October 6, 2006

Players Shuffling About

Filed under: Football,Tactics — Chas @ 11:43 am

I hate to say it, but I think they wasted nearly half the season with Lowell Robinson.

Citing his team’s depth at wide receiver, coach Dave Wannstedt is moving Lowell Robinson to the defensive backfield after a two-month experiment at wideout. Robinson was a JUCO All-American safety at Erie (N.Y.) Community College last year and intercepted a conference-high seven passes. The 6-foot, 195-pounder, who moved to wide receiver during training camp and played mainly on special teams, will remain the Panthers’ kickoff returner and will play on coverage teams.

Robinson has looked very good at returning kicks, but moving him to WR was questionable from the start. As a JUCO, he doesn’t have a lot of time at Pitt. He now has to try and climb the depth chart at safety for the rest of the season. No question he is valuable on the special teams, but I don’t give him good odds of getting on the two-deep depth chart by seasons end barring injuries. That just gives him next season.

I also think this is clearly an indicator that they are very nervous about how much they are going to use Jason Pinkston on the O-line.

Wannstedt said junior guard/center Chris Vangas and sophomore tackle Chase Clowser would be the first substitutes off the bench on the offensive line. Jason Pinkston, who moved from defense to the offensive line two weeks ago, also could see some time.

“It doesn’t take long before the lack of depth is obvious,” Wannstedt said.

All week, we’ve read how Pinkston will see a lot of time and be a key reserve. Now it seems that they are hedging.
Talking about the line and how Palko hasn’t been sacked as much, Zeise responded in his Q&A.

Q: It seems like Palko is getting sacked less, not because of great line play, but because of the West Coast system of quick passes and dumping off the ball. What are your thoughts?

Zeise: There is definitely some truth to that, but that’s how the system is supposed to work. They also have used more max protection schemes and Tyler is a lot better versed in the safety valves that each play provides and he’s making quicker decisions. That’s all a part of any team that doesn’t give up many sacks. Do you really think the Dolphins had the greatest lines on the planet all those years they were protecting Dan Marino, or do you think his lightning quick release of the ball had something to do with him hardly ever getting sacked. So yes, part of it is the system but I do think the offensive line is playing much, much better in pass protection as well. Of course, Syracuse leads the nation in sacks I guess this theory will be put to the test tomorrow.

Palko is also making the reads quicker. While on Zeise’s chat on Thursday, he spent more time mocking those who have wanted to make sure Bill Stull saw some action at QB. Either he got too many e-mails about the issue or he has something against the whole idea of giving the back-up some work for the future. He does his usual stumping for Conredge Collins to get more carries. To be fair, though, the Pitt coaches said Collins was going to get more work and instead saw less. Heck, they are saying it again this week.

Pitt running backs coach David Walker said the Panthers hope to balance their running game with 6-foot, 235-pound fullback Conredge Collins, who is averaging 4.9 yards per carry and has scored on his past two touches.

“We’ve got to come up with other ways we can get him the ball,” Walker said. “He’s in the mix with some of the one-back stuff we do. I would hope we’re going to start to see his carries increase, because he’s proven he can be very effective with the ball.”

Whether it happens or not is another issue.

If you really want to die laughing, check out Ray Fittipaldo’s PSU chat. Looks like it was thoroughly hijacked by Pitt fans.

I’ll let you guys discover the gems inside that transcript.

link to

Comment by baudolino 10.06.06 @ 12:33 pm


Comment by Kenny 10.06.06 @ 1:30 pm

Here’s the actual Q&A regarding Bill Stull – I had to laugh when I saw it….

“PirateApologist: Do you think that Palko should have come out of the game earlier last week?

Paul Zeise: Yes, actually he should have come out right after they scored to make it 7-0. I mean, the game was over then and Bill Stull needs the work. How can Pitt go through a whole season and not get Bill Stull more work. Bill Stull needs work. He needs more work. Pitt can’t win unless Bill Stull gets work. More work for Bill Stull.”

But, thinking seriously about this – how much game time did Palko have before he became the starter? According to his Bio he was 2 for 3 passing in 2002, and saw some action as mop up in six games (then redshirted in 2003). So, really not too much – about what Stull is seeing this year. I agree with Zeise in that it might be more valuable for the young players to be rotated in with Palko at QB to give them some real game situation experience. Look, if Palko goes down with an injury this year we’re probably pretty screwed anyway, regardless if Stull has more experience of not.

I will say this, I think it’s no lock that Bostick waltzes in to a starting job here – Stull is a good player and might turn out to be an excellent starting QB in the future.

Comment by Reed Kohberger 10.06.06 @ 3:21 pm

No way Bostick will redshirt for at least one full year to learn the offense, and then it will be a 50/50 if he starts, because by then Stull will be a senior…..we’ll see though…

Comment by Marco 10.06.06 @ 8:56 pm

Personally I think it is an excellent idea to get stull the work at least one series a game. Look at what louisville did with brohm and now the other guy. Brohm gets hurt and they really didnt skip a beat. Steve Logan when he was at ECU used to do that. Sometimes 2 series if he could. you will never know when you need him.
Collins does need some touches, the guy can run and it is good to keep them guessing. He has talent, use it.

Comment by ECUPittfan 10.06.06 @ 11:25 pm

ECUPittfan, those are good points, but the difference with PITT is that Palko is playing with WRs & RBs that are pretty much first year players (Kinder excepted, and even Stephens-Howling didn’t have a full slate of games under his belt) and therefore it was more important to get the starters as much game time experience in the front of the season as possible – before we get into the meat of the schedule. In honesty, none of the games we had scheduled & played so far as been a sure PITT win – some have turned out to be blowouts, but going into each game we’ve been having to prepare like it’s a possible loss, this week included. Louisville had been in the position to get their second string QB more practice and playing time because their offense was already set and they pretty much knew they would have good control of their games by the second half/4th quarter.

Agree about Collins though, and I think Stephens-Howling has had a good enough chance to show his stuff, and while he’s OK and obviously a integral part of the team, he unreliable in terms of injury and not very productive. We really need to find a RB that will be consistent and who creates positive yardage on each play. We’re not able to sustain drives or get sure first downs in third and short situations at this time by relying on the running game. That’s assuming another RB might make a difference in the team running game – could be the line play is the sole factor in the disappointing ground game. As I can’t actually watch the games it’s hard to tell, and on the radio you get the bare bones of the plays.

But, this is what’s fun about college football – each week is different and could hold surprises for the fans – like Dickerson getting time at RB and having a break out remainder of the season (one can only hope!)

As for Bostick redshirting – from everything I have read about him he has very good football sense, has played in a system similar to PITT’s and is graduating early to join the team in January specifically to get plugged into the system. I have a feeling he won’t be redshirted (could also be a DD-like situation where he was promised playing time early) and will compete right away for the starting QB spot. My thoughts are that he will be in a healthy competition with Stull – who I think can be a real effective, even very good, QB in college.

Comment by Reed Kohberger 10.07.06 @ 6:16 am

Belay everything I said above about Stephens-Howling. He proved me wrong against the Orange.

Comment by Reed Kohberger 10.07.06 @ 3:19 pm

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