Know The Enemy – Penn State

Byline: Chris Logue and it is a good one…

It’s go time for another week, another opponent and worst of all, a whole new slew of athletic receivers, running backs, most of which I am sure can run the wheel-route, and a quarterback that can beat you in a myriad of ways. This could just as easily be time-stamped in 2016 heading into Death Valley and Clemson, but this year’s edition of that is in Happy Valley to take on the Nittany Lions.

While I would love to be the sole interpreter of Penn State this week, I also felt that it would be doing our readers an injustice. This edition of “Know Your Enemy” comes with a guest, Centre Daily Times Penn State beat writer, John McGonigal. John pulls no punches and lets it all fly which is why he fits the bill to be our guest this week.

John provided incredible feedback and you’ll notice it throughout our inside look at what our Panthers face this week in Centre County.

Last week, Penn State drubbed Akron 52-0 and did it in a multitude of ways. Whether it was breaking a long, very strong, streak of not having a return for a touchdown, intercepting Akron quarterback, Thomas Woodson or if it was quarterback Trace McSorley and his trusted back, Saquon Barkley, Penn State looked good. Very, very good at that. It’s no mystery that McSorley and Barkley will be the key drivers for PSU on offense, it goes back to the basics, deep in the trenches who kick-starts this offense.

“Outside of Barkley and McSorley, I think an underrated guy on this offense is center Connor McGovern. I could’ve gone with flashier picks like breakout wide receiver Juwan Johnson or tight end Mike Gesicki — who I think will lead the Nittany Lions in all receiving categories this year — but McGovern is a guy who guides the offense,” says McGonigal.

Like Pitt who has shifted and mixed the offensive line over the past two seasons, McGovern is amid transition himself, “The Penn State staff moved him to center in the offseason after the departure of senior Brian Gaia — the Nittany Lions’ lone loss from the o-line — and McGovern has lived up to all expectations so far, being more vocal and impressing against Akron.”

Reed and I exchanged emails and we both had the same feel that a lot of what Penn State wants to do and should succeed in doing is planting roots in the trenches and making it their own, and it seems as though McGovern is sturdy in that task where “[McGovern] had a lot to do with that, and the lineman will play a key role in the Pitt game.”

How big of a task do the Panthers have this week on the defense? Look for yourself at PSU’s last game’s offensive stats:

PSU Game 1

Continue reading “Know The Enemy – Penn State”

THAT DIDN’T MAKE SENSE, COACH

Byline: Chris Logue

Hey, I’m back and would like to apologize to Reed, but especially the faithful readers of the POV over the last two weeks. There were legitimate reasons for my absence, such as classwork obligations as well as rebounding from a brief identity-theft crisis that erupted out of nowhere; but again, I am back and ready to keep this train rolling.

Now, to the important stuff…

Paris Ford is official. He is a Panther. He is finally a Panther. While that’s wonderful to read, there were so many flaws in the way Pat Narduzzi handled the “breaking of the news” to the reporters. To me, it’s a mystery as to why so many flaws were evident, and it doesn’t fit the past of how he has handled media, the celebrity status of players and their importance to the team.

This time around, he highly contradicted himself.

I took a look at Jerry DiPaola’s writeup on TribLive.com. When it comes to the Pittsburgh media covering what’s in front of them, no one does it better than Jerry, so in times of needing quotes and understanding the effectiveness in conveying the quotes, I go to his work.

THE GOOD

Paris Ford is on the field and able to run around with his teammates. He appears to have put on some weight, based solely on photos, but that’s not necessarily a negative thing. After all, he has been working-out alongside a perennial All-NFL player in Aaron Donald in the meantime.

THE BAD

Ford missed all 17 of the camp practices so far, placing him behind fellow position-mates in development at this level of play and has only taken mental-reps since Saturday during the scrimmage. I can’t speak for everyone, but ‘mental reps’ are not worth a grain of salt unless you’re actually out on the field putting thought into action. Still, contact was open with the coaches for feedback and guidance.

Continue reading “THAT DIDN’T MAKE SENSE, COACH”

All The POV News Fit to Print

All The POV News Fit to Print

Byline: Chris Logue

First, I want to extend a massive “thank you” to the entire Pitt POV family for the wonderful greeting, it was taken appreciatively. This isn’t an Adele song and I won’t get sappy, so back to the main point of congregating to this article.

I was scrambling trying to find a good follow-up to the introduction that Reed so kindly wrote – and correct me at the end if I am wrong, but I think I found it. With that being said, let’s look at some headlines from the media in 2016 that we want to avoid in the upcoming campaign. Here is the first:

Defense Leads Pitt Past Virginia, 45-31.

At first glance, it’s innocent. Pitt won and climbed to 5-2 on the season with their eyes set on double digit wins. Something, two to be specific, deep down bothers me about  this however. I look at “Defense Leads” as well as “…31.” It might be the most insufferable of all headlines written in 2016.

Talking with Reed earlier, we discussed how this defense is actually going to look in comparison to previous seasons; but especially the low-line set by the secondary last year.

It was a consensus hypothesis that the first two levels of the defense should be serviceable and maybe even sturdy enough to create havoc on opposing quarterbacks. That’s where the glee subsided. How about the secondary though?

Continue reading “All The POV News Fit to Print”

How National Media Think About Pitt

How National Media Think About Pitt

We have a continuing argument on here about the impact of last year’s 31-26 bowl loss on Pitt’s national reputation after the 2016 season’s dust had settled.  More importantly perhaps is what impact all of last season’s games, won and lost, had on the national media’s perception of our program going into this 2017 season. 

But wait – let me backtrack a bit here.  This isn’t about Pitt’s football program per se – but is about how the national media viewed the Pitt football team at the end of 2016, then again now and how the team might be gauged going into battle in September.

The people on the Southside I had conversations with when attending spring practices three months ago sure felt… no, they sure knew… that the bowl loss cost us dearly in perceptions and in the actual standings.   By that I mean not only the final 2016 standings but our 2017 preseason rank (or lack thereof).

Here is the AP Final Top 25 list for last year:

abab

I believe that had we won the bowl game combined with our big PSU rivalry win (which is a match-up of historical importance to the national media) and win over #3 ranked Clemson; both games nationally televised and both teams finishing high in the final rankings with one as champs, we would have been ranked between #13 and #17 at the end of the season.

Continue reading “How National Media Think About Pitt”

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”

Why So !%?#^#?? Optimistic?

Note: Every so often we’ll have guest writers contribute some articles for a different Point of View toward the football program and the team. After all – we are called POV, right?  well, this is a good one from Dr. Tom Richards.

Well it finally happened.

Reed has decided to give me some extra rope. By that I mean,  he extended me the invitation to contribute an actual article for submission to the Pitt POV. Imagine that? He even gave me the subject he wanted me to expound on, that being last season’s abysmal  performance by our defensive secondary.

He also informed me that,  just like Jack Webb used to state on the old TV series Dragnet,  to give him the FACTS, just the facts, on why I’m expecting last year’s horrendous secondary performance to evaporate come 2017. No optimistic smoke & mirrors, just the hard facts, not even any alternative facts, just the hard ones.

But I know his true intentions, I didn’t just fall off the turnip truck ya know. He’s supplied just enough rope so that I can hang myself with it come about mid December, by then when we’re all bitching and moaning once again on why Pitt had such a sad repeat performance by our defensive secondary, keeping us from winning the ACC Coastal Crown yet again.

Continue reading “Why So !%?#^#?? Optimistic?”

Pitt’s Tight Ends and What Else?

This position is one that is going to be very closely watched during the upcoming spring practices as it doesn’t have a deep existing roster at the position where a sure starter will jump right into the void.

And it is a void considering one of our most productive TEs of all-time, Scott Orndoff,  has just left.  He was a good one, very efficient and productive, and could block just fine for a guy who is 6’5″ and 265 lbs. The surprising thing with Orndoff was how fast he was in getting out on the intermediate and deep routes. Because of that he had an excellent yards per catch production especially in his last two seasons as a starter.

 

Rushing

Total

Year G Rec Yds Avg TD Plays Yds Avg TD
*2013 6 6 50 8.3 2 6 50 8.3 2
*2014 4 4 24 6.0 1 4 24 6.0 1
*2015 11 13 244 18.8 5 13 244 18.8 5
2016 12 35 579 16.5 5 35 579 16.5 5
Career 58 897 15.5 13 58 897 15.5 13

A 17.1 ypc over 48 receptions is up in the Wide Receiver airs and is a true added weapon to the offensive game plan.  10 TDs over that time isn’t chopped liver either for a TE.

Continue reading “Pitt’s Tight Ends and What Else?”