Narduzzi Presser – Ohio

PRESS CONFERENCE VIDEO

 

Editor’s note:  This was not originally supposed to say “Pay Narduzzi Presser”.  It was supposed to say “Pat Narduzzi Presser” but my phone auto-corrected to “Pay”.  clearly he deserves no additional pay at this point.  This has been updated.  My apologies for any confusion.

PAT NARDUZZI: We’ll get started here. Obviously not what we planned from the opener. Disappointing start to the season. Obviously it was a different opener than most. Probably playing some of the opponents we’ve played in the past, you might squeak out with a victory, but not against a good ACC opponent that we didn’t get it done.

But we closed the book last night with our kids in here, and when you go back and look at the tape and reevaluate it, I feel really no different than what I felt Saturday night at midnight or whatever time that was.

Really when you look at it, it’s a lot of self-inflicted wounds as far as what we did, not what they did. You don’t look at it and go ‘Wow, we just got overplayed or outmatched.’ It was just carelessness I would say on our part, just details that you fail to get done, whether it’s on the sideline and getting it out there on the field, whatever it may be. Just details.

Again, it started from the coin toss. We lose the coin toss, they get it, whatever, we get pinned down inside, and we go three-and-out, and it just started the field position, which we lost by 222 yards, field position. And again, we never gained it back. Their average field position I think was the 41, ours was the 22 or something like that. We lost it by 222 yards. We’ve only lost it one time in my time here, and it was 225 at one point.

You know, hard to win the game when you lose a field position by that. Three-and-outs, way too many on offense, didn’t get enough on defense. That contributes, obviously, to the field position. Turnovers, whether it was a blocked punt or an interception, those caused problems there, or turnover on downs. Their three touchdown drives were 19 yards — they scored three touchdowns: 19 yards, 27 yards, 29 yards. That’s their touchdown drives. We’d love to have that field position, but we weren’t afforded — our two touchdown drives were 85 plus. So when you look at keeping a drive going — again, I don’t want to say that’s a gift; I give them credit. But that’s kind of what it was.

But it comes down to the details. Guys making plays on the ball, whether it’s on offense or defense. We dropped some passes, obviously, that are critical, a couple on 3rd down that moved the sticks and changes the whole part of the game.

We don’t make plays on the ball when I think we can in good coverage with some PI calls, turn around, get your eyes on the ball, tackles, decision making, all those details.

So I think that all plays a part of what really we got, and we got what we asked for on Saturday.

But it’s a learning experience. We’ve got a lot of new guys out there playing for the first time. When you look at your O-line and the two guys that have played before played good. The other guys that didn’t have starts before played like you maybe thought they might or you’re hoping for more than what you got. But overall I think it’s a learning experience for our kids, and we’ll make more improvement from week 1 to week 2 for sure. I don’t think there’s any doubt about that.

And then you’ve got Ohio U. coming in here, who I think is a 1-0 football team, picked to win the MAC. Frank Solich is a legend. He’s a legend, from his years back at Nebraska. The guy has had a great football team — even when he got let go at Nebraska, if you guys remember, I know Jerry remembers, the guy never should have got let go there. Probably one of the biggest mistakes in Nebraska history is letting Frank Solich go. I’m still (mad) about it. He was a legend there. I don’t know if it was eight or nine wins when they let him go that one year. I don’t know if they expected to win 12.

But great football coach. Their offense starts with Nathan Rourke, phenomenal football player. I think he completed 73 percent of his passes last week against Rhode Island. He’s accurate. He’s smart. He makes good decisions. I like what I see out of him, and he can run it, too. He’s nifty and can run. They’ll run a lot of quarterback keepers and they’ll run some option and option pass with them. They do a lot of different stuff, and it’ll be a big game for Frank Solich, who’s from Johnstown, Pa., if you guys didn’t know that.

Defensively, Javon Hagan I believe is their safety, No. 7, stands out on tape to me as a baller. He flies around and makes plays.

It’ll be a challenge at 11 a.m. on Saturday, that’s for sure. Again, preseason MAC champion. That’s what they’re calling for. We get lucky enough to get them.

Questions?

Q. The pressure that Virginia generated on Saturday, how much of that was just their guys executing and how much of that was holding on to the ball too long? I assume it was a little bit of everything.

PAT NARDUZZI: I think it’s always a little bit of everything, but they did run a blitz that we didn’t expect, and they ran it quite a few times. I don’t think — our new guys seemed to always be on the right side, but I don’t think our new guys reacted to it as well as we need to. And again, it’s throwing the ball on time. We had guys open more than you can think, and we’ve just got to make better, quicker decisions and get the ball out. So it’s a little bit of both.

Q. You talked about the field position; how do you evaluate the way your defense played given that they had those short fields —

PAT NARDUZZI: It’s hard because I’m still (mad) at them, you know? But how do you evaluate them? It’s hard. When we get into sudden change situations, we want to stop them. Zero points is great, but when you’ve got the ball at the 29, the 27 and the 19, field goals are what we want to get, and it’s hard.

Again, when we’re backed up, they have a 53-yard drive and 10 plays and they end up kicking a field goal, but when they’re backed up we don’t want to give zero points. It’s like we gave them touchdowns when we wanted to give them field goals; we gave them three when we wanted to give them zero, so to me the evaluation is one three-and-out on defense isn’t good enough.

Again, quarterback made plays, give him credit. They made some catches. They had some drives kept alive by some great coverage, and the yellow hanky coming out. Just one of those nights. One of those nights.

Q. The new guys on the defensive line, how would you say they did in their first test on the field?

PAT NARDUZZI: New guys? I’ll tell you what, Deslin played really, really well. We were impressed with him, and obviously he’s the new end that was taking over for Rashad. He played well. Inside Devin Danielson played well, young guy that maybe played 10 snaps. You said new guys. I’m trying to think. Obviously Twyman has been in there. Haba (Baldonado) played solid. Haba played what we kind of thought he would, and very, very encouraged with Haba, as well. Any other new names that I’m forgetting? Bentley and Green got in, were solid near the end, so they were good, too.

Q. Is there any concern about Ohio being somewhat of a trap game because it’s not a division opponent and then same with Penn State coming up —

PAT NARDUZZI: I worry about every game being a trap game. Every game is a trap game. Virginia was a trap game, an opener like that. We’ve just got to be ready to go. We’re focused on one team, as you guys know, and Ohio U., if you put the tape on, is good enough to whoop your tail. They’re well-coached. They’ve been there for a long time, and he’s been there, I think, 15th season. He’s got a system in, he’s got his kids there. They’re sound. They don’t do too much, but they’re very good at what they do. It’s a trap game. They’re all trap games. Every Saturday is a trap game.

Q. Frank Solich said this morning that he’s very appreciative of how he and his staff used to talk ball with you during the offseason while you were at Michigan State. Maybe you helped him too much?

PAT NARDUZZI: Did I help him too much? Probably. Jim Burrow is a good friend who was a defensive coordinator, so we’ve always talked, and I’ve always been comfortable sharing football with other guys around the country. We’ve done that. We’ve had our fair share of stuff we got, so Jim is a good football coach. So is Frank Solich.

Q. How did the team respond after looking at the film?

PAT NARDUZZI: I think you kind of — when you come in here, I think they responded really good. Like I said, what you see is what you get when you watch the tape, and it’s not what they did, the other team; it’s what we did. So I think the way you respond is you look at it and go, ‘Huh, I see it.’ If you got smacked in the mouth and you weren’t in position to make a play, then you wonder how they’re going to respond. You watch the tape, and (if) our receivers are getting locked down, can’t get off a press, can’t get off, can’t get open, but that was not the case. There was guys open and opportunities to make plays, and we just didn’t make them.

So I think it’s encouraging after you watch the tape. You go, ‘Oh, I see what happened.’ The defensive guys get encouraged by watching the other side of the ball going, ‘Oh, okay, we’ve got a chance.’ We’ve just got to make plays, and if we’re going to throw the ball like we did and open it up and start to throw it early instead of just running it every down, then we’ve got to make those plays to keep the sticks moving.

Q. Is there an advantage at all that Mark Whipple at UMass the last two years went against Ohio?

PAT NARDUZZI: Is there an advantage? Is there a disadvantage? I don’t know, there might be — what is it? Again, the difference between when Whipple was at UMass he was there for a few years, and they played the last two years, so is it an advantage maybe for them because they know what Whipple likes to do, they’ve seen it for two years in a row. So I mean, there’s kind of — which one is it? Whipple knows them maybe a little bit on defense, but they also know Whipple, where they’re not going to be surprised, I guess, what he likes to do against what they’ve done in the past. Now, they’ve got a new D-coordinator, so you take that into account, as well.

Q. In the Virginia locker room after the game on Saturday, one of their players said that they knew that if they got in Kenny’s face that he would be ‘frazzled’ was the word that they used. Did you feel there was a cumulative effect on that pressure, and how do you get him to — he took a lot of shots, and credit to Kenny —

PAT NARDUZZI: So did their quarterback. He took a lot of shots, too.

Q. But that quarterback didn’t throw two picks.

PAT NARDUZZI: No doubt about it. Threw them up —

Q. How do you tell Kenny to hang in there when he’s getting —

PAT NARDUZZI: I mean, that’s kind of — that’s what quarterbacks do, they take hits and they get back up, and Kenny is a tough dude. We don’t want him to get hit like he did. The big thing is protect him. Big thing is half those hits, the ball should already be gone and we shouldn’t have that problem. But I don’t see it as frazzled, I just see it still a guy that’s maturing as he gets into this new offense and learning from what he needs to do, and I think when (reporter) Larry (Richert) talks about watching the tape, what do you see, I think he’s one of those guys that can see how much better he can be. There’s no difference from (preseason camp) jersey scrimmage one to jersey scrimmage two, our guys, it’s kind of the same progression. It’s game day, the lights are turned on in Heinz Field, and I’ve told you guys that for five years, that it matters when the lights turn on, and we’ve got to see how guys respond, and that happened in every phase, especially with some of the new guys that maybe hadn’t been in that condition before.

Q. Can establishing the run game kind of help out Kenny and take a little pressure off of him?

PAT NARDUZZI: No question about it. It definitely can. The run game can. We got behind the sticks. You get a punt blocked, you give them short field, you’re behind the sticks. The fourth quarter we threw 17 times, ran it once. Well, that’s a time you can’t. I think it was 24-19 run-to-pass early — I should say pass to run, 24 passes, 19 before you even got to the fourth quarter, but when you’re behind, you end up throwing it, so those stats kind of get watered down a little bit.

But you know, we had guys open. We’ve got to hit them, we’ve got to catch it. That’s what it comes down to.

Q. How do you think the backs did when they weren’t carrying the ball?

PAT NARDUZZI: Not bad. Obviously didn’t get enough — we got behind the sticks — again, it’s hard for Kenny. You see when Kenny — to go back to the quarterback, it’s hard for Kenny when you go three-and-out to even get in a rhythm. You don’t even get in a rhythm. But when you saw after a 1st down all of a sudden he gets in a rhythm, then he becomes pretty good, but it’s even hard to be a play caller. You can’t even get into mixing things up when it’s three out-and-out, you’re back on the sideline, then you’ve got to start a whole drive over again, like what are you going to do now.

I mean, 3rd down is so critical. It’s a key to victory every week. We’ve got to move the sticks and get into a rhythm offensively, but we never got into a rhythm, and when we did get into a rhythm where we got a 1st down, something happened, then our guys went and then you could see Kenny’s feet were good in the pocket, he got more relaxed. So I really don’t think Kenny got frazzled, especially when he came back and did what he did.

Q. What did you like from that second quarter when the offense really started to get going that he could build on for next week?

PAT NARDUZZI: What did we like when? Second quarter? Again, they’ve got to understand we’ve got to make plays. If we’re going throw you the ball, you have to make plays, and I think that’s just what I kind of answered. What I liked is the sticks were moving and we’re making plays, and then they’re getting comfortable.

It’s hard to get comfortable, and (former Pitt quarterback and current radio analyst Pat) Bostick can probably tell you that, when you go three-and-out, and then you sit on the bench for another two minutes and then get back up and go. When the game got in the flow, we started getting some 1st downs, that’s what I liked.

Q. Kenny did make some plays with his feet. He also took some shots when he tried to make plays with his feet. As a coach how do you sort of weigh that against —

PAT NARDUZZI: He did get out-of-bounds one time, but he’s a tough — he’s tough. Now, he’s never had an injury problem, but he didn’t want to wear knee braces this year, which I was okay with. It’s kind of like, Kenny — he’s like, Coach, most people that wear knee braces have knee problems. I’m good. Let’s — again, knock on a lot of wood there, but so he wants to make plays with his feet, and we’ll continue to do that.

Q. Outside of changing your alarms, 11 a.m. start, is there anything you have to do differently with that?

PAT NARDUZZI: Not really. We’re a morning practice team, so alarms are about the only thing.

Q. We saw Vincent Davis got in there for a couple carries. Is he a guy who’s going to play more than four games?

PAT NARDUZZI: It’s too early to tell really. We wanted to get him in there just to see do we want to give him more than two reps, and just to give him a chance to go run the football, just to see what would happen. And he did okay while he was in there. He didn’t panic. He didn’t do anything crazy. So we’ll just keep evaluating that. We won’t know until after four games. When he plays four games, we’ll decide is he going to play five or are we shutting him down, and that depends how the other guys do, too.

Q. In your self-scout, do you think maybe you might want to run the ball earlier in games?

PAT NARDUZZI: You know, again, we can always look back and say that, but when I see all the open receivers, if you put the videotape on, you’re saying, ‘Gosh, throw it to that guy really quick, let’s go.’ It’s hard to say. If you had to go back and say it, maybe if you knew we wouldn’t throw it to the guy that’s open, yeah, let’s just go and run it. It’s easier to do this for sure. But when you see open guys, you’re going, man, we had a chance to make some big plays.

Q. The quarterback position is obviously so important to the game right now. The MAC conference, it seems like there’s always one or two guys that are really at the top of that position in there. When you coached in that conference, how did those schools continue to find all these good quarterbacks that end up going to the NFL or at the top of college football year in and year out?

PAT NARDUZZI: That’s the story of the Mid-American. I was fortunate enough to be there with Big Ben Roethlisberger, but there’s good players out there everywhere. There’s plenty of them. That’s why I say, those two-star guys, those one-star guys develop into players and they play enough years and they play within the system and don’t try to do too much — Nathan is — he’s a baller — he’s got a great arm, too. It just goes to show you, those stars and the 6’3″ guy compared to the 6’1″ guy don’t really matter. He’s a football player.

Q. Is there a method to playing two mobile quarterbacks in a row after seeing Perkins last week and Rourke this week? Do they do similar things?

PAT NARDUZZI: Yeah, they do similar things. There’s a lot of similarities. Yeah, but that’s life in college football. Everybody is spread it out, quarterback zone read keeps. Nathan loves to run the zone read, especially out of three-by-ones into the boundary. He’s a good football player.

Q. You ran some no-huddle on Saturday. What made you decide to do that?

PAT NARDUZZI: I’m the head coach. (Smiles) Coach Whipple likes it, I like it, tempo of the game. Puts people on their toes. Just don’t want to go three-and-out with it. Want to eat up a little bit more clock and get down the field, get some 1st downs. But it is what it is. That’s what we see. It’s great for our defense, too. It’s where college football is going, or been.

Q. When you look at the NCAA, there’s a lot of transfers now that are getting waivers. You filled the roster with graduate guys mostly. As you see guys, quarterbacks now especially, it seems like they can be here one stop and go to the next stop and play next year. What’s your philosophy on transfers, and is that something that looks like it’s going to be a little more open?

PAT NARDUZZI: Yeah, I think it’s going to be more closed in the future, but we’re just looking for good football players. We don’t care what their age is. It’s not a matter of ‘He’s got one year, we just want one-year grad transfers.’ That’s not what we’re looking for. We’re looking for the best players that fit what we need. And I think there’s always a risk, too, if you’re not sure if he’s going to get that waiver. I don’t know if it’s 50/50. Seemed like early it was a lot of waivers, then they shut that stuff down a little bit, so I don’t know what the percentage is right now. But from my meetings with the NCAA, that’s going to get kind of closed down. They’re talking about changing the rules where everybody has got to sit out and we’ll give you the year on the back end. You won’t lose a year of eligibility sitting out, you’ll get it on the back end but we’re not going to give it to you now. So I don’t know where that’s going. But that’s what the NCAA seems like they want to do and the coaches want to do it, as well.

Q. Two more new starters on the defense, Kylan Johnson and Paris Ford. How do you think they did?

PAT NARDUZZI: I think both of them did really, really well. I’ll start with Kylan, just start up front there. He made some nice tackles. He’s very sound in what he’s doing, especially for a guy playing his first time here in a new defense. So I was really, really happy with Kylan and what he did.

And then Paris Ford, first start at the safety position, maybe his first start I guess here. I’m not sure if he started at corner in the past. I know he’s played there.

But I was really, really happy with Paris. He had a nice — I’ve told you about getting turnovers. That guy did the same exact thing when he ripped that ball out and unfortunately went out of bounds and he scrambled off the tackle, off the strip to get that ball on the 3rd down, that’s what he does in practice every day. That’s him. But I was really happy with what Paris did overall in the day. Maybe had one missed assignment, which that’s huge with what he’s doing, and he’s just going to get more and more comfortable every time he walks on that field. That’s the good thing. Virginia’s offense, there’s a lot of stuff they do. They’re not a simple offense. They do a lot of personnels, a lot of different formations, a lot of motion, to empty. There was a lot of things for a first-time starting safety. But you love his attitude. That guy is a football player.

Q. I remember when the pass defense had some issues a few years ago, you were like, ‘Hey, we’re going to play man and I’m just going to try to believe in my guys.’ There wasn’t a lot of room for their receivers on Saturday night. I know you’re not happy with the penalties, but what about just that group in general?

PAT NARDUZZI: The corners?

Q. The maturity and development.

PAT NARDUZZI: Yeah, again, we want to make plays on the ball. That’s the one thing I wish you could get around. That’s like I told the official on our sideline, like ‘Hey, he can’t get off a press. We’re right there. Tell the guy to get some separation and we won’t be able to hold him.’ It’s not like there was any separation. I was like, ‘The guy is going to be in the NFL next year and you’re going to call a penalty on him because the guy can’t get off.’ It’s not his fault, because there wasn’t any tugging going on, he was just all over him.

I don’t know what you do. But I’m happy with that group. Damarri Mathis had two PBUs in a row, two big, big PBUs so I was happy for him, and Jason Pinnock did some great things, as well, so all three of those guys are starters, as I said, and they rotated through the game and did a nice job.

Q. Did you come out of the game clean as far as the “I” word (injuries) is concerned?

PAT NARDUZZI: We’re waiting — we did, overall, yes, except for we’re waiting on one evaluation still to find out, but we’ll find out hopefully shortly.

255 thoughts on “Narduzzi Presser – Ohio

  1. Guys, watch this video with three local sportswriters who cover Pitt. These points are spot on especially when discussing the talent level Narduzzi has recruited…

    https://pittsburgh.cbslocal.com/video/4157591-1-cochran-sports-showdown-september-1-2019-part-3/amp/

    I’ve been pressing home the fact that none of the recruits who committed to PN has reached any measure of stardom so far and that without kids who can change outcomes of games on their own talent Pitt won’t get to the next level under this coaching staff.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You are correct so far, not enough have emerged but I think they will this year. They had Weaver, Hamlin on D, they will be joined by at least Ford. At least two offensive players will emerge.

      If not….and they win less than eight games, I will write an entire post saying how full of crap I have been, LOL. I will also be saying PN needs to go.

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  2. Always a rebuild with this team. New inexperienced players. New offensive coordinators. That’s too much change within the program. That leads to instability. Pitt is not a stable program. You become stable when you can reload.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Pitt gets what it deserves by continuing to hire coordinators who need to grow into being a head coach.

    The school doesn’t want to pay for a proven head coach and a proven head coach isn’t coming to coach at Heinz Field anyway. Why do some think there is some guy out there who can magically be hired and turn around the program? It’s not happening. The lack of a backyard to recruit from is also now a huge negative for this job.

    The griping about Narduzzi is wasted energy. He needs to stay on as head coach at least through 2021 before assessing. That way Pitt looks somewhat competent in that it gave a guy seven years to build. He still has two eight-win seasons, three big wins and a Coastal title on his resume, like it or not. He has also faced the toughest non-conference schedules perhaps in the country since taking over. Most coaches would complain to their superiors about how unfair it is, but I have never heard Pat complain. I complain and I have every right to as a fan.

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  4. Kinda sounds like HCPN put it in this order – Kenny, receivers, and a somewhat distant 3rd the o-line.

    But then, Narduzzi sucks, so wtf does he know. And of course any decent coach takes all the blame themselves and recruits better and doesn’t yell and doesn’t let coordinators leave and….

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    1. Well, Tvax, decent and successful coaches DO recruit better. It all starts and ends with the talent one first finds then convinces to commit to Pitt.

      I’ve said all along that the constant change over in staff is one thing but fans forget we are also changing personnel in the recruiting staff often also and its they who do all the leg work and research for talent evaluation. If that isn’t strong and well done recruiting suffers. Two years ago I spent a lot of time talking to WPA HS coaches, the Pitt recruiters and others about this and then wrote an extensive couple of articles on it.

      If you can’t pull in bona fide blue chip recruits, which PN can’t, then you damn well need to find the under the radar kids who do have the talent to reach stardom at the P-5 level…and PN hasn’t done that yet either.

      Look, it isn’t only me saying this – just recently Mike just led off an article quoting other ACC coaches saying the same thing and the video I just posted talked about it also. Its no secret that this is Narduzzi’s biggest weakness.

      One other problem is that his staff coaches really haven’t been able to take average recruits and coach them up to play at the highest levels with a few exceptions such as O’Neill. Pitt fans point to players who are playing just above average ball and then, because we are familiar with them and want them to do well, think they are playing at a higher level than they really do.

      All college teams fans do this I’m sure because we want these kids to really be stars. But it ain’t happening at Pitt. Again, preseason All-Whateverteams are nice to read about but it is the Post season accolades that tell the true story and his recruits aren’t even 2nd string on those so far.

      So, this is why we are playing sub .500 ball in the last 2+ seasons. We can point to scheduling and other things but the bottom line is talent.

      BTW, you keep making snide comments but we are in a four game losing streak with the real possibility of being 1-6 in our last seven games after we play UCF…how does that feel?

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I would add onto this by saying if a coach can’t recruit elite talent he needs to do two other thing well to compensate

        Develop the talent that he does recruit , and also have a deep roster so he’s playing 3rd year guys at a minimum but preferably 4th or 5th year guys
        Make sure his team executes

        Pat does a reasonably decent job at #1, (although Reed will say he doesn’t develop well…I disagree but the jury will be out at least until Midseason) but as we saw on Saturday Pat doesn’t always deliver on #2. And that – right now – is due to poor qb recruiting

        Bronco mendenhall on the other hand does both well. His team was loaded with 4th and 5th year guys, and for the most part they executed.

        He’ll never get to the CFP doing that, but with the right schedule he can win 8-10 games every year and be in the top 25 convo most of the time.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Just asking as I honestly don’t know the answer. How many of those 4 and 5th year payers were recruited bu Mendenhall? This only his fourth year.

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            1. Good one John… but that’s different, it’s not Narduzzi. Not to mention that UVA was picked to finish last the past two years until this season. 4th and 5th year seniors help programs like PITT and UVA.

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      2. Nobody asked me, but I don’t think the recruiting has been as bad you’re making it out to be, with the lone exception of the QB position, which has a lot do with why this team has been below .500.

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  5. I agree with Reed and said for sometime that the lack of a few star players has been Narduzzis biggest weakness in recruiting. Part of it is luck in that none of the guys that he has recruited have become a guy like Conner, Donald or O’Neill that became those kind of guys. Weaver might have but for an injury.

    But certainly on offense there are no apparent current or future stars that can routinely make big plays.
    This year is particularly tough because you have a new o-line and running backs and a suspect QB trying to implement a totally new offense against formidable opponents.

    Once again, who starts their season against, the division favorite, the favorite to win the Mac, and two ranked teams.

    This is a recipe for disaster. How many other ACC teams would fare any better than Pitt vs. these four first games?

    The biggest frustration seems to be that week after week, year after year, Pitt is playing against QB’s that are better than ours, and we continue to play schedules that are far tougher than average.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. My questions coming away and after having watched the Game a couple of times on replay…

    1) Can Pitt RUN the football effectively?

    2) Will CHANGES come to the Offensive Line to improve both Run Blocking and Pass Protection? In other words is Borbely up to the task?

    3) Obviously reading Defenses is a challenge, but can Kenny Pickett throw an ACCURATE Deep Ball?

    Liked by 1 person

  7. This was really a year that you needed two or three cupcakes to work out the kinks in the new offense, but we get the usual OOC made worse by having to start with the division favorite.

    Liked by 2 people

  8. Those 3 media guys said what I and some others have been saying for the past 5 years. It all comes down to recruiting.

    And dont give me this bull that Pitt has too many constraints and all the excuses in the world. You recognize any constraints and then you find a way. You make it happen.

    Again, Pitt doesnt need to recruit at elite levels to be competitive in the Coastal. But it does need far more 5.7 plus rated talent. Moreover, in key skilled positions like QB.

    You know why Virginia has improved every year under Bronco? Its because he recognized coming in that he had a MAC team and implemented a plan to make it into an ACC team. Virginia’s trajectory is up. Pitt has flat-lined. In medical terms that means you are dead!

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  9. Against VA 2 or 3 dropped passes is probably above average for an entire gsme. How many pass completions were near the Los and resulted in minimal gains? Seems like there were quite a few. These are wasted plays for the offense.

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  10. Ya gotta love HCPN’s glass half-full, lemonade from lemons attitude, “But overall I think it’s a learning experience for our kids”.

    Like

    1. Haha. It dang well better be a learning experience. “Hit your passes”. “Catch the ball”. “Block better”. “Get better pocket presence”.

      Like

  11. Narduzzi saw the same game I did. Whipple and PITT taking a lot of criticism for throwing the ball so much but there were receivers open all over the field meaning the pass plays worked just not executed. Like I mentioned, those first few plays were scripted and worked on dozens of times leading up to the game. I’ll bet KP connected on the passes 99% of the time in practice.

    Rourkes numbers against Rhode island were not all that great. << Maybe they didn’t have to be, like Perkins numbers certainly weren’t Heisman like numbers.

    Like

  12. We all want better results, the question is how to get them?

    Bronco wins one game with a seasoned team and he is suddenly the model.
    Face it Pitt is in another transition year, with another O-coordinator, a whole new system,
    new O-line, new running backs etc. It happens in college ball, few peak every year.

    The only real difference in Saturday’s game was QB’s and experience. I really didn’t see a massive difference in talent level other than the QB. VA executed better than Pitt, not really a big surprise all things considered.

    Pitt made more mistakes which is totally understandable.

    At this point the team will only be as good as Kenny Picket can execute the offense.

    All the rest are mute points, Narduzzi isn’t going anywhere for at least another year unless there is a total collapse. I know that some of you are hoping for it to prove your POV.

    I for one are still rooting for the kids that did come to Pitt.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. We’re all rooting for them. It’s just that some of us don’t think they have what it takes.

      For all my fire abs brimstone since Saturday, I agree with you. Fix the passing game (ie either Pickett gets better or he gets replaced) and Pitt will be a pretty good team.

      But Pickett has firmly played himself into “prove it” status with me given his last four games going back to Miami.

      Liked by 3 people

    2. Not me, he can stay as long as he wants as long as we have no troubles off the field and keep graduating the players at a high rate. But I think that is just as important as winning games as opposed to most Pitt fans.

      I just take a true critical look at what he’s doing and find it lacking in major areas.

      Like

      1. If Pitt continues to be mediocre and generates a win range from 5-8 each year, it will kill the fan base.

        Pitt will be lucky if 30k show up…have fun staring at 40k yellow seats and high fiving the invisible fans around you.

        The only way to jump start donations and get attendance levels to around 55k (high water mark back in 2003) and build new supporters is getting the team consistently ranked in the top 25. That means seasons of 9-11 wins (must win bowl games). I just dont see Narduzzi being able to pull that off and I’ve seen enough to know.

        The standard at any ethical school is to run a clean program, graduate players and save kittens from trees. There are plenty of schools reaching that standard and their field performance is better.

        Pitt can ‘delight’ a fan and alum like me if they run a clean program, graduate players, get players to the pros, become consistently ranked and challenge for Coastal titles each year. A delighted fan will attend games and donate. I’m disgruntled right now.

        Delight is a level beyond just mere satisfaction. If Pitt has the 4th highest football spend in the ACC, I expect more than just satisfaction.

        Like

    3. Bronco’s trajectory in wins: 2…6…8…
      Narduzzi’s trajectory in wins: 8…8…5…7…

      Bronco inherited very little in talent but played a softer schedule
      Narduzzi inherited more talent but played a tougher schedule
      I consider that a wash

      Virginia also doesnt spend as much as Pitt on football and its a tougher place to recruit

      Like

  13. Just look at one small part of the game, the passes to the TE. Three catches for 4 yards… Why? Is no one blocking? Did he run poor routes? Can Gragg break any tackles? Were they bad choices by Pickett? (not to mention the drops) In an offense crying out for some crossing routes, where is the TE?

    Like

    1. Part of it is that VA was in position and tackled very well. Those passes didn’t look to me like the first option and were more out of desperation. It does make you wonder why the tight end wasn’t at least four yards down field? Most of the throws made at the line or behind the line of scrimmage did not work because of VA talent or poor timing or poor throws. When you throw behind a guy you lose any forward momentum.

      Liked by 1 person

  14. TX thinks it would be easy to hire a new coach who can recruit better players.

    He also thinks building an OCS is a no brainer.

    Both things are difficult and may never happen.

    They are also long range and have no impact on what happens this week or this year, and most probably next week and next year.

    Like

    1. They impact the future. The future gives me hope. Without hope, there is no purpose in life.

      I never said it would be easy. I said its entirely possible for all those things to happen. If you have hope and then work on developing a plan to get there, the future is in your hands.

      Like

  15. This UVA team returned almost all of its defensive starters which finished 20th in total defense last season. As I wrote BEFORE the game, the opener was the worst time of the year to face this team …. especially with an inexperienced OL and new offense.

    Pitt could afford no mistakes … yet 3 or 4 dropped passes, 2 INTs and a blocked punt!

    Liked by 4 people

    1. And I repeat…if we had a quarterback that didn’t have the yips in the first quarter… things would have been different. Kenny isn’t the guy until he proves that he is. Hopefully just first game jitters indeed but he’s got a lot of proving to do

      Liked by 1 person

  16. And GC, this shouldn’t be a transition year for Pickett. He has started 16 games. In college, that is often a total career. It appears the WRs ran decent routes, he just missed his passes, and got rattled after the drops. I’m concerned that Pickett will mostly be a roll out QB in a system that emphasizes pocket passing. If that is the case, they need to move on now and look at the other QBs who can go deep.

    Like

  17. KP had his share of yips in the 2nd half also. Good point about that being his 16th start… You’d think he’d be able to handle what all is thrown at him by now, but save for the Wake game last year held been like this pretty constantly.

    Also, we fans point to Pitt mistakes for our losses but forget that every team makes mistakes, has turnovers and penalties, etc. It’s the teams that do less of those per game that win.

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  18. Gc, your point is very true…

    “Face it Pitt is in another transition year, with another O-coordinator, a whole new system,
    new O-line, new running backs etc. It happens in college ball, few peak every year.”

    So you have to look at why Pitt is in constant transition. Why must we get transfers then stick them in right away as starters? Why do we have constant turnover in coordinators (hint: it isn’t because they are all getting fired.)

    Why is there no consistency when the same HC is in place for five straight years? He’s the one hiring the coordinators; is he not hiring people who can execute his own vision and directions? This is what bothers me about this Whipple hire. His offenses in college were so one sided and his W/L results so poor that I felt he was the opposite of what we needed.

    Pitt didn’t win more than lost with a one-sided offense last year and they won’t if it shakes out like that again this year.

    PN successful first two years were built on solid balanced offenses that outscored our porous defense points allowed. Without that we’ve sunk to subpar play.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I mostly agree, but I think Narduzzi/Bates has mostly fixed the defense, hoping that Whipple can fix the offense. I saw a lot of good plays with poor execution. Love to see more balance.

      Transfers are a part of the game now, naturally a team that struggles with recruiting will need more transfers. Watching the WV game, they had a lot of them too.

      Our new transfer linebacker looked very good.

      As far as the O-coordinators, the first two left for better jobs and more money, the last one for performance. The turnover is not good I agree, but not all on Narduzzi.

      Liked by 1 person

  19. Reed, TX, Huff and others are correct about the big picture – things like recruiting, coaching etc.

    That said, my point of view is more from the ‘here’s who we’ve got on the coaching staff and roster, so, what can we do with it’… Here are my thoughts after week #1:

    I’m glad that the forward pass has made it back to Pitt.
    Kenny will get better in this offense.
    The O-line will get better, but will be over-matched all season against schools that recruit well (Miami, psu).
    Whipple will get better at knowing Kenny’s strengths and capabilities. So, game planning will get better.
    Whipple will add some wrinkles to keep the pressure off of Kenny.
    Our defense is physical.
    The VA QB threw a bunch of 50/50 up for grab passes. His WRs made some nice catched. We need to INT a few of those ‘up for grabs’ passes.
    The punt block is on the Pitt player who barely chipped his man and was more intent on getting downfield to fulfill his 2nd assignment of coverage. If he hits his man, then the blocked punt never happens. Easy to fix.
    It’s going to be a rough start to the season. None of us are looking forward to the psu game, as their strength is their defense and particularly their pass rush. Not a good match up for us.
    Ohio will gives us all that we can handle. I believe that we will win this game.

    I’m looking for improvement every week starting with Ohio. If Pitt improves some and makes it past psu and ucf with their confidence intact, they will be competitive in all of the remaining ACC games.

    Like

  20. The encouraging part with Picketts early missed passes was he actually saw the wide open receivers, again the plays were scripted, he was way to hyped up. Same as those short passes out of the backfield that were thrown way way too hard. Tipton was wide open for a TD if KP throws that ball on time. The hidden gem here is that Whipple had guys open all over the field.

    Like

  21. I think we all have seen enough of Pickett to conclude that he’s a good runner and for the most part a below average passer that almost never throws to a second or third option. Now the opposition this year doesn’t even have to concentrate on stopping the Pitt running game with Davis and Sibley carrying the ball.—End result, it’s going to be very difficult to win many games with this offense going forward as it’s currently constructed.

    Liked by 2 people

  22. I can’t get past the fact that PN’s best two years (eight wins) were his first two using Chryst’s players. It didn’t reflect any great coaching expertise by Narduzzi or his assistant coaches. It comes down to players who make plays. Perhaps Narduzzi hired coaches who can’t recruit. This seems to have changed somewhat with the recent hires of 2-3 coaches who seem to be able to bring some kids in. Whipple is a good OC who doesn’t appear to be a good recruiter. Maybe he can recruit a decent QB, but that may be it. This latest 2020 class may be somewhat better, but will Narduzzi be around to see the results?

    Like

    1. I’d argue that Chryst wasn’t guaranteed to win 8 games with the players he recruited in those two years. Plus no Peterman. Chryst – and I loved him as our coach – was mired at .500.

      In that regard, it can be argued that Narduzzi di a good job getting more out of what he had.

      Having said that, the recruiting since then has not been as good as most would like.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Great points JoeL that I totally agree with. It gets old to me when I read that Narduzzi won 8 regular season games 2 years in a row with HCPC’s recruits when I don’t think Paul Chryst could have done that himself. Nate P was a Narduzzi recruit and without him PC never would have won 8 regular season games with those players. imo.

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  23. That article posted by wwb was very telling. Pitt is nearly the worst destination job for an athletic director relative to other ACC schools.

    That perception is based on how things are today but also how things are perceived to be in the future. I guess the general consensus is a vote of no confidence for Heather.

    I do give her credit for certain things but I also think the job is too big for her. There is a reason why she is among the lowest paid AD’s in P-5. Tells me that Pitt is not truly serious about addressing some major problems. Or they fully expect Heather to fix things and will continue paying her well below market. However her payoff if she’s successful will be with a Big 10 school that’s serious about sports.

    Pitt needs to run sports like a Fortune 500 business and not like the Post Office.

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    1. I don’t see at all how this is a no-vote of confidence for the current admin. All the issues Pitt scored low in have been long term. None of them have recently cropped up

      Like

      1. The article implies that the situation at Pitt is hopeless. I guess Pitt doesn’t get credit for Victory Heights until it materializes. I also guess no credit is due until donations improve. That metric at least should have improved by now. Heather has been here over 30 months now.

        With the right will and leadership, I see no reason why Pitt cannot be in the top half of the conference as opposed to nearly dead last. But I also understand that those southern schools have a sports culture and Pitt is swimming upstream.

        Like I said before, Pitt is a misfit in this conference. Pitt loves the money and the leaders love to sip southern tea, but Pitt is more similar philosophically with Eastern or mid western schools. Fans are going to get sick and tired of finishing last in sports and being embarrassed by facilities relative to other conference schools.

        A perfect fit for Pitt would be a conference with schools like Illinois, Indiana, Purdue, Cincy, Syracuse, BC, Rutgers, Temple, Buffalo, UConn, WVU. That’s a respectable 12 school conference where Pitt’s mediocrity could transform into excellence.

        Like

    2. I agree with wwb. This not an indictment of Lyke or Gallahger for that matter.
      Tx, your analysis fails to account for many inter-dependencies between those areas.

      Like

      1. It also fails at account for bias amongst those who are rating. Quality of life is Pittsburg for example is extremely high. Save for the weather, it’s as good or better than in Atlanta for example. The arts are certainly better in Pittsburgh as is the cost of living. I’ve lived in both places.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. It’s a current state of the sports program. How long have those two been employed at Pitt? Over 30 months.

        The article also implies that things won’t improve enough to leapfrog any school. So the future state of Pitt sports is bleak relative to other ACC schools.

        This job is too big for Gallagher and Lyke. You need a CEO type individual to run sports. Leave Gallagher to count his atoms and sip tea.

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  24. In the other thread there was a debate about the OL vs. Pickett … I think part of the reason it was such a passionate discussion is in this Q&A. This is a very honest answer … and obvious … but maybe that’s why it was so divided. Both were a factor. Poor OL play along with a QB who has happy feet. Plays were there to be made but maybe at a quicker pace than anticipated.

    Q. The pressure that Virginia generated on Saturday, how much of that was just their guys executing and how much of that was holding on to the ball too long? I assume it was a little bit of everything.

    PAT NARDUZZI: I think it’s always a little bit of everything, but they did run a blitz that we didn’t expect, and they ran it quite a few times. I don’t think — our new guys seemed to always be on the right side, but I don’t think our new guys reacted to it as well as we need to. And again, it’s throwing the ball on time. We had guys open more than you can think, and we’ve just got to make better, quicker decisions and get the ball out. So it’s a little bit of both.

    Liked by 1 person

  25. Here is another Q&A that puts the pass/run differential in context. Context is always the key and this is a good point. Being down in the 4th lead to the large differential.

    Q. Can establishing the run game kind of help out Kenny and take a little pressure off of him?

    PAT NARDUZZI: No question about it. It definitely can. The run game can. We got behind the sticks. You get a punt blocked, you give them short field, you’re behind the sticks. The fourth quarter we threw 17 times, ran it once. Well, that’s a time you can’t. I think it was 24-19 run-to-pass early — I should say pass to run, 24 passes, 19 before you even got to the fourth quarter, but when you’re behind, you end up throwing it, so those stats kind of get watered down a little bit.

    But you know, we had guys open. We’ve got to hit them, we’ve got to catch it. That’s what it comes down to.

    Like

  26. TT Pickett complete the early side open passes the blitzes don’t happen as often. Those blitz plays were manifested out of inaccurate passing and dropped balls. The game plan was spot on imo.

    Like

  27. The quick release and crossing patterns will help to negate the blitz. UVA obviously kept at it because it was being successful, that is Pitt did not adjust to it. Again, my previous question about the TE play, with 3 catches for 4 yards. I see that Narduzzi mentioned that the blitzes seems to be coming from the right side. I thought Pitt brought in a grad transfer OT who was supposed to handle that.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The OT normally blocks the DE opposite him, not the blitzer …. however, that may differ in a zone blocking scheme

      The solution is anticipating the blitz, especially in passing situations, and doing something about it. This is where Pitt has failed miserably in recent games.

      Liked by 1 person

    2. If Pitt doesn’t scheme against the blitz this week they are just plain dumb. Teams are going to keep doing it until we prove we can negate it

      Like

      1. Ohio’s defense didn’t finish ranked 20th in the nation last year with 8 returning starters. If PITT can’t move the ball come Saturday morning they never will.

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  28. This was one of Duzz’s better pressers. A lot of good information here. He doesn’t sound like a coach with confidence in his QB. That’s for sure. He didn’t love the O-line play but seemed to chalk it up to experience. He didn’t seem overly concerned. I didn’t hear the presser, but reading it, it sounds like maybe the no huddle will be more prevalent moving forward. The differential in starting position was jarring. I knew UVA had the clear advantage but not by 222 yards.

    I think the Coastal winner will probably be 6-2 in conference. Pitt has to run the table to repeat IMO as I think UVA will be at least one of the teams at 6-2.

    The PSU game looks scary at this point.

    Liked by 2 people

  29. Pitt must get a couple of turnovers against Pedo, or the results could be devastating. I’m guessing the book has already been written as far as how to defend against Pickett. Take away the rollout option and force him to sit in the pocket and find receivers. Blitz until the OL can stop it. The RBs must stay in to protect, which limits their production. Force Pickett to beat them with the passing game.

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  30. He should have just saved us all time and said the loss is 100 percent on me because I didn’t have these players prepared enough. You knew this would happen with a new line, new backs, QB headcase, and new playbook. But people on here were expecting Pitt to put up 30. Ridiculous.

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  31. If Pickett plays in the Ohio game as he did in the VA game he will be replaced shortly by Whipple. Chris Peak mentioned that Pitt has got to get the ball in the hands of Ffrench more often then he did in the Va game. IMO he needs to get the ball in the hands of all three of our “mini’s” Ffrench, V Davis and Carter as much as possible. If Pickett can’t do it I’d give Patti a shot first since I believe he also has some running ability to bring to the table.

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    1. I wonder if Whipple/Narduzzi would replace a QB after Ohio with one week to prepare for psu. I’m guessing not, but who knows. Lets hope Kenny improves this week.

      Like

  32. ACC scheduling last week went with putting the most competitive and important games at the right spots last week. Next week we are at 11 am because who will watch this game but us. I assume ACC home games on ACCN unless bigger money comes from big networks. I suspect DE game may be 11 am on ACCN (a bloody merry game).

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  33. I guess I need to carry my TV around to watch volleyball and wrestling now. Or any Olympic sport. Pitts two best programs just got shat on.

    Like

  34. While I tend to agree with the changing of coordinators, I think it goes deeper than that IMO. In programs at the level of Pitt, coordinators often use it as a stepping stone for bigger, better opportunities. This is not to say Pitt has had that happen other than with Matt Canada maybe. I am mean more in the generic sense.

    However, what seems to be happening here is that instead of building on something like say hey we have strong running tradition, let’s continue to focus on that while improving our pass game, it appears that a defensive minded head coach is grasping at straws and saying let’s choose a completely different direction with a pass happy OC.

    Fair or unfair, that causes a lot of instability. I guess the problem here is that what was needed was more tuning not a complete overhaul. And if you OL is young it might have been better suited to allow them to continue with a run first blocking style as opposed to focusing on pass blocking. lot’s of things like technique, muscle memory, execution…all play a part.

    So perhaps it has to do with building on a consistent approach as opposed to “grasping at straws.”

    Dave

    Like

    1. Dave – I agree with your thoughts. PN never at any point in the game tried to establish a running game. We threw the ball at very inopportune times actually. To wit:

      Down by two points to start the 3rd quarter we went out and called three straight pass plays with two incomplete and the last an INT. Then on the next series Whipple calls for eight pass plays out of 11 total plays… So in a total of 15 plays to start the 3rd quarter we tried 11 pass plays and gained a total of 22 yards and with that grabbed only two first downs

      And btw in those two series we took only 5:38 off the clock in what was a very tight scoring game to that point.

      Sorry, but that is going against tried and true football procedure that in a close game you mix the pass and runs to maximize time off the clock by getting 1st downs – preferably by running the ball to keep the ball out of the other team’s hands and the clock running. You may say the run game wasn’t working but the staff never gave it a chance to.

      I really don’t get what Narduzzi was trying to accomplish in that 2nd half – it was like we are going to stick with the passing game no matter what even when it wasn’t working hardly at all. So overall we did the exact opposite of what gave him almost every win he’s had at Pitt – abandoned an offense predicated on majority of running plays to move the sticks.

      Instead our pass/run split was 60/40 heavy on the pass– I can’t remember any other game in recent times that we were so pass heavy in a game. We have always been the exact opposite in fact. So I really think that Whipple may take this offense very personally and stick with the passing game because that is what he’s been good at – and totally minimize the run game to do so.

      We’ll be in a world of hurt if that happens because i don’t think our defense is going to be good enough to create lots of 3 and outs by the other teams. And our passing game won’t be able to score points so much that we don’t have to worry about clock management.

      Liked by 2 people

  35. Heard Coach Borbs say that Morrissey and Hargrove played well. The new three had some problems.

    I thought he said that our QB was “hurried” 14 times. Sure, some of that’s on KP, but I rarely saw a pocket for him to step up into. The UVA scheme seemed to be to get pressure up the middle so KP couldn’t step into his throws. And it worked.

    I wonder how many “hurries” KP had in the WF game last season, or the Duke game where he completed some longer passes…

    Ohio plays a 4-3 defense. Our OLine should be more comfortable this week because that’s what we play and what we normally practice against. We shall see…

    Go Pitt.

    Like

  36. I guess we’ll do predictions at a later date but I’ll say again – this team cannot overlook Delaware especially if we are coming of two big losses – which might happen. If we go in 1-3 and looking toward ACC opponent Duke that could be a big mistake.

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  37. “That’s kind of my philosophy in the game, to really run hard at people, downhill kind of running. Although, we’ll utilize the option a lot which is not downhill necessarily. That’s what I like about the game, the toughness part of it, how your players respond to that, how your linemen love it. They’re upset when they come off the field, “you’re throwing too much coach…”

    Ohio Coach Frank Solich at Tuesday Press Conference

    Going to be interesting to see if they stick to this philosophy come Saturday.

    Like

  38. Personally, I saw enough of Pitt’s Defense Saturday to believe they’ll be up to the challenge.

    Don’t get me wrong. There were a couple of PRETENDERS out there in the Defensive Front.

    But Reynolds and the rest of the Linebackers should make things interesting Saturday.

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    1. I was really disappointed with Twyman. I watched him specifically for several plays. Was dancing and one play he actually tried to jump. Was not even close to worthy of 97. Hopefully partridge straightens him out this week

      Like

  39. TT, I’m not sure I’m buying what the coach is selling. Is he trying to convince himself or provide cover to his coordinator. The fact that he had to address it at all tells me there is an issue.

    The game was not out of hand until pretty late in the fourth quarter, at least on the scoreboard. Also, I didn’t notice any urgency in the passing game, no hurry up offense etc. There was still plenty of time to run the ball in the second half. Why no draw plays or shovel passes to keep the pass rush honest?

    Another thing is that I am not sure I like KP running halfway to the sidelines on every play to get his marching orders. Don’t know but it seems like they were asking for signals to be stolen. Maybe a minor point but how many times do you see coaches holding cards up to their face so know one can read their lips.

    When you run the ball the O-line gets a chance to hit instead of being hit, to inflict pain instead of receiving pain. It also gives your QB a break. Football is still a game of exerting force to put the opposition on its heels. Narduzzi mentioned that they used some blitzes we weren’t expecting, another reason to run more not less.

    KP threw 41 times and ran 12, he is not the only athlete on the team. That is too much, no wonder he threw two interceptions. He was probably exhausted, mentally and physically. Give the backs a chance.

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    1. After the time of possession issues in the first quarter, Pitt could not run the hurry up all game. It would have killed their own defense.

      They were down 2 scores in the 4th quarter thanks to a missed FG. The pass to run ration was 15/1 in the 4th. That’s what skews the stats so much. It was just game situation that lead to the extreme differential.

      Like

  40. I didn’t see anything on Saturday that made me waver from my prediction of a 6-6 record (which included a loss to Virginia). Well, maybe my “worst case scenario” projection is looking more realistic and less worst case, given Pitt’s performance and the progress of some others around the conference (BC & UNC). Still, there were enough hopeful signs to make me think Pitt will beat Ohio and Delaware and find 4 wins in conference. That doesn’t mean I wasn’t discouraged, though. As others have said, it was not so much the loss, but the manner of the loss.

    Good

    The defense looked solid for the most part. I definitely had the “Oh, here we go” feeling the first couple of UVa drives, but once Pitt’s defensive players got the feel of the game and settled down, they acquitted themselves well. This won’t be a lockdown defense, but they should be able to keep everyone except Penn State, UCF, and maybe Miami (depending on the development of their QB) under 30 which, unless your name is Saban or Swinney, is about you can ask for in college football these days.

    Not sure I understand those who dismiss the impact of constant three-and-outs, numerous turnovers (4 including the blocked punt and turnover on downs ) and an average opponent starting position near midfield. Context matters. With competent offensive play – not great or even good, just competent – to help the D, Virginia probably scores about 17 points.

    I was also encouraged by the fact that receivers were getting open. Now, they have to work on catching it once they’re open (assuming the ball is in the area code), but the fact that receivers were getting so much more separation than last year, shows this offense can work with the right QB at the controls.

    Bad

    Lingering question whether we have the right QB at the controls. I said in a post this offseason that I was worried about Pickett because he showed signs of skittishness in response to last year’s beating. I said at the time (and Tossing Thabeets also noted in a post earlier this week) that once your psyche has been dented that way, it’s hard to recover from. I really like Pickett and hope he can find his groove for his sake and the team’s. If he can’t, is there a compelling alternative on the team? Seems unlikely, but we may find out in the UCF game (don’t see Narduzzi making a change on the road at Penn State).

    Ugly

    Getting shut out for an entire half of modern college football against a team that isn’t Clemson or Alabama. And even those powerhouses don’t do this very often. Virginia’s defense is good, but nothing special. This same Pitt team with a better than average QB probably scores 28 and, in the process, takes about 10 points off the other side’s total. Like POD, I’d be surprised if UVa loses fewer than two games in conference and I think four conference losses (they play Notre Dame and FSU in addition to their division opponents) is a real possibility. In year five of the regime, Pitt should not be making that D look the ’86 Bears. Appalling.

    Liked by 2 people

      1. Seriously that was some good directorship. I’ve given up and have resorted to dark comedies and horror films. That’s the Pitt program at the moment.

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  41. I would kill for a 5 minute no BS assessment of Pitt’s actual qb situation from whipple. Because the reality is if we had a decent qb this year’s team would be good and next year could be special.

    Like

  42. IMHO, neither Patti nor George would have done better than KP against that UVA pressure.

    I want to see a game where KP has a pocket and can step into his throws without a guy in his face. If he’s missing open guys under those circumstances, then I’ll be convinced we should try someone else…

    Go Pitt.

    Like

      1. I’ll admit I didn’t have a great vantage point for the game and haven’t seen a replay.

        I was in the lower bowl at the 45 yard line about 15 rows back. My usual seats are in the front section of the upper deck – my preference.

        The atmosphere in the lower bowl is better, but the view of what’s really going on isn’t so good from down there…

        I did like that everyone around us stood and cheered on the Pitt defense on every third down…

        Go Pitt.

        Liked by 1 person

    1. I can buy that – to an extent. But I think about Pitt’s first third down. After two crappy plays, Coach Whip calls a screen to Ffrench. Check it out if you can find a replay.

      Should have been a big gainer, but two guys come in fast from the right side and get close enough to Pickett, with their arms up, to disrupt the play…

      KP has two guys in his face who had not been delayed at all by the line… Just one play, but what happens if we gain 20, 30, 40 yards on that play to Ffrench???

      I think it’s a different game from the aspects of confidence, field position, etc.

      But I’m a diehard fan – can’t help it…🤓

      Go Pitt.

      Like

  43. Agree John but KP flat lined the ball instead of throwing over their arms like he should have done. I think that was the play that made Whipple go ballistic. It was practice to death. << I could be wrong?

    Like

  44. Pitt ran 18 plays in the 4th quarter, right? Of those, 17 were passes and 1 run. Pitt was well behind and the pass to run ratio was a bit skewed. However, Whipple came here with a passing pedigree, so we should expect more pass than run.

    I think Pitt wins this week, but it should not be anything to celebrate. Ohio is not in a P5 conference. Until such time as we win regularly against P5 opponents,

    Pitt is struggling to hold on to its academic standing. They have already lost their athletic standing. This is why I argued that we needed a real strong hire for AD and football head coach. Strong football and bball programs put your school on the map. It creates interest that college fairs cannot even come close to replicating.

    Kids want to go to school where athletics is solid, to great. The best and most gifted kids want to go somewhere where athletics compliments academics and vice versa. Kids want to be part of something special.

    Athletics rounds out the overall educational experience. If you all recall, students have a lot of downtime while in college. Great schools use the downtime to make the students a part of the athletic programs. All pulling in the same direction will result in greater donations later.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Right you are Huff the Third…. Problem here is there is a lost generation or two of school spirit at PITT. It’s not an overnight fix like your comment suggests.

      Like

      1. It’s not overnight but there can be a fix if Pitt is really serious. Problem is…it’s not.

        When your AD is getting paid 30 percent of market, you get 30 percent.

        Pitt needs 200 percent just to catch up.

        Liked by 1 person

  45. I wrote yesterday that Dokish is just a typical overreactive fan. Many of you may recall that he championed Wanny’s firing

    Chris Dokish@ChrisDokish
    My ranking of Pitt head coaches (just what they did at Pitt), since Jackie Sherrill left.

    Wannstedt
    Harris
    Gottfried
    Narduzzi
    Chryst
    Fazio
    Graham
    Hackett
    Majors II
    Haywood

    Like

    1. Pitt could have avoided six coaches on this list and looked much better at running athletics in this scenario:

      Gottfried 1986-1998
      Wannstedt 1999-2016
      Narduzzi or another guy 2017-Present

      What a shame. And to think how much I read about how smart these university leaders are.

      Liked by 2 people

    1. Practice squad ain’t a bad place to be. $250k a year I think and basically just hang out and you get a shot again next year

      Like

      1. Last season being on the PS paid $129,200. I’m sure it went up with the cap increasing.

        That’s some nine coin whip avoiding having to go out in the working world.

        Like

          1. Since you were an English major I do apologize for any errors in my posts 🙂

            I try to review before posting, but I usually never proofread when typing before leaving for work.

            Like

  46. Earlier posted a few questions. Here’s question No. 2…

    xxxxxxxx

    2) Will CHANGES come to the Offensive Line to improve both Run Blocking and Pass Protection? In other words is Borbely up to the task?

    xxxxxxxx

    No sooner I ask that question and, lo and behold, the answer magically appears.

    But the answer might doing nothing more than leave you scratching your head!

    https://triblive.com/sports/pitt-line-coach-dave-borbely-hopes-moments-with-his-players-lead-to-improvement/

    Like

    1. I watched the interview with Borebly.

      Obviously he isn’t going to say his unit sucked, but maybe there is truth in his statements. My interpretation is that he is agreeing with Narduzzi and Whipple. Pickett was holding on to the ball to long and missing open receivers.

      Unfortunately, Pitt didn’t have a cupcake game so two QBs could play. I never had an issue with giving another QB a series once in a while. That may happen this week.

      Like

  47. I found a Wake Forest / Pitt 2018 game program in my vehicle…forgot to mention it earlier. Let me know and i will get it to you.

    Like

  48. Like just about everyone else, I wouldn’t mind seeing a change at QB, However, we really don’t know much about Patti and George … except that George’s dad had a gun (a strong arm reference for the PC police).

    And even the coaches won’t know how these guys will perform under game pressure. And amazingly, that was the trait that made a large impression with me about Pickett in his frosh year. He came in vs VT and Miami, and never seemed flustered at all.

    Like

  49. I certainly don’t disagree …

    Matt Galambos@Galambos47
    In order for Pitt to truly “re-brand” and take that next step…we must end Sweet Caroline and move on…

    Liked by 1 person

  50. IMO the only relevant comparisons are GT and BC – surprised Stanford is so low but Cal is right in the neighbor hood

    Adrian Peters@VeritasSports1
    Sep 2

    2018 avg attend. for FBS teams in NFL cities:
    (FBS: 41,856)

    Wash: 69,068
    Mia: 61,469
    USC: 55,449
    UCLA: 51,164
    ASU: 48,515
    GT: 43,087
    Cal: 42,866
    Pitt: 41,696
    USF: 38,517
    RU: 38,799
    Min: 37,915
    Stan: 37,842
    BC: 37,623
    Cin: 30,519
    UH: 29,838
    Tem: 28,470
    Buff: 18,380
    Tul: 18,015

    Like

    1. You are correct, BC and GT are the most comparable.

      I saw some of the Stanford game this past weekend, the stadium was very empty and they played Northwestern, a decent opponent.

      No way Miami had 61K, that is comical.

      Pitt is lucky they get 20K this weekend.

      Like

      1. I’ll take the over on 20k vs Ohio. Won’t be by much but I’ll take it . Going to be a lot of yellow ….

        Like

  51. As far as Borbely and the Line goes… personally think Borebly is basically admitting himself that for the most part his Linemen weren’t very good Saturday.

    That’s being honest… which is good.

    But what is concerning is some of the specifics…

    The Left Tackle you have been RAVING about all through Camp was “tired.”
    You were intent on getting key backup Carson Van Lynn in the Game but you didn’t do it because it was in your words such a “debacle.”
    And now you’re now telling your Players not to worry because it’s a “marathon” and there are plenty of games left to get better.

    Wow.

    Bottom line… Despite some of the sentiments expressed that it was ALL Pickett or ALL Whipple, it is pretty obvious Borbely’s Line was NOT quite ready for Prime Time!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. But that was pretty much a given since most haven’t played much and they certainly have not played as a unit. They also played against a pretty tough defense.

      Again, I think the game plan was too much for the relative skills of the players. The term “Dumb it Down” comes to mind. Should have had a game plan that was easier to execute.

      No doubt we all knew that the O-line was most likely the weakest link, so why not call more plays that were easier to execute?

      Some times “Less is More”

      Liked by 1 person

      1. GC – I do remember Coach Whip stating sometime before the UVA game that he had “scratched out” some plays for that game because the offense wasn’t able to run them well enough…

        I guess we’ll know a lot more by about 2 o’clock Saturday…

        Go Pitt.

        Like

  52. Pickett has had sixteen starts to prove himself. Only 2 or 3 stand out to me as great performances. (his first start to upset Miami, beating Wake Forest for the Coastal, and Syracuse last year)

    If I’m the Nard Dawg, I give Kenny the cupcake game at Ohio to sort himself out and then the PSU game is time to perform or get off of the pot. If we get blown out against PSU and his numbers are awful, it’s time to give the highly touted Davis Beville the reigns. Heck, I’ve watched Jeff George Jr. play better at Illinois but he is a senior. By start sixteen, you either have it or you don’t and I like Kenny, but me thinks he just ain’t got it for the P5 level.

    Liked by 1 person

  53. Annie and Kurt…thanks a million for the homemade blueberry pie..only a small portion made it back to NC,,,Kurt, you are a master brewer but with your scientist background I bet you can take brewing to another level !!!!!

    Great seeing everyone again at the golf outing/tailgate..what a great bunch of people!!!! My boy Whiskey had a Top 10 week-end in a large part because of the POV gang….

    Beat the Bobcats and Hail to PITT, worts and all………..

    PS..new grandbaby boy leaving the nest and entering the world sometime between 2-3 pm today.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Where are you getting that Grandson from….. Amazon? They give you a specific delivery time?? 🙂 Just kidding B, I know, the baby is way past due and praying for your daughter and the new baby Boy! Best Wishes to all!

      Like

  54. Game one, Pickett showed:

    A lack of poise
    Little pocket presence
    No touch on the ball
    Little accuracy
    Inability to read the blitz and put running backs in the right position to pick it up and block for him
    He’s pretty good at handing the ball off
    Did I miss anything

    The first two over throws were perfectly designed pass plays.

    Good QB’s don’t mind the other team blitzing as they make them pay for vacating a certain area of the playing field.

    On the play to Tipton, Whipple set that play up and waited for the perfect time to call it. KP didn’t throw the ball soon enough. Big missed opportunity.

    Narduzzi’s presser was good

    Borb’s interview was good

    Pickett did stand there for his interview like a man and that couldn’t have been easy.

    That was one game and we don’t know how good Virginia is so we don’t know how bad PITT is either. This week we will find out. PITT cannot, should not and better not lose to Ohio.

    Liked by 1 person

  55. It’s a toss up game this week unless the Pitt offense actually shows up for the game. Next QB up will be Patti and we may see him in the 2nd half of this weeks game,

    Like

  56. with regard to that Galambos tweet posted earlier, if you look on Page 72 of that program handed out at the game, sadly, you will see the lyrics for the Alma Mater, Hail to Pitt, Pitt Victory Song …. and Sweet Caroline.

    On the other hand, if you look on Pg 43, you will see that ex-Panther Edgar ‘Special Delivery’ Jones finished 7th in the Heisman in 1941.

    Like

  57. I watched a few series from the Ohio v Rhode Island game this past weekend (available on YouTube). My impression is that the Ohio D is not nearly as talented as the VA D. Pitt should have some success against them. Pitt should score some points.

    However, on the other side of the ball, the Ohio QB is an accurate passer, the WRs are solid, and the OL is average. The Ohio QB throws with touch when needed, throws darts as well, is a solid runner (though not as fast as some that I’ve seen) and is a real gamer. The Ohio RBs are solid. I saw no passes to the TE, who mostly stayed home to block. The Ohio offense doesn’t have many game changer type players (one small slot guy with speed), but is just really solid and it starts with their QB.

    On two occasions in the brief time that I watched, the Ohio QB made a quick decision to go ‘up tempo’ and in both instances really caught the opposition flat footed… Ohio used quick slants and WR screens to set up longer pass plays. The QB operates from the shotgun and on the short pass plays (slants etc.) the ball was out of his hands in under two seconds for 5 to 7 yard gains.

    Our D line should be able to pressure him, but will need to also contain him (much like we did with VA). Our LBs and DBs will be able to cover but the short passing game will be successful against us.

    Just some random observations.

    Liked by 2 people

  58. Nice scouting report Rocky, thank you….. Let’s hope gorilla arms takes notice… << yes I borrowed that from my buddy Upitt. Where have you been pal?

    Like

  59. Speaking of gorillas I was looking on Fanatics website for gear and hit Pittsburg State Gorillas by mistake.
    Besides a cool gorilla logo they use both a script Pitt and PSU on their gear.
    Biggie, you proud grandpa!
    Best wishes for your family.

    Liked by 2 people

  60. Twyman had 2 tackles – 1 asst and 1 solo.

    This site has Pitt giving 5.0 points to Ohio:

    https://www.teamrankings.com/college-football/team/pittsburgh-panthers

    Mathews should have been told to bulk up to around 240 or so and moved to TE two years ago. That is something I can’t understand – after getting such great play and production out of the two TEs Narduzzi inherited with Holtz and Orndoff it has been like he’s not paying attention to the position at all.

    Regardless of his recruiting ability in that area his offenses just haven’t used them at all hardly. Maybe that’s why Clark and Sear bagged I suppose – I’d very much like Sear to be out there this season.

    Whipple’s TEs only had 22 catches all ’18 so that’s not really part of his gameplan – but then again he didn’t have a panicky QB either.

    What I was surprised about is the uptempo offense Whipple called on a few series even when it was pretty obvious the O personnel were somewhat confused and making mistakes running plays right out of a regular huddle at the start of the game. They got some yardage with th up tempo, but if I’m not mistaken, it wasn’t done on the scoring drives in the 2nd quarter.

    Like

    1. Whipple has used the TE’s in his offense when he had a good one. The name escapes me but he had a high star TE transfer from PSU at Mass. and I believe he had 80 plus catches for the season a few years back.

      Like

  61. Pickett’s problem with the long passes isn’t accuracy – it is the same problem he has on short passes in that he can’t put ‘touch’ on the ball.

    For the deep patterns that means throwing an arc that not only leads the WR but falls down toward him. KP’s still throw speed balls that are too high and on a line so they pass right over the WR with giving them a chance to try to high point the pass as it drops.

    Liked by 4 people

  62. It’s now official: Camp is out for the year.

    Rehab can be a lonely process, but he and Weaver will be together going through the process. I was wondering if Camp would give up football but my guess is he comes back.

    Next man up.

    Like

    1. This may work out actually. Pitt will stink this year like, well….you know. So now we get our 2 best defensive lineman back for 2 more years where Pitt has a better chance on winning 7 games!

      Like

  63. Just watched the weather, batten down the hatches Doug, Tom and Bruce and everyone else in the path. BigB, hope you already got the BigB boat out of the water. Greatest luck to all!!

    Like

  64. U Mass tight end Adam Breneman: During the 2017 season, Breneman once again led the country in receptions by a tight end. Despite missing a game with a minor ankle injury.

    Like

  65. Reed is right, PITT needs to find a more than serviceable Tight End. They need to find a stud like Charles Reeves, which they did, and keep the kid in school. (didn’t Reeves want to come back to PITT after transferring?) Whipple will definitely throw to the TE if he has a good one. …. More on Breneman..

    Breneman finished his college football career with 149 receptions, 1,758 yards, and 15 touchdowns. Despite just two seasons at the University of Massachusetts, he finished his career as the all-time leader in receiving by a tight end in school history.

    Like

    1. Seems like we keep recruiting very tall, not very fast, TE who look like future OTs.

      It’s like RBs, we have a mold or model in mind and we stick to it…

      I’d like to see the recruiting philosophy change for both positions – perhaps we’re seeing some change in RB recruiting…

      Go Pitt.

      Like

  66. If we could somehow wipe out the memory of that Miami game, where Pickett excited Pitt fans and set a level of expectation that continues to this day, how would we feel about him now? Looking only at performance over last year and this year’s first game, I don’t think he would even be the starter now. How can one game cause Narduzzi and Pitt football enthusiasts to fall so much in love with this guy?

    Liked by 3 people

  67. Ohio is now the most important game of the season. If Pitt can’t beat them, Pitt will be looking at a possible 0-4 start. Attendance will tank. Recruiting will become more difficult. There will be more people like me. Like Tex from Aspinwal. Tex from Bloomfield. Tex from Mount Lebo. They will all be itchin to grind the ax.

    https://www.cardiachill.com/2019/9/4/20847924/pitt-vs-ohio-line-odds-spread-betting-gambling-pittsburgh-panthers-bobcats-2019-acc-preview

    Liked by 1 person

    1. If Pitt wins, it’s more relief at this point. A win prevents a complete disaster of a season. If they lose, sharks smell the blood and Pitt will be eaten whole by The Pedos and CFL.

      Pitt is the slight favorite in this game. They are expected to win. This is a MAC team. The only reason why the spread is tight is because Ohio has the better head coach. And Ohio has some decent and experienced players. Pitt doesn’t have elite talent to blow this team out.

      It comes down to a field goal in overtime.

      Like

      1. Pit’s got enough “speed”on offense to blow out Ohio. The only problem is do they have a QB that can get the ball in the hands of Ffrench, V’lique Carter and and Michael Davis on a consistent basis. I’m hoping Whi[[le has figured that out by now.

        Like

  68. Either way, this feels like it’s going to be the 2007 season all over again, where a half-decent team was done in by rotten QB play. The difference there was that that was Wannstedt’s second season, rather than his 5th.

    Like

    1. But let’s have Narduzzi live out his contract. I believe Heather extended him until 2024. A coach with a 9-15 record against P-5 schools in the past 2 years.

      Like

  69. I’m going to go out on a limb here. I guarantee that Pitt wins on Saturday. And, if they don’t, Ike will eat one dozen rocky mountain oysters (i’ll overnight them to him) at the next tailgate! 🙂

    Like

  70. I don’t know Rocky, maybe hold the bull balls, having enough stomach issues. BUT! back in the day I may have tried them. Although I bet Fran and Scooter would give em a try. 🙂 🙂 Having said that……. PITT wins Saturday so save a bull and send an order from chick-filet. haha!

    Liked by 1 person

  71. Sorry for the nightmare scenario (I so do not want/think this will happen Personally I think it will be close to 6 wins +/- 1), but is there any scenario that PN would not be the coach next year? I suppose the worst case would be winless season but what happens if there is a double digit collapse because of an incapable offense (2-10 let’s say win against Delaware and UNC at home)?

    Or is it stick with Coach Nard through thick & thin.

    Dave

    Like

  72. Rocky, I harvested an elk in northern BC… we skinned him, packed the meat onto the horses and rode back to camp… the guide was holding something in his hands and walked over to show me our appetizer- elk nuts!!!! Did any of you know Canadian beer can kick your a$$… I found out that night ( and the next morning) after getting a six pack out of the ice cold creek and downing all of them prior to the enjoying. testicular morsels…. if you try them don’t order them “ rare.”

    Liked by 1 person

  73. I think Coach Duzz will be here this season and next no matter what.

    But if he doesn’t win 8 or more next season, I think Heather will look for a new head coach.

    Go Pitt.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I agree with your assessment MM. even if he wins 5 again … and that will be painful, he’ll get a mulligan. But…his seat will be VERY hot

      Liked by 1 person

  74. Shout out to Sheldon Pratt of the frat for coming by the tailgate… we are heading back for the UCF GAME… hope to see you again, leaving Whiskey at home and bringing my bride this go round….

    you guys are too much gloom and doom… one game at a time….certainly not HartHakettDePasqualeMajors2 football (yet)

    I don’t see KP turning himself around… he has the hardware.. the software is the issue…..

    Liked by 2 people

  75. a story in the Trib explains that the 11 am start this Saturday is not the earliest start for Pitt, there were a few others. But the earliest start was 10 am on Oct 13, 1979 when Pitt hosted Cincy. It was moved so not to conflict with the World Series game that afternoon between the Pirates and Orioles (a game I attended BTW)

    It also reports that even Alabama, which is in the central time zone, plays games at 11 am local time quite often

    Like

  76. More oysters, was invited on a deer hunt with a ranching family here in oklahoma. They took great delight in frying up the saved remnants of the spring calf cuttings. Rolled in flour and deep fried. After much ridicule I finally gave them a try. Tasted better dipped in “cocktail” sauce. That was the last and only time.

    Liked by 1 person

  77. I was at a business dinner several years ago when they were allegedly served. They were in a large serving dish along with other appetizers. Unknowingly, I didn’t eat any but was told that they were delicious by a few people who sat near me.

    Liked by 1 person

  78. Bernie, I wanted to stop by the tailgate, but was running late and barely made the kick off. Glad you have rebounded from the ticker issue, but constant vigilance is necessary!

    Like

  79. Revising my prediction to four wins, as it is shaping up to be one of those years.
    And if, deep down, you boys didn’t agree then you wouldn’t be chatting instead about munching the balls of ungulates.

    Liked by 1 person

  80. Hope the injury bug goes away…. starting to remind me of one of the DePasquale teams in the 70’s when the starting D was decimated by injuries…I think our D could be real solid otherwise…. if the O can find a way to get move the damn ball we can even win a couple of games….

    Like

  81. Boosters should be upset

    And yes narduzzi should never had been involved with the search for AD

    Heather then owes her job to him

    Heather then extends him until 2024

    And 47k was not a good showing.

    But we get what we pay for and right now it’s not a good value

    Pitt won’t have the balz to fire narduzzi even if the team wins fewer than 5 games.

    Like

  82. Mark Madden says Pitt needs it’s own stadium.

    Best quotes:

    “Pitt could use a better coach than Pat Narduzzi, who does more hyping and complaining than coaching and winning. He’s all hat, no cattle.

    OK, so Pitt won the ACC Coastal Division last season. That just got the Panthers’ heads kicked in by Clemson in the conference championship. (It was like the Pirates getting a wild card.)”

    https://triblive.com/sports/mark-madden-pitt-football-long-on-problems-short-on-fixes/

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The analogy of Pirates getting the wild card was s good one. Pitt got to play the national champ. For 2 years in a row, Pirates got to face the hottest pitchers in the game … Bumgarner and Arrieta

      Like

    1. I used a rubber band (gum band for you yinzers). Cut off blood to testicles & over time they fall off. Never had to worry about infections. You had to do it no later than 6 weeks after birth.

      Like

  83. Dang this board has been about as depressing as possible. Usually it’s a day or two venting after a loss. But this is worse. I agree the game was terrible but it was just one game people. Let’s let the season play out before jumping off the cliff .

    Like

  84. Pittman2003, I will be right with all the thoughts on the POV recently after week 8 or 9 with a failing PITT team but after week one? ………. I don’t quit that easy!

    Like

  85. The problem is the offense looks like it could be worse than 2017 with the absence of any decent running game. That coupled with the loss of two very good defensive lineman make for some dismal projections for Pitt going forward in 2019. A loss to Ohio followed by losses to PSU and Central Fla.(for 7 in a row) will seal the deal for both recruiting and our 2019 football season I’m afraid.—Finding a good replacement QB on the current roster might be Pitt’s only saving grace if the above scenario unfolds.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Well we haven’t lost to Ohio yet. Check out my preview. There is a chance Pickett gets on track

      Like

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