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

POV Sunday Podcast; June 18, 2017

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?

 

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.

POV Bits & Pieces & Call-In; 5/24/17

POV Bits & Pieces & Call-In; 5/24/17

Some semi-interesting news lately:

In football, as was talked about but I wasn’t sure if it had been etched in stone yet, – it looks like PSU is taking a hard line against really renewing the football rivalry.

There are a lot of terrible outcomes from the mass realignment of the earliest part of this decade, but this is by far the worst: the breakup of longtime rivalries.

Pitt and Penn State — or is it Penn State and Pitt? — are in the midst of a 4-year reunion, and it’s been great so far. The Panthers’ 42-39 win over the Nittany Lions in Pittsburgh last season was not only a thrilling game, but it kept Penn State out of the College Football Playoff. This is what college football rivalries are all about, no? Who wouldn’t want to make this an annual thing again?

Penn State, that’s who.

Speaking at a coaches’ caravan event last week, Penn State AD Sandy Barbour told Nittany Lions fans that the earliest their team would start playing their rivals to the west again after the current agreement expires in 2019 would be 2026.

You know what?  Any school that makes over $125+M off its football program as Penn State does can buy out games which have already been scheduled… and make it worthwhile for three different schools.  The smaller schools who get bumped will receive a greater paycheck – which is why they play schools like PSU in the first place. 

Then Pitt and PSU can reap the rewards of a long term series.

Here is something that is selfish and I think going in completely the wrong direction.  Apparently there is a rule proposal on the table to allow true freshmen to play up to four games their freshman year and still have a full four years eligibility left afterward.

But a new college football rule could allow redshirt freshmen to participate in four games during their first year on campus without surrendering a year of eligibility.

Coaches in the Atlantic Coast Conference and Southeastern Conference are in favor of the rule, first proposed by the American Football Coaches Association in Phoenix in early May. The rule might not go into effect until early 2018, but coaches see many significant benefits to the idea.

Fisher, who was the ACC football coaches’ chairman during this week’s ACC spring meetings, believes amending the redshirt rule to allow players to compete in four games can help improve player safety.

With now-NFL first round draft picks Leonard Fournette from LSU and Stanford’s Christian McCaffrey deciding to skip their bowl games last season to preserve their health, coaches feel players who decide to go that route can be replaced by younger teammates instead of giving another player a greater workload.

This topic has been in discussion for some time but it always was about the situation above – letting freshman play in a bowl game with penalty (loss of one year as a redshirt)

Student athletes become redshirts for many reasons. One reason is that the athlete may not be ready to balance the demands of academic requirements with athletic requirements. Redshirting provides the opportunity, with tutoring, to take some classes and get accustomed to the academic demands.

In 2016, a new status can apply called the academic redshirt. In 2016, the NCAA starts enforcing new, stricter admissions requirements for incoming freshman athletes. Under these new rules, a student-athlete who meets the school’s own academic admission requirements, but does not meet the NCAA’s new requirements (primarily a 2.3 GPA in 4 years) can enter school as an academic redshirt. This student can receive an athletic scholarship and practice with the team, but may not participate in competition. An academic redshirt does not lose a year of eligibility, but can take a later injury redshirt. Academic redshirts must complete nine credit hours in their first semester and can participate fully in the second year.[1]

Continue reading “POV Bits & Pieces & Call-In; 5/24/17”

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”

From the Vault: Why Pitt Is the Way it Is

From the Vault: Why Pitt Is the Way it Is

This is an article which entails some heavy lifting in the reading department so it may be best taken in chunks rather than sitting down for the whole shebang at one time. But do take a very close look at the Title Photo (Oakland in the 1930s) before you get into the linked articles.

For a weekend’s reading I have included two excellent and well-written Saturday Evening Post articles about the University of Pittsburgh and our football program’s history back in the 1930s and 1940s.  Before you click on those let me add a few things about why I did this and why I did it today.

I truly feel like Pitt is on the cusp of having to make some pretty hard and maybe unpopular decisions about just where the Football program fits in with the rest of the Athletic Department and even more importantly where it fits in relation to the rest of the University.

Why now you may ask?  Because this is the season where our won/loss record will determine if Pat Narduzzi restructures his contract to be Pitt’s HC for the long run or not. His existing contract is low for a continually winning Power Five school and can easily be bought out by any other program who wants him badly enough.

If he wins big this season, and by that I mean 9 or 10 wins including that elusive bowl win, then the rest of the nation is going to really sit up and take notice of what he and Pitt have done over the last three years.

I’ve written many times that last season’s bowl loss really hurt us in a lot of ways – mainly because it kept us from being listed in 2016’s  post-season Top 20. That would have been a real solid achievement for him on the national stage and made him more valuable to others than he actually might be to Pitt.

Instead the bold truth is that even as excited as Pitt fans are about the program and Narduzzi we are one win better that his predecessor’s best season – Paul Chryst’s 2013 year when he beat Notre Dame at home and won his bowl game.

Before you jump up and down in indignation please understand that I wholeheartedly believe Narduzzi’s 2016 season, with the wonderful wins over PSU and Clemson, was way better than 2013. It certainly was for us fans. But with only eight wins per year and no bowl game wins he hasn’t put all that much concrete distance between the program now and then.

Continue reading “From the Vault: Why Pitt Is the Way it Is”

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”