In Honor of Reed coming back in just two weeks, and also in honor of my 41st birthday which was yesterday, I’ve decided to add a somewhat more cynical slant to my practice recaps.  Who says I can’t be a crotchety old man?

Note that I am two days behind on all of this, hope to get practice 7 up tomorrow or Tues

Practice 6

Andre Powell

  • What he said:  “Some kids mature quicker than others, but they are getting better.”
  • What he meant:  “AJ and Todd aren’t where they should be, and they aren’t very good yet”
  • What he said:  (On V’lique Carter) “He probably won’t win the Heisman this year”
  • What he meant:  “He probably won’t win the Heisman this year”
  • What he said:  “He’s fast, he’s quick, he’s twitchy.  That’s something you can’t coach.  You always look for something you can’t coach.”
  • What he meant:  “We don’t have anybody like that”
  • What he said:  “I don’t know if we’ve had a number one back since James left.”
  • What he meant:  “Qadree and Darrin are fifth round picks, at best”
  • What he said:  “They’ll all have a role, and it’ll all sort out”
  • What he meant:  “Our running game might be hurting this year”
  • What he said:  “When you graduate when you are coaching arguably the best fullback in the country, and he graduates, it’s very hard to say you are going to have the best fullback in the country”
  • What he meant:  “You probably aren’t going to see much out of the fullback this year”
  • What he said:  “George was physically strong, he was fast, and George was naturally just a mean dude”
  • What he meant:
  • Screen Shot 2019-03-31 at 3.30.29 PM
  • What he said:  “I’m not going to say that Jimmy’s not a naturally mean guy, we just have to reach in there and find it.  Bring it out.”
  • What he meant:  “Look, Jim Medure is a great guy.  He dresses up as batman to cheer up sick children for crying out loud.  We are actually planning on having Jim do an -ahem- “internship” at the Pitt advanced nuclear physics lab right after spring ball.”
  • What he said:  “I’m really seeing some guys emerge [on special teams].”
  • What he meant:  “We don’t have jack squat on special teams right now”


  • What he said:  “Last year [Kessman] kicked I think 78%, which is the highest field goal percentage we’ve had since we’ve been here.
  • What he meant:  “Hah.  I can coach kickers.”


Alex Kessman

  • What he said:  “I missed one at Heinz from 46”
  • What he meant:  “If only we had an on campus stadium I could kick in all the time”


  • What he said:  I was 50% from the righ hash, and that killed me
  • What he meant:  Hey Pat, if you had an ounce of field presence you’d have set me up for success, and we’d have beaten both Notre Dame and Stanford and finished 9-5 and with a top-25 national ranking.


V’Lique Carter

  • What he said:  “Yea I made a few runs”
  • What he meant:  “I smoked that slow-azz defense”
  • What he said:  “What do i take away?  I don’t take away anything”
  • What he meant:  “Last year didn’t mean squat”

Pat Narduzzi

  • What he said:  “Practice #6 Today.  Solid.  Still trying to work on everybody’s motor”
  • What he meant:  “If they play like they practiced today, I will definitely be on the hot seat”


  • What he said: “Dontavious Butler had a great catch for at touchdown”
  • What he meant:  “But it was against the third team defense…”


  • What he said:  “Carter is a work in progress right now, but he has a great attitude”
  • What he meant:  “He’s probably not going to win the heisman this year”


  • What he said: “When he hits the hole, he’ll get there faster than anybody”
  • What he meant:  “If only he could hit the right hole…”


  • What he said:  On twitter i saw that picture of the hulk, the hulk is not in the backfield anymore that’s a beautiful picture, darn george looks like the hulk.  I think someone photoshopped some of the veins in his neck and stuff, that was kind of weird, I think that was a photoshop”
  • What he meant:  I wish our marketing department could do that.


  • If anybody wants to play in the NFL you better figure out that special teams are another avenue that you can take with you with your other position
  • Damn right senior starters are going to play on special teams


  • What he said:  The defense stopped the run pretty good for the most part.  I think.
  • What he meant:  Except for those long runs by V’Lique.  And then I took him out because he was talking too much trash.


  • What he said:  It’s a heated battle everywhere at linebacker.
  • What he actually meant:  We actually might be really good at linebacker this year.



51 thoughts on “Reading Between the Lines: What the Interviewees Really Said

  1. wlat asked the other day about how many 4 stars there were in Western PA back in the 70s, and I’m finding it’s a hard thing to find since sites like Rivals and Scout don’t go back more than the late 90s.

    However, here a listing of WPa QBs from the 70s (just from the top of my head — there may be more):

    John Hufnagel (Montour/PSU) – All-American 1972
    Tommy Clements (Bishop Canevin/ND) – All-American 1973, led team to National Title
    Chuch Fusina (Sto-Rox/ND) – Maxwell Award winner 1978, led team to National Title game
    Joe Montana (Ringold/ND – led team to 1977 National Title
    Dan Marino
    Matt Cavanaugh (Youngstown Chaney)

    Also as I pointed out before, Mike White has stressed that just in the last half dozen years, the local FB base has been dwindling at a rapid pace …..
    30 years ago WPIAL-City had 27 Power 5 recruits and 47 FBS recruits. Ten years ago, there were 24 Power 5 and 38 FBS. So far this year 4 and 14.

    For anyone who doesn’t think local recruits are important, here is a local of locals hat either started or played significant time for the 1976 national championship team (this is what I could find – there may be more)

    Tony Dorsett / Gordon Jones / Jim Corbett / Tom Brzoza / Matt Carroll / Joe Stone / Randy Holloway / Don Parrish / Ed Willamoski /David Logan / Jim Cramer / Jeff Delaney / Bob Jury / Randy Ruetershan
    Youngstown – Matt Cavanaugh and the Pelusis

    Moving forward to 2009 … the only 10 win season of the last 35, here is the same list

    Bill Stull / Lucas Nix / Dorin Dickerson / John Malecki / Jon Baldwin / Nate Byham / Jason Pinkston / Lumpy Jacobsen / Mike Shanahan / Cam Saddler / Myles Caragein / Mick Williams / Dom DeCicco / Elijah Fields / Adam Gunn / Craig Bokor / Nate Nix / Dan Mason / Brandon Lindsey / Andrew Taglianetti

    Don’t let anyone tell you that local players aren’t important to Pitt. But sadly, as of now, there are only two 4/5 stars in the entire state for 2020 according to Rivals. I guarantee you that if Wanny was coaching today, he would not be proclaiming the need to build a wall around Western PA

    Liked by 3 people

      1. There are ten possible WPA starters for this season – six on O and four on D. Both numbers are a stretch…


  2. Don’t forget all the WPIAL players that got away. Major Harris and Rasheed Marshall to WV, Arrington, Short, Lee and Poluszny to PSU and many many others.


    1. Marc Bulger WVU, and more from the 70s — Randy Crowder, Bruce Clark, John Skorupan, Jack Ham and Ted Kwalick to PSU – all All-Americans.


    2. Gottfried screwed up big on Major Harris.

      The others from the 1990s blame the administration. Football was in the toilet so those guys weren’t heading to Oakland. Keep Gottfried for most of the 90s and it would have been much different. Good job, administration.


      1. Bulger wanted to come to PITT but there was another issue. Don’t want to say too much but PITT thought it better to keep a distance.


        1. I had heard Majors told Bulger he’d never play D-1 football. Only 165 pounds as a senior at CC.

          I assumed even if Pitt offered Marc would have taken the WVU offer and run with it since Pitt was a joke then.


        2. I want to hear your reasons because he is a friend of mine. Whatever it is it is BS. Dave Havern begged them to take him and they would not even meet with him.


  3. MM, you had me laughing out load reading this. Happy birthday!! I thought you were way younger than that when I met you at the tailgate!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Hilarious Maestro… snarky and funny at the same time… more great reporting from spring practice like that and Duzz might invite you to be by his side !!!

    FRANKCAN Cup delivered to Lastrow “ the
    polisher” that’s Polish not Polish for you ‘eer readers…..

    Lunch with brother JoeL in Richmond today….

    Happy Bithday from Jeanie B, Bennie and me…..if I had a days notice I woulda delivered
    a cake to Hotlanta.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I, for one, say you can’t. haha

    Funny and definitely amusing, which I guess CAN BE….if you are laughing AT rather than WITH. This article was a with.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. This has to be the best quality elite eight ever. Great players evenly matched. Solid coaching.
    The bar has been raised pretty high this year.


    1. Let’s not forget that Pearl cheats & Izzo covers up rape.

      The other six might be considered elite.


  7. MM, you missed your calling! After years of FB mediocrity and a bottom out in BB, a good sense of humor is essential to keep our sanity! 😊

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Nice article. Funny – I like it. Speculation on the future of the football teams leads me to a short opinion on Men’s BBall…….

    Watching March Madness for the last 2 weeks…it makes you realize what a huge hole Pitt was in prior to Capel. The team came a long way this year just to be marginally competitive among the ACC bottom feeders. They still have a huge way to go…

    Need a physically dominant Center/power forward who can consistently hit shots and create space under the hoop. e.g. Blair, Grey, Troutman.
    Need a consistent 3 point threat who can keep the defense honest. Must be able to hit the money three consistently. e.g. Gibbs, Page
    Lock down defender – McGowens is almost there. But we need an outside defender with some length to help deny the 3 point line. And Trey needs to work more on his offensive game anyway.
    Creator/Playmaker Johnson is very good at making his teammates better…he needs a true point guard complementing so he can practice his art from the 2 spot. e.g. Knight, Krauser
    Bench – It would be nice to be able to actually redshirt some of the more talented newcomers. But that is one or two seasons away at best. Pitt needs to eventually develop a bench rotation that gives the starters some rest, develops the future starters and allows Capel to be more versatile in game situations.

    I think if Capel can fill 2 of these needs next season Pitt can compete in the mid level ACC tier. 3 and the team should be an NCAA level club with a chance to make noise in the early rounds. I don’t look for more than that next season.

    And if anyone would have told me that the Final Four would be missing Duke and Carolina this season I’d have taken them up on that wager with no qualms. It will be interesting next weekend – I think the 4 hottest teams made it. Will be a great show. I’ll take Virginia in OT over Texas Tech.


    Liked by 2 people

  9. ^^ Great comment Tommy. You and Dan are the two basketball guru’s around these parts and your posts are much appreciated friend.


  10. MM – appreciate the article.

    “He’s fast, he’s quick, he’s twitchy. That’s something you can’t coach.”

    It’s also something we apparently can’t recruit.

    Quick, fast, and twitchy — is what we should always be looking for in an RB, but instead we kind of stumble upon these qualities by converting a DB…

    We haven’t had a quick and twitchy RB since Shady, Dion, and Ray. Wanny knew RBs (and DEs)…

    Go Pitt.


  11. off topic but IMHO, Duke lucked out to inferior opponents twice before succumbing to MSU, And despite all of its talent, it didn’t have a true point guard to take charge at crunch time. The MVP in yesterday’s game was clearly the MSU point guard … he was the general out there. Had Duke had a PG, the 2 close wins wouldn’t have been that close, and they would now be preparing for the Final 4.

    My hope is that Pitt’s 2 guards stay together for at least 2 more years and we get some decent big men who can rebound ….. and then let the chips fall

    Liked by 1 person

  12. WOW ….. breaking news!

    Not only did Capel just get a commitment from a 7′ center, HCPN actually just received 2 verbals …. way before the standard mid-June date. He is also planning to open up FB practice to the media for the final week of spring practice (probably at Heather’s instruction)


  13. Another great article, MM, very clever! And Happy Birthday!
    One of the toughest jobs of being a coach has to be coming up with different ways to say something optimistic, whether he believes it or not. I’m still waiting for that one who sits down at the mic, stares right into the camera and says, “We’re hosed.”
    On the basketball tournament, I saw the starting lineups for Auburn and Kentucky and noted that the tallest starter for Auburn was 6’8″. Kentucky’s tallest was 6’10”. Was interesting to see two Elite Eight schools without a 7’6″ center like UCF, 7’4″ for Florida State, or 7’3″ for Purdue. Also noticed that Auburn started three seniors and two juniors. Kentucky had their usual four freshmen and one senior, who happened to be a grad transfer. So many ways to build a winner.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Reflecting on this weekends basketball, I can say I am a little pleased that Duke and Kentucky two beneficiaries of the one and done rule didn’t get to the final four. Undoubtedly they will just reload and be contenders again next year. Talk about an unlevel playing field.

    Although tainted as EE points out, I thought both Pearl and Izzo did the most masterful coaching performances, especially Pearl after losing his best guy. Almost unheard of to recover from that.

    A few more observations, ferocious defense played a role in all the victories, and also strong rebounding.
    No doubt three point and foul shooting made the difference in most of the games. Of course individual star play was evident as well.

    I can’t remember that many games going down to the wire.

    These games point out Pitts many personnel needs to get back in the race. Capel made huge strides with the guard play, defensive effort and getting the most out of the players he inherited. I just read that Toney led the team in rebounding which says a lot for him and a lot about our big men. One major weakness to fill. Capel also got the most of Wilson-Frame, which points to the teams drastic need for three point shooting next year.
    A strong scoring forward is probably the third need.

    Hopefully, all of our guys are using the off-season to improve on their weaknesses and we see a difference next year, from the guys we have. The big difference will come from the players Capel adds from the senior transfers. the best hope to make a big jump next year.

    Liked by 3 people

  15. Good article Mike, I’d bet your interpretations of the what he meant comments are closer to the truth that we want to believe or hear. Keep up the good work.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Agree. He’s as close to tell it like it is as there is


  16. Give credit where it is due … the Pirates don’t always get it right but they did this time

    The 4 policemen directly involved with the Tree of Life shooting threw out the first pitch today at the opener, And relatives of the 11 people slain unraveled and held the flag In centerfield for the anthem.

    Mr Groat also was acknowledged before the ame

    Liked by 3 people

  17. Based on this video from the Pitt website, I am thinking Nike has included something with the cathedral in the new uniform design or new secondary logo.


    1. Kham smart to leave, should be able to find opportunity elsewhere, just not quite enough talent for ACC play. Deserves to play somewhere. Another slot for a transfer. Hopefully Capel finds a couple guys that are ACC ready.


  18. Thanks.

    What a great piece Mike… And a bunch of those answers are true!

    FB will be interesting to watch but I think a 7 man OL – using the TE and FB is what KP really needs.

    Happy Birthday!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Reed — here’s what I don’t understand about keeping a TE in to block – or a RB for that matter. If you do that, the defender who would have had to cover the TE now gets to rush the passer. So you pick up another guy that you have to block, or, the defense now has an extra guy in the secondary to bracket one of your receivers….

      And if the TE stays in to “help” block someone with a double-team, then you’re really outnumbered.

      Seems like a lose-lose to me.

      I hope Coach Whip’s offense is designed with some passes to the TE and backs, so that they have to be covered. And if their cover guy blitzes, then your QB has to be coached to hit that uncovered offensive player with a quick pass.

      What we did last year with the TEs always blocking seemed archaic to me – and very limiting of offensive options…

      Go Pitt.

      Liked by 1 person

  19. Happy birthday Maestro. You don’t look anywhere near 41 and I’m guessing there are of POVers who wish they were 41 y/o! 👋

    Liked by 2 people

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