No More Excuses

Enough is enough.  Let’s have no more excuses for this horrid Pitt football team…not from HC Pat Narduzzi,  not from DC Josh Conklin, not from OC Shawn Watson, not from AD Heather Lyke, and please… not from us POVers or any other Pitt fans.

What we watched last night was the result of inept and running-scared coaching from the position coaches on up to the head coach himself.  For all his bluster and posturing Pat Narduzzi coaches in fear.  He is so risk-adverse that he purposely makes our offense one-sided and so maddeningly inconsistent that it can’t be relied on to get points when needed.

When your approach to an offensive game plan – that he himself approves every week mind you – is to do anything humanly possible to avoid interceptions you get what we have seen since Max Brown went down with an injury.  That is Pitt starting, and sticking with come hell or high water, an untalented less-than-average QB in Ben DiNucci.  We’ll discuss him in detail later.

What we watched unfold last night came as no shock to me.  In this week’s Roundtable I said that a loss to North Carolina wouldn’t shock or surprise me and it doesn’t.  Why?  Because even with every excuse made by others about this 2017 team I have completely understood just how poor at playing football this team is.

How many times have we read on here “But look at our Strength of Schedule” or “We have played superb quarterbacks…WRs… RBs… . or “We have injuries...’, whatever.  It doesn’t matter and is all excuse making. NC had 16 starters out and just gave us our 6th loss.

Allow me to take an editor’s prerogative of swearing on here and call total bullshit on each and every one of those excuses said then, now and in the future.

Let’s try to be as honest as possible in looking at what the Pitt team has been this season shall we?  The unvarnished truth is that we have a bumbling coaching staff who have done an average at best job both in training and in recruiting so that now we are fielding players out there who just aren’t all that talented.  Certainly not talented enough to win more games than we lose and not talented enough for consistently good play.

And youth is no excuse either.  Unless you watch only Pitt football and pay zero attention to the 127 other FBS teams you’ll see that a lot of schools have numerous young players also and many of those teams do just fine. Yes we are young, but not six and counting losses young.

C’mon – we just watched a rsSO QB in his first ever start rip our pass defense apart by completing 70% of his passes (12 for 30) for 235 yards and 2 TDs.  Guys – the only other passing action this kid has seen in his career was as a back-up against The Citadel and James Madison last season and last night he owned our DBs.  The total passing stats for NC were 22/31 for 270 and 3 TDs and they got screwed on a deep no-call pass interference also.

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POV: Pre-NC Game Bits & Pieces

Here are some pieces of info and links to prep you all for the game on Thursday night… one thing to remember, I think, is that NC’s record of 1-8 is valid, but that doesn’t matter when the whistle blows.  At this point Pitt is giving away 9.5 points to the Tarheels.

PITT (4-5, 2-3 ACC) vs. NORTH CAROLINA (1-8, 0-6 ACC)

November 9, 2017 • 7:30 p.m., ET

LINK (PDF): Pitt Game Notes (vs. North Carolina)

GAME STORYLINES
• Pitt looks to continue its recent momentum when it hosts Coastal Division foe North Carolina for a Thursday night ESPN national telecast. This will be the Panthers’ 23rd all-time appearance on ESPN’s Thursday package.

• The Panthers are coming off a pair of impressive wins, 24-17 at Duke and 31-14 against Virginia. A victory over North Carolina would extend Pitt’s winning streak to three games and even its record at 5-5 on the season.  

• Narrow margins have been the rule during recent Pitt-UNC series history. The past six meetings have been decided by a combined 25 points, an average of 4.2 points per game. The Tar Heels slipped past the Panthers in Chapel Hill last year, 37-36.

• Since 2013, North Carolina is the only team in the Coastal that Pitt has not beaten. The Panthers are 0-4 against the Tar Heels in ACC play. North Carolina also leads the overall series, 8-3.|

• Pitt’s last victory in the series occurred in the 2009 Meineke Car Care Bowl in Charlotte. Coach Dave Wannstedt’s Panthers edged the Tar Heels (coached by Butch Davis), 19-17, on a field goal with 52 seconds left. 

• Junior tailback Darrin Hall has reignited the Panthers’ rushing attack by averaging 182.5 yards over his past two contests. Hall had 254 yards at Duke, followed by a 111-yard effort against Virginia. 

• Junior all-purpose player Quadree Henderson had a 75-yard punt return touchdown in Pitt’s last game against Virginia. Henderson has seven career kick return TDs, two shy of the national record. 

• Quadree Henderson leads the ACC and ranks seventh nationally in punt returns with a robust 16.1-yard average. North Carolina, in contrast, is 112th in punt return defense, surrendering 12.4 yards per return.

(MORE INFO AND VIDEOS AFTER THE PAGE BREAK)

 

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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

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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.

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One For The Money, Two For The Show…

have talked a lot about what Head Coach Pat Narduzzi will do in his third year at the helm of Pitt’s football program.  We have heavily debated whether it truly is “his team” in terms of players he either recruited or acquired by transfer (it is in my opinion). 

We speculate on how well his own guys will do in terms of the previous head coaches’ players they are replacing. Finally, and perhaps most importantly, we go around and around as to whether experience or talent wins out in the end when it comes to the quality of play he will get out of his roster.

First let’s take a look at what some previous Pitt head coaches have done in their third year. We’ll go back to the time period right after that great winning run Pitt had from 1974 to 1981.

I highlighted the 3rd years of the respective coaches and only showed their first three years.

3rd revised.png

So – here is the first Pitt HC to review in Foge Fazio:

I think we all remember what happened in Foge Fazio’s 3rd season in 1984 – it crashed and burned as the offensive and defensive wings fell off and hit at 3-7-1… and that was the end of his time here.  We started that crappy year at 1-7-1 with a win over lowly East Carolina.

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What Really Matters to Pitt in 2017

A voice from the past, Kevin Gorman of the Tribune Review, used to be the Pitt football beat writer and a reporter who I always made sure to read every word he put out because I thought he was that good and very detailed.

He’s back with a piece looking at our 2017 season’s ultimate goal.

In this Trib article Gorman makes a point that The POV has been singing all along since Pat Narduzzi became the head coach of Pitt, and that was the main goal of any season is to win the ACC Coastal and then the ACC Championship. That is the only way we have a chance to be in the football playoffs at the end of the season. Anything else is nice but an unfulfilled season.

I love that 2016 Penn State win I love our Clemson upset also, but the bald fact is that if we don’t get it done in the ACC matches we’re not fulfilling the mandate that Pat Narduzzi has been given as a head coach at Pitt…play championship football.

The question going into Year Three of Narduzzi’s tenure is if he can pull that off. To which I say “sure he can” – if he’s what we think he is as a head coach.

There is a big disconnect from how the Pitt fans view the football program and how the coaches, staff and players view the football program. We fans love those emotional wins, and those two great OOC wins last year were certainly emotional and  were great to watch.  But, and there is always a “but” involved when comes to Pitt football, in the long run they didn’t really advance the program as much as a championship would.  Any type of championship.

Continue reading “What Really Matters to Pitt in 2017”

Here’s the Latest POV Roundtable…

We went back to the regular Wednesday night Round Table show last night and Richman, Pitt-Cocks and I conducted a lengthy psychological assessment of Dr. Tom’s conversion to objectivity and deemed it appropiate as based on reality and honesty.

All kidding aside it is refreshing to me to carry on a call-in show with Tom under any circumstances of course and last night was no different.  Some topics we discussed:

Aston injury; suspensions, QB depth, most important game of the year, better or worse on offense and defense and anything else that popped in mind.

Enjoy!

Some other Pitt news – Mike Vukovcan wrote an optimistic piece about Ford’s  academic status then deleted it and put this in its place.

UPDATE (7:01 AM)

**Forget my previous post, I’m being told Paris Ford won’t be on the field today but the target for his much anticipated debut is next week. His grades are being submitted to the NCAA tomorrow.

Which means two things;   1) Whitehead isn’t cleared to play by the NCAA yet and with that three different high schools journey he made he might not end up being eligible and 2) the does NCAA takes some time, even a long time actually,  reviewing these submitted cases. Remember the NCAA has to look at every athlete in D1 and D2 in every sport who is submitting to the academic clearing house. From what I read they take the individual cases as date stamped and not by school urgency.

I still have a gut feeling he’ll miss part or all of the year. If it gets too long into the season for the NCAA to decide his status he’ll probably get a redshirt.

Here is a good “Five Takaways from PSN’s Alan Saunders…

Here are some tidbits from the Trib this morning…

Sorry guys but this cracks me up:

Increased swagger

Narduzzi sounds cautiously optimistic his secondary will be better.

“I like the swagger I see out of the secondary,” he said. “I don’t know what it is. Is it more confidence, more knowledge? Are they stronger, faster? Even if a ball goes over their head, I see them come back the next play and make another play. I see a swagger I didn’t see a year ago.”

Huh! Someone needs to tell the HC that it is his and his staff’s job to have gotten get those 2016 DB’s swagger going.  it sounds like he just stood back and watched them mail it in last season.

Last thing – here is a bit on the injuries…

Pitt fullback George Aston and cornerback Phillipie Motley — both atop the pre-camp depth chart at their positions — have not practiced and were on crutches this week.

Coach Pat Narduzzi offered little insight into the players’ injuries.

“It’s still being evaluated right now,” he said. “I’m not going to comment on something that’s not a fact yet. It’s way too early.

We fans have forgotten JR DB Phillipe Motley has been out of action also – he’s a returning starter at the CB position opposite Maddox – and another we can’t really afford to lose even for depth purposes should he not be the starter.