Here is an informative post by longtime Pitt POV user Joe Lawerence (aka JoeL), complete with comparative stats and Joe’s Keys to the Game.  Based on what you see below, what do you think Pitt needs to do to bring home a victory?  Also I’ve added some bits and pieces that have come across the wire this morning. 

Ladies and Gents,

I played around with some stats today and compared Pitt’s offense to Miami’s defense, Pitt’s defense to Miami’s offense and also includes some other stats.  I also gave my own thoughts about who has the advantage.  (editor’s note:  It appears Joe is largely assigning advantage based on national rank.  That is why Pitt has the advantage vs what appears to be a very stingy Miami run defense.  However, please feel free to discuss.)

Pitt Miami Advantage
When Pitt has the ball:
    Run – Yds/game 247.5 132.9 Pitt
           rank 13 34
    Pass – Yds/game 155.5 141.7 Miami
           rank 118 3
    Total – Yds/game 403 274.6 Miami
           rank 66 5
    Pts per game 30.1 19.5 Miami
           rank 62 19
When Miami has the ball:
    Run – Yds/game 163.5 188.6 draw
           rank 65 49
    Pass – Yds/game 241.4 188.6 Miami
           rank 87 103
    Total – Yds/game 404.9 377.2 draw
           rank 79 91
    Pts per game 28.1 31.5 draw
           rank 75 48
Other stats:
Sacks allowed 22 24 draw
INTs thrown 5 10 Pitt
Sacks made 27 31 draw
INTs made 9 15 Miami
Penalties 77 69 slight edge to Miami
QB rating 132.9 122.9 slight edge to Pitt
Ranking in Special Teams areas:
Punting – Net Yds 100 127 Pitt
Punt returns 71 3 Miami
FG% 52 80 Pitt
KO returns – Yds 7 6 draw
Joe’s Keys to the Game
  •   Start strong – establish an early lead
  •   Run the ball effectively
  •   Use high percentage passes
  •   Avoid turnovers

Bits and Pieces

The Good:  Pitt’s Kenny Pickett Named ACC Quarterback of the Week

Pickett was additionally honored as a Manning Award “Star of the Week”

PITTSBURGH—Pitt sophomore quarterback Kenny Pickett was named the Atlantic Coast Conference’s Quarterback of the Week for his performance in the Panthers’ 34-13 win at Wake Forest this past weekend. He additionally was recognized by the Manning Award as one of eight “Stars of the Week” at the quarterback position.

Pickett completed 23-of-30 passes (77%) for 316 yards and three touchdowns to lead Pitt past the Demon Deacons and clinch the ACC Coastal Division championship. His yardage, completions and TD total were all personal bests.

Each of Pickett’s touchdown passes came in the second half to help Pitt erase a 10-6 halftime deficit. Two of his scoring tosses came less than three minutes apart: a four-yarder to Rafael Araujo-Lopes and a 63-yard strike to Taysir Mack that put Pitt up 20-10 at the end of the third period.

After Wake Forest kicked a field goal to make it 20-13 early in the fourth, Pickett responded with a 23-yard TD pass to Maurice Ffrench, boosting the lead to 27-13 with 7:27 to play and essentially sealing the result.

In his first season as Pitt’s full-time starting quarterback, Pickett (Oakhurst, N.J./Ocean Township) has completed 151-of-243 passes (62%) for 1,695 yards with 12 touchdowns and five interceptions.

 

Winners of four consecutive games, Pitt owns a 7-4 overall record and 6-1 mark in ACC play. The Panthers entered both Top 25 polls this week, placing No. 24 in the Associated Press rankings and No. 25 in the Amway Coaches Poll.

The Bad :  Pitt Center Jimmy Morrissey Has Season-Ending Surgery

PITTSBURGH—Pitt sophomore center Jimmy Morrissey underwent ankle surgery on Monday and will miss the balance of the season, Coach Pat Narduzzi announced today.

The Panthers’ starting center in 23 consecutive games, Morrissey was injured in the waning moments of Saturday’s 34-13 win at Wake Forest.

“Jimmy has been tremendous for us this year, both as a player and a leader,” Narduzzi said. “We all share his disappointment, but I know this will only be a temporary setback for him. Jimmy will be back next year better than ever. In the meantime, I know he will continue to do all he can to help our offensive line perform at the same high level. That’s the type of person and teammate he is.”

The Ugly:  Pat Narduzzi Press Conference (Editor’s Note:  This is not actually ugly.  I am taking some poetic licence here)

Miami Week

 

PRESS CONFERENCE VIDEO

HTML TRANSCRIPT LINK

PAT NARDUZZI: Well, it was a fun weekend. Weekend is over. Back to Monday. It’s a workday, as was yesterday.

But something I failed to do on Saturday really after the game and after you sit back and you think about how things like that happen, how things like that come to fruition, you think about just what you were brought here for, and just growing up with my dad, you never — he’s always taught you, just never forget where you came from and how you got where you are.

But I want to thank obviously the Chancellor for obviously giving me the opportunity and all the support Heather Lyke has given us. Even going back to Jerry Cochran and Randy Juhl and Donna Sanft. When I first got here, I talked about just if we all go in the same direction, we’ll be fine. But if someone is going this way, we want to go this way, that’s when you run into some road blocks, but obviously things have gone in the right direction.

It’s never as smooth as you’d like it to be, which is life, but — there’s bumps in the road as you go. Obviously it was a big day for our football team and for the university, and happy we could be a part of it and happy I could be a part of it, so I thank them.

But when you look at the tape, you kind of see on tape what you saw really during the game. It’s a tale of two halves, which we’ve been involved in a couple of those through this season. Just didn’t play very good football in the first half, way too many mistakes. I think of the 10 penalties, I think eight of them were in the first half. That goes on me obviously not having them ready to go and locked in and focused.

Then we go and make some minor adjustments, more of a mental adjustment more than anything, maybe a wake-up call in the second half to get it cranked up, and then we come out and play football in the second half like you’re supposed to. Those three three-and-outs were huge defensively, and I thought defensively overall we played pretty sound.

Just not as clean and you want to, and it’s nice to come out of a football game and not play your best football and still come away with a ‘W.’ But we can’t do that this week against a great Miami team. I mean, I feel like Warren Sapp came back, and he’s played in all four of those down four positions for Miami.

They’re aggressive up front, third ranked defense in the country. Mark Richt has done a tremendous job of building the talent level at that place, and obviously Manny Diaz running the show on defense, I mean, Shaq Quarterman is the guy over there, and he runs the show, and they’re legit. They’re as good a defense as you’re going to find. They press you and play man free, play whatever they want to play, and they lock you down. He does a great job.

And then offensively, they’ve gone through two quarterbacks and they’re still trying to find out who it is, and obviously Perry seems to be the guy, but we’re ready to see anybody, but he seems smooth. Their offensive line is athletic. They’re big, physical. And Homer at tailback, and they’ve got speed at receiver. So they’re dangerous. Coming off a great win, and we’re going to have to be ready to go down to Miami.

Questions?

Q. Over the past we’ve asked you about first place in the Coastal, if you guys think you can do it, and of course now you finally did it. When along the way did you guys realize it could be done?
PAT NARDUZZI: You know, you guys crack me up. There’s not a point, a day, a month, a week that you go, “Oh, we’re knocking on the door here.” It’s been back in August. It’s been back in winter conditioning. And that sounds cliché, but like I told our guys last night, there’s nobody outside this room — we’ve got trainers in here, equipment guys, everybody here, there’s nobody outside this room that gave us a chance. You guys all talked them bad, and then all of a sudden you think that one day we wake up and say, “Hey, let’s try to do something.”

We never lost faith. Somebody else may have, okay, and I don’t point any fingers, but we never lost faith. So there’s never a point. That’s the God’s honest truth right there. We never lost faith. There’s going to be ups and downs. You can’t beat everybody. You can’t be perfect. But there’s — I don’t think anybody lost faith in this room, and we kept them together, and that’s how you have success.

Q. How do you do that? How do you keep the faith up when things aren’t going well?
PAT NARDUZZI: It’s everything. I mean, and obviously it starts with me making sure that the same message is being relayed throughout the building. But the weight room, Dave Andrews, our strength staff, spends a ton of time, obviously our assistant coaches. Those kids can’t leave a team meeting, go down to the training room, and then the trainers are like, “Man, tough year, man. Well, maybe next year it’ll be better.” If they got that message down, then we’ve got problems because they’re hearing different mixed messages.

So it’s everybody. It’s Chad in video, Chad Bogard — he got a shout-out. I don’t know where Chad is, but he’s always asking for shout-outs. It’s everybody in the program, so it’s just being positive and coaching and playing the next play.

I mean, our kids wouldn’t be very good if they looked back at the first half and said, “Oh, God, we stink today, we might as well just stink it up in the second half.” We just keep moving on and go further.

Q. I’m going to assume you’re not going to play this game like an NFL team that’s clinched a playoff spot, backups all over the place?
PAT NARDUZZI: Big Ben is playing this week, yes, he’s playing. We’re playing. There’s nobody not playing.

Q. Does anything change with preparation, like how much you guys spend this week, looking at Clemson, knowing what that game means or anything like that?
PAT NARDUZZI: No, no. I mean, we’re putting all our effort, I guarantee you, into this week, into this Miami Hurricane football team. I’ve already spent more time than normal on Mondays, period. I’m way ahead of where I am — we’ve got plenty of time for that next one. It doesn’t matter. You guys keep relaying that stuff around, I’ll have to brainwash our kids in this meeting room.

We’re not talking about it. It won’t be mentioned in here. We talked last night, and I said it’s about the last time we’re going to talk about it. You guys have just lengthened your season. A week ago you win a game, and you add a bowl game. This week, now there’s — now there’s nothing. It’s like, let’s go have fun, let’s go play football. We get Miami and it’s a great football team, and if we aren’t focused, we’ll get smacked in the mouth real hard, and the next week won’t matter. It won’t even matter. I hate to tell you that, but it’s all about this week. This football team doesn’t like to lose. Nobody likes to lose. It gives you a bad taste in your mouth, and we don’t want that.

Q. You thanked the Chancellor and Heather Lyke when you came in today. What did it mean to you to get a contract extension in the off-season? How much did that maybe increase your motivation, that they have faith in you?
PAT NARDUZZI: Not really. I didn’t need that. I already had enough years on my contract. I wasn’t worried about it. That didn’t fuel anything. That didn’t make me go, “Oh, thanks.” I already knew the support was there. You don’t have to give it to me in the years. It doesn’t really matter. We’re going to go coach and do our job, and that’s what we do. There’s no slacking down here.

But no, that had nothing to do with it. Obviously very appreciative of that opportunity and the trust and the faith that they had in this program and what we’re doing down here, but you know, it felt pretty good — I know where the Chancellor stands. I know where Heather stands. I didn’t need any gifts.

Q. Do you feel that the ACC title game this year is the step you needed to take as a program?
PAT NARDUZZI: You know what, I think every step you take forward — I think getting more than eight wins is a step forward. I think getting a bowl win would be a step forward. I don’t care what it is, beating someone you’ve never beaten before. We’re always going to look forward and try to make a positive out of maybe a negative. It doesn’t matter. But of course it’s a big thing. Did we need it? It could have happened in three more years and we’d all be happy, as well. Maybe you guys wouldn’t be as happy. Jerry would be grumpy, but we’d all be happy in three years, too.

You never put a date on when something like this is going to happen. They’re hard to get. There’s a lot of good football teams, a lot of good coaches out there. This is hard to get. It’s not easy to be one of these two teams getting to go play the championship game.

Q. Do you think Kenny Pickett was capable of having the kind of game he had Saturday earlier in the year? Did we see sort of a culmination of his development?
PAT NARDUZZI: No question about it. Like I said, I think we’ve done some things in practice that have helped make him just kind of throw in the pocket and just — I guess keep focused on the little details he needs to do in the game, and I won’t get into that, but yeah, he’s capable. I mean, we know how capable he is. He’s accurate. He’s smooth. He’s still young. I think everybody wants instant gratification, and he’s a great football player. We’ve never lost faith in him.

He’s probably going to have to do it again this week because this front four and front seven, really Quarterman and those D-linemen, we’re going to have to be able to throw the ball effectively, we’re going to have to be able to protect him, and Kenny got protected Saturday. Even though we gave up two sacks, he was protected, had time in the pocket to make some shots and some great shots.

Q. Do you have more confidence in the passing game now than you did, say, early September?
PAT NARDUZZI: I would say anytime you throw for 300 and you’re protecting the football, that you do [have confidence], but I never had a lack of faith in what we could do in the passing game. I’ve always had faith in Kenny and what he could do with his arm and those receivers. But that was last week, and two weeks ago we rushed for 500 yards, or just about 500 yards, so what are we going to do this week? We need to have some consistency, so a 300 game, can we back-to-back that? Can we have another 300-yard rushing game? We need to do those things to have success, and you can’t be one-dimensional all the time. I think I talked last Thursday about we’d better be able to throw the football. There’s going to be a time when we’re going to have to throw it, and our receivers did a heck of a job getting open and making plays for Kenny, as well.

Q. Did you hear from anybody outside the people you’ve mentioned that sort of makes it resonate with you how this connected people and the university outside the football program?
PAT NARDUZZI: I mean, yeah. Your phone kind of goes a little berserk. I even returned some text messages this morning at 5:40, just to find the time to return some of those saying, “Hey, sorry.” And I got back to [athletic department staffer] Celeste really early. But you’re getting it from everywhere, which is what happens.

Q. Anything surprising? Anything, “Oh, I wasn’t expecting that?”
PAT NARDUZZI: No. Same stuff as usual.

Q. People from your past call you, congratulate you?
PAT NARDUZZI: No. Nobody is from your past. They’re all in the present. Joe Novak, from — your old ball coaches, those are the guys that — Floyd Keith and Joe Novak and Mark Dantonio, guys that are — that reach out to you, but that’s not —

Q. Going back to the Syracuse game, I know you don’t like to look in the past, but that last two-minute drive that forced overtime, and obviously you guys ended up winning that game, do you think that was one of those turning points of the season type of deals for your team in terms of confidence?
PAT NARDUZZI: You know what, I don’t even remember that. Who caught the ball? Was it Ffrenchy in the end zone there?

Q. I’m talking about when you forced overtime with them, you guys ran, I think, 11 of 12 —
PAT NARDUZZI: See, I told you I didn’t remember. I don’t know. How about that? We’ll look at it after the season. We’re on to the next — you guys got any questions about Miami?

Q. Is Quarterman the “Where’s Waldo” on that Miami defense?
PAT NARDUZZI: No, he ain’t Waldo. Waldo, when I look at Waldo, he’s a squirrelly little dude that’s hiding in a picture book. This guy is a scary dude that goes sideline to sideline, and he’s been playing for three years and playing at a high level. That guy is an NFL linebacker if I’ve ever seen one.

Q. You talked in your opening about winning the division is what you were brought here to do. What else is on that list?
PAT NARDUZZI: Beat Miami this week. How about that? Start right there. Just keep doing what we do. I mean, there’s no goals where we say, “Hey, we want to do this.” We’ve just got to go. Just keep winning one game at a time.

Q. Can you take anything from last year’s Miami game, kind of see what they did and see how you guys had some success and put it into Saturday’s game plan?
PAT NARDUZZI: No doubt about it. We’re going to look at that, and so are they. They’re going to go, “Gosh, we should have done this and done that.” So it’s going to be a chess match as far as who’s doing what, and then they’ve got a different football team this year. They do different things. They have more tools.

So I think regardless of what it is, you’re looking at last year’s game, and we’re trying to get better from it. So are they, though, so it’s a — does it help you? I don’t know. But we’ll look at the last two years. I’ll look at — it doesn’t matter what we did at home last year. I had to look at more of the last time I was at Miami. That’s the last time I remember. I don’t even remember the last Miami game here. I remember Tre Tipton staying in the hospital overnight [in 2016]. That’s my memory of going down there. I remember not playing very good down there, and that’s what’s stuck in my head.

Q. How did you think your ends played?
PAT NARDUZZI: You know, all three of them played good. Weaver had a really good game, Folston played really good and Patrick Jones was really, really productive.

Q. You had a two-touchdown lead, three minutes to go, on the 6-yard line. With the throwback to Millin, did you need to show that? Did that tip your hand for future opponents?
PAT NARDUZZI: Tip my hand? I don’t know if it’s a tip your hand. Slow down that backside pass rush. But you know what, it’s scary, we could have thrown the twos in. It’s like I was telling somebody else. I don’t take anything for granted. We’re playing to win, and I’m not going to have any regrets. Could we have run it in? Maybe. Could we have thrown it in? I don’t know. Could we have dropped back? But when you look at it, we turn the ball over, we don’t score there. We turn it over, they scoop and score, interception for a touchdown, whatever it may be, and we’re playing to win and clinch, and that was the goal. The goal was not to worry about next week or save it for next week. The goal was to win that football game, and whatever it takes.

But anything can happen. That game wasn’t over at that point. I guarantee you that. They weren’t going to quit, and we weren’t going to — three-touchdown lead you feel pretty confident, but two touchdowns, I mean, it’s a score a touchdown, kick an onside kick, get it, go down the field, score, and we’re into overtime.

Yeah, we needed that.

Q. Did you hear from a lot of former players here, guys who helped with the foundation of —
PAT NARDUZZI: Of course, no doubt about it.

Miami questions? Anybody?

Q. What has been Miami’s problem? Did they make any change this past Saturday?
PAT NARDUZZI: I think there’s a lot of things that goes on with teams. Coaching 115 guys — Mark Richt is a super coach. He’s done it for many years, and you’ve got a big roomful of personalities, they are talented, let me tell you that. But the ACC conference is talented. There’s no gimmes. He’s playing Boston College, and Duke is pretty darned good. They lost to Georgia Tech, that option. It’s a tough conference. It’s a tough division, and anybody can beat anybody. That’s what I said, what we did is not easy. Anybody can beat anybody. North Carolina beat us, okay. They won one ACC game, so anybody can beat anybody. That’s the problem, is — it’s very, very competitive, and that’s the way you want it. But it’s a great conference, and it’s a great division from top to bottom. I think it is. I don’t look and say –

I’d take a lot of their players.

Q. How is their secondary compared to last year when they had the chain going around and they were undefeated at this time?
PAT NARDUZZI: They’re good. They’ve got three guys that I think both have three interceptions apart. I mean, they’ve got that chain still. I think it’s an upgraded version. But they’re still creating turnovers, and they’re just not winning as many games so nobody hears about it as much. But I think they must have — I know they’ve got three guys that got three interceptions a pop, and I bet you they’ve forced at least eight or nine fumbles, and they’re forced, not people just dropping them. You’ll see. You’ll see. They’ve got some guys.

 

 

139 thoughts on “Pitt-Miami Thoughts + Bits and Pieces

  1. the following can be posted every/any year before the Miami game:

    You all have to remember that Pitt is not the greatest example of SOP …. Miami is. Yes, being a Pitt fan is cause to have your den remodeled with rubber walls, but you all would be in straight jackets now if Miami was your team. Last year they cruised past everyone until the last regular season game and then went into the tank — it was only a matter of when. This year, they were ranked pre-season in the Top 10.

    The big difference between them and us is that Miami gets recruits that we would relish. They have plenty of 4 and 5 stars on the roster every year as south Florida may be the most talent rich area in the US. They also pay their HC nearly $5M. There is no excuse for this team to continually be so pathetic with one head-scratching performance after another.

    Who knows what Miami team shows up on Saturday. You would think they would be out for revenge because of last year … but you never know.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Thanks JoeL great job. I guess after looking at the graphic that PITT has their work cut out for them. Here’s my take on the game. PITT is not a great choice to be used as a model. They sometimes seem to go against the grain a bit. Hard to get a handle on this one. Miami is a team with lots of stars. Sometimes that creates more chaos rather than success.

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  3. JoeL, great job, thanks for posting. I love stats, I think they provide a great backdrop for discussion. That said, this is one of many cases where the stats are misleading and therefore borderline irrelevant due to the fact that Pitt is a completely different team now than the team that got blown out by psu & moreso by Central Florida, and lost to NC. Completely different. That said, Miami has been playing better as of late too, and the fact that they’re a 5.5 point favorite (for multiple reasons I’m sure), says that we’re in for a tough match.

    Ironically, we will be playing 2 teams in a row that have Revenge as a motive against us, which should up the ante.

    The keys to the game? I hate to throw out cliches, but in this instance the old adage about running effectively and stopping the run strikes me as relevant. That said, I suspect we will need to continue our success throwing the ball downfield, as this is what keeps defenses honest, and frankly we’re starting to excel in this area. I do wonder what the effect of losing Morrissey will have on the OL though…

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  4. Talk about irony 1618, two weeks running now we have been lamenting key losses of a transfer (Hendrix) and a walk-on (Morrissey) all the while praising a transfer (Millin) and a walk-on (Aston). Proving that there is nothing wrong with bringing in supplemental players and allowing them to contribute mightily to the program.

    Liked by 4 people

  5. If the Pitt passing game holds up Pitt will win this game. However with Morissey out I’m most concerned with how our pass protection for Pickett will hold up. No question we have down a much better job in that area over the past several weeks. Will the loss of one good lineman make a difference?

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  6. The Morissey news stinks. Feel bad for the kid. It certainly hurts the OL. He is a leader on the team.

    Whoever steps in they will not be as good, especially their first week playing.

    I was worried about this game before the Morissey news. I don’t see the players being mentally ready. If they are, this team is amazing. I want this win for Pitt. I want a 9 or 10 win season to really elevate the program.

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  7. Man I hate the call more and more that got Morrisey hurt.
    Emel is correct that it should have never happened but for a bogus holding call.
    However, we did not need the touchdown and we could have saved the play for later in season.
    The game was over and it was over the top in my opinion.
    Throw in a season ending injury and it makes Iole a much worse call.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. How can you not be mentally ready when this team is not too many weeks removed from their dismal performances against PSU and Central Fla? That fact alone should keep them mentally focused on the job at hand each and every week.

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  9. Pitt has not beat Miami twice in a row since 1960 and 1961. In all the years both teams have been in the Big East and now the ACC together, Pitt has not managed to win two games in a row.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Well the team is certainly due for a let down after all those must win games in a row. We just have to hope that the mental toughness that has been building since the Syracuse game continues to grow stronger.
    That the loss of Morrisey is just another obstacle to be overcome. The team has to be pretty confident after the last two weeks, blowing out teams with the run and now the passing game.

    With all these seniors the team should take nothing for granted and look at Miami as another opportunity to solidify their success.

    As I always say the team that makes the most big plays will win. Pitt has been making them, a lot of different guys making them, on both sides of the ball. Hopefully that continues.

    The guys should be very happy to be playing in Sunny Miami. I am hoping for a solid Pitt crowd again. There are a lot of Pitt and Pittsburgh people living in Florida, hopefully we can hear them on TV like last week.

    The guys should be a little jacked up that they are 5 point dogs, after the run they have been on. They are playing with house money. This would be another big game for the program.

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  11. I find no fault with the play to Millan. Guys can get hurt on any play, in practice or walking down the street.
    Using the play just gives the opposition another thing to look out for. I am sure Watson will have a few new wrinkles for this week.

    Liked by 2 people

  12. There is a Pat signal up after the Alliquippa WR WR just de-committed from Ball State. The young man had a great senior season. Not saying it’s him but things that make you go hmm

    BTW, PITT is back in the top forty in recruiting after a couple players were elevated to 3 stars. No more 2 stars in this class yet no 4 stars yet either. But I really have no care about all that. Stars means jack to me. Winning the ACC coastal means everything. ike

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  13. Ike. Thanks for the videos on Davis Beville…if he becomes a star he can be known as Coupe BeVille. One of my favorite all time cars.
    I assume Jimmy called the OL blocking assignments? Or not so much?
    Nice job JoeL. Attention to detail.

    Liked by 2 people

  14. Who knows on the pat signal? But what we do know is that Pitt has a limited number of scholarships to hand out as of now from 6 to 8 I believe. We also know since Pitt has played much better ball the second half of the season it’s much more likely that those already offered must be aware that Pitt may fill those scholarships available a lot sooner than the national signing days. Thus “he who hesitates often loses” should be the motto going forward for those still on the fence.

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  15. Thanks Fran. Wouldn’t be surprised and in fact, I will be surprised if Beville is not moved up to a four star. He’s very highly touted throughout the coaching world on the high school and college level.

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  16. Two players who have had a major impact on this season are both transfers — Mack and Millin. We may not be Coastal champs without them.

    And I’m still amazed that Mack was permitted to play – made not sense to me…

    Anyway, my point is that you have to credit Coach Duzz for being willing to search high and low for players who can improve the team.

    And for all we know, QB George transferring in and getting up to speed may have been what allowed Coach Watson to turn KP loose a bit more in the second half of the season.

    I still think that Pitt is a tough place to recruit to in the ACC— especially when the number of good local recruits have fallen and we’re competing with schools to the south of us for southern recruits.

    Hopefully the Coastal Championship opens up some eyes, some minds, and some doors.

    Go Pitt.

    Liked by 5 people

    1. some transfers are good
      but it shows the program has a difficult time developing players or has recruiting misses
      not all transfers work out…see previous 5 star QB and TE
      Pitt was very fortunate in those two…Mack and Millin
      But lets not make a habit out of it 🙂

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  17. MM Pitt is in a P5 conference and recruiting to P5 schools should not be a big problem. That’s not saying we can compete with ND, OSU, PSU and the like for the high stars. But Pitt’s connection to the Steelers and Narduzzi’s aggressive style of take no prisoners and us against the world will resonate among many recruits IMO. The key is going to always be the ability to find the 3 stars that can be coached up to 4 and 5 star performers. Right now I’d saw Borberly has done so with our OL this year.

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  18. Narduzzi also likes to have a few scholarships in the pocket for walk ons. This makes sense in order to recruit and add some last minute walk ons that can be rewarded later if they pan out. Also, 5th year transfers need to graduate before they are eligible to play their 5th year somewhere else, so a program such as Pitt that likes these transfers needs to keep a few scholarships open until graduation is assured.

    Liked by 1 person

  19. jrn and VOR, you two imo are hitting on today’s college football strategies for teams in the the middle of the pact like PITT. Narduzzi has to find the 2 and 3 star players with the most upside and potential…. and I can’t remember the last time I watched a game on tv when I don’t hear transfer, walk-on or a player not heavily recruited who is the star of the team. PITT is the best case in point I can think of. Brilliant!

    Like

  20. Since all P5 schools only have 95 scholarships to hand out it’s essential to find those Aston’s and Morrisey’s to add to your program. Having success with walk ons should create the willingness for others to try the same route. I’d have Narduzzi do a photo with all our walk ons and advertise their successes at Pitt to further the story.

    Liked by 1 person

  21. JoeL, great research on the stats article, what strikes me is how stats sometimes tell a true story and others are misleading. For example, I think Pitt’s passing D is a completely different animal starting after the Duke game which negatively reflects on their ranking, but based on recent performances, I am more confident in the secondary than I have ever been since Nardy arrived.

    Morrissey is undoubtedly a huge blow to Pitt’s chances, which is hard to type considering that we are talking about a walk-on center, but he seems to be way more important to this team than any other O-lineman, and that’s a tribute to his character, perseverance, and talent. God speed in his recovery.

    I think the key to this game will be who wins the turnover battle. Sorry if that is obvious. I’m not giving up on the run game by any means, but Miami will try to duplicate WF’s run D, and that puts KP and his receivers on the hot seat.

    However, if Pitt is able to start strong and get a 2 TD lead on the “hurry-canes” I can see that bunch throwing in the towel and abandoning their game plan.. . . i.e., a repeat of last year. Frankly, this is the most important game of the 3 remaining, as it might be the best chance for us to get our 8th win, which I think is crucial and a minimum requirement to a successful season.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Good points on all counts taxing. I thought about pulling the defensive stats for each game since the OOC games but didn’t have time. I do believe that the pass defense stats will be more relevant – and palatable!

      At the same time as we were surging, Miami was slumping for multiple games, finally beating the Hokies last week. Question for me is whether Miami’s slump continues and the VT game was an aberration or if they rediscovered their mojo. Gonna have to watch to find out I suppose.

      Like

  22. ike, are you saying that JRN and I are brilliant, or the strategy is brilliant? 🙂 Let’s hope that Pitt can break out of this 2-3 star mold and pick up a few 4 stars after playing in the conference title game!

    Like

      1. Completely agree Erie Express, the Miami game means the difference between being ranked and not being ranked. It also means a lot for the bowl game. Big difference between a 8-5 team and a 7-6 team in the eyes of the bowl committees. If we beat Miami and then lose to Clemson we still stay ranked.

        Like

  23. are we saying we think Pitt can be successful with a bunch of 2-3 stars that are coached up, a few walk-ons, and a healthy dose of transfers each year?

    Thats not the strategy of good programs

    Liked by 1 person

  24. And how many times do you think we will hear this week that Morrissey was a walk on who started xx games and became a top center for them before getting injured?

    Like

  25. We’re doing well with walk-ons, that’s for sure – Aston and Idowu come quickly to mind. And I don’t expect every transfer to be a big contributor (just as I don’t expect every recruit to be a big contributor) but we have had some nice success this season – and we can always look back to Peterman and even Savage…

    Certainly 4-star recruits would be preferable – but tough to get them to Pitt, IMHO. To me, the main reason is that we lack what the perennial top 15-20 teams have to offer in a home stadium full of rabid fans — giving visiting recruits the “wow” factor so many of them are looking for… Maybe soon we’ll at least be able to bring recruits in for a frenzied Pitt basketball-game crowd at the “Pete”… 🙂

    Right now, I think the recruiting classes are solid – but don’t have the ‘wow” factor. We are doing well against teams comparable to us, but we struggle against the more upper level teams. The question for the future of Pitt football is can Coach Duzz BECOME a Coach who can bring in a handful of the more elite recruits in EACH class. If he does reach that point, then Pitt is going to be tough to beat, IMHO…

    Go Pitt.

    Like

  26. Tex, I think that ike might be saying that the approach of 2-3 stars plus walk ons and transfers is the current method, but shouldn’t necessarily be the future approach if Pitt starts winning again.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. that makes more sense
      I also dont think that 4 stars are tough to get at Pitt
      BC and Va Tech are getting several each year
      Pitt has everything to offer a elite recruit
      Narduzzi just cant close…I guess thats the elephant in the room

      Like

      1. TX – BC’s recruiting for several yrs has bee worse than Pitt’s.

        Here are the average stars each BC class has had going back to 2013:

        2013 2.53
        2014 2.68
        2015 2.76
        2016 2.47
        2017 2.57
        2018 2.7
        2019 2.88

        Avg during 2013-18 is 2.61
        And they don’t land bunches of 4 stars – 5 over the last 6 years, of which 3 were in 2014. One per year in 2017 and 2018.

        Like

        1. this year they have three 4 stars if I’m not mistaken
          Pitt has zero
          If they are able to get elites, why cannot Pitt? BC has far more challenges.
          Thats my point
          You need elites to win championships
          that is indisputable

          Like

          1. so BC has 1…thats 1 more than Pitt at this point
            Va 4
            Va Tech 3
            Miami 8

            Unless you think Pitts coaches are somehow great at developing 2 and 3 star talent, Pitt is behind the 8 ball

            when the Va coach says that only 20% of his team is ACC caliber, and then he goes out and gets 4 stars, that is saying something.

            you need impact players on both sides of the ball. those playmakers win games for you.

            if Pitt doesnt improve recruiting, look forward to mediocrity

            i think winning in Miami on national TV, winning the ACC and winning a bowl game should help Pitt land a few 4 stars unless Narduzzi is utterly incompetent

            Like

  27. I did some research and posted on the subject of stars earlier in the year and offer it up for you to visit or revisit. There are a couple tables of data in there that one can scroll down to and thereby avoid the lengthy commentary.

    https://pittpov.com/2018/01/19/is-everything-ok-on-the-football-front/

    The point I was trying to make was that we could have a winning program with the current star level on our roster. I guess we could debate whether this year’s OOC helped us or hurt us (perhaps a bit of both), but two easier games out of the three and we could be at 9 wins with one to play.

    Like

  28. Miami’s front 7 are very talented. I’m concerned that we won’t be able to effectively move the ball against them. I think our D will match up favorably with their offense; I just don’t know if we can score enough points to win. It should be a very good game, very physical. Although the Canes are down a bit this year, you’d better believe they remember last year’s game that started their downward spiral.

    Like

  29. Thanks VOR and Tx, that is what i’m saying and btw, it was a successful strategy this year. It won PITT the coastal championship. How is that not being successful?

    Like

    1. because you cant rely on it every year
      if you look at the elite programs, they recruit elite talent and dont get in the way
      talent wins in the end
      coaching often gets in the way
      good coaching staffs know how to develop, use and motivate players
      its less x’s and o’s and more jimmy and joes
      but the right scheme and do wonders dont get me wrong…like mayo on a BLT

      Like

  30. What to do with the Center position ?
    1) Do you move over Connor Dintino from his Guard spot ? (thereby having 2 guys in new positions on the O-line, possibly weakening 2 positions)

    or do you:
    2) Put the backup Center Owen Drexel in there even though he is a redshirt Freshman ? Kid had offers from several Ivy schools, like Yale & Columbia and the Air Force Academy. So he’s got the smarts to call out
    the blocking patterns, etc. Does he have the talent to deal with Thug U’s kids in his first game.

    I’m thinking Hargrove goes in at Guard and Dintino slides over to Center.

    Like

    1. Pittsburgh Sports Now already reporting it is Dintino and Hargrave and they have video.
      Makes the most sense. You get a senior with some experience at center and your sixth best linemen who has already played some.

      No doubt it could be trouble if Dintino falters but should be fine if he gets the job done.

      It would be a real problem if they lose another guy early in the game, but that’s football.

      We have been beating teams with multiple injuries.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Next man up – Hargrove is the sixth lineman and he has played many snaps, including Q’s 97 yard record breaking run vs VT.

      We can’t bring Jimmy back – injuries are part of the game.

      Like

  31. Health News for the PoV Gang:

    (WTNH) – Just days before Thanksgiving, the CDC is advising that U.S. consumers stay away from romaine lettuce following an E.coli outbreak.

    On Tuesday, the CDC said any romaine lettuce should not be eaten, and retailers and restaurants should not sell or serve any.

    ** Throwing out mine now **

    Like

  32. It was weird to me, seeing where Morrissey was on the field when he got hurt. Don’t think I’ve ever seen a Center way over on the sideline like that before. If I did, I can’t remember. Just a strange place for a Center
    to be, way over there.

    Like

  33. You know what Emel, I to wanted to comment about Morrissey blocking in his own end-zone but thought i would sound crazy. Not that I don’t otherwise but he’s got to get out of the way there, no?

    Like

  34. New verbal today: Nate Temple, defensive end from South Carolina. Six-foot-4 and 230 lbs. His film looks really good for a 2 star recruit. Narduzzi flipped him from MTSU.

    Welcome, Nate!

    Like

    1. who is mtsu?
      again i scratch my head and wonder why Pitt is going head to head for a recruit with zero P-5 offers
      its not like Narduzzi has a high % of success with turning 2 stars into 4 stars

      Like

  35. Switching sports……the Pitt bball game vs undefeated & pre-season pick to win the A-10, St.Louis U…is a nooner tomorrow in NYC. (Barclay’s Center)

    ESPN has the Billikens at 63% in game forecaster. FIRST REALLY BIG TEST for our newcomer laden
    team.

    Liked by 4 people

  36. The young man’s tape looks good as you would expect it would…… But he does fly at the snap of the ball. He is also has a good read and reaction reflection. I’m to the point where I trust the coaches.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Ike – I think what you are reading are that some passionate fans want to beat Miami to avoid the Toilet Bowl and playing Eastern Michigan (see USA Today), along with a host of other monumental reasons.

      The ffocus for this Pitt team has to be on beating Miami – if you listen to Narduzzi’s press conference, that seems to be all he can see right now.

      Pitt will fall hard in the bowl selection if they don’t take care of business in South Florida. Plus, that area is a hotbed for Pitt recruiting right now and a win helps, a loss hurts in many ways.

      Go Pitt!

      Like

      1. If Pitt loses on Saturday, going to a toilet bowl wouldn’t be the worst thing to happen. Assuming the record is 7-6, you don’t want to finish 7-7 by any means, so an easy opponent to finish 8-6 is a whole lot better.

        Like

      2. I agree with everything you said there EE, my point was more about the questioning of coach Narduzzi’s recruiting. Beating Miami has to be the number 1 priority on everyone’s minds. The hole was deep but they are almost there.

        Liked by 1 person

  37. here is an excerpt of the most recent game from Pitt’s new commit:

    The Knights offense only picked up two first downs in a first half in which they had less than 40 yards of offense. The run game was non-existent thanks in part to Abbeville’s Shrine Bowl defensive end and Pittsburgh commit Nate Temple. The 6-foot-4, 230-pounder wreaked havoc in the NC backfield and was a good run stopper, too, as NC, essentially, was forced to give up trying to run the ball early in the game.

    http://www.chronicle-independent.com/section/23/article/51726/

    Liked by 4 people

  38. College Football Playoff Rankings

    Washington (8-3)
    Utah (8-3)
    Mississippi State (7-4)
    Northwestern (7-4)
    Syracuse (8-3)
    Utah State (10-1)
    Texas A&M (7-4)
    Boise State (9-2)
    Pitt (7-4)
    Iowa State (6-4)

    Like

      1. Pitt still has a perception problem. Beat Miami and we will jump Syracuse. Miami is more of a key to this season than most of you think it is. Again we have never beaten Miami twice in a row since 1960 1961. If this team is deserving of the rankings, they have to beat Miami!

        Liked by 1 person

  39. Brandon George and Matt Goncalves were both 2 stars and jumped to 3 stars and Nick Malone was a no star and jumped up to 3 star. Trust the process!

    BTW, Brandon George is a real steal and this Temple young man be the same deal.

    Like

  40. Here’s what I don’t understand — this verbal is the 5th DE in this class. And we brought in 4 DEs in last year’s class.

    I understand that for any defense to be effective, you have to have dominant DEs. Wanny showed how if you bring in outstanding DEs and RBs, and surround them with “solid” players, you will be pretty good.

    But 9 DE recruits in 2 years???

    Okay, Mimes moved to TE, and maybe one or two grow into DTs, but just seems strange to me…

    Go Pitt.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Actually, after watching his highlight video, I think this Temple kid moves more like a TE than a “quick twitch” DE…

        But what do I know……not much. 😊

        Go Pitt.

        Liked by 1 person

  41. Maybe this latest recruit Temple is the real deal, but Major is right. Take a low rated DE and add him to an already crowded DE field, and this use of a remaining scholarship seems somewhat questionable.

    Like

    1. Let’s see you have concluded TX is right and Narduzzi and his coaches are wrong. You also must have concluded Narduzzi can’t count and he doesn’t know how many DE’s he’s recruited. The fact is the Narduzzi Bates defense absolutely needs pressure on the QB to be really successful. And whatever it takes recruiting wise to get those elite pressure DE’s is crucial. To me he looks to be a carbon copy of our upcoming DE star Jones II.

      Like

  42. I wouldn’t have minded a JuCo D-end. Next year it is Weaver, Jones and three redshirt freshmen. I hope Pine goes back to linebacker but he might stay at end. Either way, I still like the Temple commit.

    Like

  43. Nate Temple is from Abbeville, SC. Abbeville is a class 2-A school. Enrollment around 500 students, The good news is that they have won 3 of the last 5 state titles for their class. In playoffs again this year having won there first two games with 3 to go. Obviously well coached & with him making the Shrine Bowl (very similar to the Big 33 team from Pa. – SC plays NC @ Wofford College) a very good pickup. Beeville is also on the shrine bowl roster.

    Liked by 4 people

  44. I don’t care if and where we are momentarily “ ranked… doesn’t me Jack Squat TIL after the season end… this week ‘‘tis the Hurricane season…. hold off on rankings debate until after we see how that game shakes out… you “ tankers” need a good case of TUNNELVISION…. get FOCUSED and quit reading that rankings crap when all that mastyersis Miami…. stop it before I sic George on you

    Like

  45. From Nate Temple’s Twitter feed, it looks like he went from 190 lbs in his junior year to 230 lbs this season. I’m wondering if he’s a bit of a late bloomer. Regardless, I’m optimistic on Charlie Partridge’s eye for defensive linemen from the southeast–hopefully Temple’s a find for him.

    Liked by 2 people

  46. Pitt’s 1993 season was seriously lame, but they saved the best for first (a prime time win over Southern Miss) and last (Curtis Martin’s 80-yard TD run to clinch a season-ending win over Temple):

    Liked by 1 person

  47. Saw this posted on the Lair — and frankly, the numbers surprised me. This is for you, ike!

    Records in ACC play over last 4 years:

    Clemson 30-2
    Pitt 20-11
    Miami 20-11
    VT 18-13
    FSU 17-15
    NCSU 16-15
    L’vil 16-16
    UNC 15-16
    GT 14-18
    Cuse 11-20
    UVa 11-20
    Duke 11-20
    Wake 10-21
    BC 10-21

    Go ike! GO PITT!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I think the lack of support for Pitt at best, hostility at worst, in the local ‘Burgh media has much to do with the National perception of the Panthers. How come this little tidbit is not getting more public play among the talking heads is shameful in a lot of ways…typical of the (lack of) spin anything good gets around here.

      One thing Heather, EJ and Company need to take a long look at in the off season is the Lack of a weekly Pitt Football Coaches show. This is a lack that can be addressed by the Administration – TV coaches shows are GREAT recruiting tools.

      H2P

      Liked by 1 person

  48. Ya know, I’m sitting here looking forward to our game with theU. I’m savoring our first title. I’m really looking forward to Turkey, and family, and giving thanks for my blessings. But I’m seriously bummed that on Friday I’ll watch some teams I don’t really care about play instead of watchingPitt-PSU. How I sincerely dislike JoePa. What a ……. well fill in the blank. Robbed a lot of people some real memories. H2P

    Like

  49. Agree JoeKnew… drove home to Penna every Thanksgiving..my favorite holiday always started with a chilly morning rabbit and grouse hunt with my Dad in hills of Indiana Co then home we went to a warm house for turkey,stuffin, cranberry sauce … PITT vs Penn State was the desert…..the game and my Dad are only memories these days… but I can think back and they become alive in my heart… I am thankful for having a great Dad and those great gridiron battles between 2 college FB giants and thankful for all of you contributors to the POV… Happy Thanksgiving to all.

    Liked by 6 people

  50. Hurricane Bernie headed straight for the southwestern Pa area at about 70-75 mph. Safe travels you two.

    imo, this season has already been a great success. Losing those two games big and the UNC game sticks back there but look at what this team did to climb back in it all and win the coastal. That was their first goal going into the season. You can’t take that away either.

    Now, finishing at 7-7 sure would stink and appear to diminish the season so that is not an option for me so root on I will.

    Wish someone with more patience than myself could figure out how many 2 and 3 star players or lower contributed to this PITT ACC Coastal crown. Oh never mind, practically everyone of them………. 😉

    Let’s enjoy Thanksgiving and the rest of this season… ike

    Liked by 2 people

  51. Thought this may be of interest…maybe a certain tree-letter acronym is looking for a new home…SOT???

    “Lipscomb stuns No. 18 TCU 73-64 for 1st win over Top 25 team”

    ;>)

    Like

  52. First big test for for Pitt to see if we can play w the big boys. St Louis favored by 5.5 is a terrific team and expected to win their conference.

    Like

  53. Listening to the radio on 93.7 FM and Bobblehead Billy and Curtis are enjoying the game. However, sounds like the 2nd half is staring slowly. If Bilikens are supposed to be good, Pitt is clearly hanging in with them. Pitt losing the battle of the boards, costing them big time.

    Like

  54. Not to push the conversation back to football since we are a basketball school for the next hour, but I thought there were rumblings that one or two of our verballed DL class were taking visits to other universities. This move may be as a result of the rumblings. Either way, I am good with the physical specimen. Obviously too early to tell anything on the DL group or how they will progress as athlete students. Just wishing them health, a lower 40 time, increased strength, mobility, motor, and a high football iq in the coming years. Is that too much to ask?

    Like

  55. Don’t know about the Great Dick Groat, but Curtis Aiken and Bobblehead Billy were the announcers. Afraid that Groat was beginning to show his age last few years, so maybe he did retire, or maybe he is limiting himself to home games. Does anyone know?

    In any event, I’m convinced, Capel is the real deal. He has this team playing hard, but smart. No stupid turnovers, playing team basketball and not afraid to go to the hoop, shoot when open, or make a difficult pass. Jamie, who I felt was a great coach for Pitt for so long, seemed to have recent teams that played afraid most of the time. Not this guy, even freshmen making big plays and being aggressive.

    Wow a great win for a well thought of Billiken team.

    Liked by 1 person

  56. Got an email invitation to the Championship game Pitt pre-game. Surprisingly, it is only $25pp but might not include the buffet. Will there be a POV tailgate? Who wants to be with a bunch of cheerleaders anyway?

    Like

  57. Interesting, Dr. Watson…

    “Rumors abound regarding Jeff Thomas’s status with the Miami Hurricanes”

    “Miami Hurricanes WR Jeff Thomas is one of the most electric playmakers in College Football. His combination of speed, quickness, and playmaking ability is elite across the board.

    Even with that being the case, and Thomas’s starting status on the Miami Hurricanes team secured, there are plenty of rumors that the East St. Louis, IL native is unhappy with things in Coral Gables. To that end, there are rumors swirling that Thomas, Miami’s leading receiver with 563 yards, has left the Canes program.”

    https://www.stateoftheu.com/2018/11/21/18106678/reports-rumors-abound-regarding-jeff-thomass-status-with-the-miami-hurricanes

    Like

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