November 22, 2014

PITT 30 – Syracuse 7

Filed under: Coaches,Football — Reed @ 8:22 pm

Can we talk about this like adults?  ( I just heard that for the first time in 33 years of marriage and thought I’d share).

Hey, we played a football game today against a long time rival and won convincingly. Let’s devote at least some time to it.

Defense played well, offense was efficient and there were enough weird plays for us PITT fans to debate .

Personally I think 5-6 sounds a lot better than 4-7.  We actually have a shot at a post-season game based on Paul Chryst’s personality – you know that the bowl game sponsors are dying to get him for their event, he’ll put butts in the seats for sure!!

So what say you?

November 21, 2014

Open Thread: Pitt-Hawai’i

Filed under: Basketball,Open Thread — Chas @ 9:02 pm

No TV. Just radio or watching a gamecast refresh on your computer. The tip-off is midnight — which is Saturday — but they kept it confusing by saying Friday repeatedly. Turns out they were doing that by claiming the tip was at 11:59.

Either way, I’m not staying up to listen to a radio stream. TV or and I might have given it a go. In this case, I’m just going to get some rest. I’ve gotten old and soft.


November 20, 2014

Better to Be in Maui Than Buffalo

Filed under: Basketball — Chas @ 8:30 am

The Pitt basketball team is in Hawaii. They play the University of Hawaii at Midnight tonight/tomorrow morning.

If you watched the Samford game, then you saw Pitt go small for large portions of the game. The front court of Mike Young, Jamel Artis and Sheldon Jeter. It’s surprising only insofar as Coach Jamie Dixon has always played a true center. This year, however, the options at center are far less than optimal.

Both Joseph Uchebo and Derrick Randall are extremely limited in their skill sets. They can rebound. Play a bit of defense. But that is about it. When it comes to the offensive side of the ball, they are amazingly deficient.


November 19, 2014

One of the great things about college football is having friends who also follow it and then debating with them the different points of view about our favorite football program.  We do that like crazy here on the Blather so as a switch from all the negative things we fans have been dealing with when it comes to the program lately let’s sit back and take a look at some past and present team and player comparisons.

A bright spot of the 2014 season is the production of some of our underclass starters on offense.  Boyd is replicating his great ’13 season, Conner has blown up after a pretty darn good true FR year and it looks like Voytik has settled in a bit and could be more productive in 2015.  Next season we should see even more increase in the offense play of these three as a whole.

The thing that jumps out to me first and foremost is how exceedingly productive James Conner has been at Defensive End Running Back. PITT has a great history of running backs especially going back to the 1970’s with Heisman Trophy winner Tony Dorsett. For timely comparison sake let’s go back 10 years and look at the best rushing yardage years of five of PITT’s most productive RBs of that decade with the best production in red.

RB GP Carries Yards YPC CPG YPG TDs
Dorsett 11 370 2150 5.8 33.6 195.5 22
Lewis 13 325 1799 5.5 25.0 138.4 17
Conner* 10/12 250/300 1562/1874 6.2 25.0 156.2 21/25
McCoy 13 308 1488 4.8 23.7 114.5 21
Graham 12 222 1042 4.7 18.5 86.8 11

* – Conner’s projection for the whole 2014 season is in bold italics, assuming no bowl game :(


November 18, 2014

The System is Fine

Filed under: Chryst,Coaches,Football — Chas @ 7:20 am

When you check the boxes for a head coach on Paul Chryst, there is one you can fill in completely. Then slap a coat of paint and epoxy to be sure it is never going to be unchecked. Bland, predictable, non-judgmental coachspeak.

The defense has been a decaying, desecating hot mess for the last three games. Does Coach Chryst think more time needs to be spent working with the defense. Helping the coaches and players? Probably. But you won’t get him to admit it.

Despite the lopsided nature of the box scores, Chryst said Monday that he doesn’t plan to spend more time focusing on the defense this week as the Panthers prepare for Syracuse in their home finale.

At his weekly news conference, Chryst initially declined to answer when asked if he would change how much time he spends in defensive meeting rooms this week, only noting how the Panthers need to improve defensively.

But when pressed, he said he still believes consistency is the best approach.

“You’re going to be watching film and, every week, you make comments,” Chryst said. “I’m going to make sure I’m doing that weekly. It’s no different than how you coach and interact with your players.

“You better coach them all the time and not just wait for the scoreboard to dictate when you’re going to coach or help or do something.”

Chryst added that it is a bit puzzling to see the defensive problems in the past three weeks, given that the unit played well early this season but has struggled to maintain that consistency he preaches.

“There have been some moments where I think we’ve been playing really well, and certainly some moments when we haven’t,” Chryst said.

The system is in place. There is no problem with the system. All will be well, as long as the team continues to follow the system.


November 17, 2014

Monday Morning Quarterbacking Vol 10

Filed under: Football — Reed @ 9:59 am

Monday Morning QB

(This is a weekly series of articles entitled “Monday Morning Quarterback”.   I will try to post them two days after the football games are played so as to have our wilder emotions under control by then.  It will be my take on the positives and the negatives we saw happen and a chance for commenters to agree or disagree and to add their own thoughts.)

When I started this I told myself that I’d never write something that I didn’t want to write so that is what in play here.  I didn’t watch the game.  I took a look at the box scores and watched the video highlights and that’s it – you guys can do the MMQB’ing this week if you feel like it.  I don’t have the energy or desire right now. 

I’ll travel to PGH to see the SYR game and do one after that.…



Ying & Yang

This is a special weekly section dedicated to the quarterback play of Chad Voytik so that we can look specifically at how he’s doing, whether he is progressing or not, and what his impact on the team and games are week to week at this point in the season.


November 16, 2014

No Defense

Filed under: Assistants,Coaches,Football — Chas @ 9:11 pm

The numbers are damning over the last 3 games.

— 1552 total yards surrendered.

— 140 points given up by the defense (We won’t count the 7 given up by special teams).

— 1 takeaway by the defense.

As the offense has improved and progressed over the course of the season, the defense has made no progress from the start of the season. It was masked by the competition, but there is no hiding from this mess.

But this has been coming a while. When Matt House was hired as the defensive coordinator, no one could actually defend the hiring from a football standpoint. He was unqualified. He had very limited experience even as a position coach. He was Chryst’s comfortable hire because it promoted staff continuity. The defense of House essentially came down to either trying to shift the blame on the AD or to say that we have to trust Head Coach Paul Chryst’s judgment on his own staff.


Open Thread: Samford-Pitt

Filed under: Basketball,Open Thread — Chas @ 11:30 am

I was starting to work on a recap rant diatribe review of the football game yesterday, but decided I didn’t want to start drinking that early on a Sunday morning when it doesn’t involve a tailgate.

So, instead, let’s get ready for Samford.

The game is at 1pm and is part of the Maui Invitational package. No, really. The game was set up for Pitt by the Maui organizers.

In the Pittsburgh area, it is on ROOT, but since it is a syndicated ACC Network/ESPN game you can watch it on line at ESPN3 and plenty of other outlets including the ESPN FullCourt package, FoxSports West, FoxSports South, Sun Sports and Comcast SportsNet Mid-Atlantic.


November 15, 2014

12:30 pm on the syndicated ACC Network.

Which ever team loses will have a fan base barely holding on to a shred of hope for a very minor bowl. Well, I’m sure UNC could turn to basketball as they usually do. Albeit with the academic/athletic scandal seemingly creeping closer and closer towards impacting their sacred cow ram.

In a way this game is a simple and cliched one. For Pitt to win this, they have to disrupt UNC’s offense. They cannot let them get into a rhythm on offense. The tempo of the UNC offense depends on them moving the ball. They don’t simply come out and try to run all the plays at a speed pace. They increase the tempo and pace as they get success and confidence. That is why their heavy volume of penalties this year has been such a problem. Self-inflicted disruptions and slowed pace.


Okay, let’s get this out of the way. Durand Johnson’s season long suspension.

“Durand will remain in our program and practice,” [Head Coach Jamie] Dixon said. “However, he will not compete in any games this season. While it is disappointing, we will encourage Durand to make the most of this year personally, academically and athletically.”

There was no nebulous “team rules” citation. This appeared very suddenly, as a week ago Johnson was playing big minutes in the final exhibition game. My instinct in a suspension like this, is that it is academically related. That appears to be the likely reason.

It sucks for Durand Johnson. Everyone raves about him as a person and a teammate. He accepted his role as an energy guy coming off the bench. He worked on his defense. There was a strong expectation that he could make a leap coming back from his ACL injury and with more playing time coming his way.


November 14, 2014

Sorry, literally and figuratively buried the last two days with work and snow. Oh, so much snow. Way too early.

Season opener. The game is on your computer at starting at 7pm.

Pitt faces a Niagara team that was not very good last year. This is probably good, as Pitt’s defense has been suspect in the first couple of exhibition games. Not having Cameron Wright available has the perimeter D a bit weak. Much to Coach Jamie Dixon’s chagrin.


November 13, 2014

Hello fellow disappointing ACC Coastal team. You seem so familiar.

In ranking the most disappointing teams in college football this year, arguably Pitt can’t even win in its own division. That honor goes to UNC followed by VT. Pitt only manages a 3d place finish in the Coastal Chaos Mess. Is there any doubt that Pitt is in the right conference?

Heck, in the weekly ACC power polls does, Pitt moved up two spots over the last two weeks — with an OT loss and a bye. If that isn’t a #goacc moment, than I don’t know what is.

I’m even more excited than before for the Pitt-UNC game on Saturday.


November 12, 2014

Mental Health Break

Filed under: Football,Players — Chas @ 8:07 am

From the comments, many of you have checked out on the season. Some have stated or threatened to check out even further than that. Oddly, despite how maddening, frustrating and agonizing the last couple weeks have been I haven’t checked out on this year.

Oh, my expectations/hopes are extremely shallow at this point. And it is probably more about individual stories, performances and that feeling of being unable to turn away from a wreck. Still, I’m feeling connected.

I’ve checked out before. I know the feeling. 2007, definitely checked out early (notwithstanding that final game of the season). Same with 2010. More detached. Les angsty. Much more focus on basketball.

Having said that, I needed a little time after the Duke game.


November 6, 2014

The bye week feels like a great time to break out my old column Optimist vs. Pessimist. There’s not a whole lot to be optimistic about the rest of this season, but perhaps a bowl win could inspire a little hope like it did at the end of last season. Naturally, two more wins are needed before Pitt can even think about going to a bowl game. Let’s examine whether or not James Conner and company can win two of the last three games against UNC, the ARCHRIVAL ORANGE, and Miami. (more…)

November 3, 2014

Monday Morning QB

(This is a weekly series of articles entitled “Monday Morning Quarterback”.   I will try to post them two days after the football games are played so as to have our wilder emotions under control by then.  It will be my take on the positives and the negatives we saw happen and a chance for commenters to agree or disagree and to add their own thoughts.)

I have to start off by saying that because of external family issues; a death of a good friend, my having to set up his Memorial Service ,  having the wake at our home and then having house guests all weekend I didn’t watch the game and I didn’t record it either.

I took a look at the box scores and watched a few video highlights and that’s it – you guys can do the MMQB’ing this week…


1.  Chad Voytik. That is his second consecutive game that he’s shown improvement in his actual passing production.  From watching a couple videos of his passes it looks like his passing skills are getting better also. 16 of  24 for 236 yards (66.8%) with a ypa of 9.8, which is excellent! And two TDs is a good day at the office for any QB.  Good for him.  He lead the team to 31  regular game points.

On our second TD drive we had to go 32 yards and he did that with only two plays, a 16 yard pass and a 13 yard run.


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