Accepting the Torch

Accepting the Torch

Here is a personal intro from our soon to be Blog Master Michaelangelo Monteleone.

They say you should avoid stepping into a great man’s shoes…

I’ve decided to ignore that advice.

Make no mistake Reed is a Legend. One does not create the pre-eminent football blog for a power five college program by accident or by chance. It takes talent, passion, perseverance, hard work, a steady hand on the tiller, and an ability to relate to (and tolerate) a multitude of personalities. I think we can all agree that Reed has these qualities in spades.

The result is that Reed has built what is arguably the #1 Pitt football blog in the country, and by extension the world. Per Reed’s post last week, the site has over 186,000 unique visitors and has had nearly two million page views in the last three years. Those are phenomenal numbers.

And so when Reed announced he was looking for someone to take over the POV, I was intrigued. After all, I have a writing degree from Pitt. Heck, I was even a journalist once upon a time. I’ve also run a WordPress blog in the past (the now defunct Pittboss BBQ Blog. You can check out pictures of our product here). I’m passionate about Pitt Football. Lastly, I’ve always wanted to publish a Pitt Football blog, but of course I saw no reason to go head-to-head with the POV. So suffice to say, this felt like a golden opportunity. And when I spoke with Reed about it, we both agreed I could be a good fit.

So what’s the POV going to look like in the Michaelangelo era? For starters, I don’t plan on changing much. What Reed has built is working, and my goal is to keep it working. During the season you should expect to see everything you see now: Game notes, Predictions threads, Game threads, MMQB etc. During recruiting season you’ll see a post after every commit. The goal is to sustain the success Reed’s built and keep our community intact. I think we can all agree that is a very good thing.

As you might expect, you are going to see some new wrinkles as far as content, and I hope you enjoy them. Also, I want to be clear that I will not shy away from calling a spade a spade. Good will be called good. Bad will be called bad. Ugly will be called ugly. That, as a fan and publisher of this blog is my right. As a fan base, it is our collective right, and I think it’s a big part of what has made this blog so successful.

Which brings me to a very important thing. I do intend to leave Reed’s Rules of Order in place.

As a refresher the rules are as follows:

  1. There will be no profanity on this blog. Comments with profanity will automatically filtered by WordPress and will not posted. I understand that we are all passionate Pitt fans, but we are also all college graduates (or at least smart enough to type). Use your vocabulary people. If you simply cannot contain yourself, then you can do it like this: A–. S—. F—. We’ll know what you mean. Please do not complain if you put a swear word in a post and it does not get posted.
  2. Political commentary will not be tolerated. This is a sports blog not a political blog. End of discussion.
  3. Personal attacks, public or private, will not be tolerated. Again, I get that we are passionate Pitt fans. Everyone is entitled to express their opinion about the football program, game, players, etc. Everyone is entitled to disagree. However NO ONE is entitled to call someone names or verbally abuse someone because their opinion is different. Feel free to forcefully disagree with an opinion, but do not attack the person who wrote it.

This seems to be relevant topic recently so I will give an example of what is okay and what is not okay.

Example 1: Acceptable Exchange

i. Pitt Fan #1: Man Pat Narudzzi really is an arrogant prick and I hate him. He also sucks at coaching and has no plan for this team. We need to fire his A–, and I’m no longer donating to Pitt Athletics until we do.

ii. Pitt Fan #2: Wow I really disagree with your opinion PF#1. Look, we are on a three game winning streak. Sure Tyler Sear left the team and all that but we may not know all the facts. I’m sorry you feel that way.

iii. Pitt Fan #1: Yea well I have some inside info on Tyler sear that says Nardo totally punked him. Same thing happened with Ox. I think you’re wrong and i think you are way too optimistic PF#2.

iv. Pitt Fan #2: Frankly PF#1I think that your opinion is garbage. No evidence whatsoever of that. But hey man, you are entitled to it. I think we should agree to disagree. Have a good day.

Example #2: NOT Acceptable:

v. Pitt Fan #1: Man Pat Narudzzi really is an arrogant prick and I hate him. He also sucks at coaching and has no plan for this team. We need to fire his A–, and I’m no longer donating to Pitt Athletics until we do.

vi. Pitt Fan #2: You F—ing jagoff. You are so f—ing dumb how can you even think that. You’re the biggest moron there is and you don’t know anything about Pitt Sports. Narduzzi clearly has us on a roll. Why don’t you stop posting this garbage. You are the prick here not Pat.

As you can see in the first example Pitt Fan both fans are disagreeing, but they are attacking each other’s opinions, not the person.

In example #2 each poster is attacking the other person. As college graduates we should be able to understand the difference here.

When in doubt take the high road folks. I will maintain a two-strike rule with this policy. You will get one warning and after that you are out. I reserve the right to change this to a one-strike rule if things get out of hand.

With that being said, once Reed hands me the keys to the blog, I am willing to grant an amnesty for anyone who was previously banned as long as they create a WordPress Account and agree to abide by the rules posted above. Again, the two-strike rule applies.

Lastly, one other thing that has made POV great is the contributions from the user base. Please keep these coming! User generated content is a big part of what we do and I will continue to welcome it. I can’t guarantee that I will be able to edit it as timely as Reed does, because unlike Reed I’m not retired, but I can promise you that it will get read, edited and posted, as long as it has merit and does not insult anyone.

Okay so that is a lot. Just a few final things while I’m on the keyboard… First, I would be extremely remiss if I did not thank Reed for for the opportunity. It’s truly an honor and I am clearly excited about it. Reed, I hope that once you are back in the saddle you’ll be a regular reader and guest poster. You’ll always hold the title of Founder and Blogger Emeritus for life!

I also would like to thank everyone in the community that I met at the POV tailgate during the VT game. Too many names to name but Ike, BIg B, Major Majors, LastRowofSection4, Erie Express, The ORIGINAL Atlanta Panther, Annie and so many others, have offered so much support already that I feel like there is no option but to be successful. Please feel free to let me know if you have suggestions and I’ll be reaching out when and if I need some help.

And with that I’ll close by saying that I’m looking forward to a great post-season and offseason.

Let’s Go Pitt!

Note to All: Michelangelo’s take will be a younger and fresher view on Pitt football and if we remember each of his previous submitted articles were very informative and really well written. Couldn’t have a better person to take the helm.

Don’t Call It a Comeback…

Don’t Call It a Comeback…


Don’t Call it a Comeback – Thoughts on the Running Game and the Offensive Line
Michaelangelo Monteleone

Let’s talk about Pitt’s running game. It has not just been good this year; It has been historically good.

Here are the game average stats through 10 games:
Yds: 256.9
YPC: 6.5
TD’s: 2.6

Pitt Hasn’t managed that kind of production since 2014, during James Connor’s sophomore season.
2014 Per game Avg
Yds: 249.4
YPC: 5.3
TD’s: 2.7

And to put this in perspective Pitt has NEVER averaged 6.5 yards per carry, and there are only two years where yards per game were higher. Some of you may remember these years. They involved nothing less than a Heisman trophy winner, running behind an All-American offensive line.

1975 Per game Avg
Yds: 300.5
YPC: 5.0
TD’s: 2.5

1976 Per game Avg
Yds: 316.9
YPC: 5.1
TD’s: 3.1

As you can see, we are in elite company.

Much of the credit goes the Quadree Ollison and Darrin Hall who comprise the best Thunder and Lightning duo Pittsburgh has seen since James Conner and Issac Bennet or Tony Dorsett and Elliott Walker

And by extension, much of the credit goes to Running Backs Coach Andre Powell. Quadree’s Hokie-breaking, record-setting 97 yard rampage doesn’t happen if Andre is not coaching him to break tackles and run violent. Remember, we didn’t see a whole lot of that during Q’s freshman year.

And indeed much of the credit does to George Aston, a preferred walk-on Linebacker from The Paul Chryst era who would likely be an all-American fullback … if there was such an award these days.

But a the biggest share of the credit goes to the Offensive Line, and their run blocking has been the surprise of the season.

Just to remind you, nobody was optimistic going in. The back-channel reports out of training camp were something along the lines of “major concern” and “historically bad”. They had little experience and even less perceived talent. It was going to be a very rough year.

To top it all off, our new o-line coach, Dave Borbley, was so bad that Maryland kicked him upstairs for the entire 2017 season. Yes, he’d always had a history of coaching up a strong running game, but this was his first year with Pitt, and he didn’t exactly have a ton of talent to work with.

A castoff leading castoffs. Let’s think about that for a minute.

Our starting left tackle was a two-star recruit and transfer from a tier-2 MAC program
Our starting right tackle was a slow-footed guard who was forced to play out of position.
Both of our starting guards spent most of their college careers switching positions.
Our center was a redshirt sophomore walk-on.
The line’s average recruiting stars: 2.4
And on top of that we were coached by a washed-up veteran that Shawn Watson picked off the scrap heap.

It’s easy to see why the fan base was not exactly optimistic.

And yet somehow this group of lineman has defied expectations.

After ten games:

We have an o-line that grades out top-11 in run blocking (“Line yards” on this page)
We have a rushing attack that is top 10 in the country (two spots ahead of Clemson I might add)

We have set yardage records on offense. Twice.

Our team is within spitting distance of an ACC Coastal division championship.

Not bad for a bunch of guys that nobody believed in.

Look, we all know that things aren’t perfect. Pass Protection continues to be an issue. Our offense is still fairly one-dimensional. If an opponent manages to stop the run we are going to find points hard to come by. And yes, next year could be a complete disaster, because we are losing just about everybody.

But now is not the time to worry about that. Now is not the time to focus on our shortcomings. Now is not the time to focus on next year. Now is not the time the be the Same Old Pitt Fan. You know what I am talking about.

Now is the time to live in the moment. Now is the time to savor a dominant win in a big game at home. Now is the time to enjoy this offense, one beautifully-blocked running play at a time. Because right now we have something special.

At least until the next game.

Hail To Pitt,