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April 20, 2014

The New H2P

Filed under: Boozing — Chas @ 8:55 am

Last year, Curt and Voodoo Brewery debuted their HTP beer. That was some really good stuff.

In the last year, Voodoo has had some significant growth. Their beers are showing up in more places (but not in Ohio, dammit).

This Friday kicks off Pittsburgh Craft Beer Week. Voodoo is taking part, and they have reworked HTP to the new version H2P. I’ll let Curt explain:

H2P is a revamped iteration of the HTP IPA. For H2P this year I changed the recipe from the previous batches, along with the hops and hop schedule.

The past two batches featured Zythos and 7 C’s opposite Simcoe. This year and in the future, it will be a single-hop Simcoe IPA.

Technically a different beer, but the soul of it is still the same. We are calling this H2P going forward. As a former Pitt student, I know the Pitt faithful use HTP and H2P interchangeably, so it seemed fitting to change the “T” to a “2″ for version 2.0. The H2P was inspired by the IPAs I fell in love with in California and deepened my college experience in South Oakland.

H2P is a 8.0% west coast-style IPA brewed with four kinds of malted barley and a ridiculous amount of Simcoe hops with five kettle additions and two dry hops. The nose of the beer is rich in pine and fruit notes, with hints passion fruit, apricot, along with woodsy and floral undertones. Medium bodied, this beer starts with a mildly bitter taste that gives way to the pine and fruit notes found in the nose on the back end. H2P is a bright and crisp IPA that was designed to be highly drinkable, exceedingly flavorful and aromatic, but without being abrasively bitter. As production allows, we hope to continue to provide this beer to the Pittsburgh market and the Pitt faithful each year for Pittsburgh Craft Beer Week.

Curt has informed me that in addition to being on tap at Voodoo Brewery for about 2 weeks, H2P will be available in Pittsburgh at the following locations during Pittsburgh Craft Beer Week.

Oakland:
Mad Mex
Fuel and Fuddle
The Porch at Schenley

East Liberty:
Kelly’s

New Kensington:
House of 1000 Beers

South Side:
Carson Street Deli

Looks like I’m making a run to Meadville this weekend.

April 19, 2014

The Savage Surge

Filed under: Draft,Football,NFL — Chas @ 6:28 am

It has been amusing watch Tom Savage work his way up the draft charts. From mid-third round to top of the third. To somewhere in the second round, up to the top of the second. Now he is — at least in the rumors and chatter — to be heading into the first round.

How hot is he? Late last week Savage’s agent, Neil Schwartz, had to tell two teams who wanted to set up a visit or meeting with the quarterback that he didn’t have any time left to do so. “There are literally no days left on his calendar for him to go see any other teams,” Schwartz said Saturday. The deadline for teams to host players or work them out is April 27, and by then Savage is scheduled to have either worked out for or had visits with 24 or 25 teams. That’s an amazing number of workouts and/or meetings … and when I say meetings with teams, I mean time with either the GM, coach, offensive coordinator or two or three of those. … Amazing to think a player so itinerant and with so little college success could be leap-frogging A.J. McCarron, Aaron Murray and Zach Mettenberger. But there’s a good chance Savage will.

The reasons are understandable.

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April 17, 2014

Another Spring Practice Ends

Filed under: Football,Practice — Chas @ 2:12 pm

It had to figure, right? Pitt decides not to do a spring game and the weather was absolutely perfect this past Saturday.

Well, from the talk and some reports the Field Pass event was a success. Pitt had more people than they expected sign up and attend the event. I think if they had announced the event at the same time they made the announcement not to have a spring game, the reaction might have been better. Including from me.

Seems, though, that Pitt is at the start of a trend. Or at the very least a debate on the merits of spring games. For programs that will pull in over 30,000 fans for a game, it’s a no-brainer. For other programs it becomes a trickier decision, much more about what the coach and the athletic department feel is needed.

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April 16, 2014

It’s not the same, I know.

Tyrone Haughton signed his letter of intent today, to become a member of the Pitt’s 2014 recruiting class. Haughton is a 6-9 C-F who came from the JUCO ranks.

Originally he was a 3-4 star recruit who signed to play with South Carolina. After Darrin Horn was fired and Frank Martin came in, things changed. Martin had a verbal from another big man at K-State. The player switched to South Carolina. Suddenly, the scholarship numbers weren’t right and it seems that South Carolina suddenly had a problem with Haughton’s grades.

Oh, but SC and Martin didn’t want Haughton to completely go away. Just go to prep school for a year and see how things look next year. Haughton said no thanks and went to junior college. Isn’t recruiting just a lovely thing?

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April 14, 2014

It seems assistant basketball coach Barry Rohrssen has been the rumored target to replace Orlando Antigua on John Calipari’s Kentucky bench. Granted it has been a slow week-long rumble, but everyone is presuming it will happen (and thank you KSR comment kids for demonstrating that Kentucky fans have little basketball knowledge outside their own team).

For Rohrssen it is almost a no-brainer. Kentucky is a blue-blood job with huge exposure. No, John Calipari assistants haven’t had the greatest success rates, but they get opportunities. Rohrssen obviously wants another crack at being a head coach. His odds increase being on a staff like Kentucky  This may shock some, but the money may have very little to do with it.

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April 11, 2014

As the spring practices reach their endpoint, the talk turns to the change in how the players themselves are from when Coach Paul Chryst came in with a whole new staff. A lot of that theme for the day comes courtesy of Offensive Line Coach Jim Hueber and his typical bluntness.

“When we came in here, there was a reason we got hired and it wasn’t because this was utopia,” Hueber said. “I think we fought through that. We had kids that didn’t want to buy in to our way. You look around now, there’s not much bitching and moaning, there’s not many guys missing. We don’t have the problems that we had before.

“How that pans out in wins and losses we’ll only know as these recruiting classes get older.”

Now in the stories from both papers that last quote was left out. That is the nut, though.

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Is there anything more absurd than posting a top-25 list for the next season within minutes or hours of the final game of the season? Yes. Compiling a list of the rankings to see where your team fits. I’m nothing if not ridiculous so here are the ones to date.

Gary Parrish at CBS Sports had his out minutes after the UConn-Kentucky game ended. Pitt got slotted in there despite the departures of Lamar Patterson and Talib Zanna at #23.

After that Pitt tends to get lumped in with others who may crack the polls but not ready to be ranked before the season begins.

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April 9, 2014

Link Dump, 4/09

Filed under: Football,Practice — Chas @ 7:41 am

No real theme to the stories. Basically some of the ones that have piled up in my browser tabs that need to go.

The pads came off for yesterday’s practice per NCAA spring practice rules. Given the number of players banged up or sitting out practices for injuries, that seemed like good timing. The good news is that Isaac Bennett is returned, but is going to be limited in practices. At this time of the year, it is hard to say what are real injuries that would keep a player out for games and what are little things that they are just being careful not to aggravate when the season is five months away.

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April 8, 2014

So Much For RB Depth

Filed under: Football,Injury,Practice — Chas @ 7:23 am

At least for the rest of spring practices.

It’s been quite a few months in the offline world. Not necessarily in a good way. That’s really all I want to say about the latest gap in posting.

When last I posted on football it was about the running back position. About how there was depth and lots of good feelings at the spot. Naturally that couldn’t last.

Pitt running backs James Conner and Isaac Bennett will miss the final five practices of the spring session because of injuries suffered Friday, the university announced via social media.

Conner, a rising sophomore, sprained his left knee, while Bennett, a senior, sprained his left shoulder, the team posted on Twitter.

The injuries are not expected to prevent them from being ready for offseason conditioning when it begins in May, the team said.

Bennett and Conner combined for 1,596 yards rushing and 15 touchdowns last season.

Conner left the indoor practice facility on a golf cart with his knee wrapped in ice. He had an MRI, which revealed no structural damage.

Not long after Conner was injured, Bennett injured his shoulder. He watched the remainder of practice with his arm in a sling.

Yes, it could have been worse. Both with sprains. Not tears or breaks or anything else.

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April 2, 2014

Basketball Notes, 4/2

Filed under: Basketball — Chas @ 7:12 am

Congrats to former Pitt player and assistant coach Orlando Antigua on his first head coaching job. It’s a suicide mission tough road with USF, but everyone will be watching with interest. Obviously for Pitt fans, there is our own biased angle.

He mentioned the characteristics that made it possible: Hard work. Determination. Focus. Vision. An unrelenting thirst for excellence.

They were qualities he learned at Pitt, where he played from 1991-95, then later served under Jamie Dixon for five seasons (2003-07) as he learned the coaching profession.

Antigua, 40, was born in the Dominican Republic. He grew up in the Bronx section of New York. He’s most associated with Kentucky, where he has helped John Calipari’s Wildcats assemble five consecutive No. 1-ranked recruiting classes, where he finishes his UK run this weekend during the Final Four in Arlington, Texas.

But make no mistake, Antigua considers himself a Pittsburgh guy.

“It’s the foundation of who I am,” said Antigua, who was presented with a five-year USF contract and an annual salary of $900,000, which will escalate by $25,000 each season. “I’m a Pitt man. I’m so grateful for everything I learned there.

“Just the blue-collar mentality, the tenacity, everything that town stands for. It’s still who I am.”

If you want to read one of the better pieces on Antigua, this one from ESPN magazine, November 2013 stands out.

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April 1, 2014

Good Runs

Filed under: Football,Players — Chas @ 7:03 am

A year ago the running back position was a mess. Rushel Shell had thrown his tantrum and was in the midst of deciding where he would consider transferring. Pitt only had two backs in Malcolm Crockett and Isaac Bennett.

None of the guys coming in as freshmen seemed like anything close to saviors. Heck, it really seemed the plan was for either if not both James Connor and Rachid Ibrahim were ultimately to be on the defensive side of the ball. Basically the running back position was a complete mess.

A year later it feels like there is real depth and lots of talent at the spot.

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March 31, 2014

Going Link Diving

Filed under: Football — Chas @ 7:44 am

A few short hitters for the day.

Who is responsible for this? Who? I’m prepared to accuse a Hoopie or Nitter of doing it as negative recruiting.

Has Pitt taken some grief for the non-spring game? A little.

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March 30, 2014

What The Offense Offers

Filed under: Football,Practice — Chas @ 12:52 pm

I guess the only question I have is, why did they decide to work on this now?

While quarterback Chad Voytik goes through his first spring as the presumed starter, sharing snaps equally with Trey Anderson, he is working on cleaning up mechanics in his throwing motion.

“My stride length is a little long,” he said.

He said Chryst noticed it, but Voytik said he has been aware of it since high school.

If Voytik’s accuracy suffers in practice while making the changes, he isn’t worried.

“There are a lot of days before the first game,” he said.

Chryst said perfecting the details can make a difference.

“You have to teach what to do,” he said. “But how-to is important. That’s where you gain an edge.”

And by now, I mean why didn’t they work on it any time in the previous two years? Yeah, it beats deciding to fix this sort of thing in the fall, but Voytik is a redshirt sophomore. There was no coaching change during that time to throw any work on it off.

You would think that the time to work on it would be earlier when there is a lot less pressure and plenty more time to get it straightened out. This isn’t exactly the giant hitch in the throwing motion Pat Bostick had, but it just seems odd that the coaches waited until now to have him work on it. I guess Chryst being a lot closer to what the QBs are doing this year must have decided it wasn’t something that should be left uncorrected any longer. Well, as long as it is all taken care of before the end of August.

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March 28, 2014

Eyes On the Defense

Filed under: Football,Practice — Chas @ 7:33 am

Offense is what everyone notices. It’s always the focus of stories. Especially in the spring practices where contact is more limited, so it is easier for the skill positions to stand out.

It doesn’t feel this way for this spring. Even with all eyes on Chad Voytik. Even with the annual angst concerning the O-line. No, the questions, concerns issues of depth all seem to be on the defense.

It’s replacing the irreplaceable Aaron Donald. It’s the half the DBs being new starters. It’s the questions at the defensive end spots. And without any obvious stud players coming in this fall, it is about seeing who is developing this spring.

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March 24, 2014

The End Is Always Abrupt

Filed under: Basketball — Chas @ 7:42 am

Oh, the loss was obvious for at least the last 10 minutes of the game. Pitt just could not get their outside shot to fall. Another guard named Scottie was just too fast and too on to stop.

Still when the game ended. The realization starts to hit. No more games for Pitt this year. The season is over. It’s cliche to say that there’s only one team that is happy at the end of the season. There’s plenty of truth in it, though. Every game watched over the weekend you could see it in the looks, covered faces and tears on the losing end.

When the game ended, and they started doing the post-game interviews and studio work, I quickly paid my tab at the bar. The bartender said sorry. The other bartender who before the game had happily told me how about he used to party in Oakland while attending the Pittsburgh Institute of Mortuary Sciences glanced at me and said, “Dude…”

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