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September 21, 2017

So Many Issues

Filed under: Football — Chas @ 7:40 am

…Of course, the downside of a beatdown like Pitt was given against Oklahoma State; is that with so many problems, where do you begin?

The defense does get Jordan Whitehead back, but that hardly addresses the issues for the defense. Which, in my view, starts up front.

The Cowwboys may have piled up the passing yards, but I really didn’t think the secondary was too bad. The inability to tackle, to not get the pressure up front. Oh, the missed chances. When you keep missing chances to get off the field on 3d down.

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September 20, 2017

Sometimes All You Can Do Is Laugh

Filed under: Football — Chas @ 7:25 am

Here’s the good thing about a good-old, beatdown. There are no what ifs. No, “Well if only..” Nope. All of them together would just have added up to a closer loss then what happened. Pitt was dominated from start to finish.

To be honest, I was mostly over the game within five minutes after exiting the stadium. I didn’t bother hanging around for the press conference. There wasn’t much to dwell on as far as the game itself.

The team, season, program? Yeah, those are legit questions. Perhaps even a source of angst. But not on that day. It was one of those games, you just need to walk away from as quickly as possible.

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September 16, 2017

Open Thread: OKSt-Pitt

Filed under: Football,Open Thread — Chas @ 10:58 am

Sorry, it’s been a week — and it stayed that way.

During the game this past week, a lot of frustration with QB Max Browne. I’m not in favor of benching him and moving on at this point. Head Coach Pat Narduzzi has made it clear that isn’t going to happen.

I don’t believe he is a bad quarterback. But he definitely is not as good as Nate Peterman or Tom Savage. There are clearly some limitations on him, beyond his, uh, limited mobility. The most glaring is the way his passes tend to sail. It works on longer throws where the receiver has time to get under them. When it comes to being in the redzone or making shorter passes…

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September 9, 2017

Open Thread: PSU-Pitt

Filed under: Football,Open Thread — Chas @ 1:50 pm

3:30, ABC.

Pitt is a heavy underdog.

Penn State is ranked #4 nationally, Pitt is unranked.

PSU looked great at home against an overmatched opponent last week. Pitt, not so much.

Nit partisans are highly confident in this game. Ranging from blowout win to a mere tune-up.

Pitt fans won’t be surprised by a loss, but won’t exactly view it as an impossibility to pull off a win.

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September 7, 2017

Quiet Tension

Filed under: Football,Opponent(s) — Chas @ 7:35 am

This is a bit awkward.

But at least they got the logo correct.

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September 6, 2017

Mandatory Silence

Filed under: Football,Media — Chas @ 7:38 am

Media blackout week for Pitt-Penn St. No assistants talking. No players. No meaningless window before the real practicing starts. Yay, stupid side-issue.

Head Coach Pat Narduzzi did it last year for this game. I thought it was pointless and silly last year as well.

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September 3, 2017

Less Then Impressive Opener

Filed under: Football — Chas @ 9:14 am

I’ve had a bit of time to digest this. A walk back to a friend’s house in the drizzle. A 2+ hour drive home in the drizzle/mist. A bit of bourbon while half-watching college football the rest of the evening. Getting a long, needed night of sleep. Morning pot of coffee. Prepping ribs for a nice relaxing day of smoking those suckers. Happy in the knowledge that I still get to go pick up a growler of a really good IPA (trying to decide between Revolution Citra Hero or the Fat Heads IBUsive is not the worst choice).

Basically, I’ve just let that game yesterday kind of mellow out in the background.

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September 2, 2017

Open Thread: Youngstown St.-Pitt

Filed under: Football,Open Thread — Chas @ 9:09 am

1:00, ACC Network Extra/WatchESPN.

Morning, all. The first turnpike AM run into the sun and the new season. Feel the optimism, excitement and potential. Followed by those moments of doubt, dread and cynicism.

We’re all trying not to look past this game to the one the following week, right?

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September 1, 2017

Killing Time Until Saturday

Filed under: Football — Chas @ 7:39 am

I’m just going to assume that Tulsa is really trash and Oklahoma State isn’t that scary good on offense. It helps me sleep easier.

Good question in this article about Quadre Ollison as the starting running back: Can Pitt spread it around with the running backs this year?

A lot of guys in our room are going to play,” said Ollison, whose name appeared first on the depth chart this week as Pitt prepared to open the season Saturday against Youngstown State. “No running back wants the ball 40 times a game. Your body wears down.

“Our ability to keep guys fresh and keep rotating guys in and out are going to make us really, really good.”

For the past two seasons, Pitt has largely rode one running back most of the season. James Conner carried 216 times in 2016, compared to 42 by freshman Chawntez Moss, the next-busiest back. Moss’ total was only 7.7 percent of Pitt’s total carries. Two years ago, freshman Darrin Hall backed up Ollison (212 attempts), with only 64 (12.6 percent).

Those are the two smallest percentages for the No. 2 back at Pitt in the first seven years of this decade.

As the article notes, it has been true freshmen as the #2 back for the last five years. Which may have contributed to the numbers. It’s not like there weren’t other, older backs behind the starter. Just that the best one in the practices were the freshmen. I mean, we haven’t even heard much about Moss in the depth chart. A lot of the chatter suggests it would be A.J. Davis after Hall.

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August 31, 2017

Assorted Notes as CFB Resumes

Filed under: Football — Chas @ 7:27 am

College football kicked off this past Saturday, but it felt a little half-hearted. Tonight it really seems to begin and with that a quick little browser tab clearance.

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August 30, 2017

YSU Impacts

Filed under: Football — Chas @ 7:27 am

There is absolutely no reason to fear YSU. There is every reason, though, to worry.

To say the last two meetings have had an impact on the team and season is being polite.

2012: The debut of Paul Chryst as head coach. Suspensions galore announced just ahead of the game and on a sweltering night with periods of rain, Pitt came out flat and stayed flat. Losing 31-17. Setting things in motion early for that third straight trip to the BBVA Compass Bowl in Birmingham.

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August 29, 2017

Something Will Happen on Offense

Filed under: Assistants,Coaches — Chas @ 7:27 am

With the exception of certain Offensive Coordinators (Scot Loeffler), we really don’t know for sure how things will go. Matt Canada was a decent, but not outstanding OC. He was fired/scapegoated by NC State’s HC Dave Doereen, and seemingly ended up at Pitt because of his ties to HC Pat Narduzzi. Nothing about the hire screamed revolutionary, outstanding. At most it seemed like a decent fit, and wasn’t horrible.

Instead his schemes meshed perfectly with the players. The players took to it, and quite literally ran with it. Pitt’s offense went from slightly above average — with Tyler Boyd — to explosive. All while in a pro-style offense. He parlayed that into one becoming one of the highest paid assistants in college football, and a couple steps closer to becoming a head coach within a few years.

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August 28, 2017

Less then a week to the first game. I’m ready to hit the turnpike now. Head Coach Pat Narduzzi had his press conference today, and the game notes with the depth chart (PDF, p. 3).

That’s the big thing. Plenty of speculation, but between injuries, key suspensions and players kicked off the team; there have been some questions.

Shall we parse?

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August 25, 2017

A hallmark of a Pat Narduzzi defense is being disruptive upfront. Not simply being able to stop the run, but penetrating in the backfield to keep pressure on the quarterback whether simply dropping back or those running the option or spread. The linebackers are going to play closer to the line, and look for chances to make plays up-front rather then contain.

The risk to his defense is that it also leaves the corners on an island with little help. It’s one of the reasons Pitt was so bad against the pass and led the conference in surrendering passing plays of 20 yards or more. (The other reasons included injuries and issues around talent in the secondary.)

It was a source of frustration for myself and many others that Narduzzi and Defensive Coordinator Josh Conklin refused to change — or even tweak — the system to account for the fact that the D-line simply couldn’t generate the pressure up-front that was needed.

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August 24, 2017

Receiving/Defending Depth Chart Bits

Filed under: Football,Practice — Chas @ 7:08 am

Two sides of the ball. The receiving corps and secondary. Both are anchored by a senior. Both are going to be heavily reliant on youth. Lots of questions.

First, a little on Pitt’s latest verbal since he happens to be a cornerback.

The Cardinal Gibbons three-star cornerback committed to Pittsburgh on Monday night after stating earlier in August he was favoring Wisconsin. Before the Badgers, Penn State appeared to be his favorite, and UCF was a trending pick leading up to Monday.

“[Pittsburgh] will be very happy,” [Marquis] Williams said. “I’m going to change college football.”

The 5-foot-8 speedster, who is ranked the 76th-best corner in the nation, according to 247 Sports’ composite rankings.

“They’re getting a really fast guy with a lot of speed,” Cardinal Gibbons coach Matt DuBuc said. “And a guy with ball skills because he can play receiver too, special teams guy. A guy that can do a multitude of things.”

Former FAU coach Charlie Partridge, now the defensive line coach with Pitt, played a major role in Williams’ recruitment late.

“Charlie Partridge did a great job recruiting him. We’re close with Charlie, and it ended up working out,” DuBuc said. “I think the ACC was better for him than the Big Ten.”

Williams clearly doesn’t lack for confidence.

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