Watson and the Tight End

Watson and the Tight End

The University of Pittsburgh fanbase loves a good Tight End.  Maybe it’s because Mike Ditka helped to define the position in the late 50’s when he played at Pitt (’58-’60) and in the 60’s when he played for Bears, Eagles and Cowboys.   Maybe it’s because we were spoiled by Paul Chryst’s fine recruiting of the position and Matt Canada’s outstanding usage of it.  Maybe it’s because we just love power football.

Either way, Offensive Coordinator Shawn Watson’s usage of the Tight End position has been a sore topic for Pitt fans since Watson took the controls in 2017.  The fanbase’s disgust seemingly manifested itself over the off-season when four-star Tight End Charles Reeves transferred, and then again mid-season in 2018 when starting Tight End Tyler Sear had a supposed disagreement with head coach Pat Narduzzi, which ended with Sear leaving the team for “personal reasons”.  There was also the Chris Clark debacle, where the seemingly talented but also seemingly-troubled four-star UCLA transfer stepped away from the program for personal reasons.

When you combine Sear, Reeves’ and Clark’s departures with the fact that Watson & Narduzzi had two tight ends de-commit from the 2018 recruiting class – Matt Alaimo and Jay Symonds, and one from 2019 – Travis Koontz, you can see why the fan base is concerned.

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A Recruiting Update

A Recruiting Update

Little bit of a dead period with three weeks until the Bowl Game, and it looks like the coaches have hit the road to see if they can round out Pitt’s recruiting class.

As of writing this, the 2019 class is ranked a respectable 32nd on Rivals.com (which I consider to the be the authority on such matters).  It comprises 20 commits and averages exactly three stars (cue loud yelling and catcalls from half of the Pitt fanbase…right about now.)

There is one four star recruit, the recently added Florida RB Daniel Carter.

Editor’s note: Pitt QB Davis Beville was upgraded to four stars after I wrote this.  H2P!

And there is one two star recruit, the recently added South Carolina DE  Nate Temple.

The rest of the recruits have three stars, and will be looked at to fill the roster spots vacated by 19 departing seniors, and probably also a couple of transfers out of the program.

So let’s start there. We are losing the following seniors:

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MMQB: Pitt Loses ACC Championship, Secures Four Star, and Finds Themselves in the Sun Bowl

MMQB:  Pitt Loses ACC Championship, Secures Four Star, and Finds Themselves in the Sun Bowl

This won’t be a long one folks, because I may have found msyelf ahem a little bit overserved after a double-shot of Woodford appeared in front of me at a certain Charlotte rooftop bar late Saturday night.  Names will not be named, but responsible parties know who they are.   Suffice to say I’m not exactly at full strength at time of writing.

With that being said, the ACC championship is in the books.  While we were all hoping for more, I don’t think anyone is surprised.  If we had played a perfect game we might have kept it close, but we were clearly outclassed in all phases.

Some goods:

  1.  We ran for more yards that anyone else that played Clemson
  2. The punting game seemed solid
  3. We *for the most part* played pretty good defense.  We held Clemson to one of their lowest yardage totals all season, and forced them to punt a lot, compared to their season average.
  4. Darrin Hall ran well at 6.1 YPC.  He was making people miss and playing fast.
  5. We landed a four star recruit, Daniel Carter, from Florida and beat out a host of SEC schools for his services.
  6. We received a bid to play in the Sun Bowl – a top tier ACC bowl

Some bads:

  1.  We missed some key tackles and they made us pay
  2.  Darrin Hall ran well at 6.1 YPC, and yet they only gave him the ball 14 times.
  3.  On that note, the game planning and play calling was still subpar.  A couple of people who were neither Pitt nor Clemson fans came up to me and told me flat out that our OC has to go.  I don’t share that sentiment outright, but I do think that if we are having the same problems by midseason next year, then 2019 should be Watson’s last season with Pitt.
  4. Complete and utter misuse of the Jet Sweep (except for the first one by Maurice Ffrench which went for 16 yards.  It was was Ffrenchy’s only carry of the game.  See comment #3 about playcalling / gameplanning.)
  5. We received a bid to play in the Sun Bowl – it’s just tough to get to El Paso

Some uglies:

  1. Eight yards passing.
  2. 75 yard TD on opening play
  3.  Inability to defend QB run option in 2nd half

There of course is a lot more to expand upon here so have it it Pitt Fans.