Miami Preview

Miami Preview

Pitt will play Miami for the 39th time on Saturday, and for the first time in a long time, Pitt will be favored to win.  Pitt has only beaten Miami 11 times in the previous 38 tries, and Pitt has only beaten Miami six times at home.

But this year is different.  The Panthers are bringing an aggressive and talented defense to the party, one that leads the country in sacks.  Miami, on the other hand, is bringing one of the worst offensive lines in the country. Continue reading “Miami Preview”

The QB Corner – Week 8

The QB Corner – Week 8

Stats brought to you by Richard Hefner – aka Pitt-Cocks Fan

Yesterday, we asked what would happen if Kenny Pickett was forced out of the Miami game, because the Syracuse.com power ranking article astutely pointed out that Kenny is “starting to show some wear and tear from Pitt’s one dimensional offense”.  Lets take a look at what Kenny has done so far this season and what might happen if the unthinkable does happen.

First, the basics.  Here are Kenny’s stats YTD, broken down by game.

Kenny Pickett Passing Stats 2019_wk 8.jpg

A couple of takeaways here.  Fist of all, Kenny statistically is still ranked towards the bottom of the NCAA.  However, he’s shown improvement over his last three games.  YPA is up in each game.  YPC is up in each game.  Passer rating has gone from 100.2 to 133.6.  That’s a 33% improvement.  His overall passer rating rank has improved from 109th to 90th.  That’s a at 17% improvement.  The data would suggest that needle is pointing up for Kenny.

Also it’s worth noting that Pickett threw a season-low 33 attempts against Syracuse.  He handed the ball off 38 times, and the running backs gained 151 yards.  Other teams have had varying amounts of success throwing the ball against the Hurricanes.  Here is a breakdown of what ACC quarterbacks have done.

ACC QB's against Miami - Week8 2019.gif

UNC’s Howell and VT’s Hooker clearly had success with the long ball.  Just look at those YPC.  (17.1 for Howell, adn 18.4 for Hooker.)  Whipple could decide to attack Miami in the same way, but in order to do that successfully Kenny needs to continue to work on his touch passing (put some air under the ball!), and the line needs to be able to give him time.  That’s a 50/50 proposition at best.

Perkins played dink and dunk and couldn’t put points on the board.  He was also sacked five times, so again, there is the whole pass protection factor.  Note also that Perkins threw the ball 42 times.  Howell and Herndon threw 24 and 20 times, respectively.

Graham – a true freshman QB – had the support of a very strong running game (45 att / 207 yards).  Can Pitt do this?  Running for 145 against Syracuse is one thing.  Running for 145 against Miami is something completely different.  Running for 200 against anybody is pretty much out of the question.

Still, Pitt is going to have to try to establish the run.  Two ACC teams have beaten Miami with a combination of a solid running game and the long ball.  UNC ran for 97 yards.  Virginia Tech ran for 150.  This in turn set up a deep passing game (off of play action I would assume).  UNC scored 28 and Tech scored 42.

So even if Pitt is able to run on Miami (unlikely…), you’d have to think that Kenny is still going to be asked to throw the ball at least thirty times., if not more.  If Pitt can’t establish the run, Kenny is going throw 40 times or more.  Either way, he’s going to take some hits in the process.  What happens if …?

rFr Nick Patti will be the first off the bench of course, and we’ve got a one-game body of work by which to judge him.

Nick Patti Delaware Stats.jpg

Not too bad…kind of similar to Pickett’s game against the ‘Cuse.

Miami’s defensive line, on the other hand, is in a completely different league than the Delaware Blue Hens.  If Patti has to see extended action against Miami will his stat line look more like KP against Virginia?  (87 QBR, 1 TD, 2 INT).  It very well may.  On the positive side, Patti has a game’s worth of experience in Whip’s system (Kenny did not when he played against UVA).  On the negative side, throwing Patti in against the ‘Canes would be a much sterner test than Delaware.  Still, Patti has some scrambling skills which could come in handy.  And he’s cool under pressure (anybody remember the UCF touchdown?).  On the other hand, Patti has also thrown some bad balls right to opposing defenders, and he’s lucky that he’s only had one of the intercepted.  It’s probably safe to say that Nick could use another year or two of seasoning before anyone feels really good about him playing against ACC competition, but we know he’ll give it all he’s got if he’s tapped to go in.

So yes, my extremely hot take (that’s sarcasm folks) is that Pitt has to find a way to keep Kenny Pickett in one piece on Saturday, and also give him a little bit of time to throw.  It’s the key to the game, and the key to the season.  I don’t know if they do that by keeping a tight end in to block, and a running back, or by calling plays where the back releases out as a safety valve so Kenny can throw before he’s hit, or by working on the screen game (which been pretty ineffective all season), or by doing something else, but Pitt has to do something.  Because if they don’t protect Kenny it’s going to be Pahtti-time on the Northside and I have a feeling that’s not the kind of “pah-ty” Pitt fans are wanting to attend.  Heyooo!

 

 

 

 

Pitt in the Rankings – Week 8

Pitt in the Rankings – Week 8

Lets start out Tuesday with some updated NCAA rankings.

First, Pitt is now showing up in both polls, listed under “others receiving votes”.

Here is the AP Poll:

top-25-week-9.png

 

Dropped from rankings: Missouri 22, Washington 25

Others receiving votes: Memphis 87, Virginia 29, San Diego State 17, Pittsburgh 17, Washington 15, Navy 9, Texas A&M 6, Missouri 4, USC 3, UCF 3, Louisiana Tech 2, Tulane 1

There are a few questionable teams ahead of us.

Cincinnati for one… Continue reading “Pitt in the Rankings – Week 8”

Monday Morning Quarterback – Syracuse

Monday Morning Quarterback – Syracuse

Whether you are basking in it, or fuming over it, it’s been a full two days since Pitt’s win over Syracuse.  Lets get the goods, bads and uglies out of our system before turning our attention to the hated ‘Canes.

The Good

Kenny Pickett:  His stat line wasn’t great, but he took a lot of hits and hung in there.  He also threw a picture-perfect back shoulder dart to Maurice Ffrench for a touchdown.  Pickett’s best play may have been at halftime when he saw “too many smiles” in the locker room and told the team they need to learn how to win by putting people away and finishing the right way.  While the team may or may not have taken it to heart this time around, Kenny’s speech is the kind of leadership Pitt needs if they want to have a shot a making this a special season.  Well done sir, and keep it up. Continue reading “Monday Morning Quarterback – Syracuse”

The Day After + Saturday Football Open Thread

So despite an ugly second half, Pitt now sits and 5-2 and we are a Virginia loss away from controlling our own destiny in the ACC Coastal.  I’ll post MMQB as usual on Monday, but I figured I’d give y’unz a new thread to comment on since the game thread tends to get saturated fast.  Focus should be on today’s games of course.  Here are a few notables from the schedule.

Noon

WVU @ Oklahoma (FOX) – Because nothing is better than watching the hoopies lose after watching Pitt win.

Florida @ South Carolina (ESPN) – The Cocks beat Florida last year and Georgia last week.  Chances are they slide back to mediocrity but hey, the first quarter is probably worth a gander.

Georgia Tech @ Miami (ACCN) – Don’t watch for the quality of the game.  Watch so you can lower your expectations for Pitt’s homecoming against the ‘Canes next week.  That defense is scary. Continue reading “The Day After + Saturday Football Open Thread”

QB Corner

QB Corner

This is something that I’ve been late in publishing, and it’s based on the work of Richard Hefner (also knowns as Pitt-Cocks Fan on the POV).  Richard has been diligently tracking QB stats all year, and I’ll be using his research to post a weekly “QB Corner” piece going forward.  Here is a short intro and something to sink your teeth into leading up to the game later today. 

Also for those of you who have had your comments disappear when posting (seems to happen to few of you from time to time), I’ve turned off the requirements to add your name and email, so please remember to type in a username when you post.  I don’t know if this will solve the problem, but I suspect it may help.  Thanks so much.

-Michaelangelo Continue reading “QB Corner”