posts after the Mack news.—Fast forward to Monday and lets resurrect a discussion about our OL on the POV so we can all take away any of the positives from the Mack news with some real downbeat posts about how terrible our OL will be this year.—Anyone else want this season to begin so we can focus on the games played and the games to come?

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  50. jrn, as much as I appreciate your support at times with some of my comments, I have to defend all others that want to see the darker side of PITT football no matter what their end game or agenda may be. Let’s live and let live. I have taken a beating a few times at the POV but I haven’t wavered in my loyalty to Reed at the POV and PITT football.

    I think we should be allowed to speak our minds no matter of the opinion and vice versa. and yes…………… I get very upset over the negativity just like some get upset over some positivity. No I don’t get the correlation as it sounds silly to say that on a PITT football blog but so be it!

    Just please keep speaking your mind no matter of the message.. thanks .. . ike

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  51. THANK YOU TOSSING THABEETS FOR YOUR MUCH NEEDED DOSE OF RATIONAL THOUGHT that was embodied in your bullet points.

    The only thing you need to work on is picking up sarcasm in other’s posts. It was clear that tvax1’s comments were firmly tongue-in-cheek.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Dude, if you have to explain it, well….

      Seriously, michaelangelomonteleone? If real name, I like it, if not, I love it and want the backstory.

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  52. Watching the OL this year could be a painful experience. This is even before any injuries happen.

    Looks like Urban is going to get a suspension, not be fired.

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    1. If you ever take something from me that way again, I am asking you now to save me from Upitt who would have to be choking me out or preferably offering even better bribes than his usual(I am certain) fine drink and smokes to join he and Tex on the Dark Side.

      I am currently a happily married man, so no need to mention any other corrupting possibilities the devil, aka Upitt, might offer.

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        1. Just talked about that potential road trip…with wife and daughter in car. Daughter has best friend starting freshwoman year at Miami.

          Of course you know I am merely kidding but that devil uses some awfully tempting junk to influence potential converts to his religion.

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  53. Tvax is a good man TT. I missed that and would have backed him up ASAP! TT, if you want to be positive, get use to ridicule and let it roll off your back until you can’t take anymore and then scream out. Then rewind and start over again. We shall not be defeated!!! ike

    Liked by 1 person

  54. I want the truth. Opinions from both sides and not just cheerleaders. The line is bad. Now can a scheme hide some of the badness…maybe.

    But you’ve got at least a very questionable line and pretty much a rookie QB. That’s never a good combo. That’s real and not fantasy or alternative facts or truth isn’t truth.

    If I see nothing but unicorns and fairies, I am either mentally unstable or have drank the Koolaid. If I wanted to become a cult zombie, I would have gone to State. I keep things real.

    Hope for the best with this team but acknowledge many weaknesses and question marks.

    6-7 wins is realistic. 4 wins is crazy talk. 10 wins is even crazier…I want your medical marijuana.

    Tex

    Like

      1. Tend to agree. If you think 6 wins is realistic, then 4 is definitely well within the realm of possibility. The margin of error for just about any college football team not named Alabama, Clemson, or Ohio State (in a normal season) is at least +/- 2.

        Pitt has bunch of tossups on the schedule. (UNC, Syracuse, UVa, Georgia Tech, Duke, Wake and Virginia Tech if you’re felling frisky). Lose more than half of those coin flips and you’re looking at a 4-win season. It’s not the most likely scenario, but it’s not so outrageous it’s crazy talk. I think Pitt has about a 15% chance of winning 4 games, roughly the same chance they have of winning 8-games.

        The funny part is that Pitt could have the same basic underlying performance in a 4-win season or an 8-win season. Other than Clemson, Florida State and Miami, there’s almost nothing separating these ACC teams. I see a lot of close games coming, which makes me wonder, how are the special teams looking?

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  55. Our OL recruiting flat out stinks. Narduzzi is in year 4 and he hasn’t landed a player who can start over a walk-on, 2 rsSR’s who have never played, and a MAC transfer. That’s horrible recruiting and there is no way to sugar coat it. We can’t even manage to land a local kid who is a legacy. The Borbely hire was pretty uninspired… an older, re-tread who really hasn’t done much and has shown no ability to recruit.

    This kind of performance ain’t gonna cut it.

    SantaCruzer

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  56. https://triblive.com/pghtrib/localsports/13993157-74/kevin-gorman-shawn-watson-hopes-to-have-pitt-offense-high-stepping

    Articles like this didn’t come out of camp last year … This entire camp has had a positive energy to it. I’m not worried about the line at all.

    My biggest concerns going into the season are …

    Pressure on the QB
    WR production
    Turnover’s created by the defense

    Duzz needs 1 and 3 to happen for the defense to click. Pickett needs a WR to step up to take pressure off the running game.

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  57. As I read all these comments on the OL thread I feel the emotion coming out of each response when looking on the upside, downside, break- even or the back and forth banter.

    POVerts know their FB and we know where this team finishes will depend on how this unit perform on the battlefield. This is the unit that is most suspect this year and the next couple of years.

    I am really enjoying this particular thread… whether comments be negative or positive the OL has our attention more than any other unit … stay tuned…

    Like

    1. Agree on the thread, and lyke Ike said, if only some of those MIA would return…

      Odd feeling about Darkside’s sudden disappearance….maybe I missed something?

      Like

  58. Hey Santa, what kind of performance isn’t cutting it? 21-15 regular season record in three years? OK, not great but better then what I’m used to around this program… Wake up man… We are PITT.

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  59. Tvax.. read your earlier post re: Narduzzi’s personality which has been a topic of discussion on here occasionally.. if he is viewed as a Dick/ prick or a nice guy / schmoozer he has to accomplish one thing.. WIN…A HC has to be the leader who is the face and personality of the team. He is the #1 salesman… Jeff Capel’s got it ! That ‘s my biggest concern with Duzz.. he ain’t an assistant coach….
    I had a older surgeon give me a great piece of advice when I first started practicing “ Never piss off a referral source !!” and this of advice was given to me by an my accountant early on my private practice career when I was having 2nd thoughts about going into partnership with someone I liked but knew it just wasn’t right and I agonized hoping he would change. The accountant said, “ Bernie, people don’t change. Fire him !”
    For better or worse Duzz is Duzz and he ain’t changing his personality to suit anyone. He has to earn his keep.

    Liked by 2 people

  60. I appreciate the opinions stated but the flat out stink remarks? Not so much. I have a good memory. I guess we will see about that and feel free to rub it in if I’m wrong, as I don’t need the invite to do the same. Talk is cheap.

    Find it satisfying Fran has kind of faded away from the POV as he has retired. I think my friend has found his much deserved happy place. Good for you good man. See you the at the first game! ike

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    1. Ike – Who and what are you talking about? If Pitt wins 4 games I can care less rubbing it in with the exception of I told you Narduzzi is a joke. Other than that I take no pleasure in him stinking. My hope is now with Heather she will pull the plug and bring a winner.

      Like

  61. Tex we have 19 seniors on this team and it’s year 4. You don’t have 4 win seasons with 19 seniors in year 4 unless there are serious issues. Now maybe there are serious issues…but you heard it here first, if Pickett Stays healthy we are going to win at least 8.

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    1. That should be the bar set for success this season. Eight wins are to be EXPECTED this 4th year.
      Wins:
      Albany
      GT
      UNC
      Duke
      Virginia
      Syracuse
      WF
      & a bowl win finally.

      Give me one that we don’t expect in penn state, UCF, ND, VT or Miami & this season turns into a rousing success.

      Like

  62. I agree with you Michael….The defense and Kenny Pickett were really starting to feel IT at the end of last season. They will continue that momentum this year and give us all much to cheer about.

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  63. If the downgrade was based on everyone returning to play the same blocking scheme, well it is subjective since we have no clue how the Ol will play. But the consideration of moving to a zone blocking scheme and greater use of one to two additional blockers does change the dynamic. At Colorado and Louisville Walsh and Borbs did employ zone blocking with success and I suggest the move can allow for greater success in 2018.

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  64. Not exactly faded away Iek…just busy with many things going on at home. All good. Looking forward to the opener and seeing the POVerts.

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  65. The D may have to carry us for a few games until the OL gets sorted out/gels, but if our run game doesn’t brake loose early in the Penn State game, look for some early touches for the RB from DC and Paris Ford…or both on the field at once.

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  66. AD 101 strategy for prolonging an AD paycheck.

    Hire all new coaches and then explain that each coach needs 4-5 years to turn things around. Next thing you know, the AD gets a paycheck for lots of years with an unknown result.

    Just sayin. Sell tickets. Create a gameday experience. Be relevant. Work on Media. Try hiring communications folks that have great connections to the local rags.

    Like

  67. Few things I felt worth mentioning…

    First, I agree, this thread’s comments have been great all around. Thank you all.

    Second,
    I agree the oline should be somewhat of a weakness, and hopefully for only a little while, this year. However, I believe part of the reason that it looks even worse is because so many other units look really solid this year.

    Finally, I would not be surprised, and in fact expect, penn st to be planning their own offensive surprises this year. They have a new offensive coordinator. Also, prior to their previous oc, many of us hoped franklin stuck around, as we felt he kind of sucked at coaching. I expect some sort of no huddle with another wrinkle or two thrown in for the Pitt game.

    No way to know for sure, as they have closed practices.

    Liked by 1 person

  68. Add into the debate over the Offensive Line… Trib Review headlining a story about new OL Coach Dave Borbely emphasis on his Players needing to be more like “The Rockettes.”

    Does not exactly help reduce any concerns.

    Like

  69. A lesson from the past … it is impossible to separate your feeling about a person when measuring his job performance.

    Back on Pitt Blather in 2010 …. Chas, who was a big Wanny hater, was overjoyed when DW was axed, and Pedersen became a hero in his eyes. And a few years later when Wanny made his remarks on TV that Pedersen should be fired, Chas wrote a scathing article about Wanny, one of his points being on how good Wanny was in the behind-the-scenes political game …. which, as it turns out couldn’t be more incorrect. Fact is that Pedersen obviously had Nordenberg wrapped around his finger … despite all of Pedersen’s failures in that time period.

    And as we now see …. Graham didn’t leave Pitt because of Penny’s relatives, or that ASU was that much better, or even Tino (who of course received much of the blame on the The Blather back then), it was that Smug Steve gave him a line of crap.

    When you don’t like a person (whether it be a politician, actor or sports figure, etc) and want him to do badly, everyone seems to accentuate the negative and pay less attention to the positives. That is just human nature … and I am every bit as guilty as the next person.

    I do believe that Narduzzi is not nearly as bad as he is being made out to be by many here. Yes, he can be brash, aggressive and overbearing at times …. and compared to “Aw Shucks’ Chryst, he certainly comes off that way …. but I don’t think he is nearly as bad as most of his peers in these areas (not even close).

    Switzerland … (wwb)

    Like

    1. Have you ever met him for any length of time? Spoken to him or asked him interview questions. Met him outside the confines of Pitt football? Tried to get clarification from him about something.

      Well, I have as have many other people and to a person I hear the same things about his personality.

      Like

    1. comparing PSU program’s to Pitt’s is futile. With the exception of the early 00s and the Sandusky sanctions, PSU has maintained a level of consistency for the past 50 plus years. And Pitt would have never survived something like the Sandusky scandal. wwb

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I think it is amazing Pitt survived all the coaching turnover this decade and was able to win six games each season. Pitt wouldn’t try to survive a Sandusky-like scandal and would just pull the plug on football despite the ACC checks.

        Agree with what PSU has maintained, but it has quite a few of three-plus loss seasons since 1982. I know that is an arbitrary year to start from and there are two titles in that span, but for being hell bent on winning and doing whatever it takes, I was amazed when I counted.

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  70. Listen folks we are all experts on here and we base are insights and projections on a lot of info … for me I read Tea leaves.. this morning the tea told me 2 things… we are in for a fun ride with a winning record at the end….Penn State Predators are in for a helluva battle…I through the leaves on the table a 3rd time but they wouldn’t give me the winner… damn, I have to wait 3 weeks…

    Moral of the story.. no matter how you develop your thought and opinion it’s all good stuff.. all the time !!!

    Hail to the best PITT fans on the planet…who reside right here in the POV…

    Like

  71. The biggest unknowns are still how will Bookser and Millin do against good pass rushers? If they are reasonably decent rather than Swiss cheese it will make a big difference. It will also keep KP from running for his life. None of us know the answer to this. In this case maybe the secret practices are good, because the opposition doesn’t know either. Unfortunately they will be able to find out pretty quickly. In the meantime we get to have a pretty good discussion.

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  72. Has Pitt ever had a more cobbled together O-line with less experience working together? Bookser the only mainstay, learning a new position. Morrisey a preferred walk-on with one year of below the line play. Herndon and Dintino, two guys that came in as promising defenders that never got significant PT. Finally Millin, a late transfer from a lesser conference. Seriously, this does not look like a recipe for success. We definitely have the right to be concerned and critical of how we got here. Especially when compared to pretty much all other units that have a combination of experience and talented youth.

    Obviously, it is a combination of recruiting failures by Chryst and Narduzzi. Especially Narduzzi since only Morrisey, a preferred walk-on was recruited by him. Not one of his scholarship players has cracked the first string or as far as we know is even close or pushing the starter.

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  73. Lets make one thing clear. I am a Duzz fan. The big game wins, Psu Clemson and Miami justify his continued tenure. Is he a jagoff as they like to say here in Harrison City? Damn strate. But if he wins I am with him. The references to Smiling Stevie and nerdy still make me cringe. Remember one thing Smiley was doing nerdy’s bidding. Nerdy was the teflon dean while we ranted about Smiley nobody bothered to ask important questions about our commitment or lack thereof. Thankfully both the nerdy and smiley era are over. Now lets get back to doing what I do best suggesting Reed stick to reporting on high tides.

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    1. If Reed stuck to high tides, we wouldn’t be having this great discussion and nearly as much fun.
      You also have to take the good with the bad with the previous administration. When they took over Pitt athletics was indeed the Pits. We could just as easily have been playing in the MAC if they didn’t take the actions they did. All of our facilities were on their last legs and we has Johnny Majors II and a basketball team that hadn’t done anything since Charles Smith. We are where we are because of them good and bad.

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  74. Lastrow.. I am from Apollo that’s scary enough growing up next to NUMEC/Babcock and Wilcox plant and all that radiation… local bar in town had a drink called the “ nuclear fizz “ lucky to find me a lovely lady with 10 fingers, 10 toes and both eyes properly located in the cranium.. just kidding folks.. a little Apollo
    Sick humor…

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  75. The difference between Chryst and Narduzzi in style and philosophy is striking. maybe a good topic for an article in next years slow period. Offense vs Defense, Youth vs Experience, Laid back vs Fiery.

    Chyst’s O-line included Bisno, DJ, Officer, Jones-Smith, and Bookser all who played early in their careers, and played in many games. Boyd, Conner, Galambos, Maddox, Ollison all played early and often So far in Narduzzi’s tenure I can only think of Whitehead and KP as the only freshmen with a major impact.

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    1. You are correct about the contrast between PC and PN … offense v defense. While Pc’s recruiting classes were mostly offense, it’s just the opposite for PN. Ironically, PN has been much better at QB though. wwb

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  76. Note I just tease Reed about maritime matters. Maybe we can do a special blog on the Edmund fitzgerald. would they have been saved if they made whitefish bay?

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    1. Edmund Fitzgerald?
      Can’t find any HUDL highlights on him, is he a Pitt lean?

      None of the recruiting sites even list him, probably a bottom dweller.

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  77. Titleman, re: Closed Practices…

    Well, that is exactly me you are referencing. Look, every person I talk to, including people at Pitt, want more open practices. That Saunders / PSN link above is spot on.

    “Pitt’s proclivity for privacy isn’t uncommon in the college football world, but for a school that has struggled to fill Heinz Field for years and is coming off the program’s worst attendance mark in a decade, all the stops should be pulled out.”

    Add to that our alumni donations to football and athletics are about the worse in the ACC and at its lowest point in years and there is the problem.

    Pitt fans talk continually about ways to get more fans involved and how to make things better and one of the ways is staring you right in the face. Every Pitt coach up to PN opened practices…and the HC who the Pitt fans love the most had the best access for media, parents, local coaches and selected fans.

    It truly isn’t personal to me really. I would only drive up once or maybe twice per camp anyway. But the professional writers and reporters are getting screwed big time. They can’t write opinionated blog-style articles so they need access to actually report something. Instead they get force fed the pablum and coach propaganda that PN wants to have published.

    Go back and read the info he was handing out about the team and players at this time last year and compare it to what actually happened. Its insulting to the fans who spent their money supporting the program.

    Honest to God, I keep reading fans bitching about the lack of coverage by the major news outlets when the reason for that is Pat Narduzzi himself.

    BTW how do you know who is a big donor or not? I know I give my donations to worthy causes anonymously as do a lot of others…

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    1. That school who has struggled for so many years to fill Heinz Field is the same school who struggled for so many years to fill a smaller PITT Stadium.

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    1. And he doesn’t even have to have full access but no spring practices work on any actual game plans and in the fall only the last ten days or so. He could close those and still give some access for the media to write stuff with.

      What is really scary in a way is that he has clamped down on even the scrimmage info. That means he’s nervous about what is going on.

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  78. “That means he’s nervous about what is going on.” … you state that as fact.

    All the info disseminating from camp has been positive and optimistic. Last summer, the news from camp was much more tense.

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  79. I find it very interesting that with all of Narduzzi’s personality flaws our AD Lyke decided to give him a raise and extend his contract to 2024.

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  80. seriously does Reed really think he can tell when Duzz is nervous? Again we love you Reed but you jumped the shark due to your personal animus toward Duzz.

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  81. I failed to see the importance of attending practices. The fans that want to attend are the hardcore fans who will always attend the games anyway. As for the media in this city, they are so negative towards Pitt that I’m glad they are locked out. If Pitt wins, the fans will come ( to the games that is).

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  82. Just heard of a poll of NCAA coaches Franklin was considered the most over rated coach. Come on Duzz, lets make that a W against the Pedos next month.H2P

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    1. OC Morehead and Saquon Barkley saved Jimmy’s job at psux. This will be an interesting year for Franklinstein. He booted a bad seed LB after 2 suspensions and then decided to bring him back. Desperate? IDK…

      They are ranked # 10 in the preseason polls. Good for them (cult) but better for Pitt. We win that game on prime time TV and the needle moves. The next week we punch GT in the face mask and swing down to Orlando and beat a depleted UCF roster with a new coach with no HCing experience.

      I’m getting ready for some football!

      Like

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