April 1, 2007

You know, if you want to recycle the same theme, at least do everyone the courtesy of waiting at least 6 months. Joe Starkey barely makes it 4 months with out the recycling of defending Paul Rhoads. I don’t pretend to be unbiased about this. My ego is such, that I will even assume that posts here and ongoing snark to Rhoads have caught Starkey’s attention — along with plenty on the message boards — to recycle his defense of Rhoads. At least this time he gets Rhoads to go on the record with him. At least Starkey is willing to concede part of reality.

For the record, Pitt’s rushing defense under Rhoads has gone from 17th in the country in 2000 to 26th in 2001 to 24th, 87th, 48th, 94th and 107th.

That kind of a dip will produce a lot of unhappy people. Rhoads knows dealing with harsh criticism is part of the job description for every coach and always has been.

Rhoads, however, is allowed to lie without penalty.

This year’s defense reminds Rhoads of the 2000 unit, which wasn’t overly talented but fought like crazy and finished with a No. 29 overall ranking.


Compared to the roster the last couple years it sure was talented — Bryan Knight, Ramon Walker, Gerald Hayes, Torrie Cox, Shawntee Spencer and Mark Ponko were all starters for that defense. Maybe in time, the players Pitt has on the defense this year will match that. Still, those were all kids that were brought in before Rhoads. What does he have to show on the defensive side besides Darrelle Revis in his tenure?
I mean, this is just a total recycle of his themes from his late November defense of Rhoads (that I fisked).

To repeat:

  • Dip in talent on the defense and not recruiting well on that side, not Rhoads’ fault. Check.
  • Rhoads has to be judged based on the Wannstedt timetable of 2008 and 4 years, not his own entire tenure despite the fact that the defense has dropped each year now going on year 8. Check.
  • If Wannstedt wants him, then all deference to the head coach (at least on this issue). Check.
  • Ignoring the issues of poor fundamentals and the repetition of the same mistakes every year. Check.

Oh, but he adds a new one. Rhoads is enthusiastic and fired-up kind of coach. Yeah, that makes a difference.

Look, I get that Paul Rhoads is a very personable guy. He is enthusiastic, and people like him and want him to succeed. Clearly he’s got some charms on a personal level to keep the job this long with the results he’s generated.

That doesn’t change the fact that there is nothing about his actual job performance says he should stay.

Starkey is already excusing what happens this year by saying he can’t be judged until 2008. That’s great. I will repeat my question. How does the Defensive Coordinator get more time to fail then the head coach? 

Pitt Is Now Tight End U

Filed under: Football,Recruiting — Chas @ 8:01 pm

Pitt’s recent history of landing top-flight TE prospects is apparently continuing with a verbal of Mike Cruz out of Johnstown (hat tip to Pittsburgh Sports Insiders). Cruz is a top TE with offers from Nebraska, Clemson, WVU and UVA at a very early stage of the recruiting season.

It’s kind of impressive considering how loaded Pitt is at TE that another kid who has some good offers still chooses Pitt.

It also continues the Johnstown area line of recruits as the other early Pitt verbal, Antwuan Reed is also from Johnstown.

The Pennsylvania All-State Class AAAA team features some familiar names.

(AP) — The Associated Press Pennsylvania boys high school basketball all-state teams for the 2006-07 season, as selected in statewide voting by sports writers and broadcasters. (Name, School, Height, Class, Scoring Average).


First Team

DeJuan Blair, Schenley, 6-8, Sr., 17.0.

Nasir Robinson, Chester, 6-4, Jr., 18.0.

Jeff Jones, Monsignor Bonner, 6-4, Sr., 21.0

Bradley Wanamaker, Phila. Roman Catholic, 6-4, Sr., 17.8.

D.J. Kennedy, Schenley, 6-3, Sr., 17.3.

Player of the year-DeJuan Blair, Schenley

Blair, Robinson, and Wanamaker are your Pitt recruits on that list and it’s good to see they are getting state-wide honors.

Sunday News & Notes

Filed under: Alumni,Fans,Football,Good,Honors,Recruiting — Dennis @ 3:17 pm

It seems like I’ve been out of the house so much the last few days that I forget how to use the computer. Thankfully it’s during a slower time in Pitt athletics, but there are still a few bits of info to be passed along.

First, it starts up in New York City back on Thursday night. I won’t even lie, I was rooting for West Virginia in the NIT Finals because it’s nice to see Big East teams do well. I wasn’t aware, however, that they decided to change the school’s name to “West Virgina“.

Continuing the theme of Pitt rivals, Penn State has a new policy at Beaver Stadium. It’s almost as bad as not wanting to play Pitt in a fair one-for-one deal. They won’t let you bring your own little seatback into the place — instead you have to pay to lease one from them. The best quote comes from Black Shoe Diaries about the policy.

Forty bucks for this?!?! I can buy one of those at McLanahan’s for $20, and I get to own the friggin thing. Is this thing going to be mounted in my seat permanently all year? Through the sun, rain, and snow as well? But I can’t bring my own dry seat that has been sitting in my vehicle all day. No, I have to sit on your soaking wet one? And pay you $40 to do so?

Back to our Panthers though in a few Pitt related notes.

We brought you info on Blue Chip day. According to PSI, a few of the big names who were in attendance were Terrelle Pryor, David Posluszny, Christian Wilson, Andrew Sweat, Jonathan Baldwin, Mike Zordich, Shayne Hale, Leon Green, Cameron Saddler, Ed Tinker and Lucas Nix.

Former Panther (kind of sounds weird saying that) Tyler Palko was selected to the Coca-Cola Community All-American team.

As this year’s honoree, Palko (Imperial, Pa./West Allegheny) is able to select a charitable cause to be the recipient of a $5,000 donation by the Coca-Cola Company. The donation will go to the TC House Foundation, an organization Palko helped establish to raise funds for the construction of a group home for individuals with Down Syndrome in his hometown of Imperial, Pa.

You’ve probably heard of Palko’s friend Chris McGough who has Down Syndrome, who Tyler has become a very good friend with and who has made appearences at a few Pitt football games. Congrats to Tyler Palko on this honor.

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