If you all remember I did a series of articles in June of 2017 that looked at the departing starters from the 2016 season and who I thought would be replacing them for 2017.  With that I assigned a grade of “Upgrade“, “Downgrade” or “Draw‘.

What I’ll do first is look at each position, or unit, along the offense or defense as of today and write down who I think will be the starter and why it will be that guy.  Then I’ll assign a ranking of “Upgrade” if I see an upgrade in player quality, “Downgrade’ if I see a lessening of talent or “Draw” if I think we’ll match last year’s player(s) in the position or unit. 

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

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

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

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

Winslow 17

And here is what he did punting seen broken down:

Winslow total

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

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

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

Will we be any better at that this year?  Who knows as that is certainly the least discussed aspects of the team in fall camp.  But I can tell you where I think we’ll probably not improve much if at all, and we may tank even, and that is in returning punts – which we did very well last season.  We averaged 14.3 ypr which put us 7th in the country and 2nd in the ACC.

Why?  well, even though Pitt fans like to think Quadree Henderson had a ‘down’ year in ’17 that was true as it was less spectacular than 2016 but it still was a great showing.  Here are our punt and kickoff returners and their numbers for last season:

Kick & Punt

In 2016 Henderson averaged 15.8 ypr on punts (3rd nationally) and 30.5 on ypr on kickoffs (5th) and honestly that was a season for the ages at Pitt.  So while he dipped he still was among national leaders in his special teams work as he was 9th in punt returns with an 11.6 ypr.  As with Winslow he’ll be a very hard guy to replace.

For the 2018 version of our punting and punt return teams we’ll have rsFR Kirk Christodoulou out of Australia as our punter.  KC (I’ll call him KC if I want to!) has a big leg but the concern with him is in two other areas. First is his accuracy in punting.

As the punters and kickers get right into it during the first part of practices when the media has the “open viewing window” I was able to watch him in actions a few times last year and was impressed with his leg strength and sort of unimpressed with his ability to put the ball where it was supposed to go. It looks like he worked on that though as his stats in the spring game were 11 punts for 415 yards (37.7 ypp) with 2 inside the 20 and 1 touchback.

So he can punt OK and has pretty good hangtime but I don’t think we’ll see the constant accuracy and spot placements we had from Winslow… who I can’t remember shanking a punt in his fours years at Pitt.  Where I feel there is a big drop-off between the two is in actual football playing ability.  It is one thing to punt the ball forward and a whole other thing to have situational awareness about what is happening on the field at all times you are out there.

Winslow was excellent at this with his ability to go up and get high or off-center snaps and turn them into punts.  He even threw a 15 yard TD pass last year.  KC is new to all this and may well be a one-dimensional punter.  There is a world of difference between Australian Rules football and the game we play.

So it’s a DOWNGRADE for this part of the punting game.

As far as place kicking the ball goes we’ll have returning rsSO Alex Kessman off the tee again.  His was an up and down season.  His kickoffs were pretty effective but his field goal game was poor with only 11 scores in 19 tries (57%).  That was 100th out of 108 places nationally and if the offense is going to need all the points, and I think it will, it can get he needs to up his game dramatically.  Here is what he did kicking off and a touchback rate of 50% is pretty good I think, but I couldn’t find what was good or bad nationally:

Kessman total

The placekicking will be a DRAW.

Without Quadree Henderson returning punts and kickoffs this season we’ll be seeing more of rsSO Jazzee Stocker and some other player back there.  Last Season WR Araujo-Lopes fielded one punt but I think he’ll be too valuable to worry about on special teams. Look for another WR though to step up.  Perhaps it will be JR WR Maurice Ffrench, who knows?

Either way the returns teams are a DOWNGRADE.

As far as the punt and kick coverage teams go we were crap in both ways.  Since we never hear or see who is taking turns on the coverage teams during fall camp this is a big unknown so…

The Coverage Teams are a DRAW.

Overall with our losing 1st team All-ACC Punter Ryan Winslow to graduation and 2nd team All-ACC for Specialist Henderson declaring early for the NFL draft I can’t say with any certainty at all that their replacements will be able to match the great jobs those two did for us.  Therefore overall the Special Teams units combined are an easy:

DOWNGRADE

P/S: Check out the carpeting in that header photo.

169 thoughts on “POV’s Win, Lose or Draw for 2018’s STs

  1. Link: Pitt Players Select Captains for 2018 Season

    Pat Narduzzi Announces 2018 Pitt Football Captains

    Bookser, Briggs and Wirginis Chosen as Captains by Teammates

    https://pittsburghpanthers.com/news/2018/8/24/pat-narduzzi-announces-2018-pitt-football-captains.aspx

    PITTSBURGH—At the annual Pitt Football Kickoff Luncheon on Friday afternoon at Heinz Field, Panthers’ head coach Pat Narduzzi announced that three seniors will serve as Pitt’s captains for the 2018 season: offensive lineman Alex Bookser, defensive back Dennis Briggs and linebacker Quintin Wirginis.

    All three Pitt football captains hail from the greater Pittsburgh area, making major contributions to the Panthers during their careers—on and off the field.

    A Pittsburgh native from Mt. Lebanon High School, Bookser enters his senior season having played in 37 games with 26 starts on the offensive line over the past three years. Each of the past two seasons, Bookser was named to the Honorable Mention All-ACC Team by the league’s coaches for his play on the field while also earning All-ACC Academic honors for his success in the classroom.

    Briggs was chosen as a team captain for the second consecutive season. The defensive back has yet to miss a game in his Pitt career, playing in 38 contests over the past three years while tallying 58 total tackles, 3.5 tackles for loss, 2.0 sacks, five passes defended and two forced fumbles during that time.

    Hailing from Wilkinsburg, Pa., and a product of Shady Side Academy, Briggs is the first two-time Pitt football captain since Aaron Donald received that honor in 2012 and ’13.

    Coming off a redshirt in 2017, Pittsburgh native and Fox Chapel High School product Wirginis is set to anchor the Pitt linebacking corps this season. In his first three seasons with the Panthers, Wirginis played in 38 games as a special teams ace and reserve middle linebacker, accumulating 50 tackles, 4.5 tackles for loss, 4.0 sacks and one fumble recovery.

    To give the Panthers four team captains for each week, Bookser, Briggs and Wirginis will select one more senior leader to represent Pitt as a fourth captain during the coin toss prior to each game.

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  2. Jeff George Jr. transferring to Pitt. I don’t think he will be on scholarship, but another arm to help ensure Patti’s redshirt.

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      1. Uh, no scholly, easy to get….no risk.

        ST overall slight downgrade due to Winslow and QH, although I swear they were both getting ripped to shreds on here for most of last season. Somehow now they were good/great enough to have to result in a downgrade. Weird, huh.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Yep, QH had a down year in 2017. He appeared to choose “fair catch” over returning a punt. Was it that he already decided to turn pro and he didn’t want to risk injury?

          I’ll break my vote three ways –

          Punting and kick coverage – DOWNGRADE
          FG – DRAW until I see the consistency on the field
          Punt and kick returns – UPGRADE

          Overall – DRAW

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            1. I don’t recall WHO was critical of WInslow(I didn’t write POV referencing you Reed, wonder why you would think that LOL) but it was early and more than deserved.

              QH’s criticism was deserved IMO and I am surprised his numbers don’t show even more of a decline…maybe I was a bit affected by the atmosphere.

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              1. I really need that edit feature, c’mon Reed, have a little compassion for the verbally challenged idiots like me who also refuse to proofread. 😦
                Maybe I’m the only one out here and not worth the effort. Ok, nevermind.

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      2. Bj you sure are an upbeat guy. What seems to be your problem with someone walking on with no scholarship? Or are you just looking for a reason to bash Narduzzi on any issue that comes up?

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        1. Does everyone have to share your opinion? The kid has moved around a lot. Can you share why its not working out for him? Is it cause he’s a hot head like his dad? Or just not good enough to play?

          You act like every transfer Narduzzi touches turns to gold. It hasn’t happened that way, he’s had some busts.

          With Narduzzi adding him now maybe Narduzzi doesn’t like what he sees in the other transfer Town.

          Your the same guy that when Narduzzi adds recruits that have zero offers you always try to get ahead of the posters and say the negative posters will be posting soon and cannot believe why anyone would question taking a recruit with zero offers

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  3. Reed, I wasn’t sure how you could assume Kessman wouldn’t improve from year one to year two, but then I looked at Chris Blewitt’s stats. Looks like Andre Powell is not exactly a positive influence on the kicking game. Blewitt’s Field Goal % actually went down as he got older…

    Stats are FGM / FGA / Pct
    2013 Pitt 14 18 77.8%
    *2014 Pitt 16 21 76.2%
    *2015 Pitt 15 23 65.2%
    *2016 Pitt 10 17 58.8%

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Good point about Blewitt, I vaguely remembered seeing that decline. Kinda like the Pitt team, Blewitt had his spectacular moments but also crapped the bed a couple of times too.

      Nobody will forget Clemson for both he and the team though so if any Pitt fan sees him in a bar, I think he is set for life.

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  4. I expect Kessman to improve. My reason is that his misses were consistent last season. I’m serious – on his misses he normally had a strong boot, but they were consistently just a bit wide right. Fixable.

    The new punter looked pretty pedestrian in the spring game but will likely improve as he gets experience.

    But overall for the special teams, I think it has to be a downgrade losing Winslow (who did get criticized on here and like all punters had some clunker punts) and QH.

    Go Pitt.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Once again, the unknown is assumed to be a concern for worry rather than an opportunity for a player to realize his potential.

    Such a safe analysis to present. This group will be positively impacted by one player that continues to be an unknown as of today. His name Paris Ford. The previous discussion surrounding our recruiting & how highly rated “impact” players need to emerge in order for the Panthers to compete for ACC titles is valid. This season Paris Ford will have an impact.

    I’ve already listed my expectations for Ford this season. One of those expectations is that this defensive players scores at least one TD this season. That score could just as easily come on a kick return as in any other way. Paris Ford will demonstrate to be more than capable of handling kick off & punt returns, thus a DRAW.

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        1. If he was a 5 star going to Miami you would be bragging about his potential and ragging on Narduzzi for not signing him. How else can you come up with an upgrade on downgrade without projecting on some of the unknowns?

          Liked by 1 person

  6. Fellow Povers,
    Just an FYI:
    My Father-in-law, Joe Renz, passed away Thursday and we are in the Burg for the funeral. He was a very good man, raised 7 kids, worked hard, and treated us all wonderfully. He will be greatly missed by everyone who knew him. He was 92.

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  7. P Ford may be able to return a KO, Punt, Interception, WR and reverse for a TD this year. Whitehead made the right decision but would have enjoyed him and P Ford in the secondary.

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  8. You guys keep assuming big production from unknowns when we haven’t even seen these kids play yet.

    But we see this from Pitt fans all the time. We heard this en mass about Ford, Browne, Clark, Hendrix, Hamlin (in both ’16 and ’17) and AJ Davis this time last season and how did those guys pan out?

    I get that you are very optimistic but, again, the premise of these upgrade, downgrade or draw articles…and we have been doing them for three fall camps now… is based on returning players we have seen in actual game action even if it has been just a glimpse.

    That fact seems to pass over your head on a continual basis Tom

    If you want to praise Ford and talk about how well he’ll do then write an article or post your thoughts in a different thread. You just can’t help yourself.

    Ford may be the player we hope he’ll be but let’s see him actually do it before we say he’s automatically an upgrade over a star All-ACC Henderson.

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    1. Just more hope from Narduzzi faithful because he won with Paul’s players. Fact is his recruiting isn’t 75% as good as Chryst and it showed in a 5-7 record. Now in year 4 these same fans are going to be please with 7 wins. Comical in year 4 paying 3.5M.

      I can’t wait to hear more excuses on why we are going to ACC Championship after his promise. It will have zero to do with him and his ego.

      Any Ahole that tells a grown man to clean up his house after a party should be coaching high school football.

      Every year it is another savior who will change the game. You guys are running out of Narduzzi recruits to have this happen. It was Hamlin and his Bs Hamlin Island. Then it was Browne and Clark and his vaunted Defensive recruits with 1/3 who left the program. If this jabroni was from Georgia we would all see him for what he is. But bc his Grandpa ate clarke bars and worked in the coke ovens and drank stony’s you guys love him.

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    2. With that bit of reasoning every position should almost be a downgrade since we are always losing graduates and transfers and we have no idea about the unknown except for the star recruits moving up. If we had three 5 stars that red shirted last season and were potential Kick off and Punt returners would we downgrade the position?

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    3. Actually Reed, I never compared Ford to QH. I also premised my opinion by validating the fact that he remains an unknown as a “college” player. Lastly, I called the STs a DRAW, not an UPGRADE.

      And BTW, if you seriously consider your analysis based on only considering past performances, the impression of the future of the team will almost always be slanted towards a draw or downgrade.
      The reason for this is self evident. In the college game the most experienced players graduate and the most talented underclassmen often jump early to the NFL draft in hopes of cashing in early. So you lose your best while analyzing only returning players that have stats to reference as their replacements. That’s just flawed thinking, especially when you totally negate the players who are in the pipeline now ready to make their 1st contributions.

      But it’s your blog so play the analysis game as you see fit. I just wish that you weren’t so sensitive to others opinions that may not be aligned perfectly with your own. Learn to accept others opinions as just that, another opinion. Deep breaths & relax, repeat.

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  9. Jim, condolences from me n JeanieB. Sounds like a good man who made a deep run and left big footprints on this planet. He will live in your hearts.

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  10. Man, we are the Isle of Misfit Toys when it comes to transfers.

    I wonder why PN didn’t try for a decent RB or LB or a better DB over the last two years.

    I wouldn’t be surprised if George JR fleets up to QB2 sooner rather than later because he at least has some solid D1 P5 passing experience whereas Town has zero.

    https://www.sports-reference.com/cfb/players/jeff-george-jr-1.html

    And from what I heard Town didn’t do much in camp to make the staff have a whole lot of confidence in his ability to play at this level.

    This might be one of the better moves PN has made actually.

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    1. On this point I agree Reed since I have little faith in Town as the #2 QB. That’s why I was hoping Narduzzi wasn’t going to over look Patti as Pickett’s back up this year.

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  11. Henderson was an all-time stats leader at Pitt. He was all-world two years ago at returns and jet sweeps.
    His production in both areas dropped last year, especially the sweeps, mostly because of the surrounding cast which probably had something to do with the cast as well on returns.

    You just don’t reload when you lose a guy like that.

    However, I do think our return special teams will be adequate with a slight downgrade.

    I think our coverage teams will be a big upgrade because we have more speed, depth, and experience. If we are expecting our defense to finally be good we should expect the same for coverage ST.

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  12. Well, considering we lost two Special Teams coverage players to the OL what does that do?

    Seriously, we took two special teams linemen who never started a game on the OL off of special teams and made them STARTERS on the OL.

    If that doesn’t worry you then you have a continuous IV drip of Pitt koolaid going in.

    On the last thread there was a comment stating that it didn’t seem like there was as much optimism from Fall camp last year as there is this year but if you go back and reread all the press releases it’s exactly the same stuff.

    What Pat Narduzzi was saying about Max Brown, Hendrix and about Chris Clark this time last fall camp is just rather amazing when you look back on it.

    But this is what the staff does every camp. They aren’t pumping up the team’s prospects for us the fans, they are doing it for their own players. All the stuff about the offensive line being so much better in the last week of Camp isn’t for us – it’s for the offensive linemen themselves to have more confidence going into the season.

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    1. If you think a coach at Pitt is going to make negative comments about players during summer camp then I don’t know what else to say. Schools like Bama and Ohio State, where football is treated like a big business and coaches’ salaries reflect it, is where you’ll likely find coaches making comments about players that aren’t so kind.

      Liked by 1 person

  13. Hey Jim, me too, sorry to hear about your loss. Prayers to you, your family…

    Special Teams, once again a lot of unknowns. From some snippets we’ve read, I think there’s real potential for an upgrade in FG kicking with Kessman, and this is his second season so I’d be surprised if we didn’t see a much more comfortable kicker especially given his leg; that said I’m going DRAW here until I see it, kickers can be pretty mental, so it can be hard to predict how guys respond. The new punter sounds really strong too, but until we see it, I say DOWNGRADE; I was never a big Winslow fan, but he was a solid, experienced punter with a shot to make an NFL team. And I’m going downgrade on the return teams because we lost Quadree, such a great athlete… as others have pointed out, he had an off year last year, and we have the potential for some infusion of talent (Shocky? Ffrench? Ford?), so I think the downgrade may be only slight from 17′ to 18′.

    And lastly, George Jr.? Why not, we need depth, and with this guy maybe we got it along with some legit experience. Again, putting snippets together, I suspect the coaches have evaluated the QB position, would like to redshirt their second best QB since he is a true freshman, and are concerned with what they’ve seen from Town’s, so this preserves the redshirt and provides competition for the backup QB spot.

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  14. As far as a field goal kickers % goes. Don’t we have to look at what type of attempts were made and other factors? Other factors like, where the kick was attempted, the weather, did Blewit have a new holder?

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  15. and BTW, I did read on the POV and other places complaints about Winslow. It kind of surprised me to read them but he did get off to a rough start I believe last year.

    I’ll grade the ST as a whole and it is a slight downgrade but again, has a chance to be a real surprise. I read Kessman is looking real good this fall. Plus Ford, Ffrench and others could end up doing a nice job. The punter is the wild card here… .. ike

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  16. I get on Upitt a bit and Reed too for that matter, but truth is, this is a big year for PN. I don’t just want a highly paid coach who isn’t going to contend in the ACC. I could live with 7 wins this year and certainly if one of them is the right one but even with that, RECRUITING MUST IMPROVE.

    Pitt should be a competitive big time program and the negativity because they aren’t is understandable albeit too much and too early with PN.

    Not sure how many games I will get to in person but I have them and if they are winning, might only miss one(GT) for a September wrestling tournament with my kid.

    I am getting amped and although the 2000’s have only been exiting for Pitt consistently in basketball, would love to see the football program become a national power.

    H2P!!! Don’t overlook Albany….even though I am!!!

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  17. Recruiting must improve. And young recruits need to see the field faster. You don’t learn sitting on the bench.

    Don’t overlook Albany. They are well coached and will play hard. But the talent gap should be substantial.

    I will consider 7 wins and a bowl win to be a successful year.

    Liked by 1 person

  18. Looking at last year’s STs, I’ve got to honestly think that this year will be an upgrade. Having OLs on special teams covering kick offs and punts is not the greatest approach. There is more speed now if the Freshmen are included. Kessman should be better, Shocky and/or Ffrench will return punts, with the only real unknown being the new punter. Face it, Winslow, for a SR, was basically serviceable last year, not much better, which should be a low bar for the new punter to exceed.

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    1. If you think 11th in the country at 44 plus yards per punt and almost half his plants as Fair catches touchbacks or inside the 20 is serviceable … we ain’t going to see that again in a long time at Pitt

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  19. Hey Jim, your family made the prayer list on our fridge! Will lift him up tonight for sure. Keep the faith brother.

    Kicking statistics have so much to do with time, place and circumstance. First of all, the Pitt kids are kicking at Steeler Stadium, a notoriously difficult venue for professional kickers, let alone college kids who rarely practice on that turf and in the wind conditions. One day a week at Steeler Stadium does not turn into a huge advantage. Kickers should be there every day, at times when the games will be played, so the kickers understand the wind/elements. This seems like a pretty easy fix. It’s not about a kicking coach. How many extra points or field goals has Powell attempted in his career? Let’s start with “0”. The punter should be there too.

    Secondly, in college, the snap, the hold and the protection are very inconsistent.

    Thirdly, Blewitt holds the record for most field goals made during a career at 55.

    From 0-19 yards in career, he was 1-1 100%
    From 20-29 yards he was 16-19 84.% This includes some bad angles…..lol
    From 30-39 yards he was 14-19 74%
    From 40-49 yards he was 20-32 63% A 43 yarder at the end of clempson…remember!
    From 50-59 yards he was 4-8 50%

    Average was a 70% make percentage –

    According to STATS, Football Bowl Subdivision kickers are making 72.8 percent of their field-goal attempts this year (2015). Blewitt was slightly worse.

    The difference is most stark from 40-49 yards, where NFL kickers make 82.3 percent of their attempts this season while their FBS counterparts are at 59.9 percent. Blewitt was slightly better.

    In the NFL that same year, there were a total of 456 kicks of greater than 40 yards in 256 total games. That’s an average of 1.78 kicks per game of over 40 yards. At Heinz there were 7 in 8 games for a total of just .88 attempts per game. Coincidence?

    For Kessman, he was 3-6 on kicks up to 39 yards, with 0-2 in the opener, probably due to nerves. 6 out of 9 from 40-49, and 2-4 from 50 plus, including a 56 and 55 yarder.

    Overall he was average, but need to realize most of his kicks were from 40+. Pitt shouldn’t be relying on 45+ yard field goals. Statistics indicate that once you get to 40 yards, you have a 60% make rate.

    Synopsis – college field goal kicking sucks in general, and our kickers are very much average. If there ever was a reason to get an OCS, it is the Steeler Stadium kicking platform – lol. The end.

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      1. Depends on who they play and how they lose.

        Let’s say they play Syracuse and lose it on a bonehead call from narduzzi. That’s SOP to me and heck ya I’d complain.

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  20. George Jr struck out at Illinois and then whiffed in Big Blue.
    He missed camp, doesn’t know the playbook and has never thrown one pass to a receiver, none of whom he has even met.
    And we’re bringing him in? Why waste training table food on him?
    Let Patti play back up QB. And as for burning his redshirt…when has that truly ever made a difference?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Never thought about saving the training table food in considering whether or not to let George get a shot at Pitt. I’ll have reconsider now by weighing in the cost of the training table food for every walk on.

      Liked by 3 people

      1. Did you ever think he could be a bad apple considering he’s bounced around to 3 schools. I’m guessing you were a fan of bringing in Clarke and Kam Carter. Bad apples do damage to team chemistry.

        Peak posted today he’s not sure if he’s getting a ship. So all you guys saying its a done deal that he’s a walk on, where is this info coming from?

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      2. I love walk-ons..players who give their all and get little in return.
        They are Pitt students who bust their tails.
        Feed them first at the training table.
        But some gallivanting kid who couldn’t make it at the football Mecca of Illinois, or Big Blue…
        It shows that we are desperate…because of poor recruiting, poor talent evaluation, or in all likelihood, both.

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        1. There is a story behind this latest transfer and no I can’t tell it. It will come out eventually. If someone else wants to share? Please do.

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  21. Patti can still get 4 games in without losing the red shirt. So things could change as the season goes along if Pickett stays healthy in the first half of the season, or if he gets a concussion that requires missing a week.

    Liked by 1 person

  22. From Feldman I completely agree with him. BTW, Pitt offered both guys.

    As expected Artur Sitkowski is named #Rutgers starting QB, meaning two QBs off last year’s IMG Academy are true freshmen starting quarterbacks this season on FBS teams. Pretty amazing. (The other is at Minnesota.)

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  23. As I said P Ford “may” be able to score TD’s on special teams and special offensive plays. I do think he has that kind of ability and yes he hasn’t played but he really is big time in ability. The QB is simply here as depth and will not see the field unless things go really south.

    Liked by 1 person

  24. I’m not sure how many of you have seen these “ stars” play in high school. I see way more games than my wife says I should. Do not go by what the c9aches say. I really question their ability to identify local talent. I know, they have much more ability than ?I do, but I wonder sometimes if they are looking at the same player? I mean, some of these guys aren’t just bad, they are stiffs, yet they praise their abilities. Often times this staff seems to take the second best player on a team in hopes of luring the star. I saw that when I was in high school, it was Carl DePasquas favorite recruiting ploy.

    All that said, I agree with Reed on this one. I think people are putting a lot of faith in kids who really haven’t proved themselves yet. Hope you guys are right, but I’ll wait and see this time around.

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      1. You’re right. Every season is a new season and they’re kids … so they have potential to get better. Much better way to look at thing rather than always yelling at the kids to get off the damn lawn.

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  25. @BJ – the minnesota qb is a walk-on and will start as a true freshman. He is not yet a schollie holder. Impressive nonetheless from the talent at IMG. We should have one of our assistant coaches living near IMG for 6 months of the year and developing relationships there.

    FSU Taggert is trying to capitalize on that market because FSU Weinke is the AD at IMG.

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    1. I’m aware of that Huff. The part that impressed me, two QB’s off the same HS team are going to start as true freshman at p5 schools. Its pretty impressive.

      Pitt offered Sitkowski before they offered Patti.

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  26. First off, I understand that George is not getting a scholarship and at least for the time being is not asking for one.

    Secondly, it’s fake news that you can never assume something. Before you go to bed at night and you look out the window and there is no snow on the ground, then you wake up and look out the same window and see snow. You also see footprints in the snow going around your house. You then can safely assume it snowed the night before and someone was walking around your house.

    I think it’s safe to assume P Ford could be an impact football player for PITT in the near future. If it looks, smells and feels like it, there is no reason to eat it and rub it all over your face to prove it.

    If we keep waiting for a player to have done something to feel good about him why do we bother following a team?

    Just because a player has moved around position-ally wise doesn’t make him a failure. To me it shows the athleticism of the player to be consider at multiple positions. I keep hearing the O-Line will be fine. ike

    Like

    1. Ike, you need to let someone know who you “keep hearing things from” because you never once hear anything negative about the team or players.

      Honest to God, every time you say this it’s something positive about the team nothing neutral or even negative.

      Like

  27. Never mind the training table food. The young Mr George is going to take up a valuable seat on the team bus going over to Heinz Field or maybe he can hitch a ride with the students? and standing there on the sidelines taking up all that space. What are these coaches thinking?? .. jeezz

    Liked by 1 person

    1. What about mouthpieces and training tape?
      Socks and jocks.

      Because HCPN hit paydirt with Nate, he thinks he can take castoffs and turn them into all stars.
      A gamblers mentality…hit big on a slot machine and keep going back to it.

      Maybe if he got decent recruits, he wouldn’t need to get Illinois Michigan kids.

      What’s that, Ike? He did get our current QB, the one everyone raves about, he with the one touchdown pass (and a shovel pass at that).

      Time will tell.

      Like

  28. I don’t know where OurLads site gets their info from, but they have depth charts up for all D1 teams and they show French as starting PR and KR…for what it is worth.

    Liked by 1 person

  29. Narduzzi should take the youngest coach and have them work/commute from Bradenton, Fl, taking up residence near IMG. Not sure of the legalities without looking at my handy dandy ncaa notebook, but it seems like a swell idea to get daily/weekly exposure to those kids. It’s a factory.

    Like

  30. BTW, IMG crushed State Champion Pine-Richland 42-0 last night. Mike White says the mercy rule went into effect in the third quarter. I don’t see how any team would agree to play IMG.

    Like

    1. If he team was concerned, they’d have another punter competing. Winslow wasn’t great at first and over a couple of years became really good. I’d expect something similar to our freshman place kicker last year. Some inconsistency but also potential.

      Like

    1. Yeah, that’s why the two problem areas the media have talked about all camp were the OL & WR. The WRs got help with Mack but still kind of weak I think.

      KC shags the ball more than any Pitt punter I’ve seen, but that was last fall.

      Like

    2. Pickett probably zipping it too hard…big change from Browne and DiNucci’s ducks.
      Sure could use a set of Tyler Boyd type hands….even though he sucked too.

      H2P!!! Beat the not-so-Great Danes!

      Like

  31. Reed, you know I read everything and anything. I’m never sure what I can transfer over and link to the POV and it really doesn’t matter as you dismiss every positive comment about PITT anyways. Let’s see how this season plays out. and by the by, you know where I get some “some” of my info from.

    I read every detail of your articles and comments. I read pretty much every comment. Yes I’m a crazed PITT fan and yes I’m just plain crazy. You blow everything positive off and believe everything negative to be the truth. So here we are at the crossroads. Eric Clapton

    Like

    1. Weah tweeting after this weekend’s game stated that he caught his 1st pass in the NFL in that game. So that’s it apparently.

      Like

    1. Number 5 is even better though on this preseason bottom 10 list –

      Big Ten Leaders and Legends

      The conference earned the Coveted Fifth Spot by spending its summer leading the nation in headlines, most of them involving a legend.

      Liked by 1 person

  32. Dad got some nice wheels, mom got embarrassed at the presser in her Pitt gear and son Robert got two NC rings which will be available shortly at the nearest pawn shop in his home town.

    Like

    1. So you’re saying there’s a chance Narduzzi can bring home a NC ring. What’s the address of that pawn shop that you mentioned?

      Like

  33. txpanther.. thanks for the video .. that building, long gone, was Pennsylvania Hall. Spent 2 of the best years of my life going to Physical Therspy school there and in case you haven’t heard was a classmate of gc’s dream lover- Virtue,
    Great view of our ole bowl from that building…

    Spent a lot of time on the surface of PITT Stadium like so many on here.. finally hit a 50 yard field goal just pissing around at lunchtime but much like my only hole in one no one was watching….,

    Like

    1. BigB: No joke.. one of my favorite accomplishments as an athlete was kicking a 51 yard field goal in Pitt Stadium in an intramural football game. True story!

      Liked by 1 person

    1. One of the justications was to attract more out of state students. Those students pay three times the tuition of in state. So it appears CSU has some data saying students value modern multi purpose venues. Enhances the college experience most likely.

      Based on some rough math, a 50 percent increase in out of state students could result in an extra $20 million per year for the school.

      Tex

      Like

  34. Colorado State playing at home against Hawaii. Colorado State has a VERY nice stadium. Then later tonight Wyoming plays New Mexico State.

    Like

  35. Thanks Ike. Feeling pretty well. WILL be at both Albany and PSU.

    While the pessimists may ultimately be correct (and maybe they are actually realists), this is the time of year where hope springs eternal for me.

    I choose to be optimistic about our prospects this season despite the daunting schedule. And I will remain optimistic until I have reason not to.

    Hail to Pitt!!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It is a lot easier to be a pessimist. All that is needed is poor motivation, lack of talent, no attention to details, disorganization & a loser attitude.

      A team possessing those traits loses. It’s easy to lose, & it’s even easier for the naysayers to tell you so when the loses come. The guys on this current team however might have something to say about that though.

      Time will tell what this team is made of. Any of our opinions, whether positive or negative, optimistic or pessimistic, realistic or dreaming, informed & based on statistics or hopeful based on potential all adds up to a Big ZERO when the guys who strap on the helmets suit up next weekend.

      No one knows anything for sure, no one. But like I said, the safer bet is to predict failure, it’s the easy road to follow.

      We’ll have facts to digest soon enough. That’s why they play the games. Beat Albany. H2P!

      Like

  36. The Bills (with QB Peterson of Pitt and Foster of Alabama) play the Bengals (with T.Boyd of Pitt) today at 1pm. I won’t be watching due to a golf commitment (ikr). Foster is attempting to get his 1st catch of the preseason after going 0-for…in the first 2 preseason games.

    Here is another WPIAL star that got away from Pitt and is making it big in FB (sarcasm) –

    https://www.landof10.com/michigan/michigan-football-center-patrick-kugler-ol-graduate-assistant

    The Pitt staff should be highlighting these facts every time Joey Porter Jr is in their presence – the ND verbal OL Kristovic (sp) should see it too (he is a 3* that ND has already recruited over with multiple 4* OLineman in this class alone).

    H2P – best the “Grate” Danes of Albany

    Like

  37. Eric.. Right on about Kugler and Foster. Kugler would have doubled his on field experience and exposure and Foster would have been a 4 year starter.. talk about a win- win situation for both PITT and the student athlete….

    Like

    1. Kugler received a better degree from Michigan and if Foster wants to make it big in this world he can do it without having a Pitt degree. I don’t know why fans think Pitt is this special place to get to the NFL. If you’re talented, the pros will find you.

      Like

      1. Not the point Nate – both players probably would have made a positive impact at Pitt – and probably for all 4 years of their career. That would have been noticed at the next level.

        That is all I was referring to.

        I know all WPIAL stars won’t stay home – Hudson and Winovich at Michigan are good examples of star players that left town and there are many others.

        I’ll drop the subject – and go golfing instead.

        Like

        1. until Pitt gets a ton of 4 and 5 stars (lucky to get 6-8 per class), these wpial 4 star kids should stay home. going to elite schools means they are often playing behind other 4 and 5 stars until they get their shot. At Pitt, you can start much sooner (you would think) since Pitt just doesnt have the depth of talent. You get more playing time at Pitt and Pitt has a good record of sending kids to the pros. But some kids just want to leave the area, some kids think they wont ride the pine for long, some kids just dont like Pitt.

          Like

    2. If only he had taken Mommy’s advice.

      Foster could of been somebody, he could have been a contender, but instead he’s a bum.

      Like

  38. What about Sean Lee and tons of others that go to the pros and have amazing careers. Boyd will be lucky to be on the Bengals roster after this year? Goes both ways.

    Like

    1. I doubt it. He’s the only QB other than Pickett to actually play and complete passes at the D1 P5 level.

      He started 8 games at Illinois with 1500 career yards and 9 TDs.

      He’s head and shoulders above Town and will be the QB2 as soon as he has a handle on the playbook.

      That was an excellent and much needed move by Narduzzi.

      Like

      1. So you are saying the team depth at QB was upgraded.

        Just in time for the season to begin.

        So do we have a chance at a winning season now?

        There are some FB hungry dudes and gals ready for the first KO.

        Like

  39. This comment kinda ties to the transfer article the other day. What does accepting George Jr to the time say to Town and Patti?

    I am all about improving the team and no doubt Goeorge has a pedigree. However, in the case of at least Patti give the kid a chance to improve. Why did we even take Town if he stinks as bad as this move indicates. Just weird.

    Like

  40. @Nate – if your talented, and the pro scouts get tape of your talent, they will find you. Pro’s don’t go with uncertainty. Drafting uncertainty is career limiting. Stated differently, taking a flier on someone without much tape to warrant a draft pick, gets you canned. Foster didn’t have enough tape to warrant being drafted. Foster would have started as a freshman at Pitt, most likely.

    At a minimum, he would have been a very good 5th year transfer for Pitt. Instead, he listened to a fast talking Saban who told him that he would be an integral part of the team during his redshirt senior year…….and he wasn’t.

    Hudson is going to be a star. Winovich, I didn’t think was going to be a star at Michigan, but he bulked up and got faster, so good for him.

    Also interesting about Miles Sanders. He better hope to have a great first half of the season or he is going to get bumped by a freshman. If the Dairy and Farmers High struggles, he may get bounced if he is not performing optimally.

    Like

      1. Thanks for the update Erie. Last I read, Sanders still had a hold of 1st team, but that was a couple of weeks ago. Until Pitt starts bringing in 4 star OL on a consistent basis, we will struggle to get elite qb’s. If the freshman takes over, he should transfer immediately and sit out this year, giving him two more elsewhere.

        We will see if Franklin strings him along to keep him as an insurance policy.

        Like

  41. Couple thoughts:

    …If BigB and MissingWlat were kicking 50-yarders, why weren’t you guys on the team? We could have been cheering for you then too!

    …Thought I read where the George kid threw more INTs than TDs, if so, he’s going to have a hard time seeing the field with Coach Duzz’s fear of turn-overs.

    …Watson is considered by some to be an excellent QB Coach, perhaps that’s the reason the George kid ended up here. Maybe his father knew someone who knew someone and suggested it…

    …You wish the scholarship had gone to a 4-Star, but great to see these walkons get rewarded and great to see the positive team reactions.

    Hail to Pitt!

    Like

    1. If you believe the reporting, George Jr. was quoted that he thought that by transferring to Pitt provided him the best opportunity of breaking into the two deep to obtain playing time.

      Like

  42. Here is the bottom line. This team doesn’t have the best depth at QB.

    I’ve read countless threads on how much depth this team has. Some have stated this team has more depth than in a really long time.

    QB is the most important position on the field. With Kenny’s style, he’s going to take some shots this year. A injury is not out of the question. If this team has rely on Town or George, this team is in trouble. George had one offer coming out of HS, he’s now on his 3rd team, he’s a QB who threw more interceptions than TD’s. The timing is interesting when he was brought in, one week before the first game. He has to do a lot of cramming in a short amount of time. Why didn’t the staff bring him in earlier? Last year Ford came in later than most and the staff held him out the entire year.

    Like

  43. Hey Major Majors, you are closest to the truth than anyone. It’s definitely a case of someone knowing someone and doing that someone a solid.

    Like

  44. Agree with Reed about George, and best to redshirt Patti so that he has two years left after KP leaves, three if KP leaves early. Town was always going to be insurance, so if George is a better policy, all the better.

    Borbs is a good interview and makes me feel more comfortable that we are in good hands and that he will get the most out of what we have.

    I am starting to believe the pundits are wrong and are not aware of how things are coming together.

    It is still going to come down to KP and the Sunshine Band and how much better the defense really is.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Borbs is responsible for what we have!!!! He didn’t bring any high level recruits with him when he started, which to me, is telling. Especially with the current MD state of affairs. Next years verbals are currently underwhelming, so I am reserving my opinion, but it isn’t starting off well.

      Granted, there is only one Joe Moore out there, but we can do better. Isn’t there a Joe Moore camp that Pitt is attached too? If we aren’t attached, why not? He cut hhis teeth at Pitt after his career at my hometown of USC stint!

      Like

      1. I agree that recruiting has been poor, but how is he responsible for what we have? He only just got here.
        If he did sign recruits, they wouldn’t be here till next year. So he is supposed to bring guys from Maryland?

        Joe Moore recruited in the days of Sherrill after a national championship, then took his rep to Temple and ND. Borbs is a journeyman, not a legend.

        Like

        1. I was copying your line of your post which indicated you were comfortable that he will do well with what we have….and i added that he is responsible for what we have….now and in the future. If he is great, coach em up!!

          Has anyone took the time to figure out the record of the teams where these guys coached together in the past? So much has been made about how comfortable these guys are with each other….but were they successful?

          Like

  45. Just because a coach says something positive doesn’t ALWAYS mean they are trying to blow smoke up someone’s butt. When someone says something negative about PITT, it’s the total truth anything positive is crazy talk.

    I don’t believe everything the coaches say but I don’t dismiss it all either.

    Like

  46. Reed… Agree that George or just about ANYONE has to be better than Town. The Kid can’t throw OR run for that matter.

    The fact that he’s here taking up space says as much about the CURRENT state of affairs as just about anything else.

    Like

  47. Oh no, another seat on the bus taken. I can’t say Town is a good pick-up but I sure can’t say he can’t run or throw. Cause I just don’t know. Bama thought he was OK though?

    Like

    1. USC thought Browne could play…..5 years before we got him. When we got him, nobody else wanted him. No demand. Browne was nowhere near a 5 star when he came to Pitt, those days were long gone.

      Town has been a mess. Verballed to Bama, never went there. He flipped to USC and then 2 weeks into camp he transferred to Arky then went the JC route. When he came to Pitt, nobody else wanted him. No demand.

      George about the same. No demand.

      Are you starting to see a pattern?

      Narduzzi needs to do a much better job recruiting HS QB’s and developing them.

      Like

  48. On QBs, much as I hate to type it, I give UPS credit for getting their backup QB involved in the offense. Otherwise I suspect he may have transferred rather than sit behind McNugget. Like the creativity of it…

    Coach Duzz does seem to have brought in some decent QBs — easy to forget how mediocre our QB talent has been before Peterman and Pickett.

    Go Pitt.

    Like

  49. I smell a Missing vs BigB field goal kicking contest in Red lot 5A prior to a game they both attend (Panther / Predators?)
    Paramedics on standby can be arranged 😎

    Like

    1. That smell would be both of them $hitting the bed if they ever tried teeing it up at the 40 yard line in this day & age. I can hear the tearing of groin muscles all the way down here in Savannah.

      Like

  50. We need to be fair, here. PN was likely looking for someone to come in who clearly understood he was the back up QB. This means finishing their career, barring injury, in a back up mode. Most players want to go to a situation where they are promised they will at least be able to compete for the job. Pitt will not get a top prospect to come in just to handle the clipboard. If the Town experiment has been a flop, then give Narduzzi credit for getting another back up in place before the season starts. Narduzzi most likely has a plan to start Patti for two years as was mentioned, which gives him a QB for the next 5 years, plenty of time to recruit a top flight.

    Like

  51. No really, I do like Upitt. Not in an awkward way though.

    As far as Town, I haven’t seen anything from him yet, so need to reserve judgment.

    I would like to see Patti and many other freshman in a couple of games, just to take advantage of the new rules and get him used to the new game. Hopefully not seeing him because of injury but rather blowouts!

    With regard to getting a 5 star or high 4 star qb prospect, it makes it easier to get those when you can recruit high 4 star OL’s and WR’s…..EARLY! I think Pitt may be an option for OL Paris Johnson if the OSU mess gets bigger (at least i would try again if i was pitt) and with Kristofec who has been recruited over already. There appears to be a microscope on OSU nationally so I would keep close to those players. Besides, we typically pick up one of their castaways at the end of the recruiting cycle anyway.

    Like

  52. Huff III has had the opportunity to review the transcript and he requests the following changes. He meant to say “don’t” instead of “do”, so if you just put that in there it will clear it up, the misunderstanding, meaning the opposite of what he said thing,,,, kind of like a single negative.

    Like

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