Joe L. emailed me yesterday specifically to ask that a short lead-in to his article include a shout out of recognition of Rich in SC for his truly excellent research and reporting on the teams in Pitt’s upcoming season’s schedule. It has been pretty amazing hasn’t it? I’d like to personally thank everyone who has chipped in to keep The POV a cut above the rest of the Pitt FB blogs. You readers, commenters and writers make the POV world keep spinning.
I’m going to try my hardest to get back into both Pitt FB and this blog. Last year, from mid September to early February, all my time and energy was directed toward my ill son and our family. But, as is said, there is a time to turn again to the living and the future, so with that I’ve signed on to attend the Pitt Kickoff luncheon later this month. I’ll write about that and try to get up to fall camp a few times… and of course a few tailgates! Hail to Pitt!
Athlon Sports recently posted anonymous comments by ACC football coaches on the other ACC programs. It’s a quick read put out each year and one can normally find an interesting nugget or two in the comments. Or is that gossip?
POV posters won’t be surprised by some of this year’s comments about Pitt (and Narduzzi):
“The obvious thing is that losing Kenny Pickett is going to hurt them a lot. That’s not the caliber of quarterback you turn around and replace at a program like that. But the under-the-radar thing, at least to a lot of us, is losing [OC Mark] Whipple. It was no secret he didn’t really jibe with Pat [Narduzzi], but that’s not a bad thing all the time. I think he was the first offensive coach to come in there and really push back and call his own shots, and it really worked. They had a talented QB and they could attack defenses really well.”
I will move right past the “d-uh” comment about Kenny…and thanks for insight, Coach. Now the comment about Whipple is interesting… not so much that he and Duzz weren’t aligned. That seemed apparent. But the push back and call his own shots thing… well as a 62 yr old playing the TV holes on the back nine of my career, I can respect and appreciate that. At times it sure looked like that’s just what he did – especially when I found myself yelling “Run the dang ball!” towards the end of games. He could get away with doing it his way last year – wonder how that mindset would work this year.
“The interesting thing will be Kedon Slovis. He’s a different style player than Kenny. I think [new OC] Frank Cignetti Jr. is going to bring that Boston College offense over and try to play a little bit more ball control, but they need to run the ball better.”
“The interesting thing will be Kedon Slovis.” Do tell, Coach. I’m riveted. But “they need to run the ball better” is exactly why I believe Cignetti was hired. WMG had zero interest in that. Actually, based on what I’ve read elsewhere, it sounds like his only interest was in his starting QB.
“The defense is going to be what you’re used to at this point. They play like Pat wants; they match his personality. This is a tough team. They embrace physicality. They’re Pat, for better or worse: maul you or get too aggressive and go to zero coverage and get torched. They’re not really deep, either, and they lack high-end talent.”
This guy sounds like he may be a buddy of Duzz’s. Friend or not, “Pat” should put that coach’s last sentence on the locker room bulletin board… no high-end talent?!, no depth?! I think there are a couple guys who will prove that guy wrong this year.
“The floor for this program is floating around a bowl. No one really knows what the expectation for this staff is now. Did Pat earn a little security? He’s certainly no charmer. They’re almost certainly going to fall back into the pack this year.”
That’s some serious imagery in the first sentence. I would have inserted an illustrative photo to emphasize that comment, but not sure folks would appreciate that. When I first read that, I thought, “does this guy realize what he is saying?” Its so bad, it sounds like something Duzz would say on a booster’s podcast.
As I reflected on the trove of insight coming from rival coaches, I wondered how much we should all rely on them. My attention quickly turned to what the anonymous coaches said about Pitt last year:
“They’re consistently inconsistent. It’s weird, you want to say they’ve shown who they are under Pat Narduzzi, but they can always sneak up and punch you in the face. You expect them to play predictable but play hard. They’re not gonna scheme you to death but they’re always really sound. This is the team in our league who wins one game they have no business winning and loses three they shouldn’t. That’s their identity right now.”
Gotta say it’s a fair assessment, even after last season. Not sure that there will be much sneaking up on anyone this year.
“They have a talented quarterback [Kenny Pickett] they don’t really seem to know what to do with. Their passing game is bad and it shouldn’t be, they got away from the run game and it hurt them. They don’t know what they want to be on offense, or maybe it’s just too many ideas.”
Perhaps that was coach speak for saying the head coach and WMG aren’t a good match.
“They had some really nice players on the defensive line and in the secondary that they’re losing, and it’s going to be a regression year replacing those guys, because this is not a program that recruits particularly well. That compounds the problem for the offense. For them to have a better year, or maybe just to keep their standard, they’re going to need an offensive identity. I think [offensive coordinator] Mark Whipple’s a really smart guy, they just haven’t found the one thing they do best and built around it. It could be a really long year if they don’t figure that out.”
I think they figured that out.
What to make out of all this insight? Here’s my take – those guys don’t know any more than you and I. Take it with no more weight than what you will find right here at the POV.