March 16, 2007

Really, doesn’t the Athletic Department try to at least pretend to coordinate things between the Basketball and Football side of things. I realize the spring practice schedule was set in advance. But so were the dates for the NCAA Tournament. You are telling me they couldn’t at least have waited until Monday or not on the opening weekend of the NCAA Tournament to start practices until Monday. It’s hell on us one-man global content providers.

Today is Pro-day. Most scouts are coming to see Darrelle Revis, but there are several other players hoping for a good showing to catch some eyes.

More than 40 NFL personnel are expected to attend, including Chicago Bears head coach Lovie Smith and secondary coaches Ray Horton of the Steelers, Teryl Austin of the Arizona Cardinals and Tim Lewis of the Carolina Panthers.

Pitt coach Dave Wannstedt, who coached 16 seasons in the NFL, hopes the interest in Revis has a trickle-down effect on linebacker H.B. Blades, quarterback Tyler Palko and punter Adam Graessle. All four attended the Combine.

“This is an important day for (Blades) and Revis,” Wannstedt said. “When you have a few good players, it draws more scouts for everybody else.”

Other former Pitt players expected to work out for NFL scouts include kicker David Abdul, safety Sam Bryant, tight end Steve Buches, tailback Kelvin Drewery, linebacker Clint Session and center Joe Villani.

I’m just wondering, does Gil Brandt do anything other than make himself available for interviews?

And I love how a former personnel guy complains that the player is hurting himself by not doing more workouts for scouts and the teams. Of course, it’s all about making sure the player gets chances. Nothing at all with the teams, scouts and GMs wanting as many comparisons and opportunities to evaluate. Every year I hear that (probably from Gil Brandt each time), and every year I laugh at the blatant self-serving, hypocritical lies. [But I digress.]

Of course, there is a little more on the decision to put Dickerson at linebacker. Coach Wannstedt defends talked a bit more about the move.

In fact, as spring football begins tomorrow, linebacker is probably the biggest question facing the Panthers. The quarterback spot is open and will get most of the public’s attention, but with all four of the primary starters at linebacker from last year’s team gone, either by graduation or, in the case of junior Tommie Campbell, via indefinite suspension, there is no other position where Wannstedt has to find so many answers.

Wannstedt said Dickerson, who is 6 feet 2, 215 pounds and played running back and receiver last year, is one of the best athletes on the team.

“Dorin is a guy who we want to get on the field and he is the type of kid who wants to play. He wants to play badly,” Wannstedt said. “We just felt with the way our receiver position grew last year and really became a strength and with the recruiting class of running backs coming in, it would be tough to get him in the mix as much as both he and we’d like.

“At linebacker, he has a chance to do some really special things for us so we’ll see how it works out in the spring.”

Dickerson wasn’t the only player moved to linebacker in the offseason. Safeties Jemeel Brady and Shane Murray will both move up and compete at the position.

I’m not sure the right approach is to put it all on Dickerson wanting this. I want to give Wannstedt and the Pitt coaching staff the benefit of the doubt on this, but Dickerson’s potential impact on offense seemed so big that it seems a waste. When the player draws comparisons to impact with Michael and Reggie Bush, I can’t help but wonder if it has more to do with the coaches uncomfortable with him being a hybrid RB/WR; being too rigid with defining the players roles RB or WR as an either/or thing rather than just wanting him to touch the ball any way possible.

I guess I keep coming back to an article that stuck with me last summer about offenses changing:

Petrino spoke of his senior tailback Michael Bush, a 6-foot-3, 247-pound tailback who delivers punishment and first downs in equal doses. Bush rushed for 1,143 yards and 23 touchdowns last season despite missing four starts because of injuries. He is the kind of tailback that every college coach wants.

And here is what Petrino said.

“We have got to get the ball in his hands 25, 30 times a game.”

It’s a sentiment that any coach with a back as talented as Bush would voice. But look again. Petrino didn’t say that he wanted Bush to run the ball 25, 30 times a game. He wanted the ball in Bush’s hands that many times. Bush may run, but Bush will also catch passes.

Besides, think about who is coaching the linebackers this year. I’m just not comfortable with that thought either.
It’s not even logical to compare moving Safeties up to linebacker with Dickerson coming over from the offense.

I’m going to try and let it go (for now), because I know I’m repeating myself on this one.

Back to the article, it’s hard not to read between the lines that Pat Bostick will be getting every chance to grab the starting job at QB come the fall. Regardless of what happens in the spring.

Junior Bill Stull and redshirt freshman Kevan Smith will compete for the starting quarterback job but Wannstedt said the competition really won’t begin in full until the fall when freshman Pat Bostick, who was rated among the top 10 quarterbacks in the country, arrives. Bostick was originally supposed to enroll at Pitt in January but he couldn’t because of the academic calender at his high school, Manheim Township.

Wannstedt admits that Bostick will be behind but knows he’s talented enough to catch up in a hurry. He said quarterback will be one of the least of his worries because the rest of the offense has so much experience.

“We have virtually the entire offensive line returning and some of the young guys that provide depth, like a Jason Pinkston, now will have a full year under their belt,” Wannstedt said. “Our receivers are all back, our running back position is very deep, we have three of our tight ends back. What we’re going to need from our quarterback is a guy to move the chains, make good decisions and manage the game.”


Good to see former Panther Teryl Austin still involved on the coaching level in NFL. I didn’t know he was in Ariz.

Comment by Carmen 03.16.07 @ 10:41 am

Does it also bother anyone that Pitt rarely rushes with quarterback with a linbacker. They usually play straight up with their front 4. I could swallow the move of dickerson to lb a little easier if I was watching him kill opposing quarterbacks on a regular basis. Unfortunatly the best we can hope for with this move is a good run stopper that can also hold his own defending the pass. What a waste.

Comment by beapanther 03.16.07 @ 11:09 am

You know my positon on this-I guess at the end of the day, I am dissappointed they weren’t able to find Dorin a role on offense or maybe that we are overloaded on talent at certain positions and severly short on others ie off. and def. lines.

Comment by scoocher 03.16.07 @ 11:27 am

I can’t even think about this football stuff until the after we leave Atlanta.

Comment by TMGPanther 03.16.07 @ 11:39 am

Moving Dickerson to linebacker could be the most sickening thing I’ve heard all offseason. What happened to DW’s comments before last season saying we need to put the ball in his hands 10-15 times a game? There is no doubt in my mind that Dorin has the ability to get some PT at receiver this year. I honestly think he’d at least be one of our starting receivers next year if the staff didn’t screw with him by changing his position over and over again. I guess DW has a lot of faith in Oderick Turner, Moe Williams, and company because I think Dickerson is the obvious replacement for Kinder. I love DW, and I honestly believe he was the correct choice for this job. His recruiting is excellent, and that’s necessary to take a program to elite status. I don’t understand all these position changes. They are detrimental to our team. Every year it seems like 4 or 5 guys change to a position unknown to them. Hopefully we can get a real linebacker in this next signing period. There is a lot of talent in WPA including Hale from Gateway and Wilson from Montour. My fingers are crossed because I believe that either can have an immediate impact for our breakout year in 2008.

Comment by Ace 03.16.07 @ 12:44 pm

If DD can make our defense better (not hard to do) then I am all for it. The fact is that Lville, WVU, and RU have a lot of speed on offense. If we are going to compete with them, we have to have speed on our defense, particulary at LB and DB. Also, DD could still be used as a “slash” on offense for a limited number of plays per game, as well as a PR or KR. My only reservation is the same thing was tried with Campbell last year. A player has to be a football player, not just a fast player. From what I’ve heard, DD is a football player, so maybe we will finish better than 107th against the run! Let’s face it, we need a lot more help on defense than we do on offense.

Comment by HbgFrank 03.16.07 @ 4:32 pm

Ace, LB is certainly not a position that is unknown to Dickerson – he played it in HS and was recruited by big time programs for that position. Let’s not act like this is some off the wall experiment DW has cooked up. He had mentioned it as early as mid-season last year.

Where would you stick DD on offense to supplant a starter? and who would you sit down? LaRod had close to 900 yards rushing last year. Kinder and Turner both did very well, and Pestano showed talent also. So, do you move Stevens-Howling aside for a kid that hasn’t proven himself? Do you sit down productive WRs based on DD’s projected abilities – since he did basically nothing at WR in HS.

What really could have happened here, and has been pretty much left unsaid, is that DD didn’t earn a spot in the offense. His injury in pre-season last year didn’t help, but it could also be that he just didn’t perform well enough in practices to break into what is a pretty talented offensive starting line-up.

This is a good move, and I believe it is DD’s best shot at playing time. We just got a good group of RBs and WRs in the last recruiting class, and if DD couldn’t break into the offense before – his chances get slimmer with the more talented players we bring in.

Comment by Reed 03.16.07 @ 8:58 pm

Also, while I don’t think that LSH is big enough to be a 20-25 carry per game back, he is damn good, and averaged 5 yards per carry behind a bad, but improving OL. Kinder, Turner and Pestano all averaged about 15 yds per catch. It’s tough to bench any of them. Throw in the fact that Shady is on the way, and this move to Defense for DD looks great. BTW, Shady has a profile on the local ABC channel running today at 6 and 11. He is working out, looks great, and can’t wait to get to Pitt. I tried to find a link on their web page, but it’s not there (maybe in a day or two).

Comment by HbgFrank 03.16.07 @ 9:27 pm

I am tired of hearing how moving Dickerson to LB is a waste. Pitt’s receivers are of the solid, possession type. That’s no slight to them (especially Kinder) but they are not the electrifying type. Why can’t we expect the bluest of blue chip recruits to beat out the likes of Turner and Pestano? It’s Dickerson’s responsibility to do so. This turn of events implies that DD was a tad on the over rated side, and not that DW and company are “wasting” talent.

Comment by DK 03.17.07 @ 3:41 pm

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