Pat Narduzzi – 11th Practice

First of all…if you want some insight into how the Pitt Football press corps rolls watch the entire video. Chris Peak captured the pre-interview banter and it’s fabulous that he did.

My only question is why did nobody ask Chris Peak about what he was eating? Looked like a damn fine peach to me.

“It’s a beautiful day in Pittsburgh” – Pat Narduzzi. Ostensibly he said this as a follow up to Lucas Krull’s inadvertant shade-throw towards Pittsburgh’s weather in yesterday’s interview. Pat also went so far as to take is computer to the window to show off the practice fields and the lovely sunny day on the Southside. Well played Pat, because Summer in Pittsburgh is indeed very nice. Take it from a guy who now lives in the South where it is HOTTT.

On the offensive line and Running Backs: “We’re so much deeeper on the O line”

Gabe Houey coming off postseason surgery. Shoulder issue.

Goncalves has done a nice job

Owen Drexel “has really really stepped up”

Keldrick Wislon continues to progress – a different deal those ends rushing off the edge

Blake Zubovic – been playing a little right tackle. He’s really getting better.

There’s the normal guys, you know Carter Warren’s doing great.

MM Commentary. Okay so lets talk about the offensive line. If you haven’t been following along at home I recently subscribed to Pro Football Focus College, and let me tell you the stats they provide are eye opening. They grade Every Single Play – and have multiple people looking at the film. While it’s not going to be perfect, it’s perhaps the best representation of how players perform relative to expectation. Each player is then assigned a ranking based on their body of work from 1 – 100. Generally speaking anything over 80 is Very Good. (Patrick Jones Graded out at 82 for the season last year). From what I’ve seen mid 60’s is about average. 70’s is above average, 50’s is below, and well 40’s is Very Bad. 90+ of course is lights-out.

This data will bring a new level of analysis and perspective to the POV…and a level of cynicism not seen since the Reed Kohberger heyday. Are you ready? I’ll spoon feed you, but lets start with the offensive line.

“We’re so much deeeper on the O line” – Pat Narduzzi.

Michaelangelo’s take: I don’t think that matters becasue most of your starters aren’t very good.

The analysis: On the surface Pitt’s offensive line was middling as a pass blocking unit. They graded out at 58th out of 130 FBS teams in pass blocking, with a grade of 69.3. The optimist will point out that they finished ahead of such notable programs as LSU (68.7), Wisconsin (68.3) and Penn State (63.7) but the realist will point out that Kenny Pickett’s scrambling ability was the difference maker here.

Meanwhile Pitt’s run blocking graded out at 52.1. That was good for 117th in the country. Right behind Texas State and right ahead of Old Dominion.

Of course we need to double click into that. We all know that the strength of Pitt’s OL is the Center, and things gets worse as you go outside. And so lets have a look shall we? Here are the grades for last year (Again 80-89 considered VERY GOOD, 70-79 Above Average, 60 -69 Average, and so on… :

Player |Total | Pass Block | Run Block

Morrisey (C)| 71.4 | 80.7 | 67.1

Kradel (OG)| 65.0 | 61.8 | 68.5

Hargrove (OG)| 63.8 | 69.1 | 59.9

Ulizio (OT)| 58.3 | 74.8 | 51.0

Houy (OG/OT)| 57.9 | 68.6 | 55.1

Van Lynn (OT)| 46.2 | 53.2 | 45.4

Warren (OT)| 42.3 | 44.8 | 41.5

No wonder they brought in a grad transfer to compete at tackle. By the way he’s not doing very well. “Keldrick Wislon continues to progress – It’s a different deal those ends rushing off the edge” Translation – he’s getting his a$$ kicked in practice every single day. It’s ain’t D3 on the Southside.

So yea we’ve got more depth. Does that mean we have three more guys that will grade out at a 55 when it’s all said and done? By the definition, that’s “more depth”.

No matter what happens, our tackles are going to be no better than average. Even if Houy comes back healthy and holds down the Right Tackle job… and improves by +6 points…he’s still mediocre. He would grade out at 63. Whoop-de-freakin’ do. For the record there were 59 offensive linemen who played at least 50% of the snaps last year in the ACC. The 30th ranked guy? Bryce Hargrove – with a 63 grade. Our 2nd best full time starter was the definition of mediocre last year. Literally…he finished in the middle.

What should be even more concerning is the left tackle position. Yes Carter Warren won the Ed Conway, “most improved” award last year, and yes he plays a tough position, but gosh how bad we he prior to last season? And look I don’t want to diminish the work or effort Warren may have put in, but from a cold, hard performance grade standpoint, Warren was literally the worst offensive lineman in the ACC last season (min 50% of snaps). The next two worst played for GA Tech. Think about this. Two guys who were recruited to play the option, and were converted to a non-option offense graded out better than Pitt’s starting left tackle. Is that good? Because I feel like that’s not good. By the way, yes one of those Georgia Tech guys was a tackle.

Yes… but what if Warren develops???? (Will plead the optimists)

Okay, great. What if he does. He certainly can’t go downhill… Okay so lets say Warren works his tail off and gets 30% better. That sounds good doesn’t it? Well let me tell you 30% of 42 is 13. So he grades out at 55 next year? NO THANKS. Lets say he gets 50% better. That would be great. So 50% of 42 is 21. Now he’s a 63. Well that average…which at this point I guess I would take and be grateful for it.

Okay great, well what about Carson Van Lynn? Carson Van Lynn! We don’t see enough of Carson Van Lynn!!! Gosh I had quarter for every time I heard that last year. Heck, I probably even said it a few times.

Um…there was a reason for we didn’t see him, and its because he wasn’t very good. Lets recap the grades shall we? Van Lynn (OT)| 46.2 | 53.2 | 45.4

Not much better than Warren. BTW, Van Lynn earned these grades playing only 205 snaps last year, compared to Warren’s 865.

So yea, maybe Houy slides over? He won’t be any better than Ulizio was. And yea, Warren will develop? But how far can he realistically go? Same with Van Lynn. Oh and if you are pinning your hopes on the transfer, Keldrick Wilson, he graded out at a solid 38 against Liberty University (FCS Players are only graded when they play FBS schools). 38. Against Liberty. Don’t hold your breath people.

Any way you slice it, Pitt is woefully thin at tackle. And that’s going to limit our offensive upside in 2020.

Oh I haven’t even done a deep dive on the run blocking yet….but hey, we’ve got plenty of time before the season. Also more to come on if Borbley is up to the task of developing his self-styled “hogs”. I’ve got data back to 2014 and I intend to use it.

Anyway, back to your regularly scheduled Pat Narduzzi Zoom conference…..

On the Running Backs: “AJ got banged up. Obviously Izzy. Sibley’s had a great spring, he’s our best pass protector by far. Daniel Carter has gotten some meaningful reps with ones.”

He mentioned short yardage with D. Carter.

Then Duzz made a non-RB comment, but relevant. If only because it illustrates how thin we are at TE: “Who’s the darkhorse?” Who’s the guy that’s going to surprise you? Jake Zilinksaks (TE). “You’re going to see him play football. He’s done a great job. He’s already gotten job offers, he could have left already”

On Daniel Carter FB/TB: He’s doing both. “20 personel” 2 backs zero, TE. That’s Daniel Carter. He could be a fullback ’cause he’s tough enough. He’s a hybrid, he can do it all. Might move him over to linebacker he can do it all. Nah he isn’t tough enough” (MM note: kidding, kidding – rompicoglioni!)

On new eligibility rule: “When i first heard about it i said, I think it’s a heck of an idea.

On COVID and players staying safe: “I was driving around campus looking for a party I couldn’t find one in Oakland – Jerry i’m kidding”

“Money doesn’t matter when it comes to student athletes, it’s all about the student atheletes”

On COVID management and not locking down players: “We gotta treat em like adults, we gotta train em, gotta teach em, gotta show em how it’s done. And that’s what UPMC recommends. [says stuff] and if we can’t do this, we can’t have a season”

On grad transfer: “We’ve always got our ears open”

Jaylen Twyman is no longer in school. He went to go home. This opens up a scholarship.

On LB’s: “First of all Phil Campbell has been like a beast lately. I think we have two of the nicest outside linebackers in the country.”

“I’ll be honest Wendell Davis looks like the real deal, with Chase being the senior you’d like to see him crank it up and be the starter but Wendell Davis is giving him a run.”

Thanks for not lying to us Pat. Translation: Chase Pine is not where we want him to be as a senior.

“Sirvocea Dennis – might be our smartest linebacker – had two plays on the goal line where he just flashed. Is he sophomore? Who knows what he is? He might be a sophomore last year.”

John Petrishen – has moved to OLB “I think has found a nice little home there”. Bradon Hill playhing really well

Translation – John Petrishen is not fast enough to play safety, and our depth at outside linebacker sucks. Also MM note – I’m having fun lampooning Narduzzi here but by all accounts he shoots pretty damn straight with recruits. I wouldn’t be surprised if he had recruied Petrishen as a Linebacker, while Penn State sold Johnny P the Bill of Goods as a Safety, and now the wheel has come full circle. Of course this is entirely speculation, but when it comes to trolling Penn State, I’ll speculate all day.

“Judson Talliender has really shown a lot of things at safety. Maybe we should have moved him a damn year ago. After one day of practice you’re like ‘I think that’s where he belongs'”

On how Phil Campbell has grown: He’s more pyhsical than Cam is. That’s no disrespect to Cam. He’s taken the change well. But it’s so similar – he moved from one side of the field to the other. He’s got more opportunity to blitz. He plays with his pads down. I’ve been really, really impressed with what he’s done so far.

MM Note: Pat and Co are doing the right thing here. Bright’s coverage grade is better than Campbell’s, and Campbell’s run stopping grade is higher than Bright’s.

On corner: AJ Woods has really played well. “Quezz”…Marquise Williams has really played well. They were starting to move ahead of Judson, and lo and behold we found another player. It’s like Christmas. ”

Pat then had an awkward moment trying to bust [ESPN reporter] Andrea Adelson’s chops. Yes it was all in good fun in your mind, but c’mon Pat. National media reporter and you’re busting chops. What, are you trying to show her “she’s one of the guys”? She is, but she’s not, and that’s not the way you do it. You’re better than that.

Andrea Says: Do you have a good idea of what you have as a team?

Pat Says: “You don’t have to watch them play to know what you have.” Then he goes into a soliloquy on the defense. Then he waxed philosophical on QB. “We’ve got a good football team. It’s going to be the chemistry and how we stick together and play as a team”

Well hey Pat for the record the team graded out right smack-dab in the middle of the ACC last year. (7th of 14). Grade of 79.2, and yet we finished 3rd in record (tied with two other teams, so you can argue 5th) at 8-5. Still, you get props for punching above your weight. Are you going to improve this year? Virgina (beat you), Lousville (we play them…and they have a lot of returning starters), Wake, UNC (some how we beat them) and Clemson all graded higher last year.

On chemistry (another Andrea Adelson Question): “That’s the thing i don’t know. It’s so hard for them to get locked in and focus.”

On kickoff returns: Right now Jordan Addison is playing really well. THAT GUY, people need to watch out for him early. Izzy and Jordan Addison have the inside track. Great speed. Great ball skills.

On Jaylen’s Twman’s spot: Devin Danielson’s really got the hold on it right now. With Tyler Bentley. I really don’t know who it is. David Green. Kalijah Kancey going to play a lot of football for us. He’s got a little different gear.

“We’ve all got to believe there is going to be a season on the 12th”

MM Note: That’s three weeks away people.

“We’ve got to find a team that we trust based on ACC protocols”

“We can’t go on practicing every day wondering…[if we aren’t going to play]. I truly believe we are going to play. I told our guys have one girl friend, dont’ have two or three.”

Andrea presses – “Lets say all campuses are shut down”

Pat says – “I don’t have an answer, i’m just looking at we are full steam ahead, we’re preparing for a football season.”

Hail to Pitt

Michaelangelo Monteleone

128 thoughts on “Pat Narduzzi – 11th Practice

  1. Boy, after this report MM, I’m not real confident that the OL can get it done. Morrissey seemed to get no respect with his rather modest numbers. And it sounds like the transfer is a waste of space. Overall, if this rating system is accurate, the OL seems pretty disappointing.


    1. Morrissey is a really good pAss blocker . Also top rated center in acc by this ranking


  2. It was disappointing last year and there is no reason to believe it will be greatly different this year. I guess we should expect a great deal of short passes this season also. Addison and Krull should shine if that’s the case and they play up to their talent level.


  3. Who was the last big- time OL recruit… DJ, Biz, Booker..? It’s been awhile… RBU is on hold for the time being.


    1. Going to be WR U in a year or two. Back to the days of Antonio and Larry. You’ll see


  4. Love your passion mm but you are a slace to stats dont be a stats geek i think our oline will be much improved with a real tight end and fullback o love how duzz handles the media esp showing reed the door lol we will play football and win

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Well the beauty of this world is that we can all agree to disagree if nothing else…

      Don’t get me wrong I want to be surprised by the line and the TE. I’m just not expecting to be. At the end of the season, if I’m wrong I’ll own it though.


  5. Funny, in 2018 when Pitt had two thousand yard runners, the pass blocking sucked. And last year, it was just the opposite.

    Maestro, do you have Morrisey’s grades for 2018?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Indeed I do…and I’ll even throw 2017 in there because I like you.

      Overall: 71.4
      Pass: 80.7
      Run: 67.1

      Overall: 70.2
      Pass: 68.8
      Run: 69.3

      Overall: 68.5
      Pass: 80.6
      Run: 63.1

      If he can keep his pass blocking where it is and bring the run blocking up a smidge that would help.

      Morrissey really isn’t the problem though. For the offense to be really good this year the entire line’s pass blocking needs to step up to like a 75 (from 69). and the run blocking needs take a big jump up from 52 to the mid 60’s.

      The good news is that Borbs seems to be pretty good at coaching run blocking so it could rhetorically happen.


      1. I asked about Morrisey because I believe he was the only holdover from 2018 …. I know Hargraves saw a lot of action, but only a couple starts


        1. Yep. Hargrove actually showed a lot of improvement YOY but you are right not a ton of snaps in 2017. I think like 200. If he takes another step this year that would be a feather in both his cap and Borbs’


  6. This has always been my favorite time of the year, hearing about how individual players have progressed and who might have an impact this year.

    Of all the units the O-line requires cohesiveness and working as a group more than any other. Hopefully that intangible will have improved with a year of working together. These guys are also punching above their level every day against one of the best D-lines they will face all year, so naturally they won’t look that great in practice.

    The other thing you have to hope for is increases in physicality year over year. It is why we see so many fifth year seniors on O-lines.

    No doubt the O-Tackles will once again be the weak link on the team, which really hurts on longer passes, so I expect more of the same, short and mid range passes. Hopefully, Krull and the other larger wideouts are up the task.

    I don’t think we can get any worse at running up the middle than last year, hopefully we get enough push to pick up third and short. I hated that we didn’t play from under center on third and short, even worse when we went with an empty backfield. It showed an absolute lack of toughness and made us totally one dimensional which the opposing defense has to love.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. MM – I have another lengthy comment stuck in the WordPress dark hole.

    I never seemed to have this problem when I posted as anonymous – just kidding…


  8. I must have missed this one, was this last Thursday or next Thursday?

    From USA Today:

    University of North Carolina suspends fall sports until Thursday afternoon
    Just 48 hours after saying a COVID-19 outbreak on campus wouldn’t affect plans to play football this fall, the University of North Carolina has suspended all athletic activities through at least Thursday afternoon. In addition, all recreational facilities on the Chapel Hill campus will be closed to students, coaches and staff.

    “After consulting with our health experts and University leadership, we are taking this action to protect our students, coaches and staff,” UNC athletics director Bubba Cunningham said. “We want to make sure we continue to do everything we can to ensure that that our teams, campus and community remain healthy.”


  9. Narduzzi says they have some depth now on the O-line, so why are some so down on this group already? The grad transfer, let him adjust to the speed of D-1 and going against some real defensive ends in practice before we toss him aside.

    This unit won’t be great but I think it will show improvement in 2020.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. MM: You “conceded” a 20% improvement to the tackles. If that concession holds for the entire team, doesn’t that concede a 9-10 win season?

    In the minds of most, of course not!

    We are done- and it’s only August. Like I said yesterday: ” Everybody out of the pool!” Guess I’ll get my sun on the golf course this fall.


  11. Good stuff, MM. Nice to see stats that pretty much coincide with the eye test.

    I doubt Warren improves unless he somehow learns to move better. That seems unlikely unless he loses some weight — but I’m just guessing.

    However I do have higher hopes for Van Lynn because he’s shown he can move his feet. His problem last year was strength, IMHO. Much easier to get stronger than to get quicker.

    Sobering stats, none the less…

    Go Pitt.


    1. These are good observations. We can only hope that the staff gave Warren an educational session that motivated him in the offseason. If he dropped 20-30 lbs and practiced footwork at length every single day there could be some hope. If he didn’t … well then forget it

      Liked by 1 person

  12. You can’t build an outstanding OL on one good recruit each year. We can all sit around and say how great Morrissey turned out, but that is 1 out of 5, A 20% hit rate after three years of mediocrity. IF we believe he is actually awesome! I think the jury is till out on that as Gordon correctly points out that we didn’t have a good push up the middle in our run game at all last year.

    When you can’t get an OL drafted for years, there is a problem with recruiting AND development.

    Pitt has depth every year at OL as does every other team. Those are just numbers. It’s the quality of the depth. Unfortunately for Narduzzi, the quality of the starters and the transfers has been awful, which means the quality of the backups is also awful if the best players are playing. He did mention Owen Drexel improving. Heck, they should all improve year over year, right? Its big steps for me.

    When do we start saying they are inexperienced again as a group?

    Borbs needs to take lessons from pitt womens bball and get a few 4 star guards.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. MM – I tried a 2nd attempt to send my comment on a different device – must be too long or not wanted.

    I’m off to do other things…not sure why my complaints get through though?


    1. Haha … just keep complaining

      I’m away from my computer for a while but I’ll check when I get home


    2. Here is the user info that showed on this post:


      So for some reason your longer posts are getting funneled through some kind of offshore server. Have no idea why. Try logging in before you post, that may help.


  14. Morrissey grades out to a 71 which is barely above average yet he’s named on some sites as first team
    all ACC? I like the ability to look at some of these stats but I do not consider them the bible of college football. Too subjective in my book. Although the eyesight impaired could see PITT didn’t run the ball well last year. I maintain that was not all on the O-Line, play calling and coaching plays a big part. The QB also plays a big part. I do not like ambiguous statistics.


    1. He ranks 39 best center in Fbs in 2019 and was the top rated overall center by a good two points.

      I’d say you don’t like them unless they fit your worldview. Kenny Pickett actually grades out quite well. 😉


      1. Mike, what you say is very true……….. for everybody, including you. Give me two plus two equals four and I’m all in.


      2. Kenny Pickett is an above average QB. I think he becomes a very good QB this year. He’s intelligent, he’s tough and he’s a leader. On top of that his skills are certainly above average. He’s a 3 year starter with a lot of weapons at the skill positions and a TE. Of course the OL is a question mark, but he’ll make lemonade out of that lemon. If, in fact, they turn out to be a lemon. PITT will go as far as Kenny takes them…I feel confident.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. If they can figure out how to protect his blind side … whether it’s a chip block or getting warren some help…and the WR corps takes a step then I agree, Kenny could really have a great year


          1. I really hope that Kenny shows improvement this year. If the fancy new data cruncher you have says he is a good QB I am a bit dubious about the quality of the system. My eye test saw very little improvement. I know it is a team sport but a quality D1 QB to me shouldn’t struggle to beat inferior competition or lose big games to teams they should beat (Ohio, Delaware, Boston College, Eastern Michigan).


    2. Ike – Morrissey was 3’rd team All ACC in 2018. (behind a center from NC State & Clemson playing their last year of eligibility.) In 2019 moved up to 1’st team & was projected to be 1’st team in 2020.

      You have to have had a good season performance to go from no mention on any 2017 All ACC team including Honorable Mention to 3’rd team. Unless a player badly regresses, he will stay somewhere on the list.


  15. Ike. that is true. Stats like these are a snapshot and should be viewed that way. But, I think it is hard to argue that games have been and always will be won or lost in the trenches. It then becomes obvious that our mediocre record under this regime, seems to correlate to mediocre DL and OL play. Now this year, the DL has the hype because they proved last year they are good. The OL did not.

    Chicken or egg scenario. Did Pickett take off and run early because he had no confidence in the OL protection, or, did he take off and run because that is his style. Answer, both are bad scenario’s. For those thinking that the QB play will change, look back at Tino. Same things were said about him as in this will be his year because he is so experienced. Didn’t happen for Tino. Hope it happens for Pickett. I would have the tall lanky righty warming up, just in case.


    1. Huff – I remember many instances when the DE or outside backer blew right past our OT. What option did KP have in those cases?

      He ended up running toward the sideline and usually just having to throw the ball out of bounds. Might have been great play calls, but no chance for the play to work…

      Go Pitt.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. John, my recollection is for every instance like what you mentioned there were instances where Kenny had open receivers and time to throw but didn’t see the open man.


        1. I agree that KP missed seeing open receivers—few QBs don’t… But a porous tackle is just going to make it tough for any QB. That end coming around the edge has to be somewhere in the back of your mind when it happens so often. Course it depends on whether the opponent has decent pass rushers or not too…

          Go Pitt.

          Liked by 1 person

  16. ^^ Mike, statistics like those are just to dam subjective for me. In some circles Morrissey is ranked much higher. Doesn’t mean I believe anymore than others.

    Huff the Third, you raise good and the questions I have. Throw in another brand new O-Coordinator who runs a completely different offense than this PITT team was use to running. X factors. It’s why most stats are known to warn there is a 3 or 4% factor of error both ways. Plus I don’t know if the people grading the players out know anymore than I do? I would assume so but now we are into assuming.


    1. Look man you can question the figures all day long …and that’s your choice. At the end of the day Morrissey is highly regarded because he’s an outstanding pass blocker (80+ is very good). Something a little more tangible for you…he gave up just four pressures in 500+ pass blocking snaps. That’s REALLY good and will get him a shot in the NFL. Plus he is smart, and doesn’t make a lot mistakes (just four penalties in over 800 total snaps).

      I’m not saying he’s bad. I’m saying his run blocking is no better than average and that’s where he needs to step up his game. I’m sure he’s aware of that as well.

      Also we all knew that the tackles played like garbage last year. This just quantifies how bad the garbage actually smelled…pretty damn bad.


      1. “Look man you can question the figures all day long…”

        hey, quit calling Iek, “man”

        he’s “old man” to most everyone, stop trying to make him look better 😉

        Liked by 7 people

      2. If you can protect the passer, you are gold in the nfl. It’s a passing league. He’ll be a fourth rounder.


  17. Don’t forget about the animal named “George” and his contribution to the run game- we went from potent to impotent in one year – same OL coach- different OC- loss of power backs with speed, crappy TEs- and middle of the road OL recruits participating in those 2 seasons…..


  18. I’ll resend my earlier comments in two parts –

    So let’s remember a few things about 2019 –

    )1. The dropped passes – after a while the OL has to mentally say W_F – that HAS to change this year.
    )2. The RB by committee was ridiculous – find a back a stick with him until he’s hurt or hurting the team – that too has to defeat the OL mentally.
    )3. The play calling on 3rd down was not very good – let’s be honest.

    Now, non of those are good excuses for the OL’s poor performance, but I believe all were contributing factors along with “lack of overall” talent.

    Let’s hope history does not repeat itself.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Right Rick, no one is saying excuses more of an explanation.

      Mike I will enjoy your incoming articles using your new tool but for the life of me… I’ll take the word of a PITT fan that watched the games live. IMO, Pickett played pretty good. The inopportune pass drops were drive killers all year long. Those blatant drops cause lots of problem in the run game and for the O-Line. Point being, were the droppsies figured into the final grades? << That’s a lawyer question as I already know the answer. and no, I’m not a lawyer like some friends on here but I did stay at some schitty hotel years ago.


      1. Indeed they were. I’ve got drop numbers and a lot of other interesting statistics. PFF likes Pickett and after looking at the stats they reveal, I am higher on him then I was last year for sure. Planning on doing a qb piece at some point so hang in there Ike

        Liked by 1 person

  19. Michaelangelo, those numbers just seem inconsistent with the consensus that Morrissey is the best center in the ACC. So I’m suggesting that this scoring system is not very fact based or accurate. ike is right that they are too subjective, and there seems to be no real measurable criteria for setting the scoring figures.

    I think we should establish a Warren weight watch to see if he drops those pounds. He will not meet the challenge carrying last year’s weight.


    1. He actually grades out at the best center in the ACC, so actually they are spot on.


  20. as far as the team improving 20% and getting 9-10 wins

    1) first off, there are only 10 games and no easy OOC games (well maybe 1?)

    2) as I keep saying here, Pitt does not play in a vacuum. Pitt may improve 20% but many of its opponents may do the same or more. They also play at least 3 opponents who return more starters, and play 2 FL teams plus Clemson and ND who are able to recruit better


  21. Last month, I re-watched the condensed version of the unc game from last year.

    On nearly every passing play, Pickett had 3 seconds or more to throw the ball.

    I don’t know if unc had a plan to dare us to beat them with the pass, but overall we seemed to have the time we needed on all of the passing plays.

    Liked by 1 person

  22. Mike – good article again. The stats show what actually happened on the field in 2019.

    Isn’t Borbs a proponent of zone blocking? A zone blocking team usually runs better then they pass protect. And they really run good if they have backs who are good – see 2018 with Ollison & Hall. In 2016 in Borbs first year at Maryland (& only year coaching the OL), May


    1. (con’t) Maryland ran for 2,500 yards but sucked at pass protection. Maybe because he had Randy Edsall recruits to work with.

      Mike – you need to go back & read some of Reed’s article where he rained down fire & brimstone. For starters read his articles on the signing of transfer Stefano Millen or on Borbs hiring. You were just to nice. I expected slicing & dicing. You just showed the facts & have to jump to the conclusion that Borbs sucks without beling lead by the nose.


      1. Hah. Actually I took a peek a millin. He was a lot better than either of our tackles last year. I remember the articles well


        1. As I research more, the best grad transfer to use a scholarship on boils down to two things: A starter for 2 or more years & All Conference honors. Millen had those stats. Doesn’t matter if his old team is bad, terrible or just plain sucks. He starts & he receives honors, IMO he’s good to go. Doesn’t matter if G5 or FCS team.

          Now does K. Wilson meet those criteria. The answer is no. Only one year starting at Hampton. Hampton was in the first year in the 7 member FCS Big South Conference. While Hampton had players on the All Big South team, Wilson wasn’t one of them.

          That’s why I am nor surprised at his progress. He is here for depth.

          Liked by 1 person

  23. PITT held a scrimmage down at the south-side. Hoping for no injuries and all good news like Warren has been jumping rope 10 hours a day and is down 30 lbs. << I said hoping.

    Liked by 2 people

  24. My take on the current OL –

    C – Morrissey is a solid leader and average lineman.
    RG – Kradel is the best we have and he has a huge upside to get better.
    LG – Hargrove has a chance to be an NFL FA, but an even better chance to prove he should be a draft pick. I’m looking for Bryce to get nastier and take care of business. He was hampered by an ineffective line-mate at LT who he often had to try to help. Not a good look.
    RT – Zubovic is my choice and it’s good to see Duzz mention his name. He’s not as tall as most tackles, but who cares? If he can block effectively, then he IS the right choice.
    LT – ABCW – find a grad transfer who grades out above average and promise him the starting job, now! MM, since you have this new toy, throw some names to Borbs before it is too late.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hah. With three weeks to go I think we are stuck with who we are stuck with. All we can hope is that Warren defies the odds and becomes a serviceable LT!


  25. My 2nd half came thru on my third try. I fooled the hacker.

    Good info sharing MM – I lyke the comical “side” analysis on Duzz speak.

    NOTE: DL Bryce Nelms is 6’5” 285 lbs – why not convert him to LT? These are desperate times. Pitt is trying to win ten games in an eleven game season.



  26. The question I would have is how often was Morrisey 1 v 1. I often think the center is an extra and gets help more often than not.Just an observation.

    My point with all the enthusiasm was repeated above by wwb – if we have less than mediocre OL members, they need to improve a lot more than their opponent. I just dont see the improvement. The young need to push the olds out optimally. We havent seen that under Borbs or Narduz.

    As far as excuses that the OL was poor because they couldn’t handle the rest of the team dropping passes, etc., I call hogwash (for the hogs). If you take your craft seriously, you go 1 v 1 and beat the player on the other side of the line regardless of what your teammates do. You are your best self and every play is a challenge to your manhood and…..your future livelihood.

    Games are won and lost in the trenches. Our OL is mediocre.


      1. Does Mr. Charmin ever have a running situation?

        My point was that if the linemen lost concentration about doing their personal job because someone dropped a pass, they are soft in the mind. Linemen need a mentality of “i am going to beat my opponent on every snap”, not just the ones prior to a dropped pass. Good grief. Give cupcakes excuses and youll hear every one of them in the book. You either beat the man across from you or he beats you. Simple. Lack of OL in the league suggests our dudes have been soft.


        1. I wasn’t saying that Huff, I was talking situational schematics. Also I was pointing out that droppsies changes the play calling as well as Mr Whipple getting use to his players and vice versa.


  27. This OL discussion reminds me of a question I’ve wondered about a long time, but it still puzzles me. Somebody else mentioned it on here, maybe BigB or GC, but why do you try to block a 250 to 260 pound DE with a 320 pound OT? Makes no sense to me.

    I know you want an OT who is tall with long arms, and you need enough girth to block the bull rush, but expecting these behemoths to be able to block quick, athletic DEs seems silly to me.

    New rule: No Pitt OTs over 300 pounds! 😊

    Go Pitt!

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Which is why I’d like to see them try Warren at guard. He’d be quite a road grader if the grading is going forward, IMHO… And the pass blocking wouldn’t be as difficult going against guys more his size…

        Go Pitt.


        1. He’s actually pretty bad at run blocking. I’ve only seen a couple of clips but looks really tentative not aggressive. Could be 100% mental


    1. OT should be about quick reaction time, quick feet…. would love to know their lean muscle mass …. fat is useless weight only slowing a guy down and more amplified if he has slow feet and/ or slow reaction time…. at least they get to practice against the best DL in the business….sounds like we are going to have some solid LBs—-hope so…

      Liked by 1 person

    2. Not a bad thought. I think the best Pitt OT in recent memory … and one who’s have a very successful nfl career weighed in at about 290… (and was a converted TE)

      Liked by 1 person

    1. And Ryan Turnley was on the roster in 2010 and Tony Wise, a well-regarded OL coach, didn’t see him as a center. That spot was a huge weakness in 2010.


  28. With Pitt struggling to find a replacement for Miami of Ohio for 9/12, why not Bobby Mo?

    Didn’t their 9/12 game get cancel too? Play the game at a neutral sight lyke Duquesne or CMU.

    I’m tired of doing Heather’s job with no pay. I’m wearing my yellow dress shirt to church tomorrow…

    Liked by 1 person

  29. comments regarding size optimal for OL should center around footwork and quickness off the snap

    size matters less if quick and strong but additional weight behind that separates the best from the rest

    it is a rare OL guy who blocks more than about 5-7 yards off the line of scrimmage forward or back so plays like O’neil running 30 yards downfield like most recall a few years ago are amazing and just part of why he is in the NFL

    the other factor that makes me somewhat skeptical of this individual stats analysis for the OL is related to what some mention above in that the performance of the line critically depends on the guy to your right and left and the confidence that each guy needs only take care of their assignment and not mentally or physically need to do more to help out

    there is always great teamwork needed to block stunts and studs that you face and game prep and coaching adjustments are key but no doubt it is tough compensating for stiffs and I think over recent years, we seem to have had a few,,, maybe these stats help identify likely stiffs


    1. tats everywhere!!! wait no, he needs a ton more on his calfs and shins,,,,shins tats must hurt?

      i don’t like them and don’t really understand when they look like a menagerie


      1. Ends with Erie so I had to look up it’s meaning –

        menagerie – a collection of wild animals kept in captivity for exhibition.



        1. haha, “erie” antennae up for you obviously

          i didn’t know the animal definition so meant this: a strange or diverse collection of people or THINGS
          SAT verbal was good, not great,,,,,shocking, i know


  30. The three true FR WR‘s seem very impressive –

    Henningham with a TD today in the scrimmage.

    Addison with a ladder climbing TD catch over Ford in practice this week.

    And Barden talks a really good game – hard to believe # 10 won’t back his smack…

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Seems to be a bit of a buzz about Addison. Running first team as a true frosh is impressive.

      Go Pitt.


  31. I don’t buy the OL doom and gloom. This isn’t the NFL. College is all about development. Most of the time college OL aren’t good their first year. It is a huge jump from high school, especially into a pro system since most high schools utilize spread offenses now. The mental aspects of the game make them play slow at first.

    Pretty sure Hargrove and Morrissey were recognized by the ACC last year.
    Hargrove’s first full season was last year and he made huge strides. He will be a stud this year.
    Warren was a first year starter at a very difficult position. He will improve like Hargrove did. He was the #10 overall prospect in NJ his senior year.
    Kradel hasn’t started an entire season yet. Started the last seven last year. He will make a huge jump this year. Only a RS SO. He was #17 overall PA prospect and played multiple sports.
    Houy has the most snaps as an OL for right tackle but has to get healthy. If he isn’t ready to go, they have to throw a young guy the the wolves. Ideally you want a mix of classes on the OL so you don’t lose the entire unit in one graduation.

    So right OT worries me. Besides that, there will be a big jump this year.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hope you’re right, notrocket.

      Would love to see Warren play well, but can’t shake the memory of how virtually immobile he appeared last season. On the other hand, I remember Coach Borbs saying in an interview that Warren was Pitt’s most athletic lineman.

      Did not compute last season…

      Go Pitt.


  32. Hargrove was switched to offense 2 years ago …. prior to the 2018 season. Although he graded as average per maestro;s interpretation… (Hargrove (OG)| 63.8 | 69.1 | 59.9) … he was selected 3rd team ACC in his 2nd year at OG and first full year as a starter

    As I indicated above, the OL was apparently very good at run blocking in 2018, and apparently very bad at it in 2019. I think some of it has to be with complexion of the team … obviously Watson as run-focused while Whipple just the opposite.

    But the other factor was lack of splash plays …..2018 was filled with long runs by Hall and Ollison. 2019 had a few long TD passes but only 1 long TD run as I recall (V Davis vs GT) …. But of course, this is just from memory.

    With the FR WRs Jacques-Louis and possibly Krull, there is chance of more splash pass plays. Same goes for the run with V Davis and Izzy. Obviously time will tell


    1. The thing about the ACC is that the OL blocking is bad all around, so an “average” guy like Hargrove can make 3rd team. FWIW his pass blocking at 69 puts him pretty much above average in that dept and to your point wwb there are some other things that feed in. History suggests he’s poised to take the next step which would be great.

      I also agree on the long runs piece. If I recall correctly Picket was empowered to make run checks at the line in 2018 … ie he could audible out of one running play and into another based on how the defense was lined up. That is a pretty powerful thing if the qb can get it right and when you combine it with a senior laden smash mouth OL – who maybe were not the best “pure” blockers but who were strong, mean, and nasty. Well that set up a lot of long run opportunities for Q and D.

      In 2019… totally different situation

      No seniors (other than Ulizio who was an xfer) – so less chance to develop and identity
      Learning a new system means playing more tentative
      No George Aston – contributed blocking skilled AND attitude
      Also I can’t prove it but is suspect that whip gold Borbs to oberindex on developing pass blockers last year bc otherwise Kenny wouldn’t have made it through the season. Hopefully that foundation has been laid and they can focus more on developing their run blocking identity this year. (But Warren and the other OT, and Kradel still also need to work on their pass blocking too…)

      Liked by 1 person

  33. Having Whipple for a second year and Pickett back as the starter I fully expect to see a big jump in improvement on offense. KP will have such a good year he will forgo the extra year. Like I mention before, every freshman can play play play and not use or lose a red-shirt. It’s all to crazy to fathom.

    Liked by 1 person

  34. It was said above, but bears repeating – we were force to pass all year long on 3rd and short (and/or 3rd and medium, for that matter), i.e. much easier to defend knowing a pass is coming. And I agree, not being able to run on 3rd down (nor in the Red Zone) was killer. But more importantly, those situations were caused by poor results on 1st and 2nd downs. Leads to the question, ” did we EVER gain any yardage on the behind-the-line sideline passes, 1st &/or 2nd down?” Not being able to run led to easy-to-defend 3rd downs.

    Mike, totally agree on Whip mandate to develop pass protection at the expense of run block practice. I thought it was quite an impressive transformation from the previous year’s inept pass protection.

    I have enjoyed your statistical walk down memory lane. But, as regards the OL, these stats only confirm what we all saw last year. I’m looking forward to you showing us something we don’t already know! (And I have a feeling you are loaded for bear!)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hold your horses there BL, they are called a football “TEAM” , the O-Line didn’t play well at all but there are plenty of football “TEAM” related reasons why. One of them may have been the running backs? V Davis got a lot of yards if not the most of his yards running the shotgun. << You know, when the opposing defense knows he’s running the football. Someone had to be blocking fairly well? Schemes also played a big part in rushing offense deficiencies. just imo.

      Liked by 1 person

  35. If PITT plays football this season Kenny Pickett will not be back next year. He will be in the NFL in some capacity. Anyway, I think the PITT QB position is in pretty good shape for the foreseeable future.


      1. remember the long time axiom of the back-up QB being the most popular QB in town. Go back to Pitt Blather, Sept 2009, and see how many Pitt fans wanted to Tino to replace Stull

        Having said that …. while (like Tino) I don’t think Pickett in nearly as bad as advertised, I am looking forward to Yellen and/or Beville


        1. 370 / 657 56.3% 5304 yds 39 td 21 int 137.3 rating

          736/1141 64.5% 8590 yds 49 td 23 int 137.9 rating

          one of these are in the college FB Hall of Fame. The other one is Tino


          1. Toni never led a 4 th quarter comeback. Never

            And his sack rate had to be the highest of any Pitt QB ever

            Then he trashed Pitt and says nice things about FSU once out.

            Tina sackseri.


            1. coming back in the 4th quarter also requires the defense hot giving up more points and the OL providing protection even when the opposition knows you’re passing.

              Funny how Tino Sackseri was only sacked 22 times in his first year of a starter.(13 games)


          2. Take a look at the hoopie game his senior year. Where he was sacked in regularity. Where he laid on the field and his linemen refused to lift him up and just looked away. Tells me everything. But let’s build a statue for Tina. I’m fine with it so I can rip it down and throw it in the Mon.


  36. I’m guessing that the NFL would probably draft about 20 QBs or so through all rounds. If Pickett is currently rated around 33, then he would likely need to have a good year to move up and get drafted. However, the following year, there may be even more QBs coming out for the draft if some marginal ones return next year to improve their stats. With even slightly above average stats, I think Pickett would probably head for the draft unless this year is cut really short.


      1. True, but if they are ranked higher than Pickett many would be assessing the value of sticking around another year and could decide it’s not worth it.


  37. BTW, I will never understand why Narduzzi and Whipple didn’t develop an effective replacement for George Aston, who we all agree was an important part of their offense. It just makes sense to use a walk on for red zone duty when they are at 3rd or 4th and one and must have a red zone first down.


  38. Possibly Ed, Georgie was a rare breed indeed. The animal wasn’t grown on a tree… 🙂 We all met him in person at a Fran and friends tailgate and he really wasn’t that large of a young man. Muscles yes.


  39. ike, there must be many power running backs in high school who are just a half step too slow to become a feature D1 running back. They need to be on the look out for these special needs, give them a preferred walk on status, and then groom them for the role. Maybe a weight lifting wrestler who also helps out the high school football team would be good.


    1. Duzz snagged a walk-on a few years ago nicknamed “Tank” from the state of WV.

      He jumped into the portal last year after his FR year. Whip must have told him we have zero plays in the book for a fullback.

      See ya!

      Sad but probably true…


  40. Mucho muscles and a burning desire…the dude felt like conctetd when I jokingly punched him in the arm.
    Thankfully he did not hit me back or that would have been the LastdayofLastrow.

    Liked by 5 people

  41. Agreed, It’s an opportunity for Daniel Carter to seize this year. I’m hoping he’s got the right stuff.


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