The OC Search

The OC Search

I’ll start with this, not because I live in the South and it’s relevant to me, but because I think it nicely illustrates the point that no matter what happens with this OC search, and the Pitt team in general, there are going to be some fans that are unhappy.  That’s just a fact of life.

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Of course I’m pretty sure all of these tweets are in jest, but with Crimson Tide fans you just never know.  A six pack of Busch + a couple of generations of too-close cousins + a cut-rate Android phone can make just about any night of the week interesting on the Twitter.

Okay on to more relevant Pitt Business.  If you haven’t heard, Pitt is searching for a new Offensive Coordinator.  This is arguably the second-most important coaching position on the staff and it’s kind of a big deal.

So what do we know so far?

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Six ways to Saturday – Analyzing the 2019 Early Signing Class

Six ways to Saturday – Analyzing the 2019 Early Signing Class

Editor’s Note:  I had originally planned to do a more in-depth analysis on the class, but I have an 18 month old and a job and so this will have to wait.  I’ll plan on publishing it sometime between Christmas and New Years when there is some down time.  In the meantime have a look at Pat Narduzzi’s presser and feel free to weigh in.

There isn’t much that hasn’t been said about this class already.  Narduzzi, as he is known to do, said a lot in his press conference yesterday afternoon.  He said they are building depth.  He said they are bringing in better athletes.  He said some guys could probably switch position.

Something interesting that I don’t think we’ve heard from him before, is that there are three different groups that work with strength coach Dave Andrews.

There is the “Power” group, and that is the big linemen, both offensive and defensive.  Pitt brought in seven of those.

There is the “Big Skill” group, which includes Quarterback (and what else?).  Narduzzi said Pitt brought in five of those.

There is also the “Skill” Group, which Narduzzi mentions includes Tight Ends and Linebackers.  Bigger guys who can run.  Pitt signed six of those.

Narduzzi mentioned the geographical breakdown.  Four from PA, Five from Florida.  A couple of kids from Canada.

He mentioned that 17 of the 18 signees were team captains.  Six were state champions.

He gave props to the recruiting office.  He gave props to the academic staff.  He gave props to Andre Powell for being from South Carolina and opening up that state.  He gave props to Shawn Watson for recruiting (four star QB) Davis Beville.

He talked about each one of the recruits.

He took a veiled shot at Penn State (ostensibly), and covered his hind-end on the whole Nick Malone thing.

“I consider the whole state of Pennsylvania is my message out there is we go slow. I am not going to offer guys early in this area and try to pull out on them. I just don’t want to do it.   So we’re always going to take our time in this area because too often people offer kids and then they back up and you never hear from them again. That’s not going to happen here. At least we sure hope it’s not going to happen. Sometimes things happen, but we want to offer those guys and we want them.”

He answered questions.  He acknowledged that Pitt is not Clemson, and threw out the obligatory remark about five stars.

“But we’re going to recruit the guys we’re capable of recruiting. We’re not going to whine if we don’t get a five-star. There are a lot of five stars that we love. There are a lot of five stars that we don’t love, and we’re like see you later, not good enough and there are a lot of things you don’t like about them. I like those hungry guys.”

All in all we’ve learned that you have to take everything that Pat Narduzzi says with a grain a salt.  And yet, he’s also shown that in many cases there is a grain of truth buried in all that hyperbole.  (See you in Charlotte anyone?)   And while I am guarding my expectations, it’s hard not to be a little bit excited.

Hail2Pitt!

Michaelangelo

 

 

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.

Continue reading “No More Excuses”

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.

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

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.

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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.

Continue reading “One For The Money, Two For The Show…”