By Reed Kohberger

Editor’s Note: Lt. Commander USCG (Ret), and Pitt POV Blogger Emeritus Reed emailed me this article yesterday afternoon. Seeing as how today is Labor Day, it was well timed, because let me tell you writing a decent article is Hard Work, and well, now I can spend a couple of extra hours with my family. Regarding the article, it’s vintage Kohberger. Enjoy.

In a POV comment regarding Kenny Pickett the other day I wrote about him as “all show, no substance Pickett”.

Perhaps I should have said about Pickett is that I think he’s “all show and no effectiveness” which describes him more accurately. He’s a gamer, and tough as nails,  and I rooted for him to do well since I watched him in drills and scrimmages in his early first spring camp years ago. I saw he was a tough kid back then and he’s remained that.

But to me the true mark of a successful QB is not how gutsy he is but 1) How many points are scored while he’s behind Center and 2) How effective is his passing game to where he has a direct hand in moving the ball downfield to get the offense in position to score? That means moving the sticks whether it is by passing for 1st downs and red zone TDs or having the RBs able to take it in on shorter TDs.

Of course that also addresses not only passing yardage (no complaint about that – his passing yards are good) but the effectiveness of his passing. The results with KP as a starting QB shows just how poor he has been at that.

These markers are measured by yards per attempt (YPA), yards per completion (YPC), 1st downs made by passing and TDs/INTs thrown.  All of which contribute directly to a QB’s “Passing Efficiency”.  KP’s efficiency ratings for his starting years are very poor at 120.32 (90th) in ’18 and a sliver better at 122.42 (91st) last season.

BTW – that is 90th and 91st out of only 113 QBs listed…so he was consistent in that at least.

We all know just how horrid the offense was last season. It was poor all around and, yes, the RBs sucked and the OL sucked also. In both Pickett’s years our OL was 75th & 77th in sacks allowed.  And we know it would have been worse had KP not tucked and scrambled so often.  But in those games I watched what jumped out at me was how prematurely he did that – when he could have quickly checked to his 2nd or 3rd receivers.

Editor’s note: Not to pile on but I came across this stat on Twitter this weekend. Not only was Pickett not checking down, but he was spending a virtual eternity look at his #1 option.

In 2019, which ACC QBs got rid of the ball the quickest? 1. Hendon Hooker (2.39 sec) 2. Tommy DeVito (2.41) 3. Devin Leary (2.42) 4. Micale Cunningham (2.44) 11. Jamie Newman (2.67) 12. Jarren Williams (2.70) 13. Dennis Grosel (2.78) 14. Kenny Pickett (2.79)

In 2018 we had a great running game – but our passing offense at 141 ypg (120th nationally) along with that poor passing efficiency of 124.3 helped kill whatever chance we had to really close the lid on losses we could have and should have won.

Then we saw what happened last season with, again, big passing yardage that only got us very few points (114th @ 21.2).  Had we had any sort of an effective passing game we most likely would have beaten PSU (lost by 7 / opp total point 17), Miami (lost by 3 / opp total points 16)  and BC (lost by 7 / opp total points 26).

In our five losses last season KP averaged a passing efficiency rating of…drum roll please…101.9. Makes someone want to cry. In addition, and this kills me, he threw a total of one (1!!) TD in those losses. One in five games…

Here are the Pitt QBs historical Passing Efficiency marks over the last decade with the QBs involved – the double QBs listing is the team’s average:

2019 Pickett 122.4

2018 Pickett 120.3

2017 Brown / DeNucci 129.0

2016 Peterman 163.4

2015 Voytik / Peterman 137.4

2014 Voytik 140.2

2013 Savage 138.2

2012 Sunseri 151.5

2012 Sunseri 124.1

2011 Sunseri 137.0   Let’s add one more:

2010 Stull 150.6

So – his two seasons are the two lowest in 11 years of play.  Now, Pitt fans have been notorious for our criticisms of our QB’s – always have and, I think, always will.  Let’s face it, we ran Tino Sunseri (137.9 average) and Bill Stull (136.4) through the wringers but both of them were a lot more efficient in their time as our QB then our current starter.

So we can like Pickett as a young man and now a Team Captain but that doesn’t erase the fact that in reality he’s been one of the least effective QBs we have had in a long time.  He’s been blessed with strong defenses in his two years otherwise we’d be riding him just like those others also.

Things can change as we see happen in college football every year. I’m looking forward and hoping he’ll  make a big jump in progress for his final season but not holding my breath for a dramatic change. I feel that for 2020 our best hope is again a dominant defense because without it and having to rely on our Offense we’ll  be in trouble.

-Reed

128 thoughts on “Guest Article: Kenny Pickett; How Efficient is He Actually?

  1. Reed – well done!

    The dropped balls did not help KP in any aspect of the ratings too, in 2019. That one thing could help KP make the jump to being one of the top 50 QB’s in CFB. It also helps that 50 teams won’t be playing FB this Fall either (much sarcasm).

    The other factor that I lyke with this team is the competition at QB. Joey Yellen is ready to step in if and when KP struggles. Every game matters if this team’s true goal is the ACC championship – mentioned by a few of the players in Fall camp interviews, including captains last week. History shows KP has a low QB rating and ranks in the bottom 20% nationally, very consistently. That won’t carry this team to a championship – too many other holes (RB, OL, MLB and CB).

    I also lyke the other two QB’s in the room – Nick Patti is similar to KP with grit and mobility (in other words, a good 4th) and Beville has the credentials & size to be a 4 star phenomenon one day.

    H2P!

    Like

    1. Speaking of holes – stay with me Dr. Tom, last season Pitt filled in the holes left behind by DE Weaver and DT Camp. We were are entertained by one of the best DLines at Pitt in the past 35 years and maybe the best in the country.

      Twyman opting-out leaves a hole, but not as big as with most teams because of the depth that was developed last season with Camp on the sidelines.

      Who will step up at the holes I mentioned –
      RB -> we haven’t seen much of Daniel Carter and Izzy, two FR that have been discussed much this Fall.
      OL -> other than Zubovic & Kradel, I don’t have much insight. Both will be good IMO.
      MLB -> can Chase Pine be the Gateway Clipper without the injury? If he has a good season, he get’s one more next year. He has the look, size, experience and let’s not forget he was a QB in HS.
      CB -> with two 4 star true FR in Royal & Battle, they should get much experience to start their careers.

      All are long shots in my book, but who really knew Twyman would be an overnight sensation, being that he was a lowly 3 star recruit.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Reed, that is a fair and objective opinion of Picket. I’m shocked ;-). But seriously, once you put the efficiency numbers up there the deficiency hits you in the face. Thanks for the write up,…I will temper my win total expectations.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. no doubt the dropped balls were a factor last year but when I saw Pickett in person, it often seemed that he waited too long to throw …. which was borne out in the stat above of him being last in the ACC in getting rid of the ball. I first noticed this against vs Georgia Tech back in 2018 especially when he had a wide open receiver for s TD that would have sealed the game but instead he hesitated and it ended up as an INT.(I’m pretty sure I write about it here)

    There were a couple of other similar situations that day but those didn’t end up in a turnover (just incompletions) but that stat above did not surprise me. Of course, we cannot see if receivers are open on TV as the camera is focused on the QB but wouldn’t doubt if this was common.

    I have a feeling that it may be a big factor when the Pitt offense gets in the red zone. There is less room for the receivers in the end zone so if the QB misses the opportunity when a receiver may break open, it will likely not reappear.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Hard to fight the facts. So KP has been the QB on a team that couldn’t pass and a team that couldn’t run. Two totally different groups of key players on the line and at running back. Also two offensive coordinators.

    That obviously doesn’t explain it all and KP shares in the weak production, he isn’t the most accurate of passers and decision making is average but playing behind a line that could only run block and one that was one of the worst I have seen at Pitt put him at a severe disadvantage.

    And of course the dropped passes.

    As good as the defense was it didn’t seem to give the offense short fields very often.

    All that being said, for KP and Pitt to get better production this year it has to be a team effort. First and foremost the O-line has to protect better and open more holes for the RB’s. The RB’s need to break off longer runs and pick up short third downs. Receivers need to get open and catch balls, including the tight ends.
    Whipple needs to call the right plays at the right time much more frequently.

    Of course KP needs to make better decisions, throw more accurate passes, throw the ball away when prudent, and use his legs more judiciously.

    The defense and special teams need to give the offense shorter fields and score more often.

    The kickers need to do a better job.

    Pitt needs more big plays on both sides of the ball.

    Simple, right?

    Liked by 3 people

  5. Reed, again, thanks so much for some reality. Some other thoughts on the subject:

    “Facts are stubborn things, but statistics are pliable.”
    ― Mark Twain

    “If your experiment needs a statistician, you need a better experiment.”
    ― Ernest Rutherford

    “One of the first things taught in introductory statistics textbooks is that correlation is not causation. It is also one of the first things forgotten.”
    ― Thomas Sowell

    “99 percent of all statistics only tell 49 percent of the story.”
    ― Ron DeLegge II

    “Whenever I read statistical reports, I try to imagine my unfortunate contemporary, the Average Person, who, according to these reports, has 0.66 children, 0.032 cars, and 0.046 TVs.”
    ― Kato Lomb

    “Statistics surpass sentiments.”
    ― Amit Kalantri

    “Statistics are never a substitute for common sense.”
    ― Amit Kalantri

    “I don’t believe in the glory and the dream. I believe in statistics.”
    ― Amy Gentry

    “Data are to statistics what a good offensive is to a star quarterback.”
    ― Charles Wheelan

    Liked by 4 people

  6. Kenny P is Kenny P. Gutsy but a bit antsy. The dropped passes are a real thing but still an excuse. Great QB’s overcome problems like that, penalties etc, they find a way. Which he has done at times. Tack on the OC changes, now you’re building more of a case for KP. I can see Pickett being a good QB this year but now we have all the distractions that go with this season. The kid can’t really can’t “catch” a break.

    Everyone enjoy this Labor Day and hope all is well with you all.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Let’s see if Pickett the “gamer” can accelerate his performance if all the pieces of the puzzle fall in place for him this season.

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  8. The time to get rid of the ball stat on KP is surprising considering the multitude of WR screens where he takes the snap and throws IMMEDIATELY.

    Really with all those screens and little down-the-field throws. the fact that he can still end up so SLOW getting rid of the ball is ominous. If valid and continues, problems will happen.

    In fact I’m so surprised that I almost want to call BS, but it was on Twitter so it must be true. 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Thanks Reed, can’t say the stats surprise me too much. So many times in games there have been collective gasps when Kenny throws a short pass when the deep man is open or just didn’t find the open receiver. Hoping for a performance jump this year, hopefully 2nd year with same OC will help.

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  10. What was left out of the above quotes are that stats are also facts and quite often “When all the smoke and mirrors of varying opinions are cleared the facts are left to see and act on” (source – RKohberger, PittPOV article dated: all of them)

    Would I pull Pickett based on the above? No, especially since I think PN’s recruiting QBs has been poor. Are either Patti and Belville physically and mentally better? I put a lot of emphasis on the mental aspect of a QB’s play and feel that is a drawback for Pickett.

    One key aspect of a QB’s worth is how well he does on yards per attempt and yards per completion. In both cases Pickett falls short: YPA = 6.6 @ 92nd and his most important YPC was 10.7 good for 98th (out of 110 ranked).

    These correlate directly into first downs and scoring. If you really want to get bummed out look at Peterman’s stats with that in 2016 where he was 4th nationally in YPC @ 15.3 and a YPA of 9.9 and ranked 5th. Of course, Canada really wasn’t that good – just ask PN!

    Anyway – I’d like to see more of Nick Patti. His efficiency rating so far is pretty good at 137.6 is much better than KP’s in the lower 120s. I haven’t see him play in person but on paper he seems pretty decent. Patti’s TD/INT number of 3/1 looks good also.

    Have no idea about Belville as he’s untested.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Reed, while I agree with your article here, I do not agree that Narduzzi’s QB recruitment has been poor …. at least in comparison to his predecessors. I say that he has done a better job of recruiting QB than any Pitt coach since Wlat.

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  11. off topic but Ironhead’s son Cam just reportedly signed an extension which will make him the highest paid defensive player in the NFL based on average annual salary (there’s a stat for you all) :. Cam was born in Pgh and his mom is a native, just made a statement “I belong here”

    Also among the highest paid NFL defenders is another Pgh native

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    1. One of the best leaders the Steelers ever had

      One thing stats conceal is Kenny’s moxy and leadership

      Pitt would probably had at least four more losses over two years if Kenny didn’t engineer 4th quarter comebacks. I don’t believe Kenny was the reason for any losses

      He may not look good but he wins

      Liked by 1 person

  12. Excellent food for thought, Reed. Thank you.

    I question the relevance of the time-to-get-rid-of-the-ball stat. Maybe I’m “mis-remembering,” but seems to me that a ton of times last season a DE blew right around our OT and KP had no time to make a read. Instead, KP was running toward the opposite sideline looking downfield. Now the defense only has to cover half the field so KP ends up tossing the ball out of bounds. Now how long did it take him to release the ball in those cases…

    And i wonder, if we had had say just one less drop per game, does that have any significant effect on the QB rating?

    My biggest disappointment with KP is the low number of TD passes and the poor TD to INT ratio.

    KP has played some very good games. I’m wondering about the correlation between his good games, like against Duke, and our opponent’s lack of effective pass rushers…

    Go Pitt.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Major – Obviously, the passing efficiency rating is a formula that uses completions, attempts, yards, TD’ & ints. With this data you can calculate completion %, YPA & YPC besides passing efficiency.

      Pickett last year was 289/469 -3,098 yards 13td’s & 9Ints. The formulas give a 61.6% completion rate. 6.61 YPA & 10.72 YPC & n overall QB rating (Passing efficiency) of 122.4.

      Without a number for additional yardage gained, i ran some scenarios.

      Using 13 additional catches for zero additional yards gives a QB rating of 125.2
      Using 13 additional completions for 1/2 of unadjusted YPC (10.2x.5×13=5.36) or 70yards – 126.4
      Using same as above but an average YPC of 10.2 = Qb rate of 127.7
      Using same as above but 1.5 average YPC of 10.2 = qb rate of 128.9.
      If you use the 3’rd option (127.7) & add 1 additional TD = Qb rating of 128.4

      Without checking, I am guessing the best rate of 128.9 would only move KP from 91’st to 81’st at best.

      It took me longer to type this then run the numbers.

      Liked by 4 people

        1. Not a problem. I enjoy doing stuff like above but only if the info requested piques my interest (and I have data to readily respond).

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      1. Thanks Richard, that’s good work. Players don’t catch every pass. PITT has been counted as dropping 44 catch-able passes last year so you could have jacked that number up a few. Now, don’t forget the opportunities lost from a dropped pass. There is hidden info in all stats. It’s a dynamic that won’t show up on the stat sheet.

        Your hard work doesn’t go unappreciated though. As a matter of fact, when I see you have posted a comment my ears and eyes perk up like my dog Eli’s do when we say “go for ride”

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        1. Thanks Ike – my friend (now I feel bad because I didn’t call John “My Friend”)

          I used 13 because John asked what would be KP’s numbers if there was one less drop/game. The number crunching gave the above results.

          And while I enjoyed yours & PetePitt72 commentary on statistics, stats can & do have a place in playing “what’s ifs”. For example, if Pitt had 44 dropped passes out of 513 (Pitt’s total pass attempts that includes KP, Patti, Matthew & others) total pass attempts that is 8.58%. Using a stat that takes all drops out of all passes attempted over all 130 FBS teams that would give an average for FBS. You can then do a what if Pitt’s dropped to average). Let’s say the FBS average is 4.2% Then 8.58%-4.2%=4.38%. 4.38% of 513 is 22. That number is something I could live with.

          No matter what, you have to explain what & why you did what you did & you then have to put stats in context. The latest stats that I feel is ridiculous is $4M & either 7.2 (or 7) in relationship to Narduzzi. Two stats that are from different time frames & absolutely no context. Is it good/bad? Where are the other examples of coaches to put it in context.

          Weather has been good here. Mid 0’s & low humidity & I have drank to much beer to celebrate the horrendous summer heat & hunidity that we have had.

          Liked by 1 person

  13. Missed the season prediction article so here goes.

    As long time readers know I find what I consider the best media resources and stick with them. I always used Rivals for recruiting and used Phil Steel’s College Football Preview magazine for pre-season articles and predictions. I find that his predictions before the season and Pitt’s results after are pretty telling. Before the C-19 mash up of conference play he had Pitt as 4th in the Coastal Division – that’s with Tywman and Mathis.

    But he also ranks Pitt #27th nationally in returning experience (in statistical years and games played not his opinion of experience.) So that’s a positive.

    But I’m of two minds regarding experience. Sometimes that extra year makes a player better – but we also see, too often in Pitt’s offenses – that the next year just means more of poor play with no depth to relieve the shortcomings. I feel that is the case with Pitt’s offense in 2020. It may get better somewhat statistically but I’m not sure at all we’ll see great strides made on that side of the ball as pertains to 1st downs,TDs and points scored.

    The main reason for that is i have always felt mark Whipple is severely overrated and was Narduzzi’s “choice” because the better more solid OCs on the market steered clear of having him as a HC and boss. Whipple’s five year track record at UMass as far as offense goes averaged out to 58th nationally and we saw what he did last season.

    Having him again as OC this year may or may not be a good thing – although like everything else he doesn’t coach in a vacuum. His personnel is poor and I don’t see it being a whole lot better this season.

    Here is what I think we’ll do in ACC play and I also feel that home field advantage will mean absolutely nothing this season. Unless it is which school can turn up the canned crowd noise the loudest and please someone tell me Pitt isn’t going to do that.

    To ease your minds, I’m pretty bad at predicting…

    wins: Duke – GT – VA – SYR for four wins.

    Losses: Miami – ND – Fla State – VT – NC – Five losses.

    Add to that a win against Austin Peay and I think we’ll break even at 5-5. We may do the win one we should have lost and vice versa but 5-6 wins is max I think.

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    1. To be clear Reed … we don’t play UVA or UNC this year, the ACC replaces those with games against BC (in Boston) and NC state (at home)

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  14. The other issue I would like to see overcome this year is Pitts inability to put teams away early. It always seems that both offense and defense fail to do this and why we play so many close games. We get a lead and rather than growing it we take our foot off the gas pedal over and over. KP seems to play better when the game is on the line and relaxes too much with the lead. Maybe coaching as well.
    We have been good at winning the close ones but….

    Liked by 2 people

  15. Majors – I disagree. The only decent QB Narduzzi actually got to commit to Pitt during their recruitment was Pickett. Now – OC Chaney got Peterman to come to Pitt under Narduzzi so that was good. If you remember NP started contact with Pitt by calling Chaney and asking if he’d take him as a transfer and Chaney said yes. Narduzzi was pretty much out of the loop in that transaction aside from say something like ‘Sure, what the hell, we got crap now – couldn’t hurt.” We won the lottery with that transfer.

    But a transfer usually only plays two years at most.

    As far as recruiting & commits go here are the better QBs we have gotten out of HS and their HCs at recruitment:

    Harris – Palko and Rutherford
    DW – Stull and Sunseri
    Chryst – Voytik
    Narduzzi – DiNucci and Pickett (and transfer Peterman)

    As far as recruiting QBs go give me Harris with Palko and RR.

    But across the board our QBs since Chryst got here (even back to DW really) are around average at best with PN being the exception

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    1. it was Fraud who recruited Voytik. Chryst did bring in Savage who, physically, was the best Pitt QB since Marino. But there was a reason that he lost his job at Rutgers to an incoming 3* frosh, or got no PT in Arizona. If you look at his year here, he had 2 great games … Duke & New Mexico .. but that was about it.

      Even in the draft analysis, you may remember that he was purported to have 1st round talent ..but I believe wasn’t taken until the 5th round

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  16. First off, Twyman “opting out” will prove to be a huge loss for us, YUGE. It becomes the BIGGEST loss to the DL if we have a couple injuries on the DL, as the season progresses, which of course, will occur, because well, we’re talking about Pitt Football here.

    Now onto the subject at hand. I predict that Pickett will have his best statistical season this year for three reasons in decending order of importance, those reasons are:
    1- One more year of experience under Kenny’s belt.
    2- This will be the first year that Pickett has had the same OC for two season’s in a row.
    3- This OL, that Reed correctly credited as being awful last year, will be better than awful this season.

    The Wild Card in this, will be if Pitt has a TE this season who can both run solid routes AND catch the damn football. If Krull proves to be the starter @ TE & we find that he has a pair of hands, then that alone will upgrade Pickett’s QB stats.

    Liked by 2 people

      1. “Actually” as well as technically, he had Watson for two years in a row. So I stand corrected. But that fact doesn’t discount how important it is to have coaching continuity during a kid’s college career to aid & enhance his development at his position, which was my point. Thanks for keeping me honest.

        Liked by 1 person

  17. I think the one factor (not a “fact”, as are statistics) that kept hitting me all last year was a strategy posited by both Wanny and Nard – and many other coaches in the college game: take away the run, and the passing game is much easier to defend. We started EVERY game last year without a running game. I doubt it would have mattered who our QB was – we played every game with 1 hand tied behind our back.

    KP’s Time to Get Rid of the Ball is really frightening – especially when you consider how many “immediate” releases to the sidelines he threw. Im wondering if most of our receivers had trouble getting open in less than 2 seconds?? Kinda corresponds to my opening thought. (Ffrench being the exception – 92? catches last year. He must had a pretty good QB throwing to him!)

    If our receivers can’t get open quicker this year, and if we can’t run the ball, we will see a lot of blitzes, and DE TFLs this year.

    I’d like to see KP with a softer touch on some of his passes. He needs to be able to throw a deep pass that allows a receiver to run under it – not a 30 – 40 yard dart.

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  18. If we really want to cry in our morning beers (and I know you guys are doing that on this holiday) then as a follow up to Dr. Tom here is how our leading TEs have produced:

    2015: JP Holtz: 24 catches @ 14.6 ypc. (👍)

    2016: Orndoff; 35 catches @ 16.5 ypc (😍)

    2017: Flanagan; 17 @ 9.4 (😒)

    2018: Gragg; 5 @ 6.2 (🤢)

    2019: Griffin-Stewart; 19 @ 7.7 (😢)

    Fun with Emojis! Holtz and Orndoff could block very well also. Orndoff split out a few times but mainly was a TE.

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  19. hate to admit it but ….. KP when looking for receivers is a lot like I was when looking for women after I got burnt a couple of times

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  20. Great article, Reed. Nothing whets the appetite like some good QB talk during opening game week. I’ve got just a few thoughts on the subject:

    First: the YPC and YPA statistics seem to me to be very dependent on the supporting cast. Pitt’s offensive weaknesses last year seemed to be the type that would really hurt these stats. TE and OL play were really poor, which forces QB decisions, roll outs, quick releases, etc., that hurt these statistics. Also, play action passes don’t work much with no running threat. Red zone offense requires a good TE and tall, sure handed WRs to be effective.

    Second: given the number of games Pickett has already played, I’m wondering just where the improvement could come from. Will he suddenly throw more accurately, get a stronger arm or be a better game manager? I somehow doubt it. So better QB stats and offensive improvement will come only if the rest of the offense plays better. There is some hope for this year with general improvement expected all around, but we will soon see.

    Third: I really wonder whether or not Narduzzi would want Pickett to come back for an additional year. Even if his overall play improves, it will not likely improve so much that Narduzzi would be willing to risk having his other QBs transfer. I think we will know pretty early on if Whipple begins to insert the back ups for some playing time.

    Like

  21. Jeff Hathhorn@jhathhorn
    ·
    Pitt lists freshman receiver Jordan Addison as a starter for the opener Saturday at 4 on the Fan. Marquis Williams as the starter for Damarri Mathis

    Like

  22. Happy Labor Day to all on the site. Reed, it’s great to see you “Labor” for the site now and again.

    KP’s problems are many, and they are real. I think one of his biggest hurdles is what you call an overrated OC. Any OC than can’t figure out how to get plays called without having to have a QB run back and forth from the field to the sideline and to the huddle is just laughable. Additionally, I wouldn’t be surprised to find Pitt leads the nation in the 5-yard pass on 3rd down and 8+.

    Why would and OC design or call a play that has a receiver short of the sticks. I get that it is a trademark of the West Coast O, but KP has to learn that that pass is useless if the receiver is covered and has no chance of getting the 1st down.

    KP also is as inaccurate a short play thrower as any QB I can remember playing for Pitt, and that makes the above issue even more problematic.

    Here’s the question, how many games do we wait if KP shows no improvement before we see Yellen replacing a team captain? I fear this will reveal another of HCPN’s flaws, loyalty to a fault.

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    1. If KP is ineffective and Duzz sticks with him then P.Ford will opt-out along with others who came back to win an ACC championship lyke Jones & Weaver.

      Different team at that point and the fans begin to flee as well.

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    2. Those “Harry High School” trips by KP to the sideline has to stop. Hell, I got into games in HS by being able to accurately run in plays. Also, KP was throwing passes nose down, very difficult to catch. I hear he’s changed that…we’ll see.

      Like

  23. doubt if this comes out well but here is the 2 Deep (note the MLB)

    OFFENSE
    Quarterback
    8 KENNY PICKETT (SR, 6-2, 220)
    17 Davis Beville (FR*, 6-5, 220) or
    16 Joey Yellen (FR*, 6-3, 215)
    Running Back
    21 A.J. DAVIS (SR, 6-0, 215)
    23 Todd Sibley Jr. (JR*, 5-9, 225) or
    22 Vincent Davis (SO, 5-8, 175) or
    4 Daniel Carter (FR*, 5-10, 220) or
    2 Israel Abanikanda (FR, 5-11, 200)
    Wide Receiver
    18 SHOCKY JACQUES-LOUIS (JR, 6-0, 185)
    6 Tre Tipton (SR*, 6-0, 185) or
    9 DJ Turner (SR*, 5-9, 205)
    Wide Receiver
    11 TAYSIR MACK (SR*, 6-2, 205) OR
    5 JARED WAYNE (SO, 6-3, 195)
    Slot
    3 JORDAN ADDISON (FR, 6-0, 170)
    83 John Vardzel (SO*, 5-10, 190)
    Tight End
    7 LUCAS KRULL (SR*, 6-6, 260)
    28 Kyi Wright (FR*, 6-2, 260) or
    80 Daniel Moraga (JR*, 6-3, 225)
    Left Tackle
    77 CARTER WARREN (JR*, 6-5, 315)
    59 Carson Van Lynn (JR*, 6-5, 295)
    Left Guard
    71 BRYCE HARGROVE (SR*, 6-4, 320)
    76 Matt Goncalves (FR*, 6-6, 315)
    Center
    67 JIMMY MORRISSEY (SR*, 6-3, 305)
    60 Owen Drexel (JR*, 6-3, 300)
    Right Guard
    53 JAKE KRADEL (SO*, 6-3, 305)
    68 Blake Zubovic (SO*, 6-4, 320)
    Right Tackle
    57 GABE HOUY (JR*, 6-6, 300)
    74 Keldrick Wilson (SR*, 6-5, 300)

    DEFENSE
    Defensive End
    91 PATRICK JONES II (SR*, 6-5, 260)
    5 Deslin Alexandre (JR*, 6-4, 270) or
    6 John Morgan (SO*, 6-2, 250)
    Defensive Tackle
    10 KEYSHON CAMP (SR*, 6-4, 295)
    2 David Green (SO*, 6-0, 280)
    Defensive Tackle
    95 DEVIN DANIELSON (SO*, 6-1, 300)
    92 Tyler Bentley (SO*, 6-2, 300) or
    8 Calijah Kancey (FR*, 6-0, 270)
    Defensive End
    17 RASHAD WEAVER (SR*, 6-5, 270)
    87 Habakkuk Baldonado (SO*, 6-5, 250)
    Money Linebacker
    24 PHIL CAMPBELL III (SR*, 6-1, 220)
    32 SirVocea Dennis (SO, 6-1, 230)
    Mike Linebacker
    20 WENDELL DAVIS (SO*, 6-2, 240)
    36 Chase Pine (SR*, 6-2, 250)
    30 Brandon George (SO, 6-2, 240)
    Star Linebacker
    38 CAM BRIGHT (JR*, 6-0, 215)
    0 John Petrishen (SR*, 6-1, 210)
    Strong Safety
    12 PARIS FORD (JR*, 6-0, 190)
    22 Brandon Hill (FR*, 5-10, 205)
    Free Safety
    3 DAMAR HAMLIN (SR*, 6-1, 195)
    31 Erick Hallett (SO*, 5-11, 190)
    Cornerback
    14 MARQUIS WILLIAMS (SO*, 5-8, 175)
    25 A.J. Woods (SO, 5-10, 185)
    Cornerback
    15 JASON PINNOCK (SR, 6-0, 200)
    28 Rashad Battle (FR, 6-3, 200)

    SPECIALISTS
    Placekicker
    97 ALEX KESSMAN (SR*, 6-3, 190)
    91 Sam Scarton (FR*, 6-0, 185) or
    90 Ben Sauls (FR, 5-10, 180)
    Punter
    98 KIRK CHRISTODOULOU (JR*, 6-1, 215)
    92 Cam Guess (FR, 5-11, 195)
    Holder
    98 KIRK CHRISTODOULOU (JR*, 6-1, 215)
    92 Cam Guess (FR, 5-11, 195)
    Long Snapper
    94 CAL ADOMITIS (SR, 6-2, 235)
    49 Byron Floyd (FR, 6-1, 245)
    Kickoff Returner
    3 JORDAN ADDISON (FR, 6-0, 170)
    25 A.J. WOODS (SO, 5-10, 185)
    22 Vincent Davis (SO, 5-8, 175)
    9 DJ Turner (SR*, 5-9, 205)
    Punt Returner
    3 JORDAN ADDISON (FR, 6-0, 170)
    9 DJ Turner (SR*, 5-9, 205)
    10 Jaylon Barden (FR, 5-11, 175)
    Kickoffs
    97 ALEX KESSMAN (SR*, 6-3, 190)
    91 Sam Scarton (

    Like

      1. Throughout camp PN had been talking about Davis being “the real deal,” and was looking for Pine to “react” to the urgency of being potentially passed-over for the starting role. So I can’t say I’m surprised by this turn of events — at least PN wasn’t swayed enough by Senior status and instead gambled for the best option to see the field.

        Perhaps PN feels a bit more liberty to make such (controversial) calls amongst his Seniors given that this year will cost no one their eligibility for the next.

        Like

      2. Throughout camp PN had been talking about Davis being “the real deal,” and was looking for Pine to “react” to the urgency of being potentially passed-over for the starting role. So I can’t say I’m surprised by this turn of events — at least PN wasn’t swayed enough by Senior status and instead gambled for the best option to see the field.

        Perhaps PN feels a bit more liberty to make such (controversial) calls amongst his Seniors given that this year will cost no one their eligibility for the next.

        Like

  24. Surprises:
    Beville over Yellen
    Davis over Pine
    Addison over Turner
    Hope D Alexander gets big playing time, despite being behind Jones/Weaver
    Disappointments
    Van Lynn didn’t unseat Warren

    However, it will all change after Saturday so really . . . . . who cares. Thx anyway formerlywbb.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Agree at outside backer. SirVocea Dennis… a two star. Played a bit last year and looked lost. Got dunked on in practice by a walk on TE for a touchdown. This is our second string???

        Like

  25. As a curse I remember lots of PITT football history. Some really great times and some not so good. What I don’t get is this correlation with this years PITT team? What does this team have to do with what happened years ago? If SOP is real then why leave out the late 70’s and early 80’s? …………….. or the early 1900’s? imo, that is all baloney, or Isley’s chipped ham.

    Liked by 1 person

        1. Ike – those seasons were 40 years ago at least. I think most people think the phrase SOP is valid between 10-15 years (maybe 20).

          But there really is no denying that given the fact that we’ve had only three seasons with 9+ wins in the last 19 years…but 40 years to get more than 10 wins we are the epitome of the the military phrase “Same Old Same Old” .

          It is what it is – and that’s Pitt being pretty much trapped in a circuit of mediocre to decent play.

          Or in our case SOP.

          Liked by 1 person

          1. I guess I’m not up with the rotating rules of SOP. Yet then again, Narduzzi has one of the best 3 year runs since Wanny and all the way back to Jackie. Sorry I just don’t get it. Narduzzi is a wise guy so I get that part but if a monkey could do what he’s done with nothing I would be all for Chippy the chimpanzee

            Like

            1. 5, 7 and 8 for 20 wins (6.66 per) are pretty blah Ike – that isn’t even 7 wins per season over that stretch.

              His first three years were 8, 8 and 5 for exactly 7 wins per.

              Not seeing how that is all that good…but yes, if we compare him to the last two HCs it separates him a bit. Remember PC won 19 games (6.33 per) in his time here so Narduzzi is a slight bit better overall.

              Lets not even look at bowl games where they all sucked at .500 (DW) or below.

              Like

          2. Until the school pays big for a proven coach, meets all his demands: money, facility upgrades, high staff wages, it is going to be the same old. Why would anyone expect more?

            I’ve accepted that. Foolish to think Pitt will win big by continuing to hire coordinators who aren’t in high demand. Pitt did well to grab Narduzzi and must preach stability and hope it hits big on a QB who helps win 10-plus games.

            There is no billionaire donor is riding in on a white horse saying “here is $30 million, hire Urban Meyer because I want to see a big winner at Pitt.” The BoT wouldn’t even allow it despite Meyer’s proven background.

            Narduzzi has grown in his role and has actually become a face for our program. Pitt has an identity to it now, along with some terrific inroads down south. It would be killer to blow it up soon, especially with tough OOC games on the horizon. Also factor in the Coastal improving.

            Liked by 1 person

            1. Pitt is paying Narduzzi four million. Has the 5th highest football budget in the ACC. Plays at posh Heinz. What are you talking about?

              Like

          3. Posh Heinz Field. That is hilarious. To good coaches and their agents that place is a huge negative to the job.

            Pitt is outspending a bunch of smaller ACC schools? Woopie. Pitt would be near the bottom in other conferences.

            Liked by 1 person

  26. Addison will be hurt by game 3, so Turner better get some prep work. ike, SOP began to settle in around the late 80s, and like a bad case of the clap is difficult to get rid of. It’s really not hard to explain, Pitt gets just enough good players to win slightly more than 50% of its games and occasionally beat a really good club. However, given that these are college players who have difficulty focusing at times, if they come out flat or unfocused they can lose to a lousy Youngstown St. team who is primed and looking to knock off a P5 team.

    Pitt has never had the depth to sub in a 2nd team player if the starter isn’t playing well, without losing some skill on the field. If Ford is thinking about Twyman’s big payday, he will not be focused on knocking the pee out of Peay. So do you bench him and bring someone else in? They would at Alabama or Clemson.

    Like

    1. My guess is that if Paris Ford is playing this year he will be applying himself all out so as to increase his draft appeal to potential NFL employers. If he is committed to playing, I am not worried about his effort or motivation.

      Like

  27. I’m not a big Pickett fan but Pitt lead the nation in dropped balls. That has to be factored into any analysis and it’s not mentioned. It’s a difficult stat to find but this is lifted from a PG story.

    https://www.post-gazette.com/sports/Pitt/2020/08/19/Pitt-football-ACC-2020-season-Jaylen-Twyman-Kenny-Pickett-Pat-Narduzzi-COVID-Patrick-Jones-Mark-Whipple/stories/202008190047

    “Pitt had 44 drops in 2019, per Sports Info Solutions. That was the most in the country and the highest total in the ACC by a wide margin (Clemson was second with 34). Add those 44 drops to Pickett’s 289 completions, and his connection rate rises nearly 10 points to 71%. That would have been good for fifth nationally last year.”

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Pff has Pickett at 36 I think. 40 overall. Probably 4 for Patti in the Delaware game. So close enough. I’m sure everyone scores it a little different

      Like

      1. My point mostly being stats are too often confused as facts. They are data points and have to be analyzed with context. In a vacuum they don’t really mean much. Stats can paint the picture you want. QB is such a nuanced position you have to look at a whole lot more. Play calling, WR’s, OL, running game all affect the position. I think I read at least 4 picks were because of the wrong routes by the WRs. I’m not a big Pickett fan but I don’t think inefficiency was necessarily his problem. I think inefficiency was the offenses problem but I don’t think that falls on his shoulders. And I say this as someone who doesn’t think he’s great. He was the least of our problems on offense tho.

        Liked by 2 people

        1. I agree. Drops are just one indicator but Pickett’s receivers as a group were sub par last year. Again this is according to PFF’s “grade”.

          Now was he also staring them down? Apparently … was that bc they couldn’t get open? Well I don’t have time to watch the tape and tell you.

          Like

      2. Is there a PFF stat for average drops (total FBS drops/total FBS pass attempts. Instead of FBS ,it could be P5.

        Using 44 drops / 517 (total passes attempted by ALL Pitt passes) that is an 8.68% drop rate.

        What number of drops need to be completions just to hit the average?

        Like

  28. —Really hate to bring up Oh Canada again, but his year was marked by what appeared to be a very well coached offensive team. Seemed like we had few false-start type penalties that season in spite of all the motion. And the tricky jet-sweep handoffs or fakes were flawless for a good part of the season. Hoping to see crisp offensive execution this season…

    —Reed, relative to your comment above, I think Duzz has to rely on his OC to attract QB recruits. Which was why hiring “name” OCs, like Chaney, made sense. Even Watson had coached Bridgewater to big seasons. Now Whipple has drawn Yellen to Pitt.

    Pickett, Beville, Yellen and Patti is a pretty impressive QB room to me. I think Walt would be happy with these guys. (And I don’t remember Stull being so good until he was a senior — even then, it was more the talent around him.)

    Go Pitt.

    Like

  29. I’m a bit surprised at the attention fans are giving QB Yellen. The last two SoCal QBs we had transfer in; the famous Ricky Town and Max Brown were both 5* QBs in HS and didn’t do all that much at Pitt.

    Maybe the odds are in our favor and after two blah kids we’ll get a bona fide QB.

    The fact that he’s listed as an “or” at QB2 is interesting.

    Liked by 2 people

  30. Wait a second. KP did improve his qbr from his second year to 3rd year, so if he improves that rating again by the same amount, we are in deep trouble. He needs a massive improvement in quick recognition of opening windows and closing windows.

    Please stop with the drops. To even out the drops, let’s add “open receivers missed” because KP doesn’t trust the “window”. That to me is his second biggest flaw and will balance out all the ranting about dropped balls. Pickett holds the ball for a half to a full count too long and needs to understand the window and trust the window. That to me is an area he has not improved on one bit during his career at Pitt. Maybe things slow down for him this year. I hope so.

    How many of fffrenchies catches were within 3 yards of the line of scrimmage? Not YAC, but actual distance from line of scrimmage.

    Funny seeing stats about sunseri. He had a nice qbr but he didn’t get drafted because he was an awful quarterback. No offense to the guy, but he didn’t improve year over year mentally. That has nothing to do with OC changes. The Draft proved the detractors correct. The upcoming Draft will do the same. Maybe he pulls a Burrow. Likely, he doesn’t. Peterman had a nice qbr and got drafted, but understood the game and windows.

    Why is Yellen the perceived 2nd stringer tax? Have you all seen something different? I didnt think Belville or Yellen played yet. If Yellen is 2 string, I would expect Belville and Patti to be in the portal come December.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Huff – Yellen played as a true FR last year for Arizona State vs USC – he threw for 3 TD’s and was diving for the winning score when he was intercepted. Small sampling of work, but against decent competition.

      I agree on your access meant of KP – hoping Duzz let’s Whip make the decisions as to which QB plays – then and only then will we see how good Yellen or Beville can be.

      H2P!

      Like

      1. I dont think that gets you to second place. Heck, Pickett played one game against Miami as a true freshman and this whole board lit up like he was a future number one draft pick. Some said, uh oh!

        Now, if he beat out belville during camp that is another thing. I am good, so long as there is real competition and not pre-determined coaches crap.

        Like

        1. Yellen and Beville are battling for the #2 spot – neither has been crowned the back-up yet – they are listed behind KP with an OR between their names.

          Patti the clear #4

          Like

    2. Huff, missed open receivers are counted in the stats, unfortunately they are in the same category as dropped passes but dropped passes are a hidden stat. Completion % and passing yards per attempt.

      Good point on Yellen, PITT must feel Beville is more sensitive and looking to move on more than Yellen is. It must be dam hard to keep young QB’s or any player around that’s sitting at the end of the bench, carry his helmet, wearing headphones or carrying a clipboard.

      Like

  31. Good point Rick, makes me wonder if things are going on we don’t know. No, no lynyrd skynyrd songs.

    Football on tonight. Navy vs Brigham Young. I think?

    Like

  32. Yellen is different than the other SoCal QB’s. USC still thought highly of him but he was going to be behind a several year starter and I think playing for a coach who didn’t recruit him. He played really well in his limited action for a high profile program against good competition.

    Like

  33. To follow my prior point forward, it is expected that all players will improve each year. That is a given! The issue is can your guys improve more than your opponents guys. It’s not enough to say our OL will improve. Who doesn’t expect it too. But will our OL and all other position groups improve and be better than our 11 opponents player groups? I say yes with respect to Peay.

    Liked by 1 person

  34. Yelled should not be in the same sentence as Town and Browne. There is tape from last season where Yellen shows he is waaaaayyy better than those two. And Town was just a camp arm, like Jeff George Jr. Neither had a prayer of starting at Pitt.

    Like

  35. Heard Alan Saunders on the radio. Sounds like every week of the season is going to be scary. There will be Covid team testing Sunday, Wednesday and Friday. The Friday testing by an independent tester.

    Imagine the players and coaches waiting for these tests results. And you not only have the positives, but whoever the positive has had “contact” with.

    Makes me wonder how they are keeping the starters away from the backups…and the next backups.

    Fingers crossed, but we are going to be seeing some crazy crap…

    Go Pitt.

    Like

  36. Reed, really good article. Lots to digest.

    I want to like Pickett. Seems like a great kid. I’m aware of all the drops last year and absence of a viable TE. However, I think it’s pretty clear Pickett is just not that good. He has shown the last 2 years that he just lacks the touch necessary on the short to intermediate throws. He locks on to one receiver all too frequently and I don’t think he sees the field all that well. I don’t think he throws. a good deep ball either.

    However, he is tough. He tries hard and he cares. But he’s not the guy to get this team to the next level. He cannot make the guys around him look better rather it is often the other way around. This team needs the QB to do that given the o-line and wrs (beyond Mack). His limitations will hold this team back.
    ( I predict a 7-4 record)

    I hope Whipple can scheme guys open for him. I really hope Pickett proves me wrong…but based on the last 2yrs I doubt it.

    That said, I’m just so happy we might see a game on Saturday. Let’s go Pitt!

    Like

  37. Okie state and Tulsa postponed their game 1 week due to practice time lost because of covid. Osu has 7 players testing positive currently..

    Like

  38. Addison penciled in at 1st team slot, 1st team Punt, and 1st team KO returner says a hell of a lot about what the coaches are expecting of him this year. I for one thought the Turner transfer kid would relieve Addison from both Punt and KO duties for fear of injury.—-I on Beville and Yellen in being designated as either OR as the backup. It keeps both in the game and focused on next year before looking into the transfer portal. Patti I’m sure is actively looking now.—-I also find the MACK or WAYNE at WR an interesting development. It may only mean a Mack injury is holding him back however.—-Note: Michael Smith WR is also off the team supposedly due to a lower back injury. Probably explains were that extra scholarship came from when looking into those that were awarded last week.

    Like

  39. Nice analysis by Reed here, but I just want to throw out a couple counterpoints:

    I think it’s a little unfair to hang the anemic points per game stats on Pickett. The lack of a consistent running game last year had more to do with that than he did, I think. Once you’re inside the 20 yard line, the field shrinks, passing lanes getting skinnier, and it’s harder for the receivers to create separation, with less room to run. That’s when you need to be able to run the ball, and we just couldn’t do enough of that last year.
    His individual passing stats last year were a little underwhelming, as noted, but I think that obscure the fact that he was pretty up and down. At times, like the first half of the UCF game, he played really really well, and other times, like in the third quarter of the UCF game, he played pretty poorly. As an observer, it seems to me that he has the talent and that if he could just find a bit more consistency in his game, he’d be a pretty big asset.

    Like

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