A WELL-DESERVED VicTurkey

Here is a follow-up take on the game from Rick Caldwell (Erie)…

I watched the game at a local Buffalo Wild Wings with my wife and an older Pitt grad from 1970.  He is one who refuses to give a dime to the football and basketball programs until they are no longer on probation.  He also thinks Pitt did not give Stallings enough time to “establish” his system (a topic for another day – I strongly disagreed and moved to the VT game).

Ok, let’s get into The GOOD, The BAD and The UGLY.

GOOD:  

  1. It appeared to me that the whole team showed up to play a conference rival after the bye week.
  2. Three touchdowns in the 1st half for a 21 – 0 lead.
  3. The defensive shutout was a surprise to watch in the 1st half.
  4. An 11-minute time consuming offensive march in the 4th qtr to seal the deal.
  5. No turnovers by the Pitt offense.
  6. VT HC Fuentes is an offensive guy and our D shut down his O.
  7. RB Izzy with 140 yards rushing on 21 carries for a 6.7 average  – his long was 18 yards.  WR’s Wayne & Addison with good games along with Pickett managing the game very well with 3 TD’s (2 thrown & 1 run).

BAD:

  1. Izzy’s pass protection – it’s been talked about, but it was live right in front of us yesterday.  Hoping he can improve in that area of his job.
  2. T.Mack with 4 dropped passes, but his effort on the field (with run block support, fighting for position, etc.) was noticed by me.
  3. The fact that work kept me from making this road trip to Blacksburg, VA.

UGLY:

  1. BWW only had one TV designated for the Pitt game and 4 for the Red Sox, 4 for Georgia and 4 for Iowa.  I overheard a psuX fan sitting close by saying, “I can’t believe Iowa beat us”. HaHaHaHaHa
  2. T.Mack was missing from a post-game, on the field photo of the WR group with coach Marion.

This current team is fun to watch and they have many challenging games remaining on the schedule.  Next up is Clemson with a nationally televised home game at Heinz Field.  Keep winning and the rankings will take care of themselves – not quite top 25 in my book, yet.  Then again, there are quite a few top 25 ranked teams that wouldn’t make my list as well.  I’ll leave you with this – ESPN describes the game yesterday as “a dominating performance by Pitt”.  OK now…let’s dominate the rest of our opponents, win the Coastal and the ACC title.  This is the year to do that!!!

We have two GB&U articles on this game…here is Joe L’s:

The Sandman Entered and was Blown Away in High Winds

Or The Good, Bad & Ugly

Ahhhh, feels good to wake up down here in Central Virginia following another dominant Pitt victory over the Hokies. I’ve received a few begrudging congratulation texts from Gobbler friends, although no word from any of the cousins. Im going to wear a Pitt cap and Sweatshirt all day.

I’d like to thank the Pitt Football team for backing me up in the following bit of smack talk with one cousin.

Cousin: The Coastal runs through Blacksburg.

Me: Too bad it won’t stop there.

Here are my thoughts on Good, Bad and Ugly from yesterday’s game:

The Good

  1. Emergence of Izzy as a – correction: the running back. This kid seems to have it all. He blocks, finds and hits the holes, powers his way for yards, shows instinct and outstanding ability to get to the outside and turn up field. Haven’s seen this overall skill in an RB since either Ray Graham or Dion Lewis – pick one. Is he for real? We will find out next Saturday afternoon.
  • Balance in the offense! Really feel like the offensive unit is well rounded.
  • Offensive Line protection. How about the surges in short yardage situations? This was arguably the biggest question mark going into the season and so far, it looks like the unit is getting better each week. In a bit of a chicken/egg
  • Kenny had a good game. I didn’t say great, I said good. His stats weren’t as impressive as the last few games, but he continues to display great decision-making, grit and running skills. Had Mack and others pulled in balls that were in their hands (see Bad), the stat sheet would look even better. His throw to a wide-open Jared Wayne for Pitt’s third TD had everything an NFL scout would look for – a ball that had a perfect arc and turned over in flight (John Elway-like) and hit his man in stride. But an overall really good day for him in windy conditions and I’m sure he feels like he set out what he wanted to do in Blacksburg in coming back this season. He should.
  • Jared Wayne shows our depth in receivers. An NFL caliber catch along the sideline in traffic prior to Pitt’s second TD.
  • Punt Coverage on Special Teams – how about the tackling of punt returners?! The coverage guys timing and tenacity in bringing down returners was a turnabout from prior weeks.
  • DB play – placed on Pitt Island, they played a solid game. They have not arrived at all (see Bad), but only gave up one big splash play (unless I missed one or two). BTW – did anyone notice the ESPN graphics and stats on Pitt’s DB play? A lot more positive view than what we all (me included) have been saying this space.
  • The Uniforms – there were rumors all week about white on white unis, which I do not like (almost as much as disliking the gray ones). But whoever chose the blue pants with the white top gets a nod (from me at least). But as they say, “De gustibus non est disputandum”.
  • Good turnout by Pitt fans – Despite being treated poorly by VT, I could see the blue amongst those really ugly Chicago Maroon and Burnt Orange. Red 5A game ball to Fran for making the journey down there.
  1. Coverage of Cal Adomitis – I’m not motivated to give ESPN credit regularly, but good on them for highlighting our long snapper’s initiative. And how about him getting all the way from snapping the ball on a punt to making the stuff tackle on the returner? Frank Beamer would be impressed with that.

The Not So Good

  1. Return of the dropsies – It started with Krull’s drop on 3rd down during the first drive. Turns out it didn’t matter, but in a close game, drops like those could cost us. Krull has dropped a couple of those and anyone who wants to blame the spin Kenny puts on the ball, well please don’t make yourself look silly again by bringing that up. It was all on Krull. Hope he makes some big ones down the stretch to help his draft stock. Although one of Pitt’s best in traffic receivers, Taysir Mack’s drops were perplexing yesterday. He has run a bit hot and cold over the years. I’m a fan of his, btw and hoping that was his subpar game for the year. I read a stat yesterday that of Kenny’s 17 incomplete passes, 13 were rated as drops. Gotta clean that up!
  • Penalties – Felt like Pitt had a pretty good streak going with cleaner games. With a different officiating crew, we might have looked even worse here – at least Hokie fans in attendance would argue that. The pre-snap penalties need some focus this week. Would like to see Carter Warren improve in this area (and the holds) as he is having a nice year otherwise. I have mixed views on the PI calls on VT’s one trip to redzone. Sure, I’d would like to have seen some better coverage, but thought those penalties were better than letting the receiver make a catch. Had Pitt held the Hokies to a FG on that drive, they would have looked a bit smarter.
  • The third quarter RB coaching decisions – Im sure plenty of folks will immediately want to hang the inexplicable disappearance of Izzy in the 3rd quarter on Narduzzi (Dan perhaps?), but think that’s on Powell and Whipple. Its OK, both are grown men and charged with handling the running game. Narduzzi himself indicated in the postgame that perhaps the staff got caught up in the rotational strategy while ignoring one of the two backs was on fire. While there is clearly a role for Vincent Davis, he is not Pitt’s best choice when trying to grind out the clock with a 2nd half lead. That’s “Izzy Time”.
  • Punting – yes, it was windy yesterday. Really windy. But I really don’t think that was the issue. Our Aussie was not making solid contact on the ball early – perhaps it was the VT pressure? That said, have to give him and the coaches for adjusting his punting motion which seemed to help.

The Ugly

On a day when Vols fans showed a really uncharacteristic lack of class, its hard to place anything in the Ugly section. That said, I am sure someone will need to continue to harp about Narduzzi’s “respect” comments. He backed it up yesterday and made a case.

Other Stuff

My AM BP reading was 131/80 and postgame reading was 123/67.

I’m excited about Saturday’s game versus Clemson. Should be a good one. The kids (especially Kenny) have something to prove against the Tigers and I love that we are an underdog (as of this writing). Its an important game for the program and I believe if we play mistake free, we will win.