Here is a MMQB opinion piece written by our friend 6&34 (Jay Kaplan). Enjoy…
What did we learn from Saturday’s drubbing of New Hampshire (NH)? Not a thing.
In some respects the offense against NH looked like it did against Western Michigan (WM) except the running game was statistically considerably better. I take nothing from that.
QB Kenny Pickett said that he had no doubt that if Pitt’s defense had stopped WM’s in their last series in that game so as to give Pitt’s offense another chance to score he had “no doubt” they would have. Of course, “no doubt” is hyperbole but at the time I liked their chances. Then again, I liked their chances to get the ball back with at least a minute or more on the clock.
When I was sixteen, I’d play hooky and go to Aqueduct Racetrack to gamble my hard earned caddy money. One of the first things I learned was to look for a horse who was healthy and was dropping two classes from his race history. That two class drop may not have made a horse a sure thing but it dramatically shifted the odds.
NH was at least three levels below Pitt. I’m sorry, I just was not impressed with anything I saw. Certainly not the offensive line who gave up a sack (you folks who are OK with us giving up a sack? – it came from Pitt’s left side getting beat – not a blitz). That was pathetic, and for what’s it’s worth, it was not the second string that allowed Pickett to get hit (and he was hit hard).
So, no, I don’t give a rat’s behind that Pitt threw up seventy-seven points while giving up only seven. Actually, the seven the defense gave up was rather pathetic and reminiscent of a lot of other SOP bovinically processed vegetation (Ed: in other words bullsh…) that we have witnessed from HC Narduzzi’s exalted defenses. OK, Pickett reinforced the belief that he is better this year than prior years, but that’s not telling us something new. The same thing can be said for the wide receivers. Yes, Pitt’s passing game against NH could be seen as an extension of the potency we saw against WM but why go there. WM beat Pitt and there were quite a few three and outs by Pitt in that game. So, you could see it as an extension.
Now its true many POVers did not think that the offense would be as potent as it has been this far into the season. Others thought otherwise. But neither the negativos or positivos should sulk or preen about being right or wrong because ACC play has not started yet for Pitt, and let’s not kid ourselves, Pitt has not yet played a good team let alone a very good team. We still know very little about this Pitt team.
Our Commander has given me license to write whatever I want to write, and I choose not to point out either Pitt’s offensive, defensive of special team accomplishments. I will make a few exceptions.
One, RB Rodney Hammond has some special qualities especially for a back his size. I’m far from convinced that he is better than RBs Izzy Abakanda or Vince Davis but we have seen him exhibit those qualities before so that is encouraging. To those who think he is the second come of LeSean McCoy, consider that he is only 175 lbs and we still have no idea how fast he is.
Two, I liked the way the Pitt coaches substituted. I felt bad that the score ran up the way it was and I suspect Narduzzi did as well but the criticism of Narduzzi for being declasse for the final score seems to me to say more about the people criticizing Narduzzi than Narduzzi himself. For goodness sake, Pitt played five quarterbacks.
I should note the two missed extra points (I feel bad for the scholarship player, Ben Sauls [Ed Note: Left in happier days] who missed them – maybe he makes forty out of forty in practice but if you miss two extra points in one game (actually within the first 5 minutes and 29 seconds of the game, it is like me kicking extra points and trust me, that just won’t do).
And, of course, the offensive run blocking showed me nothing. Positivos, remember any “improvement” is questionable because it was performed against a team three classes below Pitt.
One last comment. I saw some really fine sportsmanship by some Pitt players. DE Haba Baldonado putting his arm on the NH quarterback after a play (not at the end of the game) was something I can’t recall ever seeing before and particularly stood out. On the other hand, the typical, over-the-top rejoicing after a favorable Pitt game event I found grating. Dudes, you lost last week to a MAC team and now you are beating up on a team three classes below you. You know how they feel. Mute your joy over accomplishing nothing. Whoop it up when you do it against someone your own size.
Hail to Pitt