Historically bad, as a matter of fact.
This year’s team is averaging 19.9 points per game. That is the worst since Johnny Major’s 1996 team which averaged 19.5 points per game. In other words, this is Pitt’s worst scoring offense in 23 years.
And yet we still managed to win seven games. The 1996 Johnny Majors team won four.
Not that I’m trying to spin this, because four turnovers, four sacks and zero-for-two on redzone TD’s is squarely on the offense, and it’s completely unacceptable. Throw in a couple more botched goal-to-go series this season and heck we could be staring at 10-2.
But a chain is only as strong as its weakest link. And make no bones about it, after the last three games (after all the games except a couple really), it’s extremely clear that Pitt’s offense is the weakest link. To recap what happened today: Three fumbles against one of the worst defenses in college football. An INT where a true freshman receiver – but one who’s had all season to learn – makes the wrong read and doesn’t break in on a route. A false start on 1st and goal from the one – from a senior on senior day – the hero of the Pitt Special no less. Four sacks given up against a pass rush ranked 122nd out of 130 teams. The flat out refusal to hand the ball off to AJ Davis, even though he averaged 4.8 yards per carry in the first half, on just eight carries. No one is free from blame. Not a player. Not a position coach. Not a coordinator. Not Pat Narduzzi. No one.
Which brings us all to the elephant in the room. Why is Pitt still making these mistakes after 12 games? We all have our theories and I can tell you this: Pat Narduzzi is 2-9 after November 23rd, all time. That’s across five seasons and four different offensive coordinators.
Speaking of offensive coordinators. Mark Whipple. If we were to step back and look at this season objectively we could probably say that we would not have won seven games without him – because in some cases he turned lead into gold. But if we were to step back and look at our red zone offense objectively, we could also say Mark Whipple’s red zone offense really sucks. That’s the only word for it. Sucks. Pitt ranks 104th in red zone offense this year. You want to know who else ranks 104th? Umass. We are Umass. That sucks. I’m shaking my ****ing head as I write this.
Oh and for all you “wait till next year” guys, it’s probably not going to get any better in the near future. Here were Whipple’s red zone offenses ranked at Umass:
- 2014 – 117
- 2015 – 122
- 2016 – 105
- 2017 – 77
- 2018 – 51
I can tell you right now that if Whip’s offense finishes anywhere close to 104th in redzone offense next season he’s not going to make it to year four (and yes, he’ll get another season).
And so the windup is this. Mark Whipple has one more game to right the ship and get Pitt ‘s offense back to Pitt-vs-UNC form (arguably our best game, Certainly our best recent game). We’re not asking for anything fancy. We’re not asking for anything cute. We’re just asking for simple, basic, fundamentally sound football. And maybe a 50/50 run pass ratio. And a couple of rub-routes when we are down inside the five.
After suffering through the last eight quarters, I’d say that’s a pretty reasonable request.
Hail to Pitt