Here’s Hoping for the Best…

Here’s Hoping for the Best…

This is the season which we all believe will start to show Narduzzi’s worth as a recruiter but there is something other than that being overlooked there – this is also the year we are going to see just how well Narduzzi’s position coaches and coordinators have done at teaching our young players they inherited to become full-time starters.

We fans tend to look back at recruit rankings and forget that they don’t mean squat unless there is a staff in place to take that raw talent and make it really work at the D1 & Power Five level.  This is especially true at the OL positions. 

Pitt’s history (and every other D1 program’s) is lettered with recruits that came onboard with high potential and great expectations only to become backups, bench warmers or kids that didn’t make it a full four year’s in the program. Some just didn’t have what it takes, some didn’t care to work hard and some may not have had good enough position coaches to teach them how to play at this level.

As far as Pitt 2017 playing time experience goes when you look at the two-deep on the chart below you’ll see that 15 of the starting 22 positions are still manned by Paul Chryst recruits, and I don’t care what this list says Wirginis will start the YSU game at MLB – how long he stays there is another question.  So we will see some of Narduzzi’s new recruits get playing time – mostly on defense where we need the most help.

HCPN’s position coaches have now had three years to work with those PC recruits to fit smoothly into his offensive and defensive philosophies and it will be interesting to see how well they will fair as full-time starters this season. Those now-starters would be MLB Wirginis, C Dintino, RT Jared Jones-Smith, DE Allen Edwards,  Money LB Ziese, S Briggs and CB Motley.

Pittsburgh Sports Now reported that Pitt has released the pre-Fall Camp depth chart. Hmmm, more like “These are the only viable players who can play this position” chart.  When you have only 10 of 22 starting positions returning there has to be a heavy dose of wishful think on fan’s (and the staff’s) parts to get back up to the level of play of the year before. We’ll see that writ large in trying to match the record breaking offense we had in 2016.

Continue reading “Here’s Hoping for the Best…”

Hot Off the Press; POV Roundtable for 7/12/17

 

We had a blast with the call-in show last night and again we proved that no matter who shows up at the Roundtable we are the most knowledgeable Pitt fans in existence.  Of course that is facetious as I’ve met many fans through other venues who know a ton about Pitt football also.

The civil tone was lowered just a smidgen from last week with both Ike and the infamous Dr. Tom coming onboard.  I’m ordering a cut-off button today for future short-story answers to pretty simple and plain questions.

Some items discussed were:

The role of Pitt’s AD and how we feel Heather Lyke is doing… and what she needs to do.

Did Scott Barnes leave the department in good shape?

How we would feel if we had a third consecutive season with 8-5 including a bowl loss.

The D1 Learfield Directors Cup standings; this lists the comparisons of all D1 schools in all sports (not just the 128 in football). 

Cup 2

Pitt finished an abysmal 92nd place over all (above) and next to last in the ACC conference (below).  Thus the questions above of what AD Lykes has ahead of her.

Cup 1

Continue reading “Hot Off the Press; POV Roundtable for 7/12/17”

POV: Sunday Podcast; July 2nd, 2017

POV: Sunday Podcast; July 2nd, 2017

(Sorry about the audio – I forgot to use my professional microphone so the audio is recorded through my laptop’s mic…)

Hello all, enjoy the above Podcast and here is some supporting text to mull over while you listen:

Recruiting vs Attracting

USC coach Clay Helton said Wednesday he had not been contacted by any coaches interested in Browne, but would do whatever he could to help him during the process.

Browne graduated from USC prior to this season and is two semesters short of an MBA. He said he plans to finish that program eventually.

Recruit Flipping – Here is an interesting article by Brian Batko of the P-G regarding recruits changing their minds after verbally committing to one school – note that in the class of 2017 we had six players who committed elsewhere sign LOIs with us:

The marquee college program in this town won its share of other schools’ losses. Of Pitt’s 22 committed or already-enrolled players in the 2017 recruiting class entering signing day, eight were originally pledged to another school, including three of its most highly regarded.

Two of those eight picked the Panthers in mid-December, then arrived on campus less than a month later. Defensive end Deslin Alexandre was a true “flip,” announcing that he was decommitting from North Carolina State and committing to Pitt at the same time. It wasn’t something he took lightly but felt it was better late than never to get it right.

Pitt placed 10 players on Athlon Magazine’s All-ACC four (!) deep listing. 

Here is the article:

PITTSBURGH—The Pitt football team received 10 selections to the recently released Athlon Sports’ 2017 All-ACC Team as the widely recognized college sports magazine published its predictions for the first team through fourth team performers in the ACC this upcoming season.
 
Returning consensus All-American Quadree Henderson led the way with three total selections. After Henderson joined Tony Dorsett in 2016 as the only players in Pitt football history to top 2,000 all-purpose yards in a season, Athlon touted the junior wide receiver as a preseason first team kick returner, second team offensive all-purpose player and second team punt returner for 2017.
 
After Pitt had its most potent offense in school history in 2016, Athlon expects the Panthers to be talented and explosive again on the offensive side of the ball, naming six Panthers to its preseason All-ACC Team for 2017.
Continue reading “POV: Sunday Podcast; July 2nd, 2017”

POV Sunday Podcast; June 25th, 2017

4. Pittsburgh
Sept. 9 at Penn State, Sept. 16 vs. Oklahoma State, Sept. 23 at Georgia Tech

There won’t be any easing into the 2017 schedule for Pat Narduzzi and the Panthers. In Week 2, they hit the road to face No. 5 Penn State. You think the Nittany Lions will be motivated after losing at Pitt a year ago? Then comes a home game against No. 6 Oklahoma State, which throws the ball all over the park with the returning combo of quarterback Mason Rudolph and receiver James Washington, and the Panthers open ACC play a week later by going on the road and having to deal with Georgia Tech’s triple-option attack.

Name Pos Location Ht Wt Stars Rating
Matt Alaimo TE Montvale, NJ 6’5″ 235 3 5.7
Blake Zubovic OL Belle Vernon, PA 6’3″ 308 3 5.7
Chase Brown OL Scranton, PA 6’6″ 310 3 5.6
John Morgan DE Hyattsville, MD 6’3″ 235 3 5.7
Judson Tallandier DB Hyattsville, MD 6’2″ 180 3 5.7
Wendell Davis LB Richmond, VA 6’2″ 215 3 5.5
Jake Kradel OL Butler, PA 6’4″ 270 3 5.7
Noah Palmer DE Jefferson Hills, PA 6’4″ 225 3 5.6
Nick Patti QB Montvale, NJ 6’3″ 190 3 5.5
Jay Symonds TE Cambridge, MA 6’4″ 248 2 5.4

Steel Valley safety Paris Ford will not start classes on Monday with the rest of the incoming freshmen, multiple sources told Panther-Lair.com. Details of the situation are unclear, although it appears Ford could have an opportunity to qualify this summer and enroll closer to training camp.

If he doesn’t qualify this summer, Ford could spend one semester or a full school year at a prep institution like Milford Academy in New Berlin (NY) before enrolling at Pitt.

What is the NCAA Eligibility Center?

The NCAA Eligibility Center was created to bring academic and amateurism certifications together under one roof. Its purpose is to ensure that college-bound student-athletes, as well as coaches and administrators, understand the requirements to participate in NCAA Divisions I and II athletics.

All incoming freshman who plan on attending any NCAA Division I or II university MUST register with the NCAA Eligibility Center, meet all academic and amateur requirements and be certified by the NCAA Eligibility Center.

What are the NCAA Eligibility Center standards I must meet?

The standards issued by the NCAA Eligibility Center are slightly different for Division I and Division II but are based on the same four principles:

You must graduate from high school.

You must successfully complete all core courses.

You must have a minimum 2.000 GPA in core courses; and

You must have a minimum qualifying score on the ACT or SAT.

Military Bowl Presented By Northrup Grumman

Thursday, December 28th, 2017

Navy-Marine Corps. Stadium, Annapolis, MD

ESPN, 1:30 pm

Pitt vs. Navy

39. Pitt Panthers

Relative Strengths: Passing Game, Special Teams
Relative Concerns: Pass Defense, Linebacker
Why Are They Here? Will the Panthers ever stop a passing game? USC transfer Max Browne will keep the offense going, but against so many good ACC QBs, all that matters is the beleaguered secondary.
2016 Final Season Ranking: 35 (8-5)
2016 CFN Preseason Ranking: 32

POV Sunday Podcast; June 18, 2017

 

Correction: Galambos and Caprara had five sacks in 2015, not last season.

Chris Peak has a truly excellent series on Pat Narduzzi’s defense he’s playing at Pitt (or Josh Conklin is).

Here is the DBs section:

https://pittsburgh.rivals.com/news/narduzzi-s-defense-the-secondary

Here is the link for those Rivals’ mailbag discussions I referenced…

https://pittsburgh.rivals.com/news/mailbag-6-16-2017-positions-of-concern-rb-wr-recruiting-and-more

And as a blast from the past…

aboutus44

….. remember her?

 

2017’s WRs; Upgrade, Downgrade or Draw

This is the seventh of a longer POV series looking at the individual positions which need to be re-filled in 2017 and whether we will meet the PRODUCTION we had in those positions in ’16. We will not factor in true freshman at this point.

Wide Receiver will be a position of strength for us in this coming season almost surely.  I say that because as we wrote about the QB position early in this series I think we’ll have a downgrade there – so the ripple effect may impact the overall production of our WR corps for ’17.

To start let’s look at who departed Pitt over the off-season.  rsSR Dontez Ford and rsJR Zach Challingsworth.  Well, that was pretty simple wasn’t it? 

Of course our main WR coming back is the exciting and inconsistent – which is part of the excitement because we hold our breath hoping he’ll come down with the ball – rsSR Jester Weah.

Weah is a great example of kids who are just average in their recruiting rating (3*, 5.5) and don’t burst right out of the gate in college… but learn the new game and flourish in their upperclassmen years.  And yes, that is what a good player will do. 

Great players usually do make an impact earlier and Weah may have also if he hadn’t been stuck behind Tyler Boyd and Dontez Ford for his first few years.  But for now he’s pretty darn good and may just be great this season.

Weah has had the catching yips and was publicly open and refreshingly honest about that which I like him even more for.  He has great downfield speed and good moves – but his hands used to let him down when it came to gameday.  More on that later…

Continue reading “2017’s WRs; Upgrade, Downgrade or Draw”

POV Roundtable Call-in; May 24th, 2017

 

Speaking of Todd Sibley – Rivals.com has an excellent series going with some of the incoming freshman who will be arriving on the Southside in August.  This one is about our (semi-) transfer from OSU’s class of 2017.

Here are two quotes from that article – one is rather funny and the second is very serious.  Here is the first:

What was the craziest thing a coach said to you?

“I don’t know if this is crazy or not, but it’s coach Harbaugh. He said that I looked just like Frank Gore. I still don’t know how I feel about that [laughter]. He said I looked like Frank Gore and I didn’t know what to say after he said that. It’s just that my friends had told me previously that I look like Frank Gore and I run like Frank Gore. When he told me that, I instantly told my friends ‘Yo, you won’t believe what he just told me.’”

Well, Gore is 5’9″ and 217 – Sibley is 5′ 10″ and 211 so there is a similarity there.  let’s hope this is the case because with him and A. J. Davis I think we have a bright future at RB.

And this next issue is one we talk about a lot on The POV. I have written before and maintain that what the recruits and their parents (and grandparents in some cases) weigh just as heavily, if not more in some cases, are the positives of a university external to the football program when deciding on a school…

What shocked you most in the process?

“I guess how serious it is. For a young kid, it’s something that you’re not really used to. You don’t really understand the value of the decision you’re going to make – I didn’t really understand the value of it. You know, this is where you’re going to spend the next three to four years at and possibly where you find your wife at and develop into a man and achieve your dream, so this is a really tough decision. Once it sets in for all of the kids, they’ll understand it too.”

Many times I have spoken to current and alumni players and their parents and have been impressed with how level-headed their decision to come to Pitt was – focusing on the off-field and external issues from football.

Players may dream about the NFL and some have a better shot at it going in, but the majority of them realize that Pitt is going to be the school where they grow from an 18-year-old into mature into a young man.  That getting ready ‘for the rest of their lives‘ is paramount in a lot of cases.

I’ll have another article tomorrow then I’ll do a Sunday Podcast  but will take a longer break afterward for a family vacation.