So Obvious, Louisville is the Crossroad Game

Here is a new Pitt Article by Jay Kaplan (“6&34”)

I can’t think of a time when the POVers (or the PITT Nation) are squeezed so closely together in their opinions on the state of the current PITT football team. There’s no reason to even articulate that opinion because we all know what that opinion is. Alas, you can’t write an article that leaves the lead unstated so here it is:  This PITT team isn’t good. Note I wrote “isn’t good” and not “isn’t very good”.

Right now, very few POVers would be surprised if PITT lost to Louisville by, let’s say, 18 points or more. Now I’m not predicting that PITT will lose by that much but this POVer will not be surprised if that happens. Why wouldn’t I after the way PITT played against Rhode Island (RI), Georgia Tech (GT) and Virginia Tech (VT)?

The thing that gets me is not merely that PITT entered this season with such high expectations. Its that the 2022 team is essentially the same as the 2021 team that won the ACC Championship and probably would have finished in or close to the top 10 had either Pickett played against Michigan State, Patti not gotten injured in PITT’s second possession, or even if PITT’s third string quarterback had not telegraphed to that MSU linebacker that he (the LB that is) was about to save his team a victory.

You may say that PITT lost its two best players to fame and fortune in 2022. Fine and dandy, but both those guys played offense and their loss had nothing to do with PITT’s defense. The fact of the matter is the defense is nothing special this year. I admit that I was expecting some shutouts from the 2022 defense.  Instead, I get the GT defensive effort which let’s face it included PITT’s vaunted run defense crapping the bed.

I can write several thousands of woulda, coulda, shoulda words that get into the weeds about the defensive failures. I could focus on the failure of the linebacker corps or the loss of Defensive Back Mathis to the NFL draft, and if I did, I still don’t think I could make a compelling case for why PITT’s defense is so mediocre.

Or I could bring into the discussion the loss of defensive linemen to injury. We have all read and thought about these issues ad nauseum. I’m not going to say that these issues have not been real, but I’m just not buying that they properly and fully explain why PITT’s defense has been so mediocre so far into this season.

Let me start off by saying that PITT’s defense didn’t play that well against West Virginia (WV). By game’s end, we were just happy to have beaten this rival team, we hadn’t a clue about how mediocre WV was so the victory just suppressed our subconscious concerns about the quality of PITT’s play.

Then the Tennessee game came and with Slovis’ injury before the start of the second half, PITT succumbed to a team that I believe would have beaten Tennessee had Slovis not sustained that injury. And if my recollection is correct, PITT’s defense with our new linebackers and without Mathis played great.

They played great because they had to. I’ve seen that phenomenon with Pitt’s defense time and time again because that defense could play not only well, but very well, — they could play great at critical times.

So how good or bad will PITT’s defense perform against Louisville or over the rest of the season?  As discussed above, POVers lack any confidence that the defense will play as we thought it would before the season started. We have every right to think that it will be as mediocre as it has been to date.

Right now, I think Pitt is as mediocre as average rice pudding.  But I will not be shocked if starting with the Louisville game the defense plays very much better than it has to date.

There are several reasons why I feel this way.  One reason is as mentioned even this year the defense has on occasions shown itself to be quite capable in key situations. 

A second is LBs Kamara and Simon seem to have improved since the GT game with Kamara showing his athleticism more regularly and Simon appearing to be adequate and at times rather competent. Third, Safeties Hill and Hallett seem to be performing as well as they did last year which means they have performed spectacularly on occasion and at least just above average on others. Fourth, CB Williams is the same quality player he was in 2021 and so is Devonshire the player he was in 2021.

Unfortunately, for reasons inexplicable to me, Devonshire seems to give up a lot of playing time to a player who cannot learn to turn his head towards the ball when running in phase with a wideout. Maybe against Louisville, Devonshire will get the vast majority of snaps.

Which, of course, brings us to the DL where our DE starters are playing below last years performance. Is the problem injuries? If so, let’s hope that the two-week layoff will allow sufficient healing to enable Baldonado, Alexandre and Morgan to play the way we know they can play.

That’s not a particularly perspicacious analysis – believe me I know that. Certainly, it’s not intended to give POVers confidence that the defense will get its act together by the Louisville game which it better get if this team sometime this coming Saturday is not going say sayonara to all its realistic goals.

But there is really one point that I am trying to make and that’s that this defense can be very good even though it has not been good so far (I’d say it has been fair which in my lexicon is below good).

Pitt’s defense showed what it could do against Tennessee because it has the players who could play as well as they did, and they can do it during the rest of the season because they are essentially the same players. Duh!  If it didn’t have the players, Tennessee would have blown PITT out of Acrisure Stadium. We can see that with the benefit of 20/20 hindsight and that’s my point.

What about the offense? PITT’s offense is capable of being good if Slovis returns to his level of play in the WV game and the first half of the Tennessee game. I agree with everyone who rips Slovis for his inability to go through his progressions and instead locking onto one receiver presumably the primary under the Cignetti’s play call. 

I don’t care if that inability is due to being gun shy because of the licking he got in the Tennessee game or whatever. If he can’t go through his progressions and some alternative plan is not invoked, PITT will not win half of its remaining games. The reasons just don’t matter.

Unless the tandem of Abanakanda and Hammonds coupled with run/pass option plays and other creative play calling by Cignetti proves to be a sufficiently hard nose and power pact offense that can beat up other teams’ defenses. So, assuming the health of these Running Backs (RB), what is the weak link that causes me to have doubts that this could happen. In my opinion, it’s not the offensive line or the wide receivers that is the weak link.

Its Cignetti. To be more accurate it’s the Cignetti/Narduzzi tandem because I believe Narduzzi wants what Cignetti has done so far and let’s face it Narduzzi is the boss man.

There is an expression we all know that goes like this: “It is, until it isn’t”.  Well, here’s my version of it for the situation PITT’s offense is in going into the Louisville game: 

“The Cignetti/Narduzzi offense will be not be effective until Abanakanda and Hammonds rush for 300 yards and score six times. So please, Frank and Pat, if Slovis can’t go through his progressions or our running backs won’t run for at least call Read Options plays often (especially those that target tight ends) and hope like hell that Abanakanda and Hammonds can run for 200 yards at least.

So, what’s the point of this article? It’s quite simple. PITT isn’t good anymore and will be lucky to win seven games this season unless these two things happen: The defense flips the switch (which they have the talent to do), and Slovis can effectively go through his progressions or if he can’t, Cignetti calls a whole lot of RPOs and our RBs play great.  We all know this to be true because we are all on the same page and the reason we are, is because it’s so obvious.


106 thoughts on “So Obvious, Louisville is the Crossroad Game

  1. I’ll have to read the article later thanks for the effort Jay.

    Just wanted to mention that if you don’t think the program is headed in a better direction, in past years the losses of Hayes, Carter and Bradley would have been devastating. Not to say they won’t be missed but there is much more quality depth that helps to ease the hits.

    Of course as I mentioned multiple times the loss of Addison was one that can’t be replaced and has and will cost multiple losses. He is that much of a difference maker.


  2. Thanks Jay! This piece will bring out a lot of “point/counterpoint” comments.

    I think with Pitt football it is just hard to predict what will happen week to week. Case in point as mentioned above. We lose a very close game to the now #3 Tennessee team, yet drop the ball on GT after being given strong odds to win the game.

    That happens with Pitt every season it seems with losses to GT, Western Michigan, etc. and almost losing to the Delaware Mud Hens – each week is an adventure it seems.

    We may well beat down UL this week, but just as easily we may drop the ball with them. Such is college ball these days.


  3. Maybe last year’s team had stronger leaders in the group. KP was certainly the BIG guy but there were others for sure. I have even lost a bit of the fire/spirit and a glass kool-aid won’t help…I just texted my Carolina posse that the this years game in Chapel Hill won’t be close “the Heels will win by 18.” I am not planning on going. Same number you mentioned vs Louisville in the article. We seem to have the same “gut feeling.”


  4. This team lacks leaders. If you read between the lines of duz’ comments in the pressesers you’ll see that. He mentioned it in preseason when asked how good the team is “we’ll see”. Compared to last year when he was like “oh we’re good”. And KP8 both on and off the field was a big part of that.

    Duz’ mantra in this arena of course is “bad teams have no leadership”, “okay teams have coach leadership”, “good teams have player leadership”

    There was also a PSN article about Pitt wanting more out of student leadership

    Then this week – “slovis is a pleaser” duz said. All well and good but you can’t be a pleaser and lead a team

    Just my .02

    Liked by 3 people

  5. Gordon, good programs have the depth recruited and trained to step up and fill the voids left by things like KP and Addison leaving…

    No one could say that any player replacing those two would produce at the exact same level, but Slovis has only five TD passes (and a poor 134.8 QB rating @74th in nation) and our best receivers have only two TDs apiece at this halfway point in the season.

    Thank the gods that Izzy is churning out the yards and TDs. Of course he has two years left after this season (correct?) so some other program might buy him off also.


    1. Is Louisville good against the pass? Maybe teams are passing at will on them, thus not bothering to run the ball. Being good at rushing the QB is bad news since the Pitt O-line is lethargic at pass blocking.


      1. POD is talking specifically about sacks and tackles for loss. Defensively, L’ville is giving up more yardage than Pitt in both passing and rushing.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. That is a little more comforting – I’ll make my prediction early due to work schedule demands –

          Similar to the VT & GT games, the score is close in the first half.

          Pitt breaks loose with a big 2nd half on both sides of the ball and wins “running” away 42-28.



          1. Correction – the second half vs the cards is similar to VT and nothing like GT.

            Rushing to get to work…


  6. Jay, thanks for a thought provoking article. Pitt is a team that defies description. It seems to as we all know, look fantastic at times and absolutely horrible in the same game. Talent?, Coaching?, Leadership? Character? Something is VERY wrong this year. The loss of Kenny and Addison can not be the only reason for our Jeckyl and Hyde performance. I am going to pass on this one because I have no idea as to what reason or combination of reasons are causing us to fear an opponent like Lousiville>>>National Chumps//not champions.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Jay, great article … thanks. I’ve watched Louisville play thrice. They are lightning quick and very athletic on offense. A few tall receivers will challenge our midget D backfield.
    L’ville D is average at best and a bit undisciplined.

    Pitt has to stay close to win this game. If L’ Ville gets up two TDs the game is over!

    Jay, a possible answer to your posit is that Pitt has been hit by a mass of early injuries ( and the loss of our superstar receiver). When totally healthy, Pitt could be Bama or Bowling Green! So far it’s Bowling Green!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Pitt really does not have much “quality” depth at many positions this year. Our depth at WR is in critical condition as of now and it was in poor condition before Bradley entered the portal. Pitt may have a major drop off come next year when many on the roster move on for life’s work.


  9. PITTSBURGH—The Atlantic Coast Conference announced that Pitt’s October 29 game at North Carolina will kick off at 8 p.m., and be televised by ACC Network.

    The Panthers’ remaining 2022 football schedule and announced kickoff times:

    Oct. 22: at Louisville* (ACC Network), 8 p.m.

    Oct. 29: at North Carolina* (ACC Network), 8 p.m.

    Nov. 5: Syracuse*

    Nov. 12: at Virginia*

    Nov. 19: Duke*

    Nov. 26 : at Miami*

    *ACC game


  10. PITT (4-2, 1-1 ACC) vs. LOUISVILLE (3-3, 1-3 ACC): Complete Game Release Link

    October 22, 2022 ∙ 8 p.m. (ET)

    Cardinal Stadium (60,800/FieldTurf) ∙ Louisville, Ky.

    ACC Network ∙ 93.7 The Fan ∙ Pitt Panthers Radio Network ∙ @Pitt_FB


    √ The Panthers play their first road game in more than a month when they face Louisville in Cardinal Stadium for an ACC Network primetime telecast.

    √ Pitt has won seven consecutive away games dating back to the 2020 season, its longest road winning streak since the Dan Marino-led teams of 1980-82 won 13 consecutive away contests.

    √ The Panthers boast the nation’s second-longest active road game winning streak, trailing only Georgia’s nine consecutive road wins.

    √ Pitt last visited Louisville in 2011, when both teams were members of the Big East. The Panthers won that contest, 21-14.

    √ The Panthers have defeated Louisville in six of the last seven encounters overall.

    √ Since 2015, Pat Narduzzi has directed Pitt to 37 victories in ACC play, the third-highest win total during that span. The Panthers trail only Clemson (57) and Miami (38).

    √ The Panthers are 11-3 over their last 14 ACC contests dating back to the 2020 season.

    √ Israel Abanikanda leads the entire country with an average of 186.17 all-purpose yards per contest.

    √ In his last outing, the All-America and Doak Walker Award candidate rushed for a Pitt-record 320 yards and six TDs against Virginia Tech.

    √ Per ESPN Stats & Info, Abanikanda joins LaDainian Tomlinson and Ricky Williams as the only players from current Power 5 programs to rush for 300 yards and score six rush touchdowns in a game over the last 25 seasons.


    Television ∙ ACC Network

    Dave O’Brien (play-by-play)

    Tim Hasselbeck (analyst)

    Kelsey Riggs (reporter)

    Pitt Radio ∙ 93.7 The Fan & Pitt Panthers Radio Network

    Bill Hillgrove (play-by-play)

    Pat Bostick (analyst)

    Larry Richert and Dorin Dickerson (reporters)

    SiriusXM Satellite Radio

    SiriusXM Channel 134 or 194, SXM App Channel 956

    WPTS Radio (Pitt Student Station) ∙ 92.1 FM


  11. October 17, 2022

    Pat Narduzzi Press Conference

    Louisville Week


    PAT NARDUZZI: Okay. You guys ready to roll? It’s been a couple weeks. I hope you guys all have forgot about Virginia Tech and moved on. But probably to just hit on it quickly because like I normally do.

    Probably one of our better performances of the year where all three phases you felt clicked a little bit. And I still think we haven’t played our best game of the year. So I think that’s a good thing. I think we still have more.

    I think our kids understand after watching the tape, we still have more. I think our attitude, our effort, outstanding. You love how our guys fight. There’s always adversity in the game of football. We’ve made more — we’re going to create more adversity and make it harder on ourselves.

    And so, it’s good. And just getting prepared. You know, last week, went on the road recruiting a little bit. Prepared for Louisville at the same time as you’re on the road.

    And, you know, coordinators and myself had, you know, extra days in the office just to focus on football and really just kind of getting things together so when the coaches came off the road, we were head-on Louisville.

    Obviously, Scott Satterfield does a great job. I believe he calls most of the offense. So he’s been doing it for a while. So we’ve gone back and watched a lot of the 2020 game here during COVID when nobody else really saw that game except on TV. And, you know, they’re really athletic.

    Obviously, offensively, it starts with Malik Cunningham. You know, just a — it’s him. I mean, he’s kind of like the Sims guy from Georgia Tech. He’s athletic, he can run, he can throw. We’ve got to stop the run, you know, whether he’s handing it off or he’s running it himself. He’s the key to the offense for sure.

    And, you know, they got good backs. Tiyon Evans. They got Hudson, wide-out No. 0, who’s their go-to guy. I think he’s got 29 catches.

    And, defensively, again, really athletic. They can run. And, you know, they run a 3-4 a lot of times. So we’ll see a lot of 3-4 front this week. It’ll be a great challenge for us on the road.

    8 o’clock. I think we’re the 8 p.m. darling team on the road. Because I think we got North Carolina at 8 p.m., too. So I guess we’re the only ones fit to, you know, run a game, I guess, at 8 p.m. It’ll be the third one of the year next week. And, again, it’ll be two in a row at 8 p.m. So, you know, we’re ready to roll. Questions?

    Q. How much self-scouting did you do and what did it reveal?

    PAT NARDUZZI: I’m not telling you. (Laughing.) Yeah, I mean, put it this way, you know, like, self-scout is huge. We try to self-scout every week, whether you can change things.

    I think on open weeks, you know, we’ve been pretty good at going back and saying, ‘Okay, what are we doing? What’s it look like?’ What are — you know, what are they looking at? But defensively, I can show you. You know, we do it every week.

    Offensively, defensively, you get deeper into it in an open week because you can. Got a tip from an old coach one time, he said, ‘You know, you build tendencies and you break them in big games.’ And I think after six games, it’s time to maybe break some tendencies, whatever they are.

    Again, tendency to run the football, we’re not going to break that tendency if we’re good at it. I think all good teams have tendencies. And it’s, like, ‘Go ahead, stop it.’ That’s the only way you’re really going to break a tendency as far as what you do.

    And, again, but we look at self-scout every week. It’s a priority to know what we do, when are we doing it, what’s our run-pass on our first down, second down. What’s it, you know, our run-pass after, you know, on second down after an incomplete pass.

    I mean, we look into everything. You’d be, like, ‘I cannot believe you look at this.’ But we do. We look at a ton of stuff.

    Q. What did you find out about your passing game?

    PAT NARDUZZI: I’m not going to tell you.

    Q. How much can you do in a week in terms of doing new things, putting in new things? You know, you’re midway through the season, you have a week off.

    PAT NARDUZZI: I mean, you can put new things in. You can put new things in. But it’s not going to be — it’s tweaking stuff more than it is throwing this new concept in that the guys — I mean, to me, offensively, defensively, you know, even special teams-wise, you throw in what you’re going to do in spring ball, fall camp and then you refer back to it or you tweak it a little bit.

    We’re not going to come out and run the triple-option this week. You don’t put something drastic in that the kids have no idea — they haven’t gone through to see how it holds up against a stout defense.

    I mean, putting in new stuff and running it against the scout team and say, ‘Boy, it looks great today.’ You’re probably in trouble.

    Q. How would you assess Kedon’s play at the midpoint of the season?

    PAT NARDUZZI: You know what, I mean, that’s a great question. I’d say it’s maybe above average. I wouldn’t say it’s a winning effort every time. I’d say it’s above average right now. And I think it can be better. And, again, he thinks it can be better as well.

    And, again, it’s — you know, sometimes it comes down to maybe overcoaching stuff. Sometimes we’re — put it this way: I think he’s a pleaser. And I think he’s trying to do everything exactly the right way. And sometimes I think he can overthink things.

    So I think we just got to kind of let it go and maybe don’t overcoach him as much and let him play football and let him do what he does.

    You know, versus cover this, this, this. There’s so many times — as a quarterback, sometimes you can clutter his mind with useless details. Instead of just saying, ‘Hey, let him go play ball.’

    And maybe we can do a better job as a staff and he can do a better job at seeing stuff and so I think, you know, it’s always twofold. We’ve got to do a better job as coaches first. And then, you know, doing so much, maybe doing too much to the point where we’ve got to keep it simpler, too.

    Q. Obviously, Frank Cignetti is going to break down the offense. And during the off-weeks, Randy Bate is going to sit down with the defense. What’s your focus as head coach?

    PAT NARDUZZI: I do both. You know, I’m going to do both. I’m going to be — actually, I’m not going to put in schemes on offense. I’m going to be with the defense and make sure that, you know, how it’s broken down, what it looks like. ‘Hey, this is what we like to do.’ So I’m going to help more on defense because I can.

    And my role I feel like on offense, to be honest with you, I’m the self-scout GA. I’m the self-scout. I’m looking at what we do every week. Trying to give them information as to what I see as a defensive coach, what they’re doing and what we can do better. And I’ve always done that, whether they listen or not.

    Q. Are there a lot of designed runs for Cunningham?

    PAT NARDUZZI: There are some designed runs. They’ll run some, you know, zone read where, you know, the tight-end’s hooking the end and the tailback is going to wrap up around, try to get up on your safety or your support player and it’s a designed keeper. Which is a tough play to defend.

    We worked on it last week, obviously, in practice. And we practiced twice last week on some of that stuff. But it’s really — I mean, the quarterback keepers, at least we’re expecting run.

    It’s when he drops back and he’s got threats out there at the receiver spot and the tight-end spot. And then you’re in coverage and all of sudden he takes off running. That’s what really scares you. And, again, they got designed quarterback draws, as well.

    So, you know, there’s the design quarterback keepers on the zone read, the draws or what you’re — that you really have to focus on this week. And we’ve really done a good job versus the draws.

    So I think if they’re watching the tape, they’re going, ‘Man, the D-tackles do a great job of shredding, getting off blocks.’ They’re doing a nice job there, but, you know, we always try to look at what the weakest — what have we shown on tape that we have to be ready for.

    But we haven’t shown them really a ton of weaknesses. We showed a weakness with Jeff Sims when he dropped back to throw and we lost concentration for whatever reason and he’s going, he’s running. That’s where we’ve gotten hurt.

    We took bad angles. We got to take good angles this week. If Malik takes off out of the pocket, we have to take good angles and expect where he’s — go where he’s going to be, not where he is.

    Q. With Izzy’s big numbers, how much falls on him to continue that pace and how much is it up to the coaches to continue to scheme him open?

    PAT NARDUZZI: Yeah, that’s a — that’s a hard question to answer. It’s everybody. I mean, Izzy, just run. Okay, we’ll tell Izzy what to do, where to go. Hey, we like this.

    And as I say, coaches will coach, players will play. And we’re going to do a good job of getting Izzy in a position where he can be successful. That’s what we’ve done. He hits the hole fast.

    We don’t want Izzy thinking. But it’s a coach’s job to put him in a position to be successful. And our offense has done that. And we’ve done an outstanding job running the football, period. And we’ll continue to do that.

    You know, you look at it, and you go — everyone wants to talk about, ‘How’s Kedon doing?’ And it’s, like, you know, to talk about a run game and Izzy’s performance last week would be, you know, bad on my part not to talk about how successful he’s been, how well the offensive line has blocked and fullbacks and whatever, the tight-ends.

    But everybody wants both, right? Last year, we don’t have a run game. You guys talk about the run game. This week — this year, we’re running the ball better than we’re throwing it. We like to be two-dimensional. We like to be great at everything.

    Okay. But I know you guys aren’t great at everything. Neither am I. But right now, we got a run game going. And I love the run game. And the clock is ticking. And if you can run it, I’ll take that any day. That’s what our guys are doing. It’s a good thing. You guys, you know, doom and gloom. Like, why can’t we throw for 400 yards every weekend? Like, I would rather rush for 400.

    Q. What can you say about how far Izzy has come in his pass protection?

    PAT NARDUZZI: He’s gotten better. But it’s a week by week thing, too. I think he had a really good week last week. And, again, that’s what we talk about, consistency. He’s got to do it every week.

    And he’s been good in some weeks and some weeks he’s not been. And, you know, different blitzes, different shows, different disguises by the defense. You know, he had great focus last week and stepped up and did some good things.

    Q. Shayne Simon and Tylar Wiltz were your leading tacklers last week. What does that say about their continued contributions?

    PAT NARDUZZI: You know, Tylar has been good for a couple weeks as we talked a couple weeks ago, you know, going into the Virginia Tech game. And then, Shayne Simon did a great job. He practiced better.

    I got text messages, like, ‘Hey, Tuesday, great job. That’s how we want you to finish.’ Shayne is such a — he’s a pleaser like Kedon. He’s one of those guys that wants to do everything the right way.

    Sometimes you just got to go hit someone in the mouth, you know, as a linebacker. And he’s just so worried about doing everything exactly right. Sometimes you just got to go play football.

    And Shayne has kind of fallen into that being the new guy and just wanting to be a pleaser. To the point where last week in our practice it was, like, ‘Shayne, start turning it loose.’ And he turned it loose and made some nice plays.

    And then he did an unbelievable job of coming in and playing Mike linebacker. At halftime, when we heard No. 7 (SirVocea Dennis) is out, ‘Oh, boy, this is going to be interesting.’ Because Shayne has not had a ton of snaps at Mike. He did an outstanding job of coming in and filling that role.

    Because I didn’t know what it could have been. It could have been a bad second half. But Shayne Simon did a heck of a job in there, mentally more than just the physical part.

    Q. Would it be something you would look at going forward and maybe give SirVocea a chance at outside?

    PAT NARDUZZI: Have you been in our staff meetings? You may see him on the outside. You never know. Yeah, he likes it out there, too. If you ask him, he’s like — he called it. That guy gets to make a lot of plays out there. So it might be something you see.

    Q. What do your spies tell you about Cunningham’s injury?

    PAT NARDUZZI: I don’t have any spies. You guys are my spies. So maybe you guys can do some digging. You know, I think it’s — I think he’s in the concussion protocol like a lot of quarterbacks around the country.

    And I’m sure they’ll be careful with him. I’m sure he’ll be careful with himself. He’s got a career at the next level. But it’s been, you know, one, two — I mean, this will be three weeks. I think Malik will be ready to go.

    I’m sure he’s — I’m sure he’ll be ready to go, if that’s what it is. And I’m not the trainer. I’m not the doctor. I’m just a coach knowing that we’re probably going to see Cunningham.

    Q. You guys are getting healthier, right?

    PAT NARDUZZI: We are, we are. We got some guys getting healthier. Speaking of injuries, we got one bad news, you know, from a guy that has tried for the last, really, three weeks to bounce back and play. This guy wants to play bad.

    And I really feel bad. We’ve done everything in our power as trainers and doctors to try to get him as close as he could and try to get him back on the field to play. And, again, his future is important, as well.

    But Carter Warren will be out for the rest of the year, speaking of injuries. So there will be some bad news.

    But again, Carter Warren, I mean, I can’t thank him enough for all the efforts he’s made. It’s sad to think that he’s played his last ball game, you know, in that Pitt uniform. I don’t even want to think about it. He didn’t want to think about it.

    That’s why he’s tried so hard. He’s tried to rehab it, tried to get back. It doesn’t feel good enough. And we need to get him prepared for his next journey in the NFL. It’s only fair for him to be able to do that. So disappointed to hear that.

    But like I said, he’s — it’s been painful for him to even, you know, make that decision. It’s, like, ‘Carter, you’ve got to – we’ve got to make a decision here soon. You can’t just keep week by week. We need to go get yourself better.’

    Q. So with Carter out, who are the guys — I know Branson played quite a bit of snaps at left. Will it be him taking over at left tackle?

    PAT NARDUZZI: It’ll be him. I mean, we have a three-man race right now. I mean, you got him, you’ve got Gabe and Goncalves. Those are your three guys — the three-man rotation.

    And Baer’s got to be ready to go. He’s one play away. We’d like to redshirt him. We think he’s going to be really good. He’s gong to be a lot better next year than he is this year.

    But Ryan Baer is another guy that, you know, that’s getting reps every day with the ones and the twos just to get him prepared. Because you never know when you’re going to — you know, you’re one snap away from him being a guy that’s playing significant football for you.

    Q. We talked about Malik Cunningham, a guy like him and his ability to run it and throw it. Are you noticing those more the kind of guys popping up — like, more 50/50 with running and throwing?

    PAT NARDUZZI: I mean, you take the ACC and compare it to some other conferences in the country, I mean, the quarterbacks we’re seeing, I mean, the Wells kid last week could run. I mean, every week it’s someone that can really beat you — you know, beat you with their feet. I mean, every week, it’s another guy.

    And again, you know, not to look ahead, but just watching the guy for next week, Maye can run. I mean, all these guys can run and beat you with their arm and their feet. So it’s what the ACC is right now.

    I watched the Duke game — you know, Duke-North Carolina, I mean, Leonard can run. All these guys are able to make plays with their feet. It’s something defenses have to be prepared for.

    Q. Did Matt Goncalves get some snaps at left tackle?

    PAT NARDUZZI: I don’t remember if he did or not at left tackle. But, yeah, he’s — he can play left tackle. Yeah, Matt can play both. Matt will be the swing guy, if anything. Gabe would be right. We wouldn’t mess — you know, Matt would definitely be our swing guy.

    Q. Jake Kradel said after the Virginia Tech game it was the offensive line’s most complete effort of the season. Would you agree with that assessment?

    PAT NARDUZZI: You know, when you look at — I think someone asked me a question about — like, last week about Virginia Tech not being a very good run defense going into the week, I was like, ‘They were ranked 24th in rush defense.’ That was a stout defense. And you just look at how we wore them out. Okay?

    Because you take the first three plays of the game, we didn’t — we went that way (backward) instead of that way, getting awful field position. You just try, you know, to get out of the hole in the first series with the awful field position.

    But the offensive line has done an unbelievable job. I can’t tell you it’s their best performance. I mean, everybody sees records broken, ‘Oh, that’s our best.’ I think there’s been some really good performances this year on the offensive line in the run game.

    You know, they really have not let me — I go back to Western Michigan. That was a heck of a performance with, you know, 12 passes in all the junk they threw at us up front. So every week is a different challenge.

    I mean, you face a physical, strong Virginia Tech front last week, and then there’s the other junk defenses people are throwing at you. And that’s the mental part of it and the physical at the same part. So I think it’s a little bit of both.

    But, you know, the run game takes time just like the passing game to get going and sometimes you have to run it for a couple yards or a couple TFLs, but you have to keep calling them and trusting them.

    And that’s what we haven’t done in the past and that’s what we’re getting to now. So, like, you know, it’s not like our kids went to go see, you know, the Wizard of Oz to get a ‘run heart’ or whatever it may be. It was — like, it was all in them.

    What do you get good at? And it’s hard to get the good at everything. I mean, same thing, a lot of people are going to say, ‘You know, what runs are you going to do?’

    I mean, anybody that has, like, 15 favorite runs and you’re running outside zone, inside zone, counter, you know, they usually aren’t good at it. But we’re trying to select what we do, how we do it and get good something.

    And you can’t get good at too many runs, too many passes. You just got to kind of keep it simple and do what you do and do what you do best. That goes back to (the) self-scout stuff (questions).

    Q. What makes Carter Warren such a good prospect for the next level and when will he start his preparation for all of that?

    PAT NARDUZZI: You know, he’s getting ready. He’s going to start getting ready as of today. But, you know, it’s where his focus is going now. And, again, that decision was just made yesterday. He’s been fighting. What makes him a great prospect, he’s smart, he’s got the measurables. He’s long, got long arms. And, you know, he’s athletic. I mean, what else do you want?

    What else — he could pass protect last year, he showed he could pass protect when everybody in the stadium knows it’s going to be a pass. And he’s been able to run block this year. I wish he would have got a couple more games in. But unfortunately that’s not the case.

    Q. Did you get a chance to watch any college football Saturday?

    PAT NARDUZZI: Are you kidding me? Everything. I watched everything. I mean, I got my iPad in front of me. Watched a lot of Louisville. But I watch every game I can.

    I’m lucky — I’m the luckiest guy in the world. Okay? I don’t know how lucky you guys are. I’m lucky because I’ve got four kids and a wife that loves football.

    Even when I go home last night, they’ve got Sunday Night Football. I don’t even have to say, ‘Hey, can you change the channel?’ They already got it on.

    Like, I am fortunate. And they’re probably as addicted to watching ball as I am. So Sundays, my oldest daughter’s making all these fancy pizzas. And, I mean, it’s unbelievable. It’s a good day. A good day in the Narduzzi house.


  12. Our team seems to not like to play at night. GT game kids wanted to really play for their new coach. Hope we come ready to play as Louisville will be at home.


  13. Thanks for the article.

    A couple points:

    Narduzzi lets his OCs run the show. It is all on Cignetti.

    RPO requires a QB that is a run threat. Patti maybe. Slovis, maybe a few per game. With a good run game the play action should work. Agreed Slovis is slow on progressions, just like KP was until his senior year. It takes time to adjust to a pro style offense. That’s why Cignetti was a bad hire.

    Cignetti’s offense is conservative and boring. He’s not creating mismatches for his TEs or WR. I have no confidence in this offense getting a first down if it requires getting five yards or more…probably because Cignetti may run the ball.

    Liked by 2 people

  14. The amount of negativity is palpable, but I remind you of how we felt after W Michigan last year.

    Not to say it will be the same thing this year, but don’t lose faith yet.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Jay thanks for the good article or is it really good article or even great. I think all three. Thanks a bunch! The POV is truly a team effort.

    Much of the trepidation this week is due to the fact that the POV and normal PITT fans think that Louisville is a really good team. Maybe as good as PITT or even better at this point.

    When your QB’s skill level at this point in the season is in doubt, questioned, or even unknown, it spells trouble or at least the lack of confidence in the team.

    Slovis is the key more so than the defense for this game. Malik is also the wild card who is a bit unpredictable himself. Making this game a two-sword opponent of uncertainty.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. I say if Cali Kedon wants to play in the NFL – this is a key game to show IT. (I know he is from Arizona)

      If he is not quite over the concussion then Duzz & Cig need to go to QB 2. Let Patti or Yarnell lead this team to a win over the cards while Slovis clears his head.

      Seriously, health is more important and the next man up should be capable of beating a 2-5 team.


  16. Spot on Ike. Pitt will need a major upgrade in its QB play for the rest of this season if we we have a shot at north of 7 wins.—-I think Major’s observation on the Slovis inability to offer the run option at QB will hurt us badly on offense for the remainder of the season.


  17. Thanks, Jay. Good summary of what the team could (or could not) be in the 2nd half of the season.

    I’m guessing that you’ve been waiting since 6th grade spelling be to use perspicacious in a sentence😄. I think I agree but I’ll have to look it up to be sure.

    Liked by 8 people

    1. That’s both funny and sadly accurate! I’ll add that, at this point, the one play that I will look back on the most with my “woulda, coulda, shoulda hat on, is Duzz’ decision to not go for two at the end of regulation with Tennessee. I realize conventional wisdom says “play for the tie at home and play for the win on the road,” but I don’t think that was wise with one QB out and the other one one leg. Win or lose it right then. Even if we lost, everyone would have seen
      that lost by ONE point, not seven.

      Liked by 3 people

    1. Duzz listed WR Bradley on the 2-deep even after he jumped to the portal so how do we list a 4 deep when the $8 million man can name his 2-deep correctly.

      POD – smoke n mirrors at its peak at Pitt? Nah…


  18. Jay, thanks for the article. It basically sums up what most of us are thinking about Pitt football at this point in the season.

    For me, the biggest thing Cignetti could do for the offense would be to put in Patti. If nothing else, a remotivated Slovis would get put back in after Patti gets hurt on the second or third offensive series of the game! If Patti stays healthy, Pitt has a better chance of winning than with Slovis. Patti is similar to Bill Stull, a Cignetti type quarterback.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. The 2nd string QB always looks better to some. Do you think Cig wouldn’t be playing Patti if he thought he would get better results?


        1. If Pitt cannot move the ball on the ground on Saturday, Slovis better perform. I would not be surprised to see him pulled at half time if he does not.

          Liked by 2 people

  19. Wayne, Mumpfield and Means are projected starters with Barden(if he ever shows up on the field) G Thomson, RS freshman Myles Alston and P Vardzel and true freshman A Copeland and Che Nwabuko(the Texas speedster). So unless one of those named ends up playing like Addison when inserted Pitt will be in deep trouble if any of the top 3 so so WR’s are injured.—My hope is for Bart, Izzy and Hammond to be targeted come out of the backfield much more often. Hammond and bart are not easy tackles and Izzy can run by most if even a crack opens up downfield.

    Liked by 1 person

  20. What a difference a year makes, our two best stars have moved on and are injured. If that happened last year….

    In any case last year we had the third year of Whipple, fifth of KP, 2nd of Addison, third of Mack, 2nd of Krull and Wayne, third of Shocky etc.

    This year we have the first of Cig, Slovis, Patti, Mumpfield, Means and Bradley just quit. We have changed from a pass heavy to a Run heavy offense and have had an injury plagued offensive line. Fortunately we have Izzy and Hammond.

    However our fans expect the same results.

    We had one rally close loss to the team that just beat Alabama and an unfortunate loss to GT.

    Our fans continue to have no respect for our competition, teams that all have guys that want to win as much as we do.

    Every game from here on will be a fairly even challenge. Last year we had guys that came through in the clutch. It remains to be seen if we have those guys this year.

    Liked by 6 people

  21. Although we all like to opine none of us really know how much injuries effected this team this year. Not sure how many teams except for the big 4 5 could have handled. Did the concussion mess up Slovis’s head? We don’t know. I think it was a big mistake to have WVU and Tennessee so early. These games were so physical that a significant number of injuries happened in these two games. Bad scheduling. Think about it, beat Tennessee and GT and ranked in top 10.

    The remaining games will be interesting. Anything can happen but the promising year of maybe going 12 and 0 is long gone. Just sit back see what happens. Nothing will surprise me.

    Liked by 2 people

  22. We all hoped that Slovis would hit the open man more often than he has and his experience would help him see the field better. My guess is he might not have come here if he knew Addison was leaving in that throwing to him was part of the sales pitch. Also the underperforming pass protection enhanced by injuries have been another setback.
    Not to mention injuries to Wayne and Mumpfield and now Barden’s defection.


  23. I’m not giving up and fully expect better play once the walking wounded can run again..
    And the youngsters get more comfortable and experienced.
    It ain’t over until the fat lady sings…and I hope she comes to our next tailgate!!

    Liked by 8 people

  24. Just for kicks and giggles. Lets check in M. Whipple

    NU: Points/G: 29.7 (68th of 131)
    Pitt: Points/G: 35.0 (34th of 131)

    NU: Strength of Schedule: -1.13 (77th of 131)
    Pitt: Strength of Schedule -1.43 (80th of 131)

    NU: Q1 (Casey Thompson) 64%, 1851 yards, 8.9 YPA, 11 TD / 8 INT, 148.2
    Pitt: QB1 (Slovis) 62%, 1167 yards, 7.9 YPA, 5TD / 3 INT, 134.8

    FWIW Thompson played a full season at Texas last year and did pretty well
    2021 63.2% 2113yds 8.1YPA 24TD 9INT 154.7

    The moral of the story here is unless Whipple has a Heisman-caliber quarterback, and a Billitnokoff-caliber WR, his offenses are going to look at lot like they looked at Pitt for the first two years. IE a lots of yards and not very many points. And you KNOW he’d be underutlizing Izzy.

    So yea, our passing game sucks, and the offense has been painful to watch, but I’d still call Cignetti an upgrade.

    Liked by 4 people

  25. Pitt is not good…..No argument and bad news for those of us with high hopes for the season.

    Is there any good news….Yes, no one in the Coastal looks to be a world beater.

    So…with half the season remaining, I expect a lot of nail biting, cardiac challenging games. I will miss the Coastal division when it’s gone.

    Liked by 4 people

  26. Pitt now getting 2 1/2 points in the Louisville from the Vegas boys. That seems about right to me after watching us against VT and GT at home.—-By the way it was Bradley that entered the portal not Barden.

    Liked by 1 person

  27. Kancey Honored on CBS Sports Midseason All-America Team

    PITTSBURGH—Pitt junior defensive tackle Calijah Kancey has been named to the CBS Sports Midseason All-America Team, it was unveiled today on

    Kancey is one of three defensive linemen named to the 27-player squad selected by the CBS Sports college football staff.

    Despite receiving increased attention from opponents’ blocking schemes, Kancey has been highly productive through six contests. He leads the Panthers in tackles for loss (8.5) and quarterback hurries (six), while ranking second in sacks (three).

    Kancey’s average of 1.4 TFLs per contest ranks 17th nationally.

    Earlier this month, he was named to the Pro Football Focus National Team of the Week for his performance against Georgia Tech. Kancey collected 3.5 TFLs with a sack against the Yellow Jackets and was PFF’s highest-graded defensive tackle of the week.

    A native of Miami, Fla., and graduate of powerhouse Miami Northwestern, Kancey is a viable candidate for some of college football’s most prestigious awards, including the Bronko Nagurski Trophy, Chuck Bednarik Award, Outland Trophy and Rotary Lombardi Award.

    The Panthers (4-2, 1-1 ACC) play at Louisville (3-3, 1-3) this Saturday. The ACC Network telecast will kick off at 8 p.m.

    Liked by 2 people

  28. Just checked in on Cardiac Hill. It’s back up and running. Someone named Michael Parra is writing most of the articles. I haven’t read any articles.


  29. great article Jay, at least up until the “p” word, at which point my head started spinning and methinks I’ve not recovered

    also great bunch of comments of which I “liked” several and would’ve “LOVED” a few if WordPress would allow that 🙂

    the Pitt team really has the season ahead of them to win enough to please anyone’s preseason realistic hopes but of course it all starts Saturday and every single game could derail it

    I’m getting excited for Saturday and will be glued watching and hoping to see a big first step

    anything may happen and nothing would surprise me so I plan to enjoy as much as my emotions allow


    H2the POV crowd of amazing contributors!

    Liked by 5 people

  30. Jay – Sorry, but you must have it all wrong. I’ve read on here that your typical POVer is a koolaid drinker and is convinced that Pitt is a top 10 team.

    When I’ve asked that these delusional koolaid drinkers be identified — only crickets!

    Anyway, thanks for the article. Where we go from here depends mainly on the QB play we get, IMHO. But with a non-runner at the Pitt QB position, I think just about every future opponent has a bit of a head-start on us…

    Go Pitt.

    Liked by 5 people

    1. Nothing wrong with being a Kool-Aide drinker before the GT game. I don’t think any Kool-Aide drinkers continued to believe Pitt was any good after that game. And Izzy’s performance against VT didn’t convince anyone that it is repeatable. Actually, even if it was repeated I’m not sure Pitt could not lose that game. As I stated, it’s obvious that something’s got to change. Worse (because I think it’s likely the season will remain mired in mediocrity), I’m concerned that trying to make Pitt a powerhouse running team is going to lessen Pitt’s ability to recruit quality wide receivers and quarterbacks.

      Liked by 3 people

      1. Good point on the WR and QB recruiting…. I imagine Mr. Mumpfield has had second thoughts…. Not a good situation…

        Go Pitt.


        1. Mr Mumpfiled has been getting plenty of targets. Has dropped too many of them. Catch them and perhaps more come his way. Double ditto for Means. We have become a run first team not just because of scheme but because of WR failures. Imho, of course.

          Liked by 5 people

          1. Especially Means, he could have made a very big difference if he could have made some of those tough catches.


            1. Of course if Addison was still here Mumpfield is on the other side with more space and Means doesn’t see the field often if ever.

              Liked by 1 person

  31. Just to step aside from football for a second, my feelings for the soccer offside rules have gone from bad to just right horrible even though a Pitt goal against Duquense was allowed. Not only is the rule stupid the way it is written, I found out that it can be called on the field but waved off if the offside player is not involved in the score. From what I understand the offside was called by raising the flaggy thing with Pitt on the attack. When the flaggy thing is raised, there is no whistle, but play continues, huh? In hockey, offsides is offsides!! The play officially stops when the offside occurs! Anyhow, back to the example. Pitt continues with the attack and scores a goal. In this case the offside was waved off as the offside Pitt player was not involved in the scoring play. Stuff like this is why I just cannot get excited about soccer even when Pitt is playing.

    If I am a player for Duquense, in this case, how do I know who the offsides player is? Same goes for Pitt as it would be helpful to avoid using that player in the attempt to score. Somebody explain this to me!


  32. Also OT — Shame on the football powers that be in the NFL and NCAA for not requiring helmets with more protection. Some of these concussions now are coming from plays that appear relatively harmless – at least they’re not real violent-looking tackles.

    How much does that NFL commissioner guy make? When will they wake up???

    Go Pitt.


    1. MM…I see what you are say’s but physics is invoked here: Force=‘s Mass x’s Acceleration. If we were walking on a big electronic scale each time our foot hit the ground the scale would register 2x’s our body weight… if we run 3 or more times our body weight and coming down from vertical (jump) 4-5 times our body weight. Now add a 285 lb player into the equation and do the math… the force becomes LARGE. Helmets have improved significantly from the days of the leather helmet I first wore in high school ( not BSing) but the concussion occurs because of the brain bouncing off the skull which is another physics principle: an object that’s in motion will stay in motion with sudden deceleration.. think Dale Earnhardt. There will always be concussions. Players are too big and too strong.. maybe time to start thinking about other ways to change the F= M x A equation. You could reduce the size of the guys. They are tooooooo big, unhealthy tooooo big. Get the off the weights. Push away from the training table. Make them slower…. Require the same entry requirement across the board for all students….get it back to college ball. Ut would still be a the greatest game in the country with less concussions…. or someone could invent an internal seat- belt for the brain!


  33. My hope for this year was based on a smothering/attacking defense that would make up for the obvious offensive challenges of losing a 1st round pick QB and the best WR in the country.

    It’s clear that injuries (Alexandre, Haba, Hayes) lack of experience (Kamara, DeShields) and weak CB play (primarily Woods) have upset that apple cart. In hindsight the offense’s deficiencies should have been anticipated.

    The absolutely DEVASTATING loss to GT was primarily due to the injury to Izzy which (without Hammond available) put the entire game in the hands of an overmatched VD. When you have a one-dimensional OC whose entire playbook is based on an unrelenting belief in the running game, losing your best two RBs is a recipe for disaster.

    If we’re being honest with ourselves, what makes us think Slow-vis is going to suddenly find the ability to read defenses and find open receivers? The WR issues I think also reflect on the OC as there are not many creative passing plays allowing receivers to break free. Has Pitt run a single “pick play” this year? And let’s quit kidding ourselves, those bubble screens are nothing but disguised running plays.

    Unless the DL/LBs upgrade their play dramatically, it’s not hard predicting a 3-3 record for the second half of the season. I’m basing this on the belief that our offense “is what it is” and is what it will be for the remainder of the year.

    This really hurts because I was a proud Kool-aid drinker at the beginning of the season.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Taxing, I think your take on the rest of the season may be the most probable outcome, given what we know at this time. The most optimistic thing I can say is that, perhaps fortunately, seemingly no one can predict what this team will do in any given week. We may be one if Vegas’ biggest nightmares with respect to setting odds.
      Win by 20, lose by 20, whatever. Who knows………But I’ll keep rooting regardless.

      Liked by 1 person

  34. That;s what I’m forecasting also3 and 5 at best. This weeks game against Louisville is so important for Pitt this year. Lose Saturday and I can also see a NC loss the following week turning into a dismal downward spiral.—-Pitt’s best chance was in the week off Narduzzi purchased enough Superman playing uniforms that results in changing the whole complexion of this team for the remainder of the season.


  35. I can’t tell you how many years I feel that Pitt is capable of winning or losing every division 1 game on their schedule.
    To me, it’s like that every year, every week.
    Like, I never know how good or bad they are.

    Liked by 4 people

  36. So if KP passes the concussion protocol should he start this week?
    I’d say that Trubitsky won his job back after last weeks performance and those
    key third down completions. Play the hot hand, KP can always come off the bench as needed.
    And he will be needed.


  37. Che in bubble screens…or end arounds…Quick slants.
    Even faking an end around can be an effective tool to freeze the defense.

    Liked by 1 person

  38. Cignetti had a bye week to figure out the horrible passing game. This is his last shot to show Pitt fans he can produce this year.

    Is it me or does the Steeler’s bad offense resemble Pitt’s bad offense. Canada and Cignetti must be consulting with each other, LOL.

    Liked by 2 people

  39. Thanks for the article Jay! Its always nice to read something from a fresh voice. Appreciate that you pitch in every so often.


  40. I wrote that Slovis was hurt the most with the Addison defection, but Mumpfield was also hurt immensely. Playing opposite Addison Mumpfield has a much easier job with more space and against lesser talented guys. Another guy that might not have come knowing Addison was leaving. Also Shocky probably sticks around knowing Addison was gone. Quite a set of dominoes.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Good points Gordon. Addison certainly makes it easier to throw a ball up for him to grab (cue last season’s game clincher vs UVA). What a shame too – I think you are right about Mumpfield. Would be nice to have Shocky now as well.


  41. I’ve thought about Jay’s post and some of the ensuing comments. My own thoughts about where the program is entering the Louisville game…

    Jay nailed it with the “Crossroad” in his headline. Last year there was a stretch that most here thought would define the season… was a stretch with VT, Clemson and Miami in a row. Many expected to lose 2-3 of those games. Miami ended being a small bump in the road (but damn I thought we shoulda beat them!), but we got through the stretch quite OK.

    When looking at the schedule in August, I thought the ‘Ville and Tarhole games represented the same type of stretch. Still do. I thought we would go 1-1 in this upcoming stretch. Might still turn out that way.

    If we go 0-2 though…dang, the dark forces will emerge from the shadows (cue up that picture, Reed) and all but the most devout will go nuclear here. A troll will be further emboldened and others who like to accent the negatives will find their pens. Heather being in over her head or quid pro quuo references to Duzz’s extension will re-surface. I may even question the value of driving up from Central Virginia to see a team play for crappy bowl spot (although I love Annapolis and NYC) Oh, the humanity!

    That said, I know Wolfe and Fran will continue to be there to support their team and Red5A will still have a pre-game glow. A tip of the cap to both of you.

    The less likely scenario is that the team goes 2-0 in this stretch. Wouldn’t that be something? Unless Syracuse soils the sheets between now and then, a 6-2 (and bowl eligible) Pitt team will most certainly find itself hosting a primetime game vs the Orange…. a game that probaly gets pulled from the ACCN to either ABC or ESPN… Northeast TV viewers will want that game.

    In order for this blessed event to occur, two things need to occur. With a nod to Top Gun Maverick, lets call them “miracle 1″ and ‘miracle 2″. Didnt see the movie? – thats your loss.

    Miracle 1 is that the defense needs to play really smart these next two games. They will have their hands full with Malik Cunningham, but I believe they can contain him. But their bigger challenge will be containg Tarhole QB Mayes. He’s the real deal and if Eric Hallett was planning for another Superman moment, well this would be the game to pop the buttons off his dress shirt. But he’ll need help from the DL – are they fully healthy and ready? I guess we will find out this week.

    Miracle 2 is on the other side of the ball. Its not scheme and not play-calling folks. Its execution… and execution by one guy in particular. This is Mr. Slovis’ moment. Everyone – and I mean everyone – on Pitt’s schedule will be keying on the run based on Izzy’s work to date. The pass game is going to need to deliver, especially if Pitt wants to beat Mr. Maye and his overrated HC. But its not scheme or play-callking that will lead Pitt to success. Its what Slovis does with that.

    Slovis has had plenty of time to make his reads pre-snap. This year, I’ve worried about developing narcolepsy while waiting for that snap count to yield ball movement. He has had – and taken – all of the time in the world – to read the D. Making a read and a decision alone should help him find the right guy quickly. Throw the damn ball, Kedon.

    Cignetti can help him by calling Bart’s number a little more often. And he could help him by calling some post routes to loosen up the back end. But no matter what is called, Slovis needs to throw the damn ball and PDQ please.

    Can he do that? I kinda doubt it unless someone has been in his ear thus far saying, ” don’t turn it over” too many times…. and then corrects course by saying “You can do this. Let it fly!” But in my mind, thats a tough habit to break. I believe I’ve seen enough at this point and sounds like many of you have too.

    Some calls for Patti have made their way into the discussion. He’s a QB2 and nothing more. His best role is on the bench and discussing what transpired with QB1. And beating QB1 at golf. He will probably become a good OC someday. No, I don’t move him to QB1 if Slovis falters. I go to Yarnell instead. He’s more Joe Cool and looks the part. He has better throwing mechanics. Its a good chance to assess him in game conditions before Kenny Minchey joins the team next year.

    If Miracles 1&2 occur though – just like in the movie – that Cuse game could shape up as the ACC game of the year for Pitt.

    Liked by 8 people

    1. Great analysis JoeL. Can’t argue with any of it. If we should lose the next two (😱) then I fear Narduzzi’s loyalty, both one of his best and worst attributes—depending on the situation, will prevent him from turning immediately to our 1-0 third string freshman. And that, I think, would be the best recourse.

      Liked by 1 person

    2. Couldn’t disagree more on Patti.
      I can only tell you what I’ve seen with my eyes. I was at Spring game and watched both Patti and SLO vis. Patti has a much stronger arm, can move in the pocket, makes his first read away from the intended receiver and can run, if needed. SLO vis is the oppo. Staying with SLO vis is like the Nits staying with Clifford “the big red dog!”

      Again, go to You Tube and watch Slovis in any of 10 games. He’s the exact QB We’ve seen at Pitt.
      I have no idea how he threw for all those yards in his frosh year except USC had a strong senior O line and a very good running game. To me, Slovis shouldn’t even be in any D1 lineup.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Its not so much Patti’s sidearm that is troubling, its his off-balance throws and panics under pressure. He appears more likely to heave the ball than be pulled down. But he can scramble and is fearless on the run… which he would be doing a lot.

        If Slovis is pulled, we will moved from run first, to run most on offense. So which one is a better passer may not be so important.

        Liked by 1 person

  42. Pitt Defensive Duo Named Midseason All-Americans by The Athletic

    PITTSBURGH—Two Pitt defensive standouts—senior safety Erick Hallett II and junior defensive tackle Calijah Kancey—have been named to The Athletic Midseason All-America Team.

    Hallett, a first-team selection, was lauded by the publication for having “a nose for the ball.” Through six contests, he has collected three interceptions, two fumble recoveries, six pass breakups and nine total defended passes.

    He boasts lofty national rankings in fumble recoveries (third), passes defended (ninth) and interceptions (10th), while leading the ACC in each of those categories.

    An emerging candidate for the Paycom Jim Thorpe Award, presented to the nation’s top defensive back, Hallett (Cypress, Texas/Cy-Fair) has a knack for making timely plays. Two of his interceptions have come either in the end zone or at the goal line this season.

    Kancey, a second-team pick, has thrived this season despite receiving increased attention from opponents’ blocking schemes. He leads the Panthers in tackles for loss (8.5) and quarterback hurries (six), while ranking second in sacks (three). His average of 1.4 TFLs per contest ranks 17th nationally.

    Against Georgia Tech earlier this month, Kancey (Miami, Fla./Miami Northwestern) compiled 3.5 TFLs with a sack, earning the highest defensive tackle grade of the week from Pro Football Focus.

    He is a candidate for some of college football’s most prestigious awards, including the Bronko Nagurski Trophy, Chuck Bednarik Award, Outland Trophy and Rotary Lombardi Award.

    The Panthers (4-2, 1-1 ACC) play at Louisville this Saturday. The ACC Network telecast will kick off at 8 p.m.

    Liked by 1 person

  43. BTW, I don’t think this Pitt team is as bad as some others on the POV do.

    I feel that we can win 8+ games if Patti takes over at QB. At least he can move his feet during the time between the snap and his pass. Slovis is like a skinny water buffalo out there.

    It seems like his successes have been mainly when the opponent’s D is in a prevent defense.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. There was also a Dirty O on Rt 286 in Plum. I think it lasted less than a year. Too clean.

      The patina of grease on everything and the staff at the original Original Hot Dog Shop apparently cannot be replicated.

      Liked by 1 person

  44. To tag onto the above:

    The Department of City Planning hosted a Development Activities Meeting on Tuesday over Zoom with the Oakland Business Improvement District and the Oakland Planning and Development Corp. to review proposed restorations to Heinz Chapel, Thaw Hall, the University Club and the Schenley Quadrangle stairs. According to Alcorn, the restorations include building a banister at the Schenley Quad, replacing the full spire at Heinz Chapel, a roof replacement at Thaw Hall and fixing the dislodged pavers and a leaning banister on the fourth floor of the University Club.


  45. Reed – Fully agree on the Mosque. Anyone recall why it was razed? Was it sfailing structurally or …? Saw quite a few shows there in my youth and actually sang a solo to a packed house – I hit all my notes. Of course that was second grade and I was part of a Pgh Diocese Catholic School Songfest…but nobody hurled cabbages or tomatoes!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. If memory serves me right I recall reading in the Post-Gazz that UPMC bought the property with plans for a 10 story structure in the lot. Can’t recall if it was for research or administrative purpose. Have no idea if they followed thru or not.


  46. Reed, I also was married at Heinz Chapel and went to the “other Original Hot Dog” site in E-Sliberty.
    Haven’t been to the Viva Los Tacos and most likely won’t.

    Liked by 1 person

  47. Great list of concerts, however in 1962 I remember seeing a double big band jazz concert>>>>
    Stan Kenton and Count Basie …… The Mosque was jumping!


  48. My memory of the original “O” was that it was on Larimer Ave, just outside of East Liberty in Larimer. Later, they moved to East Liberty on Broad St. I don’t think that this “O” was owned by the same owners of the Oakland “O”, though they may have been relatives.

    Spent many a late drunken night at both.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Somebody needs to get to the bottom what was really “The Original”. One cannot have two – or three – “The Original”. Sounds like a battle between Larimer and Oakland?


  49. Heard Coach Duzz say on his radio program that a defensive player who has been looking good on the scout team is true Freshman linebacker Kyle Louis. Coach said he will probably play some special-teams this week.

    Rivals had Louis ranked as the No. 10 recruit in New Jersey. He’s listed as 5-11 and 200 pounds.

    Maybe a name for the future…

    Go Pitt.


    1. Let’s hope the future comes a lot sooner for Lewis and he shows signs of playing like Dennis when inserted in the lineup as a freshman. We can use all the help we can get on both sides of the ball.


  50. The story I got was that UPMC wanted to buy the land & building and do what ec2it above states – that they would build. The neighborhood families went to court to stop the demolition and that was granted.

    But as the court rep was driving to the Mosque to deliver the Stop Order a bulldozer cut out a corner of the building. He was a block or two away when that happened. With that the building was totally unstable and had to be razed for safety issues.

    Since then Pitt has worked very hard to maintain the historical aspect of Oakland.

    BTW – did you know that Soldiers & Sailors hall was where Anthony Hopkins was filmed as Hannibal Lecter in the cage?

    Liked by 2 people

  51. New article scheduled for tomorrow morning at 6 am. Enjoy with your morning coffee.

    BTW, I am a Kool-Aid drinker. I still see a path to 10 – 2. The teams in the Coastal all have holes including UNC.

    Liked by 2 people

  52. so #1 in the country in women’s volleyball Texas loses to unranked Iowa State

    how long until they fire their head coach and AD?

    they are lucky their football team squeaked by ISU this past weekend to avoid loss #3

    pathetic how they run things down there


      1. Nah, just having some childish fun

        I do plenty of really unhealthy stuff

        I missed him in this otherwise pleasant thread


  53. The Syria Mosque and Original talk bring back a lot of great memories.
    If memory serves I believe the brothers that owned the O may have worked at the one
    in East Liberty before they opened their shop in Oakland.


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