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…

125 thoughts on “Pitt’s Mid-Season Grades; Offense

  1. Even against a lower tier D2 Albany, Pickett only had 154 yds passing which is almost his avg. passing game for the season, which is around 144 ypg. The very next game Albany played, the D2 QB from Rhode Island threw for over 300 yards and 6 TD’s in 3 quarters of a rout.

    That about says it all.

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  2. Reed, hope you are doing well. You never responded to mine and Annie’s response to your last post. Any rebuttal?

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  3. So D- sounds about right, I agree with EE.

    If you give Pickett a D-, Watson gets one too. Calling up a long down an out for KP is a waste of down.
    Many head scratching play calls from Watson. It’s time to send him along to his next never-ending
    coaching venue.

    RB’s (Q & Catch 22) are the only threats on offense, save the occasional 5 yard pass to someone and they
    break off a long run (few and far between). So since no passing attack, and dfenses keying on them, I give the Q & C22 an A- .

    TE’s = F (does that need an explanation)

    WR’s = D+ (only because the TE’s make this group look somewhat competent)

    OL = Outmanned group, playing hard nonetheless, they get a C+

    The National Stats say it all, Overall the Offense is D (for Dud)

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  4. Rick, first off, way to step up. Great job!

    O-Line: I’ll go with a C+ to B- After all, they are they only reason PITT has won 3 games so far this year but maybe why they are 3-4?

    Tight Ends: C- Again, not much offensive production but they have help the run games win games. (side note) The PSN is suggesting PITT may have a tight end problem. I find that sentence funny no matter how adolescent it is. Sounds like hemorrhoids.

    WR’s: Yep, disappointing here but Aaron Matthews showed signs of life and hopefully Mack gets back for the Duke game but so far. C-

    RB’s: B+ The only offense PITT has had. Narduzzi just doesn’t play his backups nearly enough but then again. When does he have time and these guys are good?

    QB’s: Ouch! D- and Watson gets an assist here as well. I won’t pretend I know what is going on but it ain’t good. I get the feeling there is a entire unit problem here.

    Thanks again Rick . . .. ike

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  5. I don’t think Pickett has been at a D minus. He has definitely had a rough season, but it is so hard to be too critical given how bad our pass protection has been and our wide receiver play. I would give him a C minus. Playcalling has definitely not helped either.

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      1. There has to be more to it than production… if the focus is solely production, then Wiriginis is going to get a high grade on the defensive side.

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        1. No, he wouldn’t. Yes, he made some plays, BUT on others, he was so out of position it screwed up the defense.

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          1. Well that’s my point … there’s no official stat for missed assignments or missed tackles. On paper, the statistics say he produced more than others on the defense, but I’m not convinced that means he deserves a higher grade than them.

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  6. Nice job, EE.

    With these grades, this student is going to have to go to “summer school” (remember what a stigma that was back in the day?).

    Pretty much agree with Erie’s grades. But even the running backs, who are our best unit, I find to be somewhat of a disappointment.

    Ollison and Hall seem like great guys and they are good, they’re just not the type of more elusive backs I think we should have…

    I’m still rooting for them, and all the units, big-time though…

    Go Pitt.

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  7. I’m in agreement with most of your grades. A few that I’d quibble with:

    Oline – I’d give them a D+. Yes, they’ve been decent run blocking, but this is 2018 and you simply can’t move the ball and score points without some semblance of a passing game. Their pass blocking has been absolutely horrible.

    QB – I’d go with a D+ simply because of the aforementioned Oline problems as well as the terrible play calling.

    TE’s – F, why even bother using one of our TE’s.

    OC – F, simply horrible play calling and game planning.

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  8. grades sound about right to me

    difference between points per game for Pitt (avg point difference between offense and defense)
    2012 +6
    2013 -1
    2014 +7
    2015 +2
    2016 +6
    2017 -3
    2018 -7

    You have to go back to 1998 to find a worse differential. Walt’s 2nd year.
    Under Majors you had his last year at -20
    Hackets last year was -12
    Wanny’s worst year was -1
    Chrysts worst year was -1

    do we think 2019 will be closer to 2015-2016 or do we think it will mirror the last 2 years

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    1. Right now I’d say 2019 will mirror the last two simply due to all the O-linemen and running backs who graduate. Younger linemen might step up, but the underclassmen in the backfield looks to be like an underwhelming group. Powell might be an OK coach, but he’s not exactly tearing it up recruiting runners.

      Might have to keep an eye on what happens at Maryland if reports are true that Durkin won’t be getting fired. Some kids might leave based on recent parents’ reaction to the news of DJ coming back, and possible a lineman or two who Borbley recruited could end up at Pitt with immediate eligibility. I have no inside info, just a possibility.

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  9. After 7 games KP is still having trouble finding open receivers and making good reads, not really improving. There is a more experienced qb on the roster. Maybe a change would help the passing game.

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  10. Pretty much agree. Especially on Watson. Seems like the passing game could be somewhat better than it’s been if he could figure out what worked and then keep doing it, plus, like you said, take the occasional chance just to keep the defense honest, if nothing else. I think it was Araujo-Lopes who beat his defender on a Go route and managed to draw a PI call in, I think, the second quarter of the ND game, and then naturally they did not throw deep again, the rest of the game.

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  11. I read Sear’s tweet from earlier today…

    Thank you, Pittsburgh. pic.twitter.com/I1rdnc8Wzh— Tyler Sear (@TS17__) October 16, 2018

    https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js

    I was inspired so in similar fashion I’d like to make an announcement myself..

    **I would like to take this time to thank Commander Reed for giving me the opportunity to read and post to this prestigious blog.

    With that being said, after taking a leave of absence to focus on my mental health I have decided to pursue a fresh start and transfer.. I would like to thank everyone who has touched my life here at the POV, and I will never forget the countless memories I made here.**

    Does anybody know the web address for the JMU blog? Younstown State? Maybe Delaware? Go Blue Hens!

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  12. I read Sear’s tweet from earlier today…

    Thank you, Pittsburgh. pic.twitter.com/I1rdnc8Wzh— Tyler Sear (@TS17__) October 16, 2018

    I was inspired so in similar fashion I’d like to make an announcement myself..

    **I would like to take this time to thank Commander Reed for giving me the opportunity to read and post to this prestigious blog.

    With that being said, after taking a leave of absence to focus on my mental health I have decided to pursue a fresh start and transfer.. I would like to thank everyone who has touched my life here at the POV, and I will never forget the countless memories I made here.**

    Does anybody know the web address for the JMU blog? Younstown State? Maybe Delaware? Go Blue Hens!

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  13. Dintino picked as first team in ACC by Pro football focus. Herndon was second team. Problem is squarely on Bookser as the player who simply is out of position. I posted Ol would be Ok this year and for the most part that has been the case. Yes pass blocking is an issue, but the edge protection is poor.

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    1. Good for Dintino. When I’ve watched him he’s done the job. Nice to see a player plug away and get rewarded.

      I actually thought he’d be the weak link…

      Seems like against ND, both tackles had breakdowns. I think we’ll be seeing less imposing end rushers going forward… Hopefully that leads to improvements in our passing game.

      My hats off to Bookser for giving it all he’s got at a new, and tough, position.

      Go Pitt.

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      1. I feel terrible for Bookser. A much better guard than tackle and having to play out of position due to incompetent recruiting by the last staff and Narduzzi’s first coach, Peterson.

        It’s no way to go out as a senior. Then again, why not try Bookser-Houy on the right side? Because this staff is afraid to play younger players. Archaic mindset is the reason.

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  14. Rick, Good article. Thanks for stepping up. I have just one tiny correction. Please, it’s “We have seen” not We have saw”. Sorry to sound like a board up the axx editor or English teacher which I’m obviously not. I find the article itself to be spot on. I continue to feel that Pickett isn’t getting the kind of coaching he needs to make maximum use of his skills. H2P Dirty Rich

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  15. Great effort EE. Everyone has a different take, but fairly accurate in my opinion. FWIW…

    O-Line = D+ I’m willing to attribute more of the blame on this unit. I expected better from Bookser.
    QB = C- After the Albany game, one of the prescient posters (Huff III) talked about the happy feet, pulling the ball too early, and overall lack of pocket presence. This poster rightfully predicted that KP would struggle this season. He was mocked and scolded for being too negative. This guy nailed it. I think the O-line is partly responsible for some of the passing game woes, but I am troubled by KP’s lack of growth. I expected him to take a big step forward this year, but I am really concerned. You can’t teach pocket presence.
    RB = B+ Tough to run when nobody respects the passing game. If the passing game can stretch the field, this unit can deliver.
    WR = C I can’t opine about separation or lack thereof, but the QB is not getting them many opportunities. I think they are adequate.
    TE = D Tim Salem, you tell us how much time you spend at the facility, but how much of that time is productive?
    OC = F I was off the Shawn Watson bandwagon in the Penn St. game with the goal line call and 2nd half game plan. He continues to disappoint. Against 3 quality opponents (PSU, UCF, and ND), his unit has managed 1 TD in each game. How about finding mismatches and exploiting them? How about stretching the field?

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Is there such a stat. as how long the pocket holds on average before it is impossible for a quarterback to stay upright in it? If for example it showed that Alabama was 6 seconds, Wisconsin 4, Purdue 3 and Pitt 2 that would tell us something. H2P ! Dirty Rich

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yep, on a good day for Tom Brady, I’ve seen him stand back there and scan downfield for several seconds without barely moving a step.

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  17. Grades on production without the context of the TEAM aspect are kind of meaningless. Besides the fact that there aren’t many production numbers for some of the groups or even individuals. I think I recall hearing statements back in the day about some Pitt O-lineman whose guy never sacked Marino. Well if you don’t understand that if that were true, the guys playing to HIS right and left have a lot to do with that too, then you don’t understand football(I only do slightly).

    Kind of like if a team was judged after playing Alabama or other top 10 teams 12 times in one season.

    To some degree you can get a look at trends and grade with meaning but still need to consider factors that lead to those “production” grades. Some above have commented on what they see of the individual or group that lead to the production stats, and of course that is fair.

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    1. Was that the year we lost to both Rutgers and Temple at Pitt Stadium? Ugh!

      Walt had a lot of work to do…

      Go Pitt.

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    2. I remember having to foot a ladder for my dad as a twelve year old as he was painting and we listened to this game on WTAE. What a low point for the program!

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  18. Once you get back up to your fighting weight Reed I would love to know your thoughts about Pickett. You have been so right about so many things…this was a miss, though, and a big one. By a lot of folks…pretty much the entire Pitt sports community.

    Yeah yeah, you will all say, the O line sucks. His knee is not 100%. WRs not getting open enough. No TEs.
    All true. But still…it has to be more than that, right? I have given him a total pass this season given the knee and oline. Should I? I do not think so anymore. Decision making? Arm weaker than expected? Poor mechanics? I think all are problem areas for him. Accuracy too but that is I think just an outcome of making late decisions and not setting himself.

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  19. Thanks Rick, thought provoking stuff.

    I have a significantly different take:

    O-line: D being able to run the ball is not nearly enough in today’s football. Pass protection is essential and this team gets an F in that category.

    TE: F, worst group I can remember at Pitt, Ditka’s school

    WR: D+ I cannot give this group a passing grade, not enough separation, very few difficult catches, don’t come back to the play to help KP when he scrambles. The best guy is injured.

    RB: B+ Would be an A if they broke more long ones.

    QB: C- because no time to throw, no stars to throw to, has not thrown many INT’s, a passing grade in his rookie season. not happy with some of the sacks and under thrown balls, but mostly caused by constant pressure. He is also playing on a gimpy knee.

    OC: C- because he can only do so much with what he has to work with and against 3 top ten teams and no pushovers since Albany. Many of his calls haven’t worked due to execution. It is hard for me to fault the guy when the players are mostly below the line, and losing too many individual battles.

    These grades are based on a curve against their opposition, hopefully they go up some against teams that are in their league literally and figuratively.

    Liked by 1 person

  20. Theoretical question…How would we grade out if we had a inexperienced sophomore Dan Marino, Matt Cavanaugh or Nate Peterman behind center with the present cast members ????

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  21. Bernie – They would perform in spite of a weaker O-Line. Pickett is no where near the level of those guys from a physical and emotionally stand point.

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  22. If I may be allowed to actually post something positive on this site ….. last night, 29-year old Brad Wannamaker made his NBA debut last night in the final minute scored 2 points and getting a rebound.

    After a spotty freshman and sophomore seasons, Brad became a Pitt fan favorite with his overall skills …. he actually played the role of a point swing man where he often directed the offense from the 3 or 4 position.

    I’m sure last night was a big thrill and a long time goal. wwb

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ironically, Brad plays for the Celts and HC Brad Stevens, who was the opposing HC at Butler in Brad’s final collegiate game.

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  23. Excellent point by Big B. It took a while for Cavanaugh to beat out Heygood and he had an excellent line and Dorsett and Walker to hand the ball to. Marino had one of the best lines ever assembled and still threw an amazing number of INT’s only permissible because of a historically great defense, certainly not permissible today. Peterman had a solid line and Boyd to throw to his first year and an even better line his second year and Conner and Henderson to hand off to.

    Obviously we will never know how they would perform with 1 and 1/2 half seconds and average receivers to throw to. If I recall, they all had solid Tight Ends as well.

    Another example is Bill Stull who improved dramatically as his line improved and with experience from junior to senior year.

    More time to throw makes every QB better.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Cavanaugh never really beat out Bobby Heygood. Heygood had a career ending knee injury in Pitt’s 1st game against ND in 1976, as Pitt’s starting QB, just as he was in the previous Sun Bowl of 1975. Then Cavanaugh himself got injured and Tom Yewcic became a trivia question for all but those that were there. Luckily Matt was able to come later in the season and win the MVP of the Sugar Bowl.

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      1. Not fair to Brad. He was one of the hardest working players eveh at Pitt. We saw him debut in the 1st scrimmage as a freshman and cheered him as he walked off the court at the Pete for the very last time as a Senior. IMHO there was not any player who developed more in 4 years then Brad.

        Also was a serious student of the game…he was at literally every W omens BBall game watching ….and I mean really watching the players the refs, and the coaches.

        Very nice young man also, so glad to see him finally in The League.

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  24. Great article on Maddox. As for the mid-year review, it is such a team game that positional evaluations are hard to make (except for TE). It is more a case of who stood out in a mediocre first half, and I’d say the RBs and weaver at DE come to mind. Beyond that, I’d say there are some areas where improvement has occurred, but it will take the second half to see if they make much of a difference. I also tend to agree that Watson can’t call plays that cannot be executed by only average players, so he is somewhat limited in what he can call.

    As for the QB situation, again the play of others affects Pickett’s performance. I’d prefer to look at Pickett from a standpoint of a first year starter who may or may not be getting better as the season goes on. What do others think? Are Pickett’s deficiencies due to inexperience and coaching? Does he have the necessary arm and ball skills to get better in his Soph and Jr. years? QB is the one position that should be looked at separately from how the team is doing overall. Brady was an above average QB coming out of college, but he has flourished in New England’s system. Could a new QB coach help Pickett to flourish at Pitt?

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  25. If we do can Watson, I don’t think they will. They should do it the day of the last game so a new guy can come in and start working ASAP with Pickett and the offense. Give them about 9 months in a new system.

    I think the Defense is improving but want to see it against a good passing team. Not sure we play any good throwing teams on schedule now. The problem is the Offense is so lethargic.

    If you took this possibly improving defense (Big Stretch here) and the offense of 3 years ago then this team could make the ACC Championship game.

    The challenge is putting it all together and Watson proves he is not the man for the job.

    I’m still afraid of the recruiting.

    I called it early on but UVA is improving. Took 3 years but showing signs.

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  26. OL – Certainly playing better than just about everyone expected, but due to the disparity between run and pass blocking so far this year, overall performance is a weak link. And everyone other position on offense is affected by the OL. Look at Wisconsin Paul, he builds a strong OL every year that gives the team identity and produces points and wins (loses 2 games every year, guaranteed, but still wins a lot) even without a QB. Grade = D.

    QB – From what I can tell, Pickett has a strong, accurate arm, but he struggles in decision making and seems to have pocketfearitis. He’s played less than a year and is behind a weak OL and questionable play calling, not to mention being tightendless. Grade = D.

    RBs – B+
    TEs – F+
    WRs – C
    OC – hard to tell given the weaknesses above, but my gut says D-.
    HC – Given the perceived weaknesses noted above, he’s gotten a fair amount out of this team, especially coming off the team’s 2 best games. He’s also responsible for the talent shortfall leading to those issues. Mid-year grade, C-, though upcoming final exam could impact this grade significantly, probably on the negative side if I had to take a guess.

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      1. Oh, I actually received an F+ on a history paper in college. It’s the one grade I never forgot. I was thinking you’d reserve that grade for Narduzzi, unless you’re going F-?

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        1. If I ever got an F+ or F- I would have to ask what the heck does that mean? I mean failing is failing right. Is it well you didn’t even fail well enough to earn an “F” so I gave you an F+ for at least spelling your name right on the paper…

          And F-? Is it you failed so bad that even giving you an “F” for fail would seem like an act of charity.

          Really curious on a professor’s mindset on this

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  27. Besides the limitations of the Oline, this offense has had a few crucial screw-ups on executing handoffs in the backfield. That year with Oh Canada was impressive by how crisp the execution was, especially the timing on the jet sweep handoffs. I think Peterman had two shaky handoffs the entire season.

    That botched reverse against ND could have been a big play — even with the botched exchange Ffrench got back to the scrimmage line… This offense obviously needs plays like that to work…

    Go Pitt.

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  28. The O line is an F
    Why
    Yes it can run block, but to do it they use the TE as an extra blocker.
    The line is so bad the TE can never be used in the passing game. They give Pickett and the receivers zero time to make a play.
    The interference call at ND was one of the only times Picket had time in the pocket.

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  29. Reed come on. You can’t just look at production for KP. He would be an F if just looking at production. That is just silly and biased. Watch some film on his amount of pocket time.

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  30. Adding to the problem is the fact that he is NOT ELITE in any particular way when it comes to skill.

    Very AVERAGE when you compare him to a LOT of other Quarterbacks around the country.

    His one and ONLY asset… a willingness to compete. Now it we can only get him to have a similar willingness to IMPROVE.

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    1. I don’t get all your efforts to tear down KP. Seems to me he has a decent arm and decent scrambling ability (which has been largely negated by the breakdowns in the OLine and his banged-up knee).

      And I think you’ll see a better Pickett against the next few opponents.

      Just my humble opinion…

      Go Pitt.

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  31. Not much said on here about Tyler Sear tweeting he wasn’t even at practice the day he supposedly got into an argument with the head coach.

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    1. You can bet there would be a great deal said here had it been confirmed that he had got into that argument with the head coach. All the crowd advocating Narduzzi’s immediate firing would be all over that story with their added opinion.

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  32. The good news is that the offense should be expected to improve in the 2nd half … as should the defense (just like last year.) It should be no mystery why.
    wwb

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Debatable wbb. Yes some of the tough games are off the schedule. But so are some of the easiest ones, Albany, the unforgivable loss to the Tarholes (their only win of the season) and a pretty weak GT team.

      And VT & Miami are Top 20,,,,,25 type teams. The easiest remaining opponent is Wake, but they are better than the 3 easy ones listed above. And Wake’s offense is avg’g 32 ppg so Pitt is going to have
      to score a lot to beat them.

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  33. LOL John, I know TX offered a comment that made sense, if PN had open practices that might not have happened but on the other hand, it’s probably why he chooses to closes them because the media gets it wrong to many times.

    Liked by 1 person

  34. I think the TE Grade would be a “W” for Withdrew. (i.e. Clark, Reeves, Sear). Last part got cut-off.

    Maybe the TE coach got detention and had to stay over at the facility.

    I remember Tim Foli when he played for the Pirates. A true competitor. He got mad at himself so bad for missing a play one game, that he slept at 2nd base that night. For some reason, that stuck with me for a long time. For you oldtimers, was that correct?

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    1. Never heard that one, Huff, but Foli certainly played tough and appeared to get the most lot of his ability.

      I remember Foli choking-up way up on the bat, if memory serves…

      But your story might be giving Salem some sleeping -spot ideas! 😊

      Go Pitt.

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  35. jrn, from what I understand it was confirmed? After-all it was PSN reporting it to be true. Could this be a part of the chip on Pickett’s shoulder towards the media? Hey, he said they (media) don’t know what the hell they are talking about. He was right about that.

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  36. I never heard a argument happened or honestly know who Tyler Sear even was up to this point? It is hard to keep track of TE’s. Was he the kid with his wisdom teeth pulled and tweeted it?

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  37. Yeah that’s the player. Alleged that Narduzzi and Sear got into a “heated” exchange at practice last Tuesday. Now Sear says he wasn’t at practice that day. He had already left the team.

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  38. Grant Carrigan is a scholarship player. They have 3 players at TE at the moment with Carson Van Lynn moving there last week

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  39. Now, I also have said that I like Pitt’s chances against VaTech.

    However, this is going to depend on having a Kicker who can make a PRESSURE Field Goal… and a FAKE Punter who can both Pass and Punt1

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  40. I have a prediction. If Pitt beats Duke convincingly, it will win out out in the regular season. That would be be an 8 and 4 record and maybe a game in the conference championship. I won’t speculate beyond that. The main problem is this: Pitt, in my memory of recent games after a bye, has lost that game. If they get out of that rut and beat Duke, I think a hurdle will have been crossed.

    The only grade I am comfortable in giving this team is this: B plus for effort. Except for the second half of the Penn State game when it seemed the fire had gone out of them, I think the Pitt kids have given their best effort in every game. The UNC game may have been an exception, but the Pitt defense was still a work in progress. I know that for many of you seven games should have been enough time to become a finished product. For the coaches they can only put kids on the field and in certain situations if they feel the kids can perform well. They base their assumptions on how kids perform in practices. But I have always wondered if there are kids who perform better in games than in practice. Narduzzi implied that about the Clermont kid who intercepted the Syracuse pass at the end of that game.

    Some of you have complained about Pitt’s two best runners being competent but not shifty and fast enough. Ffrench and Jacques-Louis are shifty and fast, as is Arujo-Lopes, but they have fumbled in the past and the coaches I am sure feel more comfortable with the big bulls hanging onto the ball.

    Pitt’s effort is something to be proud of. Ideally that will translate into a winning kind of effort on Oct. 20 and thereafter. If it doesn’t, then all my bets are off, and I will await the men’s basketball team’s games with hope if nothing else

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  41. —Hard for me to believe there’s a college football coach out there who hasn’t argued with a player…

    — Agree in the team’s effort being good.

    —Perhaps we see Medure emerge at TE – he seems to be athletic and now has had some time to work on the position. We have lacked speed/quickness at this position. Gragg looks more like a big WR than a TE…

    Go Pitt.

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  42. Last thought
    The schedule has been brutal. If I had to take physics instead of some comm class I would have an f grade too.

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  43. Van Lynn, ya, 87, that’s the kid who got the big holding penalty. Wasn’t sure if he was a TE.

    Grades are all incomplete at this time. Mid term test coming next week vs Dookies. I honestly have many more questions than answers for this team now. We’ll see, hope they can get to my 5 win mark.

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  44. The only time a particular schedule should never matter if they are all exactly alike. Since they are not, a schedule matters. PITT is 1-3 with their OOC schedule. What would everyone think if PITT had gone 3-1 with easier OOC games? 5-2 sounds a whole lot better. imo

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes but we would have a false sense of identity. Then we make a bowl and get teeth kicked in. I don’t know the answer. Maybe a more balanced Non Con.

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      1. Upitt,

        While I agree with your point, I would say it’s not about that (unfortunately). It is about making it to a bowl for many.

        It’s about the $$$$ and extra practices for the admin/coaches respectively.

        And while it builds a false narrative, you know as well as I do that there is always that 1 in 10 chance that the team we play against will lay an egg and we end up having that false narrative carry over.

        I mean haven’t we seen that play out in the regular season time-in/time-out? Wow we beat #1 Clemson, we are on the upswing baby just give Coach Nard-dog 10 more years!!! (you can insert Clemson with Va Tech, Miami, PSU, etc., etc.)

        So a eeked out bowl win even against a 7-5 opponent would provide enough of a false narrative for some to suggest we are on the right track as a program.

        Dave

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  45. OCC should have one ranked team. Others should give a 75 to 90 percent win chance with games at home. If ACC goes to 9 game schedule then still only one ranked team. All other major teams do this.

    We need to go to a bowl game every year. Otherwise we lose publicity that we now lack.

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  46. Alan Saunders at PSN gave out his mid season grades today. I’m not going to comment on all the grades but I agree with his grades for Watson at a D and Narduzzi at a C-.

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  47. Ah … Pitt’s offense; let us skip to QB.

    Coach Narduzzi has stood on the sidelines and made his notes in his notepad (#!*! that Watson, among other notations) and has left Kenny out there with nary a thought of pulling him. You think Nick Saban stands there and makes his fans in the stands and in their couches witness 1,006 passing yards through 7 games, without one game over 200 yards? And this is 2018; not 1918!

    Nah, I think he pulls Jalen Hurts and changes it up with Tua Tagovailoa and earns his big time salary with a big time decision.

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  48. I think to date there are very few positives to point to. this is the fourth year of Narduzzi and his so called system. What we do know is his system didn’t work well to date on what he brought to the program. He punted to OC the last three and 1/2 years so one can’t make an informed decision without knowing what if any influence he has with the offense. If he is unaware that this offense is not good, That’s a problem. and he is not able to fix what he doesn’t understand to the degree needed.

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    1. Either one is fine (Dave or David) Ike. To your point above with 7-8 wins could eventually help with recruiting…that is where what I like to call “The Narduzzi Paradox” comes into play.

      We would’ve hoped his first two 8 win years would’ve brought some of that “recruiting help” you typed.

      The problem here IMO has less to do with wins and more to do with for lack of a better term “selling” especially locally.

      Anyway, my only point is it’s not just wins that help recruiting, you gotta have the “IT” factor as a head coach.

      Not sure if he has “IT”

      Thanks,
      Dave

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  49. @Frank Md – Oh noooo brother. We get plenty of publicity on draft day as it is usually just highlights of the number 1 draft picks playing against our team.

    With regard to running backs, my contention of what makes a running back great is in order: anticipation/vision, quickness/burst, speed, followed by blocking, power and catching the football. That is what Mccoy, Ray Graham, Dion Lewis, Curtis Martin, Swervin Curvin Richards and TD all had. Probably missed a couple names there.

    The other greats were Conner, Heyward, McMillan, Barlow, Miree which were more power runners. Both groups successful, but accomplished their success through a different mean. I would not put any of our current RB’s in either group as far as overall success. I think Ollison was shorted here and that Hall had the 4star from Youngstown wink and nod by the head coach from Youngstown.

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    1. Huff – we agree on the RBs. I think Pitt needs to revamp their thinking and seek recruits with quickness. I’m convinced these guys are out there – but we seem to get mesmerized by a combination of size and big yardage in HS. Those things don’t necessarily translate to college; but quickness/speed/elusiveness works anywhere.

      I suppose we should revisit what we are looking for in TEs as well…😊

      Go Pitt.

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  50. I’ll chime in this about Hall, I watched a couple of nice shifty runs this year including one against Syracuse I believe.

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  51. Ah Ironhead. I have an odd Ironhead memory, probably 1987 and 1988…when we hurdled someone. People were in utter disbelief that this guy could hurdle a would-be tackler. Anyone remember that?

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  52. OT: CBS Sports named Ffrench to their Mid Season All American team as a kickoff return specialist. Lets hope he does’t follow Henderson out the door and opt in for the NFL draft prior to his senior season.

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  53. Short and sweet of the top of my head…
    Narduzzi :C-
    Bates: B-
    Watson: D
    O line: C
    QB: C
    RBs: B+
    WRs: C-
    TEs: F
    Dline: B-
    Linebackers: C
    Dbacks: B-
    All above can earn extra credit with this evaluator by winning more games than they lose in the remaining schedule .

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    1. Special teams C due to the strange combination of very good (2 TDs, long FGs) and very bad (missed FGs, terrible punting,etc)

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  54. I remember that as well DD. I believe it was near the sideline. One of my favorite Pitt plays I recall as a kid. As well as send it in Jerome.

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  55. Gee guys, keep that wide paint brush next to you when you’re talking about what’s said on here and what’s written on the POV.. I can count maybe two or three commenters who have advocated narduzzi being fired and by the way I haven’t been one of them.

    Not once have I ….

    • said PN should be fired. I have said that he needs to be under a microscope though.
    • said that Pickett was a bad QB. Lots of others on here have done so, not me. Why? Because every time I mentioned Pickett in the months leading up to the Albany game I cautioned everyone to lower their expectations of what he’d do for us this year. I predicted held have around 15 or so TDs and around 10 INTs when others were talking about him being a star.

    He may get there and he may not but he’s certainly been as disappointment as a true starting QB. ?

    If you look at that OL and what the offense has done around it I feel that even a “C” grade is is too generous.

    I believe Pitt fans are giving our run game a bit too much credit to make up for its horrible pass blocking. While our run game is the only offensive bright spot it still isn’t doing well enough to win us more games. In seven games we have scored 13 TDs or 1.8 per game. Last season as scored 1.7 per game so no real lift in production there.

    Credit due to the RBs though, they are coming through for us under tough circumstances.

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    1. I noticed quite a few C-‘s dished out to Narduzzi mid season, myself included above, so under a microscope is a fair characterization for most of; if you think about it, a pretty abrupt change from not too long ago coming off of 2 8 win seasons.

      It’s not fair for anyone to call Pickett a bad QB yet, that’d be nuts. Heck, he hasn’t played a season yet and is not exactly well supported in his situation, plus he has a lot going for him imho (arm strength, accuracy, character). So, agree again, and agree you never implied as such.

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  56. When will James at Pedo start feeling some heat? The Nitters must still play Michigan and Whisky, and could end up with 4 losses this year. Are the farmers getting restless?

    Liked by 2 people

  57. Franklin was one game away from getting canned when they beat Ohio State. Had he lost, he would have lost his job, that’s how hot that seat was.

    If you listen to his franklinspeak, he is now peddling that they are great, but not yet elite. He is buying himself more time and the Dairy Admin is buying it. He recruits well, but struggles with actual coaching. His turnover in the coordinator slots should continue to cause him problems….hopefully!

    If Watson doesn’t open it up and become creative very soon, he will be gone. No offense is as inept as Pitt’s. We went from the hardest team to prepare against under Canada to the easiest, under Watson. That’s the rub. We are limited offensively because our coach only calls the same plays. Running on 4th and 3 was a fireable offense many games ago in my opinion. The coaches need to trust the players a little bit and open up the playbook. Don’t worry coaches, they are academically able to grasp this stuff. Put it on their Ipads for them to study all week!

    Defensively, Pitt was easy to scheme against as well. Thanks to a lot of pushing on the POV, Narduzzi has finally bent a little on defense enough to understand that you play your best defense with speed and using 5-6 DB combos. Preferably the big DB’s take one of the LB’s spots. That is how you defend the spread and run pass option teams. Pitt can go back to their base defense when we play big10 type teams, but there just aren’t many of those on the schedule. Spread offenses spread out slower defenders.

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  58. In an alternate universe we played Kent State instead of Penn State, and Central Michigan instead of Central Florida.

    This was the kind of schedule Walt had in his first 5 years and Wannstadt too. In that universe we are 5-2.

    In that universe our offense and passing game are a click or two better because the team had a time to gel and build confidence and because they weren’t completely outclassed, and our defense is probably top 50 (still not great but better) because we don’t get blown out by two complete and utter mismatches. Everyone is happy.

    But hey we don’t live in an alternate universe. No this team is not anywhere close to where it should be in year 4. But no matter what you say, scheduling matters.

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    1. It’s always about the cost/benefit analysis. I also remember tons of yellow seats for those type of games. So you get the “W’s” and the ability to gel as a team. But you don’t get the revenues that a PSU or an ND for that matter.

      The big ? is does a 5-2 record with that type of schedule generate enough downstream buzz to enable greater attendances//revenues to make up for the lost revenues due to scheduling those teams?

      Also does the “gel” of the team enable the team to be competitive enough to compete against the real part of your schedule against your conference opponents?

      Finally, which has been problematic in recent past, what happens when you lose to a Youngstown state or a Kent State (or an Akron as we did back in 2014) when you open your season?

      I don’t necessarily disagree with the statement, I just wonder if the first 2 questions are discussed when trying to ascertain gate receipts for the program.

      Is it more about dollars/profits than W-L’s at the end of the day?

      Dave

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      1. You make a good point about the financials Dave. We’d probably have to pay out at least $1M by playing two lesser schools. Of course the idea is not to lose…

        Central Florida will not fill seats. So that may have been the worst scheduling decision in recent history. Although I think when we did it they were not very good.

        PSU and ND revenues probably net out to close to half a million of profit. More if you consider the season tickets that are purchased just to get access to one game. WVU would do the same. Not to drag that dead horse out of the grave…

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