Rivals’ Pitt HC Poll; Who is the Best?

Rivals’ Pitt HC Poll; Who is the Best?

Rivals.com just did a poll on its message board asking Pitt fans to vote for who they thought was the best Pitt head coach going back to Foge Fazio.  I didn’t vote because I was overseas for most of the 1980s and ’90s and couldn’t follow Pitt football except for the scores… but lots of Pitt fans did.

Here is the link if you can use it – it may be behind a paywall.

One of our readers who wishes to remain anonymous sent me a detailed email with his thoughts on this matter and here they are:

Today I spotted a poll on Pantherlair about the best Pitt coaches excluding the well known highly successful ones such as Sherrill, Majors, Warner, and Sutherland.  What world of ignorance or just too young to know why things happened was my reaction.

 Why is that people don’t understand as to what happened and why these coaches succeeded or failed?

 Foge Fazio:

 Very likable DC under Sherrill, everybody loved him plus he was a former Pitt player.  What Foge lacked was experience as a head coach so what he continued to do was be “everyone’s best buddy” and that didn’t work with the cast of talented and head strong team under his command. Players got into trouble as so many were destined to be in the NFL. He simply couldn’t handle offending and losing personal relationships. He was a great defensive coach and excellent lieutenant but not general.

 Mike Gottfried:

 Gottfried came from Kansas as head coach of all places.  By Pitt standards, he was affordable, younger, and a former QB who was known for offense. Frankly, he worried a lot of Pitt fans as being so outside of the Tri-State recruiting grounds that he might fall flat. He didn’t fall flat as a recruiter thanks to BUD RATLIFF, the recruiting director. Ratliff was ranked as one of the top five recruiters in the country!! Imagine if Ratliff had been with Sherrill, Pitt would have made dust of Ohio State, PSU, and USC.  Look at the talent that Ratliff brought to Pitt.  So many of those recruits went on to the NFL.  Gottfried’s teams were three deep in potential NFL players. 

 What people forget was the game day coaching by Gottfried.  He didn’t overwhelm teams despite all the talent at hand. There were issues with his coordinators including one from Michigan that almost got Pitt noted by the NCAA.

 The real undoing of Mike Gottfried was his emotional makeup. He would walk in the rain for hours after a loss or being out of communications if upset. Then there were the rumors about a little unsavory fraternization (edit note: true) .  Put together and MG was no longer what Pitt’s administration wanted.  Of course, there was a betrayal by OC Paul Hackett who wanted to replace Gottfried asap.  That didn’t turn out well for Pitt.

 Walt Harris:

 Harris clearly saved Pitt from ending football by finding ways to keep Pitt competitive. No one seems to recall that his only head coaching experience was at Pacific University which disbanded football. He was Ohio State’s QB coach, not Offensive Coordinator, when he was hired to Pitt. He stayed with Ohio State for their bowl game and never got out of the gate with choosing assistants or recruiting until after the game, a la Todd Graham type of start.

 Yes, Walt Harris had good passing and QB coaching abilities, but he never had strong rapport with Western PA coaches when Western PA still had a lot of talent. He made some mediocre quarterbacks look far better than they were but he also distained the running game for the passing game. Also, his defenses were mediocre, not able to stop teams. Now, he is the Gold Standard to many Pitt fans.  Give me a break.  He is a nice guy and he also had a problem at Pitt that went beyond his agent mouthing off about Harris’s better opportunities elsewhere.  There were many stories about his marriage that didn’t help him with the administration.  As for his recruiting, he appealed to those wanting a strong passing offense but that was it.  He was not a natural recruiter.

 Dave Wannstedt:

 People don’t recall that there was a lot of controversy about Pitt hiring DW.  He was disliked in Miami and never had a good relationship with his Hall of Fame QB, Dan Marino, a Pitt guy. What made DW attractive to Nordenberg was his strong love of Pitt, donations, and hosting fund raisers for Nordenberg.  Oh yes, he did have some National Championship rings plus a NFL Championship ring.  Dave definitely is and was a likable guy who loved Pitt and his home town of Pittsburgh. That alone made him very unique for Pitt.

 Game day coaching for DW was mediocre to be kind, but he could make a huge splash in recruiting with his rings, love of Pitt, NFL experience, media exposure, and being a Pennsylvania kid.  Give him all the credit in the world for being the type of guy who might have remained at Pitt until retirement. I might add that there were no bad stories about DW or his family at any time. He was just a damn good guy and had the local accent to a tee.

 What the fools voting forget is how rude and insulting Pitt fans were to DW’s family. One bragged about getting into an elevator at Heinz and bad mouthing Wannstedt with DW’s wife and kids in the elevator. Pitt fans were evenly split on getting rid of him and his game day coaching or loving him to stay forever.

 What undid DW was the actions of those he recruited, not his game day coaching. Players being arrested and Pitt getting horrible press about the police reports and bar fights was the final straw for the administration.

 Paul Chryst:

 When PC was hired, no one could figure out why other than Barry Alvarez recommending him to the administration. Alvarez wanted the Pitt job at one point in his career, so the administration knew him and knew how well he had done at Wisconsin, so why not take his recommendation.  Plus, the price was right after the mess in coaches after DW’s exit.  PC wasn’t a controversial figure or showboat.  He was quiet with a good sense of humor but hardly what someone would call “pushy” in the age of flamboyant head coaches.

 What PC knew was offense and he knew that Pitt needed line talent badly so that was his strength. PC never recruited bad actors or kids with character issues. He cared deeply about a kid’s family, his respect for his family, and loyalty to a commitment. PC was an all around good guy if not an exciting head line grabbing coach.

 When PC left, he didn’t leave the cupboard bare. He didn’t leave problem players. He might have been a multi-decade coach at Pitt if his alma mater and Alvarez didn’t call for him to return to Wisconsin to lead the program. He sure didn’t hurt Pitt other than the departure before people wanted.

 Pat Narduzzi:

 Nobody was whining when Pitt had two back to back eight win seasons, despite having a less than stellar defense. Last year was a big disappointment and I won’t sugar coat it that “if and what if” might have been the difference.  A staff shakeout was needed and give credit that it was done. This year we’ll see how that works out.

 Recruiting wise, we still have to wait to see what happens this year. If enough people who know Florida say that the kids who committed are really good, then many of them will get an additional star in their senior seasons. So, what is missing?

 Yes, PN is more clandestine than his predecessors in preparation for games. Ok, maybe that was how they did things at MSU, maybe not. While it makes the life of some sports writers more difficult, that doesn’t mean that he dislikes them or that he is trying to be difficult. 

 There are no bad faith or bad acts by PN or his players that he doesn’t address. This administration is very happy with him.  He is doing things the right way.

As of 8:00 pm the results were close with Gottfried, Harris and Wannstedt in the top three spots respectively.  I won’t write on this but will say I agree with most of the above… some not so much though.

Recruiting Bits and Pieces; June 29th 2019

Recruiting Bits and Pieces; June 29th 2019

**** BREAKING RECRUITING NEWS ****

Well, not really, but interesting doings with the recruiting front lately.  Pitt just landed their QB of the future, possibly, perhaps, in local kid Jack Salopek from Norwin HS. A 3* recruit he grabbed the first actual offer that came along and will now be a Panther behind Pickett, Patti and 2019’s Davis Beville.

11041548_1132690643427165_7322152620158047212_nBeville’s mother, Cruella, said this about Salopek; “If he thinks he’s seeing the field as long as my son Davey is at Pitt he can crawl right back to that dirty, smelly steel mill his daddy probably works in.”  When the POV tried to explain that there were no more steel mills in Pittsburgh Cruella shouted “Of course not, it’s a loser town. I wanted Dangerous Dee to be a Gamecock at South Carolina but they didn’t offer him! Damn Muschamp to hell!”

Salopek has some pretty nice numbers after his sophomore year at Norwin so that’s all well and good – I just think committing yourself to a kid in 10th grade is premature but that’s the way of college ball these days.

So now Pitt fans can’t complain in June of next year that Narduzzi doesn’t have any commitments yet.  Hey, that maybe why we offered this kid!

In the “Duh” department 5* Paris Johnson Jr verballed to Ohio State.  You’ll remember Pitt signed his father on as a “FOP” (Friend of Pat’s) hire a while back.

The less cynical Pitt fans will point to his hire and say “Hey, he’s well qualified in his own right“.  Others will say it was an incentive for drawing his son to Pitt’s 2020 recruiting class.  Who knows really?  Doesn’t matter one bit because if you look at the kid’s offer sheet Pitt had virtually no shot at him anyway – new Director of Player Personnel or not.  But it does have a scent of ‘we swung and missed’ to it.

So what does Pitt do instead – jumps on the next bandwagon and is about to offer a kid from Imhotep Charter (I watched a bad movie about some dude named Imhotep a few years ago).  Here is a bit from PSN on the kid:

Pitt is still looking to add a big, athletic wide receiver for this recruiting class and Karam Cummings fits that profile.

The backstory to Cummings is an interesting one because he’s never played varsity football. 

Up until now he’s been a basketball player at Imhotep Charter in Philadelphia. However, a month ago, The 6-foot-4, 185 pound Cummings had a conversation with Imhotep Charter star safety Tykee Smith, who convinced him that he could be a star playing football.

Cummings has been working out with the team and opening some eyes. In fact, yesterday Cummings picked up a Power Five offer from Baylor.

Just like The Great Carnac I know what some Pitt fans are going to say even before they say it:  “But remember Sam Clancy – he didn’t play football in high school or Pitt and he was in the NFL!!”

Well, this kid hasn’t played a lick of football either or college BB so what does that mean…?  Maybe he’s not the best player to use an actual scholarship on?  Get him on the roster as a walk-on or something but if we offer this young man a football scholarship we’ll never hear the end of it. This smacks of desperation but its early days yet – let’s hope we find an actual WR to help us next season.

By the way – what happened to the last player who we talked about being so good even though he didn’t play much football in high school? Oh, that’s right – Thomas MacVitte.  How did that work out for us?

Pitt was pursuing 3* RB Brandon Wright but he chose PN’s old school rather than Pitt (and others).  Word is that Pitt was heavily recruiting Wright because 4* RB Daniel Carter took an official visit to Pitt last weekend then not only didn’t commit along with the bunch of other Florida recruits but went home and stated that ‘Pitt was in his Top 10’ after his visit.

That is a turn of events Pitt probably didn’t see coming.  Usually when a kid leaves his first official visit, and you know we rolled out the red carpet for him and his parents, then has less interest than before he arrived there is a problem – so Wright was Pitt’s second choice.  Next up!

The question burning through the Pitt Nation is when is Narduzzi going to get some offensive linemen committed in the ’19 class.  As of right now we have none.  Get on that Pat.  Last class we signed three of them – two of them from local areas.

Which is an interesting conundrum  – if Pitt fans keep saying there is no more talent in the WPIAL, then why are they jumping up and down about these 5.7 rated kids…from the WPIAL?

I’m confused. But you already knew that.

A Parody…or A Necessity?

A Parody…or A Necessity?

Pitt Athletics Creates Mental Health Partnership with Western
Psychiatric Institute to Help The Pitt POVers

Two full-time mental health counselors are joining the team of Pitt athletics/Pitt POV in a partnership with the Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic of UPMC (WPIC). Pitt athletic director Heather Lyke said the partnership will “provide early intervention for mental health and wellness issues in POV writers, readers and commentators.”

“The program reflects Pitt’s commitment to the POV experience and ensures Pitt’s responsiveness to POVers health and well-being,” Lyke said.  “If they aren’t happy, Pitt isn’t happy!”western_psychiatric_institute_-_thomas_detre_hall_1

The program’s focal points will include awareness and stress reduction strategies and one-on-one counseling. Counselors also will address issues such as blog addiction,  rampant optimism, too much golf, alcohol imbibing and commentator rage.

The new partnership will expand and enhance the role of behavioral health with two full-time counselors who will be housed within the athletic department and dedicated to POV readers and commentators,” said Jack Emhoff, chief of athlete services at WPIC.

“This innovative approach will radically increase education on support options, along with access and timeliness of counseling services, while increasing Reed’s stigma against commentator rage.  If I have learned one thing in my time doing this it is that when dealing with Pitt football too much optimism is as dangerous as smoking crack cocaine while driving a school bus.”

Image result for pitt dance team
Wassamatta in action

Two-time Pitt graduate and four-year Dance Team member (woo-hoo) Laurie Wassamatta, L.C.S.W., joins the program as lead clinical counselor. Since 2015 Wassamatta has been working as a member of a team of counselors who worked with aging male POVers when they were referred directly to the WPIC facility.

She has worked on POV readers’ and commentators’ psychiatric assessments and
referrals, individual therapy, as well as treatment for mood, stress and anxiety disorders. Janice Beauhoohoo, Ph.D., N.C.C., will serve as clinical counselor.  She has provided counseling and peak performance services to student-athletes at Liberty College and offered desperately needed individual and team-based services at West Virginia University  (boo!).

Image result for wvu head coach drunkWVU’s head coach Dan Hologorsen was a patient of her’s for the last five years and had this to say about Beauhoohoo:

“She really helped me a lot.  Everyone else said I absolutely had to quit drinking or I’d lose my job.  But she worked out a deal with the university’s administration so that if I quit drinking tequila in the mornings I could stay.  Boy, those POVers are getting a great asset with her in their back pocket…”

(Obviously this is a parody submitted by our great friend Hobie. Here is the real article about Pitt Athletics partnering with Western Psych…)

 

Am I a Lucky Guy Or What?

Am I a Lucky Guy Or What?

Or “How the Pitt Baseball Team + Trees Hall + an Econ Major Helped Shape My Journey to Pitt Football Fandom!”  Here is MajorMajors’ bio for all to read and enjoy…

I grew up on Mt. Washington overlooking Pittburgh’s Golden Triangle – though it wasn’t yet quite so golden when I was growing up in the 1950s. My very first memories of the Pitt Panther football team came from the local evening news on TV. When I was twelve years old, I remember seeing these dazzling highlights of guys named Paul Martha, Fred Mazurek, and Rick Leeson. When playing touch football in the playground, I wanted to be those guys, making those long, zigzagging touchdown runs, as much as I wanted to be Buddy Dial or Gary Ballman of the Steelers. (BTW, in 1963, the Martha/Mazurek led Panthers went 9-1; the Steelers had the odd record of 7-4-3.)

No one in my family had gone to college and we had no connections to Pitt. I went to Pitt as the home-town school and am a proud graduate of Pitt’s Civil Engineering program. But I attended Pitt during some really dark days for Pitt football — from 1967 to 1971. It happened that I played on the Pitt baseball team, coached for over three decades by Bobby Lewis. It was here that my connection to Pitt football was cemented for all time.

Unlike now, back then several of the football players played on the baseball team. (Though I always suspected that some of them came out just because the baseball team opened the 1968 and 1969 seasons with weeklong trips in March to play in tournaments at Riverside, CA and Miami, FL, respectively.) Back then, freshmen could not play on the varsity – so I had to play on the freshman team for the 1968 season.

I won a starting outfield job as a Sophomore and I was playing on the same baseball team with guys like pitcher Frank Gustine Jr., who played QB, and our ace pitcher George “Doc” Medich, who played tight-end. Others I can remember were Joe McCain, tailback, Jeff Barr, defensive back, John Simpson, offensive lineman, and Ray Reppert, QB.

Knowing these guys made me root for them on the football field all the more. I really wanted to play football, but as the guy in “Rudy” says, “at 100-and nothin’ and and 5-foot nothin’” that wasn’t going to happen. Even though our football team won few games during my time at Pitt, I went to every home game and rooted like crazy.

Continue reading “Am I a Lucky Guy Or What?”

Off-Season Time Out

Off-Season Time Out

Well, so many of you commenters have publicly wondered whether or not you should leave the site for a while and take a break from this blog I’ve decided to help you with that decision.

The Pitt POV will take a break also so whoever has sensitive feelings about Coach Narduzzi, his recruiting and the general state of Pitt football can look around elsewhere and read more cheery and positive writing and commenting.

The truth is that I am also tired of taking the time and effort to write detailed articles for you to read and discuss only to have certain commenters put words in my mouth and pretend they know what I, and other commenters, are thinking before we even write anything.

For solid Pitt football info I suggest Chris Peak over at Rivals.com. Better with a subscription.

For you ‘optimists’ I suggest Chris Dokish; he should calm your frayed beyond all hope nerves. After all he just said this “Last season’s offensive line was mostly above average, even after losing all-conference players Adam Bisnowaty and Dorian Johnson the year before.”  And he said that after the season when we were horrendous.

With thoughts like that you’ll be glad to be there and get the feeling we are in for double-digit wins this season.

Or if you feel the need to read what other Pitt fans are thinking try the message boards…if you want blinders-on opinions that is.

But do take it easy and enjoy the beginning of Summer however I’ll ask you one thing though.

Knowing that I don’t ban commenters on here and that I’ll give free rein to everyone’s opinions whether they are good or bad and right or wrong or if I agree with them or not and that will be the case still when or if you decide to start on here again – is it truly worth your while?

I mean this very seriously.  I have read so many posts about how hard it is to read my stuff and to read other’s comments on here and that it drives you crazy or compels you to lash out at others – then why do it?  Why put yourself through that?

You knew all along exactly what you were and are going to get from me – yet you keep reading even when it pains you to do so.

I sure as hell wouldn’t do it if it upset me the way it apparently upsets some of you. But you have to know that I just don’t care what other Pitt fans think or what the other media thinks or what Pat Narduzzi and Pitt thinks – I’ll do and write whatever I damn well please. Just so you know.

Anyway, whenever I feel like writing again I’ll do so, probably sooner than later and let’s hope it is because something very good happens.

A Little Deeper Look Into Recruiting

A Little Deeper Look Into Recruiting

Yesterday Pat Narduzzi was quoted in the media saying this about recruiting:

I don’t know if our staff needs reinforcement with what we’re doing here. They know the plan,” said Narduzzi. “I guess it’s the fans that need reinforcement. We have a plan and we’re going to execute it. We know who we’re talking to, who we’re texting, we know who we need to work harder on, that’s recruiting. Pitt football is on the way up.

“We know who we’re dealing with out there and we know who we like. No one out there, including the players know who we really like. We don’t care about star rankings, I don’t care about stars.”

I think every college head coach says this, the thing is the coaches themselves don’t believe or do it.  Case in point using Pitt as an example:  Here are the Top 17 offers we have out to 2019 recruits. Note their star rankings and hometowns (and here is the rest of the long list):

Top 17

Ask yourself this: How did Pitt know to offer all those 5* and 4* Blue Chip players from far away places?  Pitt is doing, and has always done, just the same thing every college football program does and that is relying on the recruiting sites star ranking system for early on targeting.

Pitt does not have staff, scouts or recruiters scouring California, Minnesota, Michigan, Texas, Hawaii, etc. yet all those offers from Pitt to players from those places went out many months and sometimes over a year ago.

You can bet  money that at any time in the recruiting process if any of those 17 kids listed, and remember those are only 17 out of the 97  5* and 4* offers we have out, called Pitt (or any school like Pitt)  and said “Coach I’d like play football for you and want to commit to you right now.” Pat Narduzzi wouldn’t jump up and down while he was saying “Oh Hell Yes!” and then start turning on ‘The Lights’.

Do we really think that he, or again, any college coach not named Nick Saban, would tell those highly ranked kids who called – “Well, let’s take a step back because we’d like to have you come to a camp or take an official visit first before accepting your commitment”? 

Not on your life.

I’d say that with the large majority of those 97  4* and 5* kids did that their name would be on Pitt’s official commitment list within an hour.  Positions needed of course, but even then many recruits get position-switched when they get to their school. The key is to lock the best kids in.

So again, how do the recruiting staffs know how good those far away kids are and why were they offering them so many months ago? Because they sure as anything look at recruiting star rankings when drafting up their first edition of their “Recruiting Big Board”.

Now all that said- when they get the uncommitted 3*, 2* and NR kids into the summer camps or on official visits like last weekend then perhaps those stars don’t matter to them but it is a whole different world with the highly ranked blue chip kids.

BTW – every HC says the same thing that our coach said the other day. I’m not really singling him out because I clearly remember Dave Wannstedt saying just about the exact same thing then when Feburary came around and they did the annual the fan’s LOI Day Signing Event he, or his staff coaches, very often mentioned that the kid was a four star or five star recruit.  The current staff has done so also.

It isn’t the end all and be to be sure, all but another example of college head coaches saying one thing then actually doing another. But tell you what – I’d love to hear Pat Narduzzi, or his position coaches, when up on the LOI Day stage this year say “…and here is another of our 4* kids for 2018…”  Fingers crossed.

Note: Here is an example of how early we jump on these blue chip kids to offer scholarships for the next year- this is a small sample of offers out for 2020:

Top 2020

BTW – we have 33  4* and 5* offers for 2020 out already and 13 total (all unranked at this point) for the 2021 class.