2017’s WRs; Upgrade, Downgrade or Draw

2017’s WRs; Upgrade, Downgrade or Draw

This is the seventh of a longer POV series looking at the individual positions which need to be re-filled in 2017 and whether we will meet the PRODUCTION we had in those positions in ’16. We will not factor in true freshman at this point.

Wide Receiver will be a position of strength for us in this coming season almost surely.  I say that because as we wrote about the QB position early in this series I think we’ll have a downgrade there – so the ripple effect may impact the overall production of our WR corps for ’17.

To start let’s look at who departed Pitt over the off-season.  rsSR Dontez Ford and rsJR Zach Challingsworth.  Well, that was pretty simple wasn’t it? 

Of course our main WR coming back is the exciting and inconsistent – which is part of the excitement because we hold our breath hoping he’ll come down with the ball – rsSR Jester Weah.

Weah is a great example of kids who are just average in their recruiting rating (3*, 5.5) and don’t burst right out of the gate in college… but learn the new game and flourish in their upperclassmen years.  And yes, that is what a good player will do. 

Great players usually do make an impact earlier and Weah may have also if he hadn’t been stuck behind Tyler Boyd and Dontez Ford for his first few years.  But for now he’s pretty darn good and may just be great this season.

Weah has had the catching yips and was publicly open and refreshingly honest about that which I like him even more for.  He has great downfield speed and good moves – but his hands used to let him down when it came to gameday.  More on that later…

Continue reading “2017’s WRs; Upgrade, Downgrade or Draw”

2017’s DEs; Upgrade, Downgrade or Draw

2017’s DEs; Upgrade, Downgrade or Draw

This is the fifth of a longer POV series looking at the individual positions which 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.

DE 17.pngWe have been blessed as a team to have had Ejuan Price at the defensive end position on our defense these last six years… that’s not a typo as two of those years were injury redshirts seasons.  His constant and stalwart play masked some other problems we had on defense last season;  mainly pressure on the QB from his fellow defenders.

Wait! you may say we had a ton of sacks and we sure did with 43 which was good for 6th nationally.  But what is hidden there is that translates to only 8% of the times 592 times the opposing QBs dropped back to pass.  As we know those same QBs ripped us apart on the other 92% of those pass plays.

So – as we know and are reminded all the time, stats can be deceiving. Here we see 43 sacks and think that is fantastic and it pretty much is, but is was the lack of constant pressure from the other DE position and the LBs that fell by the wayside… and helped to account for those 331 yards passing per game against us.

But that is the heart and soul of a Narduzzi defense.  Stop the run and put strong pressure on the quarterback.

That worked out pretty well in 2015; 2016 was a completely different story however as the other team’s passer had more than enough time to throw those intermediate and deep route completions for a substantial 12.4 ypc rate and 28 TDs.  You may think 12.4 ypc given up isn’t so bad but let’s remember that it happened 350 times to our defense.

That is a recap of what happened.  Here are who helped it to come about from the DE position. First, as mentioned, we had Price who was just plain fantastic from that spot. 13 sacks for losses of 92 yards and 23 tackles for loss (TFL) for a total 123 yards…  ‘Nuff said. He was great for us.

Continue reading “2017’s DEs; Upgrade, Downgrade or Draw”

POV Sunday Podcast; April 30, 2017

POV Sunday Podcast; April 30, 2017

I have a few Pitt POV car magnets left – the big ones like this:

20170214_152831.jpg

Let me know if you are interested – send an email to me with your contact info (address & phone) and I’ll get one out to you if I have enough.  Please put “Car Magnet” in the subject line.

Don’t forget Tuesday night’s POV Roundtable Call-In show. It has been a resounding success and growing by leaps and bounds.  Here is last’s weeks recording if anyone missed it – we cracked ourselves up until Ike peed his pants.

I’ll post up the participant particulars in Tuesday’s article. I start a meet around 7:45 or so then start recording when everyone is set and ready around 8:00.

News for the uncaring: Rushel Shell was chosen by the Steelers as an undrafted Free Agent… now it gets even more interesting.on the Southside in May – July before they leave for training camp.  BTW – Shell and Conner didn’t overlap on the Pitt roster.

RS:  Hi, I’m running back Rushel Shell. I went to Pitt too.

JC:  Hey, I’m James Conner – you know, the guy who made you an answer to a trivia question.

Also – The Doctors and I are talking about back surgery, up until now they have been giving me the 50/50 walk again line, which I told them to cram where the sun don’t shine.  I kind of hope we can do it but if so I’ll be calling for more donations for booze and earplug money if I’m to be trapped in the house for weeks with my wife.

Correction: Staunton, VA to Blacksburg, VA is actually 117 miles so it would be a ‘going to or from’ stop.

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Now that Conner No Long Stalks the Field…

Now that Conner No Long Stalks the Field…

As part of a series looking at individual units we will try to patch-up, rebuild  or strengthen in time for the 2017 opener against Youngstown State I’ve switch between offense and defense articles taking closer looks.

We’ve talked about the Tight Ends, the Defensive Line and the Linebackers and the QBs and offense in general.

But I have some real concerns about our running game and would like to take a closer look at the Running Backs – maybe researching this piece will make me feel better. 

2016-rushing

To recap last season’s rushing production here are the final stats for our run game in total and the reason we were #28th in the nation at 225.1 ypg with a nice 5.4 ypc average.

That was a pretty big jump from our 2015 production that saw us at #44th with only 186.6 and a 4.77 ypc… and a jump up of almost a yard adds up over the season.

Continue reading “Now that Conner No Long Stalks the Field…”

Pitt’s Tight Ends and What Else?

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.

Continue reading “Pitt’s Tight Ends and What Else?”

Pitt Football’s Glory Days; Part 3

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”

Pitt Football’s Glory Days: Part 1

Pitt Football’s Glory Days: Part 1

Sometimes when I’m trying to figure out what to write for the next article I take a look at some of the historical stuff that pertains to Pitt football and I try to figure out patterns or events that I can point to which would be interesting to talk about.  With that I have found something that I think will be nice to share with you guys.

Lets look back at what we all feel were the glory days of Pitt football.600px-pittwvuatexpopark1908.. and to me that means not going back to the turn of the earlier century, the early 1900s, even though we did kick ass then when football was a different animal all together and we played at Forbes field… but into the 1930s. 

In other words lets look at Pitt’s first rush of success from when football was more modern and the forward pass was fully integrated.

Today we’ll make that Part 1 of our look-back.  Part 2 will cover 1974 until 1983 then in Part 3 we’ll look over the last decade… yeah, believe it or not the last 10 years have been a highlight for us. Continue reading “Pitt Football’s Glory Days: Part 1”