I’ve a Lot to Be Thankful For…

I’ve a Lot to Be Thankful For…

My necessaries are embark’d:  Farewell…. Hamlet

When I started this Pitt POV blog back in June of 2016, after many years of writing about Pitt football for the Pitt Blather, I knew it would become a huge deal in many ways.  If that sounds like bragging then maybe it is – but I knew that Pitt football had a large, strong and diverse fan base and so I tailored my writing in a specific manner. I wanted it to be different from all the other websites and media outlets that toe the party line and spread sweetness and light everywhere.

Some of that wasn’t what a lot of die-hard blinders-on fans wanted to read because I didn’t hesitate to act in a critics role when I felt something or someone was skewed toward the bad side of the road and so I pointed it out. As a critic does in many different ways.  Some Pitt fans want nothing but positivity so they read a bit here then went over to other websites that better fit their way of thinking.

Writing whatever jumped to mind or was triggered by events was pretty easy to do in that I was never covered by the strict rules of Journalism precepts (although I adhered to them as much as I felt was appropriate).

I also didn’t hesitate to praise things or people if that was the case but that wasn’t why the Pitt POV existed – what I wanted to do is write compelling articles that raised the level of discussions so that the readers themselves could carry the show – and boy did you ever!

So sometimes I exaggerated in a stance taken to do just that – get new readers involved first with reading the articles then by chipping in on the comments section.

That obviously worked very well.  I posted up the POV’s statistics in a separate article not too long ago so I won’t repeat them all here but I do want to share a few; in only 28 months we have had 750 blog posts with 96K+ comments. A total of 1,896,248 “views” have taken place with 189,000 “visitors” who have read the articles and commented.

My friends, that outpaced even what I thought would happen and it was due to you.  I truly believe that – my writing was but one small part.  However, your devotion to the blog (if that isn’t too strong a word) with your insightful comments, emails, phone calls and all the extra-curricular stuff like the Golf Outings and POV tailgating were really what the Pitt POV has been about. And its been all good even when I was upset with certain things.

Thank you – each and every one of you – for everything you  have done in making the Pitt POV what a great experience it was for me. I can’t thank you enough as I bow out stage left and hand over the POV to Michelangelo.

Since today is Thanksgiving let me close with these thoughts…

I am truly thankful for the great new friends I have made through the POV. You are too numerous to list but you sure do know who you are.  However, I want to acknowledge a handful of guys – Ike (Ike!) for being supportive when I wanted to do this last year; Rick (Erie Express) for the long hours he puts in setting up the golf outings; Fran (Lastrow) for his dedication to providing the wonderful tailgating parties for the POVers; Bernie (BigB) for his support financially and otherwise and Jim (Pittman4ever) for being a great new friend and keeping the civil discussions just that way.

And Annie for being the group conscious and keeping us rowdy guys from getting too far over the line sometimes..

Thank you all… really and truly.

I’m also thankful that I have now realized it is just the right time to use my time and energies elsewhere and finally let go of the blog.  While Pitt football and basketball is fun and this season is pretty exciting as well (and well done Panthers!) it isn’t involved in my life as much as it used to be.  As a matter of fact I really didn’t follow the team closely after the first few games this year and I think my writing reflected that also. Don’t tell anyone, but I haven’t watched the last four games at all… so that’s a true clue as to what to I need to do at this juncture.

I’m OK with that because at this point in my life – starting the last third of it – I am ready to double down on my volunteer work in trying to keep helping others.  Thirty-three years of hands-on public service gets into your blood.  I’ve a few pretty important irons in the fire along those lines and that’s where I need to concentrate here on out.

I stopped taking donations on here some time ago.  Do me a personal favor and at some point down the road toss a few bucks that you might have donated to me where it is really needed to help others and think of the POV when you do it.  Please – I’d really appreciate it.

So – thanks for the great time; sparring back and forth and always learning something new each day has been a great joy over these last three years and I urge you all to get behind Michelangelo just as you have supported me since the blog started.  He’s a great one to take over the helm and hell… I’ll drop in an article every once in a while to let you all know I’m still alive… and remember – Civility at all times!

Best wishes for fair winds and following seas to you all,

Reed

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Pitt vs Wake Forest Predictions Thread

Pitt vs Wake Forest Predictions Thread

What would have been a small game has now turned into a big game due to Pitt’s ACC winning streak which now stands at three and counting.  Pitt’s Panthers (6-4) will be travelling to North Carolina to play the Demon Deacons (5-5).

Now we are playing for  a conference championship and what might be the best bowl offer we have had in ages…

I can’t see Pitt losing this game to Wake Forest after the way we have won the last three games with our strong run game and a defense that has really solidified.

I’ll call this one:

Pitt 35

WF 21 

What do you think?

Accepting the Torch

Accepting the Torch

Here is a personal intro from our soon to be Blog Master Michaelangelo Monteleone.

They say you should avoid stepping into a great man’s shoes…

I’ve decided to ignore that advice.

Make no mistake Reed is a Legend. One does not create the pre-eminent football blog for a power five college program by accident or by chance. It takes talent, passion, perseverance, hard work, a steady hand on the tiller, and an ability to relate to (and tolerate) a multitude of personalities. I think we can all agree that Reed has these qualities in spades.

The result is that Reed has built what is arguably the #1 Pitt football blog in the country, and by extension the world. Per Reed’s post last week, the site has over 186,000 unique visitors and has had nearly two million page views in the last three years. Those are phenomenal numbers.

And so when Reed announced he was looking for someone to take over the POV, I was intrigued. After all, I have a writing degree from Pitt. Heck, I was even a journalist once upon a time. I’ve also run a WordPress blog in the past (the now defunct Pittboss BBQ Blog. You can check out pictures of our product here). I’m passionate about Pitt Football. Lastly, I’ve always wanted to publish a Pitt Football blog, but of course I saw no reason to go head-to-head with the POV. So suffice to say, this felt like a golden opportunity. And when I spoke with Reed about it, we both agreed I could be a good fit.

So what’s the POV going to look like in the Michaelangelo era? For starters, I don’t plan on changing much. What Reed has built is working, and my goal is to keep it working. During the season you should expect to see everything you see now: Game notes, Predictions threads, Game threads, MMQB etc. During recruiting season you’ll see a post after every commit. The goal is to sustain the success Reed’s built and keep our community intact. I think we can all agree that is a very good thing.

As you might expect, you are going to see some new wrinkles as far as content, and I hope you enjoy them. Also, I want to be clear that I will not shy away from calling a spade a spade. Good will be called good. Bad will be called bad. Ugly will be called ugly. That, as a fan and publisher of this blog is my right. As a fan base, it is our collective right, and I think it’s a big part of what has made this blog so successful.

Which brings me to a very important thing. I do intend to leave Reed’s Rules of Order in place.

As a refresher the rules are as follows:

  1. There will be no profanity on this blog. Comments with profanity will automatically filtered by WordPress and will not posted. I understand that we are all passionate Pitt fans, but we are also all college graduates (or at least smart enough to type). Use your vocabulary people. If you simply cannot contain yourself, then you can do it like this: A–. S—. F—. We’ll know what you mean. Please do not complain if you put a swear word in a post and it does not get posted.
  2. Political commentary will not be tolerated. This is a sports blog not a political blog. End of discussion.
  3. Personal attacks, public or private, will not be tolerated. Again, I get that we are passionate Pitt fans. Everyone is entitled to express their opinion about the football program, game, players, etc. Everyone is entitled to disagree. However NO ONE is entitled to call someone names or verbally abuse someone because their opinion is different. Feel free to forcefully disagree with an opinion, but do not attack the person who wrote it.

This seems to be relevant topic recently so I will give an example of what is okay and what is not okay.

Example 1: Acceptable Exchange

i. Pitt Fan #1: Man Pat Narudzzi really is an arrogant prick and I hate him. He also sucks at coaching and has no plan for this team. We need to fire his A–, and I’m no longer donating to Pitt Athletics until we do.

ii. Pitt Fan #2: Wow I really disagree with your opinion PF#1. Look, we are on a three game winning streak. Sure Tyler Sear left the team and all that but we may not know all the facts. I’m sorry you feel that way.

iii. Pitt Fan #1: Yea well I have some inside info on Tyler sear that says Nardo totally punked him. Same thing happened with Ox. I think you’re wrong and i think you are way too optimistic PF#2.

iv. Pitt Fan #2: Frankly PF#1I think that your opinion is garbage. No evidence whatsoever of that. But hey man, you are entitled to it. I think we should agree to disagree. Have a good day.

Example #2: NOT Acceptable:

v. Pitt Fan #1: Man Pat Narudzzi really is an arrogant prick and I hate him. He also sucks at coaching and has no plan for this team. We need to fire his A–, and I’m no longer donating to Pitt Athletics until we do.

vi. Pitt Fan #2: You F—ing jagoff. You are so f—ing dumb how can you even think that. You’re the biggest moron there is and you don’t know anything about Pitt Sports. Narduzzi clearly has us on a roll. Why don’t you stop posting this garbage. You are the prick here not Pat.

As you can see in the first example Pitt Fan both fans are disagreeing, but they are attacking each other’s opinions, not the person.

In example #2 each poster is attacking the other person. As college graduates we should be able to understand the difference here.

When in doubt take the high road folks. I will maintain a two-strike rule with this policy. You will get one warning and after that you are out. I reserve the right to change this to a one-strike rule if things get out of hand.

With that being said, once Reed hands me the keys to the blog, I am willing to grant an amnesty for anyone who was previously banned as long as they create a WordPress Account and agree to abide by the rules posted above. Again, the two-strike rule applies.

Lastly, one other thing that has made POV great is the contributions from the user base. Please keep these coming! User generated content is a big part of what we do and I will continue to welcome it. I can’t guarantee that I will be able to edit it as timely as Reed does, because unlike Reed I’m not retired, but I can promise you that it will get read, edited and posted, as long as it has merit and does not insult anyone.

Okay so that is a lot. Just a few final things while I’m on the keyboard… First, I would be extremely remiss if I did not thank Reed for for the opportunity. It’s truly an honor and I am clearly excited about it. Reed, I hope that once you are back in the saddle you’ll be a regular reader and guest poster. You’ll always hold the title of Founder and Blogger Emeritus for life!

I also would like to thank everyone in the community that I met at the POV tailgate during the VT game. Too many names to name but Ike, BIg B, Major Majors, LastRowofSection4, Erie Express, The ORIGINAL Atlanta Panther, Annie and so many others, have offered so much support already that I feel like there is no option but to be successful. Please feel free to let me know if you have suggestions and I’ll be reaching out when and if I need some help.

And with that I’ll close by saying that I’m looking forward to a great post-season and offseason.

Let’s Go Pitt!
-Michaelangelo

Note to All: Michelangelo’s take will be a younger and fresher view on Pitt football and if we remember each of his previous submitted articles were very informative and really well written. Couldn’t have a better person to take the helm.

Don’t Call It a Comeback…

Don’t Call It a Comeback…

 

Don’t Call it a Comeback – Thoughts on the Running Game and the Offensive Line
Michaelangelo Monteleone

Let’s talk about Pitt’s running game. It has not just been good this year; It has been historically good.

Here are the game average stats through 10 games:
2018
Yds: 256.9
YPC: 6.5
TD’s: 2.6

Pitt Hasn’t managed that kind of production since 2014, during James Connor’s sophomore season.
2014 Per game Avg
Yds: 249.4
YPC: 5.3
TD’s: 2.7

And to put this in perspective Pitt has NEVER averaged 6.5 yards per carry, and there are only two years where yards per game were higher. Some of you may remember these years. They involved nothing less than a Heisman trophy winner, running behind an All-American offensive line.

1975 Per game Avg
Yds: 300.5
YPC: 5.0
TD’s: 2.5

1976 Per game Avg
Yds: 316.9
YPC: 5.1
TD’s: 3.1

As you can see, we are in elite company.

Much of the credit goes the Quadree Ollison and Darrin Hall who comprise the best Thunder and Lightning duo Pittsburgh has seen since James Conner and Issac Bennet or Tony Dorsett and Elliott Walker

And by extension, much of the credit goes to Running Backs Coach Andre Powell. Quadree’s Hokie-breaking, record-setting 97 yard rampage doesn’t happen if Andre is not coaching him to break tackles and run violent. Remember, we didn’t see a whole lot of that during Q’s freshman year.

And indeed much of the credit does to George Aston, a preferred walk-on Linebacker from The Paul Chryst era who would likely be an all-American fullback … if there was such an award these days.

But a the biggest share of the credit goes to the Offensive Line, and their run blocking has been the surprise of the season.

Just to remind you, nobody was optimistic going in. The back-channel reports out of training camp were something along the lines of “major concern” and “historically bad”. They had little experience and even less perceived talent. It was going to be a very rough year.

To top it all off, our new o-line coach, Dave Borbley, was so bad that Maryland kicked him upstairs for the entire 2017 season. Yes, he’d always had a history of coaching up a strong running game, but this was his first year with Pitt, and he didn’t exactly have a ton of talent to work with.

A castoff leading castoffs. Let’s think about that for a minute.

Our starting left tackle was a two-star recruit and transfer from a tier-2 MAC program
Our starting right tackle was a slow-footed guard who was forced to play out of position.
Both of our starting guards spent most of their college careers switching positions.
Our center was a redshirt sophomore walk-on.
The line’s average recruiting stars: 2.4
And on top of that we were coached by a washed-up veteran that Shawn Watson picked off the scrap heap.

It’s easy to see why the fan base was not exactly optimistic.

And yet somehow this group of lineman has defied expectations.

After ten games:

We have an o-line that grades out top-11 in run blocking (“Line yards” on this page)
We have a rushing attack that is top 10 in the country (two spots ahead of Clemson I might add)

We have set yardage records on offense. Twice.

Our team is within spitting distance of an ACC Coastal division championship.

Not bad for a bunch of guys that nobody believed in.

Look, we all know that things aren’t perfect. Pass Protection continues to be an issue. Our offense is still fairly one-dimensional. If an opponent manages to stop the run we are going to find points hard to come by. And yes, next year could be a complete disaster, because we are losing just about everybody.

But now is not the time to worry about that. Now is not the time to focus on our shortcomings. Now is not the time to focus on next year. Now is not the time the be the Same Old Pitt Fan. You know what I am talking about.

Now is the time to live in the moment. Now is the time to savor a dominant win in a big game at home. Now is the time to enjoy this offense, one beautifully-blocked running play at a time. Because right now we have something special.

At least until the next game.

Hail To Pitt,

Michaelangelo

BB Flex Offense for Dummies

BB Flex Offense for Dummies

November 4, 2018
TO: Reed Kohberger
From: Dan Davis (Dan 72, danh72)
RE: Flex Offense for dummies

First, let me say that none of the POV are dummies, especially in basketball knowledge, but the title was an easy “get”. Second, in my 16 years of coaching basketball (5 at HS level) I’ve never run the Flex Offense but I sure have coached against it many times.
I saw Capel running a version of this vs Pitt Johnstown last week.
To understand the Flex, one has to understand the 1-4 offense that JD ran at Pitt. It is a patterned offense where the 1 is your point guard and the 2 your off guard, 3 shooting guard 4 small forward and 5 is your center. It lines up just as it sounds with the 1 out in front and the four others in a horizontal line across the foul line (high position). It can also be run with the four players “flat” below the baseline or the low position.

This offense can be run as a continuous motion offense or have set plays off of it. While the players move around in a pattern, for the most part, the center and small forward stay near the paint and the 1 and 2 guard stay back beyond the foul line. Many times on POV, I knew every set play that Jamie ran off this look. Unfortunately….so did the opposition. He truly was the puppeteer.
The Flex Offense was invented in 1967 by Rene Herrerias. It was originally called the “Cha Cha” and was invented to lure Lew Alcindor (Kareem Abdul Jabaar for you yountsters) 7’3” UCLA center away from the basket.
Duke switched to the Flex many years ago and runs it almost exclusively in the ACC. It is used a lot in the NBA because it gets every player involved. Think of it in terms of creating many 3 man triangles on the floor.
The Flex Offense, much like the 1-4 is a Continuity Motion Offense which means it is patterned. Unlike the 1-4, all players get to play all 5 positions which fits at team like Pitt to a tee, since Pitt has little height (6’7” tallest). It is called the Flex because it is usually initiated by two players standing on the lower two blocks (Those blocks are called Flex lines) of the paint crossing off of each others hips.. It features constant passing, cutting, flex screens, down screens, screen the screener (JDixons fave play).

While it is mostly used against man to man defenses, it can be used against some Zone offenses. A Zone offense is where 5 defenders do NOT move with the players but guard a specific area without vacating. If run properly, the Flex creates mismatches and can be a defenders nightmare.
I hope this helps as we all begin a new Pitt Basketball Era. We are so fortunate to have Jeff as our HC (thank you Heather). His recruiting has been nothing short of miraculous in the short time he’s been here. I predict this Pitt team overachieves and surprises even the most cynical of POV fans (UPitt?). I believe they will actually finish mid pack in the ACC and may even make the NCAA’s.

You will fall in love with Pitt’s new point guard.
As we go along in this new era of Pitt Basketball, I will gladly answer and update you on Capel’s version of the Flex.

Hope this helps.
H2P!
Dan 72 (danh72)

MMQB re: VA Tech Stampeded by Pitt

Monday-Morning-QBWhen was the last time we saw Pitt run for 492 yards in one game?  Off the top of my head I really can’t remember. But we did it Saturday in a 52-22 victory that erased any doubts, at least for me, about the quality of the 2018 team.

Honestly I expect them to win out the regular season, be 8-4 and be crowned the ACC Coastal champs.  I never would have though that would happen – my prediction was five, maybe six, wins.  Color me pleasingly surprised…

Give us your GOOD, BAD  and UGLY that you saw happen out on the field last Saturday.

Here is a nice photo of a token of gratitude from the POV Tailgaters to FB George Aston for being a great Panther. The Aston family tailgates right next to the POVers

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Editiors Note: Let’s take a quite minute to think about our Veterans today; what they had to do in their service to the United States and how it might have affected them. Medical care is getting better for the Vets but some most in need slip through the cracks and don’t  get the help they need.

These conflicts in the Middle East have been costly in lives but also have introduced a dangerous problem… In-theater injuries are tended to almost immediately now and that means more of our service members live instead of die.  But a huge amount of those survivors are left with missing limbs and Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBI) mostly.  One disabling injury highly visible and the other invisible.

Let’s learn what we can about this issue and do what we can to help. Sometimes saying “thank you” is enough to lift a Vet’s spirit so that might be a good place to start.

Here is a nice list of resources you can pass on to anyone who may have use:

Please consider doing what you can by sharing these resources on your page:

US Department of Veteran Affairs Crisis Hotline
Planning for Life after Discharge
Transition to Civilian Life
Mesothelioma Resources
Surviving Spouses Resources
Best Jobs for Returning Servicemembers

Thanks,

Reed