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”

POV Bits & Pieces & Call-In; 5/24/17

POV Bits & Pieces & Call-In; 5/24/17

Some semi-interesting news lately:

In football, as was talked about but I wasn’t sure if it had been etched in stone yet, – it looks like PSU is taking a hard line against really renewing the football rivalry.

There are a lot of terrible outcomes from the mass realignment of the earliest part of this decade, but this is by far the worst: the breakup of longtime rivalries.

Pitt and Penn State — or is it Penn State and Pitt? — are in the midst of a 4-year reunion, and it’s been great so far. The Panthers’ 42-39 win over the Nittany Lions in Pittsburgh last season was not only a thrilling game, but it kept Penn State out of the College Football Playoff. This is what college football rivalries are all about, no? Who wouldn’t want to make this an annual thing again?

Penn State, that’s who.

Speaking at a coaches’ caravan event last week, Penn State AD Sandy Barbour told Nittany Lions fans that the earliest their team would start playing their rivals to the west again after the current agreement expires in 2019 would be 2026.

You know what?  Any school that makes over $125+M off its football program as Penn State does can buy out games which have already been scheduled… and make it worthwhile for three different schools.  The smaller schools who get bumped will receive a greater paycheck – which is why they play schools like PSU in the first place. 

Then Pitt and PSU can reap the rewards of a long term series.

Here is something that is selfish and I think going in completely the wrong direction.  Apparently there is a rule proposal on the table to allow true freshmen to play up to four games their freshman year and still have a full four years eligibility left afterward.

But a new college football rule could allow redshirt freshmen to participate in four games during their first year on campus without surrendering a year of eligibility.

Coaches in the Atlantic Coast Conference and Southeastern Conference are in favor of the rule, first proposed by the American Football Coaches Association in Phoenix in early May. The rule might not go into effect until early 2018, but coaches see many significant benefits to the idea.

Fisher, who was the ACC football coaches’ chairman during this week’s ACC spring meetings, believes amending the redshirt rule to allow players to compete in four games can help improve player safety.

With now-NFL first round draft picks Leonard Fournette from LSU and Stanford’s Christian McCaffrey deciding to skip their bowl games last season to preserve their health, coaches feel players who decide to go that route can be replaced by younger teammates instead of giving another player a greater workload.

This topic has been in discussion for some time but it always was about the situation above – letting freshman play in a bowl game with penalty (loss of one year as a redshirt)

Student athletes become redshirts for many reasons. One reason is that the athlete may not be ready to balance the demands of academic requirements with athletic requirements. Redshirting provides the opportunity, with tutoring, to take some classes and get accustomed to the academic demands.

In 2016, a new status can apply called the academic redshirt. In 2016, the NCAA starts enforcing new, stricter admissions requirements for incoming freshman athletes. Under these new rules, a student-athlete who meets the school’s own academic admission requirements, but does not meet the NCAA’s new requirements (primarily a 2.3 GPA in 4 years) can enter school as an academic redshirt. This student can receive an athletic scholarship and practice with the team, but may not participate in competition. An academic redshirt does not lose a year of eligibility, but can take a later injury redshirt. Academic redshirts must complete nine credit hours in their first semester and can participate fully in the second year.[1]

Continue reading “POV Bits & Pieces & Call-In; 5/24/17”

Time of Possession Effect; Myth or Truth?

Time of Possession Effect; Myth or Truth?

The two teams battling in a football match always try to control the play clock.

They do that for a variety of reasons but the main ones are that if you have the ball the other team can’t score and the longer you hold onto possession of the ball the better chance you get to score. Pretty basic stuff.

Another is the more tired the opponent’s defense gets by being on the field for so long makes the odds for catching them in a mental or physical mistake thus taking advantage of that for quick scores and points on the board.

That is the theory anyway. I suppose it works that way but I’m just not sure that helps get a “W” in the win column any more than striking into the end zone quickly and often to garner more points than the other guy does.

Time of Possession, or TOP,  is easily the most misunderstood statistic in football I think.  Since our 2016 season ended I have read many Pitt fans say that our defense was on the field too much and got too tired to be effective. Thus the imbalance in TOP was responsible for the large amount of points per game our defense gave up.  Hmmm…

I wondered if that is true so I did some digging.  My findings are this – I really can’t tell if TOP is all that much of an indicator in the outcome of a game.  I know that sounds very wishy-washy but hold on. Here are some facts to think about first.

Continue reading “Time of Possession Effect; Myth or Truth?”

Keep That Wallet Closed!! New AD.

Keep That Wallet Closed!! New AD.

The University of Pittsburgh has a new Athletic Director – Heather Lyke.

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Won’t do this with our new live Panther mascot “Stevie”

I’m not too surprised the new AD’s a woman and have zero heartburn with it.  She seems qualified in short – and I say ‘in short’ because we really don’t know her yet.  Her list of achievements at Eastern Michigan is OK I suppose.

But it is blatantly obvious we went the most inexpensive route we could with this hire…

In 2015, she received a contract extension through July 21, 2020, that included her original annual salary of $245,000, The Ann Arbor (Mich.) News reported. She also was eligible for $103,000 in possible bonuses.

Before Barnes came to Pitt he was making $572K

Gallagher refused to reveal Barnes’ contract in terms of salary and length but said, “We tried to be fair and competitive. We want this to be a career move for him.”

At Utah State, Barnes made $572,169 in fiscal year 2014, according to the Utah Department of Finance.

Continue reading “Keep That Wallet Closed!! New AD.”

Most Succinct Pitt BB Headline Ever….

Most Succinct  Pitt BB Headline Ever….

“Jamie Dixon leads TCU past Kansas, kicks Pitt in groin

I’ve stayed away from BB talk on here because I historically haven’t been that interested in it.  But halfway through this season, and after reading the complaints about Kevin Stallings on here, I started paying more attention.

And what a waste of time that was.  Again, I didn’t watch much Pitt BB under Dixon – just tourney games but it seems his teams were 100% better than what I saw out of Pitt this season… and I don’t think Dixon had that much better talent every year either.

I had a phone conversation the other day with some interesting third-party info being passed – which means it is 50/50 at best – but supposedly Stallings wouldn’t mind moving on if the financial side of things didn’t hurt him.  Again, that may well be just water cooler talk but still… I wouldn’t be surprised on bit – would you?

We’ll wait and see on that. What is evident, and I’ll disagree with one of our commenters here, is that Stallings had zero control over that squad from the day he was hired.  My take on that?

These student/athletes aren’t stupid and whatever happens in the Pitt administration as far as coaching departures, hires, press conferences, etc…, affect them way more than that stuff affects Pitt fans.  After all, this is not only their educational opportunity on the line but in some cases it maybe their life’s work and huge financial opportunities in the balance also.

Continue reading “Most Succinct Pitt BB Headline Ever….”

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”

Call Out the Damage Control Team!

Call Out the Damage Control Team!
Editor Note: Our great friend and long time commenter Eric Wassel (MissingWlat) send me this piece for you guys to discuss.  Even though I don’t really follow Pitt BB that much I watched part of the UL game to see if Pitt was as bad as UPitt thinks… well, we know the answer to that now don’t we?
Last week Reed sought out volunteers to pen a basketball article. At the time, in the midst of a four game losing streak, I thought that it would be a good time to assess where the primary blame lies. There are a couple of viable theories. Did Jamie Dixon leave the cupboard bare? hqdefaultIs Kevin Stallings just a poor basketball coach? Do the players lack heart or senior leadership?

Let me state for the record, that a week ago I was in the camp that Coach Dixon was primarily to blame for his lack of recruiting and for leaving the program without a center, a competent point guard, or any quality depth. However, after tonight’s embarrassing loss to the Louisville Cardinals (just for emphasis: Final Score: Louisville 106, Pitt 51. Second worst loss in school history),  I am reevaluating my position.

Continue reading “Call Out the Damage Control Team!”