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?

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Pitt Football’s Glory Days; Part 3

(This is Part 3 of a three-part series looking back at Pitt’s best decades of football)

Yesterday we discussed that last set of Glory Days from 1974 to 1983. Now let us skip another 33 years from 1984 to the nearer history of Pitt football in 2007. Remember that number because from 1938 to 1974 was a 36 year stretch.  It seems to me that we take around  35 years to ramp up to have another good run of Pitt football. Way too long but it is what it is – at least so far.

Now are talking about this last decade, from 2007 until last season’s end. I think it’s interesting that we look at these last 10 years and think the program has been rather average or even mediocre at times, especially the four years under Todd Graham and Paul Chryst. But if you put these ten years up against our whole history of play you’ll find that we really been above and beyond what the vast majority of other years’ stretches had done.

Here are the years in discussion:

07-16

Continue reading “Pitt Football’s Glory Days; Part 3”

Predictions are Funny Things…

A commenter posted a link to The Panthers Prey – Chris Dokish’s blog about Pitt football and Dokish’s take on our 2017 defense.  Dokish specializes in recruiting stuff mostly but also tends to get way into the weeds about individual player’s abilities and talents.

panthers-prey
Chris Dokish’s Website

People love reading that and I do also.  It is apparent he puts a lot of research into his writing. However, I believe about half of it.

That’s no slur on Dokish’s work,  but when you are in the business of offering predictions regarding how well players will do in the future, as he is, then you basically have a 50/50 chance of getting your predictions into the “correct” ballpark.  I know this to be true – after all I predicted that Jack Lippert would be a three-year starter and that Chris Wuestner would be the next Mike Shanahan.

The thing is that fans read Dokish’s stuff but never go back to see how good he is at doing this.  Let’s remember to do that after the 2017 season and compare Pitt’s real results to his current predictions.

Well it is too much to cut and paste but I suggest you take a reading of the whole piece – I do like to read his work – and pay close attention to his “DBs” section toward the bottom of the article.  This is what he said for the upcoming 2017 season:

Bottom line- It’s going to be hard to convince some people that the secondary could be a lot better, but I have to say anyway that there’s a real possibility that the secondary could be a lot better. If Whitehead returns to form, and Hamlin and Ford live up to their potential, there will be an enormous improvement. And these are three elite talents so it’s not unimaginable.

Also, last year’s underclassmen, like Jackson, Motley, and Stocker, should get better now that last year’s shell shocked season is over. Throw in some very talented redshirt freshmen like Coleman, Miller, Campbell, and Garner, and you can see that there may be light at the end of the tunnel sooner than people think.

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