Not calling this game a tune-up because you know what happened last time I did that (17 point underdog Niagara upset us and beat us by 1).  Nonetheless, we should be able to beat the UMES Hawks.  Lets hope the fellas learned their lesson vs. Niagara.

#LetsGoPitt!

125 thoughts on “Pitt Basketball: Maryland Eastern Shore Game Thread

  1. If I were Coach Capel, I would not let Pitt fast break all night. I would force Pitt to slow down and run their half court sets. Learn to move without the ball, set solid picks vs man defense and get confidence back hitting threes. H2P. Have a good game.

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    1. You hit the nail on the head. Exactly what this game was about – first time all season that Pitt actually played to the shot clock. Discipline was imposed.

      H2P

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  2. Pitt blows em out and wins this game by at least one point.

    I don’t think the flying hawks have any bigs either so we should be okay playing fundamental basketball. They have played a tougher schedule than us. Agree with Dan that we need to practice running our sets, but I would not hesitate to take fast breaks when they present themselves….because that is how we will be playing.

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  3. on many occasions vs WVU when Pitt was able to get the ball upcourt, there was already half the shot clock used up when Pitt got into its offense. It’s true that Capel comes from a program that is always offensively on the attack …. but of course, it has the talent to do so. The fact is that an all-freshman backcourt is going to take its lumps against good pressing teams.

    My bigger fear is that Pitt is dominated under the boards by the ACC teams similar to what Konate did on Saturday

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  4. off topic but the game isn’t until Saturday. Meanwhile, I can’t help but notice two Pitt guys on the following list:

    Field Yates@FieldYates
    5 hours ago
    Players with more than 50 catches and 1 or 0 drops (catches/targets/drops):
    * Antonio Brown: 86/144/1
    * Stefon Diggs: 88/125/1
    * Robert Woods: 71/111/1
    * Tyler Boyd: 72/103/1
    * Brandin Cooks: 66/97/1
    * Larry Fitzgerald: 52/86/1
    * Taylor Gabriel: 57/83/0
    * Mohamed Sanu: 51/70/0

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  5. A few thoughts:

    Yeah, this article and the timing threw me for a loop.

    Tyler Boyd will never make it in the NFL or so I was told

    Avonte Maddox will never make an NFL team let alone start games or so I was told

    Yes Yes and Yes, I’ve been wrong way too many times to count and that was before I was ten years old. Then I was really wrong a lot!

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  6. Interview with Aliquippa’s MJ Devonshire on PGH Sports Now. Well-spoken young man. Seems close with his Mom and Dad, hoping that leads him to stay close to home and play at Pitt…

    Said he’s making 2 official visits and one would be to Pitt and the other one he wasn’t certain about. Could be VT, Ohio State, Syracuse or Indiana, I thought he said…

    But he’s not deciding on a school until January…

    Go Pitt.

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    1. note about Devonshire ,,,, while Kyi Wright wore Pitt gloves during state final, Devonshire wore a WVU hand warner. He has long thought to be a future Hoopie so I wouldn’t get my hopes up

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  7. Much to my surprise this ones on TV…need to tape it as we need to get our Christmas tree today. The little kid in me still loves to put the tree up…
    I think we win these next 3 and after that January is EXTREMELY difficult.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. No harm done Mike, PITT needs to get this win

    Fran, I’ll bet the River Forest golf course has a few nice blue spruce trees on the grounds?

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  9. Nice first half but Pitt is way better than MES. Looks like they are concentrating more this game and playing for Capel. Lesson learned from the last bad loss.

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  10. Former Pitt WR Latef Grim’s son, Derrion plays for San Jose St. He matriculated to Nebraska in 2016-17. He looked good in the few plays I watched today.

    Do we not recruit these guys or what. Also, why are we waiting to offer 2020 Tight End from Woody High. Why do we let these kids get enamored with another program instead of offering and developing real strong relationships with these kids. The TE is like 6’6″ 235 as of now as a junior. Just looked up the PA top 15 prospects for 2020 and there are very few from WPa. We should be on those dudes now!

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    1. Pitt has missed out on many legacy recruits over the years. The Heyward’s come to mind, and yes Pitt did pursue them. There is little interest in our brand since the early 80’s because the administration fails to market it well.

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  11. Can’t learn much about your team against this kind of opponent. However, the game was noteworthy for the fact that we’ve now won as many games as we win all of last season. I remain cautious about how we will perform in the ACC, and don’t expect more than 4 or 5 wins. But the foundation is laid for future success. The nucleus of freshmen starters is a nice building block.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. 5 ACC wins will be miraculous. 4 above average and reachable…just. More like 2 or 3 realistaclly…but one can hope! I predict 4 and a tourney win.

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  12. — Final score was Pitt 37 WVU 3

    — here are incoming 4-star RB Dan Carter highlights
    https://www.hudl.com/video/3/5546219/5b8f3ac26899950c9c19c6c0

    — yes, he looks real good, but so did AJ Davis two years ago and Mychale Salahuddin last year. I’m not implying that any of these three are not good, Fact is that when you have 2 seniors who are > 1000 yards, nothing can be inferred about any of these guys. I would not be surprised if any of the three take over (or 2 of them) ,,,,, heck, you can add Todd Sibley to the mix also. Of course, they will benefit by a good OL as any RB would.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Not worried about running back, but behind our new O-line who knows how they will do.
      Will be interesting to see if one of them steps up to be “The Guy”

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  13. Pulled this from a Trib article on Pitt FB winning the 2018 Academic Acheivement Award –

    “Our players understand from the time they are recruited as high school prospects that our program’s highest priority is their academic achievement and earning a degree from the University of Pittsburgh,” Narduzzi said in a statement.

    That is not the case at Alabama, Oklahoma, tOSU, Texas, Texas A&M, LSU, psuX and Georgia.

    While those schools won’t publicly admit that winning is their program’s highest priority, isn’t it obvious?

    Winning the Coastal was good – I guess the next step is to win the bowl game against the brainiacs of Stanford. I challenge you to play a drinking game during that bowl game vs the Cardinal, one shot for every time Pitt is mentioned as having such high standards in academics. My bet is you’ll be stone sober that afternoon and ready for your New Year’s Eve party – you could even be the designated driver to start the night.

    There is a 50-50 chance Pitt goes 1-3 in OOC games next year with only one P5 school in the mix of the four games. Now Duzz better beat Delaware, but Ohio and UCF will be tough games, based on what I’ve seen from the coaching staff. The psuX game is in creepy valley and could be a toss up.

    Three of the four are at home and are non-P5 teams – that is what I believe I’m reading on the POV as the right approach to scheduling. So, maybe Duzz and Heather are locking arms and attempting to win some games (ikr). The cross-over game is BC at home (I mean Heinz Field), which is a toss up game, IMO.

    There really will be no returning star for 2019 on this FB team. Ffrench is the closest player to being that star, but for some reason, OC Watson and KP don’t include him much – Mo had only 57 touches this season for just over 1,000 all purpose yards. That includes 18 KO returns with two TD’s. He had 8 other TD’s with a mix of receptions and runs. That equals 3 offensive touches for French per game. COME ON MAN! His 10 TD’s averaged over 49 yards each. Q.Henderson had 132 touches in his All-American season when he also had 10 TD’s.

    Per Chris Peak – if you gave Ffrench 132 touches based on his 57 touches, the calculations would equal 23 TD’s and over 2,700 all purpose yards. No wonder Pitt is offensively challenged. That right there is offensive to me…

    Liked by 5 people

    1. Watson’s simply never got the ball into the hands of are more dynamic players hands very often. Just look at how poorly Carter was used the last couple of games. Any idiot should have able to figure out some plays besides the jet sweep to take advantage of the kids speed and agility. To say that both Ffrench and Carter(another wasted freshman red shirt) were underutilized this year would be a gross understatement. I guess I also have a problem as to why Narduzzi(the buck stops there) was so passive in allowing our very predictable one dimensional offense game to continue in and game out.

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    2. I agree with much of this. M Ffrench certainly warrants more touches. However, for the 2nd half of the season, it was hard to argue with the approach of handing off to the two seniors.

      Next year you have Ffrench and Carter for the jet sweeps and Ffrench and Mack as primary receivers so I expect Maurice to get plenty of ttouches.

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    3. thats why these schools should just become the minor league system for the pros

      i’m sure there would be at least 10 schools willing to do it as long as the NFL subsidized things to an extent…and that includes paying the players. and them not having to attend classes

      I still would watch college over any semi-pro league any day

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    4. EE — seemed to me that Watson thought he had a big play guy in Shocky. I thought they tried to get Shocky involved early in the season, but it soon became apparent that Shocky was pretty raw.

      I’m hoping that with his experience and a year of maturity, Shocky does give us a weapon.

      Mack, Ffrench, Tipton, and Shocky could be a decent set of wideouts next season. And hopefully one of the other young guys finds himself.

      And, of course, Aaron Mathews becomes a big-play TE… I’ve noticed that in the NFL, many of the so called TEs are more like big WRs who get matched up with smaller DBs — let’s try that…

      Go Pitt.

      Like

    1. I’m cleaning my 7 and 9 irons before putting them on the shelf until the Spring Game. I hope I get a chance to use the other clubs before then. Sunny and a high of 39 degrees on Tuesday – anyone up for 18? I’m blocking out the afternoon.

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  14. Stanford with 13 All-conference players – Pitt with 12.

    Stanford with one 1st team Olineman who is a SO (not RS either) – Pitt win none, rhymes with one.

    Stanford with 5 honorable mentioned – Pitt with six.

    Stanford with their QB and WR as 2nd team selections – Pitt’s QB and WR’s were not among the 12 Panthers selected.

    Talent-wise, I believe Stanford has the edge. Coaching-wise, Stanford has the edge. Heart-wise, that’s why they play the games.

    H2P!

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Love was named to the All-conference honorable mentioned team after being injured much of the season. He should be healthy for the bowl game. Could be a chance he still sits out, ala C.McCaffrey, because of his NFL paychecks that await him.

        That should not be the case for any Pitt players – but remember D.Hall has a daughter/family to support.

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  15. We missed out on the extra weeks of practice last year. Hope we are taking advantage of them this year.
    All in all a pretty health year, only Wirginis and Morrisey with season ending injuries and KP with a gimpy knee, that I can remember. Most of the other bumps and bruises should be healing.

    The big thing is to get Dintino and Hargrave in sync with the O-line. They need to finish the year with a decent game for us to have a chance.Hopefully Stanford is not familiar with a power running game. It would be really great if someone would channel Bill Fralic.

    Liked by 2 people

  16. Pulled this from USA Today – HC Narduzzi’s news source –

    Coaches can use bowl games to pursue landmark win totals (not Pitt this year) and chase incentive bonuses. Young players can utilize the additional practice time to sharpen their skills. Programs can boost their national profile with a bowl victory against a powerhouse brand.

    Players recognize it not only as a series of exhibitions, but as a series of television shows. They need more (than) the bowl gift package and trip to a theme park to convince them to risk their professional careers.

    At this point of the season, no player is 100 percent healthy. But players are willing to dismiss their bumps and bruises in pursuit of a national title. No player at Clemson, Alabama, Oklahoma or Notre Dame would consider sitting out of the Playoff. They still have something enticing to chase.

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  17. M-ES game was a blowout – but had some interesting things happen.

    Coach Capel asserted himself and the team played (or mostly tried to) a disciplined game – running the shot clock down and working for a good look.

    X-man was passing the rock more than he has, not looking to shoot as much. He has a great passing touch and needs to find the right balance going forward. It is part of the point guard’s job to make the other players better.

    McGowen’s tried to play under control, but that book is still open.

    The whole team was practicing 3’s.

    Now if they can just get Brown to stop dribbling the ball once before he shoots every time he gets in the paint for a bunny… ACC caliber guards are going to eat him up alive for that bad habit.

    Looks like the team learned some lessons from their efforts this season. Nice to see the players (and coaching staff) grow a little more each outing.

    The Pitt players were talking to each other on the court more than I noticed in the past – nice job on the coaching staff’s part to develop/encourage communications during the game – vital to playing team ball. (But gotta get your bench to SIT DOWN during play when the clock is running- cost Pitt at least one possession where the passer targeted a bench player standing up and not the player on the court.)

    Despite a very small student turnout – the Zoo was actually into the game the entire afternoon. Loud and creative and jumping around – they were actually trying to impact the game. A+ This is the makings of the Zoo of the future. Good job.

    Personal pet peeve fan experience downer was addressed – the Pete staff didn’t come get the kids participating in the halftime youth league exhibition game out of the stands until the 8 minute TV timeout – previously they were getting them at 10 minutes while the game was in progress and disrupting the viewing enjoyment of the entire section of paying fans where they were seated. Hats off to the staff for listening to the die hard fans that actually attend most games.

    Best wishes to Peace – you made the right decision young man. Not yet ready for Div 1 hoops.

    H2P

    Liked by 2 people

  18. Interesting that the game was blacked out here, even on the Firestick app.
    Seems kind of petty. Doubt it made any difference with attendance.
    I can see doing it with some football games where it might make a difference.

    From one of the comments above. Mentioned before that they ought to move Mathews to Tight End.
    Also shared my concerns about Shockey’s hands. Hope it is just a learning curve, he has plenty of speed and agility. Mack’s hands are plenty good and it looks like Ffrench’s are getting better.

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  19. I see Ollison having a shot at the next level, not Hall really much.
    Glad Boyd is doing great….hands never a question, but thought speed would limit his upside.

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  20. I have watched all but one game this BB season. This team will improve but they need to learn the difference between “showtime” and “sloppy” basketball. A lot of our turnovers are the result of sloppy ball handling and undisciplined, out of control play. Showtime is just high speed, disciplined basketball.

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  21. Another solid performance today by Pitt wrestling defeating Bucknell (a good wrestling school) 34-4 after last night’s beatdown of WVU. It’s difficult to wrestle back-to-back dual meets in less than 24 hours. Didn’t seem to phase Pitt.

    Two of the matches went into overtime and Pitt won them both.

    For those that follow wrestling, the ACC Network provided the WVU and Bucknell meet replays on Watch ESPN.

    Pitt has as many wins now as they did at the end of last year. The schedule gets tougher from here though.

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    1. like the BB team …. progress. I can see the wrestling team getting real good faster then the BB team, but the main thing is that they are improving and doing it with a lot of youth

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  22. Pitt has several outstanding freshmen wrestlers. And WPA is one of the best areas for recruiting talent. There has been no slippage in talent unlike football.

    Pitt needs to get that Butler PG for basketball though.

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  23. Seriously, why would we be concerned with our recruiting when our coach says to a big pass catching tight end, that we emphasize the run. Good grief.

    Secondly, and more importantly, there is a 2020 TE from Woody High that is high on Pitt. He has great size, is already a three star as a junior, which means he could go to a 4 star….yet, we don’t offer him. Pitt is not smart with recruiting at all. sorry. Koontz is bad enough. The TE from Woody is a disaster. OFFER the kid now!

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    1. Didn’t stop him from playing us. No way Huggie was going to lose to Pitt at home. They must have given his a couple shots before the game.

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  24. Would love to hear from Avonte Maddox and other Pitt DB’s now in the NFL what was taught to have them actually look at the ball during coverage. Maybe they can share their secrets with their former teammates.

    HTP!

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  25. wwb, i am not sure he was criticized for doing that. Quite the opposite in my camp. I would like him to offer more and actually be the first to offer instead of what we have been watching the last month wherein we offer a 2020 kid with 20 offers from big time programs. We are too late on those kids. Rather be early and retract, then late to the dance and say we don’t like to throw the ball to TE’s.

    Avonte playing nice so far! Donald getting double teamed. Last week he was triple teamed.

    Big week for signings…..

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  26. PoD, as one who always roots for the little guys I was hoping Avonte would make it at the next level.
    Never cared for the athlete bashing on here…hope that’s over.
    Kudos to the wrestling team.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I’m with you there lastrow, as long as the bashing is not concerning nuckle headed infractions off the field that warrant a player suspension or having to show up in court. So cut some slack regarding a kids character or play in the games, show them some tolerance.

      Liked by 2 people

  27. Yes, lots of negativity about Maddox from the bashers. He was a four year starter who made lots of plays on some really bad defenses. Unfortunately he was destroyed by the Big Notre Dame receiver one year. Was trying to cover him one on one, thanks to the Narduzzi scheme. That is what everyone remembers most.

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  28. A little chest pounding, I along with a few others predicted Maddox would play in the NFL and play well. Again, if Avonte had been one inch taller, he never would have played at PITT. He’s also a great baseball player and a great all around athlete. Me? I’m glad he isn’t two inches taller as he is a great PITT man as well. ike

    Liked by 1 person

  29. To TXPanther’s point above about the caliber of wpial wrestling, if I’m not mistaken (going from memory) there are ten weight classes in college wrestling and two wpial wrestlers were national champions last year. One wrestles for Iowa and one for PSU, I believe. That’s pretty amazing really.

    Also, Pitt lost their best wrestler two years ago when Campbell transferred to Ohio State. I believe that he is still a starter on the No 2 ranked team in the country. Pitt would be better with him, but that is what happens with coaching transitions.

    IMO we’ve got a really good coach now.

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  30. Let’s not say that Maddox was a great DB at Pitt. He was solid later in his career versus early on. He played much better his senior year because the defensive weaknesses were the other corners and safeties. Easy pickings.

    He competed hard and still does compete hard. If you noticed in the game last night, the Rams went after him three times in a row at the end of the first half because of the size difference. Goff threw high each time, but it was obvious that they were attacking Maddox because he was in man to man cover and the rams had no timeouts left, so it was touchdown or nothing. It was helpful for him being okay to play off the receiver. I am glad they weren’t successful against him.

    Maddox is primarily playing in a two deep which keep him out of man to man cover. That fits his skill set better than being on an island in the narduzzi defense. In a two deep he can rely on his athleticism and his size can be hidden better. He can actually play the ball better because he gets to peak at the qb and respond athletically.

    When he was drafted, his role was to be a nickel or dime db this year but due to injury, he is playing more. I was disappointed when the defense was introduced, he did not get the nod as a starter.

    Like Lafayette Pitts. Real good athlete. Special teams ace. Not a man to man defender. The Rams tried to exploit that.

    Please don’t take this as a knock on either, but man to man is not their gig. They do it better than I do. However, they will make their money with their athleticism, compete level and scheme, not on their one on one defensive skills. I like what Avonte is doing, so don’t beat me up. Just trying to give a different look.If we all said the same thing, there would be no comments!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. As all Pitt fans know, Trubisky would have put that final pass last night right on the receiver’s fingertips — and just out of reach of Avante — for the winning score!

      Go Pitt!

      Like

  31. Maddox was rarely badly beat and was most usually right with the WR. He got caught up in the hike and heave movement used against PITT a few years ago. As far as turning his head around, he played the ball text book most of the time. A DB is not always supposed to turn their heads around. The young man has NFL skills if not ideal NFL size

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  32. I don’t think you’re the target audience as a Maddox detractor Huff the Third? Certainly his height has held him back during his early football career but the fact is, he does have above average coverage skills when considering the entire human population.

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  33. Huff.. Maddox is playing in the NFL… makes me wonder more re: Duzz’s “ D” scheme and just not having the horses to play his scheme… damn the torpedoes full steam ahead kinda mantra I guess… should be better next year if he is getting his type guys…

    Now the “ O” is a whole different set of issues… back to the future… shame we couldn’t keep the 2016 momentum going…

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    1. i’m not sure Narduzzi had the luxury of using Maddox like the Eagles are using him. Narduzzi probably had to use him as our best cover guy. In the NFL, I’m willing to bet that isn’t his role, at least not for every down.

      Sure, in a different scheme and different position, Maddox might be best suited. But Narduzzi coaches NCAA football, which is different than NFL football. Now you can criticize his recruiting for not getting key positions filled that allow you to play certain players in certain positions, but someone is going to have to give me a more precise breakdown to tell me that Maddox wasn’t good when used by Narduzzi at Pitt but is suddenly good now. He did get 3rd teams All ACC recognition while here.

      Liked by 2 people

  34. N’Dir was a key reserve and out 4-6 weeks. Stevenson hardly played.

    Guards: Johnson, McGowens, Davis
    Swing: Toney, Ellison, Davis, Wilson-Frame
    Bigs: Brown, Chukwuka

    The rest are walk-ons or Samson George (if he is even still on the team)

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  35. Either Illugamah or Stevenson were seeing any meaningful minutes and the handwriting was on the wall for them. Goodbye and good luck to them both. I sense Stevenson was in the Capel doghouse. Peace wasn’t in the future plans of Capel. Those two are not great a loss but I did like them both for the future at PITT. Who replaces them is the more important and pressing question and need. ike

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  36. There are now 5 scholarships available for Capel to give out but no announcements yet. Getting a bit worried. On the football front, word is that Texas Tech actually throws to the tight ends. Ya think?

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  37. Maybe you heard. Maybe you didn’t. But Pitt DE Recruit Brandon Mack OUT of Alabama High School All-Star Game after suffering foot injury.

    Personally see Mack as the BEST Pitt Recruit in years.

    Severity of the injury is not known.

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  38. Handwriting was on wall for Stevenson. He had no future here. He doesn’t have the athleticism that will be the staple of Capel coached teams going forward. I will say this about him as he departs: I watched his demeanor on the bench this year, and he always cheered for his teammates. He seemed to take his reduction in play the right way, and had a good attitude. Good luck to him, wherever he lands.

    Liked by 2 people

  39. I think when Stevenson picked up all that weight it was just a matter of time. He didn’t seem to fit in with an up tempo approach. Capel doesn’t seem to be concerned the two big guys are leaving. I hope that means he is confident in recruiting a good class.

    Liked by 1 person

  40. This is probably the least interested in Pitt FB and BB I have been in quite a few years. For FB it was the miami and clemson beat-downs. For BB, it was Barnes and Stallings. I know both are gone, but the administration that allowed that to occur still lingers in the background.

    I know I will bounce back at some point – maybe hitting a golf ball in 40 degree weather will assist my interest. Probably not…but a flip or a surprise 4* recruit might spark the fires again for either sport.

    Liked by 1 person

  41. Rick, I feel the same way. I’m hoping it’s just the hectic holiday season, If life would just slow down a tad I have an idea for an article that I’ll send to MM that should generate some conversation ,

    Like

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