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September 1, 2015

The Peripherals

Filed under: Athletic Department,Football,Honors — Chas @ 7:00 am

Great. Now all my gear is retro/throwback and my throwbacks are now modern. So, the script is officially going to come back for all Pitt athletics.

The goal is to have a roll-out for new apparel this spring, and have all of Pitt’s athletic teams in new script uniforms for the 2016-17 school year. The school’s colors will remain navy blue and gold.

“When that Pitt script is showing, we want people all over the country to understand that’s the University of Pittsburgh,” Barnes said.

Barnes admitted that this rebranding process was a bit different than the one he undertook as athletic director at Utah State in 2012, which was a 15-month effort that involved countless meetings and focus groups. Because the script logo was added back to the helmets last season, Barnes had to work a bit quicker and more anecdotally here, but he thought the answer was pretty obvious.

“That brand is a no-brainer, I would say, to our alumni base and our constituent base,” Barnes said. “It didn’t take long at all because I heard it every day in emails and on Twitter.”

Former athletic director Steve Pederson returned the beloved Pitt script logo to the football team’s helmets in October, but the roll-out was hurried and poorly executed.

The script logo was on the helmets, but the rest of the signage, apparel and media had the old arching block “Pitt,” the athletic department’s primary logo since 2005. The plan at the time was to keep the script logo for football, but maintain the block logo for all other sports.

“If you could ever be half-pregnant, we were,” Barnes said.

As if Barnes couldn’t endear himself to the Pitt fans early, an extra shot at former AD Peterson to boot.

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August 31, 2015

PRESS CONFERENCE VIDEO: Narduzzi YSU Preview

Opening Statement:

“It’s game week finally. It feels like it, I can tell you that. Had to go out and see Rob [Blanc, Pitt’s athletic trainer] yesterday and get some Tums. That’s normal game week for a football coach, get Tums to make yourself feel good. We obviously have a great team coming to Pittsburgh to play us, Youngstown State. We have a lot of history with them, as you guys know. Not only a great football team, but a great coach in Bo Pelini who’s been around and coached great football teams, been to the last eight bowl games with nine-win seasons for a bunch. He’s probably one of the top coaches in the country with a great staff. From the top down, just like us with Chancellor Gallagher. A great football team, with great talent.

“When you look at it, you’re going to have some Division One transfers [at YSU], some pop-ups, some guys on the rosters that we didn’t have on the two-deep, some [Power Five] transfers. You’re going to play a good football team that’s going to be amped up, ready to go without question. You get twelve [game] opportunities. They don’t give those back. We have to be prepared—great on offense, great on defense. We need to be special on special teams to come out with a victory.

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Here is the shortened version of the official Pitt vs Youngstown State University game that will be played at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh on Saturday, September 5th.  The game begins at 1:00 pm.

Here is the full .pdf of the same game notes put out by the Pitt Athletic Media  Department.  There is a ton of info here and it has been helpful to me to have a copy by my side as I watch/listen to the games.

GAME STORYLINES

PITT OPENS ITS 126TH SEASON OF INTERCOLLEGIATE FOOTBALL—AND THE PAT NARDUZZI COACHING ERA—WHEN THE PANTHERS HOST YOUNGSTOWN STATE AT HEINZ FIELD.

NARDUZZI MAKES HIS PITT DEBUT FOLLOWING AN ACCOMPLISHED EIGHT-YEAR TENURE AT MICHIGAN STATE (2007-14) AS DEFENSIVE COORDINATOR. UNDER HIS DIRECTION, THE SPARTANS WERE THE ONLY TEAM TO RANK IN THE NATION’S TOP 10 IN TOTAL DEFENSE AND RUSHING DEFENSE EACH SEASON FROM 2011-14.

NARDUZZI HAS DEEP TIES TO YOUNGSTOWN AND YSU. HIS FATHER, THE LATE BILL NARDUZZI, WAS THE PENGUINS’ HEAD COACH FROM 1975-85, LEADING THEM TO TWO NCAA DIVISION II PLAYOFF APPEARANCES, INCLUDING THE 1979 NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP GAME.

PAT NARDUZZI WAS A STARTING LINEBACKER FOR HIS FATHER IN 1985, LEADING THE OHIO VALLEY CONFERENCE (OVC) IN TACKLES AS A FRESHMAN AT YSU.

YSU WILL ALSO HAVE A NEW HEAD COACH ON ITS SIDELINE IN BO PELINI, WHO SPENT THE PAST SEVEN SEASONS LEADING NEBRASKA. LIKE NARDUZZI, PELINI IS ALSO A YOUNGSTOWN NATIVE.

NARDUZZI (URSULINE) AND PELINI (CARDINAL MOONEY) STARRED AT RIVAL YOUNGSTOWN HIGH SCHOOLS. IN THEIR LAST MEETING AGAINST EACH OTHER, URSULINE ROUTED MOONEY, 35-0, IN A GAME THAT DECIDED THE 1984 STEEL VALLEY CONFERENCE TITLE.

PITT’S ADDITIONAL YOUNGSTOWN TIES INCLUDE DEFENSIVE LINE COACH TOM SIMS, WHO COACHED AT YSU FROM 2010-14.

GRADUATE ASSISTANT PHIL DECAPITO, A FORMER PENGUINS G.A. FROM 2012-14; AND FRESHMAN TAILBACK DARRIN HALL, WHO STARRED AT NEARBY AUSTINTOWN FITCH HIGH SCHOOL.

THIS WILL BE THE FOURTH ALL-TIME MEETING BETWEEN PITT AND YSU. THE PANTHERS WILL LOOK TO AVENGE A 2012 SEASON-OPENING LOSS (31-17) TO THE PENGUINS.

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Coleman Brings the Class to Ten

Filed under: Football,Recruiting — Chas @ 6:20 am

Sorry, despite being a Sunday night I was out for offline activities and couldn’t do this last night.

I won’t lie. That Therran Coleman had West Virginia, Wisconsin and Arizona State among his final five choices makes his decision to come to Pitt just a little more sweeter to me.

Coleman made the announcement on local Pittsburgh TV. Not too much drama to it.

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August 30, 2015

Pre-Official Two-Deep

Filed under: Coaches,Football,Opponent(s),Players — Reed @ 5:02 pm

Coach Narduzzi is going to post the official Youngstown State game two-deep roster tomorrow.  Here is what I guess, from reading other media reports, who we’ll see listed going into Saturday’s game

OFFENSE

Quarterback – Chad Voytik, Nate Peterman

Running back – James Conner, Chris James

Tight end – JP Holtz, Scott Orndoff, 

Wide receiver – Dontez Ford, Quadree Henderson (Slot Receiver)

Wide Receiver – Elijah Zeise, Zach Challingsworth

Left tackle – Adam Bisnowaty, Aaron Reese

Left guard – Dorian Johnson, John Guy

Center – Alex Officer, Gabe Roberts

Right guard – Alex Bookser, Alex Officer,

Right tackle – Brian O’Neill, ??

I’m a self-professed idiot when it comes to the OL but Rowell hasn’t practiced at all as far as I can tell so he may not go against YSU. His replacement, Alex Officer, sliding over to Center will create a starting role for newly baptized ex-TE OL rsFR Brian O’Neill.  Great! Someone who has never played on the OL in his entire football career starting in this Saturday’s game.

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Recruiting info can be nebulous, confusing and contradictory at the best of times. How about around midnight on a Saturday night?

Jason Jordan is a sportswriter for USA Today  covering high school sports.

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August 28, 2015

This is a very long one folks; enjoy it for your weekend reading pleasure.

As we all know that in any Pitt pre-season there is nothing even remotely negative written about the team, players and the coaching staff by the local media, especially with a brand new head coach such as we now have. The only straight opinions you’ll get will be from some local bloggers and maybe a recruiting website that follows the Panthers. Keep that in mind while you read this article please and realize there is certainly some good about this team to go along with the not-so good…  like the ‘good news’ media has been feeding us all preseason.

We all have thoughts about what’s positive with Pitt in 2015; here are my thoughts about what I see and feel. Earlier in the pre-season we mentioned that we would hold off on a season W/L projection until fall camp had ended.  Now is that time and here’s mine.

We are a week until the start of the 2015 season and the real beginning of year one of ‘The Narduzzi Experiment’.  We’ve been getting camp reports, scrimmage stats, leaks about this and news about that and we have all been doing what fans always do at this point. We are wondering just how good or how bad the team in going to be this year.

Every season is a blank slate to start anew, especially with a shiny new Head Coach and his eager staff coaches. Those new additions add another layer of mystery and excitement for us when looking at what will happen over the next 12 weeks.  What it does also is add a new layer of concern, and to some fans, worry because of the unknowns with the staff.

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August 27, 2015

Fall Camp – Practice #17

Filed under: Coaches,Football,Players — Reed @ 11:01 am

(Read Chas’ piece posted this morning before this one please)

It has come at last, today is the final day of the 2015 Fall Training Camp.  We’ll have one final press release regarding the practice and then we’ll get some interviews like always.  After that “Cry Havoc and let loose the dogs of speculation

What have we learned?  I have an in-depth article in draft that will address that question.  But for now here is the latest from Pitt on Wednesday’s work the team put in (after the videos and Kickoff info).

As Chas mentioned in his latest piece, last night was the annual PITT Fan Fest held at Heinz Field.  Here are the players and Pitt families with their kids interacting on a nice Pittsburgh almost-football weather evening.

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Mostly Unrelated Items

Filed under: Football — Chas @ 7:08 am

I don’t know how I had myself convinced that college football began this evening, but I did. Way too much wishful thinking. I am very sad. No, wait. I blame it on some medication mixed with alcohol. Yeah, that’s the ticket.

Justin asked a very good question regarding negative recruiting.

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August 26, 2015

Fan Fest was last night, which signals the end of training camp. Practices now, are ostensibly about getting ready for the first opponent. While most of college football begins this weekend. Pitt has an extra week.

In a way this is good. As eager as I am for Pitt’s season to start. To make the trips to Pittsburgh and see my friends. It is the end of summer, and this extra weekend allowed me to avoid major screw-ups because I forgot when Pitt’s season begins and scheduled other things. For example, I don’t have to disappoint my daughter by cancelling at the last minute on a nighttime 5K we are doing this Saturday (only downside is watching college football all day without drinking).

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August 25, 2015

Pitt LiveWire Practice #15

Filed under: Uncategorized — Reed @ 8:52 am

(From the Pitt LiveWire Practice #15 Press Release)

MULTIMEDIA: Pitt Live Wire Blog

VIDEO: Coach Pat Narduzzi

VIDEO: Defensive Line Coach Tom Sims

VIDEO: Defensive Tackle Tyrique Jarrett

VIDEO: Defensive Tackle Khaynin Mosley-Smith

Coach Pat Narduzzi

Opening statement:

“Saturday we had a nice scrimmage. We stayed pretty healthy getting through that, which is obviously always a main concern. You still hit, but you try to stay healthy. We had some big hits out there as well, but it was a good scrimmage. We got a lot done and we’ll just try to get three percent better today.”

On balancing keeping players healthy while getting them ready for the season:

“There’s some guys you need to see and there’s some guys who’ve made an impact already. You try to protect those guys, and there’s some guys who need work. There’s a fine line, but you have to go out and work. It’s just like the pros in preseason games. I mean, the guys are going to go out and you have to play. I didn’t watch the [Steelers] game, but I’m sure Ben [Roethlisberger] didn’t play the whole time. So you’re getting the guys that need to get reps and find out who your two-deep is going to be as you look at the season.”

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August 24, 2015

Pitt had its final scrimmage of camp Saturday and Rivals.com compiled the stats for that matchup between our Offense and Defense.  This is from a free article on their website and I thank them.  I also would like to remind all Pitt fans that Rivals.com does a superb job of following the team and the program, especially on its subscription service.  So, I give them credit and thanks for this type of detailed info.

No great surprises during the play really, it was a practice scrimmage with the ‘star’ players held out for the most part.  This last week of camp is for winnowing down the players until a two-deep lineup presents itself.  I think Narduzzi will announce that later this week.  Here are the stats from Saturday:

RUSHING

Qadree Ollison – 21 carries, 58 yards
George Aston – 6 carries, 19 yards
Stephen Ezekoye – 4 carries, 7 yards
Rachid Ibrahim – 1 carry, 0 yards
Nate Peterman – 3 carries, 7 yards
Chad Voytik – 2 carries, 6 yards
Darrin Hall – 1 carry, 3 yards

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August 21, 2015

September To Set Up November

Filed under: Fans,Football — Chas @ 7:13 am

Parents visiting for a week. Kids heading back to school this week. The usual chaos of the transition of activities.

How about a terrifying concept of the worst case scenario for this season?

PITT: Can technically start the season with losses to Bo Pelini, Terry Bowden, and Kirk Ferentz. Good God.

My sphincter clenched upon reading that.

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August 20, 2015

Pitt Produces Legends

Filed under: Football,History,Honors — Chas @ 12:06 pm

The Football Writers Association of America has been around for 75 years. They have been picking All-Americans since 1944. To honor their own existence they released their 75th Anniversary All-American Team.

A few Pitt players made the list.

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What do you want to see? Part II

Filed under: Football — Reed @ 7:01 am

You all never answered the question I asked toward the end of the last article.  That was: “What do you as fans want to see taking place in camp, the week’s practice before the YSU opener, and then through the first game?”

Would it  be more competition at a positions?  Better play from the O or D?  Narduzzi issuing the two-deep ASAP?  Longer  videos from actual practice sessions so we can see the individual players in action?

Let’s hear your views and opinions… it doesn’t have to be limited to the above questions but anything that jumps out at you.  Make it the whole season, 2017 recruiting, Heinz Field suggestions, ticket availability, is Pitt a BB school? etc…

You get the drift.

P/S: Chaney closed the door yesterday on any starting QB changes at this time:

“Guys, here’s the deal,” he said to reporters, his voice full of conviction. “Chad is the incumbent starting quarterback, and he remains the starting quarterback at Pitt.”  The confusion may have stemmed from coach Pat Narduzzi’s reluctance earlier in the day to discuss his timetable for naming a starter.

“I haven’t thought much about it, to be honest with you,” he (Narduzzi) said.  Narduzzi has no plans to change quarterbacks, but he doesn’t want to create the impression that the previous season’s starter automatically gets the job.

That’s about what every Pitt fans save the Dark Night and UPitt figured the stance in camp would be and it’s the way things played out so far.  Let’s hope both kids shine in camp so to be ready for the season.  Keep in mind that Voytik has never been a good camp/practice player so if we keep hearing reports of him ‘not being sharp’ or ‘having an off day’ it doesn’t really mean much.  If he loses the starting position it would be after playing poorly in games, not on the practice field.

Now, the real question is whether Narduzzi will pull a DW/TG and never play the QB2 unless it is an emergency.

My gut tells me we’ll see a ‘soft’ rotation in some games where Chaney gives Peterman to get sharp in a game situation and air the ball out.  That might be predicated on big leads so lets hope that happens also.  Either way it is nice to at least feel that we have a competent back-up in place.  That wasn’t the case over the last seven years or so.

PITTSBURGH, PA - AUGUST 14: The Pitt football team practices at the UPMC Sports Complex on August 14, 2015 in Pittsburgh, PA.

Nate Peterman’s guns (Rivals photo)

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