2021 Production Lost – Duke

Next up on Pitt’s ACC schedule are the Duke Blue Devils.

Duke, like previously reviewed Virginia Tech and Virginia, has a new head coach – Mike Elko. After a mutually agreed parting of way, Elko replaces David Cutcliffe who had guided the Blue Devils for the prior fourteen seasons.

Elko was a long time defensive coordinator – thirteen years. He spent nine years with Dave Clawson, first at Bowling Green and then Wake Forest before moving on. Here are his stats from Wikipedia:

Good years (4), a few bad years(3) but mainly B results (based on total defense). My favorite take away from above is that school names get progressive smaller.

What was one of the first thing HCME did to improve his squad? Link to an article on food:

Mike Elko: Duke football rebuild starts with improving the food (fayobserver.com)

Duke’s 2021 results and the 2022 schedule.

Another ACC team playing two P5 teams. At least they scheduled teams that they have a shot at winning. With those P5 teams away games, Duke football faithful are looking forward to seeing Temple and North Carolina A&T in action.

Here are the Rivals 5.7 and above 2022 commits. Also included are the current Transfer Portal (TP) additions.

Surprising to me, the 2022 class was the best recruiting class since 2018 (one 5.8, 4-star, four 5.7 3-stars). Only one of the 5.7’s is still on the 2022 Duke roster and he was not on the roster in 2021 but is back for ‘22. Grades? I have no idea why.

I might as well get this over with – Duke is a BASKETBALL school. I usually start my research with the SBNation communities site. Link:

SBNation.com Communities

Some of the sites are very robust in their articles and I learn from their reporting and the comment section. If a site is like Cardiac Hill (I hate to knock a now defunct competitor), I try to find alternatives. Duke’s SBN site is all basketball. Alternative sites are all basketball.

To tell the truth, I have learned more about Duke football by reading their athletic department’s football page.

Duke lost thirteen players to the TP. Eight of them were defensive players (six DB’s, two DL’s). There were five offensive players (two WR’s, and one each RB, OL and their starting QB).

Duke plucked eight from the TP. There on offense. All play the OL. Four play defense – a DL, a LB and two DB’s. The eight player is a long snapper.

What is interesting is that half of the players are from FCS teams. That is nearly a quarter of the 17 FCS players that ACC teams picked up from the Portal. In total, the Ivy league provided eight of the seventeen.

On to the stars identified as NCAA team leaders in selected stats or members of the 2021 All ACC teams. I have added a new stat –  Athlon’s 2022 preseason All ACC Conference’s (four teams). I could not find any mention of Duke players making a Phil Steele team.

There almost certainly was two or more on Steele’s teams but Duke only brags about their basketball players.

The  offense revolves around QB play. I have added sacked and yards lost to the QB chart.

Gunnar Holmberg is gone. He entered the TP. Luca Diamond is making the transition to a fulltime WR.

That leads to a QB competition between Riley Leonard (2021 Rivals 5.7, 3-star) and Jordan Moore (2021 Rivals 5.5, 3-star). 2022 Rivals 5.5, 3-star Henry Belin, Jr. is waiting in the wings.

So far, I do not have a warm and fuzzy feeling about Duke’s offense.

Blue Devil running backs and receivers 2021 activity. Also returning production summary for Pitt, Georgia Tech, Virginia Tech, Louisville, UNC, Syracuse, Virginia, and Duke.

The loss of Mataeo Durant (2022 UDFA – Steelers) and leading receiver Jake Bobo (TP – UCLA) has put a big dent in returning production. Only Georgia Tech has ben hurt more than Duke.

Duke did have a wide variety of players running and catching the ball. But that is what happens when you lose all eight ACC games by an average of 31.75 points.

But that variety of players leads to some hope for a run/pass offense. Moore (the QB) had more rush attempts and yardage than pass attempts and yardage. Leonard (the other QB) had more pass attempts/yardage then he had as a rusher.

What does the Oline stats tell us? I added Pitt allowed sacks and tackles for loss.

Duke’s Oline was good in protecting the QB. Not so good at opening holes for the RB’s. Was it because opponents sold out to stop the run?

Duke returns four starters and two with limited (one game) starting experience. Based on that, Duke Oline is a strength.

Do you have any idea why Duke average plays per game (77.8) led the ACC? Wake was close at 77.4 per game. Pitt was third at 76.4.

On to the defensive review.

Duke had 51 players make a defensive stat. But nine of them were offensive players. Three were special teams player. That leaves 39 defensive players making a stat.

The chart below strips out the non-defensive players and fifteen players who did not make at least ten tackles.

The below chart includes 24 players- eleven DB’s, nine DL’s and four LB’s making up (and I mean made up) a “10 tackles two deep.” I did not have to lower my goal of ten tackles to make a “two deep.”

Using the column “Tot”(al Tackles) Duke’s returning defensive production was at 68.3%.

To help put all of the defensive data into perspective, here are Duke’s 2021 NCAA defensive stats.

I give the Blue Devils defensive stats a solid F. Duke has more returning production then Pitt but it will be nearly impossible to move the defensive into C territory.

It is my opinion that Duke will match last year’s 3 – 9 record. It could be 4 – 8 if Northwestern is still in rebuilding mode.

Pitt wins. If you are keeping track, that makes my preseason predictions 10 – 1.

84 thoughts on “2021 Production Lost – Duke

  1. PITTSBURGH—The most highly anticipated football game in Pittsburgh this season is sold out.

    The September 1 renewal of the “Backyard Brawl” between Pitt and West Virginia will be played before an overflowing crowd at Acrisure Stadium. It will be the first meeting between the historic foes since 2011.

    In response to continued demand, Pitt Athletics will sell a limited number of Standing Room Only (SRO) tickets beginning at 10 a.m. today (Friday, August 5). SRO tickets are $125 each and sales are limited to two per customer. All sales will be conducted online at this Pitt Ticket link.

    Pitt was just shy of a 100% season-ticket renewal for the 2022 season and increased season sales by 45%. All active Panther Club members and season-ticket holders were able to purchase additional single-game tickets for this year, including the Backyard Brawl.

    While the West Virginia game is sold out, tickets are still available for the Panthers’ six other home games this fall. Mini packages and single-game tickets, including group experience packages, are available for purchase by calling 800-643-PITT (7488) or online at PittsburghPanthers.com.

    A flexible option is the Panther Mobile Pass, which gives fans the opportunity to reserve games in advance based on availability. There are three Mobile Pass options:

    · Panther Mobile Pass Premium allows fans to reserve up to two games at a time. Eligible ticket locations include the Club as well as the Lower and Upper levels.

    · Panther Pass gives fans the opportunity to reserve one game. Eligible ticket locations include the Lower and Upper levels.

    · Additionally, the Young Alumni Pass is available for those fans who are within three years of their Pitt graduation. All stadium locations are eligible.

    In addition to a sold-out stadium, the Backyard Brawl will be viewed by a national ESPN Thursday night television audience beginning at 7 p.m.

    ESPN’s College GameDay Built by The Home Depot—featuring host Rece Davis and analysts Lee Corso, Kirk Herbstreit, Desmond Howard and David Pollack—will present an exclusive one-hour live edition from inside Acrisure Stadium beginning at 6 p.m.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I read that article yesterday. He talked about a S&P term – Havoc Rate.

      I knew the term but didn’t know how it was calculated. Fairly simple and data is readily available. It may be off by a tenth or so, but I did Pitt’s and came in at 18.3%.

      Another way to gauge the strength of a defense. My goal today is to calculate the Havoc Rate for all ACC teams and start working on the last Production Loss article – Miami.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. The Dookies have fantastic academics. a beautiful campus and a history of superior basketball teams, however, they are locked into mediocrity in football for the present and probably many more future years Richard your reviews of Pitt’s opponents are very much appreciated.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. “Havoc defense”. Never heard that before but I like it.

    I’m usually a wait and see kind of Pitt fan based on over 50 years of watching Panther football. But these preseason posts are causing some dreaded optimism to percolate in me. Thanks for that, PCF.

    27 days til kickoff, H2P.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. There will most likely be 20k Hoopies fans in attendance. Not hard to sell out the backyard brawl particularly after a long hiatus. Am I missing something?

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    1. Would be great to understand the ticket sales thus far for all of the other games to garner an estimate of how many fairmont fans bought tickets. Regardless it is good to see a sellout. Stadium will be full of blue and gold for sure so our marketing folks should be all over photo opps.

      Tex, will need to send you a note on your questions about my kids. I answered in the thread, but it got shut down by wordpress or moderator. I guess i am bad. Another reason why I have been commenting sporadically. Not sure i have EVER typed anything attacking or offensive….controversial, sure!

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    2. Pitt hasn’t hosted a full house since PSU and before that Cinci so yeah it’s a big deal.
      Very few sell outs in Pitt’s entire history.

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  5. Ansons cardiac hill is dark? Just checked and true. Seems to be for at least a month now. Anyone with the scoop? I always found the site valuable. Site covered more than just football and was professionally done with paid professionals. I think that’s part of the issue. Anson was a good Pitt advocate and generally fair and balanced I thought.

    Is Dokish still tweeting? I wouldn’t know because he banned me twice. Sound familiar? 🤠

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  6. Hey Richard, thanks for the article. Another swell job. I had to laugh at the title a bit and question whether Duke ever had any production to lose. Said in gest. Enjoyed it. Your new stat may have been called disruptive plays? Not sure.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. SRO tickets at $125 each with a limit of two for each request. I’m wondering how many SRO tickets are being offered for the WVU game.

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  8. I will continue to have concerns over Narduzzi’s D … even with all to big- talent that has been and is present, I have seen no consistent “ shut-down” D through-out his tenure including last years great run! In 2021 PITT scored 468 pts / opponents scored 353 points. In 2 games vs UMass and NH, PITT put up 128 points to 14 for the teams who lined up to collect a pay day. Remove those points from the previously mentioned total and you have: PITT 358 points vs opposition’s 339 points- only a 19 point differential. I , for one, am waiting for a D that protects big leads and torched less frequently in the passing game… we will be facing a few good QBs this season beginning with the 1st 2 games. Can Duzz develop a controlling D in today’s college game??? This ole timer is hoping 2022 is the year it will happen.

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  9. Richard – thank you for another excellent article.

    I will miss playing Duke every year. Yes, we’ve been beating them but there have been some very entertaining high-scoring games…

    Go Pitt.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Last Nitter game at Heinz had over 30k state fans. I expect the Hoopies to show in large numbers. At least 20k and loud. Again, should not be hard to sell out for a rival after a long time off. Doesn’t take a genius in marketing to do that.

      I also expect the Vols to bring nearly as many. You Pitt fans will learn to appreciate the color orange and will sing rocky top as you sleep. Far more catchy than sweet Caroline or whatever the neutered Pitt band plays today after eliminating the state chant.

      Vulgar and inappropriate my butt.

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      1. I love you Tex. But I was at both of the most recent Pitt -PSU games at Heinz. There were not close to 30,000 Nitters at either. Not even close.

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        1. Agree fully Eric. Not a chance.

          Pitt has increased season ticket sales by 45% and had close to 100% renewal.
          Really important for the Panthers to win those first two games. Do that and there will be really good crowds for the ACC slate – provided of course they dont soil the sheets in Kalamazoo or against Rhode Island.

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          1. Stepping back and looking at things through a different lense, my sense is that all athletic departments and walt disney world have huge percentage increases when compared to full or partial covid years (i.e. last year, etc.). Many people wouldn’t leave their respective homes. Same with renewal rate. The renewal rate after covid and such are probably the diehards who couldn’t wait for any sport. Same will happen with bball in my mind. Would be better to look at pre-covid revenue generation and ticket sales. Granted, we do have a couple of real nice draws to kickstart the season, so that is good for numbers.

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      2. As many others were I was at that game and there were not 30,000 Penn State fans there. There were not half that many.

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  10. For all who care, I am not an expert on S&P, but I will make a stab at it explaining Havoc Defense (Rate). If you know more than me on S&P, please tell me where I am going wrong.

    It’s a simple calculation. Add up the number of defensive Tackles for Loss (TFL’s), Interceptions (INT), Pass Break Ups (PBU or PD) and Forced Fumblers (FF). and divide by total opponent plays.

    In Pitt’s case for the 2021 season, the Panthers had 112 TFL’s, 16 INTs, 41 PDs, and 10 FF. Thats a total of 179 “Havoc Plays” or as Huff III said Disruptive Plays. Divide 179 by the total of opponents plays (977 for the season. (179 / 977) = 18.3% (expressed as a percentage).

    The higher the Havoc Defense Rate, supposedly the better the defense.

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  11. We may have to see the Panthers version of the Steelers Steel Curtain from many years back. The last 3 quarters of the Wake Forest game gave us a little taste of that scenario. We have the DL and DL substitutes to show that IMO if they stay healthy.

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  12. So Tex is now slamming the Pitt band? Is there nothing sacred?

    By the way, what is the all time Pitt and all time stadium attendance? Maybe this game could break it with the SRO tickets being sold.

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  13. No one is denying that it takes WV, ND or PSU for a full house. It was true of Pitt Stadium and still true today.
    But it still takes an excited Pitt Nation to do the rest. Unlike a few of our friends most Pitt Fans are pretty jacked about Pitt’s team this year and that is why a record will be set.

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  14. Thanks Rich
    PN defense has QBs running for their lives but some passes still kill us. Looks like running more is needed to control the clock and to limit the opposing QB plays.
    It is a game of chess dependent on the other team strength and weakness.
    10 wins is a realistic possibility.

    Liked by 2 people

  15. I can certainly appreciate BigB’s concern about the defense. Especially because Pitt won more last year due to the offense. The big exception was the ACC title game which was clearly won by the D

    Pitt appears to be talented and experienced in the front end and the back end on D. And barring an injury to Sirvocea, I am expecting a good showing this year… which may be even more embellished this year if Pitt’s O can execute effective ground control

    Ah, there is so much promise this time of year

    Sent from my iPhone

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    Liked by 1 person

  16. Big plays against is a killer for ball control offense.
    Slow offensive and fast strike against D is a loser.
    It is a game of offense now.
    Pitt needs to score!

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  17. Kman, I’m afraid you may be right. Iowa and Wisc are about the only 2 teams that are successful these days with ball control, and they rarely play against high octane offenses.

    The first 2 games this year are going to reveal a lot. Pitt Oline better play as advertised. Pitt’s O was really successful in 09 and 16, both due in large part to the line. As you indicated, last year was mostly due to explosive plays. Cignetti is a veteran, hopefully he can optimize his assets

    Sent from my iPhone

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  18. Effective ground control without scoring TD’s only keeps inferior teams in the game come the 4th Q. Then all it takes is a couple blown 4th assignments in the 4th Q for the inferior team to take control. The best offense and defense for that matter is entering the 4th Q with a 3 touchdown lead.

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  19. Yesterday, the Pitt administration announced that masks were required on the Pittsburgh campus due to a high level Coronavirus alert in Allegheny County.

    Does this mean we won’t get to see the toothless smiles of hoopie fans at Acrisure Field in 26 days?

    Here’s hoping our players don’t have to “mask up” for game day.

    Liked by 2 people

  20. No doubt you have to score a lot of points in today’s football. Cignetti knows this and has the weapons to do it. Being able to run effectively doesn’t mean he will favor a ball control offense. Teams that make the playoffs have had great running games to go along with their great passing games.

    On defense, the ability to sack, tackle for loss and turn the ball over, and generally create havoc is how you help your offense win football games. Shut down defense is a thing of the past, but giving your offense good field position never grows old.

    Winning the close ones is how you have a great season. Making big plays on both sides of the ball when it matters most is the key. Pitt has those kind of players, they just need to make it happen.

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    1. GC – playing off you comment Teams that make the playoffs have had great running games to go along with their great passing games.”

      I heard this following comment twice yesterday on XM 84 College Sports Radio – teams that are primed to make the playoffs have this in common – they are big, fast, have 4 to 5 high level playmakers on both sides of the ball and they have several NFL top 2 round draft picks on their team.

      Let’s do the math for Pitt since several players have mentioned the team goal is a NC this season.

      Defense:

      DT Kancey – Pre-season All-American
      DE Baldonado
      MLB SirD
      S Hill

      Offense:

      TE Blue Mountain Bart – FR All-American 2021
      WR Mumpfield – FR All-American 2021
      WR Wayne (top 50 at his position – pre-season)
      RB Izzy (top 50 at his position – pre-season)

      Of the (8) players I list above, I believe the defensive (4) will be drafted in the first 3 rounds of the NFL draft. The (4) on offense have a season or two of work ahead of them to improve their draft status.

      Having an offensive line that returns (5) starters and a QB like Slovis with some star power as a former FR All-American a few years ago makes this a very exiting camp leading up to the Backyard Brawl.

      H2P!

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  21. The ESPN article posted by Greg above just confirms what we had discussed here for years. It is very telling that since 2014, the Northeast with a population of 65 million produced 171 blue chips while further down coast where the population is 23 million, 474 blue chips have been produced

    Pitt’s recent success is based on southeast recruiting, even though most are 3 stars. The DL an DB are mostly from this area, as are many of the WR and RB.

    Yes there are obvious exceptions but the fact that 14 of the last 15 national champs are from the Southeast should surprise nobody. That is college FB country. And even the Big 10 with its wealth, large schools and huge fan bases, cannot compete on field with the top SE programs

    I highly doubt that a Northeast conference would have made a big difference. The Northeast are NFL cities, plain and simple

    Sent from my iPhone

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  22. Huff – apparently I was doinked too with a post this morning.

    I’m never been offended by your posts – in fact I enjoy the intellect you add to the POV.

    I’m on the DL from golf for 7 days – I guess I’ll go pull weeds from the gardens…

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  23. What else hurt NE football IMO:

    No Big East conference with PSU, Pitt, WVU, BC, Syracuse and Rutgers for starters.

    Pitt getting out of the big-time football business in 1982.

    Syracuse football spiraling down since 2005. NY state used to produced a lot of players but not enough now for the Orange to build off.

    Rutgers not being a destination for all those Jersey kids with most of the others staying in the NE corridor.

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  24. Pitt’s defense has been very good with slower paced offenses under Duzz. In third and long they are downright scary regardless of what the offense does. The defense is a modern CFB defense. Outside of Bama, UGA and Clemson who has defenses that don’t give up points season after season?

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  25. Gordon – commenting on you 8:05am post:

    Playing off your comment “Teams that make the playoffs have had great running games to go along with their great passing games.”

    I heard this following comment twice yesterday on XM 84 College Sports Radio – teams that are primed to make the playoffs have this in common – they are big, fast, have 4 to 5 high level play-makers on both sides of the ball and they have several NFL top 2 round draft picks on their team.

    Let’s do the math for Pitt since several players have mentioned the team goal is a NC this season.

    I list defense first:

    DT Kancey – Pre-season All-American
    DE Baldonado
    MLB SirD
    S Hill

    I believe the (4) defensive players will be drafted in the first 3 rounds of the NFL draft.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Offense:

      TE Blue Mountain Bart – FR All-American 2021
      WR Mumpfield – FR All-American 2021
      WR Wayne (top 50 at his position – pre-season)
      RB Izzy (top 50 at his position – pre-season)

      The (4) on offense have a season or two of work ahead of them to improve their draft status.

      Having an offensive line that returns (5) starters and a QB like Slovis with some star power as a former FR All-American a few years ago makes this a very exiting camp leading up to the Backyard Brawl.

      H2P!

      Liked by 1 person

  26. Despite the accomplished Pitt players listed above, note that the Panthers are third in the Coastal from a pure talent level based on ratings. For example, UNC alone has 11 top 100 rated players on its roster, and Miami likely has more. Both have top ACC classes over the past few years, just slightly behind Clemson

    Of course, that doesn’t rule Pitt out as a division contender, but it doesn’t help that Pitt has issues with both programs and plays both on the road

    Sent from my iPhone

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    Liked by 1 person

  27. I agree with GC that the Addison comments were off putting to say the least, and kind of an insult to Pitt, where he appears to be saying that he couldn’t do as well at Pitt his final year. There was definitely a me first attitude with the guy, He attempted to say that the NIL money was not the issue, and that USC would be best for his game. I was giving him the benefit of the doubt until now. If he was saying that he did it for the money I’d respect his honesty. But now, I think he is just another money grubbing athlete. Good riddance!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The best Wide Receivers are me first … You want your corners and WR’s confident (bordering on cocky).

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  28. Im not worried about the offense getting more conservative this season. I believe Cignetti will use what he has – as is his rep. If either QB can get balls to the WRs, we will see plenty of downfield throws. I really don’t think scheme will be an issue for us this season – in fact, I believe the scheme will improve. Its going to come down to execution. Mumpfield, Wayne, Bardem…someone has to emerge from that WR room as a real threat.

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      1. That’s a big question mark at WR, INHO. I mean I see “good” but I don’t see “WOW!”

        And then we have Bartholomew in a different role…

        And a new QB…

        That OLine better step it up…

        (Losing a Heisman finalist QB and a Biletnikoff winner – makes sense that most of the “experts” have us falling back in the pack…)

        Go Pitt.

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      2. Jared “Reggie” Wayne is clutch and was clutch alongside Addison.

        Mumpfield and Means will be fun to watch. Wayne will give us steady play each week – the other two will bring the “spectacular” to Acrisure Field.

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          1. I wasn’t able to golf this week due to a minor injury, so I rolled through the 2-deep again and the optimism started flowing.

            The QB and LB positions are vastly unproven – that is a concern.

            QB Slovis had a very good FR season, but that was four years ago AND he was “slightly” injured yesterday behind the locked gates of the South Side practice facilities. Does anyone really believe it was minor?

            SirD is a really good LB, but the other 5 guys competing for the 2-deep spots are vastly unproven at the P5 level. How many wheel routes out of the backfield will we have to watch before they “mature”.

            My optimism has limits…

            H2P!

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  29. Tyler Wiltz – transfer LB. Check out his interview if you get a chance. Another interesting Panther. Said he’s working at both outside LB spots splitting second-team reps…

    Had some great things to say about Sirvocea’s leadership…

    Go Pitt.

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  30. I was outside taking a break before starting mowing, Saw Erie Express (Rick) comment about being doinked. I came inside immediately an found it in the spam bucket and approved it. It was a reply to Gordan Conn (GC) this morning at 8:05am. Should have checked because Ricks second post was already there at 10:22AM but not as a reply to GC.

    As to Huff’s doinking, there was not a comment to moderate. Not in the pending, spam or trash buckets. If there is a comment that didn’t immediately post, I can find it in one of those buckets. If the comment is there, I then read and approve or if I disapprove, I can edit out the offending word(s) and approve with my changes. If I disapprove, I’ll let the commentor know why.

    In Huff’s case, I believe his comment never showed up because if you look at the previous comment, he posted using the sign in name Huff “+” lll. I had the same problem posting a comment when I tried too first change my name from Pitt-cocks Fan to PcF. Not only did that comment not go thru, but the second time I tried to repost it also didn’t go thru.

    Took me awhile to figure out how to get back to PITT-cocks but finally I did.

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      1. Thanks for looking Richard. Not sure what happened either. I responded to the tex under both, oh well. It wouldn’t let me in under regular so I added a +, then it never posted under either, so i stopped trying. Figured it was a doink but when I reviewed the language and content it was definitely a “G” rating.

        Anyway, I am not sure our offensive play calling will be as open as we have become accustomed. Addison may have met with cignetti and understood that there would be more balance and conservatism in play calling which may have helped him decide to leave, Add in some big benjamins and poof, west coast bound.

        The key is the Cignetti playcalling. To Gordons point, we have some good players. Top 50 in a position is not great in my mind. It’s middle of the pack average if you are 30-60. Above average 15-29. Elite, 1-14. My assumption is you are being graded against 120 in your position (one on each team). I like reggie wayne, but also like bruce wayne.

        Liked by 1 person

  31. Regarding the WRs, if the standard is we must have a Belitnikof winner to be good then a lot of teams will fall short.

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  32. This morning I was watching a simulation of the upcoming Pitt – WVU game on YouTube featuring current players: Izzy, BMB, Wayne, Slovis. So well done it got the blood pressure up. Was tied in the 3rd at 20 when I needed to go bAck to the real world 🌎 and the ladies Open Championship at Muirfield. Anyone know the final score?

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    1. Good point, Mark. It is interesting to speculate at this time of the year but I doubt many of us saw a Heisman finalist in Pickett or a Bilitnikoff winner in Addison at three weeks before the first game of last season. I wonder whether Underwood will teach receiver skills at the same level that Marion seemed to? JoeL’s comment about Cignetti using his available talent is also a good point as long as we don’t see a series of lateral passes to the sideline over and over. If we do, we’ll know we are in trouble.

      Liked by 2 people

  33. PittPT. Pitt certainly wasn’t ranked higher last year. Nobody knew how good Pickett was going to be. Pitt always seemed to be underrated, IMO in large part to what I pointed out above … it seems to have less talent than Miami and one or two others (NC, VT).

    I prefer the underdog status myself

    Sent from my iPhone

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    Liked by 2 people

  34. Seems to me that Coach Duzz has done an excellent job of building depth on this team and filling “needs” with portal candidates.

    Just heard on the radio that Slovis got injured in practice today – maybe a hip? Anyway they’re saying it’s not serious, but glad we have Nick Patti…

    Which got me thinking who can we least afford to lose to injury on offense and defense?

    My picks:
    Offense – Bartholomew. Seems like we don’t have another TE who can make plays like him…

    Defense – Sirvocea. He can probably play all three of the LB positions better than anyone else. And he’s definitely a leader on the defense.

    Go Pitt.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I believe we are 3 deep with serviceable QB’s – in 1976 we had our starting QB go down with injury and won it all.

      Hmmm…

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    1. Two of my three favorite Pitt wrestlers. Helps Gavin in a rebuilding year.

      Speaking of two of three – the Orioles and Pirates are playing each other – the Giants would would be my 3rd.

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  35. Once again, Post-Gazette will be looking for a Pitt FB beat writer. John McGonigle is leaving for PennLive to follow his alma mater, and eventually moving back home in Philly

    Despite being a Nitter, I thought he did a credible job. Meanwhile, we have a bevy of talent here who may consider applying. I’m personally pulling for Lone Star

    Sent from my iPhone

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    Liked by 1 person

  36. Apparently VolleyballMag agrees with what I said about our incoming Women’s Volleyball recruits this year. They rated the 2022 incoming group 9th in the nation. North Carolina was ranked 10th. Cow pasture U was ranked 7th.

    Note to Lone Star: Texas was ranked 1st. Maybe they will make the final 4 this year!

    By the way I am planning to come up for the Pitt vs. North Carolina volleyball game (9/16) as well as the Pitt-Rhode Island scrimmage (9/17). If anyone has 2 tickets, they want to sell at face value, for either of these games let me know.

    I will be writing an article on my thoughts on the upcoming Women’s volleyball season in a week or so. It will cover our possible starting lineups, who I think our main competition will be, and where we will finish in the ACC. Hint: North Carolina will be in my top 4 ACC teams.

    Liked by 1 person

  37. John – Good news on the volleyball team.

    You may want to repost your comment on the newest article – “NCAA FB Coaches assess Pitt for 2022”.

    Looking forward to your new article.

    Like

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