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:

http://stats.ncaa.org/rankings/ranking_summary

 

312 thoughts on “Pitt’s Mid-Season Grades – Defense

  1. Reed… It’s funny how this Blog Thing works. I would bet a lot of POVers would not hesitate to say that I have called for Narduzzi to be FIRED and have always been ANTI-Pickett.

    Neither is the case.

    For the record… I was against HIRING Narduzzi and been HIGHLY critical since… outside of a few exceptions (i.e. see Pitt beats PSU).

    As for Pickett, initially I was NOT a Big Fan based upon his High School Highlights and Career. He has since won me over with his COMPETITIVENESS (see Pitt beats Miami)… however, now quickly losing me with his ATTITUDE and inability to deliver.

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  2. I’ll comment more later and thank you again Rick, great job. I have to laugh out-loud that Pickett’s attitude is a problem for anyone. Right now it may be his best attribute.

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  3. As for the Defense… I said a few weeks ago prior to Syracuse that, more than the Offense, we would see the Defense improve.

    I think you asked why I saw it this way?

    Well, it is because of exactly what we saw happen Saturday. The move is FINALLY being made to give other Players a chance. For example, you now have Pinnock firmly in place as a Starting Corner. Another example is you now see Stocker very seldom coming off the field.

    And as I mentioned prior to Notre Dame, I believe the majority of the credit SHOULD be going to Randy Bates.

    In fact, I wonder if Narduzzi has handed over more CONTROL to Bates and this might be the reason for the improvement we’re witnessing?

    This would be hard to imagine. But, the Defense seems to be EVOLVING and for the better!

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  4. I am calling for his firing. I want to make that perfectly clear.

    $3.5M doesnt buy you 5-7 win seasons

    Its Year 4

    I heard today by people who know (THE experts (coaches, former players, former AD’s) that its also Year 4 for Harbaugh. They ALL said that come Year 4 its put up or shut up. So that was validation for how I also think despite only being a fan of the game.

    In my mind, the only thing that saves Dog’s job is winning the Coastal.

    But I’m not the AD who extended him.

    I grade the D more harshly. D+
    The Notre Dame game is not the turning of the corner. This team struggles against defending the spread.
    I expect the Dookies to light Pitt up.

    Come loss 3 in ACC play, Heather should be looking for a new coach because next year will not get any better.

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  5. TX… Certainly a position that can be defended!

    But, I’m waiting until the end of the Season. Need to see if Narduzzi can do better than just Wake… and my outside pick VaTech.

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  6. I’m out on that limb with you too, POD. Just like last year when the D played well late in the season, I think they’re hitting their stride now.

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      1. Goalie: How exactly does a 5-7 SEASON record have anything to do with how they played late. They played very well in both the VT loss (blame either Weah or Duzzi, but not the defense for that one) and the Miami win. At least know what you are talking about.

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        1. Disagree. Their defensive numbers speak for themselves. If you think two games last year, and one this year after blowout loses, is turning the corner, have at it.

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          1. I didn’t say that they’ve turned the corner. I commented only on your factually inaccurate statement: “Our defense played well late last season? At 5-7, I’m not sure about that.”. Did you watch the VT game? Did you attend or watch the Miami game? Have never seen you at the POV tailgate, so I’m guessing not. The defense played well, if not outstanding in both of those games, perhaps assisted a bit by poor QB play from our opponents. Sorry that the actual facts do not support your claim. Kudos for accurately recalling that we were 5-7. Did you look that up?

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            1. Wow, because you didn’t see me at a tailgate, that means somehow I didn’t watch it attend…intelligent…the comment was made the defense has turned a corner, I say no.

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      2. I’m talking about the last 2 games specifically where they narrowly lost to VT and beat MIA. The defense played very well in both of those games.

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  7. Way to help out, Rick!

    I disagree a tad on a couple.

    —I’d give the corners at least a C+, and as you stated, Pinnock has been coming on and Jackson is pretty good. ND did have to resort to a “pick” play, which with their WRs is a compliment to the D-backs…

    —The mystery of the LBs, to me, has been the low profile of Idowo. He doesn’t seem to be making the plays he made last season… He’s not flying around.

    (BTW, did anyone notice that the much maligned EZ made back-to-back good plays at the end of the first half to help hold ND to a field goal…)

    —On Bates, I imagine he’s tried to walk a fine line as far as making changes to Coach Duzz’s defense. But I suspect that we are seeing his influence more lately. This is just a guess — but after I had the chance to talk to Coach Bates at the LOI event, I came away thinking that our defense was going to be much more aggressive (and risk-taking) this season – like we finally saw against ND…

    So, I’d probably give Bates a C or C+, he’s kind of in a tough spot…

    Go Pitt.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I agree with those above that say they want to see this improvement on defense against a spread offense. Up to the ND game (excluding Albany), the defense had been a terrible disappointment. I sure hope that the ND game was the turning point we have been waiting for and not a one off.

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  9. The Dreadful(sans ND game, who sort of blewup themselves) Defense Grades

    D-Line – Gets a D Not much push, by this line, very few TFL’s and very few sacks. Can’t get
    pressure on QB without someone blitzing, most of the time. Weaver is only bright spot with
    20 solos and 7 TFL’s.

    LB’s – D+ Constantly Out of Position, again very few TFL’s and no interceptions. Zeise has 12 solo
    tackles in 7 games(9th on the team). And he’s still the starter ??? (The + is for participation per Jackagain)

    Db’s – (C-) Hard to evaluate this group, because generally opposing QB’s have all day to scan the field,
    go to secondary Receivers, etc. But they do have more interceptions than normal.

    Safeties – (B-) The starters are tied at #2 in Solo Tackles (23) only 1 behind the Tackling leader (Quint)
    And they have a couple interceptions as well…for a change.

    Overall the Dreadful D is allowing 31 ppg which is 91st worst in FCS
    112th worst in allowed 3rd Down conversions
    Have no Defensive TD’s.
    114th worst in allowed 1st Down
    90th worst in Total Defense 410 yards per game

    Team Defense Grades Out as a D+ (only because Albany game is in the mix and ND almost
    imploded and GT was particularly bad that day)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Emel – Pitt does have 1 defensive TD when QW stripped the ball from the cuse QB and Jackson scooped the ball and sprinted to the end zone.

      Easy to forget as there are so few…

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  10. I am not in favor of firing the HC at this point. That isn’t to say that I don’t think TX Panther has a point because he does. But I do not think it serves a good purpose to do that mid-season based on his record alone. I will wait to see how the rest of the season plays out.

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  11. Thanks Rick and I kind of knew that, Powell, hasn’t he produced a couple really good special team return guys for PITT?

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    1. You don’t coach up a special teams returning. It is a God Given Skill. You come to Pitt or anywhere with it.

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        1. A 2 star return man is an asset. QH was a great return man but a bad WR. So yes. To act like you coach up a KO returner is silly. Don’t act like I’m wrong. I’m the one who picked 4 wins remember. Some of you guys had 7-9.

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  12. D’s performance is especially frustrating…. because after the last 2 games of last year, it seemed like it was getting better. The 2017 D only gave up 26.6 ppg (65th). Perhaps the last 2 games was more indicative of just ineffective QB play from those 2 opponents. The Miami QB was particularly bad. And the VT QB was 17 of 37 (46%), which is pretty bad these days. Didn’t see that game, so don’t know if he was just missing
    open WR’s or not.

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      1. That’s not what I said and why the attitude? I said two games last season, the one’s the you cite does not give me hope that they have turned the corner. But you know it all.

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  13. Rick – thanks for pitching in with the posts. At this point, hard to disagree too much with either of them. Lets hope the kids improve as the rest of the season is played.

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  14. Overall, the D has been woeful, ND notwithstanding. We looked like a high school team against UCF and PSU rang us up for 51. We beat Syracuse, but they still laid 37 on us. In year 4 of defensive genius Narduzzi, we’re really not making much improvement. Narduzzi still plays his seniors with little talent over younger guys (Briggs and Zeise come to mind). Next year could be equally scary. Not much to get excited about with Pitt football.

    I’d give the D an overall D so far this year.

    SantaCruzer

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      1. I forgot about Hendrix (easy to do, since you rarely hear his name called). Ditto with Roy & Zeise.
        At some point, very shortly, you have to put the younger kids in to get some game experience for next year and quit worrying about trying to make 6 wins and a 4th rate totally forgettable made for TV Bowl Movement.

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  15. My two cents:

    After the debacle that was the PSU game, the pathetic NC game, then the disappointing UCF game I advocated for a coaching change.

    It’s hard to imagine that all of a sudden things have improved with the team to the point that, I for one at least, believe HCPN can make this program above average. The recruiting isn’t there, the coaching isn’t working, and the schemes show no imagination.

    Having said that, I’ll gladly enjoy an ACC Title Game appearance should that happen. I’ll also be rooting for a victory each and every game.

    The difference is that with a good program the expectation of winning comes with it. I would enjoy that immensely….

    H2P!

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  16. Hope is the only thing we Pitt people have a lot of.

    I hope we improve too, it would be great if we could run the table. And I hit the lotto and hold a big Pitt Pov party at the Top of the William Penn or the Banquet Room at the LeMont.

    Duke is playing with a backup QB, as is Va Tech. Miami’s QB situation isn’t much better than last year, as the Perry kid threw 2 pics against UVA and was yanked for the ineffectual Rosier.
    So 3 out of the 5 teams left, have iffy QB’s. Wake’s QB is not great ( only a slightly higher QB rating than Pickett).
    So there is HOPE !

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  17. In the just wondering category of useless thoughts, does anyone else find it interesting that both Pitt and the Steelers have a bye during the same week?

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    1. That means the only Football action in Da Burgh this week, with a local team will be the Pedos.

      Even the Hoopies don’t play this weekend, don’t play to next Thursday night.

      All Eyeballs will be on the Pedders……Go figure !

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    1. Not for Ffrench. You don’t coach up speed and instint. The other kid whoever it is if not returning the ball then yes.

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  18. Your assessment of the D is about right the problem is it is a team sport,11 men. !. Until we can score more than 1 TD/game by the offense the D will not matter. Duzz’s 4th year. Where are we? Many other coastal teams have new coaches with 4 or less years in place that are meeting and surpassing Pitt. Our trend is flat to down. theirs is flat to up. When you can’t get all cylinders running smooth at the same time that problem rests at the top——HC and people at the U who must support him and demand performance. Authority/responsibility are partners and they both flow down from the top. As with the Roman Legions, give authority ,demand success or suffer the cosequences ie responsibility. I hope I am wrong but I still do not see us breaking 500 because of this.

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  19. With this O-line, you have to get the ball out quicker…which is what the Spread is all about. 123 …out.

    Also if you Spread the Field, the D can’t play 8 & 9 in the box. So it would also help the running game.
    Might bust some longer runs. It’s very hard for a running offense,to sustain long drives, because one penalty, one sack, one busted play for a Tackle for loss….usually stalls out the Drive.

    Defense only looked better against HD, for a couple reasons imo.
    1) ND is more like a Bigjoke offense
    2) It was only Book’s 3rd or 4th game as the starter, Bates/Nardo confused him a little
    3) Pitt traditionally (at least lately) plays ND tough on the road.

    Against a spread, we don’t get any (enough) pressure and these QB’s pick us apart.

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  20. Jackson, Pinnock and Mathis are pretty dam good single coverage DB’s. But even with good single coverage you won’t win many games absent pass pressure on the opposition QB. That folks defines a high risk defense and one that could look very good some weeks and very bad others. I’ll give our CURRENT starting DB’s a B+ grade considering what they have to deal with.

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  21. I kind of agree with the overall D rating rather than the C. We will find out if ND was an aberration enabled by Adrenalin or ND’s lack of it. Our guys were definitely up for the game. We will find out next week if that can be sustained. As with offensive grades, no more top ten teams in our future so we will see if the defense can improve their grades against less talented foes.

    I am somewhat encouraged by more guys making plays in the last two games. Weaver, Pinnock Watts, Mathis, Jackson to name a few Tackling seems to have gotten better. Pass coverage also seems to be slightly better.

    Overall, I would say that the defensive performance has been more disappointing than the offense. In Narduzzi’s fourth year, with his focus on defensive recruits, I expected stronger results. With the O-line and a rookie QB, I didn’t expect much.

    I have no clue how this team will finish. Will they get that sixth win to show improvement over last year?
    Is this the team that failed miserably vs UNC or the team that overcame all obstacles vs Syracuse?

    Time will tell.

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    1. I didn’t remember that Skip died so young.

      I have a memory of him scoring on about a 70-yard pass play – might have been against WVU – was a slant route…

      Go Pitt.

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    2. Skip was mentioned by someone a few months ago but I didn’t realize he died so young and that he holds the passes caught record. I don’t know how I could not have known that. I’m stunned as I was a fanatic Pitt fan during my 4 years there and Skip was my freshman roommate. So sorry to learn his life was so short.

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  22. I am not a betting man….but please for your own safety, no one bet on Pitt winning the coastal! Sure I would love for it to happen. Odds have to be 1 in 5 IMO.

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    1. I was about the post the same thing. I just don’t see us running the table. We play 5 teams that we are probably on a similar level with, I don’t see us outplaying every single one of them.

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  23. For me, the Duke game is the key to the rest of Pitt’s season. To beat a Coastal spread offense team with a backup QB is not reassuring. Look at the UNC game. If Pitt can be as fired up for Duke as it was for ND and Syracuse, I think Pitt will prevail. If it is not, the rest of the season will be a bust. Just my opinion, which I do try to keep civil. I wish others who post here would do likewise and quit attacking others who post. Disagree strongly with a position taken. Don’t attack the person. That’s what politicians do, too many of them.

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  24. A few notes:

    I’ll cut to the chase and just give the entire defense a D+. I could see a good defensive effort coming last week with ND mostly playing a Big Ten style of offense.

    If my memory serves me well and I’ve watched a lot of football in my lifetime, I have to say. On punt and kickoff returns I remember there are 10 other players on the field during the play. Not to mention Ffrench is a Narduzzi recruit.Somebody did something right don cha think?

    I thought the Duke starting QB had returned? or was that the Virginia QB?

    PITT has played against some pretty darn good QB’s so far this year and mostly kept them under their years yardage average.

    Yeah, I don’t want to see PITT playing to powerhouse teams like state penn and Notre Dame in the same year but they just got unlucky with UCF who caught lightning in a bottle at the wrong time for PITT.

    Hope you’re feeling better Reed. Maybe comeing up for the VT game? . . . .ike

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  25. I mentioned this on the previous thread. The Nitters are staring at a 4 loss season, and will lose their QB next season. Is James on the hot seat yet? His personality is as arrogant as they come, and he must be wearing on the Pedo brass.

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    1. In general, they have to be pleased at the job he is doing with recruiting and, based on that, think that their future looks bright. I know they think very highly of their backup QB, so I doubt there is much panic over losing McSorely. At least not at the moment.

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  26. CBs – B

    Safeties – D+. Hamlin is coming on which is good to see, if they replaced Briggs (quality guy and captain) with Coleman I’d upgrade this position to a B as well, not sure why the coaches favor seniority over ability, And I disagree with Rick on one comment above, Stocker is horrible in coverage.

    Linebackers – C-

    DLine – C- (youth showing some positive signs for the future)

    DC = C- (seriously though, I have no idea here, and who am I to judge anyway?) The question is, is Pitt’s D getting better? Overall, this D has been subpar all year, until finally stiffening in the Cuse game (after giving up 2 early TDs) followed by a strong game against ND. Will this continue? I do believe the Duke game will tell us a lot in this regard.

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    1. I don’t know 1618mt I guess it stiffened, but Pitt’s d almost let Syracuse come all the way back.
      Duke should be a great test.

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  27. Narduzzi’s D needs 2 things to work.
    1 pass pressure from front 4. ( we never get that)
    A below average QB see VT/Miami
    If you have a decent QB with time someone will always be open.
    Plus like the QB touchdown by Syracuse, if you don’t make the tackle the qb has a clear path for first down or TD.

    Liked by 1 person

  28. If Pitt signs any transfers or Jr. College players, when would the announcement come? Would it be in December under the new recruiting rules? Trying to look for some optimism for next year, but the large number of Srs. playing this year is a major cause for concern.

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  29. Narduzzi has backed himself into a corner now, and must play anyone available to win this year instead of building for the future. In year 4, it becomes win at any cost. Average transfers with at least some playing experience will be playing next year ahead of younger players with more upside.

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  30. Isn’t it crazy we use Duke as a litmus. We are Pitt and comparing ourselves to freaking Duke in Football. Years ago I would of said that was Madness.

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    1. I wouldn’t call Duke a litmus test. But at 5-1, with their only loss coming to VT, I think they will be a plenty good enough test to show me whether our defense is making strides, or if the ND game (and most of Cuse) was just an aberration.

      And if our D is NOT making strides, and you combine that with our F+ offense, then we’re done.

      Liked by 1 person

  31. Duke is 5-1 right now and they have played crappy OOC teams. I know Northwestern and Baylor are P-5 schools but they got lucky to catch them in down years and they are not psu and UCF by any stretch..

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  32. I’d give the cornerbacks a B. Hard to blanket a receiver when the qb has all afternoon.

    As for anyone who wants to retain coach Pat, is the program really in the shape u want to see, especially after four years?
    Ugh!

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  33. Gasman, I really don’t know what shape they are in right now. Since I don’t have a choice in the matter, I’ll wait. ike

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  34. @Voice – responded to the dairy coach comment on the last thread.

    Defensively, I will say this again. For last year and all of this year, I was begging for Narduzzi to go with at least a 5 DB set and 6 on long passing downs (because Pitt gives up a lot of 3rd and 15 plays at crucial times). Anyway, two weeks ago we started to see this lineup. Defense is about speed. Narduzzi said before the season that our D was fast. That is correct. Our DB’s are fast. Our LB’s were not. They may be fast in straight ahead speed, but not football fast because they think too much and lose a step. Our bigger DB’s like Campbell and Tucker should take the role of LB’s on passing downs against the spread teams, which is most of them.

    You do need the heavier dudes against ND, PSU, VT and Miami because they play pro sets most of the time if I remember correctly. PSU,VT and Miami, are a lot of RPO offense, so that is where we need a bigger 5th DB. On 3rd and long bring in a 6th db that is a cover guy to compliment the bigger db’s that can also support the run.

    I give the defense a solid C- to D+. We need to get the right DL guys (younger) in the games and let them loose. No pressure equals no worries for an opponents offense (see psu, ucf, etc.). If you are older than a RS Soph, D+. Soph RS or less = B.

    LB’ers – Jr or higher D-. RS Soph or younger – C.

    DB’s – Briggs – D-, Hamlin C- ; Jackson too many penalties -D; RS Soph or younger B-

    DCoaching – well, the record is 3-4 which is a 42.9% winning percentage, which is an “F”. So I give them an “F” because we just haven’t stopped a big drive when it counts to win a game. Trending towards C if they keep 5 and 6 db’s in the game as outlined above. This is why you recruit so many DB’s…..play em!

    @Emel – Hope is not a plan! I hear ya tho brother!!

    @ike and upitt – Fffffrench is a sprinter. Speed wins. Look at his windows that he runs through and determine if it is blocking or speed. Speed diminishes a need for a lot of blocking although Hall made an outstanding block and MF wasn’t really touched the whole way as he outran everybody. Against Albany he got 1 block and outran everyone…bad angles because of his speed. I would take me some 2 stars that run legit 4.4’s.

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  35. Huff the third, you’re killing me brother 🙂 . No I’m not saying speed doesn’t kill and I realize you can’t teach speed like you can’t coach a kid to be 6’10” What I’m saying…… Why does a team send out the other ten players on the return team? Why not just send out Ffrench and see how far he gets? There is a blocking scheme involved and a method to the madness but speed certainly is a big big part of it. There isn’t a team in football at any level that doesn’t send out “ONE” of their fastest guys but not always the fastest. << He has to follow his blocking… ike

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  36. I see there will be a Billy Hillgrove bobble head giveaway at the VT game.

    Think about the irony of a Billy H. bobble head. 😊

    Let the complaining begin…

    One of my all-time favorite BH calls: “Loose football!! And the Panthers have it!

    Go Pitt.

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  37. Huff, I agree that Pitt’s offense has become totally vanilla, but how much of that is based on average players and how much on Watson? I think we had some insight into that in the Post Gazette, where the position coaches implied that Watson was discouraging using their play ideas. But if you take the TEs out of the equation, and if the WRs are mediocre at best, especially without Mack, then the play calling is limited. One player they are not using to the max is Aston. His ability to run the ball, catch in the flat and block like a TE should provide more opportunities than we are seeing. That is on Watson.

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  38. If there will ever be a consensus on the POV it should be that PITT’s offense has been inept and disappointing. Where we may not all agree is why. Narduzzi’s recruiting, the hiring of Watson (also on Narduzzi), Watson, Pickett, the O-line, the competition, Heather being on vacation, or the media? Whatever the problem is, PITT still has a chance to pull off a successful season this year.

    Watson and KP need to start using more parts of the football field starting with the middle and deeper throws. Here’s hoping the bye week helped Kenny and Tysir to get healthy. I would throw the kitchen sink at Duke and go for broke… ike

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  39. I watched both TD returns again. Albknee was just over-matched and Frenchy was past them before they had a chance. He did get a late block against the kicker which helped but other than that, the kick was short and he beat the defenders to the angle for tackling purposes.

    Against ND, he got a great block from Hall if you watch it in slow motion. It was superb. Right about the 23. It was actually a bad kickoff because it went straight down the middle of the field which eliminates the three outside guys on each side from making the play if they stay in their respective lanes for coverage. That is what happened. Before the outside guys peeled in, he was gone. They had four guys that got beat on his first cut and the 5th guy got turned out (not in an awkward way) by Hall and that was it. The rest dove at this ankles.

    With no blockers Ike, I think Fffffrench gets to the 40 yard line without a struggle against Albknee. Against ND, he gets tackled earlier, probly around the 22. With no blockers for every returner, I think FFfffrench is still 1st team all american. We currently put no pass blockers out there for Pickett and it doesn’t work out well. You are killin me smalls!

    To voice – If Pitt would come out with a 5 wide receiver set, I would pass out. But look, even our slowest wr would then have to be covered by a LB’er which should be an advantage for Pitt. At a minimum it would require Duke to call a timeout, stat. An offense like Pitt’s cannot sustain drives off a lot of 3rd and 4’s. The more vanilla your offense, the more vanilla your recruits. Kids want to play an exciting brand of football on both sides of the ball and be on ESPN. Our guys get on tv for giving up those plays…..typically.

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    1. I was watching some highlites of Ironhead (circa 1986)and he was absolutely punishing Miami on run after run, ran for over 200 yards that game. Yet the score was 34-3 Miami.

      And the problem was then, like it is today, with a total running offense, very hard to sustain a long drive, totally on the ground. One penalty, one holding call, one busted play, Tackle for Loss and drive over.
      Pitt moved the ball, but couldn’t sustain drives. Then like now, we had a below avg QB in Sal Genilla.
      His YPA was actually higher than Pickett’s at 7.2 ypa. Pickett’s is only 5.3

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  40. THIS is a really good point/discussion. And this is why I have reservations about Watson. Our offense is not only offensive, but will not attract the kind of athletes we need, so its a catch 22. Part of the problem in these types of situations is, will the HC allow for a more innovative offense? Certainly it seems we did with Canada…

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  41. we’ll see if Pitt’s D can go up against the spread. Duke’s QB is a consensus #1 draft pick. He has the highest QBR of anyone Pitt will face. I hope our LB’s can cover.

    Pitt needs to go to a spread and/or option.

    Power running only works in the B1G. And few if any QB’s from that conference is Pro material. Only 14 in last 10 drafts. No first round QB’s since Kerry Collins in 95.

    Wake up Narduzzi. Pitt plays in a more modern and more athletic conference with sophisticated and exciting offenses.

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  42. I’d love to see a 5 wide out set, but it seems to me a QB must be tall enough to see over the line, then take a 3 step drop and quick release- no extra protection. Not sure Kenny has the skill set for that since his strength is as a roll out passer. But we can dream! Not to mention that the OL has not proven it can block for any type of passing game. And ike, the middle of the field is not in Kenny’s play book. He is not tall enough and needs to be a passer that works the sidelines. But I don’t think he has the arm for it. And the deep ball is out since there is no pass protection. So as far as the passing game goes, we are SCREWED!

    Like

  43. Guys we had a sophisticated and exiting offense with Fraud Graham and that didn’t work either. We just need a competent OC. We had a power run offense with Chryst and that worked just fine. We just need a competent OC and a kick-ass OL coach. Right now we have neither.

    Like

    1. They had no QB to run Graham’s offense. And it would take more than 1 year to make that type of offense work, unless you had some of those types on the team already. Pitt had none, but still won 6 games…..as many as any of Paulie’s teams.

      Like

      1. Seriously, plus the offense lost Ray Graham during the 2011 season and had only the grad transfer running back to rely on.

        Like

  44. Billy Hillgrove bobblehead, BRILLIANT! . What a great idea. One he deserves the honor and two, the first known bobblehead that will bobble on it’s own into perpetuity

    Like

  45. Logically, for our return game, it does seem like there is more than just speed going on.
    It’s too coincidental for me that Pitt has had such a dynamic return game the past 3 years.

    There are plenty of teams out there with much more speed than we have. At the very least, they have at least 1 guy faster than Henderson and Ffrench are.

    Like

    1. Yeah, it’s a shame not to give credit to the special team players – all of them.

      I think when they list the 2-deep, they should also list the players on each of the special teams.

      Go Pitt.

      Like

  46. The Chryst power run game got us to 7-6. He was pretty much the OC. Canada opened things up feller and Pitt, for the first time in 35 years became unpredictable. The unpredictability of the offensive play calling should have gotten us to better than 8-5, but I digress. I’d have more fun at 5-7 being unpredictable and fun, then 3 yards per rush and an bad punt any day. Open the playbook Watson!

    Look, if Pitt falls behind 1-0, the offensive players begin to mope because they have no confidence they can score. Why? Because it’s run, run, run, kick. Playing for field position at the beginning of a contest is bunk. You only do that when the weather is bad or you are not confident either team can score. We just haven’t run into offensive incompetence too often in the last 35 years…..except the 3-0 bowl game in texas.

    Like

    1. Huff – was the Canada offense really “unpredictable”, or does a successful, big-play offense just seem more unpredictable.

      I remember QH scoring on a 70-yard jet sweep against the Orange, and then Ffrench (or was it Whitehead?) scoring from about the same distance on the same play in the very next series. I guess that could be considered unpredictable…

      It was more crisp execution of the plays and fitting the plays to the players strength – we handed off to QH versus trying to hit him with passes — and we had some good players for that…

      Go Pitt.

      Like

  47. @PittFan – watch the replays. The ND outside guys were disciplined and stayed in their lanes. When it was time to pinch in, he was gone. Hall made a great block on the one guy that could have touched FFFfffrenchy. All others dove at his ankles.

    Watch the Albknee game and they were not as fast….period. Not even a discussion when you watch that one until the kicker gets rocked around midfield.

    Like

  48. The thing about Canada’s offense in ’16 was that it was Henderson’s 1st year getting any PT so his skill surprised opposing DCs.

    Then it was Peterman’s 2nd year and we had a very good receiving corps.

    All tied together by a true blue Chip OL.

    Our RBs have been good this season but each Ollison and Hill on on track for less than 10 TDs on the season.

    Of course the passing is so bad, and it really is, that it’s like splitting nails to find problems.

    Big case in point… KP’s passing effeciency is 107th in the nation at 117.09.

    Well, to pile on… Both his yards per attempt and yards per completion are right around 9.0 or so which is horrible and so disappointing.

    Like

    1. That’s only true for the 2016 Penn State game — PSU wasn’t ready for it. Once the QH-jet sweep was on film after that game, all opponents get to see it and practice for it, and were prepared for it.

      The one thing that always impressed me with Canada’s offense is the pre-snap shifting and motioning. It looked highly complex to me. I particularly thought that such pre snap maneuvers caused issues for Clemson’s vaunted defense. Watson has seemed to do more and more of that lately, which I think has aided the running game.

      ND used WR motion very effectively last week to pick up a big 1st down (it might have been on a 4th down play). Dane Jackson covered it well but just couldn’t get there in time to stop a completion.

      Like

      1. Peterman also was extremely smooth, slick actually, handling the football in the running game and faking run before pursuing passing.

        Like

    1. God is that embarrassing. Looks nothing like him POD. Heather probably paid some third rate outfit from China.

      Like

  49. A few things…

    Hard to give any unit on a defense as bad as ours is more than “C” anywhere. We still suck across the board.

    http://stats.ncaa.org/teams/449868

    The thing about those last two games last year…when fans talk about ‘the defense turned the corners they conveniently (or purposefully) overlook the game right before that when a 2-win crap NC team with an inexperienced QB tore through us for 37 points.

    PSN’s cheerleading squad must have done this report card…

    https://pittsburghsportsnow.com/2018/10/17/pitt-mid-season-report-card/

    Liked by 1 person

    1. And the Tarholes did the same exact thing, this year for their only win of the season. So Nardo was familiar with the Holes and their offense and nothing changed. They tore thru us again, when they tore thru nobody else, not even a horrid ECU team that lost 6-49 to Temple. ha

      Like

  50. Canada’s Offense was best described as “Smoke ‘n Mirrors” At least this is what I called it back during his days at Pitt.

    Eventually it got figured out. STOP the JET SWEEP, and you’re half-way home.

    Just ask LSU Coach Orgeron.

    LSU’s offense didn’t improve under Canada. The Tigers finished 68th in scoring offense (28.3 points per game) in 2016, when they fired OC Cam Cameron (along with head coach Les Miles) after a 2-2 start. (It was reportedly Orgeron who fired Cameron.) In 2017, Canada’s LSU offense was 70th in scoring, at 28.1 points per game.

    SBNation

    Like

  51. Pickett is not better throwing on the roll out.
    He has to roll out because no one can block.
    The death is the boot left to nowhere. It needs to be done to keep the D honest, but with no downfield passing it is dead on arrival.
    The D only has to cover half the field.

    Like

    1. Exactly Pickett is not accurate at all, when he’s rolling out or on the run. And he’s too jumpy (happy feet) to be a ‘pocket passer’. I think he might be adequate in a Triple Option type attack or maybe a Spread, where you throw short quick passes to the sidelines.

      Like

    1. Wow, and he only played about 20-22 minutes a game. Jamie had no idea how to use him, nor did he insist the Guards force the ball into him, as some games he got like 3 or 4 shots for the game.

      Like

    1. They have airplanes Ike. She hired Capel. That is washed away bc she extended Nardoozy. These olympic sport assistant coaches mean nothing. She has a lot of egg on her face. Oh she hired a psychologist for mental health. Send Nardoozy to sit with him for playing the same dumb defense.

      Like

  52. I may have offered this in a previous thread but to build off some other’s comments regarding playing the young guys and changing up the offense – why not create special packages utilizing the backup QBs to run specific plays that they should be good at executing?

    This could include wildcat plays, 5 wides, triple option, etc. Thinking that it might energize the practices, engage more players, and enable the underclass men to get a good look in actual game action.

    H2P!

    Like

  53. With just slightly darker hair, it would be the Walt Harris bobblehead. Look closer and you can see it. Again, I look at things differently, but that’s how I see the bobblehead conundrum.

    It ain’t no hillgrove. Not even a 30 year ago hillgrove. I’ll stick with Walt and his glasses.

    Pitt football will not lose this Saturday and I promise the Defense will pitch a shutout. The offense will struggle to score as usual.

    Like

  54. There must be a bobblehead rule out there we don’t know about: The bobblehead cannot look too much like the person it is meant to represent.

    Like

  55. Pitt must be buying recycled booble heads at a deep discount. Hillgrove a true Icon deserving of the honor.

    Hope Narduzzzi and company are using this bye to recruit some needed players and to get ready for the rest of the season. We good use some good news for a change.

    My first Pitt game was in 63 with my Dad, a Carnegie Tech grad but a lifelong Pitt Fan. He was the reason I went to Pitt. Didn’t have the academic dedication or the dough to follow my Dad at CMU.

    Like

  56. I know this is a football oriented site but this being a bye week …. I was wondering if anyone had any thoughts on the NBA G-League which next year will start offering kids fresh from a high school $125k to play there instead of attending college. This will affect the one-and dones.

    This may help a school like Pitt which does not get any of these elites (Steve Adams was the only one in recent memory)
    wwb

    Like

      1. I just heard Jay Bilas on Dan Patrick Show. One thing to consider …. as soon as the kid signs a contract, he is a professional. And there is nothing to stop Nike from offering a multi-million contract. This will not be offered to all, but maybe to a large handful.
        wwb

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    1. I’m all for it. I go to Austin Spurs games here in Austin, Texas, and would love to see more talent on court.

      Like

  57. wwb…That is a great idea…NFL needs to follow suit with a G-league of their own…maybe Meyer, Sabin and all the over-priced D1 coaches can move to that league too…Boy, I can almost smell the fresh air…..Let’s return to real college ball and restore our sanity.

    Like

  58. gc..Narduzzi has a bye week to get ready for Duke…Pat has a poor history win games following a bye week…he also does poorly after calling time-outs when the opponent has a 3rd and long if me memory severs me correctlu.

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    1. Right you are!

      My last comment was in jest but it is no joke that the shoe companies set up large trust funds for the one and dones and then direct them to their choice of college. If this new development can stop this all the better.

      I am sure many of these kids have no interest in going to class so they should opt for the new option, but since UNC didn’t require them to go to class who knows?

      Like

  59. Maybe we should take a mid-season pole among POVers as to whether or not Narduzzi should be fired at the end of the year. I’m sure Tex and Upitt will say yes, but I still believe a 5-7 year gets him one more year to produce results.

    Like

    1. Will he and should he are two different questions.

      Will he? No way he gets fired after this year if he gets 5 wins. In fact, no way he gets fired if he loses the remaining games, in my opinion. I hope/expect that losing the rest or maybe winning one more (both realistic possibilities of course) will result in at least an OC casualty.

      Should he? Totally depends on how he does from here on out. He had a terrible start to the season, with psu and Central Florida blowouts, and a bad loss to NC, but if his team continues to improve and he either wins out or atleast gets to a bowl, then enough people will make the case for keeping him, and I’d say if he wins out he should be kept (I don’t think they will win out). Even in the best case scenario, where they win out, the OC should be fired unless the offense shows big strides, and fast. The one thing that could turn the recruiting problem around is a strong, innovative offense, and this needs to be addressed one way or the other.

      What do I think will happen? Continued mediocrity for 2-3 more years, then he is finally fired.

      Like

    2. Nard Dog will get at least another year regardless
      I dont see Heather firing him when she just extended him and had to eat the buyout for KS
      But this just delays the inevitable and creates a larger hole for the next coach to climb out
      I dont see next year being any better than 6-6
      $3.5M should buy you at least 8 regular season wins
      Come Year 4, you know what you have in a coach
      The trendline is down

      Like

    1. I believe I can make a really good case for waiting until after next year before firing him … unless the team really tanks in the next 5 games. wwb

      Like

  60. There is some very damaging testimony coming out about payments to teens who play for Kansas, Arizona and a few more. These payments come from adidias, etc. One player named went to Duke so maybe even Coach K is involved, even though it isn’t likely there is proof that the coaches had knowledge. (of course they had knowledge but they also knew how to cover it up and not expose themselves.)

    Face it … when big money is involved whether it be college sports or anything else, there is likely impropriety. And it is naïve not to think it is happening in major college FB.as it is already being exposed in college BB.
    wwb

    Like

      1. So I’m friends with a lawyer in Dallas that has some knowledge of the situation. The reason there was no penalties assessed in the Cam Newton thing…. It was widely known that Newton’s father Cecil was auctioning him off to the highest bidder after his JUCO season. However, Cecil Newton was the pastor of a church with a congregation of like 35 people (i.e. friends and family). The name of this church was something silly like Holy Zion Holiness. Because the funds were “donated” to a nonprofit organization and not paid directly to individuals, technically the NCAA couldn’t levy sanctions. Plus, I think Mike Slive had some deep state NCAA connections to make sure Newton was eligible to play in the SEC and BCS championship games.

        Like

    1. Well if coach K is involved, then maybe Capel is involved too. If that connection gets made, it won’t be a good look for Pitt.

      Like

  61. I keep reading here that Duke will play with their back-up QB. I ask again is this true? Thought I read that Jones has returned and he’s pretty good.

    Like

  62. Here are the Duke stats for he season to date:

    http://stats.ncaa.org/teams/449809

    What jumps out at me is their rankings for:

    20th in scoing defense at 17.7 ppt

    44th inTeam Pass Eff defense @ 147.22. Compare that to our KP’s Pass Eff of 117.09 and that’s another mismatch.

    Finally Duke’s Red Zone Defense is superb at #3 n the nation. Here s their 5-1 schedule…they play this weekend but other than he win against NC Central there arn’t any rent-a-wins on it….

    Date Opponent Result
    08/31/2018 Army West Point W 34 – 14
    09/08/2018 @ Northwestern W 21 – 7
    09/15/2018 @ Baylor W 40 – 27
    09/22/2018 N.C. Central W 55 – 13
    09/29/2018 Virginia Tech L 14 – 31
    10/13/2018 @ Georgia Tech W 28 – 14
    10/20/2018 Virginia –

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  63. wwb – I’ve written many times that PN won’t be fired before 2019 unless we have a tanked season ( 3-4 wins) or if there is some sort of scandal/for cause issue involved. So I’ll be mildly surprised if he’s canned after this year.

    But he’ll be free game next year if we win .500 or below this season. That’s a negative trend and signals that things may not get better.

    Like

  64. Reed, Quite simply, I believe a new coach will greatly benefit if he is not hired until after 2019 because of this:
    2020 Season

    09/05 – Miami (Ohio)
    09/19 – Richmond
    09/26 – at Marshall
    10/16 – Notre Dame
    wwb

    Like

  65. and BTW Reed, I completely agree with your comments above about Duke’s defense. It has been really impressive this year …. a complete contrast to back when Pitt first joined the ACC.

    Go back and look at the scores if the first 4 ACC meetings of Duke v Pitt. wwb

    Like

  66. Narduzzi gets at least another year after this one. Should he? TBD.

    Some of the elite college basketball programs could probably outbid the new league….. and will. I do’t think it eliminates everything?

    The cries will be heard loud, far and wide on the POV if PITT does not defeat the Dukies but they ain’t a bad football team. I still expect PITT to finally put it all together. It’s getting time Pat, time to put up..or

    Like

  67. Pitt knew that they were getting a coach without any HC experience but wanted stability and were prepared to wait for results. They will not cut Narduzzi loose after this year unless there is some scandal involved as Reed suggests.

    As for corruption in college sports, I think that it is really much ado about nothing. There are a few bad apples in college sports as in other areas of life. Congress could pass a few laws that would clean things up very quickly. Make it a felany to pay players or family under the table, and that would stop it real fast. The NCAA could pass a rule that BB players must stay in college for two full years or else reimburse the school for every penny they got in scholarships and support. If players flunk out or quit the rule would still apply- no NBA for 2 years. If a few players take a chance and sign big NBA contracts, so be it.

    Like

  68. I called for his firing if he lost to Syracuse. He bought himself some time. If he only wins 2 more games he should be fired.
    Fired on the Monday after the last game. If he looses the next 3 I would fire him then.
    It will help being the first open job.

    Like

  69. I’m not exactly keeping score Reed but I do believe there are far more than 3 calling for Narduzzi to be fired ASAP. Tex and Upitt certainly lead the pack on that front as of now.

    Like

  70. Narduzzi will get time to deliver and in year 4, he can still be competitive with the remaining schedule. No question he has really been bad in coaching and development this year. However, that buyout is simply a timing issue as to Pitts cash flow. Stallings was a hit as was the BB program. If Capel and bring a program that is cash flow positive and the ACC network can add an additional 6 to 7 million in 2020, then the buyout is more manageable to negotiate if Narduzzi is not winning. Plus with some coaching changes maybe in 2019 Pitt can be a surprise with a far less difficult OCC schedule. ND game was a positive in that even with such a limited offense, Pitt could have won with making 2 FG’s. this is the same ND team that beat WF, Stanford, and VT handily.

    Like

  71. Check Narduzzi’s record after 4 years and see where he compares to the past 7 PITT head coaches and I don’t want to hear one dam thing about what he is paid. That’s total nonsense to me.

    Gottfried27-16-2
    Hackett: 13-20-1
    Majors II: 12-32
    Harris: 20-26
    Wanny: 25-23
    Chryst after 3 years 19-19
    Narduzzi: 24-21

    Two coaches won more games than Narduzzi who has 5 games still to play this year. Gottfried and Wanny, both fired by PITT. Be careful what you wish for.

    I’ll let this season play out and see what happens. If Narduzzi can go 3-2 he gets PITT to a bowl games and he will have won more games first four years than all on the list but MG… tied. I blame PITT for firing two coaches with winning records and now the grass is once again greener on the other side and the complaining is deafening… ike

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    1. Look at those crap records. All because after Sherrill left the university decided big-time football wasn’t worth the headaches. Boy, has Pitt been wrong in that regard.

      Embarrassing.

      Like

    2. The prior coaches all have one thing in common Ike. They are all…..prior coaches. Out of that group, who has been successful elsewhere, after leaving? The answer is NONE, except Chryst to a point. Chryst had an AD n Alvarez that fixed a schedule to make an easy OOC schedule, pays head coach and assistants well.

      Liked by 1 person

  72. Ike I’d be very surprised if he were to go 3 and 2 for the remainder of the season. If he can turn Pitt into a two dimensional offense with both running and passing being equally as effective then there is a chance.

    Like

    1. I wouldn’t be. AS of right now, I think every remaining game is winnable … and losable. I assure I’m not being facetious
      wwb

      Like

  73. OT: Absent Pitt Football this weekend some might enjoy watching the Duke Virginia game at 12:30 since they both are our next two opponents.

    Like

  74. Everyone bracing themselves for Capel to strike out on all his top prospects? Scary to might have to wait until spring to add some players who reclassify or get of their LOI from another school for a coach being fired.

    The excuse that Capel will need more time is bogus as history has shown a coach’s first full class he usually makes a bang. Willard even did it in 1995. Hope I’m wrong but Walker seems destined for Miami, Q, Akok and Cockburn all seem to be favoring others.

    If we have to wait another year to strike it big then so be it.

    Like

  75. Nate, I will remind you that Wanny wasn’t fired after his fourth season with that crap record, PITT waited until he won 27 games in his last 3 seasons and then canned him.

    Like

  76. No 3 seconds for the QB, no downfield passes with 1 TD/games equals losses from here out except maybe WF, even though our D is improving. Agree our OC and QB coaching has to be upgraded and with PROVEN quality candidates that can recruit as well as coach. Narduzzie will likely get another year as stated because of the $$$$$$$$$. You know Pitt.

    Like

  77. Narduzzi cemented himself another year after beating Syracuse. Close loss to Notre Dame only helped.

    This is despite what happens the rest of the way.

    Of course, this would NOT be my preference.

    Like

    1. He’s making industry rate for a P-5 program expected to go to bowls
      And in Pitt’s case, $3.5M is $2 Million more than Pitt paid Chryst. And Chryst went to 3 bowls in 3 years.

      Like

  78. Nate, we don’t know how good a closer Capal is, so lets wait this thing out until LOI day. It only takes 1 or 2 of those guys to make a huge impact.

    What are we up to on the fire Narduzzi sweepstakes? It think it is jrnpitt, Tex and Upitt so far. Any other takers? And ike is right, salary means nothing at this point. Narduzzi is making the industry rate for a P5 program.

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    1. Narduzzi is not getting canned after this season if he finishes with a losing record. He’ll get one more season for sure. Now, if he somehow finished 7-5/8-4, he bought himself a lot more time. I think 6-6 gets him at least two more seasons.

      Like

  79. If narduzzi is close to .500 after his 4th year, no way he gets fired. It may not be good enough for a lot of fans, but the ad and bot won’t be able to justify paying the buyout

    Like

  80. Look, a lot of factors go into firing someone.

    I’m just of the mindset that when evaluating performance and potential, there is absolutely no reasonable evidence to suggest his team will ever be anything but average.

    I hope that I’m wrong but I would rather try something (someone) different.

    Like

  81. ^^ To Tx above

    Wrong TX and here is what many just cannot understand. He’s paid to be in charge of at least a mediocre football team and more importantly, run a very respectable football program. If he wins and goes to bowl games more the better. Big time winning is a bonus. You are rooting for the wrong team my friend and you got it all wrong.

    Like

  82. I understand the Pitt mindset but it doesnt mean I have to accept it
    Yes – you are correct in saying that Pitt pays him to be mediocre (get to a bowl game more often than not), keep players out of trouble, get a good team GPA and graduation rates, community service awards, etc.
    Pitt gets their $27M dollar check from the ACC regardless of record
    So there is little incentive for Pitt to be anything more than middling as long as they avoid major scandal
    If mediocrity is the goal and 9-10 win seasons are icing on the cake, then Pitt is in the wrong conference
    So its Same Old Pitt
    Thanks Heather and BoT

    Like

  83. Do NOT blame Heather or anyone currently at Pitt for its FB mediocrity …. blame the tepid support of the administration for a number of decades. Pitt has enough against as it is let alone an “I don’t care” attitude that has been prevalent for the better part of the last 28 years..

    Anyway, Pitt is a volleyball school. Now 21-0 after beating the Irish tonight 3-0. wwb

    Liked by 1 person

    1. if you think Heather was wise to reward mediocrity, fine
      My opinion – there was no need after year 3 to extend Narduzzi another 3 years beyond his 5 year contract
      This should have been the year to make the call
      And obviously with results so far this year, Narduzzi would have been entering his last year without a renewal
      I can think of 3.5 Million ways to more effectively spend $3.5M
      I can begin with my preference for Fanta flavours, vacation destinations, and bobble head figures

      Like

  84. What we are talking about here is a basically .500 head coach after 4 years. Given that the Pitt brass brought in an assistant coach with no HC experience they are probably satisfied with this record while he learns the ropes. They want stability with slow improvement and Narduzzi has not fallen below this line.

    Like

    1. We all know that winning is icing on the cake
      Pitt’s cake is a layer of vanilla stability, another layer of chocolate GPA’s, and a top layer of no scandal and keeping players out of trouble
      The cake was paid for with ACC dollars

      So yes, Heather and Pat are satisfied with the look and taste of the cake
      Most fans and other schools would be disappointed

      But I dont see the slow improvement. I see a gradual drop off in record and recruiting.

      Wins do matter. I dont see more than 25k fans showing up per game next year. Pitt will lose millions.

      We need a new cake baker.

      Like

  85. .500 is an embarrassment after what Chryst left him. Throw in 3.5M
    and it is a sin. Not to mention his turd defense and turd offense. Guru my butt

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  86. Upitt, I think you just can’t get past his salary to see that the Chancellor and AD are not that dissatisfied with his performance. They are probably going to give Narduzzi more time.

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  87. We need an offense.
    Not saying d has been all that but a lot of games the other really made it relaxing on the other teams o.

    Short fields and no fear of Pitt scoring.

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    1. Three of the final five opponents from the ACC have very good defenses, starting with Duke right after the bye week.

      I’m not sure Duke has played anyone of note with a powerful offense, but their stats sure look good.

      Lyke nd last week, many said Pitt plays the irish tough, regardless of records, I think the same can be said about Duke in the short history of the ACC.

      A win vs Duke would go along way to building confidence and momentum to finish the season strong.

      If memory serves me right, Pitt is not very good after a bye week. Someone have those stats handy, cause I’ve got a tee time to get to.

      H2P!

      Like

  88. Narduzzi’s inability to recruit enough elite players has made it tough to turn the corner, but he has a number of things in his favor.

    It is difficult to recruit to Pitt for numerous reasons.
    Chryst had the benefit of PSU sanctions when recruiting.
    Pitt wants coaching stability, hence the extension
    There have been few scandals and he is quick to dismiss players that may cause trouble.
    Wins and losses don’t matter as much to Pitt Adm. as they do to us.
    He has played a very difficult schedule.
    He had eight wins in his first two seasons.
    He has had some excellent upsets.
    A fifth season is pretty much a given since so much has been invested.
    Most Pitt Fans don’t care enough to put pressure on Adm.
    No guarantee that Pitt gets anyone better, remember Heywood, Fraud, Johnny II etc.
    No one expected this season to be any good except for Ike, jrn and a few others, considering the schedule, recent recruiting, players on hand, so no shock factor.
    A ton of money required to fire him plus hire a staff with any chance of success.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Those recruiting challenges can be overcome and Pitt actually has many good selling points to recruits

      PSU will always kick Pitt’s butt in recruiting and even with those sanctions Chryst still couldnt recruit (avg ranking of #55 in those years)

      I’m still not sure why Heather extended so early. But do realize the avg tenue of a coach nationally is 5 years. The majority of schools dont have ‘stability’ and they all deal with it

      Heather is a Compliance person so she’s a stickler for avoiding scandals

      Wins may not matter as much but if Pitt doesnt win, few fans will show up to watch games and Pitt will lose money

      Pitt’s OOC is too difficult but next year it looks ridiculously easy

      He had 8 wins in his first 2 seasons with Chryst players, a pro QB, WR and RB and a gimmick offense

      He’s had 1 real upset – Clemson. Miami was a pretender. He’s also never beat NC and has 2 blow-out losses this year

      a 5th season is given since Pitt doesnt have the buyout money and Heather wants to save face

      Yes – Pitt fans in general just dont care enough; moreover, Pitt doesnt have the big boosters who could exert influence like many schools

      There are no guarantees in life but I dont see Pitt being more than mediocre under Narduzzi going forward so I think its worth the risk

      Many expected this season to be good. This is Year 4. Its make or break year. Smart national media said 5-6 wins. Stupid local media and fans who believe in fairies and unicorns said 8-10 wins

      We dont know the cost of the buyout but needless to say, Pitt is not sitting on piles of cash since they run their department at breakeven. They dont view sports as a money making machine.

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      1. That first PSU game was an upset IMO, even with their linebackers out with injury. Mostly based on the pedos recruiting.

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  89. Lead story on KDKA sports was the victory of the undefeated Pitt women’s volleyball team over Notre Dame…with video!
    High school football took a back seat. Big crowd I assume included Annie.

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    1. I missed the game in person bc my friend was sick and then I got stuck at work. We did watch the game online. My son’s classmate and daughter’s former teammate (Meg Morningstar) was the big blocker for ND. We will be in the seats tomorrow versus Louisville.

      Like

  90. gc… excellent laying out of the facts.. almost Susan Collinish my friend.

    Syracuse and UNC on the tube… I bet the Orangemen fest them by 18… just to remind us of that damn North Carolina game !

    Duke has an excellent coach and is no gimmee… we are a long ways from gimmee games..

    Would love to see Kenny pass for 250 yds and our RBs each get 100 vs the Blue Devils… will need that type of O performance plus solid D and the type effort we saw vs ND to win.

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  91. Does anyone think KP should sit for 1/2 of the Duke game and give the number 2 some playing time? Might wake up the passing game or not.

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    1. No. Remember when fans were screaming for Narduzzi to pull Hamlin’s redshirt in 2016 because the pass defense was so bad? Hamlin was thrown into the fire as a frail 18-year-old and thus, a wasted year. Now the kid is already going to be a senior in 2019 when he should be a redshirt junior.

      No one is coming off the bench to save this passing game. Stick with Pickett.

      Pitt coaches for as far back as I can remember do a poor job of managing players’ redshirts. This staff alone with Hamlin, Watts, AJ Davis, Aaron Mathews off the top of my head. Moosehead with Soto and Jarrett. There are more.

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  92. Speaking of SOP… Alan Saunders over at PGHSportsNow sees a light at the end of the tunnel.

    But the Panthers have looked better the last two games and at 2-1 with five ACC games remaining, still have as good a shot as almost anyone in the wide-open ACC Coastal. If Pitt can at least find its way into a bowl game, that would go a long way toward taking some of the heat off Lyke for giving Narduzzi such a lengthy extension.

    Alan Saunders PSN

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    1. I agree with Alan
      But did Pitt’s D look that good against Cuse. They gave up 37 points. And Dungey looked hung over.

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  93. Dungey looked off so he might have been hung over
    Pitt still allowed 37 points (5 points above Pitt’s season avg at the time)
    I see Pitt’s D playing 1 good game. This was against a team that over-looked Pitt, came off a high of beating Va Tech in Blacksburg and runs a Big Joke style offense that Narduzzi knows
    Duke will kill Pitt. Jones will pass for over 400 yards.
    Can Pitt’s D stop spread teams?
    The answer in the past 4 years has been no

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  94. That’s my point TX, anytime PITT does anything good, in some peoples eyes, it’s because of the other team being bad. It must pure torture for you to be a PITT fan. You should try my way of thinking sometime, I enjoy being a PITT fan. << (not saying i am a true PITT fan) I’ll bet I’m as upset as anyone on the POV with a loss or poor play/coaching.

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  95. If Pitt wants to set the bar at a 6-6 level, then they lose my support.
    Coach Pat is trending downward, and beating the point spread at Dome doesn’t change that.

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  96. ^^ Gasman, that’s what I read on the POV a couple dozen times now and I believed it. I also think there has been a small change in the PITT adminisrtion’s way of thinking. I believe sports in general at PITT are being given more of a priority and the realization has sunk in that big-time football can help pay some bills. But I could be all wrong like I was once a long time ago.

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    1. I think you are right
      And the ACC brass also has something to do with it
      ACC membership is a privilege
      Pitt would be in a much better financial position if the football program was more profitable
      Stronger cash flows can lead to better stability and improved competitiveness

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  97. But Ike, at the same time you constantly roll out the ‘if we made this play’ or ‘ had we not gotten that penalty’ to explain away close losses over the years with Narduzzi.

    Sports are not black and white, especially football with 22 moving parts on each play. There are so many shades of grey involved and that also varies from fan to fan.

    That is why the only true info about college info is statistics and even they can be massaged to support or attack an argument.

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    1. You make similar comments to almost take away from Pitt’s successes. I just read about why the 2016 offense was so good and how opposing coaches didn’t know about Q, the O-line was good, etc.

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      1. yes – the jet sweep was something new. Pitt had guys nobody scouted yet. The line from Chryst was very good. A lot went into those 8 win seasons that should have actually been 10 or 11 wins if Narduzzi knew how to coach defense.

        Given Narduzzi’s compensations today, the baseline should be 8 win seasons…minimum. And a nice bowl win on top.

        I give credit to Pitt when Pitt deserves it.

        Gave credit to the D scheme last week and execution (also commented on here on how Bates should do it so it wasnt rocket science). But also said ND adjusted like most teams and the D lost its effectiveness in 2nd half. ND QB completed 15 straight passess and ND came from behind to win. Pitt’s D was gassed at end of game due to inept Pitt O that couldnt sustain drives.

        I also see the failures and what could be.

        Success is winning the division. Lets start there. And a win is a win but you can learn much in a win much like a loss. Just like when everyone was giddy with the Tech and Cuse wins. I saw signs for concern.

        I also dont think Pitt can play against spread teams so dont think last week’s D success is turning the corner. Well I know because Pitt hasnt defended well against a spread in 4 years.

        Common themes this year – opposing team adjusts to Pitt’s D. Our D gets tired in the 2nd half Pitt’s O goes to sleep in 2nd half.

        I see good coaches addressing these things. Have you seen a good coach on the South Side lately?

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  98. Excellent program on last night about Larry Fitzgerald on one of the espn stations.

    Covered his whole life – nice footage of his spectacular catches at Pitt. Walt had a few comments as did Rod Rutherford.

    Larry talked about how regretful he was that he hadn’t talked to his mother for 5 or 6 months before she died.

    Showed the great game Larry had against the Steelers in the Super Bowl…

    Only drawback was that Larry was wearing a shirt with a Dinocat on it for several of his interview questions. Now how many viewers would associate that with Pitt? A swing and miss by Pitt’s marketing department, if we have a marketing department…☹️

    Go Pitt.

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  99. I think that Narduzzi has basically been given a pass over the first 4 years to provide for the learning curve. It wouldn’t surprise me if he gets 3 more years from Pitt to truly demonstrate the trend line for the program. That would get him through Pickett’s years and one year of his replacement.

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    1. While I think Narduzzi runs archaic schemes, I agree he should get more time only because I’m not ready for another coaching change. And I don’t think Pitt is ready to make a new hire because thirty-five years shows the administration doesn’t know how to find a coach who can have just one big season (11-2).

      I’m not ready for the next hot assistant to get the head job at Pitt and see the deer-in-the-headlights look on the sidelines due to being overwhelmed now being the top guy.

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  100. What sometimes gets overlooked here is that the Pitt administration (admittedly not Heather) KNEW they were hiring an inexperienced assistant coach and it is reasonable to conclude they were prepared to give him sufficient time. The first two 8 win seasons were somewhat unexpected, but were largely due to the players Chryst left behind. Now the real test comes from replacing these players with Narduzzi’s recruits. Like most others on this site, I think that Narduzzi is failing in this effort, but I’m not yet convinced he cannot turn things around.

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  101. gc and Tx panther lay out key facts. Agree with most of it. It reinforces my view of a discouraging end of year and Narduzzie still here next year. That said I would love to see Pitt come out at least 6/6 and bowl eligible, I just do not think it happens. Loss of bowl prep practices hurts a team the next year. Watson sucks ,his errors in player use, play calling and recruiting need to go. What happened at Texas after he and his boss left? My mental health demands a que sera sera attitude which I never had before this year with Pitt football.

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  102. You’re right Reed, I don’t use them as excuses so much as I try and look at what happened and what the results of a couple poor plays caused during a particular game. PITT had their rear-ends handed to them a couple times this year but the ND game should have been won and it wasn’t entirely the coaches fault they didn’t. So what I’m saying is, maybe we can judge just how close or how far away the PITT football program is based on just a few bad plays in a game.

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  103. BTW, I could have thrown in Foge into that that graphic who was equally average at best. If Narduzzi can win 3 more games this season he will become the winning-est head coach after 4 seasons since Jackie. (note) I know PITT now plays one more game than some of those coaches did.

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    1. Talk about doing nothing with very good players and killing a program…Foge takes the prize. His hire was the AD’s fault though….

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      1. Absolutely. People forget the job of inheriting the preseason No. 1 team in the country and coaching Dan Marino was given to a guy with no coaching experience who only landed the job because he was a Pitt guy and came very cheap.

        How a national search wasn’t done and guys like Jimmy Johnson and George Welsh would have been very much in play. Johnson likely would have passed after realizing Bozik was a bozo and Welsh wanted the job very much according to what Beano said one time.

        History repeated itself sadly in late December of 1989 in El Paso, TX.

        Liked by 1 person

  104. I agree that Watson is calling plays that don’t appear to match the strengths of the players. A sideways pass to Hall in the flat – especially against the ND LB on that side – is an example. Hall is not elusive, his asset is speed. He’s not going to juke a guy out in the flat. But what if you use Hall’s speed on a wheel route?

    Same with Aston – him catching a 3 yard pass running sideways makes no sense. He’s got to be North-South…

    And why did it take so long to call some slant patterns to Matthews, your biggest WR target?

    I hope Pitt is re-evaluating a lot of their offense right now… We certainly need much better going forward.

    Go Pitt.

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  105. So why would we look at a won loss record and not the CASH hat goes with it. That would be like paying $8M per year for Nick Saban and then being pleased as punch with a 24-19 record after three years.

    Stated differently, you need to look at the totality of the circumstances which is impossible because we do not know what happens behind the scenes as far as administrative support. So we can look at what we know, and all of it. Should Wanny get 4 more wins credited to his account because he only made a million per season? You can’t eliminate things that don’t support your take on a topic.

    What we think we know is that Pitt is paying Narduzzi between 3M-$3.5M per year bringing him in at 42 of top paid coaches. The question to me is whether we get top 40 results for that pay and my answer is NO. Period. We are probably top 70 ranked team with wins and losses and top 60 recruiting. Top 70 teams are usually .500 or better and go to bowl game. We didn’t qualify last year, but this is a new year.

    So if you look at wins and recruiting only, Pitt is not close to getting to top 40, yet. Now if you add in that we are losing guys just because, the story gets worse (see reeves, clarke, sears). These were not academic disqualifiers, which is separate.

    Almost’s don’t cut it man. We are first losers in close games. IF this, if that doesn’t work in sports. Facts only. Extending Narduzzi was pure quid pro quo and a signal of a game that is played by athletic departments across the USA against academic administrators that no NOTHING about how sports really works. Sorry.

    Liked by 1 person

  106. 8 million is a lot different than 3.5, a lot. Not saying that 3.5 million is a nice payday. First off I’m not pleased with a record of 3 games over 500 at all. Now if PITT would pump 8 million dollars into their football program each year that would say something completely different. Let’s not forget how much PITT budgets for assistant coaches as well. Like you say you have to look at the totality of the circumstances. Not only does Saban make more than 8 mil but his assistants are top paid coaches all the way around. (not to mention money form boosters) So yeah. That would be unacceptable.

    So $3.5 million is a step up for PITT and their head coach but I don’t think the asst coaches get very much, pretty sure that the entire staff makes a lot less than 8 mil.

    Still 5 games to go.

    Watching a couple of college football games today and they tell me that the returners are speed speed speed yet I haven’t seen one returned for a TD. Is that because 2* Ffrench is just better than other speedy returners or is his blocking just a little better? Coaching special teams is important and real.

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  107. As I mentioned before, if Saban loses a game and drops to #2, posters on this site will say he’s overpaid. Try paying a plumber $10/hr. and see what you get. I am not happy with Narduzzi’s performance so far, but he gets paid the going rate for a program that is just outside the top 25. Hie replacement would probably get $4 million if he has HC experience.

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  108. Watch the TCU returner….i think he got one against okliehoma. He’s smaller than ffffrenchy but a sprinter if i recall.

    I did give a ton of credit (if words could be weighed) to Hall for his key block, but other than that it was bad angling after the defenders stayed in their respective lanes on the ND return.

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  109. ^^ and to add on one more thought. The old bugaboo, the tough OOC schedule makes it tough on the coach. You know, the totality of the circumstances. ike

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    1. Yeah….how is it that Cuse can get 2 great QB’s on the same team and we haven’t had one since Rutherford or maybe Palko….

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  110. @Voice – are we really just a bit outside the top 25? Seems to me that teams that don’t win 6 games (such as us last year) aren’t even in the top 66 as those are the bowl teams typically. We still have a punchers chance at .500 this year. I think we need to win the next 4 to be right outside the top25, but certainly 3-4 doesn’t get you there in my opinion. I think 7-4 gets you to sniffing around top25, so we would have to get on a roll, quickly. No loss today doesn’t hurt.

    At 4-2 MSU is ranked number 24, and they beat Dairy College. 3-4 is a lot further away from sniffing top25.

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  111. Huff, I was using the term top 25 loosely. I’m thinking finishing in 30-35 spot is reasonable given this year’s OOC.

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        1. Perfect size at age 18 and at small forward. Get ready to see Pitt to miss on the guys with size that you like. This rebuild is going to take some time. Thank Christ Capel landed those three freshmen in the spring.

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          1. ikr….late in the game, we were very fortunate to land McGowan, X-Man and Toney. I think Walker was brought to a Pitt football game with 30,000 empties….not a good idea.

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          2. Oh come on, Miami hasn’t been a power since Slick Rick Barry. From Barry until Leonard Hamilton took Miami to the NCAAs the program was non-existent, including when I found out Miami actually had basketball back in 1987 when ESPN hyped up Tito Hortford in an upcoming game.

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  112. I thought we were also in on Oscar Tshiebwe or something like that and he went to Huggin$. Once he got elevated to a 5 $tar, the odds changed. The question is whether the Pitt Admin will allow Capel to play the game or not.

    Agreed Ike. The totality suggests we could get 5-7 teams paying $750k per year.

    I think we overpaid….and our Admin knows nothing about how to run a sports franchise to its maximum capability. Our new AD included.GO PITT WOMENS VOLLEYBALL!!!!

    NOT PITTSBURGH!

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    1. Oscar Tshiebwe’s guardian also hosted another star African forward for Kennedy Catholic not all that long ago. Sagaba Konate is now a forward for West Virginia and lived with Tshiebwe’s guardian while he was a member of the Kennedy Catholic basketball team.

      Former Pitt coach Jamie Dixon was one of the first to offer Konate, but at the end of the day, ended up taking Virginia forward Corey Manigault over him. Some believe that Konate was interested in committing to Pitt, but Dixon didn’t give him the opportunity.

      Tshiebwe’s guardian has developed a strong relationship with West Virginia head coach Bob Huggins and many believe he’s been pushing him to Morgantown from the start.

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      1. I thought Dixon never even offered Konate? Jamie waffled on offering with that look he had where it appeared that he needed some prune juice in order to go the bathroom.

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  113. Pitt doesn’t want to play the game. After firing the last coach who was able to be dirty, Gottfried, it has been purity and honoring the Mission Statement ever since.

    Liked by 1 person

  114. Maybe we can land this kid. (we’re on his Final 5 list) (9 others schools he had offers from aren’t)

    The latest player to name Capel’s team as a finalist is 4-star forward Qudus Wahab.

    Wahab (6-10, 230) is a 4-star center from Flint Hill School in Oakton, Virginia. Rivals rates him as a Top 100 recruit and one of the Top 20 centers in the country.

    Yesterday, Wahab released a final five of Pitt, UConn, Georgetown, Syracuse and Virginia Tech. He also held offers from Clemson, Louisville, LSU, Miami, Ohio State, Rhode Island, St. John’s, Temple and VCU.

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  115. Egg on the Trib’s Face or were they just liking teasing us.

    Story no longer online
    TRIBLIVE.COM | Saturday, Oct. 20, 2018, 4:06 p.m.
    Updated 17 minutes ago

    We’re sorry, but the story you are looking for is no longer available on TribLIVE.com

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  116. Hard to believe some of these kids want to play for the drunk Zeke, who every year looks more and more like he was an extra in ‘Next of Kin “.

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  117. For all those touting Duke as a run away train that will roll over Pitt – the dukies were derailed today by UVA and one of their “good” wins verse NW was tarnished a bit today as the wildcats barely beat lowly butgers.

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  118. for the 2nd week in a row, UNC had a lead that they lost in the final minute of regulation. The could have had a 10 point vs VT last week but their RB fumbled on the 1 yard line of VT with less than 6 minutes. VT marched down the field and scored TD with 20 sec left.

    This week I don’t know the circumstances but Cuse scored late to tie the game .. then won in 2OT.

    Meanwhile Franklinstein just took a TO up by 12 with !;56 left. My question to him is how is running up these scores helping you in these close games. He has lost 4 games in the final minute the last 2 years after blowing leads. Now, Indiana just scored with 49 sec. If they recover onside, they have a chance to win.

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  119. Temple beat #20 and previously unbeaten Cincinnati . We are now the 3rd best team in Penna.
    The Owls have more of a commitment to football than Pitt. Hard to believe.

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  120. Aside from his lack of class, he’s a terrible coach. He is a tremendous recruiter, although in many ways, Penn State recruits itself.

    Today, up two scores with 5 minutes left, he tried hard to lose the game. He calls three straight passes, presumably to try and run up the score. Two fall incomplete and he has to punt. Indiana scores and recovers the onside kick to give them a small chance. If jimmy boy just runs the ball, Indiana runs out if time and the game is over. At least run it to make Indiana burn a time out!

    He escaped, but to be honest, I’ll take HCPN over that clown. Especially at 5 million. He is WAY overpaid.

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    1. The new football coach Barnes picked has won one game – over Southern Utah or something like that…

      They got clobbered today by California.

      Barnes sure can pick coaches…

      Go Pitt.

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  121. Watched 4 Pa HS games last night on TV North Allegheny( the junior Steelers) over W. Allegheny both Porter and Hoke committments to out of town schools. Also watched State College vs Altoona .Both State College standouts going to PS. We are getting creamed on recruitment and can’t win on home turf.

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    1. That’s a B1G Joke loss and a psuX dagger. If Michigan runs the table then they get another shot at the lucky irish.

      Down year in college FB and Pitt has another below average program.

      Go figure…

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  122. Keep in mind, it’s not just about paying for an 8m dollar a year coach. You also have to be willing to cheat for 3 years like Alabama had to in order to become relevant again.

    How easy we forget that they had to forfeit 2 and a half seasons of football. But by then, they already had the ball rolling and it got the recruits coming in.

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  123. Purdue head coach after the game, speaking about Purdue and college football.

    “We played conservatively for the first three games of the season and were 0-3. We then played loose and aggressive and look what happens”. Please have Narduzzi and Watson watch that tape.

    Conservative loses always when you are under manned.

    My sense is they drop to 10. That will be the big10 voters trying to fix the osu/mich winner going to the playoff. Clempson better stay undefeated to keep the ACC relevant.

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  124. What is going on at miami? Their D was young and legit last year – most all were returning for 2018.

    Plus, they have 4 & 5* RB’s, QB’s and WR’s.

    Inquiry minds want to know.

    Pitt on the other hand is struggling on the field, have no offense and are trailing just about every P5 team in recruiting – per Chris Peak who laid out a clear strategic plan to right the ship on the field (intense film study, inject back-ups into more prominent roles and open up the offense, tnaf).

    Instead, the coaching staff is on the road recruiting. It is a balancing act that has been below average (IMO) for over 30 years.

    Looking forward to driving to Pitt stadium to watch the much feared dukies take on our beloved Panthers – much sarcasms and POV fodder.

    Enjoy your week as Pitt FB tries to figure out how to play offense and find a punter.

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  125. Pitt will turn it around circa 2028. wwb

    BDSN@BlackDiamondSN
    Oct 19

    What a turnaround season for Shamokin Area. In his 1st year as the head coach, SCA grad Henry Hynoski has guided his Shamokin Indians, who have struggled to win even a game the past few years, to a PHAC Division 1 title. They beat Shikellamy 34-0. @PaFootballNews @EPAFootball

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  126. And to think how many here thought Matt Canada had ALL the answers.

    Canada’s “Smoke ‘n Mirrors” Offense exposed… again!

    In getting shut out for the first time since a 28-0 home defeat to Michigan in 2015, Maryland (4-3, 2-2 Big Ten) didn’t make it over 100 yards until a 16-yard run in the game’s final minute by sophomore Javon Leake, who finished as his team’s leading rusher despite making only one carry.

    Carroll County TImes

    Time to FINALLY close the doors on the Matt Canada PIttPov Fan Club.

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