For the last edition of our slightly-too-late midseason grades series (it really should have been published last week), I’ll be reporting on special teams and coaching. Anybody wondering why we aren’t in the top 25 with a 4-2 record against a top-20 schedule? Look no further than coaching and the third phase. sigh
- Fewest Penalties per Game: 8.83. 124th out of 130 – 5th Percentile. The good news is that the only two power five teams lower than Pitt are Miami (9.0) and Syracuse (9.17). Also for some sand in the craw, #21 Cincinnati is 129th (10.17)
- Fewest Penalty Yards per Game: 83.17 – 127th out of 130 – 2nd Percentile. Oklahoma is the only P5 team lower than Pitt. (89.33).
- Kickoff Return Defense (avg Yards allowed): 18.67. 41st out of 130 – 68th Percentile. Pitt is tied with Florida.
- Kickoff Returns (avg yards per Return): 17.4. 111th out of 130 – 14th percentile. There we are, sandwiched between Georgia State and Army. FWIW, Georgia is 119th.
- Net Punting: 36.42. 97th out of 130 – 25th Percentile. Honestly didn’t think we were that bad, but turns out we actually aren’t that good.
- Punt Return Defense: 16.09. 120th out of 130 – 8th Percentile. For a team that prides itself on defense and tackling, this is mindbogglingly bad.
- Punt Returns: 6.83. 77th out of 130 – 40th Percentile. Thank goodness Ffrenchy flashed a little bit last week or we’d be at the bottom of the pile here too.
- Punting: 43.6. 35th out of 104 – 67th Percentile.
- Field Goal Percentage: .500. 101st out of 111. 9th Percentile. I like Alex Kessman and I get that he’s nice guy and a good kid, but these numbers speak for themselves. Pulling for him to redeem himself in the second half of the season.
- Winning Percentage: 32nd (T) – Well they say defense wins championships. Given that our very good defense has carried our middling offense and downright atrocious special teams to four wins against some stiff competition, I’d say the defense is at least winning games. Imagine what could be if this team actually managed to play disciplined football and sound special teams. *If* …
- Penalties / In Game Coaching: F
- Special Teams: F. Sorry, but Kirk Christodoulou’s respectable punting is not enough to avoid this grade.
- Winning Percentage: B. Raise your hand if you thought Pitt would be 4-2 at this point, and would take Penn State down to the wire. At the end of the day wins are the only stat the matters, and right now we are well above average.
Hail to Pitt. Tomorrow we talk Syracuse.