MMQB: Pitt Win Over Tennessee

My friends – here is a fantastic and well thought out MMQB article by Jay Kaplan (“6&34” on here) that is a pleasure to read – and to agree or disagree with. Have at it…

Well, Pitt prevailed in the Johnny Major’s Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) v. Southeastern Conference (SEC) Battle of Mediocrity.  It was a game I thought during the week’s lead up to the game was the most important game of the season for Pitt (I heard on a Tennessee podcast it was the most important game for Tennessee as well).

Of course, now its no longer the most important game but Pitt gets to say at least for a while longer that it is better than mediocre.

Not by much, but if Tennessee is mediocre then Pitt is better than mediocre! That’s basic arithmetic.  Sort of… Had Pitt won by 14 or more, I might be more enthusiastic about the rest of the season but alas they didn’t. To the contrary, they struggled to keep the lead at seven.

But they won – which makes Monday Morning Quarterbacking a lot more fun than it would have been if they lost. And they won on the road coming from behind an early 10 point deficit against an SEC opponent in front of what I would estimate as 75,000 very loud Volunteer fans.

Neyland Stadium - Facilities - University of Tennessee Athletics

This team could have quit after the first minute of the game but they didn’t. That says a lot and the team and Narduzzi deserve credit for that.

Pitt almost looked good. Take away the atrocious performance of the special teams and you could say Pitt played outstanding. OK, maybe that goes way too far but think about what the game might have been if special teams played only badly. Instead, they just sucked. They were SOP level bad which is as we all know as about as low as you can go.

Keep in mind though that the botched, pathetic performance on the missed field goal attempt, a spectacularly SOP screw-up of epic proportions does not show up in the score or statistics because the play was nullified by a Tennessee penalty. But it was not nullified in my mind be it conscious or subconscious. Note:  Maybe, just maybe if the illegal block had not been committed the Pitt player would have made the tackle and the near disaster would never have occurred.

So it’s fair to ask who is responsible for that atrociousness? On the blocked punt, unless Pat Narduzzi overruled Special Team’s Coach Andre Powell or certain players just took it into their own hands to do whatever they wanted to do, Coach Powell is solely responsible for that seven point embarrassment.

Don’t be mislead by the announcer’s comments about Head Coach Josh Heupel having seen something in their study of Pitt game film they reviewed preparing for the game. What occurred had nothing to do with careful study and planning; what occurred was just an incomprehensively stupid punt protection scheme. Just watch it.

I should move on to something else but for the moment I can’t. I just don’t understand how a special team coach can have a team line up the way Pitt did. If an Alabama special team coach did that with that result (it would be that result every time), that coach would not have a job after the game.  

I don’t recall Jaylen Barden on any plays from scrimmage but he did handle two kickoff returns and he did so poorly. I can understand how Barden could elect to run from where he caught that first kickoff. Players can have moments where they have visions of grandeur and make mistakes because of that. But he did it the very next time he caught a kickoff.

Did Powell not reprimand Barden for that first bad decision after Barden returned to the sideline? What are the odds of making it past the 25 yard line on a kickoff return from inside the five or the end zone? It’s a sucker play to run it out. I’ll give Powell a credit for switching Barden with Stovall after Barden’s second bonehead effort. Note: I almost always refrain from disparaging a Pitt player especially a young one but Barden deserves this public criticism for being more me than we.

Two Tennessee kickoff returns (in a row?) resulted in the kicker (Ben Sauls) having to tackle the kickoff returner perhaps to save the day. Two!!  And while we are talking special teams let me mention that virtually every extra point seems to barely get over the crossbar. Maybe that’s the way its supposed to be done but if it is, I don’t recall other placekickers other than high schoolers that do extra points that way.

Kenny Pickett was outstanding this game. I need to confess I think his ranking as the 10th best quarterback in the fourteen team ACC is absurd.  Yes, Pickett has his flaws, but his overall game is at least good and sometimes very good. I have heard announcers say he runs a 4.7, 40 but to my eye he is marginally faster than James Conner who ran a 4.67 at the NFL’s Combine if my memory serves me correctly.

Pickett’s leg speed is a weapon. He’s no Lamar Jackson but he runs really well and is smart too. Some POVers think that at least in the past he took off too soon. I saw that happen only once against Tennessee.

Pickett was less accurate the 2nd half but that could have been due to Tennessee’s better coverage and defensive penetration during that part of the game.  As far as I’m concerned, Pitt has a quality quarterback – even with the second half inefficiencies. Prove me wrong or just focus on his flaws, your choice POVers, but the dumping on Pickett will fall on a lot more deaf ears after this game. 

The guy is a gamer and that is high praise for a quarterback. Check out his touchdown pass to Marquise Stovall in the 1st quarter – a cross body bullet to his receiver running along the back of the end zone. Really, check it out before complaining about Pickett’s arm accuracy; it is the first play of this highlight reel…

Many will want to criticize running back coach Powell for the touches Vince Davis got in this game and when he got them especially when most everyone’s favorite running back, Izzy Anabikanda, made some clutch runs. I won’t do that and not because I feel badly about my criticism about Powell’s special team coaching.

Look, it isn’t fair to assert that the offensive line performs poorly on running plays and then blame Vince Davis for being ineffective without being able to show why Davis should have done a better job running with the ball. Yes, I understand that sometimes a player has to “make a play” but Davis has made many plays for Pitt such as his run into the end zone in the 2nd quarter. That was a thing of beauty and linked below.

Vincent Davis TD run…

 Really, watch that play and wonder how a 175 lb running back is able to make a run like that. I’ll tell you. He has skills not the least of which are his excellent vision and outstanding balance. Do I want him to be Pitt’s power back? No. But he has at times been that and done it well on multiple occasions.

For the record, I want Daniel Carter or Todd Sibley to be that though perhaps neither of them can block. I did see Vince Davis throw a terrific block on a charging linebacker. Also, Narduzzi in his postgame presser stated it was a joint decision by him and Powell to keep Davis in that role which sort of means it was Narduzzi’s decision.

Pitt only had 93 rushing yards in a game that I thought would require Pitt to establish a strong running game to allow its passing game to succeed. That strong running game didn’t happen – not by a long shot as those measly 93 yards (19 by Pickett) attest.

I had watched the first half of the Tennessee v. Bowling Green game last week, and it seemed to me that Tennessee’s strength was its defensive line especially its play against the run game (Bowling Green had 33 yards rushing in that game).

Of course, that was against Bowling Green but Tennessee’s defensive line looked big, quick and skilled in that game and it seemed to me that they played well against Pitt. So maybe Pitt’s offensive line which did have some good moments in Pitt’s closing drive was not as bad as the stats say it was.

On the other hand, Pitt’s offensive line protected Pickett well throughout most of the game. I think they gave up two sacks. It wasn’t like it was against Bowling Green when Pickett seemed like he could take as much time as he wanted before he settled on a receiver to throw to. But it was decent.

I find it between difficult and impossible to evaluate wide receiver route running when watching on television. With that caveat, Pitt’s wide receivers played an outstanding game.  Mack is back and Addison is the star we thought he would be this year. Wayne seems to consistently have high yardage per catch stats and this game was no exception with 18.7 yds per catch. 

I’m still waiting for Krull to be a force but three catches for 41 yards is satisfactory. By the way, the touchdown throw by Wayne on the trickerinio play (a quarterback when he was in high school in Canada) was to a receiver who was open but was being covered so if the pass was not as good as it was, it may not have been a completion let alone a touchdown.  Credit to Whipple for the call.

As previously mentioned, I don’t recall Jaylen Barden being in any plays from scrimmage and the stat sheets say he had no passing targets . I can’t understand that because he is such an outstanding wide receiver talent. Maybe it was because he was told by Powell not to make another kickoff run mistake after the first one which convinced Whipple, Brennan Marion and Narduzzi to make a Barden an example for the entire team. All this is idle speculation of course.

Pitt’s defense had its issues in this game – the most significant of which was the poor tackling in the second half. This defensive and special team wide loss of such an important skill seemed to come out of nowhere though it looked mighty familiar to this POVer. I have seen this skill loss in two situations:  One is where the other team’s offensive players are just too fast for the Pitt defensive players and the other is when the defensive players are excessively tired.

That tiredness could be caused by on-the-field heat (the high temperature in Knoxville was 81 degrees) or just playing a team that is beating your ass. Was it tiredness? I really did not notice Tennessee missing a lot of tackles but then again, I may have perceived a miss tackle by a Volunteer as a result of a good move by a Pitt player. 

Also, it seemed there were 40 missed tackles on the Tennessee missed field goal return that was nullified by the illegal block.  Also, I didn’t see too many missed tackles by Pitt during the first half so maybe the reason was Pitt was tired.

Pitt made a two play goal line stand from less than a yard from the goal line. Stopping the run has been a Pitt defensive forte for most of the last three years (with some notable exceptions). And they deserve credit for it for sure but only Head Coach Heupel knows why he did not run Hendon Hooker on at least the second of those runs.

In any event, the fact of the matter is that Tennessee had 138 total rushing yards and these included the 54 yard run by Joe Milton. And Hooker had another 54 yards rushing most of which came on runs off of faked pass or a pass play where the coverage forced Hooker to run.

That’s darn good run defense. Yes, Tennessee was missing its best running back and its second best back had to leave the game because of injury but I still think that the stats don’t lie about Pitt’s defense. The fact of the matter is if HC Heupel thought his offensive line was controlling the line of scrimmage, he would have had Tennessee run more.  

Tennessee had 240 passing yards. Milton missed on several vertical passes where the receiver had the Pitt defender beat. If those passes had been accurate, this would have been a very different game. You can call that lucky or that Milton – he with the big arm and high velocity throws – was not very accurate.

Hooker played well until he threw an interception by safety Brandon Hill. This gave the Pitt offense the opportunity to run out the clock which they did by achieving two first downs spearheaded by some hard running by Abanikanda and some better run blocking by the left side of Pitt’s offensive line.

This game was important. If Pitt had lost no one would be saying that Tennessee was a terrific team so I suspect that with Tennessee losing no one is saying that Pitt is a terrific team either. Nor would I.  But I’ll bet some folks out there might be saying that Pitt has a terrific quarterback.

I’m sure there are some POVers saying that Picket isn’t terrific because it was just one game. I’ll give them that, if they will acknowledge that Pickett was very good this one game. There’s plenty of season left to judge him again in the future.

Hail to Pitt…

233 thoughts on “MMQB: Pitt Win Over Tennessee

  1. Great job 68, IMO a fair and thoughtful assessment.

    I can’t agree more that the special teams were terrible which I believe was a big factor in making the game unnecessarily closer than it should have been. But of course as we all know, it is better to lament after a W (something I hope we experience more of)

    Sent from my iPhone


    Liked by 3 people

    1. Powell has done a great job over his career with special teams. He won’t be relieved of duty over one game. He usually gets things straightened out quickly.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Only one problem with that: there shouldn’t be anythings that need to be straightened out. Those are “the things” that cost you points, sometimes the ball game.


  2. Good article. Thanks.

    You nailed the things Pitt needs to improve on. Powell will get everything straightened out on special teams. One good thing on special teams is the punt returner. The transfer from Hawaii. He does a great job of always catching the ball and not letting it drop and roll another 10 to 15 yards. Seems like a small thing but it is huge for field position. Drives me crazy when players aren’t aggressive catching shorter punts.

    One thing to keep in mind on the bad coverages. Sometimes you lose the chess match. As a DC, you call the wrong blitz or alignment at a very bad time and get burned. That is the beauty of football. I’m sure that happened a few times and a few times the player got burned or bit on a play action. It’s a learning lesson. Only time will tell if Bates corrects it.

    Another good thing about the offense. It was not dink and dunk short throws. I didn’t look at the average yardage per catch, but it seemed many were ten plus yards which is great. To pull that off, you need time in the pocket and a QB making quick decisions. Kudos to the OL.

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  3. Last week I posted HCHeupel would test PITT vertically which he did. I was happy Makenzie Milton did not follow him to Tennessee ! Tall and fast Vols receivers ate those islands up. After Saturday’s game I told my wife I am never again going to bitch about Duzz’s shutdown D giving up big plays, especially, through the air. He could have Polamalu, Woodson, Mel Blount and Donnie Shell as DB’s and still get smoked. Something about his x’s and o’s scheme that is vulnerable and will continue as long as he is here. Hopefully, they will do better.

    The running game is “not good” but it is only the 2nd game. Not much has changed since (pass first) Whipple has been in place. It’s personnel and it’s the x’s and o’s of Whipple’s scheme. #21 and #22 have heart but , they can’t churn out consistent yardage, not even 3.5 yards and a cloud of dust.
    I did see them line up in an “I” formation (when is the last time you saw PITT in the “I”?) with the QB under center and a FB leading the way into the checkerboard end-zone. I was having flac=sh back to Tony D after that score.

    Tennessee was able to attack our flanks with the short lateral passing game and with kick returns. I don’t know if this was execution, poor tackling or a speed thing. It was probably a combination of everything but our lateral passing game or returns did not look anything like the Vol’s game.

    When HC HEUPEL gets his QB in place the Vols will give Saban and Bama fits.When HC HEUPEL gets his QB in place the Vols will give Saban and Bama fits. He is a good coach and a keeper.. Most of the many fans I talked to believe Tennessee will win 5-6 games this year and expected to lose to PITT. When HC HEUPEL gets his QB in place the Vols will give Saban and Bama fits. He is a good coach. WE know what we have. A couple of them asked me if PITT could win the ACC this year and of course I appropriately responded HELL YEAH!!!”

    PRE-game notes I wish the POV family could have attended as a family. Y’all missed one of the classic football venues and atmospheres in the USA. From the 10’s of 1000’s of friendly fans in bright orange, to the 385 piece “Pride of the Southland” band marching down the “the Hill” to mascot “Smokey” the blue tick coon
    hound and the Vol navy,,,,.ROCKY TOP.. YOU’LL ALWAYS BE.. HOME SWEET HOME TO ME…..

    JoeL’s nephew had a tent rented complete with a TV right in the middle of a sea of tailgate tenting on a lawn on their campus….so reminiscent of the huge tent tailgate city that blanketed the Cathedral lawn back in the 70’s and early 80’s…Right gc, Dr Tom, Atlanta Panther and you who are old enough to remember…I just made that up-PITT would never have thought to do anything like that…and still don’t promote such an activity.

    Speaking of tailgates- I spent a lot of time marketing next years game in the Burgh to Vol fans…We talked a lot of hunt’n and fish’n too. Damn we have a lot in common. Anyway, Fran and Wolfe, I invited about 800 of these lovely southerner’s (only requirement is that Tennessee twang) to Red5A for 2022.

    Hope everyone stays healthy and K8 doesn’t op out to prepare with Peyton for NFL after game 6 win (kidding) This is Duzz’s year to win the whole dang-gum ACC and get into the BCS. That will seal the deal for the Duzz. Crazier things have happened.



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  4. apologies my cut and paste didn’t work in the above paragraph or I was stuttering as typed”

    Neyland Stadium is on campus packed in among school buildings with vey little public parking. Sound familiar? There has been a facelift of a new brick facade, scoreboard, press box and luxury seats since I last visited in 1985 but not much has changed. Yet she sits there proudly awaiting the arrival of her 102,000 fans who arrive for a football game on a Saturday in the South. That ‘s how it is done…PITT’s never been able to figure the simple little things that matter and could really make a difference.(or screw it up when they get it right)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I passed several fine looking trout streams and knew there had to be plenty of deer in those woods. The people are very similar to those from sw pa and West Virginia. We have a lot in common. They just speak differently.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. In addition to my brother, a HS buddy lives there and he loves Knoxville because “its just like PIttsburgh, except the weather is better”

        But not a lot of cultural diversity. Doubt the avg Vol knows what a pierogie is – or good Italian food for that matter.

        BUT!… they had a wonderful biergarten on their North Side … replete with schnitzels cooked to order and sausage. Great beer too. And it was filled with Pitt fans, who have a nose for that stuff.

        Liked by 2 people

  5. Great mmqb. Thank you! Would love to know more about the punt formation since I didn’t really see anything glaring, other than lack of effort.


  6. Really great read Jay.

    Huge Kudos to everyone that made the trip to Rocky Top, although the SEC coverage didn’t focus on you, you were still seen, and made a difference to our players.

    It can’t be overstated how big it was to comeback from a 10 point deficit and to keep it to 10 points although Milton did help. I had visions of one of those games when you never overcome the bad field position. That is why the first scoring drive was a thing of beauty and ended in seven points, not the customary three.

    I do have mixed feelings about Vincent getting the majority of carries, but he is the best blocker and moves to receiver when they shift to an empty backfield.

    I also like that Whipple only used two RB’s, I hate giving a bunch of guys two carries each.

    I also thought it was very positive that KP’s number of runs was very limited and not a big part of the game plan. He is much better when he doesn’t tuck and run, especially against a team as big and fast as Tennessee.

    On the missed field goal the announcer made a good point that they are all big slow offensive linemen on that formation, why they look silly trying to make a tackle. Also the hold did spring the runner. Hopefully Narduzzi has learned our new guy doesn’t have the leg of the last guy.

    I always hate to play great running QB’s and they had two. How many more do we play this year?

    A lot of the problems were things that can be fixed, like Barden’s foolish runbacks.

    Pitt had many big plays, must mention Tipton’s, which save 25 yards of field position.

    The biggest of them all was Hill’s game saving interception. Those big plays are the difference between winning and losing. Hopefully there are more in our immediate future.

    Liked by 7 people

    1. I’m not 100% sure but I think it was Hill who caught Milton from behind to tackle him at the 4 on his 54 yard run. TN went backward from there and barely got three points out of that possession. As Huff has rightfully pointed out in the past, you can’t project what would have happened game-wise from that point forward, but that hustle certainly kept 4 additional Vol points off the board.

      Liked by 4 people

  7. Btw, I’m down in North Carolina and I would have to say the bias against the northern acc teams is real. It’s extremely difficult to find Pitt’s win mentioned at all, even though it was probably the biggest ACC win of the weekend.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Nate if we can experience a few years of kicking some ACC ASS across the board then there POV might sound a little different…. We gotta get it done… long over-due!!!


  8. It is interesting that in a win Narduzzi is never mentioned. I think he is certainly to be commended for the recruiting of a very strong front seven that still has excellent depth even after two guys have made pro teams.
    Also the fact that so many have come back to play an extra year. Also the O-line seems to finally be coming together with a great pick-up in Minor.

    KP coming back was huge but the defensive front seven will keep us in a lot of games.

    I do agree that this game is nothing to get overcocky about, but much more enjoyable than a loss.

    Hopefully a senior laden team will be able to keep everyone’s head on straight.

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  9. One comment. Apparently football pants don’t have knee pads attached any more. Players seem to be wearing very long Bermuda shorts with hip and thigh pads built in. Even in the pros with the strict NFL uniform codes. Maybe see some of you at the WMU game in the Club section on the home side, I will be in a party of three guys, my 6-4 son Ben and my brother John and me. John and I will be the white-haired guys using canes.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Would love to meet you in Red 5A, Justin. Heck, if you need to, take an Uber from the lot to the stadium (2 blocks away). If you are not familiar with the parking lots around the North Side, Red 5A is shown on Google Maps. Within the lot, we are next to a large green electric transformer box (yeah, we’re a city school) elevated on a pad next to the adjacent parking garage. Also worth noting, that Red 5 Garage (not Red 5A) always has game day parking for $20 cash, no need for a parking pass.

      Liked by 3 people

    2. Red5A Justin… get you crew there and meet the great folks who come on this blog…. as a bonus I will have Fran let non- blogger out of his pre- game kennel so you can pet him!!!! He’s calmest before the game.

      Liked by 2 people

  10. Thanks for the article Jay. I agree special teams was really, really bad on Saturday, but I might give them an F+ (or maybe even D-) for two positives: as noted above, the punt catching was clean by Stovall, and Scarton looked improved, going 2 for 2 in FGs plus improved, more confident extra points as the game wore on.

    Regarding Pickett, albeit the quarterback position will always be critiqued due to the nature of it, I think most Pitt fans realize he is a good one and appreciate him very much. He’s rated the #5 QB in the ACC buy SI, but I’m not sure there’s a better QB in the ACC, besides (maybe) Howell. It would not surprise me if Pickett plays on Sundays, but we’ll see, there are a lot of games to be played that will shape his chances.

    Regarding the OL, I agree they were better than the stats, but that said they do have a long way to go. I’d like to see Izzy get a higher percentage of carries next week.

    And finally, a very astute comment by notrocketscience above, in that our offense was not “dink and dunk” on Saturday, which certainly bodes well for the season in terms of our potential.

    Liked by 3 people

  11. One of the most enjoyable Pitt Games in awhile. Here are some takeaways.

    1) Thank goodness Joe Milton has a problem with accuracy.

    2) As for the Pitt Quarterback… yes, Kenny Pickett will get drafted. Would have gotten drafted this year. That NIL must be a sweet deal.

    3) Pickett did get some help from his Offensive Line playing better than expected. Maybe it was the free steaks at Spirits and Tales. Personally, I give credit to the new Strength and Conditioning Coach and his staff. The old one was much OVER-rated in my opinion… except of course for this ability to regularly keep Narduzzi from physically accosting refs on the sidelines.

    4) Same goes for the Defensive Front. Obviously not quite as talented as a year ago, but after a slow start really came on strong. Offers some hope for the future, especially if No. 10 can stay on the field and continue to make BIG plays like Saturday.

    5) Still anxiously awaiting the moment when Izzy finally gets the ball in space. That sure is going to be fun to watch. In the meantime, I must say that “Flea” continues to be a pretty darn good Running Back and TOUGH too. It’s just a shame fleas are so small.

    6) Has anyone noticed John Petrishen is also a pretty good player? Seems the coaches have.

    7) Brandon Hill and Jordan Addison are BETTER than pretty good. Without question, both destined to ball on Sunday afternoons.

    8) As for the “Man-Beast” Krull… not so much. But good enough to make plays at this level. Just not the fastest moving object on the field. Still waiting for the freshman Bartholomew to make his presence known. It’s coming!

    9) Took some criticism (some pretty hilarious criticism) Saturday for pointing out the obvious which is that Narduzzi continues to rely HEAVILY on his own personal “Brain Trust” in the form of Whipple and Bates. Now if you look up the definition, you’ll realize it does NOT necessarily mean they are really smart or always really right.

    10) Finally, yes… we have a Kicker! From the looks of things, a kicker who could be more RELIABLE than flashy. I like the trade-off.

    Liked by 5 people

    1. Narduzzi has grown into true head coach. For the most part, he delegate to the position coaches the decision making. He obviously makes his opinions/direction known. Recently he has done better at hiring better coaches. Whipple is a major reason Pickett has continued to develop. Is this not Pickett’s “real” 5th year? First two years under Watson was all run oriented. The addition of WR’s/ tight ends has help showcase Pickett’s talents. Running game has suffered for.

      PITT still needs the ability to recruit at higher level. Don’t have the answer to that problem, yet. We may never again be considered a force in football than we think we were.


  12. Excellent article, Jay. Hadn’t thought of Barden being benched for running out the second kick, but it makes sense…

    And it was impressive to me that after the disaster on the first punt, Pitt was able to quickly fix the problem…

    Also found it interesting that we didn’t try any of the end-around stuff we showed against UMass. I guess UTenn’s speed made those plays a bad idea.

    I thought Vincent Davis came close a couple times to getting away for at least modest gains. I think we’ll be seeing Pitt break off some runs against our ACC opponents…

    Great comments above by BigB and yesterday by Tx Panther on the game day experience at UTenn. I didn’t make the game, but have been on campus and walked around their cool monstrosity of a stadium.

    And on that trick-play, I’m thinkin’ that another former HS QB, our own BigB, could have taken that pass and hit Krull… 👍

    And another point – I liked how Duzz seemed to keep pretty cool on the sidelines as that first-quarter disaster unfolded. I hope I don’t jinx him, but I hasn’t noticed him getting crazy on the sideline in many moons…

    Go Pitt.

    Liked by 5 people

  13. First let me commend all the attending Pitt fans. Especially Tex who drove 15 hours. You were on TV a lot and looked great. You made a difference!

    Unmentioned so far is the fact that Tennessee came out with an extra Dback in the second half. They hid him well. Whip and K8 did not pick him up until third series.

    I did not see Duzz storming up and down the sidelines on my TV. Did he? You cannot make good decisions while emotional.

    Huge win for Pitt however it happened!

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  14. Watched the punt block several times…so Pitt has 2 players as the 2 deep backfield blockers in that formation.

    Tennessee sent 3 players after the punter.

    Pitt’s Number 41(TE Jake Zilinskas), picks up one of the 3 Tenn players. So he did his job.

    Pitt’s Number 5….doesn’t do anything, doesn’t touch anyone…..except run forward towards the Tenn punt receiver. Greatly responsible for this blunder

    Pitt has two Number 5’s. haha

    So it was either Deslin Alexander a DE or Jared Wayne a WR. A major gaffe/blunder indeed.

    Did Hilgrove or Bostick identify who it was on the radio broadcast ?

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  15. Wow….little respect from the AP poll writers indeed. Pitt only received 13 votes….in ‘Others Receiving Votes’.

    Maryland got 14
    Nevada got 28
    1 Loss(rout) Indiana got 34
    Liberty U got 52

    Little better in the Coaches Poll….52 votes slots us in at #32.

    Gotta go 5-0 to even sniff the Top 25.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Still don’t know how KP got in on the sneak – there was no room in front of him.

      If Hooker keeps the ball on the fourth down play near the goal line, he could have walked in. Such is football…

      Go Pitt.


    2. I wanted to insert this video into the MMQB article but I couldn’t code it to the specifics of the play (I could get it to the start but not to the end). Thank you for including it. How did you do it?

      Baseball sabermetricians have a saying that once a player has a skill, that player keeps that skill until injury, aging or I drug use stops for whatever reason. This pass from Pickett is the product of a skill that most college QBs do not possess.

      Thanks, Gordon.


    3. Love it…. that was a big win on the road against a power 5 team… been a long time… Hopefully, this win is a good omen of things to come.

      Liked by 1 person

  16. This is my third try today on this entry. Pitt tackling in particular and blocking in general was not the greatest through too much of Saturday’s game. My take on why is this: not enough practice time on real tackling and blocking in pre-season practice per NCAA rules on contact hitting. Tackling in space is hard enough, especially on special team plays and especially hard against speedy shifty guys as were on that Tennessee team. And blocking against big SEC guys was a lot harder than against UMass players. In my opinion, there was not enough quality time working out blocking and tackling skills in the UMass game. I wish college teams could scrimmage in the pre-season against other college teams. It goes on in high schools here in NE Ohio where high school teams schedule 2 or 3 controlled scrimmages against other high school teams. It is not a true gauge to measure your team’s ability when you scrimmage against your own players all the time. Unless, of course, you are Alabama scrimmaging against your own players! Hope Pitt players hone these skills against WMU and New Hampshire in the next two games. This is just my take on the blocking and tackling weaknesses. There was some definite improvement, however, as the end of the game approached, a hopeful sign.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Having watched Whitehead, Hamlin and Ford the last few years has spoiled us. They were great open field tacklers. The one thing you notice is there is no hesitation, they just charge the runner and try to wrap up. If they miss they miss. I saw a lot of hesitation yesterday, when that happens a good runner is gone.

      Liked by 5 people

    2. My HS Coach Jim Gillooly used to say the only way to learn how to block and tackle is to do it over and over in practice. Our practices were “ live “!every day.

      Good comment.


  17. Good article….but we have to give credit, where credit is due, Especially since the little fellow takes some heat from some of the posters.

    Tenn knew Pitt was going to try and run out the clock with 4:52 left.

    End of Game Pitt Drive

    1st & 10 at PITT 42
    (4:47 – 4th) Vincent Davis run for 1 yd to the Pitt 43

    2nd & 9 at PITT 43
    (3:50 – 4th) Vincent Davis run for 6 yds to the Pitt 49

    3rd & 3 at PITT 49
    (3:14 – 4th) Vincent Davis run for 6 yds to the Tenn 45 for a 1ST down

    Izzy came in and got the 2nd 1st down on that last possession. But Flea got the most important 1st one.

    Liked by 2 people

  18. We are in trouble if our run game doesn’t turn around before ACC play. 2.1 YPC against UT is bad and when you look at what our actual RBs did – 31 carries for 76 yards for a 2.4 YPC average. That has to change.

    I’m not sure a win against UT is a pointer to a great year. They played us straight up pretty much and they aren’t that good of a team and were 3-7 last season. A win is important but I’ll reserve judgement when we start ACC games.

    W. Mich will be interesting…


    1. I would suggest, they give Rodney Hammond as many carries as possible against Western Mich and specifically FCS New Hampshire. In case the name doesn’t jump out at you, he was the leading Rusher by yardage and ypc against Umass.

      We have to see if he could be the solution, but it might be more of a Charmin scheme problem.
      No Fullback as a lead blocker & TE splits out a lot,

      however they ran it well enough, in the last clinching possession of the Tenn game,
      which really makes no sense……but they did.

      This is not going to be a 200 yards per game rushing team regardless and that’s ok.

      We had that and more a couple years ago and went 7-7. Passing is king today. I’ll take 400 yards passing and 100 yards Rushing..,…every week.

      Liked by 4 people

  19. Pitt getting 5 sacks against Tennessee o-line is a pretty good days work. No dropout in production from last year, they need to keep it up in ACC play.

    Liked by 3 people

  20. As far as rankings go … 13 ranked teams have already lost. Yes, 4 games where both teams were ranked have been played, but that still means that 8 of remaining 17 were beaten by the non-ranked

    Rankings mean nothing until mid-Nov.

    Sent from my iPhone


    Liked by 1 person

    1. To a team like Pitt….struggling to get over the hump, struggling in building back a brand….struggling to gain national respect, struggling to get top ranked 4’s, let alone 5’s…….Rankings do mean a lot.

      So I totally disagree.


      1. I think formerlywwb’s point is the rankings do not correlate accurately (measure) team ability until November. Not to speak for him, but I think he would agree that the early rankings may influence recruits.

        Liked by 2 people

  21. I think the defensive backfield will come around to be pretty strong, but PittofDreams I have to disagree with your opinion of the Flea. There is no way the Flea is a big time back, and he is not the answer for red zone duty or opening up space deep in Pitt’s own territory. I just don’t get what Narduzzi and Whipple see in him. There is no power running in the Flea and they will not have a decent running game this year if they rely primarily on him.


    1. Well your eyes must have deceived you. The Power Flea i Formation powered it in for Pitt to take a
      27-20 lead.

      Most Air Raid offenses don’t feature a Power back…..a scat back. Flea does both.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Agree
        Flea made 2 huge plays when desperately needed. He is also a very patient runner. That helps with a weak line.


  22. Reed – Under Whipple we will not have a run game. They run purely to keep the defense honest and to pass protect. Hope for a big play or two but that’s it. The short passing game is our run game. When the receivers catch the ball like they did this week, it works. Last year we had too many drops. You don’t need a run game in this era. Just score more points than your opponent.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Im a fan of a strong running game and would like to see a lot of I formation, play-action… FB in the backfield, and so on..

      But I have to say you are on point with your comment. The short passing game has replaced the run game for a lot of teams.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yeah, I was just making the point. I would prefer an emphasis on the run, too. Just not in a pro-style offense. I’m over the pro-style. Let’s run an RPO offense like the rest of America already. You can still be run first.

        Liked by 1 person

      1. He’s my HS buddy who is an ungrad Nit and MBA from Pitt. Wore an extra PItt cap I brought after some pressure. It was either that or a Pitt script polo. He had a good time and loves Addison.


    1. Forgot to mention that my brother is with Jimbo Covert in the upper right photo.
      Both his mom are ours shopped in the “husky section” of JC Penney for those two when they were younger – haha.


  23. One thing that might signify something different about this Pitt team and this season.

    I can’t remember a national ESPN game where the ESPN announcers were so praising of us.
    Even our fans in the stands were featured more than a couple times. And they were very
    praising of Narduzzi. (“has Pitt headed in the right direction was said several times)
    Anybody else take notice ?

    That is beyond strange and I hope it means something is going to be hugely different this year.

    Liked by 5 people

  24. Pitt Men’s Soccer plays at Penn State at 7 PM tonight. The match is televised on FS1. I think that is Fox Sports?


  25. I like to remind you that Pitt was ranked last Sept after a win over a ranked Louisville team which also didn’t deserve a ranking. BFD

    Sent from my iPhone



  26. Jay – that was a really great piece. It was well balanced and you have a great writing style. Thanks for putting that together and I hope to read more of your thoughts again.

    BTW, Jay – what did you think about special teams? 😉

    Random reactions…

    Im going invoke the Darrin Hall rule and drop a play from the stats… Without the Vols first score, the game score was 41-27… fair is fair after all.

    Having said that, that hypothetical 14 point lead with 5 minutes to go was very stressful. I kept thinking about how well my new stent was holding up and was certain we would choke and lose in OT. Big B and I gave each other the choke motion in the stands. Took me a good 15 minutes after the game to get my BP down. Actually, my BP did not go down until I got home yesterday afternoon.

    For those of you who haven’t made a road trip and experienced a nice win, one of the really great things is watching the team come over to the band & visitor’s section and sing both the fight song and alma mater. It’s a special moment and fun to share that with the players and their families.

    Like many others, I kept asking why Izzy wasn’t getting in more. Was convinced he was the guy to help seal the game for us. That last drive answered the question for me.

    For as bad as the OL had been all game in run blocking, they certainly allowed us to see what Davis could do with a reasonable hole to run through. If there was a moment when it was obvious Pitt would attempt to run the clock out and the Vols could sniff a tie score… that was it. And Pitt prevailed for gosh sakes. It would be wrong to gloss over that. The guys found a way to get it done. Did we turn a corner there? Don’t know, but it’s a good start. I hope they found something.

    Was it just me or did Krull struggle with making his blocks on Saturday? Saw him whiff on a bubble screen block early – might have been our first series… then later in the game when I believe two TEs were in for a play on the right side to form a wall for a sweep and the wall was clearly rice paper. Hope I’m wrong or if not, he can correct that.

    Glad that Kenny is starting to get the recognition. He IS a gamer and I believe he helped his draft stock on Saturday. If he keeps it up the rest of the way – and his teammates help him – he will earn what he wanted by coming back. Erie has been calling him K8, but somebody on Twitter really got it right – he’s Kenny MFP. (See me at Red5A if you need that translated.)

    That kick try was stupid. Stupid. The illegal block was the difference in the runner getting even to midfield. If we excelled in kick or punt coverage – for instance, if we had the Vols’ speed – one could see that such a try might result in pinning them deep on a short kick return. And with a freshman kicker in only his second game?! But that was just stupid. Its on Narduzzi for agreeing to it.

    Wouldn’t George Aston be a nice addition on this year’s team?

    After this game and all of the actionable items to cover in practice, I cannot imagine Pitt taking this one for granted. Way too many items for each unit to work on and no way will Narduzzi not use that to get the kids ready for Sat.

    Someone said at the game that we didn’t hear Rocky Top much at the game. BS! We heard it a ton. I was singing it in my sleep Sat night and on the ride back Virginia on Sunday… word for word. I think I whistled it a few times today as well. It’s a heckuva lot better than “Dear Old UVA” for sure.

    Game attendance was 84,000 and change from my UT sources. Pitt fans were everywhere – much more than what showed up on TV. And a lot of us were wearing white shirts. Vols were impressed and were great hosts…because we aren’t the Gators.

    If you folks did not see – or never have seen – the Vols “run through the T” before the game, it’s a great tradition. Gets folks in the stands on time.

    Speaking of tradition and getting into the game on time, it’s a problem for Pitt. One that may be correctible. There is a movement to get the late Pgh rapper Mac Miller’s song “Party on Fifth Ave.” adopted and perhaps re-arranged a bit for Pitt. I listened to it and while rap isn’t my choice of genre, if they put it together the right way, it could be a good thing to get the kids in the stadium on time.

    Liked by 6 people

      1. I mentioned this in a post not long after Kenny’s marketing reveal…and perhaps everyone already knows this but the facts spoil the fun of referring to Kenny as K8, BUT….
        Kenny’s logo is actually KP8… the “8” has both blue and gold in it to show that the ‘P’ is incorporated into the ‘8’


  27. Great article Jay! Do not know why we were in that formation for the first punt attempt, but that was the last time we saw it. Powell made the necessary adjustment.

    I believe we were able to effectively run the ball on the last drive of the game due to the simple fact that the O line had worn down the Volunteers defensive line. The Volunteers do not have a very deep D line.

    Liked by 1 person

  28. That was really a great write up Jay. Very fair.—By the way did anyone of you see who Pitt inserted into the backfield as a lead blocker on that last series? None other than the true freshman TE Bartholomew. As for Krull one of his big negatives playing for Florida was his inability to block well. It looks like that trait has carried over to his play at Pitt. I wouldn’t be surprised to see more of Bartholomew at TE as the year progresses.

    Liked by 2 people

  29. BTW, for Arizona, James Conner had 16 carries for 53 yards.

    Edmonds had 12 carries for 63 yards.

    Arizona won big.

    Also heard someone say that AD had a sack and a tackle for loss…

    Go Pitt.

    Liked by 2 people

  30. All of you POVerts who went to the game. GREAT JOB! YOU BROUGHT HOME A … W.
    In a very tough environment against a school with a great tradition & who still recruits great.

    And that’s all we can ask.

    Looks like we got out of the game with the W….with no major injuries…with either the players or the

    Carry ON my wayward sons !

    Liked by 1 person

  31. Nice JoeL, much like the American baseball league you used the DH.

    Hey Joe after the Hill interception or maybe another turnover the cameras scanned the PITT fans real quick and I thought I saw you in your white PITT shirt. Were you pointing PITT’s was after turnover?

    I’m not sure but I think PITT used their left footed kicker on the long shot? I think Sauls?


  32. This week’s game should be interesting for two reasons:
    1) Their quarterback will not miss receivers if they are open
    2) This will be the first game we face a team that will finish with a winning record.

    Liked by 1 person

  33. Got this in an email from Pitt — looking for a donation…

    “Over the weekend, Pitt teams went a combined 7-0.

    —Women’s volleyball won three huge matches this weekend against High Point, #12 BYU, and Bowling Green. In their season so far, they have wins against four top 25 opponents.

    —Men’s soccer beat #4 North Carolina 4-0.

    —Women’s soccer won their two games this weekend with a combined score of 9-0.

    —Football took care of business down in Knoxville in the Johnny Majors Classic,

    Since fall competition began, our teams have a combined record of 20-3. “

    Go Pitt.

    Liked by 5 people

    1. Colleges and hospitals are flush with cash… I could not believe the # of buildings that have been erected on Tennessee’s Camus since I was last there… Unbelievable how much money they have…. Question- when is the last time UPMC said “ we’ve had a great year… let’s lower our premiums to help the people trying to make ends meet?”


  34. USC fires HC Coach Helton 2 games into the season after a double digit loss at home to Stanford. He had a winning record over 2.2 years


    1. Helton was not the A.D.’s guy so he canned him. The A.D. better have someone lined up ready to take over because this is not going to go well. If the A.D. just promotes some one on the staff for the rest of the season, this completely makes no sense!

      Liked by 1 person

  35. Will we ever see a statement like this at Pitt?

    Context: USC fired Head Coach Clay Helton (they need to fix that head football coach title) …

    “I want to be exceptionally clear: our university and its leadership are committed to winning national championships and restoring USC football to glory,” Bohn said. “This decision represents our next step toward that goal in what has been a thoughtful and strategic process to build a comprehensive football organization equivalent to the premier programs in the modern landscape.”


    1. Hey TT, what’s up? I hear what you’re saying here T but I don’t need to hear that PITT is really trying as of Sept 13th. USC actually had to reassure their fans that the University really wanted to win at football. I guess that on the surface it wasn’t apparent?

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Just really pointing out the difference between Pitt and real contenders. Pitt chooses to be what they are. I’m okay with it. I can level my expectations … but, a lot of people are not okay with it and I can certainly understand their frustrations. This is why I can enjoy Pitt and other can’t though. Until Pitt commits like USC is committing, it will never be all in and will never have the fan base of an all-in program. Was not calling for anyone to be fired. I’m on record as saying all the coaches gravitate towards the mean so it won’t matter. Changing coaches is just changing the aesthetic of the program. Nothing more. Nothing less.

        Liked by 1 person

    2. I hope we don’t see a statement like that from Pitt. Did they really say they want to “..,build a comprehensive football organization equivalent to the premier programs in the modern landscape.”????

      Aside from the contrived, comical language, what exactly have they been doing over the last 5, 10 years???

      Go Pitt.

      Liked by 3 people

  36. Tex… Glad to see you back in action. This Blog BETTER with you. More BORING than interesting without you.

    Dont’t care what the “never drove 900 miles to a Pitt Game Kool-Aid Drinkers” have to say!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks POD. I was proud to be a part of Panther Nation this weekend. Like I’ve always said, there isn’t a more loyal fanbase in America. For 45 years, pitt has been lost in the desert. Yet when you need a hand, a Pitt fan will always be there. Lost but with a friend.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Did you dip for a minute? This is my busy season selling to the government and their end of fiscal year approaching … I usually fall off most Septembers.


    2. I don’t think Hollywood could have scripted something better. I got to meet Bernie and Joe. Got to see a tailgate bud I haven’t seen in over ten years. Got to hang with a former Tennessee cheerleader. Got to party with a relative of coach majors who shares my same birthday. And got to see Pitt win. Life is often stranger than fiction.

      Liked by 5 people

  37. Weirdly, somehow WMG didn’t call a 3rd down pass that was short of the sticks once that I can remember. This was a major part of the reason KP was being lauded for his 3rd down success rate during most of the game. This has to continue, please stop the dink and dunk nonsense.

    KP’s TD passes to Stowvall and Addisson were perfectly accurate with one of them being on the run. These were NFL quality throws.

    Krull is a pass catching TE, and his presence on the field is not helping the running game. I think Bartholomew will end up the starter before the season is over. Another nice find by the coaching staff.

    If Kancey and Donald and Jones and Weaver were 2* and 3* it pretty much tells you how absurd the rating systems are. Kancey will be the next Donald if he can stay healthy and keep the motor running.

    If you ask me, I’d rather have Hill on the field any day instead of Ford, one is a football player the other is a young man promoting himself, to the detriment of the team. Hill’s interception was the play of the game. However Hallet is a step slow and a big drop-off from Hamlin.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Good stuff, Krull definitely needs to improve his blocking if he wants to play in the NFL. The man is a giant. Bartholomew will get more playing time but I don’t see him supplanting Krull as the number 1 guy.
      Stowvall needs more throws going his way. Receiving corps is loaded. I think you should add Twyman to that list of two and three stars although he made a questionable decision to opt out, his junior year was stellar.

      Liked by 1 person

  38. I saw on the Lair that someone counted and came up with the number of missed tackles by Pitt as 19. Lots of work to do.

    I expect to see some of the younger DBs get some time in the next few games – especially PJ O’Brien.

    Duzz’s press conference is worth listening to. Talks some about the problems with playing zone…

    Go Pitt.


  39. I had one of those vibrating football games of the late 1960’s, early 70’s. It came with the Bears & Cardinals as the 2 teams. Who weren’t exactly juggernaut teams of that era. So I ordered the Vikings & the Chiefs.

    I was going to fix the abomination of the Vikings Super Bowl 4 loss to the Chiefs.
    So this hit home today.

    Old No. 53 went to Viking Valhalla

    Vikings legend and Pro Football Hall of Famer Mick Tinglehoff passes away. After being signed as an undrafted free agent in 1962, Tinglehoff went on to play his entire 17-year career in Minnesota and the craziest part is that he never missed a single game with team (That’s 240 straight games if you’re scoring at home). The Vikings legend went to the Pro Bowl six times and was named an All-Pro a total of five times. Tingelhoff was 81.

    Mick’s No. 53 is one of only 6 Viking jersey numbers to be retired.

    Liked by 2 people

  40. Here is a Pitt Volleyball weekend update from John:

    Pitt’s first match of the weekend was against High Point (5-3) of the Big South Conference. Last year High Point made it to the 2nd round of the NCAA tournament before being eliminated. Pitt won swept the match 3-0. It was their second sweep of the season. Pitt hit 0.333 versus 0.263 for High Point. High Point held the advantage in blocks 7-4. Pitt held the advantage in aces 7-2, assists 43-35, and digs 43-31.

    First Set

    Starters: Ndee, C; Levers, K; Member-Meneh, L; Nwokolo, C; Gray, S; Lund, K; libero Browske, A.
    Subs: Akeo, Lexis; Lockwood, Jordan; Fairbanks, Rachel

    Second Set

    Starters: Ndee, C; Levers, K; Starks, S; Member-Meneh, L; Gray, S; Lund, K; libero Browske, A.
    Subs: Akeo, Lexis; Nwokolo, Chiamaka; Flood, Cat

    Third Set

    Starters: Vazquez Gomez, V; Ndee, C; Levers, K; Member-Meneh, L; Nwokolo, C; Gray, S; libero Browske, A.
    Subs: Akeo, Lexis; Lockwood, Jordan; Fairbanks, Rachel

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Reed: I sent the wrong file last night. Delete this. Correct file sent this morning. My apologies! The High Point match was not worth this many words anyway!


    1. It will not. The athletic department and the coach are inept. All ticket sales for the most part are ordered in advance. That is why you have to sell the team during the offseason.
      If they are undefeated going in to Clemson it might have an impact.
      The work should have been done by the Dooz months ago.


  41. Speaking of recruiting ranking …. Final commit 2* G Bartholomew not only made the traveling roster, he played. 4* E Donald and N Brown did not make the trip

    4* DE N Johnson did make the trip but not sure if he played

    Sent from my iPhone



  42. Wordsmith not letting me use the like button this morning. I especially liked the comments about beating Penn State.
    Running games usually improve over time when the timing gets better. I like the duo of Vincent and Izzy and hope to see more of a balance in carries over time with the freshman getting a bunch against lesser teams. I feel bad for the rest of the guys but that’s just how it is.

    I also see the defensive backfield getting better as they play together. Until then front seven pressure wins games.

    Liked by 2 people

  43. Here’s who the LA Times lists as candidates for the USC job:

    Matt Campbell
    Luke Fickell
    James Franklin
    Kyle Whittingham
    Greg Schiano
    Eric Bieniemy
    Jeff Hafley
    Bill O’Brien
    Mark Stoops
    PJ Fleck
    Tony Elliott
    Chris Petersen
    Bob Stoops

    They need to call Tx Panther!

    Go Pitt.


  44. USC needs a big time coach. They will have to pay for that. Smaller schools without the brand cache often end up hiring coaches from a second tier conference. My list for Pitt consists of G5 head coaches with offensive backgrounds and a proven track record. The Trojans candidate pool will be different. But I suggest they go with a former head coach who knows offense and can deal with the enormous pressure to win and national media scrutiny. USC has the money to buy anyone – coaches and players.

    I still can’t get Rocky Top out of my head. And I wish Pitt had some animal mascot like Smokey. Maybe Pitt could adopt a Panther from the Zoo and show the cat on the video board. Wouldn’t be able to bring a cat onto the field. Another option would be for fans to dress their cats up in Pitt gear and have some honorary feline for the game. Just thinking how Pitt could improve the game day experience and instill some school spirit based on my trip.

    I did like all the orange and white checkered overhauls worn by some of the students. It was like out of doctor Seuss or Alice in Wonderland.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Pitt did have a panther cub on the sidelines back in the late 60s. I think it was 1968. The season was hyped as the year the panther begins to growl. The result was possibly the worst team performance in Pitt history.

      But the live panther was pretty cool.

      Liked by 1 person

  45. The finish to the Ravens-Raiders game last night was amazing. Couldn’t believe the Raiders tied the game getting a FG with only 37 seconds to work with and no timeouts.

    But the OT was bonkers. Gruden screwed up sending the FG unit in late on 2nd down, but then comes out smelling like a rose on 3rd down. Try to catch the highlights…

    Looks like lots of teams have OLine problems….

    Go Pitt.

    Liked by 1 person

  46. Major, it sounds like USC was saying that they want to be like Alabama and Clemson.

    I mentioned once before that when discussing the Bickell donation Heather backed off saying that the gift would take them to the next level. I don’t think they know how to get to the next level, which basically involves recruiting better. Is Narduzzi capable of recruiting better? Heather probably doubts it, but is unwilling to change coaches.


    1. VoR— I just don’t think, especially in this media age, that 4-stars are going to commit to playing in a half-full stadium. When I see that a big-time recruit will be attending a Pitt home game, I cringe.

      Go Pitt.

      Liked by 4 people

      1. Tennessee was only at 85 percent capacity for the Pitt game. But it looked impressive and full. The seating is steep with narrow bleacher rows.

        That same capacity percent at Heinz would mean roughly 60,000 fans. Heinz is just too big. And frankly Heinz is too posh for a college football game. You really don’t need all those amenities to enjoy a game.

        I didn’t mind the bleachers although I would have preferred seats and wider rows. Also wish the overhang could have extended out further. Was in sun the entire second half. And yes wish there was another restroom on our level. But other than that, it had everything I needed. Beers were $15 though.


        1. Almost all college stadiums have bench seats. Fans are supposed stand and cheer not sit there like watching a movie. The only time fans stand up at Heinz Field is to go for food.


  47. A joy to live in Baltimore this morning! Al Villanoava was a turnstile. He will be available soon!

    Ravens D backfield mirroring Pitt at Tennessee !

    Liked by 1 person

  48. Pitt needs to take a hard look at why they don’t fill the stadium. Being in an NFL city may hurt but that is not the primary reason. It has been used as a crutch by the administration for too long. The real reason is closely linked to the same reason why Pitt has such a low donation rate per graduate compared with other ACC universities. It is based mostly on Alums and friends being motivated to give to the program and is not about competing with the Steelers.

    There is something missing in the way they go about building and sustaining interest in the Pitt program. Do Pitt graduates across the country continue to feel connected with the Pitt family? Do they think of Pitt in the same way that ND graduates, for example, think about their university? Does the average football fan in Mt. Lebanon or North Hills think about Pitt as their local college football team?

    One loyal graduate giving $20 million, while important, is not the same value as 20,000 graduates giving $1,000. The 20,000 graduates and fans are in effect buying in to the program, and will be there in the future to buy tickets, parking spaces, concessions and Pitt gear.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Excellent post, VoR.

      There was a nice student turnout for the UMass game. Course it was the opener on a nice day. Looked like they did have a nice bonfire rally the night before.

      I think I would still be a passionate Pitt football fan if I hadn’t had the opportunity to play on the baseball team along side some football players, but that sure sealed the deal. Pitt football is the only sport in Pittsburgh, pro or college, where a loss bothers me for a few days…

      You’re correct though that many of the Pitt engineering grads who I worked with didn’t give a darn about Pitt football…

      Go Pitt.

      Liked by 1 person

    2. The average football fan in Western PA (not just Lebo and North Hills) does NOT think of Pitt football as their local college team. About a year or so ago I wrote a post explaining why, but here is the condensed version…

      Western PA is mostly PSU fans- and not because of alumni. It really started in the late 40’s early 50’s and has continued. The reason is this…during the decades of the 40’s, 50’s and 60’s- as the US emerged from WW2 the country started to prosper…highways were being built, people were buying cars and started to travel, television came along, etc. etc. the point being life was pretty good in many respects. But what did the local sports scene look like?

      The Steelers sucked.
      The Pirates mostly sucked outside of a few good years and one great year.
      The Pitt Panthers- once a powerhouse up until the late 30’s- sucked with the exception of a few good years.

      During that same period of time, PSU started to win and eventually do so on a yearly basis culminating with two undefeated seasons in the late 60’s when- this pains me to say- they should have been crowned National Champs but were ripped off. Additionally, they consistently won their bowl games. If you were a sports fan in western PA in 1969, Penn State was THE team that the locals took pride in and that represented their ideals and values. It wasn’t that the locals didn’t root for Pitt to do well…they did. But, we know the history. As the following decades moved along and the other local teams started winning there was no fall off from Penn State. Their brand and fandom was established and passed on to the sons and daughters. The fact that PSU is also a quality university that many WPA students choose to attend also contributes. While Pitt is also an outstanding University, their sports mediocrity…well, you know the narrative.

      Everything I wrote above is based on my experiences growing up in Westmoreland County, attending Pitt, working in Pittsburgh for 18 years, being a die hard fan and having many conversations with many people who would explain to me why they had little interest in Pitt football. There are exceptions to the rule…not everyone chose to root for PSU. But, the bottom line is, people like winners (shocking revelation I know!)

      One more thing… it seems if you are Catholic, it is mandatory to have Notre Dame football as your top team. I dated a woman whose parents were HUGE PSU fans…had season tickets and would make a weekend out of it. They teased me real good since I was a Pitt fan. One of the last times Notre Dame played at Creepy Valley, her parents came down the steps to leave for the weekend and I almost fell out of my chair. They were completely decked out in Notre Dame gear. When I asked what was up? They looked at me like I was an idiot and reminded me that they were, “catholic after all.”

      And yes, this was a condensed version.

      Liked by 1 person

  49. al

    I always enjoy the oppositions fan base take on the game,,,


    1. BigB – that’s a good read.

      One guy said that Pitt looked bigger in the trenches; another said our OLine stifled their pass rush. The big, bad Pitt Panthers!

      Course they wouldn’t have lost to this “average” Pitt team if they’d have just hit two of those deep balls…

      Go Pitt.

      Liked by 2 people

  50. VoR – They don’t fill the stadium because they don’t make a national championship the priority. See USC’s press release after firing their coach … they didn’t mention the Pac-12 … they didn’t mention beating UCLA … they said winning a championship is the reason for the move …

    If Pitt admins want to fill the stadium … make winning at all costs the mission … Winning will put fans in the seats.

    Liked by 3 people

  51. from Biggie’s link, I thought this was amusing:

    “Pitt is one of those teams, that you don’t have to bring your A+ game for four full quarters to beat, but you can’t bring your F game to one quarter, your C+/B- game to the other three and expect a win.

    Hats off to Chris Bickell ’97 Head Coach Narduzzi for capitalizing on our 2nd quarter meltdown.”

    haha for me was – the Chris Bicknell “97 HCPN – 🙂


  52. Here is a corrected volleyball recap by John:

    Our Pitt women’s volleyball team remains undefeated, 8-0, over the weekend by winning all three of their matches in the Panther Classic at the Fitz. Pitt also remained at #4 in the AVCA polls. Louisville is now #5 in the polls. We will discuss how that happened at the end of this article. The teams ahead of the two ACC teams are Texas, Wisconsin, and Ohio State in that order.

    Before we discuss the weekend’s results let us discuss this year’s team and who their core players are going to be. Pitt has a group of 5 core players in my mind. This core group consists of #23 Kayla Lund – OH, #5 Chinaza Ndee -OH, #21 Serena Gray – MB, #4 Ashley Browske – L, and #6 Kylee Levers – S. Without all these players Pitt is not a top 4 team. The following players are the remaining members that will rotate in critical matches to complete the team in order of importance: #1 Lexis Akeo – S, #2 Valerie Vazquez Gomez – OH, #11 Sabrina Starks – MB, #20 Chiamaka Nwokolo – OH/MB, #13 Leketor Member-Meneh, and #9 Jordan Lockwood – OH.

    Pitt uses a 6-2 offense which requires two setters and is the reason why Akeo is at the top of the other members. Dan Fisher believes that one other member should be included in this last group based on her playing time to date. This additional member is #10 Rachel Fairbanks – S. Fairbanks has been a designated server late in sets. She is a freshman who was a 2nd team All American as a high school player.

    Pitt’s first match of the weekend was against High Point of the Big South Conference. High Point was the Big South’s representative in the NCAA tournament last year making it to the Sweet 16 before being eliminated. Pitt defeated High Point in three straight sets with High Point putting up a good fight in the third set before losing 25-23. Pitt hit 0.333 to High Point’s 0.263. Pitt played their core players in the match but gave various players a set or more off. Lund was the only core player who got an entire set of rest. #3 Cat Flood – OH got to serve in the second set in addition to Fairbanks serving. Fairbanks also was used as a setter for parts of a set getting 2 assists.

    #12 BYU, an independent but soon to be Big 12 team, was Pitt’s evening opponent. Pitt won the first set of the match 25-21. Pitt was having problems with the serve receive all through the first set. Pitt also started out the set very slow. BYU actually outhit Pitt 0.333 versus 0.286. BYU had 6 service errors with only 1 ace. Pitt had 4 aces versus 3 errors. BYU’s poor serve cost them the 1st set. Starks was a major contributor to the 1st set win with kills at critical points in the set.

    Pitt lost the second set of the match to BYU by a 25-21 score. Pitt hit a meager 0.182 to BYU’s 0.386. BYU cleaned up their service errors somewhat with 3 errors and 1 ace. Again, Pitt was having trouble with their serve receive which was one of the factors for their poor hitting percentage. The setters were getting difficult balls to set. BYU also blocked well in the set with 4 blocks to 0 by Pitt.

    Pitt came back in the third set and won it 25-20. Pitt improved their serve return and out hit BYU 0.318 to 0.186. Chinaza Ndee lead the Panthers with 5 kills followed by Gray and Lund with 3 apiece. Valeria Vazquez Gomez was inserted into the lineup as a 6-position player when the score was tied at 12-12. She replaced Member-Meneh. She would then also play the entire fourth set.

    Pitt got off to a small lead in the fourth set and were never behind. Their largest lead of the set was 16-10. BYU battled back and tied the score at 18. Pitt then jumped out to a 22-18 lead but BYU again came back and tied the score at 24. Coach Fisher inserted Fairbanks to serve at 23-20. Again, this almost proved costly. Pitt won the set and match with a 26-24 score. Pitt hit 0.280 to BYU’s 0.244. Vazquez Gomez led the team with 6 kills followed by 5 kills each by Lund and Ndee.

    The third match of the weekend was against Bowling Green of the MAC conference. Bowling Green was in the NCAA tournament last year and was eliminated in the first round. Bowling Green swept Notre Dame at Notre Dame the previous week. Notre Dame was incorrectly ranked in the AVCA preseason poll.
    Pitt won the match against Bowling Green in three sets.

    Starks did not play at all during the match but the rest of the players mentioned at the beginning of the article did. The core group played all three sets. Pitt started the match off slow falling behind 8-4 and 10-6 in the first set. Coach Fisher did not call a timeout at either point in the set as he left it up to the team to straighten things out on their own. Pitt came roaring back and won the set 25-19. It was the only set in the match that was close. #8 Anastasia Russ, a 6’-5” MB who is a redshirt sophomore, played the first two sets. She had 3 kills in the match and hit 0.286.

    She looked pretty good and will hopefully get more playing time against weaker opponents in the future. In the third set Nwokolo played the MB position rotating with Gray. In the second and third sets Pitt jumped out to 7-1 and 7-0 leads and never looked back. Pitt hit 0.345 versus 0.089 for Bowling Green for the match. We got to see Rachel Fairbanks playing setter and another freshman Emmy Klika play defensive specialist during the match. They both looked competent in those roles. Klika would be our libero if something happened to Browske.

    Overall Pitt handled business as expected this weekend. In my opinion they should be ranked #3 in the nation ahead of Ohio State. This weekend they play Marshall on Friday at 2 PM and Morehead State on Saturday at 2 PM. Both matches are at Morehead State. At the worst Pitt should lose no more than one set to either school.

    In other ACC news, Louisville swept #6 Purdue in three sets to the surprise of volleyball experts everywhere. For that they jumped to #5 behind Pitt! Louisville is very good and Pitt will have their hands full with them. The ACC title will be decided between Pitt and Louisville. This week Louisville plays #8 Kentucky at Louisville and #6 Nebraska at Nebraska.

    If they win both of these matches or even split them, they will probably move ahead of Pitt in the rankings. Kudos to Louisville for difficult preseason scheduling along with Georgia Tech. Raspberries to most of the other ACC teams for cupcake scheduling.
    Hail to Pitt!

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Keep them coming John…VB is a lot more complicated than just hitting the ball back and forth across a net,,,,I am getting an education in the sport

      Liked by 1 person

  53. VOR: “There is something missing in the way they go about building and sustaining interest in the Pitt program.”

    One personal example: I am a Pitt grad and a University of Oregon grad (law school). I can walk to the Cathedral of Learning in less that 30 minutes. Eugene is 2600 miles away. I get at least three times as many emails from the UO Athletic Dept. regarding buying tickets, etc., as I do from Pitt’s. Heck, I get more emails from the Pitt Shop than I do from the Athletic Department.

    When we moved back to the ‘burgh 11 years ago, I was all in: football season tickets, additional contributions, etc., a fair amount of coin. Then. . . . Barnes paid $100k to his old boss Todd Turner to get Kevin Stallings’ phone number, when Vanderbilt would not only have gladly given it to Barnes but probably would have pitched in for the moving expenses. Some of that was my money, and your money, and your money. No more season tickets, no more contributions from me. Although the Athletic Dept had no idea why I had up and disappeared, there was a sum total of one phone call (from Sam Clancy) asking me to come back. One. That has to be the most inept athletic department in college athletics.

    The only live Pitt match (of any kind) I’ve watched in the last several years was last night’s soccer team win over PSU. Everything else: mildly interested, I DVR the match, and if Pitt wins, I might watch the recording.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The sad truth is Pitt has greatly improved their Alumni engagement over the last 10-15 years and your experience shows it is still Pittiful. Sad, very sad. Nordenburgh used to travel the country giving a presentation titled something like “You are defined by the company you keep.” Wellllllll…….If Pitt were to benchmark itself against those leading alumni supported Universities it might see that its engagement efforts, while improved over the last decade, are still lower quartile.


  54. The years of the Golden Panthers are long gone. That is when I went also. I have attended many games since then but that is about it. Ay least when I went see us play in State College I walked through their campus.


  55. Thanks to POD I was able to quantify something that I’ve been “belaboring” for some time.

    Pitt threw a pass on 3rd down that was short of the sticks 6 times and 4 of those were total failures. Not once that I saw was KP throwing short because of pressure, each time it was WMG’s original play. For those that are math challenged that is 66.66% of the time WMG called a failed play on 3rd down because of his dink and dunk stupidity.

    If I could do this for WMG’s entire pathetic Pitt OC career, I bet the failure rate would be even bigger.

    Nardummy should make WMG sit in front of a screen, tied to a chair with his eyelids taped open (ala Clockwork Orange) and force him to watch each time he has let his team down by being too stupid and stubborn to understand those plays rarely, if ever work. Stop the MADNESS!!!!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I too much prefer the passes going past the line to gain on third down, but there is also a place for the shorter pass if the guy is wide open. However it usually requires greater execution since the receiver probably has to elude at least one tackle or the blocker has to make a clean block.

      I do hate the behind the line of scrimmage pass on third down.

      Liked by 2 people

    1. JP, we have the 1st Amendment….we have positivos, negativos and whiners…choose your category. I strongly suggest putting on your PITT gear and come to Red5A for a meet/greet,….you can spend some time at the “Johnny Majors” alter and fellowship with the posters…every single person with I have met are great peeps whether I agree or disagree with their perspective…you owe it to yourself….Sayonara


    2. JP, don’t let the negativos push you out. If you have something positive to say, say it. People are always going to express their complaints louder and harder than their satisfaction. It is just human nature. That is why there are many more comments when we lose.

      There will be ups and downs this season just like every other one. Like you say even in a win, many people critique what is weak on the team rather than praise what is good. People are more likely to bash the coaches than praise them. We bash the coaches in a loss we praise the players in a win. Very little credit to the coaches this week, although this victory had everything to do with their efforts.

      Of course many always discount the other team’s abilities when we win. When we lose to Clemson or ND last year it wasn’t because they have overwhelming talent or we played a second string QB vs ND. It was because of poor coaching.

      Liked by 3 people

  56. JP get over yourself. This site is popular because bloggers look objectively at Pitt sports and praise or criticize according to the topic at hand. We don’t sugar coat things on this site, and we long timers are justified in expressing a significant amount of skepticism. Every win is appreciated but many problems continue to exist.

    Liked by 2 people

  57. Jay, thank you for s great article and I’ve enjoyed reading the accounts by our Panther faithful in Tennessee.
    I have a similar account on the class of Tennessee fans. I am in Vegas with a couple of old college buddies, one of whom has a daughter who is a freshman at TN. We are in a sports bar, me in my Pitt hat and my buddy in a Tennessee hat. A guy comes over in Tennessee orange gear and proceeds to congratulate me on Pitt’s big win, followed by “you have a helluva QB”. He plans on coming to the game at Heinz next year and believed that Hoepel will get job done there. Just an example of what makes sports great. Looking forward to seeing the Red5A crew this weekend!

    Liked by 6 people

    1. BigB – I had to watch some of that. Fralic, Sweeney and Brown on the OLine. Dwight Collins scored the only TD on a long pass. Reggie White. Chris Doleman.

      Pitt wins 13-3. Pitt had 17 yards in 1st quarter. Apparently we don’t do well in Tenn. in the 1st Q.

      Tough seeing Johnny on the other sideline in that orange shirt…

      Go Pitt.


        1. In person, it was kind of like a “mustard” color. But definitely NOT Yellow.

          Then again, the seating at Pitt Stadium, the ON-Campus Home of the Panthers, wasn’t Yellow lol


          1. Yes, I agree. The mustard looks better than the yellow, at least the mustard color we had back then. That said, our current Yellow color is way better than that gay/pukey tan we had before.


            1. I watched the whole game…get chills when I see those uni’s just like I did when they first ran out of the tunnel at PITT Stadium in 1973 !
              Fralic, Doleman, Tony Brown and Reggie White all left this world way too early. Just a reminder to enjoy each day for it is a blessing,,

              Liked by 1 person

      1. Still hurts seeing this game and knowing the Pitt QB should have been Bernie Kosar. For whatever reasons, Sherrill did not offer him and Fazio urged Jackie to recruit Kosar then never offered Bernie once landing the Pitt job. I get it that two other QBs were committed, Bowen and Congemi, but man what a treasure to slip through Pitt’s hands.

        Talent like Kosar’s hides the coaching deficiencies of Fazio and Pitt in no way slips to 3 and 5 wins the next two years. All those close games from 1983-85 that Pitt lost due to mediocre QB play would have been scripted differently. That and not relying on terrible kickers costing Fazio in close games.


  58. JP, on this site we keep the focus on Pitt athletics (with slight conversational deviations) and express ourselves how we feel. I have never banned anyone for opinion excesses + or – about the team or program.

    But, we on here tend to look at all sides of Pitt football with a critical eye – in the true sense of the word “critic”. We are not cheerleaders and even the die-hard optimistic ones can see room for improvement.

    Yes, a win is good and the kids deserve praise. But a non-conference win is the right time to take a hard look at the team to see what has to change before we meet our ACC opponents.

    For instance two things pop-up. I commented on our crap running game and Taxing points out the poor pass play calling on 3rd downs. If those two things don’t get fixed against better opponents, especially with our defense just giving up 34 points to an average team, then we might be in for a long ACC season.

    Does discussing that take away from the win? Of course not. That win is recorded and is now history. Good for us!

    Go on any Pitt sports site with a lot of fan discussion and what do you see? Either fans who puff their chests out about everything the team does or they spout sound bites that all read the same.

    Then come on here and read well thought out and well written observations about the actual play and coaching of the Panthers. That’s why the POV is the most highly read blog and by far, really far, the most commented on website dealing with Pitt sports.

    Don’t like that? Too bad really, but this is not going to change as long as I am associated with this blog. We have more than enough room for all viewpoints on here…

    Liked by 6 people

    1. It’s hard to criticize an offense too much that just scored 41 points on the road against an SEC team, and also did not show signs of prior years’ dink & dunk crap. And our third down efficiency was decent against the Vols; I think the bigger problem during unsuccessful drives was the first and/or second down calls that led to third and long situations, and part of that problem stems from the ineffective run attack.

      As far as the defense is concerned, I was actually pleasantly surprised with the play of the safeties (we new our corners would be good), especially after the 1st (shaky) quarter. Also, Heupel’s teams do put a lot of pressure on defenses. So although there’s much room for improvement on D, I’ll be curious to see how/if this team improves in the coming weeks. It’ll also be interesting to see how Tennessee measures up after it gets into conference.

      I still say let Marrion learn on the job this year, then take a shot and hand him the keys next year.

      Liked by 3 people

      1. I wonder if Marion can develop a QB…does anyone on here know if Marion has developed a great QB ?K8 has really grown under Whipple. My gripe with Whip has been a consistent lack of a running game.


  59. Regarding SirVocea’s military family and teachings… He is a perfect candidate for Officer Candidate School for any of the Armed Forces if he gets his Pitt degree and the NFL doesn’t work out.

    I pushed Pat Bostick (and his father) hard about doing this after Pat Jr’s Pitt career was finishing. Obviously he found his own calling – but we need more people like these young men (and college athlete women) leading our military.

    Liked by 2 people

  60. Speaking of such… I just read this (must have had something in my eye by the end of the attached video)

    I’ve mentioned on here that I work with local hospices in visiting to WW2 vets and their families in hospice care (less than 6 months to live) to do Gratitude Visits – always in our uniforms. The conversations we have are so interesting and many times their families are truly amazed because their dad , or sometimes mom, would never talk about their war experiences with them.

    Good for this young lady to first write that heartfelt letter then to put her words into action by enlisting.

    Liked by 1 person

  61. Not being critical since Pitt did score 41 points against the Vols, but I noticed that Pickett was 8 of 9 on third down in the first half, and 1 of 7 in the second half. I think that opposing teams will be looking hard at the adjustments that were made by TN in the second half, and with a weak running game it may be more difficult to score in the future. Pitt better also be looking at that film to see how they were stopped on third down in the second half. The 41 points could be a high water mark for the season.


    1. regarding 2nd half 3rd down efficiency:

      true, yet the game announcers could not adjust to the change proclaiming on every 3rd down attempt how AMAZING KP is in that situation until finally about 7 straight failures

      it’s one thing to know little about each team and players in the games so they have their scripted statements all repeated ad nauseum throughout, but then they can’t make reasonably obvious adjustments to what is actually happening in front of their eyes

      stats people must put something in front of them and they just cycle through spouting it at each repeated situation


  62. Pitt’s defense will always have a vulnerability to the deep ball or a mobil QB who gets loose … that’s the consequence of going man to man and the DL pushing uphill … it’s just something that you have to live with.

    In college football you have to score points to win. Defense won’t do it unless you’re Iowa … but Iowa happens to be in a conference where you can get away with it …

    We’re a pass first team … do not expect us to ever have a consistent ground game under Whipple … it’s not part of the offense … it’s just something that you have to live with …

    We’re a stop the run and get to the quarterback team … when we don’t get to the QB, there will be players open downfield … that’s what happens in man to man …

    That is the identity and aesthetic of the team … you just gotta roll with it. Lol. It is what it is.

    Death, taxes, Narduzzi and Whipple …

    Our identity and poor coaching are two different things, however. Poor coaching made the last game much closer than it had to be … despite the good … scoring 41 on the road against an SEC team and fighting back from a 10-0 deficit … Getting 5 sacks … stopping the rush game (RB’s) …

    Coaching has to catch up to the players, IMO, for Pitt to overachieve this season … which, I think, they have the talent to do … especially in a relatively weak year for the ACC.

    Smart and conservative are two different things, too … Playing smart does not mean playing not to lose … Play to your players strengths and TRUST your players …

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Tossing- exactly what I was trying to say in a past post game post. We are going to give up big plays and we aren’t going to be a prolific running team under these schemes. It took a long time for me to look past my stubborness to realize this is who we are. So I am just going to sit back and enjoy the ride….time to start shopping for Clemson tickets. Let’s put that one in the win department too !!!

      “O” is averaging 46 points a game. On a pace to put Canada’s 2016 numbers to rest.


  63. JP clearly doesn’t understand we are here fixing the program…
    …just because we beat Tenn does not mean our work is finished 🙂

    while there are plenty of inaccurate factual or absurd opinion posts here mostly negative but some others, you’ll find many that are amazingly thoughtful, insightful and/or fact based

    frankly there are some posters that I wonder how they have the time

    H2 posters!

    H2 article writers!!


    Liked by 4 people

  64. You’re right Tossing, that Pitt is a pass oriented team. But even pass heavy teams must be able to run the ball 30% of the time. It seems to me that the minimum acceptable contribution for the running game is 100 yds. per game to at least keep the opposing defense honest. Pitt struggles to hit that modest running performance on a regular basis.

    On a third and 1 deep in Pitt’s own territory, or even inside the opposing red zone, there is no substitute for a power running game. Pitt should AT LEAST have a power back to pick up the occasional short yardage, must run first down situation or scoring opportunity. But they don’t even seem to recruit one. The Flea won’t do.


    1. I’m not advocating for the offense, just stating it is what it is. You wants something that they won’t be under Whipple.


  65. Really liked Bartholomew at fullback on that last series to put the game away. 260 lbs of brute force to get that first down was what the flea needed.

    Liked by 1 person

  66. Jay, nice football writeup. John, nice vb writeup – thanks to you both. I was at the volleyball game vs BYU. They gave t-shirts to the students with “Volley Pitt” and a volleyball on the front. The center court section on the season ticket holders’ side (the near side as you enter FFH) was reserved for the Volley Pitt. Great, they used to sit behind the court (the end zone, so to speak), but now the first 2 rows of side seats are blocked off and there is no more bleacher seating on the track. Masks were required to be worn by all. I’m good with all of that. What was most disappointing- and really ticked me off- was that most of the students had their masks below their chins, or barely covering their mouths. An announcement was made at the beginning of the game that masks were to be worn at all times (except when eating/ drinking, of course). It never occurred to me that our intelligent student body needed to hear that the masks must be worn COVERING THEIR NOSE AND MOUTHS! I wish that the mask- wearing rule had been better enforced. The rest of the crowd was good- it was just the students who were ignoring it. Don’t they realize they could end up doing remote classes if covid gets out of hand?

    I hope the administration gets better control of this. I realize you don’t want people patrolling the stands looking for problems, but something more needs to be done to keep everyone safe in there!

    Annie, who is stepping off the soapbox for today, and is looking forward to being able to attend the remaining matches.

    Liked by 5 people

  67. I’m looking forward to a “clean” mistake free game Saturday! I’ll blame last weeks mistakes on our 3 stars facing 4-5 stars. But…. problems this week are squarely on this coaching staff!


  68. Interview with Coach Marion on PSN. Impressive, IMHO.

    He said something like he’s tough on them on the field and he loves them off the field. I can see why kids would want to play for this guy…

    Good VB comment above Annie. The undiscipline and plain stupidity of some is just tough to comprehend…

    Go Pitt.

    PS: Happy 60th BD to Dan Marino.

    Liked by 1 person

  69. If you get a chance, watch the Pitt “Field Pass” video. You can Google Pitt Field Pass Tennessee, or maybe someone can post it. They show some plays from different angles…

    And say what you will about Billy Hillgrove, but hearing his voice on the calls is still special to me.

    Go Pitt.

    Liked by 5 people

  70. Just watched the latest edition of the Fish Report (on FB but I’m sure it can be found on other platforms) with Coach Fisher. He had Nde on with him. Interesting stuff. Some volleyball, some personal stuff.

    She is an impressive young woman. Working on her 2nd Pitt degree.

    Hoping Coach hangs around for a long time.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Dan,

      I got a Pitt truck. Just opened it. Looks pretty cool.

      Now I have to figure out who to give it to…

      Go Pitt.


  71. Hey Hobie how right you are about the MAC although the ramblin Dukies took out OHIO last week. So watch out for the FCS


  72. Our first two PN seasons, ’15 & ’16, we won 8 games on the strength of a good solid run game. Both years our go-to RB averaged over 5 ypc and over 1000 yards.

    In ’19 our lead runner averaged 4.2 ypc. That is how Pitt wins more games than we lose.

    Being a pass first team is just not in our DNA and you cannot control the 3rd and 4th quarters to run out the clock if you can’t get first downs in three straight rushing plays

    If we have to rely only on Pickett’s arm then I don’t think we’ll see 8 wins this year.


  73. Exactly right, Reed. There are too many situational facets of a game that require a strong runner. Pitt doesn’t have this, and could lose close games as a result.

    Liked by 1 person

  74. I’m curious as to what occurrences in the Tennessee game folks here see as coaching mistakes. And I’m not talking about the “buck stops here “ philosophical argument.

    From my uneducated eye, I thought throwing short of the sticks on third down was an issue. But I don’t know if that was Kenny going to his third or fourth receiver or a designed play. Seems to me that even the third and fourth receiver should at least be beyond the sticks.

    Also, trying to substitute players on defense when the opponent is in a hurry-up offense is asking for trouble. I remember one penalty against us for too many men on the field when we were subbing on D. And it appeared there were a couple of others where the newly inserted player barely got to his position at the time the ball was being snapped. I don’t know if these were instances where the down and distance called for different personnel or a player was gassed and asking to come out. I believe if the offense subs a player, the official halts play until the defense has a chance to do likewise. Really hard to do absent that official delay.

    The line formation on the blocked punt seemed like an obvious mistake. But there I don’t know if they were instructed to spread like that or the players blew it.

    As far as discipline, offsides, false starts, pass interference, etc., I see all teams incurring those. Bama, Clemson, Ohio State … happens in every game I watch. Usually the coach pulls that player for a play or series. But you need your best players on the field so you’ve got to live with some of that. You are not going to lose a game to teach a guy a lesson.

    I haven’t seen us incur a taunting or excessive celebration penalty yet, although the shushing finger to the lips antics make me cringe. And the personal fouls seem to be a bigger problem for our opponent than our players.

    Anything I’m missing?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Kicking the long FG was bad. Really bad.

      On the short of the sticks, Kenny said the coverage was guarding those. So, perhaps the WRs had to take what they could get. Or bad play design/call.

      It was warm and sunny in the stadium. Impacted both sides as evidenced by a couple of “injuries” on both teams. Not sure what’s worse – what we did or leaving the kids in who needed to tap out.


    2. Farmer, one thing I saw was a lack of outside containment particularly in the kicking game and on some passes in the flats our defenders were either lacking speed or numbers to contain and the Vols got good yardage after catch. When PITT ran a similar play the Vols snuffed it.

      PITT’s guys on ends of the line appear get positioned too far inside as they were covering the return. We also had a couple of PI calls that went against us that appeared to be home boy calls. That being said, I would love to see the game on TV to watch more closely as my eyes follow the ball when I am there live so I miss 95 % of what’s going on. I read the Tennessee blog and one Vol fan commented on Krull’s physical presence but in the next sentence said he can’t block…POVerts have already mentioned that..


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