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”

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.

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

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”

POV Roundtable Call-in Tonight; 7/19/17

We’ll have our weekly Roundtable Discussion again this evening starting at 8:00 pm.  I’ll be in the meeting around 7:45 or so if you want to join in a bit early…

Here is how to get in via internet:

Meeting ID

303520973

 Meeting URL

https://bluejeans.com/303520973

Just want to dial in on your phone?

1) +1.408.740.7256   (United States)
2) Enter Meeting ID: 303520973
3) Press #
4) Enter Moderator Passcode: 2615#   (Remember the # sign at the end of the number)

******************************************************************************

Possible Topics for tonight:

* Replacement starters on O and D? Discuss article choices

* Henderson’s 2017 role… What if he goes down early?

*QB2 battle? Do you believe there actually is a QB1 battle?

http://www.post-gazette.com/sports/Pitt/2017/07/18/ben-dinucci-max-browne-pitt-qb-race-pat-narduzzi-acc-media-days/stories/201707180117

* Our record after three games?  Do the non-conference games matter?

* Which positions do we switch players if the season starters fail in the first three games?

* Discuss ACC Channel required infrastructure changes… Such as Pitt radio shows, radio booth, Pitt TV channel and new studio.

http://www.post-gazette.com/sports/Pitt/2017/07/14/acc-network-media-days-pitt-ad-heather-lyke/stories/201707140178

*Pitt picked 4th in Coastal division.

http://www.post-gazette.com/sports/Pitt/2017/07/17/acc-preseason-football-rankings-2017-pitt-football-miami-coastal-florida-state-seminoles/stories/201707170095

Pitt’s National Perception – good PSN article:

http://pittsburghsportsnow.com/2017/07/19/benz-overlooked-pitt-can-change-media-perception-one-big-season

Pre-Season Awards Lists:

Posted Headline Category
7/19/2017 O’Neill, Henderson Represent Pitt on All-ACC Preseason Team Football
7/19/2017 Pitt’s Max Browne Named to Unitas Golden Arm Watch List Football
7/18/2017 Weah, O’Neill Named Candidates for Biletnikoff, Wuerffel Honors Football
7/17/2017 Henderson, Whitehead Selected to Hornung Award Watch List Football
7/14/2017 Pitt Highlights at #ACCKickoff Football
7/14/2017 Jordan Whitehead Named to Jim Thorpe Award Watch List Football

 

Where There Are No Question Marks

Last week I wrote a lengthy article titled “Here’s Hoping For the Best” where I listed the positions where we would have to be replacing departed starters and how well I though we’d do in that regard – which was on the negative side. This article will be about our returning starters who will almost assuredly do well.

If you remember for going into the 2017 season we have only six returning starters on offense and just four on defense.  That is a hell of a lot of ground to make up to equal or better the quality of play we had last season.  The real rub is that we are going to rely pretty heavily on youth (rsFR and SOs) if the fan’s belief that Narduzzi will play better talent over experience.

I wonder about that last point and have a feeling we’ll see some old familiar faces in places we really don’t want to meaning the defensive backfield.  Narduzzi has talked numerous time in the off-season about Maddox SR) , Briggs (JR) and Phillipie Motley (JR) in addition to the one kid everyone wants to see in the lineupJordan Whitehead (JR).

So let’s talk about the ’17 players who we know are going to be returning starters and how well we think they will play.

Since we have already mentioned Whitehead let’s start with him. As far as any competition in his new position, Free Safety as opposed to the Strong Safety position he played his first two seasons, I don’t think there will be any worry with him as his talent is about as top end as it gets.  Add to that his two solid years starting in our defensive backfield experience and he’s a lock.

Continue reading “Where There Are No Question Marks”

Here’s Hoping for the Best…

Here’s Hoping for the Best…

This is the season which we all believe will start to show Narduzzi’s worth as a recruiter but there is something other than that being overlooked there – this is also the year we are going to see just how well Narduzzi’s position coaches and coordinators have done at teaching our young players they inherited to become full-time starters.

We fans tend to look back at recruit rankings and forget that they don’t mean squat unless there is a staff in place to take that raw talent and make it really work at the D1 & Power Five level.  This is especially true at the OL positions. 

Pitt’s history (and every other D1 program’s) is lettered with recruits that came onboard with high potential and great expectations only to become backups, bench warmers or kids that didn’t make it a full four year’s in the program. Some just didn’t have what it takes, some didn’t care to work hard and some may not have had good enough position coaches to teach them how to play at this level.

As far as Pitt 2017 playing time experience goes when you look at the two-deep on the chart below you’ll see that 15 of the starting 22 positions are still manned by Paul Chryst recruits, and I don’t care what this list says Wirginis will start the YSU game at MLB – how long he stays there is another question.  So we will see some of Narduzzi’s new recruits get playing time – mostly on defense where we need the most help.

HCPN’s position coaches have now had three years to work with those PC recruits to fit smoothly into his offensive and defensive philosophies and it will be interesting to see how well they will fair as full-time starters this season. Those now-starters would be MLB Wirginis, C Dintino, RT Jared Jones-Smith, DE Allen Edwards,  Money LB Ziese, S Briggs and CB Motley.

Pittsburgh Sports Now reported that Pitt has released the pre-Fall Camp depth chart. Hmmm, more like “These are the only viable players who can play this position” chart.  When you have only 10 of 22 starting positions returning there has to be a heavy dose of wishful think on fan’s (and the staff’s) parts to get back up to the level of play of the year before. We’ll see that writ large in trying to match the record breaking offense we had in 2016.

Continue reading “Here’s Hoping for the Best…”