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January 26, 2007

Signing Day Keeps Coming

Filed under: Football,Recruiting — Chas @ 11:16 pm

So Paul Zeise is back with some weekly Q&A.

Q: How do you think Pitt had done in recruiting this year? Do you think there is enough talent in the state to sustain a great program or does Pitt have to go out of state more?

ZEISE: Let’s start with your second question — no, not anymore. I think if you look at the recruiting classes of Pitt and Penn State in recent years it is clear there aren’t enough high quality players in this state any more. I like Pitt’s new strategy of going into Maryland, Delaware and Virginia more because I do think they have a chance to be very successful there. There are still a lot of good players and even great players from Pennsylvania, but it is a pipe dream to think you can recruit this state exclusively and build a consistent winner.

As for your first question — I touched on this in the opening — I like this recruiting class because I think it has a lot of potential and that’s all you can ask. You want guys with talent, good character and a good work ethic and trust you have a good coaching staff that can help them reach their potential.

I also think the way Dave Wannstedt has closed — by landing blue chippers like Tony Tucker, Sherod Murdock, Brandon Lindsay, LeSean McCoy, Mo Williams — for the second year in a row and it shows how good of a recruiter he is. The best recruiters are the ones that can close the deal on the most coveted kids (like Bobby Bowden does each year) late in the process. It gives a lot of hope for the future but the team needs to start showing some of the fruits of this labor in the fall.

That there was more kids verballing from outside of Western Pennsylvania has had an impact on the level of excitement and coverage of the recruits. There is less familiarity with the players. We are told they are good. We get the good reports, it’s nice to see all those stars next to their names. But we just don’t know as well.

As for the rest of the Q&A, not that much real info.

Here’s something to ponder. The worst team for Pitt to play from a historical sense is St. John’s. Pitt has a career record of 16-33 against the Red Storm. That’s a paltry .327 winning percentage. Even with all the games and losses to Syracuse (34-61), that’s still a .358 winning percentage. In the last two years, in the midst of the St. John’s reduced scholarships, NCAA penalties and their struggles. They are still 2-1 against Pitt. I’m not sure why they play Pitt so well and Pitt plays so bad against them, but these are not games to enjoy watching.

Last year, St. John’s hit a hot streak in the middle of Big East Conference play — and Pitt was one of the victims — before they ran out of gas after a few games. They ended up going to Storrs and after keeping it close in the first half were blown out in the second half. Jeff Adrien for UConn was kicked out of the game and suspended a couple more for mixing it up with a St. John’s player.

It would appear that St. John’s is in another one of its hot streaks. Taking out Syracuse and ND. While the styles were slightly different in each game, the consistent thing was that St. John’s got out to a big lead in the first half and just held on for dear life.

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