This was sent to me by a long (I mean long) time Pitt fan who is very knowledgeable of the inner-working of the university… my comments under his are in italics.
A few personal thoughts on Pitt football:
1. While I appreciate Pickett, his return delays development of the other QBs. Some will transfer if they genuinely regret not getting any playing time. Pitt must always think ahead not just live in a desperate present.
2. Yes, Pickett and Whipple understand each other but how is that helping team development?
3. Who has been thrilled with Pitt’s offense the past two years? Did anyone really think or feel confident that Pitt’s offense could strike quickly or prevent a loss? I don’t believe so! Pitt has hoped for the defense to save games.
4. How creative has the offense been? Game planning or innovative play calling has been subpar. I am not saying it is due to talent or players willingness. Perhaps the OC hasn’t been that good .
5. Pitt’s OL has had some issues with recruitment and development but it seems improvements are happening. It has been recognized that more depth is needed plus Borbs seems to be improving the technique as comfort sets.
6. Pitt seemingly has decent talent at WR plus some speed. Yes, too many balls have been dropped but the question gets to be were the QB and receivers on the same page. It really looked as though the receivers frequently ran bad routes.
7. RB’s are plentiful at Pitt. This used to be a position of good quality and performance. Not so lately, why? Bad OL blocking? Too much hesitation? Play calling? If the opposition can stack the box, there isn’t much running room!
8. Pitt has had the benefit of better than average place kicking for all of PN’s years. I can’t blame kids for missing a kick now and then having had a son who played WR and PK, P at a top level team. There’s a lot more moving parts that need to mesh together for success. It has been nice that Pitt has had that viable capability. Credit to the long snappers too!
9. Slower than many hoped, it seems as though PN has been improving in hiring better coaches. He came from decades of defensive thinking and slowly has been learning his needs on offense. The key is having younger coaches who relate well, open to innovation, and recruit well. The exception would be a coach who has such credentials that respect by players and families enable success.
10. Pitt has moved away slowly from recruiting kids who largely were at best MAC level targets.
In summation, Narduzzi is improving yearly by slowly absorbing what needs to be done offensively. His hirings, recruiting, and planning are improving. Yes, some coaches do not appear to be the best at their responsibilities but that is something PN needs to address. I suspect he will.
Above all, PN does not lie or mislead his players and their families. There is a culture of trust among the players and staff at Pitt. Key to all of this is a strong likemindedness between the program and administration. Academics are important recruiting tools as is the wonderful program under Penny Semania that helps players learn life skills.
Many may want a perennial top ten program. Who wouldn’t? But, at what cost to the reputation of a fine university? No, I would not support a program that cheats, lies, and has poor development of young people assigned to its care.
Again – I agree with a lot of this but it was written by a long-time reader.