POV Sunday Podcast; June 25th, 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

2017’s DEs; Upgrade, Downgrade or Draw

2017’s DEs; Upgrade, Downgrade or Draw

This is the fifth 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. We will not factor in true freshman at this point.

DE 17.pngWe have been blessed as a team to have had Ejuan Price at the defensive end position on our defense these last six years… that’s not a typo as two of those years were injury redshirts seasons.  His constant and stalwart play masked some other problems we had on defense last season;  mainly pressure on the QB from his fellow defenders.

Wait! you may say we had a ton of sacks and we sure did with 43 which was good for 6th nationally.  But what is hidden there is that translates to only 8% of the times 592 times the opposing QBs dropped back to pass.  As we know those same QBs ripped us apart on the other 92% of those pass plays.

So – as we know and are reminded all the time, stats can be deceiving. Here we see 43 sacks and think that is fantastic and it pretty much is, but is was the lack of constant pressure from the other DE position and the LBs that fell by the wayside… and helped to account for those 331 yards passing per game against us.

But that is the heart and soul of a Narduzzi defense.  Stop the run and put strong pressure on the quarterback.

That worked out pretty well in 2015; 2016 was a completely different story however as the other team’s passer had more than enough time to throw those intermediate and deep route completions for a substantial 12.4 ypc rate and 28 TDs.  You may think 12.4 ypc given up isn’t so bad but let’s remember that it happened 350 times to our defense.

That is a recap of what happened.  Here are who helped it to come about from the DE position. First, as mentioned, we had Price who was just plain fantastic from that spot. 13 sacks for losses of 92 yards and 23 tackles for loss (TFL) for a total 123 yards…  ‘Nuff said. He was great for us.

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

POV Roundtable Call-in; May 24th, 2017

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.

2017’s RBs; Upgrade, Downgrade or Draw

2017’s RBs; Upgrade, Downgrade or Draw

(This is the second of a longer series looking at our individual positions that need to be re-filled in 2017 and whether we will meet the PRODUCTION we had in those positions. We will not factor in true freshman at this point as we have no idea what they can and cannot do).

Much like in 2016 when we were faced with the prospect of having to put out a passing game without Tyler Boyd, we are revisiting that situation with this season’s loss of James Conner at running back.

At the risk of being unpopular (again) I’ll say this.  As I wrote many times during last year’s offseason that we wouldn’t miss Boyd much at all – and I took major heat, some of it from the more mainstream media, for saying that I’ll repeat that thought for this year’s running backs.

We won’t miss James Conner’s 2016 production as much as fans think. I love Conner, have had great personal conversations with him and feel that as a human being he’s one of the finest men I have ever met – and that is saying a lot given my professional career. Pitt and his peer players will miss his wonderful human traits and his friendship no doubt. Those are the intangibles James Conner brought to the Pitt football program and will continue to bring to any organization he is affiliated with for the rest of his life.

Unlike Tyler Boyd’s leaving, Conner’s departure is going to cost us big time in the leadership and role model areas. 

I truly wish he’d have stayed at Pitt for his 4th year of eligibility but understand completely why he declared – and what a grand decision that was given the relatively high round in which he was picked and by the Steelers to boot. Pittsburgh fans will have a lot more time to watch Conner play football I’m sure, just not in a Panther uniform.

But as a running back on our team last year, and the production he had out on the field, he’s replaceable and it will most likely be by committee.  Again I’m speaking of what he did out on the field production wise.

We’ll make up for Conner’s statistical production, especially rushing yards and TDs by this year’s batch of RBs, although his 20 TDs all told last season won’t be met by one player, that’s (maybe) for sure. Continue reading “2017’s RBs; Upgrade, Downgrade or Draw”

The Rich Get Richer in Recruiting

The Rich Get Richer in Recruiting

Here is my take on the basics of college football recruiting – I’m not a professional on a recruiting website and so some of this may be off-base a bit, but I think it is in essence how things work…

We all know the recruiting sites’ star rating systems are somewhat suspect but they are the thing most regular football fans use as recruit comparisons and for a conversational baseline when discussing the recruiting game.  Which, as we are in the doldrums of college football until August, is a continuing main topic on here so let’s explore it a bit.

Recruiting stars awarded aren’t the only thing to look at when trying to decide how much you feel a recruit is going to contribute to your future teams.  Two other equally important issues are offers and official visits.  We’ll get to those in a minute but first the star system.

It is for the fans way more than for the actual decision makers. The recruiting sites live and die by the star system because it captures the fan’s interest and keeps them coming back to the sites to see how their school is doing in the star chasing game – which is also how the school’s recruiting classes are nationally ranked week to week.

Here is a very good USA Today piece on the ranked 2017 recruiting class as composed of all the recruiting sites.  It is explained as this:

The composite represents an average of the rankings by the four major recruiting services: 247Sports, ESPN, Rivals and Scout. All rankings went to Top 50, except ESPN, which is Top 40. Teams not ranked in ESPN’s Top 40 received a 41; teams not ranked in the other rankings received a 51.

Rank Team 247 ESPN Rivals Scout Avg.
34 Pittsburgh 33 31 34 42 35
35 TCU 31 37 39 37 36
T36 Baylor 39 39 32 36 36.5
T36 Oklahoma State 38 35 34 41 37

Continue reading “The Rich Get Richer in Recruiting”

Historical Pitt 4* & 5* Recruits’ Careers

Historical Pitt  4* &  5* Recruits’ Careers

We have talked many times about the need for highly rated recruits to build a high-quality nucleus for a successful team.  There is no doubt that the longer a HC stays at a school, especially during his first contract, he gets better recruiting opportunities.  We saw that with Dave Wannstedt when his recruiting took off after the 13-9 win in Morgantown during the 2007 season.

But recruiting young players isn’t enough and is truly just the beginning.  With all the standards, rules and regulations, both internal of the university and external of the NCAA and ACC, it makes a college career into a minefield for a lot of student/athletes.  Some thrive at Pitt to become the star players they were projected to be and some fall by the wayside due to either inattention to responsibilities, bad actions, injuries or by just plain being recruited over so they feel they must look for playing time elsewhere.

Just to show how this player attrition works let’s look at who of the 4* and 5* blue-chip players Pitt has landed over the years either left on their own accord or were forced out before their eligibility expired (those who departed the program are in bold): 

Continue reading “Historical Pitt 4* & 5* Recruits’ Careers”

POV Sunday Podcast; April 30, 2017

POV Sunday Podcast; April 30, 2017

I have a few Pitt POV car magnets left – the big ones like this:

20170214_152831.jpg

Let me know if you are interested – send an email to me with your contact info (address & phone) and I’ll get one out to you if I have enough.  Please put “Car Magnet” in the subject line.

Don’t forget Tuesday night’s POV Roundtable Call-In show. It has been a resounding success and growing by leaps and bounds.  Here is last’s weeks recording if anyone missed it – we cracked ourselves up until Ike peed his pants.

I’ll post up the participant particulars in Tuesday’s article. I start a meet around 7:45 or so then start recording when everyone is set and ready around 8:00.

News for the uncaring: Rushel Shell was chosen by the Steelers as an undrafted Free Agent… now it gets even more interesting.on the Southside in May – July before they leave for training camp.  BTW – Shell and Conner didn’t overlap on the Pitt roster.

RS:  Hi, I’m running back Rushel Shell. I went to Pitt too.

JC:  Hey, I’m James Conner – you know, the guy who made you an answer to a trivia question.

Also – The Doctors and I are talking about back surgery, up until now they have been giving me the 50/50 walk again line, which I told them to cram where the sun don’t shine.  I kind of hope we can do it but if so I’ll be calling for more donations for booze and earplug money if I’m to be trapped in the house for weeks with my wife.

Correction: Staunton, VA to Blacksburg, VA is actually 117 miles so it would be a ‘going to or from’ stop.

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