Here is a quick bunch of thoughts from Jim (Pittman4ever)

It is hard to believe that we are already on game four and that the much awaited  three game home start to Pitt’s season is already over.

So, at this point how do think our season has started?  Most of us (I would wager to say) are relatively pleased being 2-1 at this point and 1-0 in ACC conference play.  However, I’m guessing we would all say it’s been quite an unusual Twilight Zone type of three game home stand start to the year!

Who would have thought we would get shut out for the entire second half in our opening win against a weak Albany team even though we easily won 33-7?  

Did any of us (UPitt included!) actually think Penn State would totally dismantle us 6-51 in a monsoon viewed on prime time tv?

Then, when it looks like Narduzzi had lost the team, we come out totally ready to play and prepared to stop the Georgia Tech vaunted offense in our impressive 24-19 victory!  And yet SOMEHOW our offense still disappeared once again in the whole 2nd half!  Odd, to say the least!!    

So, what are your theories as to why the bizarre play has happened up to this point of the season and will it continue this week at North Carolina, who for some unknown reason we seem to enjoy losing to???   

Editor’s Notes; I’ll throw in my three cents here also.  Like Jim above I have no real handle on this year’s Pitt team except that you don’t know what you are going to get from half to half…to half. 

The defense has looked very good in spots – against Albany and in the 1st half against Georgia Tech.  Then it looked horrible all the other times.   Our run game looks pretty good and I think we are all surprised that our passing game hasn’t been very effective. Here is how our offense breaks down:    

Key O stats

For instance, one telling statistic I look at when gauging an offense is how many yards per point is the team needing to build a score?  Last year – and remember our offense sucked last year – we had a point every 15.6 yards.  This season we are getting a point every 21.2 yards which puts us down at 116th out of 130 D1 teams.  Not good and I think that will be a problem going forward. 

0.234 points per play has us at 113th nationally and we are scoring an average of 2.0 TDs per games so far – 103rd in the country. So we have some big work to do on that side of the ball.  Here is how we fare nationally in offensive production:

Pitt O 9-19

We are running the ball OK but it really isn’t translating into points like it should.  That bears watching when we play the better teams on our schedule.

On paper playing NC this week will probably help our offensive stats but right now we are not impressive averaging only 21 ppg.   Pickett should be more effective than he has been so far this season and that’s a bit disappointing.  I had written earlier in the preseason that his strengths were the short and intermediate passes and he’s doing that with a 65+% completion rate, but also that his deep passing was suspect, accuracy mostly, and that has been shown also.   Here is what he’s done so far:

Pickett 9-19

Pickett’s 6.44 yards per attempt and his 9.9 yards per completion are very low at this point.  That has to change or we’ll see eight in the box against our run game all the time (like we saw work well for PSU when they did that in the 2nd half of that game).

We have dodged major bullets with our opponent’s receivers having stone hands also.  PSU had seven drops by their receivers and I think GT had at least three or four – and two would have resulted in TDs I believe.  But the problem is that their receivers were running free pretty much all game – although GT passes so little those plays for them are outliers.  Still they had guys open pretty easily and teams who are better in their passing games are going to hurt us.

But at this point I’m very happy with a 2-1 start.  I picked GT to win and that didn’t happen…truth be told I’m not real good at picking individual games so pay no attention to me with that.  If we can start 3-1 then I’ll say winning five or six wins is more reachable but I’m sticking with five  wins on the year… with maybe a .500 regular season.

Wins are fun but Albany was pretty much figured to be one and the GT game was closer that most fans would have liked.   All in all it looks good in the W/L column but it makes you wonder what we’re going to see in the future.

 

 

103 thoughts on “1/4th OF THE SEASON OVER ALREADY?

  1. Way to chip in Jim and great job!

    A college football season is over in a New York minute that’s for sure. I hate that, of course we subconsciously wish away the week in anticipation of the next game.

    Second half woes? I’m not as worried as some and who didn’t know that? It’s fair to call the lack of second half points a burgeoning trend but I consider all 3 games so far a little a little different how they played out.

    Albany, there just wasn’t a pressing need to score points later in the game. I’m not saying they weren’t trying to score but the urgency just wasn’t there.

    psu, I would like to skip over this one for a couple reasons. It was pure domination in the second half in a cold driving rain storm. PITT let psu and the weather beat them down. I really don’t think this game and the Albany game has any connections what-so-ever.

    GT, I thought PITT played well in the second half where when the home team has a nice lead milking the clock is a good idea. Trouble was they didn’t milk the clock in a couple of instances. One bad play call and one or two or three bad referees calls and poof there you go. If PITT drives the ball in from the 1st and 10 at the GT 29 yard line, that would have been 10 pts scored and maybe we wouldn’t have quite the angst over second half scoring? Nah, it’s always something…. Thanks again Reed and Jim. . . ..ike

    H2P!

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  2. I don’t think anyone knows what the heck this team is right now.

    I think you can conclude the D is better than last year through the first three quarters of PSU and the entire last game. I think?

    The offense is running the ball well but is a work in progress. I think Pitt is wise to ease Pickett into the passing game, however, if Watson calls a freaking run again on 3rd down with four yards to go I am going to drive to NC and slap the headset off his head, LOL. He is killing me with that crap.

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  3. I certainly don’t know how to fix the problems on offense, but one of the root causes of our lack of production is that we simply don’t have any game changing threats on offense. Ollison and Hall are solid backs back neither is a real threat to take it the distance on any given run. Our receivers (so far) are pretty much the same….solid guys like Lopes and Mack, but no one who can take it 75 or 80 yards in one play. Maybe the answer is to get some of the young guys more involved. AJ Davis should get more work at RB. We also need to get the ball to Jacque Louis and Butler Jenkins. Those guys seem to have more speed and break away capability.

    On defense we need guys who simply can cover. I’ll go back to my favorite whipping boy, Dennis Briggs. Guy simply can’t cover anyone. I don’t care if he’s always in the right spot or he’s a “coach on the field”. He gets burned regularly. Surely, there is someone who could step in at that spot and provide better coverage.

    Anyway, 2-1 isn’t all that bad given the holes we’ve seen. If we can get past NC we might have a shot at 6 or 7 wins. If I were betting, I’d still stick with 5.

    SantaCruzer

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  4. KP is on a steep learning curve, IMHO. Probably still needs a few more games to get more comfortable with finding the proper target and getting the ball out on time. Though his completion percentage is impressive – (never would have guessed it’s that high)…

    And our WRs are also trying to figure things out – certainly Shocky is. It has been disappointing that the older WRs haven’t picked it up, like RaRa, Mathews, and Ffrench. At least Mack has shown he has good hands.
    And lack of a threat at TE isn’t helping KP…

    Sure is fun to see George Aston back on the field and having an impact.

    I really feared we’d be 1-2 right now. Despite our recent success against them, the GT game just scares me every year…

    And thanks to JIm for the article!

    Go PItt.

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    1. John, KP’s completion percentage is so high because of the short passes he’s been forced to throw under pressure from the defensive line and the linebackers of the other team.

      He’s been having to get the ball out pretty quickly and as such he’s hitting the shorter receivers the ones that are closest to him.

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  5. Reed, I’m not sold that KP is forced to throw short all the time. I think he bails too quickly and lets a little panic set in? I’m starting to think there has been too much pressure put on the young man with virtually no college game-day experience.

    BTW, I don’t remember anyone mentioning Ollison taking direct snaps from shotgun formation. I think that’s a good move.

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    1. But all we heard from Narduzzi was how ready Pickett was and how good he was under pressure Ike.

      I think we all thought he’d have more TDs than INTs at this point in the season and after his playing almost 5 full games.

      So far this year he has two touchdowns and three interceptions and in his career he has three touchdowns and four interceptions.

      He has to be a lot better than that going forward.

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  6. Perfect subject matter for an article at this moment. And well executed as well. Wish our OC could run our offense as well as Jim wrote the article.

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  7. Well my Tarheel buddies are telling me how lousy the team is and hearing some calls for Fedora’s head-very familiar territory for us.
    This could be the best opportunity for us to put a full 4 quarters worth of work together and beat the Heels handily. The game should slow down for KP. I don’t get to watch re-plays but he seems to roll-out quite often , that said, we need a more diverse passing game including using the TE position. Make the opponent defend the whole field. Keep the opponents D off balance.
    I think this team is better than last years especially on the D side…O needs to start hitting on a few more cylinders. I think my expectations were too high coming into this year after nearly beating VTech and beating Miami (they were over-rated but we did win a game we were supposed to lose)..until then we are an enigma.

    Thanks Jimmy (the Greek)

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  8. Carolina’s little jingle for you folks going to game..
    ” I’m Tarheel born, I’m Tarhell bred
    and when I die. I’ll be Tarheel dead.”

    Kill the Heels.

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  9. 1st off …. I prefer to think that only 23.07% of the season has been completed (I won’t go overboard and say 21.4%)

    Secondly, I think Jim pretty well summed up what has occurred in the first 3 games and also reflected the thoughts of most of us Pitt fans.

    Thirdly, I still have no idea what to expect from this season. The only thing I know so far is this team has got to improve its 2nd half play …. pretty obvious. The only other thing I expect is that we will be in for a long afternoon at UCF on 9/29 because of their accomplished passing attack unless Pitt is able to maintain ball possession on offense. If we start going 3 and out on offense, it may get ugly.

    wwb

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  10. The 2nd half was scoreless for Pitt due to a comedy of errors, illegal procedures, false starts, no existent facemask call, an underthrown pass into double coverage for a GT INT. Stop that kind of nonsense in the second half & Panther points will accumulate.

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  11. Reed, there you go telling me something that I agree with you on. I certainly never said Narduzzi can do no wrong. Quite the opposite in fact. Problem is, Pickett has to be the one that plays now. I think Pickett’s eyes just got too big on a big stage, he will settle down.

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  12. Opponents will continue to load 8 in the box in attempting to stuff our jet sweeps and QB running going forward. A couple of long pass completions per game like the 60 harder last week will keep the opposition on its heels instead of crowing the line of scrimmage. Shocky was only used a couple of downs last and must be utilized more often on long pass plays. He’s got the speed and height to go after the balls even when they are thrown short. Rumor has it he was injured(hip pointer) on the jet sweep last week and saw no action after that play.

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  13. Gt was a important win for the team. The focus is now the ACC coastal and I really don’t care about UCF. Pitt needs to improve week to week. It is that simple. A win here no matter what positions the team to be in the hunt. Some bumps with the new DC secondary and OL coach but as the season progresses, that should subside.

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  14. Pitt-UCF Kickoff Time Announced

    PITTSBURGH—Pitt’s September 29 game at the University of Central Florida will kick off at 3:30 p.m., and be televised by either ESPN2 or ESPNU, the Atlantic Coast Conference announced.

    Television coverage will be finalized after this weekend’s games.

    The Panthers’ remaining 2018 schedule with announced television coverage and kickoff times:

    Sept. 22: at North Carolina* (Raycom/WTAE), 12:20 p.m.

    Sept. 29: at UCF (ESPN2 or ESPNU), 3:30 p.m.

    Oct. 6: Syracuse* (Homecoming), TBA

    Oct. 13: at Notre Dame (NBC/WPXI), 2:30 p.m.

    Oct. 27: Duke*, TBA

    Nov. 2 (Fri.): at Virginia* (ESPN2), 7:30 p.m.

    Nov. 10: Virginia Tech*, TBA

    Nov. 17: at Wake Forest*, TBA

    Nov. 24: at Miami*, TBA

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  15. I see this game setting up where PITT is being put into a no win situation. If PITT wins UNC sucks and blah blah blah and if they lose, holy heck breaks lose. Let’s not forget cause I read it on here all the time, PITT doesn’t recruit as well as UNC and others. After saying that, I fully/foolishly expect a PITT win come Saturday after-noon..

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    1. if they win, it should be celebrated no doubt. yes, if they lose, holy heck should break lose. that would mean this team and football program is in trouble.

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    2. It’s getting set up that way because that’s how it is. If Pitt wins we get to wait another week to see how good they really are and if they lose let’s be real, it will mean they are less than an average team. And if they are a less than average team we’ll then Narduzzi is responsible for that.

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  16. I believe UNC is ranked in TFL and sacks. I have to double check.

    Also, they have given up zero sacks. So either their QB can seriously scramble or they are throwing very quick passes.

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  17. I worry about the offense disappearing in the second half. I worry too the Pitt seems win too often by getting a lead then hanging on for dear life. Why can’t Pitt beat a team, first half and second half? That would do wonders for my tortured soul. – Hobie

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  18. the most important thing is the win for sure. how the team wins however can show patterns or trends that can be looked at as indicators for future games.

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  19. I expect the Heels to tally around the aftermath of Flo and we’ll see their best from them.

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  20. Got to get a full team and full 4 quarters effort from our gridders this week-end. UCF on the horizon with a tough Dungey and Co. to follow..Gotta have this win..we win and it’s a win-win situation Iek..Duzz won’t let us rest on beating a bad Heel team…it’s on to Disney World…think a few POVert roadies will be there in Orlando…

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  21. UNC will be rested and fired up to play. And, they are at home.

    Pitt will win:
    If Pitt can defend a balanced to slightly pass heavy offense (pass heavy this week because this is our weakness).

    If Pitt can defend an NFL caliber receiver. UNC will use motion and 3 and 4 receiver sets to get one-on-one isolation for Ratliff…

    If Pitt gets pressure on the UNC QB. Someone noted that the UNC QB hasn’t been sacked? That will change this week.

    If Pitt can pass the ball when UNC loads the line of scrimmage to stop our run game.

    If Pitt plays with emotion.

    My biggest concern is the one-on-one isolation with Ratliff the UNC WR. He will get 200 yards receiving if our CBs don’t get help from the safety. And we will get three or four drive sustaining pass interference calls going one on one with him. Pitt cannot ‘press’ this guy, or he will win. Play off of him. This is the game where Narduzzi stops being stubborn and adjusts his defense as necessary to defend the pass (I hope).

    The biggest surprise will be the number of sacks that Pitt gets this week… At least three!

    Watson needs to get more creative in the second half.

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  22. Bernie, Wish I could be at the tailgate, know it will be great. Plans fell through, as is want to happen. Have a couple for me and enjoy the win!

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  23. JoeKnew..you a big man..it will take more than a couple…Fran and Scooter guarantee to bring home a VICTORY and a couple of pair of TarHeel tennies !

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  24. Nice job Jim. It is too early for me to worry about second half production. We are two and one and that is all that matters. I am concerned with KP’s ability to throw down field, the concern is also based on pass protection which was better last week but still suspect. However, KP has only started four games, he is learning when to stay in the pocket and when to run, so far he doesn’t trust the pocket. Big concern is that two INT’s were caused because he didn’t miss long. Is it arm strength, accuracy or throwing a little late?

    I think it is already safe to add Mack to Reed’s list of impactful transfers.

    Hopefully KP improves with experience, most everyone does. The O-line should improve as well by playing together.

    The other concern is the D-backs. Face it, guys always get open even against the best, but it seems it is happening too often and we are yet to face great receivers. Hopefully our opponents keep dropping balls.
    The pass rush has been pretty good and getting better will help.

    UNC is a must win for so many reasons. A loss kills momentum, a win makes 7 wins possible.

    One last thing, the strength of this team is the power running game, everything should be built around that, however a pass on first down every so often will keep the other guys honest.

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  25. We have let the foot off the pedal 3 years in a row against these powder blue bastads (is that ok Reed)…better show up for both half of the games…if our boys come out lifeless to begin the 2nd half Fran, Scooter and me will charge the bench jumping up and down to some punk rock, hip hop medley while shaking water bottles all over them and slapping ’em along side the head..Snap outta the 2nd half doldrums !!!

    Liked by 1 person

  26. Guys, Relax. This is the one you’ve all been waiting for. We win this one easy. This game is needed to reach 5, and they will do it. In fact, they will score more than one TD in the second half!

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    1. POD I can’t imagine how many recruiting posts you would have posted had we lost the game against GT. Even with the win your daily diatribe on Narduzzi’s recruiting is getting a little old. Does he get any credit for recruiting Weaver?

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      1. jrnpitt… The reason you “can’t imagine” is because you are CONFUSED. I’ve been very limited in my criticism of Narduzzi’s recruiting compared to other POVers.

        But obviously touching a nerve.

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    1. Actually never said anything about GaTech or any others before the Season. I was only on the record as saying the “Narduzzi Trainwreck” is coming. Posted that right after watching the Spring Game from behind the sidelines on the 50 Yard Line.

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  27. Let’s not get carried away. Yup, GT was one this year. But Ike, they are going to lose 2 of those four. I’ll bet you a frosty on that one. They still have a way to go to get to 5, but this week it’s in the bag. They got this.

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  28. Well, I take that back, I wasn’t at all confident about GT, other than I thought they would lose. That was my pivotal game of the year. My pick was dead wrong, and am I ever glad.

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  29. Imo, when you have average talent, you can’t score a lot of points playing a traditional Pro-Style offense.

    And it’s even more of a problem if your QB can’t complete long passes to stretch the Defense, vertically.

    And with avg talent or less, we don’t have the speed to stretch Defense’s horizontally either, as we’ve seen
    with Lopes going nowhere on sweeps.

    So if you can’t stretch the field neither vertically or horizontally, it is any wonder we are having a tough time moving the ball. Thank God we have Q !

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  30. Was listening to the weekly Tarhole Football Radio program on WBT (the KDKA radio wattage) of the South, yesterday evening.

    They were all told not to wear any Navy Blue clothing at all. Just Carolina Blue (Navy is also part of their color scheme btw). And for all those attending the game, all food and drink is going to be 50% off.

    All Fedora said about Pitt, was you have to watch their jet sweeps. (he mustn’t have seen much film from this year) 🙂

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  31. Bernie, when Converse started making basketball shoes in different colors I had a pair of Carolina Blue high tops. My buddy Harold had a bright orange pair. Thought we were cool…we weren’t. Haha.

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  32. Had a pair of the Converse ones in Red and then Pro-Keds came out with the different colored suede basketball shoes. I had blue suede shoes
    Turned all my socks, blue 🙂

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  33. Ollison is better this year than last but his “success” is mostly due to the holes the OL has made for him and Aston’s blocking (which has been amazing). He seems faster and does fall forward more than last year. But we have all watched the game and see. The holes that he has had to run through. Yes, he is tough to bring down when he is near full speed but don’t think that he breaks tackles to get open.

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    1. Falling forward is always good 🙂 Q started off well last year, he had 91 yds & then 96 yds against the Pedders and then came Okie State and we got so far behind so quickly, we abandoned the run. While he had 15 carries against Psux, he never got more than 7 carries in a game until the last game of the season.

      Got so limited, he only had 2 carries for 17 yds against NC State & 3 carries for 17 yds against Duke and Zero carries against the Tarholes. And then only 2 carries against VT.

      So he was sort of in Nardo’s Dog House, most of the last season. Even if he was in the game, he rarely got a carry after the first 2 weeks. Or certainly not enough carries to get into any kind of a rhythm.

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    2. This suspect OL is earning it’s stripes on the field as they learn to play as a unit. Having Aston back has been key as a lead blocker as well. The “weakest link” on this team is getting stronger by the game.

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  34. BtwII… Regarding Rashad Weaver… ABSOLUTELY Narduzzi should get credit for recruiting him.

    AND someone named “POD” should get credit for posting a year ago that Weaver was a “future Star.”

    Lol

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    1. You get my vote for a voice of reason, Ike. Another of the voices of reason, Dr Tom, has been silent lately. He must have laryngitis. I hope all is well with the good Doc..

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  35. Great article Jim. Thanks! I am thankful and relieved that Pitt is 2-1, and holding out hope that Pitt will get to my regular season prediction of 6-6. Safe travels to our Road Scholars heading to the game!

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  36. The lack of Pitt scoring in the second half of games thus far.

    Game 1 – No excuse for not scoring against Albany in the second half. I get being vanilla to a point, but, you need to bury teams that are inferior. Plus, Narduzzi should have learned a lesson from YSU after having a large lead. He admitted at that time that he sat on the lead and it almost cost him tremendously. Secondly, potential recruits look at scores. As I have said a 100 times, today’s kids want to be part of something big. Big scores check the box and lots of wins checks the box. They don’t care who you win against.

    Game 2 – No excuse for not scoring in the 2nd half. The other team sure did. Same weather. 4th and 3 and running with 8 or 9 in the box is foolish to end the first half. You run when the opponent is in a 2 deep, not an 8/9 man front. Narduzzi blew that by not kicking a field goal there. If Pitt goes into the half with a lead and as a decided underdog, the pressure mounts against the opponent and who knows what could have happened. Instead, we give them the momentum to loosen up and go for the jugular. Our offense must be the easiest in power 5 to prepare for defensively.

    Game 3 – After re-watching the game, we are just too vanilla and candidly, very disconnected and predictable in our play calling. What are we waiting for? We get out to a big lead and then poof, instant nothingness. This isn’t about running the clock out. In a sport where scoring the most points wins, it seems that our dinosauresque coaching philosophy revolves around winning the time of possession game. Time of possession is a good stat and most times leads to a good result with the score, however, a program is not judged on whether we won time of possession. It is about wins and style points.

    Power 5 playoffs are about scoring offenses and style points, as is recruiting.

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  37. Did Pitt and Georgia Tech wear each others uniforms for the game? What a branding miss this season has become. Kind of glad we looked like akron, tulsa, navy and gt in week two.

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  38. Jim and Reed – that was a fun article to read. I’m hoping OC Watson and KP have a good game and Pitt blows away the tar heels. For the blow out to occur, the D needs to show that it has improved from previous years in all facets.

    I thought the kicking game had a good bounce back game last week – looking for the next step of improvement – consistency with punts, FG’s, PAT’s and seeing P.Ford make a spectacular return.

    H2P!

    Liked by 1 person

  39. Dr Tom and wife were coming to the game but Flo through them a curve.. I 95 still with some flooding. I expect a PITT or Duke size crowds.
    I have a couple of good seat for free if anyone on here wants them.

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    1. If memory serves, Iowa came in at 3-0 while Pitt was 1-1 with a loss to Bowling Green and a unimpressive win vs another mid-major. Pitt went out to an early lead and then played conservatively and held on. wwb

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    1. Dintino! Who would have thought? Certainly not many POVers… 😊

      Nice to see guys get a chance and have some success – even though it was only one game…

      Go Pitt.

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    1. I’ve liked Dintino — always thought he had a quick first step.

      I did wonder if he was big enough to go against some of the Dlines we will see…

      Go Pitt.

      Like

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