March 27, 2007

Around the Offense

Filed under: Football,Practice — Chas @ 10:08 am

Good news, the O-line is feeling confident and they think they’ve got something vital.

“We really only lost (center Joe) Villani and Simo (guard John Simonitis), but Joe stepped in when he was injured,” [C.J.] Davis said. “So, we’re not too bad off. We’ve got a lot of leadership in place right now. We have to keep working at it.

“With (strength coach) Buddy (Morris) here now, we all feel stronger already. It’s not going to fall together in a day, but the more we work together the more we’ll develop the cohesiveness that’s needed.”

Yes, leadership. That’s what the O-line needs to have. Personally, I’d prefer the ability to protect the QB and/or open holes for the running backs but that’s just me.

Davis noted that while it might take a little time to develop a solid rapport with Vangas, he had no doubt that the entire offensive line would be running smoothly when training camp got under way in August.

“We just have to get more used to playing with each other,” Davis said. “We’re getting all the kinks out right now, but that’s what the spring is for. When we come back for training camp, we’ll just be fine-tuning things for the season. And Vangas, he’s very similar to Villani in a lot of ways.

“Vangas is very smart, and he’s a very solid center. But we’re just a little rusty right now. We’re getting better, though, and once everything gets flowing at a good pace, we can worry about the physical part of it. So, basically, we’re working hard right now to gain consistency.”

Keep in mind that the first scrimmage the Collier was able to go 65 yards on 11 carries and the QBs were live but able to go 30-34. Even the O-line has to discount their performance against the Pitt defense.

As for the running game, RB Coach David Walker seems very content with running back by committee and situational use.

“Sure, we’d like to ride a guy, if he can handle a lot of carries,” Walker said. “But our only concern is moving the sticks on offense. Whichever running back carries the load, it really doesn’t matter to me. Right now, I think we’ll probably use all of our tailbacks and even our fullback, Conredge Collins, but we’ll see what happens when the season rolls around.”

Yeah, we haven’t heard much about Collins yet. Of course Paul Zeise hasn’t started his Q&A for spring practices to tell everyone that Collins is the big bruising kind of guy Pitt needs to use yet.

here is what UK thinks of Dixon?

Florida’s Billy Donovan is one high-profile coach who might be a candidate for the Kentucky job. Sources have told’s Andy Katz that the following coaches also might be contacted in the search:
• Marquette’s Tom Crean
• Michigan State’s Tom Izzo
• Gonzaga’s Mark Few
• Notre Dame’s Mike Brey
• Texas’ Rick Barnes
• Texas A&M’s Billy Gillispie
• Villanova’s Jay Wright

Comment by TMGPanther 03.27.07 @ 2:54 pm

Note to all…Dave Wannstedt is on Junker and Crow 1250 WEAE at noon tomorrow for a call in talk show. Somebody please ask him if we can come “out from under our beds” when the 07 Defense takes the field.

For those who did not hear, Mike McGwynn had shoulder surgery today and will be out til the fall.

Comment by Dan 72 03.27.07 @ 4:46 pm

please no running back by committee. please.

Comment by Carmen 03.27.07 @ 4:55 pm

Why would Walker say that when last year it was evident that we DIDN’T have RB by committee. You’d think he’d just not stir the pot until fall practices at least. Maybe his way of trying to motivate anyone who isn’t named Stevens-Howling.

Comment by Reed 03.27.07 @ 5:21 pm

Running back by committee is terrible because- (1) it’s easier for defenses to read; (2) it prevents any one back from becoming an offensive force (both game-wise and season-wise). Pick a back and let him develop. McCoy will be the starting tailback come fall and will be the (pretty much) every-down back. If not, I’m gonna start freakin out.

Comment by Danster 03.27.07 @ 6:08 pm


McCoy looks really good, no doubt there. However, sometimes players won’t pan out as expected. Look at Austin Scott in PSU lol.

Fortunately for them they had Tony Hunt to carry the load. Sometimes Committee works out, Clemson did well with it this season. Granted they had 2 studs at RB…we just have a midget, a bunch of other “bodies”, and one incoming hopeful.

Comment by Ryan M 03.27.07 @ 10:18 pm

Regarding Dixon, I think the comments made here: link to regarding Bill Self could be applied to Dixon as well. Every situation is different, but I’m sure Pitt could do a whole lot worse.

Comment by B.B. 03.28.07 @ 8:56 am

Ryan – we have to keep saying that over and over to ourselves… “However, sometimes players won’t pan out as expected…However, sometimes players won’t pan out as expected…”

I get very nervous when I read how much fans (and the coaching staff by inference) are assuming McCoy will waltz right into the starting role, and then do well.

Having watch DD’s experience with his first year in college (and I support the staff on how it all was handled) just bolsters my belief that we really can’t depend on any one kid to be the answer.

I see LSH repeating as the featured back, with Collier in the mix. If McCoy gets here and makes it into the two-deep I’ll be happy for him – but you don’t go into spring and fall practices counting on a kid that hasn’t even qualified yet to be your starting RB. If DW is doing that – it’s an act of a desperate man.

Comment by Reed 03.28.07 @ 9:03 am

You’re right Ryan- I know I’m jumping the gun. I can’t help it. I just don’t want to see what I saw from the running game last year. And Reed- I’m sorry man, but we cannot have LSH repeat as our featured back, unless we want to repeat as a lackluster running offense. I think the guy has great talent, and don’t get me wrong- I do think that size is generally overrated- but he’s just too damn small to be a feature back. Against USF he got absolutely murdered by the pass rush, and I can’t tell you how many times I saw him get taken down as soon as anyone got a hand on him. I think he fits best and can contribute a lot as a specialty back. I think we’re all desperate to have that back that every other good program seems to have, who can adequately run, break tackles, and block.

Comment by Danster 03.28.07 @ 9:40 am

The best of both worlds would be to use LHS as a specialty back, and have LeSean, Collier, and Brooks truly contribute productively at TB. Collier and Brooks have a year under them and Shady has God-given natural ability.

The key for them will be the play of the line and in particular their play against equal and better opponents. “If you make the holes, they will run!”

Comment by Kenny 03.28.07 @ 11:20 am

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