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January 24, 2015

Binge Link Clearance Time

Filed under: Football,Uncategorized — Chas @ 9:48 pm

The links have piled up something fierce. Time to dump some.

First up. Social media. If you are doing the twitter thing, here’s the list of follows for Pitt football. The coaches, the support staff, etc.

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January 22, 2015

Recruits To the Defense

Filed under: Football,Recruiting — Chas @ 12:36 pm

It makes all the sense that the first two “official” verbals are both defensive players. That is the side that is in need of an influx of talent and depth. And, of course, Head Coach Pat Narduzzi is a defensive guy.

The first two verbals from last night are Jay or Jazzee Stocker and Shawn Curtis. The former from Coatsville, PA and the other from Doral Florida.

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January 21, 2015

Now that the football coaching staff is in place, the fans are excited and recruiting is in full bloom let’s take a very early preview of who we may see playing ball out there on the field as starters for us in 2015. Paul Chryst left Pat Narduzzi with a very young roster and a younger but experienced two-deep rotation.  Most of the starters on the 2014 team were FR and SOs and sometimes the lack of experience showed up in pretty dramatic ways.

Here is who we either fielded as starters last season or I assume will fill a starting role in ’15. This is my take on it, we’ll know some more after Spring practices (not too far away) and, of course, it will be firmed up over Fall camp:

OFFENSE

POSITION PLAYER YEAR GROUP in ’15 YRS STARTING
QB Chad Voytik rsJR 1
RB James Conner JR 2
H-Back Jamar Parrish JR 2
WR Tyler Boyd JR 2
WR Dontez Ford (?) rsJR 0
TE J.P. Holtz SR 2
LT Adam Bisnowaty rsJR 1
LG Dorian Johnson JR 1
C Artie Rowell rsSR 1
RG Alex Officer rsSO 1
RT Alex Bookster SO 1

 

That setup is probably pretty much etched in stone with the exception of the WR2 spot, rsSO Jester Weah could get in there for speed and maybe the OL will mix it up a little. We scored 32 PPG last year so the skill positions will be held fast. Our new OC, Jim Chaney, won’t have a rebuilding task ahead of him, but my fear is that he won’t see what is right in front of his face and try to get fancy when non-fancy did just fine for us on offense.

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No Shortage On Experience

Filed under: Assistants,Coaches,Football — Chas @ 8:28 am

It is easy, oh so easy to pile on every negative from a former coaching staff. It’s a natural tendency. Still our team. Our school. The change brings a renewed sense of optimism. That these guys get it. That the previous group were bozos who were holding everything back.

It’s not necessarily fair or even correct, but it sure is the feelings. Especially in the change from Paul Chryst’s first few weeks on the job to Pat Narduzzi. There’s an energy.  An engagement that is happening, not seen in some time. From the hires made for the staff. To the engagement on twitter coupled with the goofy, yet confident photoshops about Pitt and where the coaches are recruiting. There is an enthusiasm for the program that is coming from the top down.

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January 20, 2015

WR Coach, New Offers, and More!

Filed under: Coaches,Football,Recruiting — Justin @ 12:12 pm

First thing’s first: Narduzzi’s coaching staff is finally complete with the addition of WR Coach Kevin Sherman. Sherman is currently the WR coach for Purude and prior to that held the same position at Virginia Tech and Wake Forest. Sherman is known to recruit the DMV region, which makes him a valuable addition to compete with the rest of the ACC for east coast targets. Here’s a list of all the commits Sherman earned over the years and you’ll see a few guys currently in the NFL like Kendall Fuller and Jarrett Boykin. (more…)

January 19, 2015

Open Thread of Doom: Pitt-Duke

Filed under: Basketball,Open Thread — Chas @ 6:51 pm

I want to be optimistic. Really. Just can’t be dishonest about the chances tonight, so I’m going with gallows humor.

Duke is favored by nearly 15 points. It is the start of the brutal gauntlet of ACC games, and Pitt struggled through the easier portion. This is on the road at Cameron. Against a top-10 (15?) team.

Could Pitt pull an upset? Sure. Do I really believe it could happen. Not after watching the way the Blue Devils shut down Louisville on Saturday.7pm start. Big Monday ESPN game. Pitt hasn’t exactly played up to an opponent this year, would love to see this change the script.

January 17, 2015

Open Thread: GT-Pitt

Filed under: Basketball,Open Thread — Chas @ 2:31 pm

The win over FSU was needed. Seeing Aron Philips-Nwankwo be the sparkplug was just plain positive energy. Here’s a flashback to his first mention on this site, nearly 5 years ago.

Today it is Georgia Tech. The Yellowjackets are 0-4 in the ACC, but they are fully capable of making this a miserable game for Pitt. They have all been close losses for GT, but still losses.

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January 15, 2015

Everybody Get Social

Filed under: Coaches,Football,Internet,Media — Chas @ 9:02 pm

Or something like that. Okay you luddites that still want info, the Pitt football coaching staff is going to drag you kicking and screaming into 2010.

Sure you ignored getting on just because I am there. Or Justin. No, Reed is still a conscientious objector or something like that.

Unlike the previous staff that treated Twitter like MySpace, the new Pitt coaching staff is actively on the social side of things. Letting you know where they are out recruiting. Ready to drop code words to indicate if they met with recruits — and just waiting to find out the code words when they land one (quick example is Texas A&M Coach Kevin Sumlin who tweets out a “YES SIR” when he gets a verbal). A veritable Pat Signal.

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3…2…1… RECRUIT!

Filed under: Coaches,Players,Recruiting — Justin @ 10:06 am

The recruiting dead period is over and coaches can now visit players in person. That makes today the day for Narduzzi and company to start earning their paychecks. As Chas mentioned, recruiting was a huge emphasis when hires were made and hopefully this decision will bear fruit soon. Chancellor Gallagher gave Narduzzi a much larger budget than Paul Chryst to hire assistants and the next several weeks will should justify that.

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January 14, 2015

Open Thread: FSU-Pitt

Filed under: Basketball,Open Thread — Chas @ 6:24 pm

I hate that watching Pitt basketball games feel like a chore. Especially in mid-January. But it really feels that way at the moment. And not simply because I’m getting old and the game doesn’t start until 9pm.

For the most part, Pitt teams under Jamie Dixon have been — and I hate to go cliche here — “better than the sum of their parts.” They have been teams that overachieve. No one player is so much better than everyone else. Think about all those teams over the last 10+ years and how few individual players made 1st team Big East. They went out there and were so cohesive. They fed off of each other. The execution was so consistent.

This is not that kind of team. If anything, since the new year, this group has been worse than they should.

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Before the trying to pretend he didn’t know anything about his players exchanging gear for tattoos and other services, Jim Tressel was consistently getting outstanding recruiting classes to Columbus. His recruiting coordinator for much of that time was John Peterson.

A former Ohio State offensive lineman. He had been climbing the coaching ranks as a OL Coach. First at Akron (1995-98), then at Miami (Ohio) under Terry Hoeppner until 2003. Then he was  hired to be the O-line coach at Arizona. That changed quickly when his alma mater came calling in the spring. Tressel hired him to be the recruiting coordinator and TE Coach at OSU.

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Thus Spoke Patrick

Filed under: Coaches,Football,Media — Reed @ 2:11 pm

From the latest press ‘sit-down’ Chancellor Gallagher held yesterday afternoon you have to think that his commitment to the football program is rock solid and forward thinking. There isn’t any doubt in my mind that PITT would have kept Chryst on for another year or two had he not left for the Wisconsin job but once that opened Gallagher saw what was shaping up, seized the moment and put his own plans into action.

First came the change in our Athletic Director position with the long awaited firing of Steve Pederson. This mollified almost everyone who had suffered the angst over Chryst leaving the PITT job. It was as if we fans took a collective breath and felt that regardless of who was named the new HC the future of PITT football looked brighter.

The timing of that move couldn’t have been made in a better way. It showed the strong decision making that the former Chancellor was thought to have lacked when it came to the football program. That isn’t 100% true but the fan’s perception was strongly slanted that way.

Once that firing had been made then came the personnel and financial aspect of the changes. Of course the main point has been the hiring of defensive-minded Pat Narduzzi, late of the MSU staff. This appears to be a pretty solid hire and Narduzzi has begun rounding out his coordinators and staff coaching positions. Both his coordinators have been successes at the same jobs at other schools. (more…)

January 12, 2015

Open Thread: CFB Championship Game

Filed under: Uncategorized — Chas @ 6:15 pm

Thankfully my son hasn’t asked for any Buckeye gear. I was legitimately worried about that living in Ohio and the lead-in to to tonight. I think the saving grace was school being cancelled from Wednesday to Friday last week. Meant not having any of the perfidious peer pressure brought to bear for the whole week. Instead, just one day back and the game tonight.

Have to break out the ladder and clean the satellite tonight. The snow today, seems to have disrupted the signal. Usually it hasn’t been a problem, but of course tonight there is an issue.

Presumably most of us will be watching the game on ESPN2 so we can hear Pat Narduzzi talk about the game with some other coach whose agent tried to use the Pitt job for leverage in another job. Along with Chris Speilman and and Tom Luginbill.

I still want Narduzzi to use the time to announce another coach he’s hired. Just for fun.

Strong Move on OC

Filed under: Assistants,Coaches,Football,Hire/Fire — Chas @ 7:07 am

I’ll be throwing up an open thread for the college football playoff championship game tonight. If for no other reason, everyone can wax rhapsodic over the analysis, insight and way Pat Narduzzi sells Pitt in the ESPN Film Room on ESPN2.

In the mean time, I guess we can pour over the news of Pitt’s new offensive coordinator. His name is Jim Chaney and he has been the Arkansas OC for the past two years.

Chaney spent the past two years with the Razorbacks, calling plays in their pro-style offense. This year, Arkansas ranked 26th in Division I-A with 218 rushing yards per game. He had two running backs surpass 1,000 yards in Jonathan Williams (1,190 yards) and Alex Collins (1,100 yards).

By the end of the season, Arkansas’ offense put up more than 30 points on top-30 defenses Texas and Mississippi. The Razorbacks scored 30 on the Rebels, who ended the season with Division I-A’s best scoring defense.

Arkansas finished the season 42nd in scoring offense, averaging 31.9 points per game.

Narduzzi said Saturday he prefers an offensive coordinator with play-calling experience, and Chaney fills that requirement. The move should also ensure a relatively smooth transition, as Chaney’s offense appears to be relatively similar to the one the Panthers ran under former coach Paul Chryst.

There were reportedly issues by the end of the year with Arkansas Head Coach Brett Bielema and Chaney. Chaney wanted a more balanced offensive attack, while Bielema wants to just run the football. So, from that standpoint the move for Chaney makes sense as HCPN has stated he does not want to meddle with the OC and play calling.

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January 10, 2015

Clemson dreams of being Pitt when it comes to basketball.

This will be the 400th Pitt game for Coach Jamie Dixon, as the man in charge. It is also, potentially, his 300th win. There may be some talk of that.

Dixon is 15 games into his 12th season as Pitt’s coach. The Panthers are 11-4 overall and 1-1 in conference play.

“A lot of people recognize and talk about it, but I don’t give it a lot of thought, to be honest with you,” Dixon said. “When I sit down and look at it, I might think a little differently — the numbers.

“As I think about it now, I’m just thankful I’ve been able to coach at the university that many years. It does speak to being at a place a long time.”

The emphasis has been on the speed at which it has been accomplished or in comparison to how long it took other coaches to reach 300.

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