ACC Accolades

ACC Accolades

Say what you want about our team’s performance against superior talent, but Pitt has performed admirably against like-and-inferior foes. We’ve exceeded many fans’ expectations this year, and these individual honors are well-earned.

Six Panthers Named to All-ACC Football Team

An additional six Pitt players received Honorable Mention recognition

 

PITTSBURGH—Six Pitt players were named to the All-Atlantic Coast Conference Football Team announced today by the league office, while an additional six received Honorable Mention All-ACC.

Senior tailback Qadree Ollison and senior offensive tackle Stefano Millin were second-team All-ACC honorees. The Panthers had four third-team selections: senior tailbackDarrin Hall, senior guard Mike Herndon, sophomore center Jimmy Morrissey and sophomore placekicker Alex Kessman.

Receiving Honorable Mention recognition were junior Maurice Ffrench (as both an all-purpose player and return specialist), senior fullback George Aston, senior offensive tackle Alex Bookser, senior guard Connor Dintino, junior cornerback Dane Jackson and junior safety Damar Hamlin.

The official All-ACC Team is voted on by conference head coaches, a representative from each of the 14 schools’ radio broadcast teams and select media members who cover the league on a daily basis.

Ollison and Hall were arguably the top tailback tandem in the ACC this past season. The Panthers have never had a 1,000-yard rushing duo but are on the cusp of that historic first.

Ollison (Niagara Falls, N.Y./Canisius) has rushed for 1,134 yards and 10 touchdowns on 176 carries (6.44 avg.). He is only the sixth player in Pitt history to achieve multiple 1,000-yard rushing seasons. Ollison had 1,121 in 2015 when he also was a second-team All-ACC pick.

Hall (Youngstown, Ohio/Austintown Fitch) has rushed for 935 yards and nine touchdowns on 123 carries (7.60 avg.). His yards-per-carry average ranks sixth nationally and second in the ACC.

The Panthers’ offensive front has paved the way for a ground game that ranks 18th nationally (232.7 avg.). Millin (Massillon, Ohio/Perry) was a key addition for the unit this past offseason, joining the Panthers as a graduate transfer from Kent State. He has started all 12 games at left tackle.

On the interior, Herndon (Greenville, Va./Riverheads) has started every game at right guard. Morrissey (Huntingdon Valley, Pa./La Salle College H.S.), who maned Pitt’s center position for 23 consecutive starts, had his all-star season cut short due to an injury sustained late in the Nov. 17 Wake Forest victory.

Kessman (Clarkston, Mich./Clarkston) leads the Panthers in scoring with 68 points on 10-of-13 field goals and 38-of-40 PATs. He has displayed one of the strongest legs in college football, kicking six field goals of more than 50 yards over the past two years. This season, he has a 55-yard kick, two 54-yarders and a 53-yarder.

As champions of the Coastal Division, the Panthers (7-5, 6-2) will face Atlantic Division winner Clemson (12-0, 8-0) in the Dr Pepper ACC Football Championship Game this Saturday, Dec. 1. The game, played in Charlotte’s Bank of America Stadium, will kick off at 8 p.m., and be nationally televised by ABC (WTAE-TV, Channel 4, in Pittsburgh).

 

 

MMQB: Demons Exorcised; Pitt wins ACC Coastal Division Title

MMQB:  Demons Exorcised; Pitt wins ACC Coastal Division Title

Same Old Pitt died on Saturday, just as Kenny Pickett came of age.  Pitt’s defense held the #32 offense in the country to 206 yards passing and 79 yards rushing.  They did it on the road, and in the face of questionable officiating.  Make no mistake Pitt fans, this is what we signed up for.   My good, bad and ugly are below.  Sound off and post yours!

The Good:  

  1. The team’s response in the second half.  How many times have we seen Pitt come out flat in the first half and stay flat for the rest of the game?   Not this time.  Whatever Narduzzi said to them in the locker room stuck.

    Kenny Pickett - University of Pittsburgh
    Eye of the Panther
  2. The Defense.  Yes, Wake missed some throws, but by and large, this is the defense that was advertised in camp.
  3. Kenny Pickett.  23/30-316-3.  At least two of his touchdowns came on third down.  Ladies and Gentlemen, we have our quarterback.

The Bad:

  1.  I think the offense in the first half had every fan in Pitt Nation feeling the same way.  “Oh no, not again”.
  2. Jimmy Morrissey’s injury.  We can afford to lose him for Miami, but we will need every hand on deck for the Championship.  PGH Sports Now has the only update at the time of writing.  “Sources” say it’s an ankle injury.  Stefano Millin says this:  “he’s good”

The Ugly:

  1. I was going to make a comment about the white uniforms, but daggone it we just won the first ACC Coastal Football Championship in Pitt History.  If the uniforms were the worst part of the day, I’ll take it.  Turn on those Victory Lights and keep ’em on all week.  #Hail2Pitt!

 

Coastal Clinched

Scouting Wake Forest

Scouting Wake Forest

I’m not convinced Wake Forest is our true opponent this Saturday.

Yes they have the #32 ranked offense in the country, and yes, they have an all-ACC caliber receiver who is 79 yards shy of 1000, and yes they have a quarterback that threw for 372 yards against NC State, and yes they beat then-14th-ranked NC State last week on the Road.  And yes it’s Senior day.

And so you’d think Wake Forest is set up to exploit our less-than-stellar pass defense which is ranked #82.

But the reality is that Wake’s quarterback, Jamie Newman, is their backup, and the defense that surrendered those 372 passing yards is ranked 128th in the FBS.  Yes folks, 128th.  Kind of makes you proud to be a Pitt fan doesn’t it?  128th is the second worst in the entire FBS.  Right behind Texas Tech and right in Front of Houston.

Thats not to say that Wake Forest isn’t dangerous.  Sophomore WR Greg Dortch, is a 5’9″ speedster, and he’s just the kind of player that could give our defense fits.  He’s fast, he’s shifty, and I’m sure they will move him all over the field.  I fully expect him to have a big day.  He also returns punts and kicks, so keep an eye on special teams, especially if the game is close.

Screen Shot 2018-11-15 at 10.06.24 PM.pngWake’s Running game is no slouch either.  They have two backs that can gash you, and a seasoned offensive line that specializes in run blocking.  (Sound familiar?)   Senior Matt Cobern at 5’10”, 200 lbs ran for 243 yards vs Louisville (yes I know… Louisville is bad, but 243 is 243).  Cobern has run for 698 yards on the year with a 4.8 yd average.  He is physical and has good speed.  Cobern is a “little banged up” according to Blogger So Dear, but he’s listed as the starter this week, perhaps because it is Senior Day.

Junior Cade Carney (Cade…you don’t hear that game up north) is a little bigger at 5’11” 215 and has run for 629 yards on the season, with a 5.2 average. Oddly enough he seems to show up in big games.  With the exception of Syracuse game, his rushing average is higher against the better teams he’s faced this year.

Wake’s offensive line features three RS seniors in in the middle and two redshirt Junior tackles.  They are experienced, and they are pretty darn good at run blocking.  They rank 27th in “line yards” which is a measure of run blocking effectiveness.  (For the record Pitt is 10th).  However they rank 85th in sack rate, which tells me we should have a chance to get to the quarterback.  (Pitt is  92nd).  I believe I heard Narduzzi mentioned the Deacs runs some of the same zone schemes as us, so I suppose the silver lining here is that our front seven should at least have an idea of what to expect.

Wake Forest Achilles heel is their defense.  They are 102nd in rushing defense, 123rd in passing yards allowed, and 120th in overall yards allowed.  You have to think Watson and Borbley are licking their chops over this matchup.

Which brings me to my original point.  Wake forest is not the real opponent on Saturday.  The real opponent is ourselves.  If we go down there and execute, we should win this game handily.  We are statistically equal or better in nearly every category (except passing, except passing…), and we’ve played a tougher schedule by half.  (Ours is ranked 27th, Wake’s 59th).

But…Pitt.

You would like to believe that after a statement win last Saturday, the 19 seniors on this team are focused 100% on the task at hand, and they’ve got everybody else focused on it too.  With nothing other than my gut to guide me, I’d say there is about an 80% chance of that being true.  And while I do not want to sit here and be the naysayer while we we have so much positive momentum, I have been a Pitt fan too long to put blind faith in any Pitt football team.  So for me, last week is over (and yes it was a great week).   For me, this is a “Prove It” game, just like every game left on the schedule.  I’ve had my heart ripped out too many times to go all-in.

Hail to Pitt

Michaelangelo

 

 

 

 

 

Monday Morning QB; North Carolina

Monday Morning QB; North Carolina

With an extended time period between the last game and MMQB a lot of the Good, Bad and Ugly has already been discussed… But here goes anyway with one additional category.

GREAT!! (Old Gold font)

Fran’s work each and every week to make sure the POVers attending the home games can have the best time possible. I really regret missing the “BigB Memorial Tailgate” (even though he isn’t dead yet) on Thursday afternoon and evening before this game.  Fran started setting everything up soon after 2:00pm and from all reports the festivities were fantastic.

For those who missed the tailgate and didn’t yet see photos please jump over to this article and check them out.

GOOD

We have to start with RB Darrin Hall’s excellent day. To keep his 100+ yards per game streak alive is a real accomplishment but to do it while scoring 28 points is superb.  That was, save a FG by Kesserman, all the scoring we did on Thursday evening.

His stat line for the NC game was this:  23 for 121 at a  5.3 ypc rate and 4 TDs.  Excellent again but I think one of the more important facts from his work is that he did this with a longest rush of only 17 yards.

It is one thing to pile up 252 yards in a game when you have a 92 yard run and a 79 yard run – hell, that alone is 171 yards but in his last two games he’s broken 100 yards with longs of only 14 and now 17 yards.

In his last three games he’s carried the ball 72 times for 486 yards (6.75 ypc!!) and 8 TDs which is a career year for most D1 RBs.

Quadree Ollison and the TEs blocking for Hall... including #45 Devon Edwards on one of them.

In the video above you’ll see that Hall didn’t get those TDs all on his own. Since Shawn Watson opened his emails and read the one from Ike suggesting that he move Ollison into the H-Back position to lead block for Hall we’ve been getting great yardage on the ground.  Kidding about the email thing – but let’s do give Watson some kudos for making that move as it has turned out extremely well.

BTW – as you are watching said video remember that first passing play on it – more on that later.

BAD

I’m not going to label our QB Ben DiNucci’s work on Thursday ugly because when a QB throws zero INTs that is a real plus… but I have no qualms about calling it “BAD”.

Overall DiNucci completed 11 of 16 pass attempts for 142 yards and no TDs or INTs. That was his passing but here is something else to note;  that first play on the video above was a 30 yarder to a wide open Hall on a swing pattern out of the backfield which only succeeded because it was on broken coverage by the NC DBs.

While Pitt fans will take 30 yards through the air anytime with this QB… if you take that lucky play away DiNucci was 10/16 for 122 yards.

I don’t know.  Maybe I’m splitting hairs here but DiNucci is just so very ineffective that it drives me crazy.  However his passing isn’t what lands him in the “BAD” column this week – it is his overall decision-making and simplistic approach to playing the position.

It is like he’s in binary mode out there.  Primary receiver open/closed?  No progression, no looking off defenders and really,  no run/don’t run? choices either.  Once he leaves the pocket it is like his brain blinks off…. on/off?

Maybe we should get him a shock-collar like the ones your dog wears to keep him in your yard. Make him wear it in practice and that way he’ll learn to trust his offensive lineman and stay entrenched in the pocket.

I think the setting #4 would do in his case:

Continue reading “Monday Morning QB; North Carolina”

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”

Friday Predictions Thread – Virginia

Sorry for the very short piece today.  I’m doing a  WWII Service Veterans Gratitude Pinning Ceremony with keynote address today for 17 95+-year-old Veterans and that’s a full day (of standing on my feet and a rubber chicken lunch) of ceremonies… so little time to write this morning.

But it is your words that are important in the prediction pieces.  How say you with this one?

I think we’ll win two more games this season so this pretty much has to be one of them – if our run game can produce again.  I doubt we’ll see lightning strike twice like Hall’s performance last week – but if the OL can bring the thunder for a good regular grind-it-out rushing attack.then we’ll be OK.

Pitt 28 – VA 21

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