A shorter Mother’s Day podcast today – reviewed the last two articles about the RBs and QBs and threw out other assorted ramblings.
(This is the second of a longer series looking at our individual positions that need to be re-filled in 2017 and whether we will meet the PRODUCTION we had in those positions. We will not factor in true freshman at this point as we have no idea what they can and cannot do).
Much like in 2016 when we were faced with the prospect of having to put out a passing game without Tyler Boyd, we are revisiting that situation with this season’s loss of James Conner at running back.
At the risk of being unpopular (again) I’ll say this. As I wrote many times during last year’s offseason that we wouldn’t miss Boyd much at all – and I took major heat, some of it from the more mainstream media, for saying that I’ll repeat that thought for this year’s running backs.
We won’t miss James Conner’s 2016 production as much as fans think. I love Conner, have had great personal conversations with him and feel that as a human being he’s one of the finest men I have ever met – and that is saying a lot given my professional career. Pitt and his peer players will miss his wonderful human traits and his friendship no doubt. Those are the intangibles James Conner brought to the Pitt football program and will continue to bring to any organization he is affiliated with for the rest of his life.
Unlike Tyler Boyd’s leaving, Conner’s departure is going to cost us big time in the leadership and role model areas.
I truly wish he’d have stayed at Pitt for his 4th year of eligibility but understand completely why he declared – and what a grand decision that was given the relatively high round in which he was picked and by the Steelers to boot. Pittsburgh fans will have a lot more time to watch Conner play football I’m sure, just not in a Panther uniform.
But as a running back on our team last year, and the production he had out on the field, he’s replaceable and it will most likely be by committee. Again I’m speaking of what he did out on the field production wise.
We’ll make up for Conner’s statistical production, especially rushing yards and TDs by this year’s batch of RBs, although his 20 TDs all told last season won’t be met by one player, that’s (maybe) for sure. Continue reading “2017’s RBs; Upgrade, Downgrade or Draw”
Here is my take on the basics of college football recruiting – I’m not a professional on a recruiting website and so some of this may be off-base a bit, but I think it is in essence how things work…
We all know the recruiting sites’ star rating systems are somewhat suspect but they are the thing most regular football fans use as recruit comparisons and for a conversational baseline when discussing the recruiting game. Which, as we are in the doldrums of college football until August, is a continuing main topic on here so let’s explore it a bit.
Recruiting stars awarded aren’t the only thing to look at when trying to decide how much you feel a recruit is going to contribute to your future teams. Two other equally important issues are offers and official visits. We’ll get to those in a minute but first the star system.
It is for the fans way more than for the actual decision makers. The recruiting sites live and die by the star system because it captures the fan’s interest and keeps them coming back to the sites to see how their school is doing in the star chasing game – which is also how the school’s recruiting classes are nationally ranked week to week.
Here is a very good USA Today piece on the ranked 2017 recruiting class as composed of all the recruiting sites. It is explained as this:
The composite represents an average of the rankings by the four major recruiting services: 247Sports, ESPN, Rivals and Scout. All rankings went to Top 50, except ESPN, which is Top 40. Teams not ranked in ESPN’s Top 40 received a 41; teams not ranked in the other rankings received a 51.
We have talked many times about the need for highly rated recruits to build a high-quality nucleus for a successful team. There is no doubt that the longer a HC stays at a school, especially during his first contract, he gets better recruiting opportunities. We saw that with Dave Wannstedt when his recruiting took off after the 13-9 win in Morgantown during the 2007 season.
But recruiting young players isn’t enough and is truly just the beginning. With all the standards, rules and regulations, both internal of the university and external of the NCAA and ACC, it makes a college career into a minefield for a lot of student/athletes. Some thrive at Pitt to become the star players they were projected to be and some fall by the wayside due to either inattention to responsibilities, bad actions, injuries or by just plain being recruited over so they feel they must look for playing time elsewhere.
Just to show how this player attrition works let’s look at who of the 4* and 5* blue-chip players Pitt has landed over the years either left on their own accord or were forced out before their eligibility expired (those who departed the program are in bold):
First off, as promised, here is the donation of your golfing money to the Grassroots of Howard County Day Resource Center.
It was a check for $300, was well received and is needed – as you can see by the missing drywall in the ceiling of the rooms behind us.
I can’t thank you guys enough for chipping in the way you all did and I will say that I made sure your donated fees are being expressly used to support the homeless services in our county. Not only did we all have a great time – you probably put some new boots on, or food in the stomach of, someone living out in the woods.
Because I felt left out and had to hold down the Quicksilver bar all by myself when others were out having fun golfing, I went out yesterday and bought myself a complete set (used of course) of Jack Nicklaus’ Golden Bear Tranzition clubs.
So, after this podcast I’m off to a driving range to see if my lower back will actually explode if I hit a bucket or two. Get this – I bought them used at a local Play It Again store and they asked $90 as is. The bag was crappy and the club’s grips were in bad shape also. I told them I’d come back last evening to pick them up. They re-gripped all the clubs and gave me a very nice new (used) bag… and gave me 20% off for a military discount.
My daughter had said she’d pay half as a small present and so Ta Da! – These clubs cost me $39 total.
Not even a transfer; Aaron Thomas is refusing to board the sinking ship.
Here is the competition RB Dion Lewis faced in his freshman year at Pitt. If you remember LeSean McCoy had declared early for the NFL draft after only two years at Pitt (2007-08) so he was gone by Lewis and Graham’s first year.
Not a whole lot to worry about there but the other, more highly ranked, Ray Graham. Lewis was a 3*, Graham was a 4* and returning RB Chris Burns was a 4* also. Lewis blew their socks off that year.
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.