Monday Morning QB; North Carolina

Monday Morning QB; North Carolina

With an extended time period between the last game and MMQB a lot of the Good, Bad and Ugly has already been discussed… But here goes anyway with one additional category.

GREAT!! (Old Gold font)

Fran’s work each and every week to make sure the POVers attending the home games can have the best time possible. I really regret missing the “BigB Memorial Tailgate” (even though he isn’t dead yet) on Thursday afternoon and evening before this game.  Fran started setting everything up soon after 2:00pm and from all reports the festivities were fantastic.

For those who missed the tailgate and didn’t yet see photos please jump over to this article and check them out.

GOOD

We have to start with RB Darrin Hall’s excellent day. To keep his 100+ yards per game streak alive is a real accomplishment but to do it while scoring 28 points is superb.  That was, save a FG by Kesserman, all the scoring we did on Thursday evening.

His stat line for the NC game was this:  23 for 121 at a  5.3 ypc rate and 4 TDs.  Excellent again but I think one of the more important facts from his work is that he did this with a longest rush of only 17 yards.

It is one thing to pile up 252 yards in a game when you have a 92 yard run and a 79 yard run – hell, that alone is 171 yards but in his last two games he’s broken 100 yards with longs of only 14 and now 17 yards.

In his last three games he’s carried the ball 72 times for 486 yards (6.75 ypc!!) and 8 TDs which is a career year for most D1 RBs.

Quadree Ollison and the TEs blocking for Hall... including #45 Devon Edwards on one of them.

In the video above you’ll see that Hall didn’t get those TDs all on his own. Since Shawn Watson opened his emails and read the one from Ike suggesting that he move Ollison into the H-Back position to lead block for Hall we’ve been getting great yardage on the ground.  Kidding about the email thing – but let’s do give Watson some kudos for making that move as it has turned out extremely well.

BTW – as you are watching said video remember that first passing play on it – more on that later.

BAD

I’m not going to label our QB Ben DiNucci’s work on Thursday ugly because when a QB throws zero INTs that is a real plus… but I have no qualms about calling it “BAD”.

Overall DiNucci completed 11 of 16 pass attempts for 142 yards and no TDs or INTs. That was his passing but here is something else to note;  that first play on the video above was a 30 yarder to a wide open Hall on a swing pattern out of the backfield which only succeeded because it was on broken coverage by the NC DBs.

While Pitt fans will take 30 yards through the air anytime with this QB… if you take that lucky play away DiNucci was 10/16 for 122 yards.

I don’t know.  Maybe I’m splitting hairs here but DiNucci is just so very ineffective that it drives me crazy.  However his passing isn’t what lands him in the “BAD” column this week – it is his overall decision-making and simplistic approach to playing the position.

It is like he’s in binary mode out there.  Primary receiver open/closed?  No progression, no looking off defenders and really,  no run/don’t run? choices either.  Once he leaves the pocket it is like his brain blinks off…. on/off?

Maybe we should get him a shock-collar like the ones your dog wears to keep him in your yard. Make him wear it in practice and that way he’ll learn to trust his offensive lineman and stay entrenched in the pocket.

I think the setting #4 would do in his case:

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POV Monday Morning QB; OK State Game

Monday-Morning-QBWell – we have had over 36 hours to digest and accept one of the worse losses Pitt has experienced in our ‘modern’ era.  It was a terrible football game all-around and by ‘all-around’ I mean on the field, off the field and even on television as ESPN’s broadcast turned into an “Insult Pitt Day at Heinz” Special Event.

But let’s be honest with ourselves here – as angry and disappointed as we are in all aspects of what we watched on Saturday – wouldn’t you also have been making jokes at some other team’s expense if Pitt was on the top end of that 49-0 score we had  at one point in the game?

Yes, I think you would;  so what the announcers did and said didn’t bother me as nearly much as what I saw Pat Narduzzi and his staff conceive, design and then put out on the field during for this match.  Our coaching staff swung and missed at every single facet of what makes a successful football team and what makes for a successful game against Oklahoma State.

What bothers me the most now that the OSU pirate ship has sailed with our collective family jewels safely stored in their hold… is that we may see this exact thing replicated more than once or twice in our remaining games… specifically next week down in Bobby Dodd Stadium in Atlanta.  Yeah, I feel that poorly when I look at the rest of our schedule.

So – on Monday morning we address what we though was the “Good, Bad and Ugly” aspects of the game that just had been played. Here goes…

THE GOOD

The effect of rsJR QB Ben DiNucci’s play on the rest of his offensive teammates.

At 18m 38s into the game, with Pitt down 35-0, Pat Narduzzi made the call to bench rsSR Max Browne and go with DiNucci. Immediately Pitt’s offensive players perked up and responded with well-blocked short pitch and catch play to Henderson that he took 71 yards to the OSU 11 yard line – and we scored three plays later.

That was our first TD in the last 29 minutes of play against both PSU and OSU – and Ben DiNucci was under center for both of them. That speaks volumes and should be (I say ‘should be’ for a reason) the fact that tilts the remaining 2017 QB1 snaps to DiNucci.

The bottom line with our QB situation is this: after many years of watching, following and now writing about Pitt football I believe that Pitt fans can accept a loss in a match as long as 1) we played competitively and 2) we fans had fun watching the kids play the game. Max Browne does not do that for us in either way – but Ben DiNucci does and will.

He may not be the answer for future wins on the schedule but DiNucci makes watching Pitt enjoyable and so without hesitation on Narduzzi and Watson’s part he needs to be the starting QB against Georgia Tech.

In what may be the most crucial part of future games – considering we have scores close enough that we may win games – rsSR P Ryan Winslow’s work at punting the ball is critical – and it is too bad that his excellent punting on Saturday was completely wasted.

Winslow OSU

As you can see from the box here Winslow was super effective with his kicks and, in a game where field position didn’t really mean anything, still gave us somewhat of a chance on defense .  One punt in particular, early on when we were still in the game down by 7-0, was downed on the OSU 4 yard line.  Of course they drove 96 yards for a TD – but Winslow did his job well on that play and all throughtout day when called on.

That is it – no other “Good” issues to discuss.

THE BAD and THE UGLY

Max Brown’s play along with everything else we saw in person, watched on TV, listened to on the radio and had to experience in what is a true low point in five years of Pitt football. I’d venture to say that as the actual play in games goes this was the worse I have ever seen.

I lumped these two headings together because the whole afternoon, from 13:00 left in the 1st quarter until the whistle blew to end the game, was a complete and utter rout. There is truly no other way to spin this fellow Pitt fans- it was an ugly afternoon from the opening kickoff until the horrid game ended.  So – I’m not going to write a novel describing in detail how truly crappy we played.

Please feel free to add your own “Good, Bad and Ugly” in your comments – there are just too damned many for me to list here.

Continue reading “POV Monday Morning QB; OK State Game”

POV Sunday Podcast; Saturday Edition

As promised we rolled out the POV Round Table series last evening with a two-man show – myself and our long time commenter PittFan28 (Brian Ashcom).  The result was great and we had a good time talking about ourselves, our opinions of and our relationships with Pitt football.

Take a listen above – we came in just a bit over 35 minutes but truth be told we could have gone on for an hour at least.  I think the technical work is OK, I used Skype for the communications bit (I’ll reprint Skype instructions below) and then used a program called Audacity for the actual recording. 

You’ll hear that it came through pretty clearly but with some scratchy bits from Brian’s end, but nothing that really detracts from the content.

As we do this more often, and it was fun, we’ll smooth out any rough spots and with more callers I’ll do a lot less talking. 

Here is how I envision the POV regular season to shake out:

Continue reading “POV Sunday Podcast; Saturday Edition”

Monday Morning QB: Northwestern

Well, we’ve had over 775 comments during the bowl game and describing our feelings regarding the loss afterward so I’m not sure there is a whole lot more to say about the specifics of the game itself, that is how the game was actually played out on the field.

Suffice to say two main things happened, at least to my eyes.  Everybody associated with Pitt from the Chancellor through the AD and coaching staff, through the players and into the fan base, were way too overconfident about facing Northwestern.  They just didn’t see a loss coming and I didn’t either.

I felt that we’d use our experienced and bigger OL to establish the ground game.  We’d use Narduzzi’s “take away the run or else” philosophy to hinder their running game then by default let them throw all over the field until we outscored them at the end.

Number two was a funny thing happened on the way to Yankee Stadium.

No one told the Northwestern people that was how it was supposed to be.  Instead they thumbed their collective noses at our vaunted #9 rushing defense, shut down our vaunted #26 rushing game and finished with more points on the board than we did. Whaaaa? Continue reading “Monday Morning QB: Northwestern”

POV’s Monday Morning QB; 11/7/16

One of the nice things about Monday Morning QB is that I have two days to read the post-game comments on here and that helps to focus in on some things I might have missed during the game.

We lost to Miami on Saturday, 51-28 so we’ll start with the three negatives first:

NEGATIVES:

* Preparations for the game.  Hey, we have to start with something other than our pass defense for once (although again…).

It looked as if Pitt was not as ‘up’ for this game from the beginning as they have been with the other games on the schedule to date.  Although when an opposing QB goes 10/10 and gets two passing TDs in their first two series it will dampen any enthusiasm the kids might have had coming out of the tunnel.

It seemed as if Pitt goes into every game determined to stick with a set game plan (the same plan for every team it appears). Where is the individual approach to each different opponent?

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POV Monday Morning QB

Pitt stands at 5-2 after beating the Virginia Cavaliers at their place down in Charlottesville, VA. The final score was 45-31 and a 14 point win is good in anyone’s books – especially since in came against a conference opponent.

With that we are 2-1 in ACC play losing to North Carolina then beating Georgia Tech and now Virginia.  We play eight conference games per season and for the home stretch that is all we play – so every game means something.

Can’t take away anything from the nice Villanova and Penn State wins but they are window dressing wins compared to the task at hand.  Very nice window dressing with the  PSU win of course.

But moving forward we start to get into the meat of the ACC contests.  North Carolina was a tough match and they are considered one of the better ACC Coastal Division teams, but after this bye week we have Virginia Tech at home then follow that with two very hard games against Miami and Clemson – both on the road.

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POV’s Monday Morning QB

OK – Monday morning after a nice win against Georgia Tech by a close score of 37-34 on a last play of the game FG by Chris Blewitt… a reprisal of what he did against the Yellow Jackets in 2015.

One of the nice things is that all Pitt fans seemed to like the Throwback uniforms the players wore.  In what was supposed to be a recognition back to the 1976 championship team we wore these out there: “

“THROWBACK FRENZY

The Panthers wore vintage blue-and-gold jerseys in a nod to the program’s glory days of the 1970s and had Johnny Majors, the coach when Pitt won the 1976 national title, serve as honorary captain. As sharp as Pitt looked, however, Narduzzi made sure style didn’t trump substance.”

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However what those had to do with the 2b890b8078b372c7eb3b31b7caa5cb82actual 1976 uniforms(right) eludes me but the thing is everyone seemed to appreciate them and hopefully Pitt is making some extra money on apparel sales.

So – onto the game.  Here are my three positives (first because we won)  and then I’ll list my three negatives.

POSITIVES: 

* We stuck it out and came from behind to win a close game which is something we failed to do against OSU and North Carolina.  We held a 27-20 lead going into the 4th quarter and promptly lost it on a 45 yard run by the GT RB and then five minutes later on a shorter drive that put the score at 34-27. 

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