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

PITTVA.png

POV: Pitt vs Georgia Tech Game Thread

POV: Pitt vs Georgia Tech Game Thread

Yes- that is our own Dr. T getting ready to kick some Yellow Jacket ass. Actually that is an almost perfect Southpaw boxing stance shown bu the Old Dentist.

OK guys and gals – here is the official POV Georgia Tech Game Thread.  Enjoy the game and take your blood pressure medications as needed.

I will ask you that if you haven’t made a formal prediction yet to to go back to the GT Predictions article and leave your predictions there so it is easier to figure out who had the most accurate one.

We need this one badly folks – I suppose we could look at our PSU and OSU’s losses and make excuses that they were Top 10 opponents, but no longer is that the case.  This is our first ACC match and we need  to come through with a win.

If we can’t do that then we at least have to play a decent enough game so that we can feel like we can win other ACC games on our schedule.  Let’s hope we pull it out and that every one of our Panthers come out of the game as healthy as they went into it.

HTP! and Bring Home a Win!!!

POV Sunday Podcast; August 27, 2017

http://triblive.com/sports/college/pitt/12663774-74/quicker-defense-offers-pitt-football-hope

“I’ll just reference one of our ACC officials that comes out and works our practices every day. I didn’t ask for it; he just said, ‘Hey, that Maddox is different than he was last year.’ So for whatever that is – maybe you guys can find him somewhere; I’m not going to give you his name. But it was good to hear that from somebody else that watches every day.”

That’s a big question for me, too. So much of this defensive scheme is geared toward stopping the run, but the DTs are a big part of it; are these young guys up to the task? Charlie Partridge says they’ve done a good job learning their assignments and filling the right gaps and all of that, but I think that area is where Pitt has taken the biggest hit with all the departures on defense. Shakir Soto and Tyrique Jarrett were really good against the run.

https://pittsburgh.rivals.com/news/over-under-freshmen-who-will-play

The Pitt football program added its second recruit of the week Thursday, as local product David Green committed to head coach Pat Narduzzi.

A 6-foot-1 defensive lineman from Pittsburgh Central Catholic High School, Green chose the Panthers over Virginia Tech, Minnesota and Rutgers, among others.

He is rated a 3-star player by 247Sports and is the fourth defensive lineman in the 2018 class, joining fellow WPIAL products Noah Palmer and Devin Danielson and Maryland native John Morgan.

In total, the class of 2018 now has 14 players, with all 14 ranked as 3-star recruits by 247Sports. The website currently has the group ranked No. 53 in the country and No. 12 in the ACC

Redshirt SRs for 2018… Drop Herndon and LB Jaylen Williams?

https://pittsburgh.forums.rivals.com/threads/the-2017-scholarship-board.112979/

http://triblive.com/sports/college/pitt/12663774-74/quicker-defense-offers-pitt-football-hope

Losses on the defensive line have forced shuffling and resulted in the emergence of junior defensive tackle Shane Roy, who was repeatedly recognized by coaches for his efforts in camp. Roy also needs seasoning, but he may start next to redshirt freshman Keyshon Camp.

Pitt needs a pass rush to offset deficiencies in its secondary, but not even Ejuan Price’s 13 sacks could help last year. With Price in the NFL, that task is passed on to Dewayne Hendrix and Edwards. Hendrix is another of those players whose potential — due to injury — has been talked about more than put on display.

Both players are transfers, which says something about Pitt’s recruitment of defensive linemen before Narduzzi arrived in 2015.

Team Rankings Website

More detailed info on the GT vs Pitt game…

http://www.post-gazette.com/sports/Pitt/2017/08/26/pitt-football-heinz-field-atmosphere-improvements-college-football-2017/stories/201708260045

https://pittnews.com/article/121426/sports/pitt-alters-sweet-caroline-tradition/

Here is that blue shirt I mentioned…

POV Shirt Blue

Here is the pinned Tailgating Info article – please visit and let us know if you’ll be there….

 

 

 

POV Sunday Podcast; August 13th 2017

Qadree Ollison’s 2015 season (212 for 1121 yards @ 5.3 ypc and 11 TDs) extrapolated to Conner’s 298 carries of 2014 = 298 carries for 1516 yards (5.3 ypc), 16 TDs and 121 ypg. 

If he grabs the starting RB role this year and is the workhorse like Conner was in 2014 I have no doubt we can see the numbers above from him this season… and that would go a long way to helping Max Browne settle in at QB.

Peak’s Mailbox:  Fears…lack of experience at a lot of spots, lack of depth on the offensive line, a whole new situation for Max Browne, an unforgiving September schedule, unknown/unproven talent at running back. The offensive line is a big one.

https://pittsburgh.rivals.com/news/mailbag-8-12-2017-hopes-fears-hot-dogs-and-more

http://www.theacc.com/news/2017-all-acc-preseason-football-team-announced-07-19-2017

http://www.sportingnews.com/ncaa-football/news/preseason-college-football-rankings-2017-top-25-championship-teams-alabama-usc-michigan-ohio-state/psln63tvfekn1qoi05ayqy1j9

24. Pittsburgh Panthers 

Pittsburgh had an up-and-down season in 2016, but keep in mind they beat Penn State and Clemson. Pat Narduzzi’s third season should bring better results, and the addition of USC transfer Max Browne at quarterback is exciting. The Panthers must be more consistent to stay on here. 

  •  Sporting News – Browne as a ‘special mention” QB.
  •  Pitt picked 3rd in Coastal

X-Factor: Transfer QBs 

Former USC quarterback Max Browne is at Pitt, and former LSU quarterback Brandon Harris is at North Carolina. Can both of those highly-touted recruits energize their offenses enough to make it interesting? 

Sleeper: Pittsburgh 

Georgia Tech also is a possibility here, but we like what Browne could do for Pitt’s straightforward attack in Pat Narduzzi’s third season. Remember, Pitt beat Penn State and Clemson last season, but the Panthers also were wildly inconsistent. A bonus on the schedule is no Florida State, Clemson or Louisville.

CHRIS CLARK

 

Former five-star tight end Chris Clark, who is no longer transferring to Syracuse, told The Daily Orange Monday night that SU pulled his offer and that he wanted to join the team.

“Like it makes no sense to me whatsoever … that they pulled my offer,” Clark said via Twitter direct message.

He said that Scott Shafer had the discussion with him and the head coach said, “(Syracuse) wasn’t the best fit.” Clark also added that the offer was pulled before Syracuse played Pittsburgh on Saturday, a game he was planning to attend.

And now…

“I don’t really think I was mature enough to handle all the expectations that come with college football,” Clark said. “I was making some bonehead decisions out there and not really following the way that it goes. I was just kind of being a headache.

“Over the last couple years, I’ve matured so much. I don’t even remember that guy I was. A lot has changed. Not to mention it was also so far from home. It was a lot to deal with. Getting to a school closer to home seemed like it made the most sense to me.”

Good – we need him to be mature and effective. He’s one I think could live to billing on offense.