I spent a good amount of time in a doctor’s office waiting room this morning so I took the opportunity to listen to Rivals.com’s Chris Peak’s latest podcast – this morning’s is #380. This isn’t unusual as I listen to all his podcasts because he seems to have had the best grasp (besides the POV’s!) on the state of Pitt football. As I said I listen to them all.
But since the end of the 2018 spring practices I felt he was becoming more out of touch with what was really happening with the program, HC, staff and players. In other words he was becoming a bit of a ‘homer’. Just a bit, but it bothered me.
For some reason since his hire Pat Narduzzi has held sway over the local media even while treating them as second class citizens. But this latest Peak podcast turned the corner on that. It is entitled “How could we have gotten this so wrong?” I hesitate to get on the Rivals’s message board and scream “We didn’t get it all wrong Chris – that Kohberger guy over at the POV knew exactly how things would shake out in the 2018 season.”
In the podcast he basically admits that he was bamboozled into believe three main things.
The first was that Kenny Pickett was going to pick up exactly where he left off and would be in full stride to stardom from the opener onward (I am paraphrasing a bit).
The second was that the Pitt defense was going to be great this season.
And the third was that we would be competitive in every single game. His thought was that we may lose to Penn State, UCF and Notre Dame and even if we lost any other games we would still be competitive in play. In other words give the other team a hard fought, close game
His take on those three things is very interesting listening and while I still disagree with some of his statements, for instance he can’t admit that Narduzzi is basically a crap HC and that the roster is below average talent – two things I believe very strongly – I urge you to tune into it. His stuff is always a good listen and informative.
OK…onto The Good, the Bad and The Ugly.
Rafael Araujo-Lopes’ 86 yard punt return for a TD at the end of the 1st quarter. This closed the scoring gap to 14-7 and still gave us a fighter’s chance going into the 2nd half. For the next 41 minutes it looked like that was all that was going to keep us from a shutout however.
Usually I’d add the 58 yard pitch and catch from Pickett to Ffrench for our second TD and our last points but it was done in garbage time when we had our 1st string offense out there against UCF’s 3rd string defense. Anyway, nice play I suppose.
Kenny Pickett’s inaccuracy problems didn’t get any better this game. Normally when you look at a QB’s stat line for the game and see that he had a 61.5% completion rate on 16 of 26 passing you’d think that was excellent.
But when you drill down (and of course remember what you watched happen out on the field of play) you’ll find that his average per attempt rate was only 10.3 ypa and his average completion rate was a very low 6.3 ypc you can understand that he was missing on his intermediate and deeper passes – which he did Saturday and has done all season.
The Offensive Line’s terrible play in pass protection and average at best play in the run game. We knew going in that the OL was going to be a problem for this year’s offense and it has been for the most part. They have done OK at opening up some space at the line of scrimmage for our RBs to get through but they have been a sieve when it comes to keep opponent’s front seven out of Pickett’s face.
That didn’t change on Saturday. While being chased all over the field, mainly by UCF’s defensive ends, Pickett had only 163 yards in the air with 1 TD and 1 INT…but that doesn’t tell the story. While he was sacked three times he had to rollout again and again cutting his target zone in half. Until he had that 58 yard pass to Ffrench he was 15 for 25 for 105 yards with 4.2 yards per attempt and 7.0 yards per completion which is much more indicative of how he actually played then the final passing stats that go into the record book.
Here is a quick look at our passing game as opposed to the teams we have played so far.
There is a ton more OF “THE BAD” stuff from Saturday’s game but I’ll let you all list those in your comments.
Take your pick – there was basically 60 minutes of it. But I’ll point out one thing.
In all my time following Pitt football I have never felt utterly embarrassed and disgusted by what the players or the coaching staff did out on the field until Saturday. Sure there have been blatant personal fouls and boorish behavior by the staff on the sidelines. But late in the game when UCF was inside our two yard line and threatening to score our DL Patrick Jones was looking over at the sidelines and then so very obviously topples to the ground and fakes a cramp to delay their hurry-up offense… that was the low point for me.
I don’t care what others feel about this – and BTW the refs cannot throw a penalty flag on an injury so forget about that crap excuse – I believe it is poor sportsmanship at the least and flat-out cheating at the worst. It was so very obvious exactly what happened and in the way he was staring at the sideline you know that was signalled in by a staff coach.
That sets a new low standard for Pat Narduzzi in my mind. Why Narduzzi? Because a good leader would have ensured that the people under him would never even attempt do something like that. But really, since when has Narduzzi been a real and good leader in anything he’s done while at Pitt?
While I’m disgusted by that action out on the field I’m not entirely surprised it happened on his watch.
Strong opinions I know but I have lived my life, professionally and personally, with strong beliefs and high standards. I don’t always meet those standards but I try 100% to do things the right and honorable way and I fully expect others to do the same. Especially supposed mature adults who hold sway over young men.
How about your own thoughts after the ass-whipping UCF gave us? Oh – it was 45-14 for a 31 point win. Sorry, forgot to mention that. Making this the first season since 1991 that Pitt has lost at least two games by 30 or more points…and we ain’t done yet folks!
What is your Good, Bad and Ugly?