Pitt’s Mid-Season Grades – Defense

Here is a look at the defense after seven games witten by Rick again…

Now that we have the offensive grades behind us, let’s look at the Defense so far. There is no doubt we have seen improvement these last two weeks (stuck that line in for Dirty Rich). Injuries have been few, with the exception of Quintin Wirginis. I personally wish this young man well and hope his surgically repaired knee heals in time for him to get a chance to play at the next level. Here are my mid-season grades for the defense –

Dline = C

This seniors are good at stopping the run but below average for the pass rush. Underclassman DE Weaver is having an above average season; with three fumble recoveries, one forced fumble and 3.5 sacks.

Back-ups = B

DE Jones, DT Twyman, DT Watts and DT Wheeler are stepping in and making plays on a regular basis.

LB’s = C –

Tackling has been weak most of the season, with the exception of Wirginis and the back-up efforts vs. ND.

Back-ups = B

Brightwell, Cam Bright, Reynolds (now starting) and Chase Pine are playing well.

CB’s = C –

This is an average group that is starting to play better. They need the scheme to be the 4-2-5 (Nickel set) going forward with the next 5 or 6 ACC games, to continue to improve.

Back-ups = C –

Need to see more of Coleman and Paris Ford – they are too stealth IMO.

Safety’s = C

The two starters are night and day. Hamlin seems to be rising to his 4* recruiting ranking and Briggs is a good Captain, but is below average in pass coverage.

Back-ups = C +

Stocker, Garner and Phil Campbell seem to be slight upgrades when they are in the game.

DC = C –

Other than the Albany and ND games, the defense has given up a lot of points and looks similar to years past under HC Narduzzi. Randy Bates has made some changes starting with the Syracuse game that have me believing he has his troops moving in the right direction. The Duke game will help solidify my beliefs or squelch them.

Editor’s note: these grades look to be about right. We are well on the way to a 6 win season at best and it shows it what the defense has done.  As I said in a comment in the Offensive Grade article… He defense shines brighter only when compared to our offense.

Here are the official stats and ranking for the 2018 season to date:



Pitt’s Mid-Season Grades; Offense

Pitt’s Mid-Season Grades; Offense

Here is a good look at Pitt’s offensive units and their production and effectiveness written and submitted by POV’s finest Erie Express, or when not using his stage name, Rick.

Pitt has a bye week in front of them at a perfect time. There is no doubt we have saw improvement these last two weeks that give hope for a strong second half of the season. Wait, there has been nothing “strong” about the 2nd half of anything Pitt this season. Oh well, here are my mid-season grades –

Oline = C

This unit is very good at run blocking but below average for pass protection.

Back-ups = Incomplete

TE’s = D –

OL Gabe Houy was playing TE to start the ND game after former starter Tyler Sear walked out of practice this past week. Blocking has been weak and pass catching nearly non-existent.

Back-ups = Incomplete

WR’s = C –

This is an average to below average group that is not getting the ball – see QB.

Back-ups = D

RB’s = B

The 2 seniors are above average to very good (at times).

Back-ups = Incomplete

QB = D –

Other than the Albany game, Kenny Pickett’s passing is well below average. He does a nice job of handing the ball to the RB’s though.

Back-ups – Incomplete (literally)

OC = D –

Shawn Watson has not had a good 2nd season at Pitt (yet). His play calling is too conservative.

Lets hear your thoughts on these units but at first read these look pretty accurate to me…

POV’s MMQB; Pitt loses to ND, 19-14

POV’s MMQB; Pitt loses to ND, 19-14

This will be a short one again.  Better to hear from you all anyway. I’ll just add this one thing on a disappointed weekend for Pitt.

When I watched Kenny Pickett being interviewed  about that foolish fake punt on our 2nd to last possession and heard him say this my heart dropped a bit:

It’s coach Duzz’s call, and I back him till death,” Pickett said. “I love that guy to death, so whatever he thinks is best, is best. You know, everyone else wants to be a football expert out in this world and they have no clue what the hell they’re talking about — a majority of the time.

“No offense to any of you guys [in the media] but sometimes it’s you guys, too. That’s just the flat-out truth of it. That’s coach Duzz’s call, and I back him 100 percent.”

That language and the “Us against the world.” mentality behind it is absolutely not what you want to hear come out of the mouth of a 20 year old college student – football player or not.  To me it smacks of delusion and used-car salesman leadership.

Granted he’s a young man but he’s no novice in being interviewed…a simple “That’s not my decision to discuss” not only would have sufficed but thown the blame spotlight squarely back where it belongs – glaring directly into Narduzi’s eyes.  That was a sad thing to happen in a season of surprises, both good and bad.

So, chip in below with your the Good, the Bad and the Ugly

…and thanks for all the well wishes. I’m ahead of schedule on recovery.

Pitt vs. Notre Dame: Game Day Thread

Pitt vs. Notre Dame: Game Day Thread

First off, let me say a sincere thanks to everyone who has wished me well. When you sit around on your ass for around 20 hours a day and so are forced to do some deep thinking, it is a pleasure to realize that I have so many POV friends who care for me. I hope you have a great time watching Pitt drag a win back from South Bend.

That said, today is game day. Today we find out whether or not last week was a fluke. Holding a team like Syracuse to under 40 points is not an easy thing to do, and that we were able to do so will be the key in the game today.

Playing them on the road in downtown South Bend, IN doesn’t help either. We’re getting some of the answers to the questions we’ve had since the end of last season, such as: how good is our running game going to be? And, is our defense as legit as we thought it was going to be after the last two games of last year? The first answer to those questions is yes, and the second answer is a bone-chilling, kick-in-the-ass no.

Have a great afternoon and if travelling …safety first.


PITT (3-3, 2-1 ACC) vs. No. 5/5 NOTRE DAME (6-0)

October 13, 2018 • 2:30 p.m., ET

Notre Dame Stadium (77,622/FieldTurf) • Notre Dame, Ind.

NBC (WPXI-TV) • Pitt IMG Sports Radio Network

PittsburghPanthers.com • @Pitt_FB

LINK (PDF): Pitt Game Notes (vs. Notre Dame)


  • In a series long on history and color, Pitt and Notre Dame meet for the 71st time. The Panthers will be making their first visit to Notre Dame Stadium since 2012.

  • Nine of the past 11 games between Pitt and Notre Dame have been decided by single digits, including the most recent encounter at Notre Dame Stadium. In that memorable 2012 affair, the Irish rallied from a 14-point fourth-quarter deficit to claim a 29-26 win in three overtimes.

  • No. 5 Notre Dame is the latest highly ranked opponent for the Panthers. Pitt previously faced Top 15 challenges in Penn State (Sept. 8) and UCF (Sept. 29).

  • Pitt is going against the grain of Power 5 non-conference scheduling trends. Of the Panthers’ four non-ACC games in 2018, three are against FBS opponents whose combined record this season is 15-1 (4-1 Penn State, 5-0 UCF and 6-0 Notre Dame). Those teams were a combined 34-5 during the 2017 season.

  • Pitt boasts a formidable senior tailback tandem in Qadree Ollison and Darrin Hall. The duo combined for 299 yards and three touchdowns in leading the Panthers to a pulsating 44-37 overtime victory over Syracuse last week.

  • With 596 total rushing yards this season, Qadree Ollison ranks 18th nationally, while his average of 6.48 yards per carry ranks 22nd. Ollison is striving to become only the sixth player in Pitt history to achieve multiple 1,000-yard rushing seasons.

  • Under Pat Narduzzi, Pitt is 14-5 when it rushes for at least 200 yards. The Panthers are averaging 203.8 yards on the ground this season, while Notre Dame is yielding just 127.8.

  • Sophomore placekicker Alex Kessman is a long-distance scoring weapon for the Panthers. He owns four of the six longest field goals in Pitt history, including kicks of 55 and 54 yards in last week’s Syracuse win.


Pitt and Notre Dame meet for the 71st time in a series that dates back to 1909…the Irish lead the all-time series by a 48-21-1 count…the teams last met during the 2015 season at Heinz Field, a 42-30 Notre Dame victory…close contests have been frequent during recent series history—nine of the past 11 games have been decided by single digits…in 2013, two James Conner touchdown runs pushed Pitt past the Irish, 28-21, in Pittsburgh…in 2012, the last time the Panthers visited Notre Dame Stadium, the Irish rallied from a 14-point deficit to claim a 29-26 win in three overtimes…Pitt is 11-27-1 at home and 10-21 on the road against Notre Dame…Pitt’s longest winning streak in the series is three games, achieved three separate times (1932-34; 1958-60; 1983, ‘86-87)…Notre Dame’s longest winning streak against Pitt is 11 games, which occurred from 1964-74…that streak was snapped in 1975 when Pitt defeated the Irish, 34-20, behind 303 rushing yards from Tony Dorsett…the 303 yards remain a Notre Dame opponent record…in four games against the Irish (1973-76), Dorsett rushed for 754 yards, an NCAA record for a player against a four-year opponent…the Pitt-Notre Dame series is long on history and color…on Nov. 13, 1999, the Panthers defeated Notre Dame, 37-27, in the final game ever played at Pitt Stadium…Pittsburgh product Kevan Barlow scored two TDs, including the game’s final score on a two-yard run to close down the 74-year-old structure…the 2008 game at Notre Dame was an instant classic…the Panthers clawed back from a 17-3 halftime deficit to defeat the Irish, 36-33, in four overtimes…the four-overtime affair marked the longest game in both Pitt and Notre Dame history…the ‘08 game also marked the Panthers’ second consecutive victory at Notre Dame Stadium…in its prior visit to South Bend (2004), Pitt beat the Irish, 41-38, behind five touchdown passes from Tyler Palko, an unprecedented achievement against Notre Dame.


Television • NBC (WPXI-TV, Channel 11, in Pittsburgh)

Mike Tirico (play-by-play), Doug Flutie (analyst), Kathryn Tappen (reporter)

Pitt Radio • 93.7 The Fan & the Pitt IMG Sports Network

Bill Hillgrove (play-by-play), Pat Bostick (analyst), Larry Richert (reporter)

SiriusXM Satellite Radio

Sirius Channel 205, XM Channel 385, Internet Channel 974


WPTS Radio (Pitt Student Station) • 92.1 FM


Pitt IMG Sports Network Online Audio Options


Pitt Panthers Gameday App

TuneIn (free live and on-demand content)


Know the Enemy & Predictions: ND

Know the Enemy & Predictions: ND

Here is something Ike threw together since I’m in 100x childbirth pain and I don’t  care who that pisses off.

A look at 6-0 Notre Dame… To start, here’s a Pat Narduzzi quote ” I think they walk into high schools, they get what they want”. Well not exactly 100% true but darn near. ND has come into and blitzed western PA football recruits and grounds the past few years to the tune of Phil Jurkovic, Kurt Hinish, David Adams, Andrew Kristofic and Robert Hansey. That would be the start and making of a good football team right there. (Adams career ended early due to injury) BUT, they are not here they are there and doing fairly well so far.?

Notre Dame plays at some supposedly hallowed ground called, simply enough, Notre Dame Stadium which holds 77,622 fans. Mostly on refurbished bleachers. Staying as far away as I can from the religion rule I will only say they have a false idol there named touchdown Hesus. Moving on..

About this team. 6-0, hmm… This #5 rated team in the country has beaten Michigan 24-17, Ball State 24-16, Vanderbilt 22-17 Wake Forest 56-17, Stanford 38-17 and Virginia 45-23 in which I understand the game was a lot closer than that score. That’s not all that impressive people. Beating an ok Ball State team by 8 makes me go hmm again.

More on the player


Notre Dame has two QB’s that have played a good bit this year. The likely starter will be Ian Book and here is the short book on Book. 6’0, 200 lbs. He’s 77-105 for 887 yards with 9 TD’s and 1 interception. A 177. QB rating, now that is not too bad. The other QB and former starter is Brandon Wimbush who is bigger at 6’2″ 220 lbs. on the year he’s thrown for 589 yards completing 42-76 passes. 1 TD 4 interceptions for a 107.7 QB rating. Easy to see why he’s been replaced. A final note on the QB’s, Wimbush runs the ball a lot more than Book.


Dexter Williams 5’11” 215 lbs has run for 339 yards for an 8.9 average per run.
Tony Jones jr 5’11” 220 lbs has run 58 times for 302 yards and a 6.5 ypc
Jafar Armstrong who is listed as a WR and stands 6’1 227 lbs but must be a running back has gained 245 yards on 47 carries.

Looks like a very solid and deep group, more like a 3 headed monster?


Miles Boykin at 6’4″ 230 lbs with 28 catches for 428 yds
Chris Finke at 5′ 10″ 180 lbs 19-243 yds
Alize Mack at 6’5″ 247 lbs 19 catches for 209 yards
Chase Claypool 6’4″ 227 lbs who has caught 18 passes for 200 yards.

Couple notes on this group. Boykin is a big WR and seems to be the main target. Mack is actually a tight end and is being used. Plenty of targets to go around.

On defense there are three players to look out for.

Jeremy Tillery 6′ 7″ 305 lbs defensive tackle
Drue Tranquill 6′ 2″ 235 middle linebacker
Te’von Coney 6′ 1″ 240 lbs linebacker

This ND defense will be difficult to run against with those three guys in the box. All three are projected to the NFL next year however, Notre Dame’s defense is ranked at # 49 in the nation. When considering their # 45 ranked offense along with a fairly mild schedule it once again makes you go hmm, can PITT hang with these guys? …

Wirginis Out for the Season.

Pitt’s Quintin Wirginis Sustains Season-Ending Injury

 PITTSBURGH—Pitt senior linebacker and team captain Quintin Wirginis sustained a non-contact knee injury in practice Tuesday and underwent season-ending surgery today, Coach Pat Narduzziannounced.

Through six games, Wirginis ranked as the Panthers’ most productive defender, leading the team in tackles (41), tackles for loss (7.0), sacks (3.0) and forced fumbles (tied with two).

 In Pitt’s 44-37 overtime victory over Syracuse this past Saturday, he collected eight tackles, including a six-yard sack, and forced a crucial fumble that was returned for a 35-yard touchdown by teammate Dane Jackson.

“Our entire team is certainly heartbroken for Quintin,” Narduzzi said. “He was having an absolutely outstanding senior season, on and off the field, and we are very sorry it ended prematurely due to injury. Our team is one big family and we will certainly rally around him. Knowing Quintin, I have no doubt he will remain a huge influence in our locker room. His leadership will remain as valuable as ever for our program.”

The Panthers (3-3, 2-1 ACC) will play at No. 5 Notre Dame (6-0) this Saturday at 2:30 p.m. The game will be nationally televised by NBC and shown locally on WPXI-TV.