Football Points to Ponder

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.  

H2P.  

Again – I agree with a lot of this but it was written by a long-time reader.



170 thoughts on “Football Points to Ponder

  1. The final three paragraphs provide a positive summation of Pitt FB’s coaching, direction, and culture. Thanks, long-time reader, I needed a positive read.

    Liked by 4 people

  2. Pickett plays because he the best PITT has. You all realize this is his 5th year. He never red shirted. He is not over staying his welcome. If there is a better QB on the team he would be playing; plain and simple. A QB from AZ should transfer so we can possibly recruit a promising freshman or transfer.

    Oline is the area we need to show improvement.

    Liked by 5 people

  3. you play 11 guys at a time and play the best to win on that play each time, you don’t play someone to DEVELOP them,,,, with the possible exception of garbage time when a game is already decided
    see point #1 response – WIN the game
    OK, of course. Back to point #1 and #2 it seems you’d suggest giving up even more with the offense and “develop” kids instead
    I’d say the OC has been bad, the o-line very bad, the WR’s average(no idea if bad route runners but drop too many), the QB is above average(barely), the TE’s SUCK SUCK SUCK, the RB’s SUCK outside of QO and DH who were very good and good
    You write: “Borbs seems to be improving the technique as comfort sets.”
    my answer: no comprende
    How possibly could you/we know the routes? need to know the play each time, right? I’ve never seen anyone jogging alongside KP to listen in to the QB whisperer,,,,, maybe MW talks loudly 😉
    plentiful? every team has a bunch, so?
    and yes agree with failure due to all the above on your list…..plus they suck post QO/DH(and DH wasn’t all that great, right Reed?)
    K and P – very good, yet a couple critical, seemingly easy PK costly misses
    “The exception would be a coach who has such credentials that respect by players and families enable success.” – me no comprende again,,,, yet I think I agree(if I do comprende)
    yep, slowly

    summation, I’d support a team that cheats a little, lies a little, and does what they can to develop and support their recruits to leave Pitt with a degree and far better chance for success in life than they arrived

    Like

    1. As they complete their degrees, should the message be that you can lie a little and cheat a little to get ahead? That cynical approach to life will not work to their benefit in the real world..

      Liked by 3 people

      1. yes

        the message should be don’t be naïve and please do learn to be cynical as it will serve you well

        you don’t always have to act on it but you had damn well better be prepared

        cynicism and skepticism are things I have learned to be and apply far later in life than I should have to better deal with people,,,,, of course not all people but a disappointingly large %

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    2. I assure you that there are key routes that are easily recognizable. My son who lives in another state will call me during Steeler games and ACC games to discuss the plays. I’m awed by his detailed analysis. He isn’t guessing as he played for a national contender. Routes are recognizable.

      Like

  4. ^^^^ I separated all the points above and numbered them but WP decided to destroy all that and make it look and read like a POS

    I’m fully capable of accomplishing THAT on my own without help from WordPress 😦

    Liked by 2 people

  5. 1 you play 11 guys at a time and play the best to win on that play each time, you don’t play someone to DEVELOP them,,,, with the possible exception of garbage time when a game is already decided

    2 see point #1 response – WIN the game

    3 OK, of course. Back to point #1 and #2 it seems you’d suggest giving up even more with the offense and “develop” kids instead

    4 I’d say the OC has been bad, the o-line very bad, the WR’s average(no idea if bad route runners but drop too many), the QB is above average(barely), the TE’s SUCK SUCK SUCK, the RB’s SUCK outside of QO and DH who were very good and good

    5 You write: “Borbs seems to be improving the technique as comfort sets.”
    my answer: no comprende

    6 How possibly could you/we know the routes? need to know the play each time, right? I’ve never seen anyone jogging alongside KP to listen in to the QB whisperer,,,,, maybe MW talks loudly 😉

    7 plentiful? every team has a bunch, so?
    and yes agree with failure due to all the above on your list…..plus they suck post QO/DH(and DH wasn’t all that great, right Reed?)

    8 K and P – very good, yet a couple critical, seemingly easy PK costly misses

    9 “The exception would be a coach who has such credentials that respect by players and families enable success.” – me no comprende again,,,, yet I think I agree(if I do comprende)

    10 yep, slowly

    My summation, I’d support a team that cheats a little, lies a little, and does what they can to develop and support their recruits to leave Pitt with a degree and far better chance for success in life than they arrived

    Like

  6. Well said. And I rarely compliment people.

    But I don’t think anyone here wants top ten. There is a cost to being elite. The vast majority want top 25 finishes and nice bowls. And yes it would help not to get blown out on national TV. At least most of America thought we were a team from coal country.

    After knowing what I know, wins on the field really trump everything else. Particularly when you pay someone well above market. And frankly has an easy job. It’s easy to sell pitt and the media doesn’t have me.

    I’d like to see this coaching staff start earning their fat cat money. Other departments across pitt have let people go and cut salaries this past year. Football is untouched. Why is that.

    Again past is prologue.

    Like

  7. You guys are never, ever going to understand what I meant about Darrin Hall. I never said he wasn’t good in 2017, I said he wasn’t as good as his final rushing average showed.

    Let me ask this.

    Would you rather have a RB who averages 4.9 ypc on almost every carry…or a RB who averages 3.6 ypc on almost every carry – but breaks only two big runs (79 & 92) to make his final stat read 4.9 ypc??

    In other words he was great on 2% of his carries and averaged way below the 5.0 ypc standard for CFB RBs on his other 98%!

    Any coach will want the more consistently good RB.

    That said it was a whole different story in 2018 where he ran for a 7.5 average and not just in big chunks either. Thanks Paul Chryst for Hall, Ollison, Conner, Q. Henderson, etc. The RBs PN has recruited have been pretty bad so far.

    I’m right and the rest of the world does not understand this.!!!!😂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I like to needle you a bit Reed

      thanks for taking it well

      there are MANY things I(as a tiny part of the rest of the world) don’t and probably will never understand!!😂

      Like

    2. I’ll take Emmett smith over Barry Sanders any day. Emmitt was consistent. Barry would be lose five yards, gain two yards, bust the hole for 30.

      Situational plays matter

      I’m with you Reed

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      1. So does Big Play capability. Pitt was/is a team lacking in that now and then. Hall was a Big Play player.
        WE NEED MORE OF THEM. THAT CAN SCORE FROM ANYWHERE ON THE FIELD.

        Liked by 2 people

          1. Come now, Tex. One thing Hall didn’t do was lose yards. He hit the hole hard whether it was there or not… Just my memory of the guy.

            Liked by 1 person

            1. He was a decent back. But not shady. And not even Ollison. I’m partial to who I knew while attending. Richards and west. And Martin. He doesn’t hold those guys jock straps. Pitt ain’t running back U under this meatball.

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      1. That’s exactly right. How many long grinding Pitt drives end up with either 3 points or no points(due to penalties, fumbles, botched fg’s, interceptions or on downs at the 1 yard line).
        Big Plays wins games.

        All the great teams have Big Play capability. USC had OJ, Pitt had TD, Oklahoma had Simms, etc.

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          1. The same number as Dan Marino who had the record for TD passes(420) for a long time.

            Would you rather have Dan Marino or Brad Johnson who did win a SB, as your QB ?

            Liked by 1 person

            1. I’d rather win period. I recruit and coach players that make me look good. That’s winning team hardware and not personal trophies. Super Bowls are the only things that matter. If you don’t have a ring, you are chump change. That’s the real world. Texas is real.

              Like

  8. Pitt’s running game problems are directly tied to it’s inability to stretch the field vertically in the passing game.
    You have a very inaccurate passer and when on the occasion he is on target (very infrequent), the WR drops the ball or lets it go right thru his hands.

    3 yard passes do not stretch a defense to then be able to run the ball effectively.

    Also having no TE that can be effective, either thru talent or game planning, means the opposing defense
    doesn’t even have to worry about defending the middle of the field.

    The opposing defense also doesn’t have to worry about Pitt RB’s catching passes. The entire slate of
    Pitt RB’s gained a total of 222 yards via pass catches in 11 games which equates to a whopping
    20 yards per game.

    You just take those 4 things alone, and people wonder why the offense stinks and literally disappears
    against better teams.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. On point number 1 – you definitely live in the present in college football. Never throw away a season to develop a QB.

    Last paragraph, winning at all costs would never soil the university’s reputation. Why people think this is incomprehensible.

    Liked by 2 people

  10. Thank you so much for the article. Getting tired of all the negativity.

    The Covid rule allowed Pickett to play one more year, that’s the way it is. All the other QB’s on the roster get that additional year as well so the development issue is mute. I don’t think many would disagree that KP gives Pitt the best chance at winning.

    My complaint about the OC is that he tries to do too much rather than choosing fewer plays that the team can execute well.

    The biggest problem has been the lack of a running game and that has been on the O-line and the backs, totally on the talent level of both. There is no magic to this. The line has to open holes and the backs need to run through them. The back then needs to evade the secondary which has almost never happened in the last two years. Of course with no holes few backs will look good.

    I do agree that recruiting is slowly getting better. This is the first year we graduated a bunch of future pros, and the cupboard is not bare. Hopefully the offense catches up with the defense a little this year and we win the close ones.

    Liked by 6 people

  11. There are no holes because Pitt is outnumbered at the point of attack. Since the defense doesn’t have to worry about getting beat by a long pass. Therefore the defense can pinch their safeties closer to the LOS.

    Also the defense’s LB’s don’t have to worry about covering any Pitt RB’s out of the backfield on pass plays.
    So they can concentrate on stopping our run. And they don’t have to worry about the middle of field, since
    Pitt has no TE’s making any plays over the middle.

    This isn’t rocket science. Pickett stinks. Nice kid and all that. He can’t complete a pass over 20 yards in the air. Tino 2.0 in that regard.

    Like

  12. So Tex would take Brad Johnson as his QB instead of Dan Marino. Cause Marino didn’t win a SB.

    Bet he had to look up, even who Brad Johnson was. You’re funny Tex

    You’re going to dismiss every great player who didn’t win a SB. LOL

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes I will. Championships are the only thing that matters. I’m not the only one who thinks this way. It’s not something in the Texas water.

      Like

      1. So you’d get rid of Larry Fitzgerald too? He never won a SB. Marino didn’t have the personnel around him to get back to the SB a second time. One great player on a football team can’t change the game like a great player on a hoops team can.

        Like

  13. Georgetown and all the media hype goes down in flames. Colorado had a 24 point lead at Halftime and end up winning 96-73.

    Makes you almost think, the BigEast tanked for them to win their tourney. As they were below .500 in conf and finished 8th.

    The Thompson Towel is Out !

    Liked by 1 person

  14. No upsets yet today. Drinking a new Belgium trippel. Have so much on my to do list but I’d rather be lazy and watch basketball. Texas game isn’t until tonight though. Go Horns. And my subway alum school is looking good right now.

    Like

  15. Best current example of a back who fits the Barry Saunders mode is S. Barkley. Stat line often will show 18 yds on 15 carries in first half, then 115 on 22 for the game. Really not sure if that’s winning football or not. Thing is, his yardage is due to fact he’s always looking to make the big play, Hall was simply putting his head down and hoping for a hole.

    Like

      1. And he’s tremendous out of the backfield catching passes. A big part of the reason that he was a Heisman Trophy candidate. He made lots of chunk plays on the wheel route.

        Like

  16. OT, a good day for Pitt athletics. Baseball and softball won at Virginia and volleyball beat Miami in Durham. Woo woo! H2P!

    Liked by 6 people

  17. All were on at the same time. I watched the volleyball match on the TV, baseball on my laptop, and softball on my phone. Craziest thing I ever tried to do as a sports spectator.

    Liked by 9 people

    1. sounds like fun

      wrestling will be on ESPN starting at 7 tonight, guessing Pitt guys see the matt somewhere around 8 – 8:30

      Like

  18. Appreciate the article by the long-time Pitt Fan. I agree with many points and disagree on a few.

    I continue to be highly disappointed in the coaching and recruiting of the offense. That’s an easy one with the results we’ve been getting.

    Don’t like the type of RBs we go after. Bring back the Wanny philosophy of getting some change-of-direction quickness. We are too straight-line.

    We seem totally uncertain on what we want in our Oline recruits – do we want guys with some mobility or giant specimens who aren’t very agile? And if Goncalves is running second team at OT, we are in trouble.

    And TE. I think Duzz is tight with his buddies and reluctant to fire them. While I think they work hard, the lack of TE (RB and OL) talent for so look seems inexcusable to me.

    I do think Coaches can improve overtime but it’s been a while for some of them.

    Go Pitt.

    Like

  19. Louisville released several recruits from their LOIs, apparently because Louisville may be headed for sanctions. Maybe Capel can go after these guys. There are a lot of players still out there.

    Like

  20. By what metric are we improving?
    By having more draftable kids?
    Joy!
    Every off season – irrational exuberance.
    And tell me again why I should care if the players like HCPN? So marginal players don’t enter the transfer portal? Heaven forbid.

    Like

  21. Pitt Wentzel outclassed by “The last “
    Stanford wrestler. 7-2. at 165. Penn State wins their first two matches.
    Griffith much the best and Wentzel was almost pinned twice.

    Like

  22. And why is pitt in the ACC? Oh because BC blocked UConn. The big east was falling apart. The big 12 was too Texas for them. And Cornhole picked up the phone. At least I have two teams left to root for.

    Like

  23. Will anyone awaken the sleeping giant. The true king to the kingdom despite being a bastard. But does he want it enough. It’s his for the taking.

    Like

  24. Boy, Patino sure can coach! He doesn’t have the horses yet, but it’s just a matter of time. And Tex, you should appreciate Oklahoma more. The nicest people you ever will meet. College sports are their passion.

    Like

    1. Never.

      Does a Pennsylvanian appreciate someone from West Virginia? And I married a gal whose mothers side was pure Hoopie.

      Indian territory is what they are and many have transplanted to my turf. They need to stay north of me.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. The most winning coach at Texas in football was an Oklahoman. lol

        Darrell Royal. I believe the field or stadium is named after the Oklahoman.

        Royal’s teams won three national championships (1963, 1969, and 1970), 11 Southwest Conference titles, and amassed a record of 167–47–5. He won more games than any other coach in Texas Longhorns football history.

        In 1996, the University honored Royal by renaming Texas Memorial Stadium as Darrell K Royal–Texas Memorial Stadium.[15] Royal was elected to the College Football Hall of Fame in 1983.[16]

        Liked by 1 person

  25. And Texas goes down in flames to little Abilene Christian, who I believe just started playing Division 1 basketball in the last couple years. or was this their first year in D1. Regardless.

    Like

  26. Getting players drafted means almost nothing in college football. Many times a NFL scout will rate big stats players lower than others at the same position because the second guy is more what the team actually needs.

    Pitt always has a lot of kids in the pros…and had crappy, mediocre seasons when those kids were starting for us. We are always being talked about as a program who continually does less with more.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Pitt does about as well as it can considering it never has good QBs and little depth overall. Two crucial elements to winning. Then there is the university cap on spending on assistants.

      Like

      1. Too bad Pitt never took advantage of having Walt in town. They could have added him as one of those advisor-type coaches who isn’t allowed to really coach.

        Could have helped with QBs and passing game – would probably have worked pretty cheap…

        Used to see Walt at some women’s BB games, of all places…

        Go Pitt.

        Like

  27. Finally got to try Baby Blue. Was really looking forward to it. Like most things from Texas, highly overrated.To be fair, I still have a bottle of Pappy, which in my opinion is just a cult bourbon, there are many better.
    If I sound a little bitter, the Horns really screwed me, only loser yesterday, Ohio was my bonus team, Again, bought into the hype, what a sucker.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. We have similar brackets – TEXAS was my only loss yesterday – Ohio was an easy pick over UVA for me as I don’t care for the Cavs almost as much as UConn and Georgetown.

      On the other side of the bracket I was perfect in the midWest, but lost both UNC and tOSU games.

      My Sweet 16 is still intact except for TEXAS. They say everything is big in TEXAS and that loss to D2 ABC is HUGE.

      Let’s bring Pitt into this discussion – Capel has three straight massive season ending slides and receives an extension (albeit during year 2). Shaka wins the Big 12 tournament, exits the tournament with an opening round loss as a 3 seed and possibly losses his job…

      Like

      1. UNC and tOSU were in the South bracket

        I had TEXAS losing in the Sweet 16, so my Elite 8 and Final 4 are still in tact.

        ABC had TEXAS losing in the 1st round. Lol 😂

        Like

    2. Baby blue is their low end. I use it to tailgate. True blue is probably what you were expecting the taste to be. That one is pricier and more flavor complex.

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  28. I haven’t watched a bb tournament game yet, but I did fill out a bracket. I’m sitting down to see how I did in the first round. So far through the West bracket, I’m 8 for 8 (100% correct).

    I know that won’t last so I’ll brag now.

    I’m hearing the Big Ten was overrated – what’s new and the ACC is down and we already knew that.

    Back to the bracket reconciliation.

    Looking forward to golf season…

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  29. Fact check: the ACC’s tournament champion, GTech was awarded a #9 seed…and lost to the #8 seed, Loyola Chicago.

    Let that one sink in and consider what Pitt has going for them with their current program and leadership.

    If I’m a Pitt bb season ticket holder, retired and looking for better entertainment value for my dollars, I book a few golf trips to areas I haven’t been to, such as Pinehurst, Alabama and Arizona. If I’m hungry for a live bb game, those three areas have good programs to watch.

    EE who will fight the urge to watch bb today – sunny and 55 degree weather will help 😎

    Liked by 1 person

  30. Excellent week for golf, just wish people go back to the office as all courses are crowded with work from homers. My brackets will crumble quickly, but at least it’s a distraction.

    Like

  31. Shaka probably will lose his job much like Herman did. Texas doesn’t mess around. There is accountability and consequences unlike Pitt. They expect a higher return for their investments. That mindset is a business one.

    Like I said, until Pitt begins treating sports like a business, you’ll get mediocre performance.

    Like

    1. Therein lies the problem in my mind. The upper leadership of the university relies on entitlement money (from the ACC, state and Federal governments) and they don’t appreciate the business world nor the concept of business.

      The frost delay is over – off to start my day, basketball free…

      Like

  32. EE, past 2 years I Feb. we’ve went to Khiawa, stayed at one of their condos and played the Ocean course and one of their other courses ( Cougar Point one year, Turtle Point the other). 2 nights plus golf $275!! Best deal around. Also played both Wild Dunes courses when we were there. Didn’t go this year as PGA in May. Not sure what they wanted this year. Consider that they wanted $260 for walk up on the Ocean Course alone! Caddie fee was xtra, must walk unless medical excuse. You should check it out for next year.

    Like

  33. The Longhorns Curse continues since I moved to Austin in 2010. Football has lost four or more games every season and basketball hasn’t advanced past the round of 32. Baseball hasn’t done much either.

    The AD there is going to want a new coach for sure by the time the new arena opens.

    Like

    1. And they have no excuses. All the resources in the world. It’s been poor coaching hires. But the AD is one of the best. I fully expect Shaka to be fired. He was already on thin ice.

      Like

    1. Their AD is new. He didn’t hire Shaka.

      Just like heather didn’t hire two of Pitts best coaches (coach Jay and coach fisher) and then extended arguably its two worst.

      The difference between Texas and pitt is that Texas has little patience for underperformance. They will find the money to eat the buyout.

      The brand down in Austin is taking a huge hit with recent football and basketball failures. And baseball ain’t looking too hot right now either.

      They aren’t afraid of change like Pitt. In business you are a risk taker. In compliance run organizations, you are risk adverse.

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  34. I think the real message here is that money can’t buy championships. With all their money, look at Texas as a prime example. The real route to championships is to have a good plan, good coaches and facilities and then to be patient and maintain consistency. Some colleges just want to win too much and have no patience. Look at all of the upsets this year. UVA shouldn’t lose to Ohio based on all of the pertinent factors. No one can say that UVA doesn’t run a good program. Should Bennett be fired? I don’t think so.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Shaka has been at Texas six years. Frankly he should have been fired two years ago.

      Texas had more than enough patience with him.

      If you’re a coach at a school like Texas with everything going for them, if you can’t win right away, or turn things around quickly like in less than three years, you should be fired.

      Because that’s what a business would do.

      Too much Patience kills your stock.

      Pitt practices too much patience and then cry’s with the excuse that they didn’t have any boosters to bail them out.

      Who’s fault is that?

      Like

  35. Texas, with all their resources and huge state of quality HS prospects, could even be more of an underachiever than the Blue and Gold gang.

    In basketball they are 35-38 in the Dance. Never have won a NC and have only been ranked at the
    End of Season…..11 times.

    In Football, they had the miracle year pre BCS with Vince Young beating USC, way back in 2005.
    Wow has it been 16 years ago since that.

    Before that you have to go way way back to 1969, when they were Number 1 at the End of Season.

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      1. NCAA Women’s Championships.
        1) Virginia
        2) NC State
        3) Texas

        Hey bronze ain’t bad but …….

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  36. Miraculously the 2 underachievers are the same 3 games under .500 in the Dance.

    Blue & Gold Gang is 24-27. While Bevo’s Boys are 35-38

    And what has happened to the ACC in hoops. Can’t remember as poor a performance in the Dance.

    And what is going to happen when Lisping Mike and Huckleberry Hound call it quits.

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  37. Halftime. Loyola (Chicago) 33 #1 seed Illinois 24

    This is going to wreck a lot of brackets if it holds.

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  38. Did any else see the Loyola player step out of bounds on a rebound, the ref right there looking at it, and swallow his whistle?

    Like

  39. Most of these BiG teams have a huge big man who in the past( or when they play in conference) dominate. The game has changed so much, especially in the pros, that the big guys can’t cover, and by end of game are sucking wind. When they run up against a team that is well coached and can use that size against them it’s game over. Much like what happened with Pitt and Aaron Grey.

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    1. Yea but Cockburn did his job. The huge 7 footer had 21 points and 9 rebounds.

      The rest of their team didn’t produce. Next higher scorer for them was only 10 points.

      Which produced a season low of 58 points. What killed them were the 17 turnovers which
      is lack of focus and poor game planning. And almost as important, their attitude.

      Like

    2. Cockburn I believe was a Pitt commit…until Illinois $$$$$ showed up. Thrilled they lost.

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      1. Don’t believe he ever committed. Pitt was supposedly in Final 5 list.

        That guy is HUGE….7 Foot…285 lbs and he looks bigger than 285.

        The Krautwig kid though matched his production had more rebounds, had like 5 assists cause
        the offense ran thru him on the high post,
        and several key steals at the end.

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        1. He had 4 steals too. Those last 2 steals were huge.

          Looks like 3 B1G teams will be biting the dust today. They are more of an embarrassment than the ACC given their numbers and seedings.

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    3. Funny enough joeknew…when Capel and Pitt came up against a similar situation against UNC’s bigs…
      Capel apparently didn’t have a clue…..in using UNC’s size against them.

      And that goes for most of the games as Pitt is usually the smaller team.

      Like

  40. So Tex, Shaka makes maybe $4 million… Did money buy Texas a championship? Now they would need to go to $5 million. How many coaches out there are actually capable of winning a championship in either football or basketball, assuming you could get someone good to take the job? There would be coaching changes every 3 years if you ran things, with no championships.

    The same players that won the Big 12 conference then lose to Abilene Christian. Coaches like Pitino, Izzo and maybe a few others (Bob Knight was one) are capable of motivating college players to play their best against inferior competition, but few others are, regardless of their salary. Coach K is crossing that line, and maybe Calipari has already crossed it. One and done players are not motivated by the college game, but those players on Abilene Christian will remember that game for a lifetime.

    Like

    1. Shaka was a bad hire. Not made by the current AD. He was a sexy pick and PC pick. Any coach from my list of 5 would be highly successful at Texas. They are all good fits at Pitt. Probably better fits.

      Key is knowing when you have a bad hire and quickly removing them. You can’t get the hire right all the time. But you can’t be afraid to make change.

      Capel is most likely a good guy but bad hire with some bad luck.

      Narduzzi is generally a good guy despite his smugness and snarkyness but is not anything more than a mediocre head coach.

      What good is stable bad or stable mediocre. In business you take risks. You often fail more than you succeed. But when you succeed it makes up for all the failures and then some.

      Like

      1. I believe the failure in Austin on the Shaka hire from VCU was an over-reliance on what happened in 2011 with the Final Four appearance and the follow-up branding of “Havoc Lives Here” by the program.

        Jay Bilas and Dick Vitale went out of their way to besmerch the team as a play-in pick. Truthfully, everyone here in the Richmond area was a bit surprised they got the nod….but even we crosstown rival Richmond Spider fans thought what the pundits were classless and they had embarassed the Rams. A huge chip was placed on the shoulders of everyone associated with the program.

        What Shaka did know how to do was channel that chip and he received excellent guidance on how to handle the media during the run. I don’t think they even sniff at Sweet Sixteen without that chip.

        After that run, it really looked like he might settle in and become the face of VCU basketball for a decade. I can tell you he was paid extremely well – enough to own a large Georgian mansion on Richmond’s (now infamous) Monument Avenue (literally across the street from the Robert E. Lee stature btw).

        Was very sad when he left because he and the program had an identity from that run and the full press they played. And the crosstown rivalry while still good, just wasn’t quite the same. We thought if he went anywhere it would have been back toward his home in Illinois or perhaps Wisconsin. Texas was a strange move for a guy who quickly became an icon in Richmond. Fully appreciate that perhaps he may have wanted to test himself at a higher level, but he could have been king in the city of Richmond and had the Rams in the tourney almost every year. I think he and Austin both made a mistake.

        Like

  41. The Loyola point guard is from Columbus and has two younger brothers on the up and up.

    Capel would never recruit a kid like that despite checking all the boxes for how a point guard should operate. Capel and his Big Fish Egg Baskets. His approach and keeping his dullard brother is going to cost him his job.

    Like

    1. And the other 2 asst’s, previous loser HC dopes Pitt pays for some reason.

      it’s pretty obvious after 3 years, the group of them doesn’t function very well as a coaching staff.

      Like

    2. Dullard brother. Good one. Why can these head coaches hire family?

      Isn’t that nepotism and against HR policy?

      Suzie also had her tag along sister for woman’s basketball.

      Like

      1. I’m thinking Capel dictated those terms for him to come to the unwashed city of Pittsburgh.
        And in the eyes of the ACC….the vastly unwashed U of P.

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  42. Oh my, look at one of the main reasons Cockburn chose Illinois over Pitt.

    “Coach (Orlando) Antigua is from New York. He is very familiar with my family. He is a really cool guy and a good coach,” Cockburn told Rivals.com last month. “We have built a relationship over the years so that could be a good fit for me.”

    His relationship with the coaching staff in Champaign was a determining factor for his decision, but so was the vast number of minutes and opportunities for Cockburn to succeed for the Illini. A near 7-footer with a physically developed frame, Cockburn is the definition of a paint presence that will leave a major mark from 15-foot and in immediately next year.

    Selecting the Illini over Pitt, Kansas, St. John’s and UConn

    Like

      1. Yes Calipari snatched him from Pitt and had him for 5 or 6 years at Memphis and then Kentucky.

        Guy is a great NYC and the Atlantic islands recruiter. Not a coincidence that Pitt and Dixon’s recruiting
        went downhill shortly after that. Calipari also snatched Slice too. A Double Dagger !

        Like

    1. They better do something or looks like with NO Recruits(plus everyone bailing) for the next 2 years, we’d be back at Square 1, post Rockports.

      Like

      1. Apparently not much trouble though. Antigua is probably pulling down some nice coin for a Money mint BigJoke school like Illinois.

        Got the job at Illinois the immediate season after leaving USF in 2017.

        Like

  43. While i was over at Rivals finding that story about who recruited Cockburn to Illinois. Of all persons, a Pitt man.

    Checked out the Team Recruiting rankings. While most teams are basically done with their 2021 classes.
    17 teams have already recruited 3 or more players (most of them the good ones) for their 2022 class.

    Meanwhile Pitt has Zero for 2021
    And Zero for 2022.

    Does Capel even plan on being here ???

    Like

    1. After I write how to sell pitt to a 4 star football recruit, I’ll begin drafting a dreamscape piece on what would happen if Pitt became a blueblood in basketball. How that transformation would impact pitt, both the good and the bad. Spike lee already has the movie rights.

      Like

  44. Catching my breath- volleyball beat Duke 3-2 today. Pitt crushed them in sets 2 and 3, lost 1&4 by 5 and 6 points, and won set 5 22-20. Set 5s are best to 15 win by 2, so it was back and forth. Crazy match- so glad they pulled it out. Duke has lost 7 in a row, so that would have been a very bad loss for our #19 Panthers. Softball lost to VT, and baseball is looking good up 6-2 in the bottom of the 8th vs Virginia.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Looks like Coach Bell has done really well with Junior College transfers. Especially starting pitchers Myers and Gilbertson…

      Go Pitt.

      Like

      1. Would love to see pitt in regionals. It would be a trip that I’d take. Luv the sport. Played it. Coached it. Never at a high level obviously. I was left field and third base. Typically 3 or 6 in the order.

        Like

        1. Tex – if Pitt baseball makes to a regional, I’ll meet you there. That is my favorite sport as well – played through age 16 and coached it too. Sounds as if we have similar backgrounds.

          When cuse and wvcc came on, my son stopped by for a visit and wanted to watch that game – first game I watched so far. We both looked at each other and said who do you root for, we hate them both. I personally hate the hoopies more and was fearful with the weak competition this year that they might go all the way.

          We both settled in to root for the orange. Good game and the hoopies lost, matching my bracket.

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          1. I was torn on that game too – love Huggy as a coach, but not the Hoopies. No ill-will towards the Orangemen but enjoy watching Boeheim get bounced. Net result was glad an ACC team won a game.

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          2. I’m more annoyed by those Hoopies. They are like a cold sore that just won’t go away. But I know they hate Pitt in an unhealthy way. I respect Syracuse but just can’t stand boeheim. Been to Syracuse many times on business and for the state fair.

            Hopefully Pitt can get to regionals. Would only be the second time ever I believe. Last happened back in 1995.

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  45. Illinois after Gongonzo was the 2nd most picked team to be in the NCG.

    Like I said, lots of busted brackets after today.
    Should have listened to Sister Jean. She has them going to Elite 8.

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  46. Shaka Smart, Brad Stevens, Mark Few, ….. all can’t miss, rock solid coaches, if you could just pry them away from their small college posts. Then you do and they fall short in the tourney. Imagine that. Why can’t we accept that winning six straight games in the NCAA tourney takes a lot of skilled players and even more luck. Falling short doesn’t mean you are a failure as a coach. It is how sports work (and life for that matter). A shooter is off, an opponent gets hot, a call here, an injury there, foul trouble, …. Sure, over time the team with the better players will be more successful than those without. But on an given night ….

    The word “upset” is way overused. Just because the team that the gamblers anointed to be the favorite loses, doesn’t mean that someone screwed up, including the coaches. Excrement happens!

    Liked by 4 people

    1. But in Shakas case, he has a track record. Six years now at Texas. That’s more than enough time to know if he has the right stuff. He does not. And I fully expect his resignation within the next two days. That’s how Texas rolls.

      Like

    2. Right you are Farmer. I actually read a comment saying Virginia sucks because they lost yesterday. And I’m suppose to value his opinion?

      Red 5-A or bust………. ike or fake screen name IEK

      Liked by 2 people

  47. I hate the big joke and Tobacco Road conferences the most. Pitt should start their own conference. Pitt gets a chance in 2027 to do just that. Hopefully Riddick is in charge then.

    Like

  48. Pitt only has one issue on offense…Whipple blows!

    There is misused talent and an OL playing on their heels because of the scheme.

    Like

    1. You are correct.
      Was bound to happen, as soon as the Defense got good/decent/better…the Offense is a joke.
      Seen better offenses in the WAC.

      Like

  49. This is like an old BigEast battle. Syracuse with 2 huge 3’s after the Hoopies cut it to 46-44.

    The coach’s kid….how about that !

    Miss the old BigEast days. Sort have lost much of my interest in basketball period.

    Like

    1. I just got off the phone with Heather…..we are officially a ping pong school.

      She just signed a big deal with THE major ping pong paddle maker.

      Like

  50. The thing about next year in FB and BB is that all these kids can come back for another year due to the virus and where does that leave us?

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  51. Ha ha ha….the ACC gets a team in the Sweet 16 before the B1Fake….who may get ZERO teams in.

    Like

    1. Hope Houston beats Buttgers for the trifecta. I’m sick of the sports writers bias for the B1Joke in their seedings and rankings.

      Like

  52. Add me Poni….

    Like

  53. Syracuse knocks the Hoopies out of the tournament. Is Syracuse better than WVU? Not this year. Just today. Will the EERS fire Huggy Bear? Ha! No chance.

    Like

    1. Wvu had 9 losses going into the game. Them like the BigJoke teams were vastly overrated.
      Wvu couldn’t deal with Cuse’s zone, like many teams can’t in the Dance. they shot 37% fg.

      And yes your right Huggy is there until he decides to retire, unless something out of the ordinary happens.
      Like him in bed with a cheerleader or something. lol

      Like

  54. Just so people don’t think we ONLY criticize Pitt with the coal miners football uni’s.

    Oregon State’s bball uni’s look like something you’d see for a Penal Colony hoops team.
    Barnes is obviously paying dividends for them…..finally.

    Like

  55. Reactions to the headline post (which I’m guessing is from oldlegalbeagle?)

    Thanks for the thoughts.

    Your points 1&2 – don’t agree. Unless there is a clear successor who has pushed for PT, not sure him moving on helps the program next year. That he and Whipple have worked together for a couple years is a plus – terminology and trust are carryovers for both of them. Agree some may transfer if they don’t get PT. Guessing most will only find that at a lower level, so not sure what the loss is? Isn’t the real issue that they haven’t signed “the guy” yet? Still holding out some hope the Beville could be that guy eventually.

    Point 3&4 – I don’t think Whipple or his scheme are the answer, so not that excited. That said, the final drive against UCF was exciting and the Pitt Special was creative. Thought we might see a bit more of that in games since then. Disappointed we haven’t. But Im more concerned with recruits than scheme. And Whipple has not distinguished himself as a recruiter – the kid he’s brough in from Texas is his one notable….lets see hwo that plays out.

    Point 5 – There’s someting wrong when COVID forces OL starters to sit and we see better play from the #2s. Even Duzz/Whipple/Borbs saw it and went “gaw-lee”. I have no idea if the recruiting is actually getting better, but consistency in run-blocking has not been there the past three seasons. Would be nice to see them pick up a notable (4 star) OL who pans out. They need to balance playing time decisions better between who does the right things in meetings and who shows flashes on the field. Can’t be one or the other and it feels like more weight is placed towards the former.

    Point 6 – More concerned about TE than the WR’s. Get a couple solid TEs who can block AND catch and the WRs will amazing get a bit more open and RBs will have better yardage. I would argue that Kenny is not inaccurate, nor is he highly accurate. If he has time to throw, I think he can make more than he misses. Find a guy who knows how to identify AND land kids who can play the role – and hire him.

    Point 7 – The biggest mystery to me in RB is why Todd Sibley wasnt getting more touches. Runs hard will go into the tight spots without flinching. SImply don’t get it. My gut tells me the coaches are trying to live up to promises made to the backs who are getting more time.

    Point 8 – I wish Chris Blewitt could have kicekd at Pitt for 8 yrs, if only based on his name.

    Point 9 – Think its a mixed bag. As a first-time HC when joining Pitt, he head to get OJT on hiring coaches, unless Mark Dantonio gave him that responsibility for the defense while they worked together. Most of his hires have been roundly criticized. Beatty’s hiring was seen as a good one by most….were there any others that jumped off the page? Randy Bates’ hire was pointedly questioned by many and its fair to say he’s a demonstrably good hire. The next OC (and I hope there is one as early as next offseason) needs to be a really good one – a young, up & coming guy whose next job will be an HC somewhere.

    Point 10 – the recruitng seems more stable and he brings in kids who can play. But he really needs to consistently land 4 star players 3-5 per year, every year. Im not sure there is enough progress yet to say there is progress.

    After the BC and NC State debacles (and I that is a fair assessment) last season, I had finally seen enough to convince me that the Duzz/Whipple team won’t get the team to the next step. I still believe that.

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