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”
(This is the start of a longer series looking at our individual positions that need to be re-filled in 2017)
This time in the calendar year is when we football fans start to go stir crazy. We are about a month removed from the Spring Game and still have 11 weeks until the beginning of Pitt’s Fall camp. Ugh. It is still a bit early to see who is going to round out the two-deep for our offense, defense and special teams… but let’s not let that stop us from speculating.
So with an eye toward the fact that things might shuffle around due to transfers (players coming in hopefully), injuries and the peculiarities of the HC, his coordinators and position coaches we’ll jump in with a sharpened pencil and start doing just that – speculating.
I mean that is what we do as fans, yes? So let’s cogitate on who is going to be the ‘next man up‘ in positions where there were graduations, dismissals and position switches.
What I’ll do first is look at each position, or unit, along the offense as of today and write down who I think will be the starter and why it will be that guy. Then I’ll assign a ranking of “Upgrade” if we see an upgrade, “Downgrade’ if we see a downgrade or “Draw” if I think we’ll match last year’s player(s) in the position or unit.
Please remember that this is in comparison to the departed player and not a grade of the new player himself. Thus a “downgrade” from NT when Aaron Donald departed would have been assigned even if it had have been anyone college and in the NFL almost and they would still have been a loss at that position.
So here goes and let’s start with what is considered the most important position on the team.
We all should understand by now that Max Browne is going to be the starter behind center this new season. Regardless of whatever coach-speak we hear about a ‘real’ QB competition from now until the Youngstown State game practices start in the last week of August, you can rest assured that Browne was brought in because the staff didn’t feel comfortable with the extant talent at the position.
(Who are the two in the headline graphic?)
We’ll be doing the POV Roundtable Call-ins on Wednesday nights from now on. Here how to get on tonight’s:
FOR TONIGHT’S ROUNDTABLE CALL-IN…
Alright guys – we’ll take the first 3 or 4 callers starting at 8:00 pm (make it about 5 minutes early to login.)
Here is the info to get into the Bluejeans Roundtable meeting for 4/25/17; 07:50 pm – 09:00 pm…
????????? (this changes for each meeting – I’ll have the real one in a posted comment around 7:45 tonight.)
Enter audio code on your phone
XXXXXXX – (this changes for each meeting – I’ll have the real one in a comment around 7:45 tonight.)
SEE YOU AT AROUND 7:45 OR SO…. Here are some items we’ll discuss:
Some Round Table Questions Continue reading “POV Wednesday Night Roundtable”
GC and I are trying to figure out who all is shown in this circa 1981 photo of Danny Marino and his guys on the Pitt team- that team that went 11-1 for three straight seasons if we remember…
The first commenter to correctly ID all the players in order (with both first and last names including uniform numbers) wins a all-expenses paid trip to Bleak House, located in beautiful Broadstairs, British Isles. You will also have an evening supper date with the lovely, and somewhat promiscuous, Ada Clare, followed by a four hour lecture on the differences in meaning of the two phrases “Bleak” and “Not Over Joyed“.
Here is that bit from Facebook I talked about – Craig is a witty guy so I can deal with that – the reference to the movie Airplane is pretty funny. The other crack about the donations bothered me a bit though…
Last year we ran 868 rushing (542) and passing plays (324) from scrimmage. Our run:pass ratio was 62% run and 38% pass.
Funny that Narduzzi thinks we’ll pass more. Either he thinks Browne is better than I do of he worries a bit about our RBs/OLs.
I think its more that there are concerns about our running game.
Here is that article on 2017’s “Breakout Players” where Chawntez Moss is mentioned. I’m hoping Browne or Hendrix or Ziese or Clark or Watts, etc… fills that role. We have other RBs.
Also the Sporting News has a composite preseason Top 25 listing – Pitt isn’t on it as we pretty much figured (it is the post-season rankings that count) but we do make it at #24 on Sporting News’ Top 25. We play three teams on the composite list – PSU, OKSU and Miami.
Here is an ESPN piece comparing the ACC teams to stocks: Pitt is a “hold”;
Pitt. Hold. The Panthers have yet to name a starting quarterback, though most believe it will be USC transfer Max Browne. But beyond quarterback, there are reasons for hope: depth at running back, Jester Weah at receiver and a rebuilding offensive line that should hold its own. The bigger questions remain on a defense that struggled through large parts of last season. Who picks up the sack slack with Ejuan Price gone? Can Jordan Whitehead return to form? Is Damar Hamlin the superstar people thought in high school?
This is an article which entails some heavy lifting in the reading department so it may be best taken in chunks rather than sitting down for the whole shebang at one time. But do take a very close look at the Title Photo (Oakland in the 1930s) before you get into the linked articles.
For a weekend’s reading I have included two excellent and well-written Saturday Evening Post articles about the University of Pittsburgh and our football program’s history back in the 1930s and 1940s. Before you click on those let me add a few things about why I did this and why I did it today.
I truly feel like Pitt is on the cusp of having to make some pretty hard and maybe unpopular decisions about just where the Football program fits in with the rest of the Athletic Department and even more importantly where it fits in relation to the rest of the University.
Why now you may ask? Because this is the season where our won/loss record will determine if Pat Narduzzi restructures his contract to be Pitt’s HC for the long run or not. His existing contract is low for a continually winning Power Five school and can easily be bought out by any other program who wants him badly enough.
If he wins big this season, and by that I mean 9 or 10 wins including that elusive bowl win, then the rest of the nation is going to really sit up and take notice of what he and Pitt have done over the last three years.
I’ve written many times that last season’s bowl loss really hurt us in a lot of ways – mainly because it kept us from being listed in 2016’s post-season Top 20. That would have been a real solid achievement for him on the national stage and made him more valuable to others than he actually might be to Pitt.
Instead the bold truth is that even as excited as Pitt fans are about the program and Narduzzi we are one win better that his predecessor’s best season – Paul Chryst’s 2013 year when he beat Notre Dame at home and won his bowl game.
Before you jump up and down in indignation please understand that I wholeheartedly believe Narduzzi’s 2016 season, with the wonderful wins over PSU and Clemson, was way better than 2013. It certainly was for us fans. But with only eight wins per year and no bowl game wins he hasn’t put all that much concrete distance between the program now and then.